Japanese Professor Protests Ultra-Conservatism in Japan

A Japanese professor residing in Seoul has started a regular anti-anti-Korean demonstration in the center of the city. Sakurai Nobuhide has set out to raise awareness of the growing influence of the far right in Japan and urge the two countries to get along with one another.

While stories of Japanese racism frequently make headlines in Korea, netizens showed an understanding that there are many good people living in their neighboring country and that the nationalists in Japan, despite their loud protests, do not represent the entire population.

Article from Money Today:

In Downtown Seoul, Japanese Professor Protests Ultra-Nationalism Trend in Japan

Japanese professor (third from left) in Namseoul University protest in downtown Seoul against anti-Korea campaign in Japan

Japanese professor (third from left) of Namseoul University protest with his students in downtown Seoul against anti-Korea campaign in Japan.

A Japanese ultra nationalist group Zaitokukai has even threatened to kill Koreans in Japan.

A Japanese professor took to the street to protest what he sees as an alarming anti-Korea campaign in Japan.”

Sakurai Nobuhide, a professor in the Japanese language department of Namseoul University held a protest rally, joined by his students with signs reading, “Seoul Against Racism,” “Let’s get along,” “We Oppose the Anti-Korea Campaign by Zaitokukai.”

Starting in May of 2013, professor Nobuhide launched a one-man protest against racist campaigns mounted by an extreme conservative group in Japan.

Since November, he has held a five-men protest with his four students every Saturday by the Gwanghwamun in downtown Seoul.

Mr. Nobuhide gives away pamphlets and some tangerines to passers-by. The pamphlets, written in four languages, including Korean and Japanese, aim to heighten the public awareness of the extent of the increasingly inflammatory racist campaigns in Japan.”

18-year-old Cho, watching the protest, said, “After seeing a Japanese person protesting, I think there is a glimmer of hope. And I’d like to help him if there is something that I could do.”

Some passing citizens hurled insults at Mr. Nobuhide, saying, “Jjokbari, go back to your country.”

The increasingly aggressive rhetoric of an ultra-conservative group in Japan motivated the Japanese professor to take to the street. Mr. Nobuhide pointed to a Japanese group that demands the elimination of the privileges that are given to Koreans living in Japan as the culprit of the growing anti-Korea sentiment in the country.

The organization, founded in Japan in 2007, has publicly demanded the elimination of the special permanent residence right that is bestowed upon Koreans who continue to live in Japan after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Japan gave the right to Koreans, who were considered citizens of Imperial Japan.

Ultra conservative group Zaitokukai march in anti-Korea campaign in Japan.

Ultra conservative group Zaitokukai marches in anti-Korea campaign in Japan.

Professor Nobuhide said, “The far-right group wants to kill Koreans in Japan, threatening Koreans living in Japan and Korean students who go to Japan for study.”

“Three decades ago, the ultraconservatives were only a marginal group, but as the Japanese economy continues its slump, those extreme conservatives instigate jingoism among fellow Japanese in a bid to boost Japan’s pride,” he added.

Mr. Nobuhide also noted, “The group’s claim is tantamount to racism. Racism is a social malaise in Japanese society.”

Yang Hee-jin, 45, who is in a PhD program for Japanese modern literature at Namseoul University in Seoul, echoed the view, saying that anti-Korean sentiment is running high in Japan.

Yang recalled, “I still vividly remember suffering discrimination in Japan when I was studying there for 11 years. Some Japanese students giggled, calling me chousenjin. [can be a derogatory term for Koreans]”

“The conservative group has suddenly emerged in Japan, making an absurd case and launching anti-Korea protests in Tokyo’s Koreatown. That movement has spread anti-Korean sentiment through many parts of Japan.”

Lee In-kyu,a 26-year-old student majoring in tax law, joined Mr. Nobuhide’s protest after he took the professor’s class, saying, “I was surprised to know that many Koreans in Japan are going through discrimination. That’s why I came here. I will continue to join the protest until I get a job because this is a meaningful activity.

Zaitokukai members chant anti-Korea slogans in Japan.

Zaitokukai members chant anti-Korea slogans in Japan.

Comments from Naver:


It’s fortunate that there are conscientious Japanese like him.


There are a few right-minded Japanese. The professor is one of them. I hope that no Korean will find fault with him while he is in protest with a good intention of promoting good relations with Koreans.


I hope that the Korean public will recognize that there are Japanese people like him. Not all Japanese think alike. The problem is with Japanese politics.


I think those who called the protesters Jjokbari and told them to go back to their country are no better than monkeys. Please, get your act together.


Those who have been to Japan would know that there are many good-hearted Japanese people. Of course, some Japanese are not but you don’t have to bash the country. What we really loathe is the ultra right-wing politicians and some insane people there.


You may not know that there is only a small number of Jjokbari who denigrates Korea. About three to four out of ten. But the majority of Koreans tend to believe that the ultra conservates’ provocation represents that of the Japanese public, responding by calling all of them jjokbari. But there are many sensible Japanese like him in Japan, but the problem is that those people receive little media coverage.

Comments from Daum:


Don’t protest in Korea. The ruling Saenuri Party is on the side of the Japan.


The ultra conservative group’s threat to kill Koreans living in Japan is extremely dangerous. That provocation may incite some insensible Japanese to inflict great damage on Koreans living in Japan. The Korean government should take strong measures against the ultra conservative group and the Japanese government that sit back and turn a blind eye to the hate campaign.


Understandably, some people can tell the protesters to demonstrate in Japan. But that doesn’t make practical sense. Currently, the professor is living and working here in Korea. If he happens to visit Japan, he may stage a protest. I think he is one of the conscientious Japanese, and he is better than those politically polarized Koreans hurling abusive language at each other.


The protesting professor may be assassinated by the ultra nationalist group Zaitokukai. I heard that some ultra nationalists assassinated some pro-Korean politician in Japan, not to mention common people.

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