In some deep, dark corner of the Internet exist what the Japanese call netouyo groups – an angry web-based band of nationalistic youth known for making long posts on Internet message boards about their general dissatisfaction with the Japanese government. And on March 31, in the town of Shin-Ōkubo where a large Korean population resides, this right-wing group showed up in real life and started protesting the presence of Koreans in Japan.
Relations between Japan and South Korea have long been strained, and that history goes back a long way. Recently though, these online activists have grown increasingly restless about Koreans, culminating in a street protest in one of the biggest Korean neighborhoods near Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. They took to the streets of the town, usually filled with tourists and Japanese who have acquired the taste for Korean food, carrying signs that said “Go back to Korea!” and calling the ethnic Koreans “cockroaches”. What these right-wing mob did not expect was that an equally large number of open-minded Japanese also showed up to speak out against what they were doing.
People lined the streets and showed great support for the Korean populace of the town. They shouted back and made their own slogans saying, “You are the shame of this country!”, “You’re the ones who need to go home!”, and “Get back to the Internet where you belong!”, the last one a clear statement on the web-based nature of the anti-Korean protesters.
Unfortunately, stress levels went up and tempers began to break, as the pro-Koreans made hundreds of middle-finger salutes to the anti-Korean protesters. The police struggled to keep the two groups at safe distances from each other. But at the end of the day, chants of “go home to the Internet” were the ones clearly heard, as the anti-protesters made it clear that their anti-Korean sentiments – suggestions that Koreans were harmful to Japan – were not welcome in the town, and that they needed to take their anger back online where it belongs.
[via Rocket News 24]