Asahi: Hate speech protests spreading to smaller cities around Japan


eBooks, Books, and more from ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
“LIKE” US on Facebook at

Hi Blog.  It is getting more difficult for the “Japan is not shifting hard right” claimers out there to continue arguing as such.  Consider the emerging evidence of xenophobia-fed nationalism spreading nationwide, according to scholars of the Internet.  Their research as it appeared in the Asahi follows.

The more these people howl in public, the more likely their invective will be normalized as a tone of public expression.  Legislation against hate speech must be carefully considered, created, and passed ASAP — it must not just be left up to the courts to restrain (as expressions of racial discrimination and exclusionism already are).  However, I don’t see much chance of legislation happening under the Abe Administration, for these bigots are in fact his base of support.  Courtesy of Reader JK.  Arudou Debito


Hate speech protests spreading to smaller cities around Japan

The Asahi Shinbun AJW, November 07, 2013, courtesy of JK

Hate rallies mostly targeted at ethnic Koreans living in Japan have spread beyond Tokyo and Osaka to smaller regional cities over the past six months or so.

A group of scholars who analyzed Internet postings by organizations behind this disturbing phenomenon found that between March and August there were at least 161 instances of street marches or vehicles mounted with loudspeakers blasting hate-filled slogans.

The group, called “Kodo hoshu (active conservatives) archive project,” includes Kei Nakazawa, a professor of literature at Tokyo’s Hosei University, as well as sociologists in the Kansai region.

It found that March had the most instances of protests with 35. July had the least with 14. The average number of participants was 43, although in some protests in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district, which boasts a sizable Koreatown, as many as 200 protesters took part.

In addition to Tokyo and Osaka, protests were also held in Hokkaido as well as Aomori, Yamagata, Gunma, Chiba, Aichi, Shizuoka, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Oita prefectures.

The hate speech-filled protests picked up pace in January. In June, police made a number of arrests after a clash between protesters and those opposed to such behavior.

Subsequently, protests in major urban areas became temporarily less popular. However, protests in smaller regional cities have continued.

The protests go beyond those organized by Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (Group of citizens who do not tolerate privileges for ethnic Korean residents in Japan), which are generally directed at ethnic Koreans. The group is known more commonly as Zaitokukai.

In a similar vein, there have been protests by nuclear energy supporters that have raised opposition to anti-nuclear groups.

Sound trucks also gathered in front of a Russian consulate general demanding the return of the Northern Territories.

There has even been a protest against the peace movement in Hiroshima.

Despite the difference in targets, the basic pattern of the protests is similar, with activists shouting slogans such as “Kill them” and “Get out.”

Groups like Zaitokukai use the Internet as an abetting and organizing tool. They also videotape the actual protests and post them to video-sharing sites.

The group of scholars focused on data that remained in cyberspace.

Five or six group members began analyzing postings and videos from about July and broke down the number of participants and the arguments they made at the protests. Some members also attended actual protests to gather on-site study.

The group plans to go over the data from February and earlier to broaden the range of the study.

Nakazawa, who is also a novelist, first paid attention to the hate speech protests in Japan about four years ago.

“The harshest protests were those held between late last year and early this year,” she said. “Scenes of protesters yelling insults were reported widely in foreign nations and that hurt Japan’s reputation.

“We want to provide numerical data about what is actually going on so that it can serve as materials for debate on whether legal restrictions should be placed on such hate speech protests.”


14 comments on “Asahi: Hate speech protests spreading to smaller cities around Japan

  • @ Bob,

    How bad does it have to get before you decide it’s time to do something. It’s the ‘Koreans’ and ‘anti-nuclear protesters’ today, maybe you tomorrow.

  • Urusai na, these groups and protests.

    Very annoying and tiresome. I have always thought that life in Japan is one of quiet harmony and convenience except once every few months or so, something utterly weird and in your face aggressive happens, but now the pace seems to be accelerating.

    So much for the “WA” and “Safety Japan”. The “Quiet Japanese” cliche may also now go the way of the dodo.

    Debito says this noisy lot are Abe’s demographic, but I am not so sure as he still seems to peddle the old school labels about “Safety Japan” and “Wa”, unless of course this is just to pacify the old-school right and fool them into thinking that he is in fact not the radical revisionist nationalist he always wanted to be (?)

    Like grandfather, like son.

  • To paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemöller’s words about the sloth of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group….

    “First they came for the Koreans,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Korean.

    Then they came for the Chinese,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t Chinese.

    Then they came for the remaining foreigners,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a foreigner.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    We know that the Konzentrationslager are in place for foreigners at the airports. The cops are already in “Papiere, schnell!” mode, hounding ‘undesirables’ down for Alien Registration Cards, now possible at a distance thanks to RFID chips. With the new State Secrecy Law coming down the pike, can the dreaded Heimland Sicherheitsdienst be far behind? I guess the “Black Van People” will soon be readying their brown shirts. The children destined for the “Abe Youth” already have their school military uniforms anyway. Ain’t isolationism, racism and self-assured supremacism just grand?

  • @TJJ, I can’t answer that, but the right-wingers conveniently ignore the reason why “Zainichi” Japanese exist in the first place: They were brought to Japan from its colonies during the imperialist phase, I would argue often or mostly against their will.

    Being given “special rights” or even reparations is just a little step in correcting a huge wrong that they or their ancestors have been dealt earlier. Japan has done only the bare minimum compared to other countries who have partaken in such things.

    The Japanese right-wingers do not even acknowledge the reason why those people are in Japan. They just want to have them all murdered.

  • TJJ, they get to live and work in Japan even though (gasp!) the are not Yamato race.
    See, they are clearly just taking advantage!

  • Debito. you are still saying “exclusionism”, etc, when the reality is RACISM! Please use the correct term. We have to educate the ignorant western politicians into signing arrest warrants for these racists.

    — I said, “as expressions of racial discrimination and exclusionism already are”. Racial discrimination is a byproduct of racism, so it’s conjoined. Chill pill please.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Just for a little comparison, there was a nasty racist organisation in my hometown in the 90s. They held street-marches and protests, but these were covered in the mainstream media every time one took place. That’s right, if a group of them went marching down a street, it was on the six o’clock news that evening. Furthermore, the media typically covered it from the counter-protesters’ point of view.

    Why does there have to be a physical clash and arrests (typically of counter-protesters) before Zaitokukai et al’s dirty laundry gets aired in public, and the average Taro is forced to wake up from the dreamy day and make a moral judgement?

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    @ Jim #6
    Some idiots even want to claim that Softbank chairman Son’s ancestors arrived in Japan illegally. Ah, the bliss of ignorance.

    — Source please.

  • “The Japanese right-wingers do not even acknowledge the reason why those people are in Japan. They just want to have them all murdered.”

    Typically a criminal will try to cover up their crime,in this case the imperialists who brought over these people now want to get rid of them, to cover up their whole misdeeds and whitewash history.

    Or “move forward with a new perspective on history” to prarphrase this current administration’s spin to neighboring Asian countries. It sounds more reasonable (for a US audience) than it really is.

  • @ JIm, “TJJ, they get to live and work in Japan even though (gasp!) the are not Yamato race.”

    I love this, I hope Debito will allow me to indulge in a moment of postmodern irony.

    Indeed, it is to the credit of the superior Yamato race that they (We) allow unruly foreigners from less fortunate places into Safety Japan (forget earthquakes,radiation, human trafficking, occasional dismemberment and disappearances of NJ hostesses etc, daijobu yo/ganbare nippon 1984-NewSpeak catch-all sequence initiated).

    You foreigners get that “unique Japanese experience” that you have all been craving, along with the oishii Japanese food at reasonable prices (considering the high quality).

    The four distinct seasons goes without saying (though we ll say it anyway).

    As tax in Japan is so low, you can save a lot of money to take back to your country, and you cannot do that in non democratic countries like China! Japan even has a pension sharing arrangement with other western countries. Now, thats progress!

    Thus, you do not need a say in local affairs, and you will be leaving sooner or later anyway.

    In any case, as Japanese politics and thinking is so intricate and subtle, so sophisticated with layers of meaning embedded in every word and gesture, the nuances of a raised eyebrow or what is left unsaid, there is little point anyone who is not born in Japan even attempting to understand what is going on!

    Take a look at Japanese TV, that traditional yardstick of postmodernism. Note the seeming light topics that dominate, the endless variety shows with their “oops, I slipped on a sukebe banana skin, baka” humor.

    Ah, Grasshopper (Gaijin-san), but We have left out the deep daily exchange of socio-political issues that goes on subimely in every aspect, every second of Japanese life. It really does go without saying.

    The meaning is in what is left out, what is not said, honestly! It is just that foreign guests lack the cultural skills handed down form generation to generation of Japanese to realize these.

    (As an aside, I wonder if Donald Keen (pun intended) or Gregory Clark would approve of my analysis, and could it be used as promo material for Tepido or a Japan fansite? The Japanese Embassy maybe?)

  • @ Baudrillard,

    Up until ‘Thus, you do not need a say in local affairs’, you’re not saying anything that Japanese haven’t said to me with no trace of irony! When it comes to that, I have been told ‘but you are not Japanese!’. Ah, I am so ‘gaijin’ (sigh).

    Don Keene wouldn’t get your point, because he is Japanese now, ‘in his heart’.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Assertions that Son Masayoshi is the son of an illegal / an illegal himself?

    I was first made aware of this on a thread somewhere in cyberspace about Son’s purchase and subsequent demolition of Hanya-en, which also happened to be the model for a Mishima novel.
    Comments were largely ad hominem attacks; either regarding his donations to the 2011 tsunami cause or his Korean background.

    I just found it.
    Look at #94

    Anyway, a simple Google search using the terms 孫正義密入国 brings up plenty of hits.

    Many of them seem based on Japanese Wikipedia’s assertion that he arrived in Japan by boat in 1947.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>