Mainichi: Thousands of anti-hate speech demonstrators take to Tokyo streets Nov 2, 2014


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HI Blog.  Good news.  With the upswell in hate speech in Japan, particularly against Zainichi Koreans, we have social antibodies kicking in, with public counterdemonstrations on Nov. 2 to say that this behavior is unacceptable.  Very good indeed.

Of course, this is only the second time that the anti-racists have demonstrated, as opposed to the many, many, many times the pro-racism forces have turned out on the streets.  But it is a positive step that salutes, and I hope that they will take a more proactive (as opposed to reactive) approach to set the public agenda.  That agenda should be:  punitive criminal laws against hate speech and racial discrimination in Japan.  For the lack of legislation in Japan means that the xenophobic elements can essentially do as they please (short of breaking already-established laws involving more generic violence towards others) to normalize hatred in Japan.  And they will probably succeed in doing so unless it is illegal.  My fear is that opponents of public hatred might think that just counter-demonstrating is sufficient, and if hate speech ever dies down, they’ll think problem solved.  As the United Nations agrees, it won’t be.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


Thousands of anti-hate speech demonstrators take to Tokyo streets

Mainichi Shinbun, November 3, 2014
Courtesy of MS
Participants in the anti-hate speech rally “Tokyo No Hate 2014” call for the elimination of discrimination, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward on Nov. 2, 2014. (Mainichi)

Thousands of people took to the streets near Tokyo’s Shinjuku Central Park on Nov. 2 to protest against hate speech campaigns.

Participants in the “Tokyo No Hate 2014” rally called for an end to racial discrimination and hate speech demonstrations as they marched some 4 kilometers, accompanied by Korean pop and marching band music. Some 2,800 people joined the protest, according to the organizers.

Rally participant Aki Okuda, a 22-year-old third-year student at a Tokyo university, said, “It’s important to raise our voices to show there are people who are against hate speech demonstrations, instead of just turning a blind eye to them.”

The organizing citizens groups and other entities first mounted an anti-hate speech rally in September last year. The Nov. 2 protest was the organizers’ second such protest.

Story in Japanese here:

毎日新聞 2014年11月02日 20時35分(最終更新 11月02日 20時41分)




18 comments on “Mainichi: Thousands of anti-hate speech demonstrators take to Tokyo streets Nov 2, 2014

  • All for this…finally!

    But… the cynic in me says this is orchestrated by Abe’s cronies to “show the world” ‘we’ wont tolerate racism either. Thus a pointed finger to the UN et al, that it is “under control”…..of sorts.

  • This looks to me like a bunch of Japanese people going “hey world, we’re not racist! Look we’re even having an anti-racism protest!” instead of “Hey Japan, let’s stop being racist! Look! Signs in a language we can all understand!”. Why would all of your signs be in English if your target was a domestic Japanese audience? I think it’s far more likely that this is basically just another typical “gaiatsu requires a response” situation – the name of Japan on the world stage is being tarnished by accusations of racism and xenophobia (and rightly so), and these people are probably just out to try to undo that damage, thus the signs in English to target a foreign audience.
    I truly wish and hope that this isn’t the case, but the more I look at it, the more it seems to be that way.

  • Given the flexibility with which certain laws are interpreted and enforced in Japan, wouldn’t making hate speech illegal give the powers that be another tool to selectively squelch voices that challenge the status quo, a la the Special Secrecy Law? A mature understanding of hate speech requires a mature understanding of free speech and its exercise. By that measure, Japan still has a lot of growing up to do.

  • This is great and while still “too little too late”, it seems demonstrations of this kind are becoming more frequent. We should all include these brave people in our prayers, because they are in fact risking their jobs, their well-being, and maybe even their lives.
    It would be easy for the nettouyo or the government to identify them from photos and instruct the de-facto secret police of “chivalrous organizations” to punish them for being “anti-Japanese”.
    I think these people are braver than those on Tahrir square. It’s unfortunate that most of the world think being left in Japan is not dangerous, and therefore outside support is limited.

  • @#1 & #2 – Exactly, since all their signs are in English, it’s obvious who this tatemae parade was trying to fool: gaijin, not Japanese.

  • Given that there are already laws against threats (even the anti-stalking law has provisions against threats, including threats made online), it shouldn’t be that difficult to prosecute hate-speech on that basis alone, without infringing on freedom of speech. It is absolutely obvious that there is a lack of will to go hard on these hate groups (to say the least). I am ready to bet big money that any demonstration calling for the murder of Japanese citizens would be dismantled immediately and the culprits would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  • @6
    … yep, and if you stand on a street corner in Tsuruhashi in Tokyo (a predominantly Korean area) and call for a “Tsuruhashi Massacre to rival that of Nanking”, you instead get a police escort!

  • @#6 – Yeah, let’s film Japanese police NOT arresting this* kind of hate-speech law-breaker next time it happens, and then slowly pan the camera to foreigners echoing back each sentence exactly the same with just ONE change: switch the the words each time nationality is mentioned (i.e. “kankoku-jin wa gokiburi” will be echoed back as “nihon-jin wa gokiburi”).

    Filming this new “echo back the hate-speech committed by Japanese” will prove to the world what happens next: the Japanese police officers will REFUSE to arrest the speakers who are Japanese, yet will IMMEDIATELY arrest the echoers who are Non-Japanese.

    The camera panning back and forth [showing the Non-Japanese are simply repeating back each sentence the Japanese person said] will prove to the world that Japanese police refuse to arrest Japanese hate-speech law-breakers.

    this* =

  • @ Piglet #6

    I think that the failure to move on hate-speech legislation in Japan has at least one root in the fact that LDP policy-makers, and entrenched elites are stuck in the cold-war era mindset that saw GHQ let many of their grandfathers/fathers, out of prison as part of the ‘reverse course’. In typical J-inc style, there has been no attempt to ‘move with the times’, and why should they? After all, they’ve inherited a system that works very well for quashing grass-roots movements, and stifles public debate which would risk upsetting their vested interests.

    Don’t believe me? Well, consider what the extreme right-wing protesters are allowed to get away with, under the protection of the police, as the ‘unofficial bully boys’ of the establishment (a role traditionally filled in post-war Japan by the yakuza, I guess that anti-organized crime legislation has forced the establishment to look else-where for enforcers), compared to the following news article, where hundreds of riot police are required to arrest 3 (three!) students on suspicion of being communist radicals! (oh, Japanese policy makers, the cold war paradigm of ‘communists’ and ‘democracy’ is so last century).

  • Let’s remember: Japan’s current laws prohibit Personalized-reputation-damage (i.e. it’s illegal to say “Ken Suzuki is bad”) yet fully allow Generalized-reputation-damage (i.e. it’s legal to say “Chinese people are bad”).

  • @Welp (#7) …and that’s of course the Japanese “Police” is nothing but a charade. A Western-style, decentralized “police” probably doesn’t exist anymore. After WWII, for a short time, Japan had a Western-style police force, but when power was given back, it was one of the first things they abolished to allow centralization of a “National police”. Why? To be able to control it better, top-down, business-as-usual-style. A system without Japanese-style hierarchies simply must not exist in this country, especially one with actual weapons.
    The “Kouban’-Style police is just window-dressing to deal with puny matters like jaywalking or minor theft, in order to satisfy the Western eye. “See – we have a police force here, just like you!”
    But in absence of an actual rule of law, it’s quite obvious that Japanese police is a toothless beast. The real policing is done by unaccountable forces. That’s why it definitely would be interesting to see what happens if there’s a big demonstration as described by Piglet (#6). If such a demonstration was met with violent force from the Yakuza / Uyoku, I doubt the “police” would dare to hold them back. They know their place.

  • Aaahh…as if those “protest signs” in English as already noted is not enough to say “hey we Japanese don’t want this”…as mere window dressing for the global audience. When their bluff is called, they still revert to type and hope to explain it away.

    The Japanese failed in their attempt to convince the International Whaling Commission that their hunting was for ‘scientific’ purposes. And yup they said they regretted the IWC decision but would abide by the ruling. And what we had earlier with their misdirection a few months back where they said we’ll hunt in a different region not covered by the ruling, they are now openly ignoring it*:

    “…”We hope to earnestly explain this new plan in order to win understanding from other nations in the world,” fisheries minister Koya Nishikawa told reporters…”….just like those protectors hope to earnestly show the world they don’t want racism in Japan.

    Does the GoJ really believe that anyone from outside of Japan will fall for their smoke and mirrors public displays of “organised” events to explain their narrative as the Japanese do and simply accept it shogani? The arrogance and naivety of Abe et al is breath taking!


  • #John K says:
    “Aaahh…as if those “protest signs” in English as already noted is not enough to say “hey we Japanese don’t want this”…as mere window dressing for the global audience. When their bluff is called, they still revert to type and hope to explain it away.”

    I find this blog and its comments interesting in that it gave me a different perspective and albeit more lost hope of ever turning Japan into a positive direction.

    I never really thought too much about the english signs until now. But now that I think of it, could the Japanese Anti-War, Anti-Fascist protests be just another superficial show? Here are articles with more english signs:

    The analysis by some of the folks regarding english signs here made sense. To an extent, some of these events are for world consumption and some for self-delusional satisfaction to justify to either to themselves or to the world that Japan’s dangerous rightward swing is all for “benevolent” reasons. After all in WWII, the Japanese believed that they are “benevolent saviors” of Asia. And sadly, some Japanese still believe that co-prosperity propaganda and still continues to sell it.

    The Japanese People voted for Abe, Ishihara, and Hashimoto more than once knowing what they stood for, so why do protestors come out so late now?

    During the 2012 elections, the LDP was voted in as Japan’s #1 choice, with the JRP (extreme-right) as #3 choice and leaves very little people voting for other “left-leaning” parties. The general public know what the LDP and the JRP stood for so there shouldn’t be any surprise.

    Is it possible that Japanese as a majority, actually desire Japan to have a strong independent military? And that many if not all of these anti-racist and anti-war protests with english signs are just another one many ways of trying to repair Japan’s damaged international reputation.
    After all, alot of what i see in terms of criticism towards Japan’s radical swing to the right are from outside sources and as well as NJ who are uncomfortable with the GOJ.

    After viewing this blog, many of those anti-war protests signs in english seems to tell me that the real message is opposite of what is written. Just like how some people say “we are not racist but…..”, these messages can also say “we do not support war but….”, “changing article 9 is bad but…..” and “re-militarization is bad but….”.

    And judging from what most Japanese on english sites say (i.e. japantoday, japanprobe, jref), this analysis of mine seems pretty on aligned with Japanese comments I see. “We are anti-war but we need a big and strong military in order to be safe” seems the replies I see.

    If some protests are genuine then more power to them, but I do feel that it is a little too late.
    Also if the protests are just for show than that makes any left wing movements in Japan even more bleak and few in numbers. Come to think of it I don’t recall any Japanese protestors supporting NJ rights, but correct me if I am wrong.

    I guess we can tell how much protests are actually genuine after Abe’s snap election:

    Will Japanese re-elect Abe? or will the many protestors and the “I am anti-war but..” types actually do something to steer Japan away from radicalization to the right? i.e. voting and taking more active roles politically to push anti-discrimination legislation as well as educate the masses.

    If Abe wins the snap election which I believe he will from the way things are going, he well be pretty much be guaranteed to stay another 4 years. After which he will push his remaining agenda along with many of his highly controversial bills through the parliament. Will the same protestors shown in this blog show up for that election to at least try to make a change?

    Abe’s policies are failing and is calling a snap election and campaign in order to get his support up, no doubt he and his cronies will use the “NJ boogeyman” card to scare the populace into voting for him. Than again, he might just “lose to win” by default, because at this point, opposition is simply too weak to have any effect.

    Also many Japanese don’t like how PMs are going in and out yearly and wants someone who can stay on the job. Which I believe is a cop out by blaming that GOJ has failed Japan because politicians quit too soon rather than due to failed policies.

  • #12 – Japan’s “Government Spokesman for the Japanese Delegation at The Hague” (and “Political Minister for the Japanese Embassy in the United Kingdom”) Nori Shikata said, “We regret that the court ruled…”

    See, Japanese culture prioritizes NEVER regretting the illegal actions Japanese officials committed in the past, and NEVER regretting the illegal actions Japanese officials are committing currently, they claim their only “regret” is that the international community is starting to prosecute the illegal actions committed by Japanese officials.

    From a Sophia Comparative Culture alumni, note the main difference between Western Culture and Japanese Culture: Western Culture relatively prioritizes REAL REMORSE for crimes committed in the past and present, Japanese Culture relatively prioritizes absolute pride in supposed perfection of the Japanese race.

    Hey Japan, without real remorse, crimes are not forgiven!

  • #14Anon

    Indeed. The false impression of those outside of Japan is that everyone in Japan is polite. Yet the public bowing and statements of ‘apology’ is not for their actions, but for being caught!
    They are ostensibly apologising for up setting the Wa. Where the “politeness is used as a façade” to maintain the Wa, and their behaviour has exposed the real Japan behind the Wa to everyone’s eyes.

  • This is a really neat way of tackling the extremists, a town sponsored an “anti-event” from the neo-Nazi’s protest:

    “..The marching neo-Nazi’s unwittingly helped raise €10,000 for an anti-Nazi charity ..Nazi extremists have gathered every year, for more than two decades, for the annual march through Wunsiedel in Bavaria.
    This year, fed-up residents and business owners decided to donate 10 euros to charity for every metre walked by the group during the ‘involuntary walkathon’…”

  • The current Abe revisionist zeitgeist is so absurd a theatre, that perhaps one way of countering it is to agree *too much* to the point of absurdity.
    E.g.” Japanese war atroctities? Didnt happen- the POWs and Chinese were housed in 5 star hotels, served tea and crumpets by geisha, while having the chance to enroll in Ikebana and other Japanese cultural studies.”

    “The Japanese rule over Korea was benvolent- indeed so much so that the Koreans fell in love with their Japanese betters and superiors, decided en masse to stop speaking Korean, and all become comfort women so as to better themselves. The Japanese loved the Koreans so much, they gladly accepted this kind offer”.

    “731 was actually a national health service set up by the Japanese for Chinese people without health insurance. How kind.”

    Fight a warped sense of history with an even more warped one, to the point of Pythonesque hyperbole. What is most amusing is when a right winger at first thinks you are agreeing, then it finally dawns on them this is a psstake.

    Their only answer is to obviously lie by agreeing with your hyperbole, or to moderate their opinion to say there were, in fact, some atrocities and injustices. I find adopting an opposite position to be fruitless in Japan, as its an argument, which puts them on the defensive and their walls go up and they stop listening to logic.

    Better to trick them into looking silly.

  • Yes, Ms Baudrillard, very useful point about how to get tatemae producers to reveal their honne.

    When speaking to a person holding obviously incorrect and immoral positions (e.g. “Whites had a good excuse to enslave Blacks” or “Japanese had a good excuse to invade Korea”) it turns out that usually when one speaks to the person intelligently and honestly about how those statements are incorrect, the defensive walls go up, and suddenly the person stops admitting their honest (incorrect and immoral) opinions.

    Conversely, if one instead pretends to be ignorant about the subject, and feigns agreement with the incorrect and immoral position, suddenly racists feel emboldened to really start freely spouting their true feelings, they admit their honest “honne” without the diplomatic mask of “tatemae” lies, and then you REALLY get to see the true colors of the person you are speaking with.

    Socrates applied this method, of feigning both ignorance and agreement, to get idiots to admit their incorrect belief systems. Later, after gaining the trust of the idiots he was speaking with, after they had openly made many obviously false statements that could be quoted back to them, only THEN would Socrates start proving that their beliefs were mistaken (e.g. “Now wait, I’m confused, at one point you said X, and then later you went on to say Y, but those two statements are not congruent, so one of those beliefs must be wrong, which one?” to which the idiots’ final reply was “Damn it, this guy proved we are idiots, how embarrassing to our egos, let’s demand the [self]execution of this gadfly!”

    In our modern world, Sacha Baron Cohen used this same Socratic technique of pretending to be racist to get racists to honestly reveal their racist beliefs, producing many revealing conversations which neutral viewers find hilarious, yet quite embarrassing for the person who got fooled into admitting their immoral beliefs and being laughed at by the world.

    Sacha intelligently remembered to NOT make the mistake that Socrates did, thank goodness. Instead of proving the person wrong towards the end of the conversation, Sasha would stay in “ignorant agreement” character all the way to the exit, NEVER daring to prove the idiot wrong at the end of the conversation.

    Sasha would only show that he was acting much later, when the filmed conversation was released to the world, for the world to laugh at the exposed racists, sexists, homophobes, anti-Semites, and jingoists. By the time those folks realized they had been fooled into revealing their true selves, the modern-day gadfly Sacha Baron Cohen would be safely far away, in another state or another country, with lawyers and the-advance-signed-appearancce-release-forms legally protecting him from any revenge execution attempts.

    So, how can we use this technique in Japan? Simply feign ignorance about the Korea subject, and feign agreement that Japan probably had a good excuse to “go help Korea”, and next thing you know, the usually diplomatic Japanese person you are speaking with will start opening up and educating in full detail about how “Korea sent us letters, begging us to come help them improve their country, and so we did, we went to help because we were asked to, there never was an invasion, it was all voluntary, they asked us for help so we went and helped them, we built their roads and their water and sewage system, we laid their entire infrastructure, they should be thankful for all the help we gave them, we did nothing wrong, same with China, we just were helping them, blah-blah-blah”

    Someday, when I get my go-pro stealth-recording-device set up, I’ll legally start filming such public conversations in public locations, using this “I don’t know much, but I know I agree with you, tell me more about how Japan is actually innocent of all the crimes which those Korean and Chinese liars have convinced the world of, tell me the real situation” technique, and then when the hours of crazy “Japan had a good excuse to invade all of Asia, and still does” footage collection starts to grow, I’ll legally release the documentary to the world, anonymously, with zero financial profit coming to me, simply a free documentary showing the true-honne of brainwashed-racist-incorrect-immoral-idiots.


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