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Internet videos empowering right-wing activist group

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Last autumn, South Korean actress Kim Tae Hee, 32, starred in her first Japanese drama, a light romantic comedy on Fuji TV and affiliates, titled "Boku to Star no 99 Nichi." Kim played opposite Japanese leading man Hidetoshi Nishijima.

Kim was subsequently recruited to appear in TV commercials for Osaka-based Rohto Pharmaceuticals, in which she endorses a skin lotion called Yukigokochi.

But then, according to the English-language website for South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper, "A right-wing nationalist group visited Rohto Pharmaceutical on March 2 to protest against its hiring of Kim... The group took issue with Kim and her brother, actor Lee Wan, being named in 2005 as advocates of Korea's territorial sovereignty over the Dokdo islets claimed by Japan as Takeshima. Rohto had planned a press conference unveiling the new line featuring Kim on Feb. 21 but canceled the event due to safety concerns."

That group, reports Friday (June 1), was the "Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai" (group opposed to special rights for zainichi Koreans) or Zaitokukai for short.

On May 10, Osaka prefectural police arrested Zaitokukai leader Hitoshi Nishimura, 43, along with Yasuhiko Aramaki, 37, and two others on charges of intimidation at the March 2 event.

Five days later, the Zaitokukai's website posted an appeal for contributions to "The Group to Support the Patriotic Warriors." "Don't use public airways to run commercials with anti-Japanese Koreans!" its message entreated.

But Friday notes that the Japanese subtitles on the video posted on Zaitokukai's site, in which Kim is alleged to have made anti-Japanese remarks, appear spurious, and it has yet to be confirmed whether she actually made such remarks.

Unlike other political groups, the Zaitokukai does not utilize sound trucks, but has harnessed digital media. From a membership estimated to be around 500 at the time of its founding by Makoto Sakurai in January 2007, the group has grown rapidly, with current membership claimed to be around 12,000 -- making it one of Japan's largest activist organizations.

In December 2009, Zaitokukai members confronted staff of a school affiliated with a North Korean residents' group in Kyoto's Minami Ward over the right of the students to utilize Kanjinbashi Koen, a public park across the street from the school. The following year, Nishimura, Aramaki and two other heads of the group were arrested and charged with several offenses, including vandalism and defamation.

"From speaking to individual Zaitokukai members, I get the impression that many of them are grown-up, 'ordinary people,'" says Koichi Yasuda, author of a book published last month about the Zaitokukai titled "Netto to Aikoku" (The Internet and Patriotism, Kodansha). "Because the group's messages tend to be straightforward and simplistic, I suppose they have a visceral appeal."

Yasuda supposes group members engage in extreme and sometimes illegal activities to attract attention.

"Broadcasting videos of demonstrations and street campaigning via the Internet has served to help the organization grow," he tells the magazine. "The people watching the videos on their screens react with empathy, and this in turn encourages the organizers to engage in increasingly extreme behavior. If we were in a time in which video streaming on the web didn't exist, I dare say the Zaitokukai's activities would be more subdued."

After an earlier run in with the law, a female sympathizer in Osaka raised 10 million yen, which she presented to chairman Sakurai for his defense. But Sakurai is alleged to have neither notified her how the funds were put to use, nor did he issue a receipt.

"I suppose that not many of the members possess the fundamental literacy of citizenship, which requires that income and expenditures be transparent. They're an inexperienced outfit, more like a club than a real political organization," is Yasuda's explanation.

What is surprising, writes Friday, is that an organization made up of such "weak and inexperienced members" can generate such large contributions, which suggests several tens of thousands of people may be viewing its activities on the Internet.

"As its troubles keep occurring in succession, the Zaitokukai itself may decline," says Yasuda. "But as long as there's no change in the fundamentals of the society that creates them, similar organizations will keep springing up."

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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These right-wingers are CRAZY! They are an embarrassment to themselves...

But Friday notes that the Japanese subtitles on the video posted on Zaitokukai’s site, in which Kim is alleged to have made anti-Japanese remarks, appear spurious, and it has yet to be confirmed whether she actually made such remarks.

So they would even LIE to make others appear "anti-Japanese"... What the hell is the point?

They're like one of "those" people who would accuse others of hating them and not liking them and so they turn hateful and abusive toward others (which would actually make people hate them)...

Methinks that they're only projecting their own self-hatred...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I wonder if there is a disease that causes people to become rabid right wingers? Last weekend in Yokohama there was a group of pretty ordinary looking men and young guys handing our fliers at the station. Their speaker was raving on about how Japan must be ready to go to war. How America and China are Japan's mortal enemies and if Japan is to have a future it must be prepared to fight a war with these nations.

Now beyond the complete lack of understanding in history that would teach him how such a war would play out, it was amazing to me to see that someone could actually wish Japan to go to war. Especially with the nation's two strongest customers for business. And against two nations with more than adequate natural resources and populations to level Japan ten thousand times over.

Since no rational human being longs for war. And since no humane person would wish the youth of Japan to go off an die in a pointless war. Then there must be something wrong with these people mentally and emotionally. They are sick with a madness that exists in nearly every developed nation. This wish for war, for glory, for power.

These people are sick and the internet is making them reach a wider audience of disaffected people who may one day put us back in a world where the sick rule nations and take the world to war once again. We should put them down before they grow too dangerous by working to counter their ideas with reason and appeal to the better side of human nature in our young people.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hate breeds hate.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I suppose Friday pulled its punches on the story, but it still takes courage to devote space to reporting these groups, who can get very nasty indeed. I doubt if any readers will be moved to join after reading the article, so it's not like the Zaitokukai is getting free publicity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Crazy, sad, bitter men. They are living in a past where Japan actually had some international power. Now the rest of the world just views Japan for what it is, an insignificant country that is almost bankrupt. If these right wing-nuts actually travelled a bit they would see just how much the rest of the globe practically laughs at Japan. Sad, lonely, bitter men.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Too bad these guys can't use their enthusiasm and zeal for something positive.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@stantheman<<<, sad, bitter men. They are living in a past where Japan actually had some international power. Now the rest of the world just views Japan for what it is, an insignificant country that is almost bankrupt. If these right wing-nuts actually travelled a bit they would see just how much the rest of the globe practically laughs at Japan. Sad, lonely, bitter men.

Your assertion that Japan is insignificant and almost bankrupt is what's really sad. They are not right-wing nuts, they are Japanese citizens with strong conservative views about their country. Unfortunately, they are not ango like most of the posters on here who attack and belittle them. You live here and belittle men who stand up for their country. They are not nuts. They are far more intelligent than you think. No one is laughing.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

They are not nuts.

Then maybe you will enjoy watching them in action. This video from Kyoto has English subtitles.

http://www.dailymotion.com/playlist/x21hpo_49893814970a_about-time-they-did-something/1#video=xq4k9w

3 ( +3 / -0 )

NN:

They are not right-wing nuts, they are Japanese citizens with strong conservative views about their country. Unfortunately, they are not ango like most of the posters on here who attack and belittle them. You live here and belittle men who stand up for their country. They are not nuts. They are far more intelligent than you think. No one is laughing.

If they really cared about their nation, they would be criticizing the people who put this country in the mess it's on - the greedy politicians who wasted money and the Japanese society which refuses to open up and change it's ways (and learn from the successes of China and Korea). But no, they're picking on those who can't fight back - bullying foreign children too. Absolutely despicable. No, these are racists too. You'll see these losers in many countries. They cannot release their frustrations unless directed at foreigners.

The people watching the videos on their screens react with empathy, and this in turn encourages the organizers to engage in increasingly extreme behavior.

One video I watched had Korean tourists minding their own business, doing shopping, spending money and were just leaving, only for the racists to hurl abuse at them. Sure, empathy!! You know, foreign tourists can go else where to send their money. And the mainland Chinese are REALLY rich.

From a membership estimated to be around 500 at the time of its founding by Makoto Sakurai in January 2007,

Is he that fat guy who wears glasses and that suit which went out of fashion 100 years ago?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Nippon Nation All they do is harass minorities like Japanese Koreans. They are cowards so stop fooling yourself, fellow nationalist.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Or should I say, Korean-Japanese...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

they should gather these Japanese right wing nutters with the even crazier Korean anti-Japanese nutters, put them in a football field-size cage and let them spend their energy there. pay-per-view, better than ultimate fighting

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Are these the same nutters that drive around in black vans and jeeps with flags and martial music or enka blaring from loudspeakers?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those with insecurities speak the loudest. If anything right-wing movement is failing to gain traction in a nation with the most politically apathetic population. Politics has failed Japan and the right-wing movement played an integral part in its dissolution.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are these the same nutters that drive around in black vans and jeeps with flags and martial music or enka blaring from loudspeakers?

They could be. These are the guys that were shouting with their megaphones at the police to "shoot and kill" the anti-nuclear protesters. The police of course, did nothing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I find it interesting that the liberal or left-wing forces won WWII including the "Pacific War" from the right-wing forces of Germany, Italy and Japan. Today it seems the losers are taking over since many countries seems to have a rise in right-wing activities including the US, Russia, and China.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fascism, once again, has reared its ugly head. There are fascists in every country around the world and thank God they are usually a minority. However, I was shocked to find out that this group has 12,000 (!) adherents. That's a lot of scary people out there and we don't know what they look like.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nishimura, Aramaki and two other heads of the group were arrested and charged with several offenses, including vandalism and defamation

Vandalism and defamation? Sounds like fooligans to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This group is purposely acting in the outrageous fashion to get people's attention, like "Sea Shepherd" does with anti-whaling. Many Japanese especially the young people seem to be sympathetic to their cause, i.e., a conspiracy theory about how Japanese nation after WWII has been manipulated by the U.S. and China, and how Koreans in Japan have taken unfair and illegal advantage of the political and social chaos prevailed after the war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If these right-wing dirt bags love Japan the least they can do is respect Japan's laws. Vandalism and defamation are crimes no matter who commits them for what purpose.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Right-wing groups of all persuasion are dropkicks. However, these East Asian ones take things to a new level...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sad, pathetic individuals who don't realise how they embarass their own country on the world stage

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Idiots are born every second as you speak.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Left-wing newspaper description of "Right-wing" activist. ZitokuKai’s actions appear outrageous, rude but they are not harming anyone physically, and their intentions and goals are often sound and should be supported by Japanese. But I must say their tactics should be changed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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