- Get publically berated by a megaphone wielding uyoku member from the top of his black sound truck.
[Now updated with photos and explanation.]
Having misplaced the mini-SD reader and lacking a data cable for my phone, I had to rely on email to move the photos a full 12 inches into my computer.
Joe (left) and I were joined by our buddy Nick Kapur (PhD student at Harvard currently abroad at Waseda) hanging out in the Ueno area the other night when we passed by an uyoku (right-wing) protest truck, upon which was bestrode an enthusiastic fellow angrily condemning everyone who is Asian yet not Japanese, particularly those who take it upon themselves to either come to Japan or be Chinese. You can’t quite see it all, but the banner on the right reads: “Recapture Takeshima.” The one on the left reads: “Let us halt the inflow of undesirable foreigners!!”
The foreground banner reads: “Let us punish tyrannical Communist China! Destroy the Chinese Communists-the enemy of Asia!”
The one in the back, on the truck itself, reads: Strongly opposed to the admission of 10 million immigrants from the seven countries.”
[Correction] The one in the back, on the truck itself, reads: “Ruined country. Strongly opposed to the admission of 10 million immigrants.”
Following the conclusion of the performance I walked over to the truck to try and talk to the guys, and when I tried to talk to the black leather-jacketed one standing on the curb next to the truck and he turned it back on me, I thought he was being deliberately rude so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. What I had not realized was that he was in fact turning to salute the flag as the Japanese national anthem played, and when turned around to tell me to fuck off. I took a few steps back and enjoyed the moment of silence.
They bowed at the conclusion of the anthem, and then the guy on top of the truck picked up his megaphone again and gave me a public earful of nationalist rhetoric for a few minutes.
To paraphrase: What the fuck are you doing? Didn’t you see we were saluting the flag and listening to the recitation of the national anthem? How would you like it if I bothered you while you were trying to salute YOUR flag? I don’t want to get in a fight with you or argue, but this is Japanese culture and you have to respect it if you’re in Japan. Excuse me, but if you do not want to follow Japanese traditions, then please go back to your home country. It went on a bit longer, but I think I have the ghist of it. Of course, of the several dozen onlookers who stopped in curiosity to watch the odd site of an ill-shaven and small man scream on top of a truck, only one or two actually joined in the flag salute, making his premise a bit shaky.
23 thoughts on “Things to do before I die [updated]”
OK, first let me express my condolences. That sucks.
But let me ask: You were taking his picture, weren’t you?
No, it was a lot of fun actually. Details are forthcoming once I find an adapter to get the photos out of my keitai.
Here’s the guy in action, shortly before the altercation with Roy.
uyoku by joejones on Zooomr
Tell me more!
Roy, hurry up and email the photos to yourself already.
Wow, go Roy!
I was always afraid of taking pictures of the loonies at Shibuya for fear of the same thing. Secretly though, I think it’d make for a pretty interesting experience. Recently, the communists started showing up there and I had a nice chat with one of them. They’re pretty friendly.
”Strongly opposed to the admission of 10 million immigrants from the seven countries.””
Not “seven countries” (七国) but ”ruined country” （亡国). Possibly as that will make Japan a “ruined country.”
Doh! You’re right. I was imagining “seven countries” as an extended list based on the classic 三国人 and I was actually making a mental list of what the four extra countries could be…
Jeez,Roy.Why didn’t you tell him about the story of your mom and saluting flag…
It did occur to me, but unfortunately I had left my megaphone at home.
One of the most disturbing thing about this is they are now putting slogan of anti-immigrant,which is pretty new for Uyokus comapred to Anti-communism and territorial claim.
I went to Aichi prefectural office with ten Brazillians yesterday and watched desperate Brazillians begging officials to use municipial apartment in Toyota city with more than 360 vacant rooms.
Aichi prefecture has this defacto regulation on foreigners moving into apartment since 1997 because there were tensions between Brazilians and Uyokus in that year.
“but this is Japanese culture and you have to respect it if you’re in Japan.”
Yeah, like their lovely western clothes. When a right wing loony gets up there in a kamishimo I might pay attention. Sure, you can say that clothes don’t make the man, but my old kimono teacher used to say the kimono is the soul of Japan (of course “XXXXは日本の心” is used for anything). In fact, no, he’s right, I’ve just realised: the western clothes are about as Japanese as the national anthem, in terms of pedigree, to say nothing of the whole standing for the anthem stuff which is as Japanese as rodeos and gridiron. “Respecting” Japanese culture the way these guys demand would be a lot easier if they themselves truly respected Japanese culture and were not just on a power kick.
Anyway, what were you going to ask the guy?
“One of the most disturbing thing about this is they are now putting slogan of anti-immigrant,which is pretty new for Uyokus comapred to Anti-communism and territorial claim.”
Makes you wonder if that “victory” over Gaijin Hanzai File really meant anything…
Someone should go around and make sure none of these uyoku guys are driving imported trucks or wearing clothes made in China.
I don’t even remember what I was going to ask him. Perhaps something like “do you have any literature I can peruse?”
A foreigner should join one of these groups and do ethnographic research.
Good idea. People always talk about how scary these guys are, but up close they just look like underemployed construction workers or line-cooks. They might share the same basic views as the highly placed right-wingers, but I think they have about as little actual contact with the big-wigs as the losers who patrol the US border for fun have with Karl Rove or Tom Tancredo.
The Japan Times did a series (probably their best thing ever) on the Uyoku a few years back and one group that they found was devoted to pan-Asianism, world peace, nuclear disarmament, and enviornmental protection. Another guy had crazy Nazi tats. There are even a few ex-uyo like Amamiya Karin who have turned into leftwing activists.
Perhaps the guy with the Nazi tats was this dude, or a colleague…
I’ve seen some documentaries on the uyoku, and there is indeed quite a range. Don’t see why it has to be a foreigner to do the ethnographic research myself. I would be surprised (admittedly, I have not looked carefully, but there is certainly no shortage of books on the topic) if there was nothing along that line from the Japanese side.
“Don’t see why it has to be a foreigner to do the ethnographic research myself.”
It would be more amusing.
Seriously, I can see the final product being a bit more wide-eyed. As you said, there is a lot out there in Japanese already.
I agree. I’d like to see similar pieces by both a native Japanese and a totally obvious foreigner. I think the different in interpretation would be pretty interesting. And hell, let’s also throw in a nikkei-Brazilian and a Japan-born Zainichi Korean to get some more subtle differences.
BTW, I think I know the woman who wrote that Japan Times series. I believe she was in a couple of classes I took at Rits back in 2003-4. I’ll check and get back to you.
Something like this guy’s work?
I’ve only read the one chapter in Freakanomics, but I want to check out one of his books someday.
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