Left-wing extremists plan to recruit new members through demonstration at Yasukuni

Japan Probe has a post titled "Pacifist group plans demonstration at Yasukuni". When I saw the Website of the "pacifist group", Anti-War Joint Action Committee, my blood froze. All of the member organizations of the committee were Chukaku-ha's organizations.

Chukaku-ha is a faction of left-wing extremists that is still holding the policy of armed revolution. It repeated bloody conflict with another left-wing faction Kakumaru-ha in the 1970s. Then, in the 1980s and 1990s, they repeated terror attacks to various places with explosives and firebombs. You can read a short summary on Chukaku-ha here on Wikipedia.

In the late 1970s, one of my acquaintances was seriously injured by this group. Late at night, when he was sleeping in his apartment room, a group of masked men broke into his room. They hit his right thigh with a hammer to break his thighbone and stabbed his left arm with an ice pick. Next morning, Chukaku-ha scattered bills stating that they annihilated a Kakumaru-ha member. The name of my acquaintance was written on the bill as the annihilated one. However, he had nothing to do with any left-wing groups. It seemed that they attacked him believing some misinformation. Suspects of that incident have not been arrested.

I found by google search that the following pages have a chronicle of incidents that Japanese left-wing radicals were involved in.

From the chronicle, incidents relating to Chukaku-ha are picked up below. Although only several incidents of the infighting between Chukaku-ha and Kakumaru-ha are shown in the list, to my knowledge far more number of bloody incidents took place in the infighting in the 1970s. The list is apparently incomplete.

Aug.4, 1970
Toshio Ebihara, a student of Tokyo Educational University [Tokyo Kyoiku Daigaku] and also a member of Kaku-maru-ha, was lynched to death by the members of Chukaku-ha in Hosei University. It was the first victim of the intra-sects violence [uchi-geba].

Nov.9, 1972
Kaku-maru-ha killed a student of Waseda University, Daizaburo Kawaguchi, by lynching, claiming him to be a member of Chukaku-ha, and left his body in front of Tokyo University Hospital. This opened a long bloody strife between the two sects.

Mar.14, 1975
Kaku-maru-ha killed the leader of Chukaku-ha, Nobuaki Honda, in his apartment in Kawaguchi City in Saitama Prefecture.

May.20, 1978
On the day of the inauguration of the Narita International Airport, Chukaku-ha cut the communication cables used for the Tokyo area flight control, in several locations in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture. This disorganized the flight schedule.

Feb.27, 1983
The Anti-Narita Air Port Alliance disintegrated into two factions, Kitahara-ha and Atsuta-ha; this dismembered the supporting sects: Chukaku-ha went with the former and The Fourth International went with the latter.

Sep.19, 1984
Chukaku-ha attacked the headquarter of the Liberal Democratic Party with a kind of flame thrower; seven floors, between the third to the ninth, were burnt.

Nov.27, 1984
Chukaku-ha set fire to the homes (and/or offices) of the governor Koichi Hamada and three Congressmen of Chiba Prefecture. (This was related to the Narita Airport affair.)

Beginning from this year, New left Sects began to use the “projectile weapons” for the struggle against the Narita Airport expansion: arrow shaped bomb (Chukaku-ha), shell bomb (Kaiho, Hazama-ha) , M53 trench mortar (Bund, Senki-ha), etc.

Apr.12, 1985
Chukaku-ha attacked both Narita and Heneda Airports with eleven arrow shaped bombs, from a truck parked one kilometer away, with a time firing device.

Feb.8, 1986
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha set fire to several workings of Kajima Construction Company in Chiba City and Yamato City, that were used for the construction of Narita Airport.

May.4, 1986
Chukaku-ha shot five arrow shaped bombs to Geihin-kan [The National Guest House] where the Summit was taking place, from a building in Shinjuku Ward, located five kilometers away; one fell in front of the Canadian embassy.

Sep.1, 1986
Chukaku-ha attacked and killed the secretary general of the Japan National Railroad Workers Union in Osaka area, in his home in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture. (It was part of the war between Chukaku-ha and Kaku-maru-ha.)

Nov., 1986
In a hideout of Chukaku-ha in Iwate Prefecture, the police discovered a powerful bomb, made from pressure cooker, being developed.

Mar.3, 1988
Chukaku-ha attacked and killed the secretary general of the East Japan Passenger Railway Workers Union of Takasaki area in his home. (It was part of Chukaku-ha vs. Kaku-maru-ha war.)

Jul.4, 1988
Chukaku-ha set fire to seven companies that were engaged in the second term construction of Narita Airport, by time ignition device; twenty nine trailers and trucks were burnt.

Sep.29, 1988
Chukaku-ha set fire to two cars parked in the dormitory of the Supreme Court in Shibuya Ward in Tokyo, by time ignite device.

Oct.25, 1988
Employing time ignite devices, Chukaku-ha set fire to three vehicles in a construction site of the Japan Road Public Corporation [Nihon Doro Kodan], in Koyama-cho in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Nov.3, 1988
Chukaku-ha set fire to two big trucks of a transportation company in Taiyo-mura in Ibaragi Prefecture.

Jan.29, 1989
With a time-bomb, Chukaku-ha exploded the storage of a home of the chair man of the committee for deciding uses of public land (of the Ministry of Construction); it destroyed parts of the home and other seven homes near by.

Feb.28, 1989
Chukaku-ha attacked and killed the secretary general of the eastern section of JR Union (of Kakumaru-ha).

Mar.7, 1989
In Tsukuba City Ibaraki Prefecture, Chukaku-ha‘s time ignite device burnt two storage buildings of Nihon Hoso, the company that was in charge of building roads for Narita Airport.

Mar.12, 1989
With time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt three large trucks in a parking lot for a construction company in Tomizu City, Chiba Prefecture.

Mar.20, 1989
With time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt a large truck, an excavator, and a resting room for the workers in the site of constructing an overflow in Narita City in Chiba Prefecture.

Apr.29, 1989
Chukaku-ha set a time bomb in a private car in a parking lot of the Imperial Household Agency in Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo; it destroyed the car and a bike as well as the window glasses of the dormitory.

June 5, 1989
With time ignite devices, Chukaku-ha burnt seven large trucks in a parking lot of a transportation company in Numanan-cho in Chiba Prefecture.

Jul.24, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt parts of the home of the secretary general of the committee of land expropriation of Chiba Prefecture.

Aug.23, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt parts of the resting room for the workers in a golf club in Shibayama-cho in Chiba Prefecture.

Sep.8, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the office, storage, and five vehicles of a construction company in Narita City in Chiba Prefecture.

Nov.16, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the house of the secretary general of the Chiba Prefectural Parliament; parts of two neighboring houses, too, were burnt.

Dec.7, 1989
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt a half of the home of an official of Chiba Prefecture’s Planning Department, in Chiba City.

Jan.8, 1990
Aiming at the residence of Prince Tokiwa, Chukaku-ha shot shell bombs from a time set launcher installed in a car parked in a construction site in Shibuya Ward in Tokyo; they fell in the parking lot of Japan Coca Cola headquarter and the residence hall of the Imperial Household Agency across the street from the target. About the same time, similar shell bombs were shot from a shrine near Kyoto Imperial Palace; they fell near the palace.

Jan.16, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the office and three other buildings of Mitsui Construction that was involved in the construction of Narita Airport, in Atsugi City in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Jan.23, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the passenger seats of the six lines of JR and a line of Keisei line around Tokyo area.

Feb.19, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt part of the home and the car of the director of information administration of the Ministry of Transportation in Yachiyo City in Chiba Prefecture.

Feb.27, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt part of the home of the president of Shimizu Construction that was involved in the construction of Narita Airport, in Setagaya Ward in Tokyo.

Mar.7, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt part of the home of the managing director of the New Kansai Airport Corporation, in Habikino City in Osaka.

Mar.14, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt cars parked in an underground parking lot of a building in Akasaka Ward in Tokyo; the cars belonged to the Nuclear Energy Development Corporation. A fireman of the Tokyo Fire Defense Agency was killed during the rescue mission.

Mar.19, 1990
Allowed by the New Narita Legislation [Narita Shin-po], the government (the Ministry of Transport and the Airport Public Corporation) forcibly removed the base of Chukaku-ha located in the site of Narita Airport expansion.

Mar.19, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt three shrines (Hikawa Shrine in Numabukuro, Nakano Ward, Shinmei Shrine in Funabashi, Setagaya ward, and Shirahige Shrine in Higashi Muko-jima in Sumida Ward) in Tokyo area

Mar.22, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt a garage of the residence of Japan Airline’s President at large (kai-cho), and a garage of the residence of All Nippon Air’s president.

Apr.12, 1990
With a time ignite device, Chukaku-ha burnt the entire home of the managing director of the Nihon Hikoki in Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture; his wife was killed and the director was heavily injured.
The chronicle ends here in 1990. For the incidents that took place after 1990, several news articles are available online.

Tokyo Police Posts Bombed as Emperor Rite Nears. (Nov. 3, 1990; New York Times)
Chukaku-ha leftists admit torching buses in Chiba. (June 4, 1998; Japan Times)
Guerrillas blamed for morning attack: Transport Ministry official's car, house damaged but no injuries reported. (Aug. 27, 2000; Japan Times)
Chukakuha radicals claim responsibility for explosion. (Jan. 25, 2001; Kyodo)


How beastiality restaurant was made real in the WaiWai column

The Website of Mainichi Daily News (MDN) has the results of the investigation of problems of the WaiWai column. The most criticized about the Mainichi's WaiWai column was that it contained wrong information about Japan as stated by one of the members of third party organization.

The WaiWai column lent credibility to articles that Japanese readers would ordinarily take with a grain of salt. Foreign readers cannot tell whether or not the Japanese magazines that originally published the articles are reputable and can be taken at face value. There was a danger, therefore, that the column could invite great misunderstanding. It is frightening to think that the responsibility for such a column was left completely in the hands of an individual staff writer. A company that gives precedence to the number of web hits over consideration of what information should be conveyed cannot be properly called a newspaper.

Claims have been made that the column shed light on certain aspects of Japanese society. This claim is unsupportable, for rather than shedding light, it provided something close to misinformation.
The results of the investigation did not include any detailed description of the examination of individual articles probably because quoting the articles should results in violation of copyright laws; The articles had already violated the laws by translating articles without permission of copyright holders. This was vaguely stated in the Mainichi's investigation document; "Issues relating to the translation and summarization of copyrighted material are being discussed with the publishers of the source magazines."

Some Japanese bloggers and 2-channelers are trying to collect source magazines that were used for WaiWai articles, in order to examine how original articles were changed and modified when they were translated for the WaiWai column. Recent finding of the source magazine for the WaiWai article titled "The Cook, the Beast, the Vice and its Lover" revealed how that WaiWai article was made.

The WaiWai article start with the following summary describing about beastiality restaurant.
A disgusting and twisted restaurant in the Tokyo entertainment district of Roppongi is enticing warped rich folk with the opportunity to figuratively have their cake and eat it, too — with animals, according to Jitsuwa Knuckles (9/25).
(You can read the transcript of full article at the following URL.
When Japanese see the name of the source magazine, they can automatically notice that the story is fictional as I wrote before, but foreign readers may take the story at face value. However, it was not the only problem of the WaiWai article.

Finding of the source magazine revealed that the original article was written as one of the articles featuring urban legends; The articles had a header stating that the contents were urban legends.

The header says "エロバカ都市伝説: 各地に広まった身近な都市伝説を徹底収集" which means "Vulgar and foolish urban legends: thorough collection of familiar urban legends dispersed in various places". The author of the WaiWai article omitted this information when he wrote the article. Considering the nature of the source magazine, I don't think the contents of the articles were actual urban legends but think they were creation by the writer. Anyway, the writer of the original article was at least responsible enough to suggest that its content was not factual, stating that it was an urban legend. However, the author of the WaiWai article shamelessly omitted the header so that readers can take the story at face value.

Also, in the original article the person who invited a commenter to the restaurant was a congressman, but in the WaiWai article that person was changed to a lawyer. Why did the author of the WaiWai article make this change? Did he have ill-feeling toward lawyers? No one but the author knows.


Members of Japanese Communist Party are increasing by 1000 every month since last year

According to Yomiuri Online, members of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) are increasing by about 1000 every month since last year. The number of the JCP members was 500,000 in 1990, but it decreased in the 1990s, reaching 380,000-400,000 in the early 2000s. However, it has started to increase again since last year. Most of the new members are young people in their 20s and 30s who are the so-called "working poor".

As a related note, Sankei Shimbun reported on May 14 that a classic proletarian novel "Kanikousen (蟹工船)", or Crab-canning Boat, is selling surprisingly well this year. Kanikousen depicts hardship of laborers working on a crab-canning boat. Although the laborers in the novel initially endure the hardship, they go on strike in the end. The author Takiji Kobayashi (小林多喜二) who published this novel in 1929 was killed by the Special High Police, a police section of the Imperial Japan that was specialized to political crimes, in 1933 as a member of the communist party that was illegal at the time.

The JCP was legalized after WWII, but, in the early 1950s, it tried to achieve armed revolution of Japan, resulting in the loss of support from Japanese mass. It abandoned the policy of armed revolution in the late 1950s, but that change in policy resulted in the withdrawal of many members. One of the members who withdrew from JCP at the time was Susumu Nishibe (西部邁) who is now known as a conservative critic. Present JCP is a party supporting parliamentary democracy. A number of politicians supported by JCP were elected as governors and mayors in the 1970s, but influence of JCP in Japanese politics had been declining.


Anna Tsuchiya cannot appear in NHK?

Previously, I linked some of Anna Tsuchiya's music videos here and here. She is a fashion model, an actress and a singer. And she has recently made a debut as a voice actress in an anime "Sore Ike Anpanman: Yousei Rinrin no Himitsu", or "Let's go, Anpanman: the secret of fairy Rinrin", that is being screened in Japan since July 12. Her role in the anime is the heroine, Fairy Rinrin.

Also, this week's issue of Shukan Gendai reported that Anna caused trouble in the filming of an NHK documentary that was planned to be aired on NHK BS this summer. She was on location for the documantary when she started quarreling with the director of the documentary. She finally hit him in the face causing light injury on his eye. The filming was immediately cancelled. Perhaps, NHK would never offer jobs to Anna in the future. It seems she behaves like her roles in the films such as Kamikaze Girls and Sakuran even in her real life. The photo at the top of this entry and the youtube video to follow are from Sakuran.


Japanese weeklies and tabloids

Concerning the closure of the Mainichi's WaiWai column, it may be worthwhile to describe how an average Japanese person (it's me) look on Japanese Weeklies and Tabloids. The following is a list of some Japanese weeklies and tabloids categorized into three groups.

(A) Shukan Shincho, Shukan Bunshun, Yomiuri Weekly, Sunday Mainichi, Shukan Asahi

(B) SPA!, Shukan Gendai, Shukan Post

(C) Asahi Geinou, Shukan Jitsuwa, Jitsuwa Knuckles, Tokyo Sports

Magazines in group A have relatively reliable articles. Writers in these weeklies actually gather news materials and data to write their articles. They care not to be sued. These weeklies are both for males and females of all ages.

Magazines in group B has lower reliability than those in group A.

SPA! is a subculture magazine, main target of which is males in their 20s and 30s. Articles are mainly for entertainment; they may contain fictional stories. This magazine tend to publish controversial articles. I remember that I read an extremely disturbing interview to Issei Sagawa in this magazine in the early 1990s. In the interview, the interviewer, Taku Hachiro, made a talk with Sagawa in a yakiniku (barbecue) restaurant. In the middle of the dinner, Taku asked to Sagawa, "This meat is really good. Which do you think is better?". Sagawa replied, "Err...either one has its own taste. So I cannot say which is better." I also remember that SPA! had been advocating AUM Shinrikyo cult just for entertainment when many people were concerned about its cultic nature in the early 1990s. Also I remember column series published in the late 1980s that positively introduced Toyama Koichi as a left-wing extremist highschooler. Toyama Koichi's video circulated in the Japanese blogosphere last year when he stood as an anarchist candidate in the election for the Governor of Tokyo. I was really astonished when I noticed that he was that guy who had been known by the readers of SPA! in the late 1980s as an anachronistic left-wing extremist highschooler wearing a helmet and carrying a gebabou stick.

Main target of Shukan Gendai and Shukan Post is males older than 30. These magazines regularly contain nudity. Their writers usually gather news materials and data by themselves to write their articles on politics and economy. My impression is that they often twist news materials to make them meet their agenda. Articles on politics are always with anti-government taste. Articles related to sex contain fictional stories for entertainment.

Magazines in group C have little reliability. It is highly probable that anyone who sues these magazines for libel will lose the case. Any article published in them usually does not constitute defamation of character since few Japanese believe what are written in these magazines. A rare case that a plaintiff won was Professor Uekusa's case. Asahi Geinou reported several incidents of molesting by Prof. Uekusa in 2004-2006 after he was arrested for molesting in other cases. However, all of the molesting reported by Asahi Geinou were revealed to be groundless. Writers of Asahi Geinou made up the incidents just for entertainment using the name of Prof. Uekusa. The judicial decision was that the fictional reports in Asahi Geinou were defamation of character; some might believe the reports even though they were written in Asahi Geinou, since everyone at the time knew that Prof. Uekusa was a pervert.

Although Asahi Geinou has "Asahi" in its name, it has nothing to do with Asahi Shimbun, a major Japanese newspaper. I suppose that the name of the magazine itself is a joke, openly pretending to be related to Asahi Shimbun when everyone knows the magazine has nothing to do with Asahi Shimbun.

Shukan Jitsuwa and Jitsuwa Knuckles are called jitsuwa-kei (実話系) weeklies since they contain "jitsuwa" in their titles. Literal meaning of Jitsuwa is "true story", but stories in jitsuwa-kei weeklies are fictions related to extreme violence and sex written in the style of news reports and inside reports. They also have fictional inside reports of yakuza organizations. You can see cover illustrations of Jitsuwa Knuckles in this page (scroll down the page to find the cover illustrations).

Magazines in group C are not sold in usual bookstores. I know neither where they are sold nor who buy them. The blow job story and the beastiality restaurant story mentioned in the previous post originally appeared in Asahi Geinou and Jitsuwa Knuckles, respectively, both of which belong to group C.

Of the tabloids belonging to group C, Tokyo Sports has different taste than other magazines. It is a daily newspaper that is famous for its hoax articles. Some say that what are credible in Tokyo Sports are only dates of issues. It's sold in kiosks in JR stations with regular newspapers.

The problem of the WaiWai column was that it took stories from magazines in group B and group C out of literal and social context without putting a proper disclaimer. Especially problematic were articles from group C. The WaiWai should have put a disclaimer stating that they were fictions in the form of news reports and inside reports.


Mainichi Shimbun vs Japanese women

On June 21, the Mainichi Daily News decided to cease publishing the infamous WaiWai articles, responding to the criticism from Japanese people. Many of the articles in the WaiWai column had been taken from fictional stories from tabloids and skin mags published in Japan. Complaint from Japanese people was that, whereas many of the original Japanese articles were fictional stories, the MDN did not mention in their WaiWai articles the nature of the original articles. Since foreign readers do not know the nature of the magazines, they might think that the stories in the WaiWai articles were based on fact.

Foreigners who have enough knowledge on Japan also seemed concerned about the circulation of wrong knowledge derived from WaiWai articles. For example, Yudan Taiteki wrote in a thread on The Japanese Page,

by Yudan Taiteki on Tue 05.01.2007 5:12 pm
The one that I'm tired of seeing over and over again is this idea that it's normal for Japanese moms to give their sons oral sex during exam study time to decrease their stress. This concept is so absurd that you would think nobody could possibly take it seriously, and yet it seems like every few months I see someone bring it up as an example of how "messed up" Japanese people are. It apparently originated from a Waiwai article that was taken at face value despite a complete lack of sourcing (and plausibility), but because it fit in with this idea of Japan being a bizarre place, it was accepted without question.

Responding to this comment, doinkies and two_heads_talking wrote,

by doinkies on Wed 05.02.2007 1:30 am
I find it preposterous that there are actually doinks out there who think everything in WaiWai is real... :@ But since Mainichi never says that the WaiWai articles really come from tabloids, I suppose people think they are real news articles. -_-

Another thing WaiWai often does is post articles about some odd, weird or gross item or business and say that said item or business is "wildly popular" in Japan, but never actually give the numerical data to prove this claim. I suppose it's because if they did, then people would instantly see that their stories are nothing but exaggerations.


by two_heads_talking on Wed 05.02.2007 9:40 am
I had never heard that as Japanese, but I had heard it from nearly every other asian country.. mainly china, thailand and vietnam. I never much believed it, but figured it was one of the "urban legends" that just gets a face life depending on which race is used to fuel it..

One doink who thought that what was written in the WaiWai article was true was an Australian writer, Ben Hills. In his book, “Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysthanthemum Throne”, he mentioned the oral sex thing as a fact that was reported in the Mainichi Shimbun. Also there are tons of articles in Wikipedia that cite WaiWai articles.

The MDN issued an apology to readers for publishing "vulgar" articles, but it did not clarify the nature of the magazines that they used when they wrote the WaiWai articles, even though the latter was what had been requested by people.

Also made Japanese people upset was that, although the Mainichi announced punitive measures for people who had been responsible for the publication of the WaiWai articles, the Digital Media Division President was promoted the head of the Mainichi Shimbun Corporation on June 25, despite the fact that he had been the most responsible person for the WaiWai issue.

The most angry people against the Mainichi are Japanese women . They are trying to spread the information on how Mainichi had been making fun of Japanese women on the Mainichi's English-language Website. Also, they are making phone calls to the sponsors of the Mainichi, requesting to cease to provide on-line ad on the Mainichi's Website. Their effort seems to be successful right now. In the ad spaces on the Mainichi's site, I can find only internal links to Mainichi's own pages since last night. Also, even Japanese tabloids that WaiWai had been referring have started to make fun of Mainichi.

The Mainichi Shimbun is known among Japanese netizens to be the most active newspaper company in promoting the legislation of Internet censorship. Result of this "battle" may affect the fate of the Internet culture in Japan.

Update: It seems some doinks are actually doing that. Even this may become wildly popular among them in the near future.