Volunteers remove anti-Korea graffiti in Tokyo's Shinjuku

March 03, 2014

By RYUICHI KITANO/ Staff Writer

Dozens of volunteers on March 2 removed hate-filled messages and other graffiti targeting ethnic Korean residents in Tokyo’s Okubo district, and called on authorities and the public to condemn such discriminatory action.

Carrying rags and sponges, the volunteers came mainly from the capital area and the Tokai region to join citizen groups, such as Norikoenet, that have opposed anti-Korea demonstrations that have taken place across Japan.

The citizen groups said they confirmed anti-Korea graffiti at about 50 sites in and around Korea Town in the Okubo district while on patrol in February.

Shop signs, walls and places under elevated railway tracks were defaced by markers and spray paint.

The messages included: “Koreans, do not come to Japan,” “Vile idiots,” and “Go home.” The groups said they also washed off a Nazi swastika.

“I heard people would write such messages again even after we erased them,” said a 53-year-old man from Yokohama. “I thought we should deal with the issue as soon as possible.”

The groups discussed the problem with officials at the Shinjuku Police Station, the Shinjuku Ward office and East Japan Railway Co.

On Twitter and other online sites, the groups called for an “attitude that condemns discriminatory graffiti.”

A number of rallies targeting ethnic Koreans were held in Tokyo and Osaka early last year. Such demonstrations have not been held in Tokyo’s Okibo district since September last year, but they have occurred in Tokyo’s Ginza area and other places across Japan.

By RYUICHI KITANO/ Staff Writer
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Volunteers clean away graffiti in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward on March 2. (Ryuichi Kitano)

Volunteers clean away graffiti in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward on March 2. (Ryuichi Kitano)

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  • Volunteers clean away graffiti in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward on March 2. (Ryuichi Kitano)

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