“Nerf this, patriarchy!”
Pikachu and Nintendo find themselves in the middle of a cultural controversy in Hong Kong.
The above scene of Japanese elected officials climbing on top of each other like extras in a Pearl Jam music video made headlines worldwide much to the country’s chagrin. And it was in this way that Japan has officially reinterpreted its constitution to allow military deployment to other parts of the world for the first time since World War II.
Yes, rather than through persuasive speech and the rational debate that government was designed to produce, the future course of Japan had been steered by underhanded tricks, shoving matches, and even a decoy legislation made of a One Piece advert.
But were these uncivilized tactics motivated by honest passion and the sheer intensity of the situation, or were the elite of Japanese society simply showing their true nature of political impotence? To find out, let’s take a look at how the whole fracas started.
Although the protester that managed to infiltrate the European Central Bank’s monthly press conference recently got plenty of media attention with her clever deployment of a so-called “Glitter Bomb” – that is, she scattered the notoriously-difficult-to-remove, fabulous substance everywhere – her protest method of choice came a few months too late.
Everyone knows, of course, that the disruptive substance du jour now is the dial-a-bag of dongs. Glitter is just so yesterday. But, our intrepid protester is still getting her due time in the spotlight in Japan because of her resemblance to a certain anime character.
This is no April Fool’s joke: on April 1, a group of anti-Japanese protestors gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul, Korea to rally against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressing the U.S. Congress later this month.
Things started to get out of control when an effigy with Abe’s face was beheaded ISIS-style, and a Japanese imperial flag was sliced to pieces with a knife. The protest is being called “too extreme” even by those sympathetic to their cause.
Nearly two weeks into the Occupy Central protests and things have hit a bit of a malaise. The Hong Kong government has cancelled previously promised talks and protester numbers have been on the decline. Organizers are hoping for a surge in support soon to maintain the demonstration.
Meanwhile, a song produced by Toshiharu Mineoka has helped to energize people featuring the vocaloid stylings of Hatsune Miku. Titled “Umbrella Revolution,” it has been generally well-received in Hong Kong and Taiwan since its posting on 1 October. The video’s YouTube page has been inundated with messages of thanks from people in Hong Kong such as “I cried when I first heard the song (and I don’t even know Japanese).”
Back on the topic of the Occupy Central demonstration taking place in Hong Kong in protest for electoral democracy, little progress has been made to resolve the situation, though there have been reports of planned talks between the government and representatives from the protesting group. More than a week has passed since the Occupy protesters started camping at several locations, staying put despite assaults from opposing factions and refusing to budge even as the police brought in tear gas and pepper spray.
As complete outsiders, we have no say on how things ought to be handled, and we’re definitely not taking sides, but if there’s one thing we could all learn from this protest, it’s how to make your own DIY tear gas mask. A YouTuber from Hong Kong shows us how!
As many of you probably already know, protests are going on in Hong Kong as a portion of its citizens are demanding for electoral democracy. The protest, which began on 26 September, triggered off a chain of events, from students boycotting classes, to thousands of people occupying several major areas of the bustling city in demonstration, to mysterious flying objects, and now, mysterious doppelgängers.
As protesters in Hong Kong continue fighting to have a thin veil of “democracy” offered by the mainland Chinese government replaced by a slightly better veil enjoyed by other countries around the world, another story has emerged.
It appears that a UFO has been caught on tape hovering above the massive demonstration. Sure, we’ve seen videos of mysterious moving lights in the sky before, but this one may really change the way we look at UFO videos from here on out.
Earlier this month, a group of eleven university students in Beijing got together to hold a small protest. Their mission was not to push for less homework or fewer partying restrictions, but to advocate for something extremely important to their bodily health and overall well-being–better sex education throughout schools in China.
In recent years the day has become less a celebration, and more a day to demonstrate against an increasingly anti-democratic, mainland-leaning Hong Kong government.
Meanwhile, on the mainland, users of Weibo (China’s answer to Twitter) are reporting that images and messages documenting what’s going down in Hong Kong are quickly being deleted.
We knew Attack on Titan was crazy popular with an incredible 36 million volumes in circulation and a huge fanbase that stretches from Japan to the English-speaking world and beyond, it’s also been translated for audiences in Korea and China (Taiwan). Next year things will reach new heights with a full length live-action film starring Haruma Miura in the leading role.
When we saw these photos apparently showing a Titan from the series taking part in a demo in Hong Kong, we just had to find out more. “The Red Giant” is a piece of protest art made by Hong Kong based artist Kacey Wong, and pictures from the demo have been doing the rounds on Japanese online message boards this week. At once among the crowd and separate from it, the looming bright red figure is a powerful symbol of what Wong sees as the threat posed to Hong Kong by mainland China’s rapid growth as an economic superpower.
This week, Japan became the 91st signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which provides protection for children under 16 from being taken from their country of residence by one parent against the wishes of the other. However, the convention does not work retroactively, so parents whose children have already been taken are urging the Japanese government to stand by provisions of the treaty in their cases as well.
A group of left-behind parents organized a march in Washington, D.C., on Monday to hand-deliver 28 applications for assistance reuniting with their children to the U.S. Department of State and to submit a petition for the return of abducted children to the Japanese embassy.
Last Saturday on the resort island of Bali, 23-year-old Megan Young claimed victory for the Philippines and was crowned Miss World 2013. Promising to be the “best Miss World ever,” the model and actress shed tears of joy as the audience cheered, applauded and waved paper flags — a stark contrast to the angry and threatening atmosphere felt in Jakarta during the weeks prior to the contest.
Despite the enormous popularity of K-Pop, Korean food and beauty products, relations between Japan and South Korea have been strained for quite some time. In recent months, however, right wing groups have become increasingly vocal, with anti-Korean protests occurring more and more frequently, especially in areas where many Koreans congregate and live.
On 31 March in Shin-Ōkubo — a town situated just a couple of minutes away from Shinjuku on Tokyo’s Yamanote line and the location of a large Korean ethnic neighbourhood — hundreds of anti-Korean protesters marched through the streets carrying signs reading “Go back to Korea!” and labeling Koreans in Japan “cockroaches”. Thankfully, equally large numbers of liberally-minded Japanese also showed up to protest the protest.
A small protest was staged in Wuhan, Hubei Province on 27 November against the federal government’s screening process for female applicants. The protestors claim that applying for a civil servant’s position requires women to reveal personal information about the menstrual cycle.
Looking back at the violence that occurred in the anti-Japan protests in September, I’m still baffled at why those regular people got so crazy over a land dispute between two governments in some remote area. Maybe I’m the only one who lacks that patriotic spirit that compels one set fire to a factory over zoning issues.
Or perhaps like almost every world event in history, there are more complex – usually economic – factors at play beneath the surface. At least that’s what a group of Japanese writers and journalists claim. According to them, the stage was set for this explosion of anger years before it happened.
I’m sure we all have politicians whom we’re not especially fond of, and, while most of us would never go as far as taking a leak against one of their campaign posters, the thought of making our feelings known through… unusual… means might have occurred to us on more than one occasion. My own dear uncle, for instance, was once temporarily barred from entering the US after writing a particularly heartfelt letter to former president George W. Bush during his tenure. But that’s another story…
On Sunday this week, a 40-year-old man in Osaka decided that his strong dislike of politician Kei Yamamoto needed to be expressed physically, and, spotting the politician’s face on a poster down a quiet countryside road, decided to let rip with a golden shower of contempt.
Unfortunately for him, who should be cruising by at that exact moment but the politician himself…
Would you buy a pair of legs at US$60,000?
Last Tuesday morning, a man was spotted in Tianhe District of Guangzhou selling his legs. While sitting in the middle of an overhead bridge, the man wore on his legs a cardboard sign that read: “Legs for Sale! $30,000 each!”
In September, anti-Japan protests erupted in major cities in China in response to a dispute over territorial rights to the Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu in China). Mobs angry protesters took to the streets and sought to destroy all Japanese products. Rioting protesters in Shenzen, China caused US $15,724 worth of property damage to a Japanese restaurant owned and operated by a Chinese man. Anti-Japan protesters also targeted Japanese-made cars, bashing and overturning Nissans and even senselessly beating a man for driving a Toyota during the protests.
China has seen its share of brutal attacks and acts of vandalism in the name of “patriotism.” However, one Chinese entrepreneur has found a peaceful way to express his patriotism by giving away over 5 million yuan (US $797,855) in domestically produced cars to the victims of the anti-Japan protests, complete with a gaudy, lime green presentation ceremony.