One of the recent developments in the Japanese political landscape is the increasing visibility of openly racist grass roots groups, such as Zaitoku-kai（在特会） and Shukenkaifukuwo-Mezasu-Kai（主権回復を目指す会）. To get a taste, watch this:
In this video, the racist activists are attacking an elementary school (Yes, an elementary school) for residents of Korean origin in Kyoto. That happened early last month. The police were called, but you can see they weren't much of help. The school later brought charges, but no arrests have been reported. The incident was a case in point, exposing the racist nature of the society itself. As Kim Gwang-sang （金光翔） points out, it was the police themselves who first started the persecution of Korean schools and community organizations in the 1990's, after all. As he goes on to say, "What the state was doing, now a private organization （在特会） is doing."
So that was last month. Today, those groups are alive and well, and planning a relatively large-scale conference and a march inciting ethnic hatred in Tokyo this coming sunday, January 24. I will participate in a counter-event (details below). I don't think racism will go away just by opposing an event; I do believe, however, it is important not to let them walk peacefully without protest, not to let them define the situation. I hope you can join us countering the racists and calling for the civil rights for all. I'm afraid that the title of the counter-event, "The Racists Shall Not Pass," taken from the traditional anti-fascist slogan "No Pasaran," might strike a little ironic in light of the fact that the whole of the society, not just exceptional bigots, is inherently racist, but I hope this will be a small step towards recognizing our problem instead of a ritualistic game to assure ourselves of our good nature against their hatred. This is our society, and they are a symptom of this racist-patriarchal-capitalism called Japan.
There Comes the Hate Crime!
The Racists Shall Not Pass! An Emergency Action in Shinjuku on 1.24
Where & When: The South Exit, the Shinjuku Station, 11:00 a.m. onwards (The venue could be subject to change, so check our blog frequently)
What is planed: We will protest "Zaitokukai's" hate march through free speeches and other expressions against racism on the street.
Your participation is called for by: The Association against Hate Speech (ヘイトスピーチに反対する会)
Organized by: The Racists Shall Not Pass! An Emergency Action on 1.24 Planning Committee
*Those groups are not welcome who have sought to resolve differences in opinion through the use of physical force and have continued to justify such acts.
One of the political topics today is a bill to recognize voting rights for foreigners with permanent resident status. To make it clear, the voting right is a right, not a privilege. It is not something that is given from the above, but is a right for everyone to represent themselves equally through voting; it should be respected as a right in a society by each other.
"Zaitokukai," an ultra-conservative group, still insists on holding a large-scale special meeting and marching towards the Shinjuku Station on January 24 in calling against the foreigners' right to vote. For them, it is as if the demand for the enfranchisement is a request for a "privilege," and is a crime enough to be expelled from this society. They are quite open about their hatred against foreign residents in the Japanese society and have been active in inciting xenophobia against ethnic and racial minorities. We should remember their racist violence targeting the family from overseas and their child’s school in Saitama, the threat against the Utoro District, Kyoto and a Korean elementary school. Their coming march is also a part of those.
How come they got it all wrong? Quite a few are tackling this puzzle.
Putting the question aside for a moment, we should pay attention to this: the conservatism in this society has only served to discriminate among people by birth and to disdain and hate each other. In the society where the minority are treated as second class citizens, where they are deprived of the civil rights, the "rights" enjoyed by the majority exist only as "privileges" ready to be taken away.
We are calling for all those enraged against the ethnic and racial hatred and sexism. We are calling for all those seeking for a society in which no one has to go through humiliation because of their origin. Let us protest against their march. Let us stand on the street and show our will to protest.