The Racists Shall Not Pass! Shinjuku, 1.24

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

Contact: livingtogether09@gmail.com
*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.

Circulation welcome.


Brad Farless said...

Wow. Didn't realize this sort of thing was going on in Japan. I always thought the Japanese were above this sort of thing. It doesn't make sense to cause such contention among residents of Japan. The country should stand united within so that it can solidly stand up to challenges from the outside. If someone lives and works in Japan then they should be entitled to representation concerning the government that dictates how they live, what taxes they pay, and what they're allowed to do. This sort of thing is troubling because it's like watching an animal chew it's own leg off because the fur there is of a different color. I applaud your efforts to stand up to this open racism and work towards building a better Japan.

Yujiro Tsuneno said...

Hi Brad,

Yes, my country is full of problems related to xenophobia and racism, especially against those of Asian origins. I agree, everyone should be entitled to the political process that determines their life regardless of their origin, nationality, gender, etc.

On the other hand, I'd take a different view about standing "united" for the "challenges from the outside." Today, many Japanese are getting paranoid about the imagined North Korean "threat," and harboring a fear and hatred against Korean residents who have lived here for generations, while the Japanese military along with the US Armed Forces poses a genuine threat to that country. I, as a citizen of Japan, would say we should get rid of racism not just inside but also against the "outside."

I see you are living in Singapore. What's that like?

Brad Farless said...

Well, North Korea isn't exactly what I had in mind when I meant standing united against outside threats. I meant more like standing together to present a unified Japan to the outside world. A shining example of solidarity, how a country should be.

I don't think North Korea is a threat to anyone except themselves. Air Defense Artillery is advanced enough that their missiles are pretty useless and they couldn't mobilize their Army because government can't afford to feed them. The only people that should really worry about North Korea is South Korea, and that's only because the North could push through the South before they starved to death, picking up supplies as they went.

As for Singapore, I'm from the US, so going from a country where the laws are relatively loose to a country where everything down to using chewing gum and hugging in public is regulated has been a strange and enlightening experience. It's a bit tiresome as well though. The limits on free speech make you second guess everything you might want to say. I'm not one to bash anyone's race or religion, but just the mention of ethnicity or religion, unless very carefully worded and apologetic, can get you in trouble for potentially disturbing the 'racial and religious harmony' of Singapore.

I've enjoyed my stay here, as it's the first place I've lived outside of my own country for any serious length of time (other than US Army deployments), but I'm looking forward to when I'll have the opportunity to move on to something else.