14 February 2009

Case of the Racist Hatemongers

So I was walking around Tenjin, Fukuoka this sunny February afternoon, spending copious amounts of money on CDs and music equipment, singlehandedly saving the local economy. I walked past a group of fascinating gentlemen -- pictured below -- and out of the corner of my eye I caught the word 外国人 ("foreigner") on their banner. My interest piqued, and I joined their small audience of a two old women and a glassy-eyed junior high school student.


On closer inspection, it turns out they're racist hatemongers. It's easy to tell a racist hatemonger in Japan from any other kind of protester* because, try as you might, they will not make eye contact. They won't even pose for a nice group photo.

* Note: There are always protesters in Tenjin, it seems, and the vast majority of them are pretty cool, so I don't mean to generalize them or Japanese people at large. Last time I was there we were approached by some people protesting the war in Gaza, who were interested in discussion, not shouting scat out of megaphones.

So what makes them racist hatemongers? Well, let's focus on what makes them hatemongers to start. This group is called "在日特権を許さない市民の会", or "Association of citizens who will not allow special rights for zainichi", with "zainichi" (在日 -- properly "Japanese people of Korean descent" but literally "Koreans living in Japan") being a common ethnic slur for Koreans.

To let the matter speak for itself, I'm going to quote their website:
過去の誤った歴史認識に基づき「日帝の被害者」「かわいそうな在日」という妄想がいまだに払拭されていない日本社会では、在日韓国人・朝鮮人を特別に扱う社会的暗黙の了解が存在しているのも事実です。

In a Japanese society where wild ideas based on a bygone mistaken understanding of history such as "victims of the Empire of Japan" or "poor zainichi" have still not been wiped out, it is a fact that an unspoken social agreement to handle Japanese of Korean descent and [mainland] Koreans* still remains.
* Note: A slur for mainland Koreans this time.

If you're unaware of who these "victims of the empire" are, I suggest you head to your local library. I'll give you a hint though: it's about the same number as "victims of the Reich".

On group leader Sakurai Matoko's website, he describes the Japanese colonization of East Asia to be a very good thing for the region, and describes the Chinese (using another slur, of course) and Koreans as "beasts" who hold no value in human life. And one fun little tidbit even accuses Confucius of cannibalism.

Anyway, not to harp on this, because -- like I said -- there are more people in Fukuoka who are protesting for human rights than protesting against them, but I have a personal problem with the way these right wing groups that talk about Koreans. This stems in something I saw at ground zero in Hiroshima last year. In front of a monument dedicated to the 20,000 Korean victims of the atomic bomb, many of which were "forced labourers", there was a black van giving an idiotic racist rant similar to Sakurai's.


This is like skinheads protesting in front of the camp in Dachau. Absolutely jaw-droppingly disgusting.

And the reason I would post any of this here is, I think the vast majority of Japanese people want nothing to do with assholes like Sakurai, but in a general sense, there are a lot of soft-core historical revisionists in Japan, and to make a spectacle of these hate group's ignorance is the best way to fight this dangerous ideology. The best way that doesn't involve balaclavas and baseball bats, that is.

And if you want to send a message to Sakurai personally, you can reach him by e-mail.

Sakurai's screen name, by the way, is "Doronpa", which I believe translates as "scatmuncher".

2 comments:

Gorrozolla said...

It is a true shame to see something like that plaguing the city I hold so near and dear my heart. Did you shake your head/fist at them Micheal. Could they have felt the "for-shame" waves emminating from you with a metaphorical knife?
Oh, and my word verification of the day is `ciummat`... Shouldn`t they use actual words for that? It is in the name is it not? :S

Michael said...

For some reason -- usually these kids of guys really get me worked up, but I found them vaguely amusing, just because they clearly were making an effort to try to avoid eye contact with a giant gaijin, and that clearly no one cared. More like being confronted with stupidity than hatred.