Monday, August 25, 2008
Uyoku vs. Sayoku at Yasukuni Shrine
Uyoku = Ultra nationalist right wingers who love the emperor
Sayoku = Super liberal left wingers who hate the emperor
Yasukuni Shrine, the shrine in Tokyo which holds the souls of Japan's war veterans, including a bunch of souls who did some seriously fucked up shit. If you want a history lesson, try google search, you're not going to get it from here.
August 15th, the anniversary of the end of WWII for Japan.
People protesting... I guess. People protesting Japanese style is a better description.
If you've ever spent an extended amount of time in Tokyo, you've certainly seen the Oyuko's big black trucks parked outside some stations blasting music and long winded speeches into the air through their massive loudspeakers. There's usually some numerical data about how foreigner suck next to American or Chinese flags, but it's so much kanji that you usually just walk by without caring. If you are in Shibuya, there is usually an even louder advertising truck blasting Koda Kumi or Avril Lavigne or some other bullshit new pop artist passing by. Next to you is some guy screaming at people to come eat at his izakaya. Apparently they have really delicious food... according to Mr. Screamy. Behind that are eight shop workers yelling "Welcome" to their shoe store. A little down the road is a clerk at a glasses shop freestyle rapping into his megaphone about the new style of lens wear. Conclusion, Tokyo is loud and it takes more than loudspeakers to get me really interested.
Ok, so on August 15th, the Sayoku have some protest march. The Uyoku try to stop them. It sounds like a recipe for some crazy violent good times. Let me state right now that I don't care at all about either side's views. The minute you start acting militant in front of subway stations, or dress up like a mythological beast, your point, whatever it is, is moot.
Riot police EVERYWHERE! This could get awesome.
Or it could just be totally lame. There were groups of yelling dudes, maybe 6 or 7 strong, and they would get swarmed on by 30 police. The police would kindly encourage them to move somewhere else, and they would comply.
"Half Japanese half Chinese are not welcome. Koreans should go home, you aren't welcome in Japan. Oh, what's that? You want me to move? Yes sir, right away sir."
There were about 10 police for every racist yelling guy.
I felt totally safe standing next to a group of people who obviously wanted me to die, even if there weren't any police there. Japan is like that.
So that was that. We wandered around with the crowds for a couple hours, getting sunburned and bored. I remember the Democratic convention of 2000 in Los Angeles. It broke out into a riot. I saw some old dude get blasted with a bean bag shotgun point blank because he couldn't run from the cops fast enough. I saw blood and broken glass. I saw Rage Against the Machine.
If you want action, don't bother with Tokyo.
Labels: 東京 (Tokyo)