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  • YouTube: right-wing xenophobia: how the rightists will resort to intimidation and even violence to shut people up

    Posted by arudou debito on October 7th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. One thing I’ve noticed in this modern day is how the Internet can get around the press and show you things that editors would rather you not see, as the modus operandi of certain elements within Japan’s debate arena is embarrassing and hypocritical (especially when you expect the image of perpetual calm and civility in Japan’s “safe society”).

    Not when you take it to the streets. Demonstrators here are pretty nasty when they’re expressing xenophobic views.

    For example, this demo against giving the Zainichis the vote in local elections.

    All one person on the sidewalk had to do is hold up an A4-sized piece of paper offering a mild counter opinion, and the crowd attacked. And the police took their time intervening, to be sure.

    Same thing happened in a scene in the movie YASUKUNI, which featured people (including Tokyo Gov) singing patriotic songs at Yasukuni Jinja about things that could be interpreted as wartime atrocities. When one demonstrator appeared and voiced his opinion (disruptively), the footage showed him being near-strangled and quite bloodied. The police intervened to take the demonstrator away, but not to arrest, detain, or even question the assailants. It’s as if the police considered demonstrator to be in the wrong for spoiling the party, and deserved to be bloodied for it. Briefly alluded to in the trailer:

    Back to street demonstrations. Enjoy the invective in this one:

    That invective stretches all the way up to the top levels of government, where Tokyo Gov Ishihara tries to deligitimize a point being made by saying it came from a foreigner. And more.

    These things might not make headlines. But they continue to bubble under the surface in this society. It’s amazing how these people who use their right of free speech to express xenophobic views are all to eager to silence the other side — with violence if necessary. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    PS: Because this is getting overwhelmingly grim these days, here’s some humor. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (I’ve been told I look like one of the members of this comedy team; no comment) on racism:

    ENDS

    45 Responses to “YouTube: right-wing xenophobia: how the rightists will resort to intimidation and even violence to shut people up”

    1. Frodis Says:

      We sometimes make note of the impotence of the Japanese press but what about foreign press covering Japan? With blatant racist rhetoric like this spilling out into marches in the street and rallies, why do we not see a CNN or BBC camera crew down at these events covering them for an international audience? Am I just missing them? Are international news agents here just to cover the economy and politics from the press club at the diet?

    2. James N Says:

      I can’t believe Ishihara said, “Nani jin kimi wa?”…This is so disrespectful…especially coming from an elected official. It also has zero to do with the issue at hand. Ishihara’s condecending attitude is indicative of too many politicians in this country. To refer to another person you are unfamilier with as “kimi” is a slap in the face. I’m assuming nobody called him on that at that news conference.

    3. Daniel Says:

      I have seen demonstrations by the Japanese left (in varying degrees) where their parades are heavily cordoned by police. Officers walk on the sides of the demonstrators and police vans drive in front and behind the group to keep them in line. Surely this thing would be less likely to happen if the police would have taken the same prevention measures beforehand. It’s a statement on itself that they did not employ people to keep the line in check.

    4. Daniel Says:

      Also, do you know what happened to the Asian man escorted away by the two police officers?

    5. Don Kimball Says:

      Regarding the first clip of the mob assaulting the guy who held up the A4 piece of paper, do you know or is there any source noting whether there were any ramification for the violence depicted? Or was it just simply excused for the “purity” of their conviction.

    6. Jcek Says:

      Does anyone think that NJ protesting in the same manner would be given such impunity? Where is the riot police or under cover police filming all of this, like at the demonstrations for foreigner sufferage? These videos bring to mind Klan rallies from the states from the 1960′s. This is not like the rallies now which police are there to protect the KKK from the crowd.

    7. adamw Says:

      ishiharas comments seem relatively mild.
      he got away with saying a political rival(dep foreign minister at the time) had it coming when a time bomb was found in his house a few yrs ago,so this wont cause a stir

      – Need a link.

    8. AWK Says:

      Debito, I think you should take a look at link to Euobserver news. GOJ should learn something and we should do everything not to allow to implement new RFID from 2012
      Future of internet has dangers for privacy, Brussels warns

      http://euobserver.com/9/28792

      The most interesting parts regarding RFID:

      “…I am convinced [RFID] will only be welcomed in Europe if they are used by the consumers and not on the consumers…” (on gaijins in Japan)
      “No European should carry a chip in one of their possessions without being informed precisely of what they are used for, with the choice to remove or switch it off at any time…”

      In Japan won`t switch off or remove because of fine 200,000yen

      – Not sure I understand your last sentence.

    9. snowman Says:

      Ishihara [invective deleted], is a total disgrace. The only thing you can say is that at least he won’t be around much longer. He’s what, Debito, 70 years old?

      77, actually.

    10. Graham Says:

      I was actually there during the demonstration that day (you can probably easily find me since I was the only caucasian who took part). I was way behind in the line, so I didn’t get to see exactly what happened there on the above video since it happaned at the front of the line, which incidently is also where all the more “radical” people among the group seemed to be focused at. People behind the line were not as hot-headed, although one man next to me had no problem using the word “kuronbo” when referring to blacks (the words is the Japanese equivalent to the n-word).

      I’m disappointed because absolutely no notice about this incident was made during the post-demonstration meeting. As far as I was able to tell at the time, the demonstration went along peacefully without any incident, which means the secret-keeping took place the moment after the incident began, even amongst fellow right-wingers. I am personally against foreign suffrage for local elections (speaking as a permanent resident in Japan), but this kind of violence and outright hostility I do not support a single bit. It does absolutely nothing good for their cause.

      I do want to say that people were not aggressive towards me because of my obvious difference in nationality; those who were curious as to what a foreigner was doing in this nationalistic movement were in fact impressed that a foreigner was on their side.

      – I’m not. I have no idea why you would even admit you consort with these kinds of people. Shame on you.

    11. Chris Dunn Says:

      When I see those right wing thugs in action I can’t help but think how warm ,snug and powerful they must feel wrapped in their Japanese flags shouting obscenities and spewing vitriol while poking harmless non threatening people in the head with the poles they dangle from. The thing is they have to make a huge noise and ruckus because, ” Does anyone notice the slimy slug slithering through the garden?”. I imagine normal Japanese see these weirdos as you might view a boil on your butt, better left alone to burst on its own. Makes you wonder why Japan’s birth rate has been in such decline though if they are so wonderful. The Nationalists would be better off staying at home and trying to do something about that.

    12. phil adamek Says:

      Children-killing forests? It’s hard to believe Ishihara makes that claim with a straight face. If every accident that occurred in a forest at any point in history led to its destruction on grounds that that would prevent further accidents, we’d be living on a giant, uninterrupted, transcontinental sheet of asphalt. But then what if the children slipped and fell on the asphalt? Then we might have to uproot all the asphalt and start planting trees again. And maybe place guard rails around all trees so that they could not harm our children. The guy is not only abusive towards the questioner, his defense for destroying the satoyama is so threadbare, you wonder what real motivations have been hidden behind it.

    13. DR Says:

      Given ALL the problems currently facing Japan, and those lined up to come down the pipeline; everything from declining birthrates, loss of economic and political clout on the world stage, unbelievable debt to GDP ratio and a society fast heading to be the grayest in the world, surely to goodness these guys can get the big picture? It’s a case of open up or die! Slowly, painfully and publicly.

    14. TJJ Says:

      Graham

      You’re free to campaign with whoever you like, but when your fellow campaigners start using the n-word (or the Japanese equivalent as you said) and also start physically attacking lone people who are peaceably standing by on the sidelines of your demonstration, don’t you think its time to re-evaluate you allegiances?

    15. Futureal Says:

      Ishihara’s “whose side are you on anyway”-type of question, phrased here as “nanijin” (I don’t know an English phrase that maintains both the brevity and clarity of that unfortunately oft-heard query of one’s race) isn’t terribly beyond the pale here. As in the whaling dispute, the assumption is that the Japanese will circle the palanquins whenever anyone from anywhere else says anything negative about anyone Japanese. The journalist isn’t covering the man next to him shoulder to knee like every regimented member of phalanx Japan ought to, so Ishihara, in his mind, is right to question his allegiance.

    16. Chris Says:

      Graham has got to be a troll- who in their right mind would lobby against their own rights?
      If not a troll… what I would do just to slug him in the jaw!

      – There are a lot of Self-Hating Gaijin out there, believe me.

    17. adamw Says:

      here you are
      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?nn20030912a2.htm

      he said this while stumping for shizuka kamei

      Japan Times Friday, Sept. 12, 2003

      Ishihara unrepentant over bomb barb

      By JUNKO TAKAHASHI
      Staff writer
      Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara remained unrepentant Thursday about his remark that Deputy Foreign Minister Hitoshi Tanaka “deserved” the bomb that was placed in his garage, saying the act reflects public anger toward the bureaucrat’s stance on North Korea.

      “I am not saying that a man should be killed, but I am saying there is a reason that he faced such an incident,” Ishihara said outside Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo while stumping for Shizuka Kamei, one of the candidates in the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election…

    18. AWK Says:

      [quote]– Not sure I understand your last sentence.[/quote]

      By writing “In Japan won`t switch off or remove because of fine 200,000yen” I meant, we “MUST” always carry ( cannot remove) and it cannot be hidden in special anti scan cover ( switch off). We won@t have a choice or pay 200,000fine or serve jail time.

    19. Behan Says:

      I can’t believe the cowardly (racist?) police ran the victim of the assault off and did nothing to the attackers.

    20. Joe D. Says:

      Debito,

      Thanks for putting these up on your website. The violence and Ishihara’s comment are some of the more disturbing things out of Japan that I’ve seen of late. I haven’t lived there since the early 2000s, and while there are things I miss about Japan, the xenophobia is not one of them. It is Japan’s unwillingness to move toward real acceptance and equal laws that protect everyone that is most disturbing.

      On the international stage, it is the collective and political will to move into a more open and just society that makes folks elsewhere view it as a backward-thinking place. It is interesting to note that in the past year I’ve had two students of NJ background here – one Korean-Japanese and one Chinese-Japanese student (both born and raised in Japan). Considering the relatively small number of Japanese students studying here (less than 50 on campus are here to do a degree at my university. I think that the numbers say something about their experience in Japan – and in speaking with them, so do their feelings toward their country of birth. They are voting with their feet. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if both end up applying for permanent residency in Canada.

      The thread between the discrimination faced by many as well as cases such as the Savoie case which once again highlights Japan’s child-abduction problems and the continued existence of businesses that ban foreigners are of course linked. It is a sad commentary on Japan’s immaturity as a country.

      Keep up the good work! Japan needs more people like you – both Japanese and foreign residents to speak up.

    21. D.B. Cooper Says:

      I’d like to make some comments concerning the first video. On the low profile policing of fascist parades in Japan I’ll quote Karel Van Wolferen from his essential read ‘The Enigma Of Japanese Power’ 1990 edtion p259. “It is also accepted as part of Japanese reality that the police should assiduously clamp down on leftist groups while allowing the activist rightist groups to run wild”. Never forget that police forces around the world were originally set up to serve power and privilege, which they continue to do. In many countries because of organised workers and anti-fascists the police have to turn out in force to protect these racist morons. I look forward to that day here.

      The collusion between fascists and police mentioned in this thread has happened in the past and I suspect it happens now, although not on this scale. I quote from the same book p135. “Kodama Yoshio mediated between the L.D.P. and Tokyo gang bosses in organising an army of over 30,000 yakuza and rightists to help the police preserve order during the scheduled visit of President Eisenhower”.

      That police forces contain high proportions of reactionaries, racists, bigots, fascist sympathizers and the like, should not really suprise anyone. It is the nature of the beast. For a real eye-opener check out this B.B.C. documentary about one force in the U.K. ..
      http://video.google.co.uk/videosearch?q=the+secret+policeman&emb=0# and the aftermath..
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3203287.stm
      I would be interested to see some similar undercover journalism here.

    22. carl Says:

      “those who were curious as to what a foreigner was doing in this nationalistic movement were in fact impressed that a foreigner was on their side”

      I guess I’ll ask what everyone else is probably thinking:

      Why were you with them?

      Now, this is not meant to be snide or confrontational. I am genuinely curious about what a PR could possbily have in common with the Uyoku that would make you want to march with them AGAINST voting rights. Please tell us a bit more about your experience with that movement, Graham. IF you’re not a troll, that is.

      My personal opinion: how could anyone march against voting rights anywhere? I mean, isn’t that just considered a normal human right for everyone? How could anyone possibly make an argument against it?

    23. DR Says:

      Related to my comment above, especially about the demographics which the Black Van types are choosing to ignore, I happened upon this gem which, although lamenting the US’ looming economic and demographic crisis, it has a particular relevance to Japan, which it mentions briefly. Your readers might like to see it.

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/10/other-economic-crisis.html

      An excerpt: You’re aware of the soaring unemployment rate, the tapped out consumer, and many other economic problems.

      But do you know about the demographic crisis?

      What Demographic Crisis?

      Harry Dent and other financial advisors who have examined American demographics say that we’re in big trouble.

      Specifically, they say that the basic health of any country’s economy is largely driven by the number of its citizens who are in their peak spending years.

      For example, the peak Japanese spending range has been estimated to be comprised of 39-43 year olds. The more 39-43 year olds Japan has at any given time, the more consumer spending there will be, as these are the folks who are the big spenders in Japan. Dent argues that the Japanese economy will tend to grow when the number of 39-43 year olds grows, and to shrink when it shrinks.

      Dent says that this principle applies to all countries, although the peak spending years might vary slightly from country to country.

      More…

      Japan really has way bigger problems than qualified internationals taking up residence or even voting in municipal elections. Way bigger problems!

    24. D.B. Cooper Says:

      Re#22.’The Secret Policeman’{not to be confused with ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball’}documentary more easily found here..
      http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-5551329695583587541&ei=UeDNStGUEpD8wQP4zqCiBQ&q=the+secret+policeman#

    25. Graham Says:

      TJJ,

      I have to admit I was extremely disturbed by the wording they used during the protest, and I was tempted to leave the area, but I still wished to remain because the issue itself being raised was still something I cared about. I was hoping that I would be getting together with people willing to challenge the issue with logic and reason, but nooooo… (to be honest I didn’t expect it to be a meeting of many hard-core right wingers, since I saw the ad on an SNS website unassociated with them). If I knew about the violence at the time, there would’ve been a good chance that I left.

      Does that change my position against foreign suffrage? No, but the incident did make me reaffirm that these people are scums who are only posing as patriots–for their personal emotional satisfaction–doing nothing but harm for their country and ruining its reputation both in and out of the world. No wonder some people wish to believe that they are actually leftists and NJs masking as right-wingers for sabotage.

    26. Graham Says:

      Sorry for the multiple post…

      Chris,

      First, the issue is not just about me, but all the NJs living in Japan, so I feel that demanding rights for personal reasons may not ultimately be good for (=in the interest of) the country. Secondly, I simply believe that voting should be granted on the basis of citizenship, regardless of local or national (they’re both governing bodies of the country). That just happens to be how I perceive suffrage, and I recognize it’s very different from many NJs living in this country.

      And Debito,
      To call me a self-hating gaijin is very misrepresentative. We may have different beliefs and approaches, but our ultimate wish should be the same: guaranteeing happiness in our daily lives in Japan (okay I could’ve worded that better). That’s not what self-hating people would probably want.

      – Thanks for explaining. I still think there’s something schizophrenic and self-contradictory in your attendance in support of a group of racists, xenophobes, and thugs. But that’s not an issue I need work out.

    27. Marc Says:

      Incredible..!!
      This guy have a right to complain and file a lawsuit?
      He make nothing wrong, and be beaten by thoses racists!
      Look well at 1:29/1:30 after take away his paper the guy call everybody..to beat him?
      At 1:54 too,the guy in yellow/blue shirt beat him!
      The police just push him away,if a foreigner use violence with a japanese..you fnow what happened!!

    28. Mumei Says:

      Graham wrote:

      > I simply believe that voting should be granted on the basis of citizenship

      I do not necessarily disagree. However, please realize that there are many, many who desire to naturalize but are unwilling to give up their existing citizenship, and hence can not vote. If Japan were to modify this requirement then voting as a citizen may be more ideal.

      Besides, if foreigner suffrage were to be granted, I think the chances are high that it would be limited to only the “special PRs” (=the non-Japanese Japanese) and maybe possibility to regular PRs. In either case, these are the people who have put a considerable amount of time and energy into Japan and have a real right to consider it their home.

    29. Kakui Kujira Says:

      As an Australian, I find that “Flight of the Conchords” sketch, characterising Australians as criminals, extremely funny…

      – The Kiwis can get away with a lot when bashing their big-brother Ozzies…

    30. iago Says:

      I just want to say that I find the idea of a permanent resident joining a protest in order to attempt to influence the politics of a country that he believes should not allow permanent residents to influence the politics of, somewhat contradictory.

    31. Massimo Says:

      I’m in Japan already for quite a long time but I am always
      amazed at how public figures (politicians, talento etc.)
      can get away with unbelievable statements…
      Look at Ishihara…or Tamogawa…

      But,
      I’m much more amazed at how can rightists get away with things like
      those that are shown in the first video.
      How is it possible, in a civilized country, that a pacific guy gets
      beaten by some violent scum AND police just come and get the victim
      away while do not even bother to “try” to arrest the beaters…??!?
      And more, in another scene, an uyoku shouts with a loudspeaker
      in the ears of a policeman, PUSHES and touches him….and….and…
      nothing happens (?).
      I wonder if I did the same thing what would happen…lol
      This thought kind of scares me…

      To summarize it, in another civilized and “normal” country :

      - the event in itself could simply be not permitted from the start
      because of its “nazi-style” influences
      - even if it happened, at least, the guys that beated the protester
      would have been arrested and publicly humiliated on the media
      - the guy who pushed the policeman would have been immediately arrested

      I wonder, what does this country need to evolve ? New laws ?

      And more, if the laws are there why are they not applied ALWAYS
      and not just at “whim” ?
      The police has too much “discretionary” power for my taste.

    32. debito Says:

      The demos are not working, anyway:

      excerpt:
      Japan Times Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 Excerpt
      Haraguchi positive on foreigner voting rights
      Kyodo News

      Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi responded positively Thursday to the proposed granting of voting rights to foreign nationals with permanent residency in gubernatorial, mayoral and local assembly elections…

      There are an estimated 400,000 Koreans with permanent residency status in Japan and Seoul has asked Tokyo to grant them local-level suffrage.

      In a 1995 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not forbid a law being passed to guarantee local voting rights to foreign residents.

      The DPJ, New Komeito and the Japanese Communist Party have submitted such bills to the Diet a total of 12 times since 1998. However, the bills were scrapped due to opposition mainly from the long-ruling LDP, which was recently ousted from power.
      http://ow.ly/ttJp

    33. sendaiben Says:

      Graham wrote:

      > I simply believe that voting should be granted on the basis of citizenship

      For me, I agree with that statement on a national level. On a local level, however, as a long-term resident with PR, who pays local inhabitant taxes, etc. why shouldn’t I have a say in how my home city is run?

      After all I pay for it, something not all of my neighbors do ;)

    34. Graham Says:

      I will be very surprised if these protests did work…

      Mumei,

      Dual citizenship in Japan is another very complicated issue so I won’t tackle it here, but I do agree that if foreign suffrage is allowed, there is a sufficient chance that it will be limited to the Tokubetsu-Eijuuken holders.

      Iago,

      Suffrage and freedom of speech are two separate things. I (or anyone else for that matter) can say whatever we want when it comes for what we believe is best for the country, but the ones who will make the ultimate decision are those who go into the voting booths. At least that’s the principle of it.

    35. iago Says:

      I feel compelled to say that I find the idea of someone advocating freedom of speech while having been part of a group that violently suppressed the right to peaceful freedom of speech of another individual as somewhat contradictory. Maybe it was unwitting, maybe, but you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

    36. snowman Says:

      I think that PRs will get local voting rights soon and that’s something to be warmly welcomed. The Grahams amongst us who are strangely against will not be exercising their votes I trust.

    37. D.B. Cooper Says:

      Until fascists here are met with this kind of resistance they will feel free to bully, intimidate and spread their vitriol with impunity.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/8300431.stm
      http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/manchester/2009/10/439585.html?c=on#c234366

    38. Jbar Says:

      Graham said: “I was the only caucasian who took part”

      This deserves a little more thought. I understand the principle that voting rights are generally something reserved for citizens. In fact, I don’t understand the dynamics of the Japanese citizenship system and why Korean and Chinese-ethnic Japanese people, even when given the opportunity to apply for citizenship actually choose not to. I really would like to understand that. In that regard, it seems like even though they are really Japanese, they are purposefully choosing to retain some foreign citizenship. If it were a long-term expat or something I might understand they may want to return home someday, but these people only speak Japanese and some will never even leave Japan. Is it some sort of ethnic pride that they want to deny citizenship? Or is it that Japan doesn’t actually grant it so much when they apply? If the case is the latter or they have some good reason for denying citizenship, I would be more in favor of long-term resident voting rights… but until I know the answer to that question, I tend to agree with Graham – at least on that point’s merit.

      However, given the nature of these horrible people, why in the world would you go demonstrate? It’s like attending a Nazi rally because you agreed with Hitler’s benevolent opinion helping the homeless. Just because one point may have merit (which is still in question in this case anyway) doesn’t mean you go out and walk with such disgusting people. Speaking of which, your argument that people in the back of the rally were better doesn’t hold much water considering that very fact that the guy next to you was using the N word. Grow a pair and tell him he’s being racist and disrespectful and leave right there. Personally I think people like you who defend racist actions have a complex to be accepted by Japanese, which is why you took part. You get jollies off Japanese seeing you there and feeling finally accepted in some way. I’ve got news for you… I guarantee you they don’t, no matter how much you try to charm them or how good a little foreigner you are. They’ve already made up their minds.

    39. Jbar Says:

      RULE OF LAW

      One more small point. I want a straight answer from you on this one, Debito… Where is the rule of law in all this. In American law, if I were attacked in the way that man was, I would enlist the police officer’s help in identifying the man and pressing charges. This is what forces people to show some restraint and answer for their actions. If we did not have this rule of law, America would fall apart. So far, Japan has gotten by without this because of the homogeneity of the country, but it will no longer work as the country becomes more diverse. My question is… in the video, why does the police officer not arrest the man who aggressively pushes against him over and over near the KFC. US cops would not tolerate that, both for their own sake, as well as for the sake of the individual and all the people around. Please explain…

      – You want a straight answer from me?

    40. Jbar Says:

      Yeah… forgive the demanding way it sounded. I’m not attacking you. I’m simply frustrated that for some reason no one directly addresses this question so I’m directing it at you, because I think you have the most experience and capability to answer it here. You understand the American justice system and can maybe put it into perspective for me in comparison with how things work in Japan. I know the citizens of Japan are not litigious… but are they really so complacent that they are ok with police behaving in that way (i.e. not upholding the law)?

      – One thing you’ve got to understand is that there is no “they” here, unless you’re dealing with the GOJ and governmental systems which claim to be representative. And it is not true that Japanese are not litigious. Well over five million lawsuits filed in 1998 alone.

      Short answer: I can’t give one. I dunno, and I wouldn’t claim to be properly representative. I do think the National Police Agency scares the hell out of a lot of people, and their relatively unfettered powers backed up by media, prosecutorial, and government unaccountability keeps the Japanese public protest in check. But that’s only my opinion. And there are plenty of Japanese who really loathe the NPA. But they don’t get much press.

    41. iago Says:

      More of the same, via Japan Times…

      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/rc20091015a1.html

      Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009

      READERS IN COUNCIL
      Standing up to noisy rightists

      By R. NANASHIMA
      Tokyo

      I would like to express my appreciation to the Japanese police force. On Sunday I was walking to Mass at my church in central Tokyo when I heard the unmistakable strains of uyoku (rightist) music. I thought, “Here we go again.”

      But this time it was no ordinary drive-by nuisance. On the corner outside the church, 30 or 40 protesters stood screeching into loudhailers. Their complaint was that a group called the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace had planned a meeting that day that included an educational tour of Yasukuni Shrine. Attempts by the uyoku to enter the church and disrupt the meeting had led to its cancellation, leaving the rightwingers to stew on the corner. I noted that the protesters seemed to represent a cross section of society: men and women in suits, youths in casual attire, at least one man in kimono and geta.

      A short distance away, half a dozen police vans were parked; uniformed officers lined the pavement opposite the rightwingers. As I walked between the two groups, the uyoku screamed at me in Japanese, “Get out of Japan!” Stunned, I looked at them and — I am sorry to say — uttered a common Anglo-Saxon word. They instantly rushed me, striking at me with their fists and loudhailers. The leader got close enough to clip the top of my hair. Then the police surged past me, body-slamming my attackers and wrestling them back to their side of the pavement. “Run!” a middle-aged officer shouted at me.

      I obeyed and soon reached the safety of the church. I was uninjured, but if not for the officers’ swift response, I would certainly have been mobbed and perhaps badly beaten. I am a slightly built woman. I was targeted for being white, but these rightwingers are versatile in their hatred: Earlier that day they had heckled and insulted Japanese churchgoers. It’s a pity that they are unaware that the Catholic Church has deeper and older roots in Japan than does their brand of nationalism.

      While Japanese society yawns at the small number of unspeakable fanatics in its midst, the uyoku are free to continue their mischief — even when it veers toward physical violence. I am keenly grateful to the officers who shielded me Sunday. These brave men in uniform of this country stand up to the uyoku on a regular basis. Why can’t anyone else?

    42. D.B. Cooper Says:

      Although this link refers to a different age and place, its relevance here has to do with how police forces act when faced with the mass actions of anti-fascists {or anti-government actions for that matter}. Time and again we can see whose side the cops are on. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8299015.stm This tragic event has particular significance for me as I was a teenager just becoming politicised.
      Following this and other outbursts of police brutality, the Special Patrol Group {the Sturmabteilung of the London Metropolitan Police Service} was eventually disbanded. The neo-Nazi National Front failed to make any inroads at the 1979 U.K. General Election and then imploded.
      Nontheless, the death of comrade Blair Peach was a very high price to pay for these outcomes.

    43. Jbar Says:

      The uyoku story is consistent with what we saw the KFC cop do in the video… But again, did the cops in the uyoku story actually ARREST the assailants? Probably not, is my guess. That’s where the question lies. Why won’t they press charges on blatant, highly-witnessed acts of violence?

    44. D.B. Cooper Says:

      With adequate and enforcible anti-discrimination laws even the bizarre is possible.

      BNP to consider non-white members
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8308582.stm

    45. Andi Says:

      Looking at that first video, I think back to the two riots in my hometown of Birmingham (England) that happened this summer. A group calling itself the English Defence League held a protest against Islamic extremism, which was really a cover for racism and far right nationalism. As you may know, Birmingham has a very large ethnic minority population – mostly black Caribbean and South Asian.

      On both occasion, the protestors required police protection from the far larger crowd of anti-fascist counter-protestors and volatile Asian youths. They simply cannot get away with that kind of thing in the UK.

      I never thought I’d be saying that a violent reaction is required, and I hope that’s not where I’m leading myself. But certainly I look forward to the day when the Japanese can get properly outraged at bigotry.

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