Citizens of Aichi, Japan Demand the Reinstatement of the Aichi Triennale 2019 “Lack-of-Freedom-of-Expression Exhibit: Part II”

By Joseph Essertier, World BEYOND War, August 25, 2019

On Saturday, August 24th the Aichi Prefecture Citizens Committee To Demand the Reinstatement of the “Lack-of-Freedom-of-Expression Exhibit: Part II” (“Hyōgen no fujiyūten: sono go” no Saikai wo Motomeru Aichi Kenmin no Kai) held a rally and a march in Nagoya in which 220 people participated. The Exhibit had been part of the Aichi Triennale 2019 international arts festival in Nagoya, Japan until the Mayor of Nagoya KAWAMURA Takashi and others demanded its removal. The Girl of Peace Statue, or simply the “Statue of Peace,” was the main work that Mayor Kawamura and other atrocity denialists took offense to.

The sculptors of the Statue, Kim Eun-sung and Kim Seo-kyung, also attended the rally and both gave speeches. In Kim Seo-kyung’s speech she explained, “The Statue is a symbol of peace, and is not an anti-Japan symbol. I hope to join forces with all of you in order to open the way toward peace”.

The police allowed ultranationalists to ride in a van immediately behind the pro-peace procession and blare out their typical propaganda with loudspeakers that were so extremely loud that we could not hear the chants of the marchers in front of us, or even our own loudspeaker. (See the video footage at the website of Independent Web Journal, IWJ). Their noise drowned out much of our message, prevented many of the citizens of Nagoya who were walking along the sidewalk or riding in their cars from hearing it, and of course changed the atmosphere in predictable ways. It is unusual to see ultranationalists in a vehicle with a loudspeaker in such close proximity to a peace march in Nagoya.

Marchers came from several major cities in Japan, including the Tokyo and Kyoto areas, not only from the Nagoya area. An organization called the National Network for Freedom of Expression in the Hands of Citizens (Hyōgen no Jiyū wo Shimin no Te ni Zenkoku Nettowāku) will join forces with the Nagoya Committee to sponsor more events for freedom of expression and peace in Japan. 70 people attended an event that they sponsored in Tokyo on August 17th.

Significant numbers of young people have attended the rallies of that Network and our Committee (Aichi Prefecture Citizens Committee To Demand the Reinstatement of the “Lack-of-Freedom-of-Expression Exhibit: Part II”). Japanese make up the vast majority of participants, but significant numbers of Koreans have joined lectures and rallies as well.

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