Zakzak: Counterdemos against hate speech in Japan, now supported by Olympic fever


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Hi Blog.  Here’s some good news.  Finding a silver lining in Japan’s successful Olympics 2020 bid, here’s Zakzak reporting that Olympic fever has seized the groups protesting against the anti-Korean demonstrations happening in Tokyo:  They are blocking demonstrations and not wanting them to spoil Tokyo’s Olympics.  Well, very good.  Should think that as the time draws nearer the xenophobic elements within Japan’s ruling elites will be leaning on the rabid Rightists as well.  But it’s nice to see the Grassroots doing it for themselves.  May it become a habit.  Arudou Debito

新大久保、大荒れ 嫌韓ヘイトスピーチ

2013.09.09,  Courtesy of MS







5 comments on “Zakzak: Counterdemos against hate speech in Japan, now supported by Olympic fever

  • My concern is, how long will anti-discrimination protests last? Perhaps only until the Olympics are over, then it is back to the same old fist-clenching fiery anti-NJ hate speeches.

    What are the chances of “after-Olympics” follow-up on anti-discrimination and pro-NJ movements? Could be false hope though. The left in Japan has too many things stacked against them. Infact, Japan has already made the left so small and divided that they are considered outcasts, with fearful and naive masses indoctrinated to falsely believe that liberals in Japan are either traitors and or enemy agents trying to take over Japan.

    The DPJ loss embarrassingly. Nutjobs like Taro Aso who made a pro-nazi speech are now in high positions of government power. No mass opposition to Abe’s secret agenda of dismantling article 96. GOJ officials boldly accusing people of treason (like what happened with Hatoyama) for suggesting a softer tone on territorial relations. And also, right wing nut-jobs have pretty much “taken over the internet” in terms of representing Japan’s voice on the net. A moderate Japanese voice on the internet is a rare find indeed.

    All in all, I feel that Japan’s right-wing elite have “conquered” enough of Japan that opposition cannot fight back unless a substantial number of Japanese wake up from “The-Dream-Zone” and defect from supporting Japan’s corrupt ruling elite.

    Regardless of all that, I am all for these anti-discrimination groups that stand up for a better Japan. It would be nice if more Japanese would wake up from the dream that the LDP sold to them. I do hope what ever is left of Japan’s liberal voices will make a comeback somehow, especially while article 96 is still in one piece.

    However, I would like to add that in order for real change in Japan to happen, genuine activism must persist well through the Olympic period and beyond as well as garnering enough attention and support from Japanese. With Japan’s right being so powerful, anything short of the U.S. civil movement in terms size and scale will not be enough to change Japan.

    Because as long as Japan’s liberal voices are being viewed as a minority of “un-Japanese” outcasts by Japan’s majority everyday common citizens, any movement for a more tolerant and moderate Japan would be moot.

  • What interests me and surprises me is how the repetition of history- i.e. a right wing take over, albeit a toned down version without an all-out war, lets call it “stealth fascism”, can carry on while most people cling to the out dated labels, like so many straws.

    I mean Japan is branded as a western democracy and most people buy this unquestioningly. When I tell westerners what Abe is doing, most just do not believe me, play it down with “its not that bad is it?”, or most interestingly, fade out of the conversation as the narrative did not follow the way they expected. A kind of confused look, then the conversation topic is changed.

    I just love the optimism of the average westerner.

    I think this is the result of what Guy Debord called the obliteration of the past and future into a kind of never ending present, that cannot be changed.

    Thus, we have reached, in the minds of most people, the “end of history”. Japan cannot ever be anything other that a western democracy, as it is branded so, we must cling to these labels as the unchanging truth, and they cannot change.

    The reality of course, is that this time is like any other time, just a moment in history that can always change. But somehow western capitalism (actually corporatism, a form of fascism but branded as free market capitalism) is somehow “special” and self sustaining.

    So I am glad these activists have realized that things can in fact change through activism, and have somehow managed to drag themselves away from the TV and internet screens of the “Dreamy Day.”

  • Peter McArthur says:


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but when you say “western democracy”, I think you mean “liberal democracy”.

    I don’t claim to have my finger on Japan’s political pulse, but I’ve noticed that the LDP has stopped comparing Japan to other liberal democracies. When asked about human rights, they insist on comparing Japan to China or South Korea, rather than, say, Germany.

    Of course, Japan will keep trying to preserve face, but the facade is slipping.

  • @Baudrillard: That is a great post. Applicable to Japan and anywhere else. More than anything else, we must apply ourselves against this concept of the “never ending present” .

  • Baudrillard says:

    I meant Japan re-branded by westerners as a western democracy, and the LDP going along with it in order to accrue the postwar benefits that come from that membership of the western club, e.g. the G7 they have always coveted. At the same time, they may say Japan is “different” in order to avoid implementing western style reforms such as true democracy or human rights, press freedom etc.

    Japanese imperialism was an attempt in part to act like other imperial powers, to get the same benefits such as concessions in China.But in doing so it came into confrontation with western interests in Asia.

    How ironic then, that in defeat Japan gets to be a member of the western club!

    Now the LDP reiterates its bid to join the permanent security council at the UN. Same old, same old.

    By the way, was in Hong Kong the other day and saw a striking media sequence of TV images; Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, followed by samples of his works culminating in the latest one, then Iraq 2003 (which Miyazaki opposed), then images of Japan’s 30s aggression in China, and then Abe, Fukushima, and the Senkakus.

    They have figured out what we already discussed on the Miyazaki film and how it draws from or feeds into the revisionist narrative of Abe being the current zeitgeist of Japan.

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