Armed with rags and sponges, some volunteers and citizen groups went around the Okubo District in Tokyo to remove hate-filled messages and graffiti directed at ethnic Korean residents. The volunteers, mostly from the capital and Tokai region, joined citizen group Norikoenet and sought the authorities’ and public’s denouncement of such discriminatory acts.
Known for opposing anti-Korean rallies that are held across Japan, Norikoenet saw hate-filled graffiti against Koreans in about 50 sites in Korea Town and nearby areas of the Okubo district. Walls, signage and places under elevated railway tracks were vandalized using spray paint and markers with messages such as, “Koreans, do not come to Japan,” “Vile idiots” and “Go home.” They also saw a Nazi swastika sign, which they washed off. However, the issue does not end when the defacement has been cleaned. A 53-year old man from Yokohama, who volunteered to clean up, said, “I heard people would write such messages again even after we erased them.” He added, “I thought we should deal with the issue as soon as possible.”
The group met with officials from the East Japan Railway Co., Shinjuku Police Station and the Shinjuku Ward office to talk about the problem of vandalism. Taking the issue to social media, the groups called for an “attitude that condemns discriminatory graffiti,” on Twitter and other networking sites. Just last year, numerous demonstrations against ethnic Koreans were held in Tokyo and Osaka. While no rallies have been held in the Okubo District in Tokyo since September, such demonstrations occurred in the Ginza area and other places.
[via Asahi Shimbun]