Mysterious posters draw concerned comments about the insensitive mentality of their anonymous creators.
Every city in Japan, is, of course, Japanese, but there are few that feel more so than Kyoto. Though it hasn’t been the nation’s political capital for almost 150 years, Kyoto remains the cultural capital for many traditional art forms and disciplines.
That exalted status makes Kyoto one of the most visited cities in Japan, with both domestic and international travelers coming to experience a touch of classical Japanese elegance. But while Kyoto’s “Japanese-ness” is a point of pride among local residents, some Twitter users feel that posters spotted in the city take the boasting too far.
CYPHER (@hanenohaetashra) April 27, 2017
Japanese Twitter user @hanenohaetashra recently shared the above snapshot. The poster’s text, in its entirety, translates to:
“I’m glad I’m Japanese. Let’s raise the Hinomaru [Japanese flag] with pride in our hearts.”
“I’ve seen this poster here and there in Kyoto,” tweeted @hanenohaetashra. “It’s frightening.”
No indication is made of who produced or has been putting up the posters, though popular speculation is that they are made by a political or Shinto group with strong nationalistic leanings. Following @hanenohaetashra’s tweet, several others chimed in with their agreement that the message is a tone-deaf one to display in a city that not only prides itself on its hospitality, but has also become one of Japan’s major contact points with the rest of the global community.
アランプロス党 ＊誕生日はｱﾗﾝ本人の (@alainprostparty) April 30, 2017
“I’m a Kyotoite. For a town that’s such a sightseeing destination, this is pathetic, and embrassing.”
ｅｍｏ (@hkemo1) April 30, 2017
“I live in Kyoto. Yeah, I’ve seen these posters around. Speaking as a Kyotoite, they’re completely pathetic. If you could, please let me know where you saw them in town.”
@hanenohaetashra 怖い。こんなの貼って、京都のイメージ上がると思ってるのかなぁ？ 京都で興ざめだね。—
山野林子 (@ssh_202) April 30, 2017
“Creepy. Do they think putting these posters up will help Kyoto’s image? They’re screwing up the good reputation the city has built.”
Again, it should be reiterated that these posters bear no identifying marks, and do not appear to be the work of the municipal government or any official tourism organization. Twitter users have offered their theories into the psyches of the posters’ anonymous creators, however.
ゆん (@yun_line) April 29, 2017
“In any case, you can tell that the people who made this have no confidence in themselves that stems from being Japanese.”
(@okchibita) April 30, 2017
“Nothing makes you look more like an ass than beating your chest because of your own identity.”
It’s worth noting that Japan’s near-homogenous ethnic makeup makes it difficult to distinguish between societal and racial pride. Still, multiple online commenters felt that the posters are insensitive towards people of non-Japanese ancestry.
(@Takakazu) April 30, 2017
“This kind of thinking [exhibited on the poster] is dangerous unless you also have an understanding of and respect for other cultures as well. I hope whoever made these posters has those.”
へんなポスター。 日本国籍を持たない外国籍市民の人たちや、京都なら多いであろう海外からの外国人旅行者の人たちから見ても、自分の存在はもしかしたらこの国では認められていないのか、と、とても怖くなるメッセージを発信しています。＞京都の… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
BASIL🎏 (@basilsauce) April 29, 2017
“What a weird poster. When foreign residents of Kyoto or the city’s many overseas visitors see this, I wonder if it’ll make them feel like this country doesn’t accept their presence. It’s a very disturbing message that the posters are transmitting.”
Though the posters have been spotted in Kyoto, those who take issue with the possible implications discussed here will be happy to know that they’re not everywhere in the city, and at least one Kyoto resident, while troubled by them, said to have not noticed them before seeing @hanenohaetashra’s tweet. Still, for those who want Kyoto to retain its image as a symbol of Japanese society’s welcoming politeness, even a few such posters likely feels like too many.