Graffiti reading “death to Koreans” scribbled on a pole in Shin Okubo, a Korean neighbourhood in Tokyo.
Several months ago, the city of Tokyo witnessed racist protests that openly targeted Koreans.
Recently, far-right militants have been more discreet but they are still very active online and on the walls of Tokyo’s Korean neighbourhood where they scrawl racist messages.
“Go back to Korea” is essentially the message being conveyed by most of the racist graffiti on the facades of Shin Okubo, Tokyo’s Korean neighbourhood. The anti-racism organisation Norikonet counted 53 instances
of anti-Korean graffiti in February. On March 2, about 50 volunteers
scoured the streets with rags and solvent to erase the racist tags.
“Koreans, get lost”. Graffiti in Shin Okubo.
In a country where protests are rare, a number of far-right rallies have been organised in recent years, with an up-tick in the spring of 2013. An organisation known as Zaitokukai is reportedly at the heart of these marches. The organisation opposes what it calls “the social privileges enjoyed by Koreans” and claims to have over 13,000 members registered online. At the rallies, most of which were attended by fewer than 100 people, far-right activists called for the murder of Koreans and described them as animals. Zaitokukai has been organising fewer marches since anti-racism activists have started holding counter-demonstrations.
Japan’s Korean population is currently estimated at 600,000 people.
The swastika, a Nazi symbol, is often used in Japanese far-right protests.
The two protest camps face off in footage from April 2013.