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Koichi Toyama (外山 恒一 Toyama Kōichi?, born July 26, 1970) is a Japanese street musician and a fringe political activist who was a candidate for the governor of Tokyo in 2007. He was born in Kagoshima Prefecture and lives in Fukuoka. He gained notoriety with his provocative 2007 Tokyo gubernatorial election speech, which was posted on YouTube. Out of fourteen candidates in the election, Toyama placed eighth with 15,059 votes (0.27 percent of total votes cast). Video footage of Koichi's 2007 speech was also used by British musician M.I.A. to open her Kala Tour concerts.
In 2001-2002 he served two prison sentences for defamation. According to some sources, he was until then a far-left activist but turned to a self-designed national anarchism, describing himself as a fascist.
Koichi has written several books on his high school defamation, student activism and avantgarde music. Since 2007 he has educated political activists in Fukuoka in literature, history of philosophy and music. He has also run for the Kumamoto city assembly.
Described by the announcer as an "Extreme Left Anti-Establishment" figure, Koichi began his controversial statement by denouncing Japan as a "horrible nation" and rejecting any possibility for reforms. Declaring most of the voters to be his "enemies", Koichi calls upon a minority to rise up. He closes his speech by calling for the overthrow of the Japanese Government and making an obscene gesture toward the camera.
Another Koichi video, from 2008, consists of a monologue in which he claims the United States has a global hegemony, and that it is an injustice that despite being a citizen of what he calls one of America's "51st states" ("America", he claims "literally encompasses the entire world"), he is not eligible to vote, let alone stand as a candidate, in the election.
Election Commission response
In 2007 the Tokyo election commission asked YouTube to remove election speeches of candidates, allegedly to "ensure fairness" among candidates, because YouTube had "allowed only certain candidates' speeches to be viewed freely on the site", according to an election official. According to Japanese election law, the broadcasting of speeches is only allowed on public broadcaster NHK.
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- "Cabbie, dilettante and prolific inventor in fray to lead Tokyo" (article). Agence France-Presse. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- "Tokyo requests YouTube delete candidates' speeches" (article). Agence France-Presse. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
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- Youtube: speech by Koichi Toyama
- Chris Salzberg: Japan: Toyama Kouichi calls for revolution, bloggers reflect on freedom of speech, Global Voices, 25 April 2007
- Meeting the anarchist, Japundit.com, 4 July 2007
- Koichi Toyama, Japanese Wikipedia
- Tokyo requests YouTube delete candidates' speeches, physorg.com, 5 April 2007
- Toyama's Official Website
- Koichi Toyama's channel on YouTube
- Koichi Toyama on Twitter