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Zaitokukai demonstrating against the right of non-citizens to vote in Shinjuku on January 24, 2010

Zaitokukai, shortened as Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (在日特権を許さない市民の会?, meaning Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi), is a Japanese ultra-right group that seeks to eliminate privileges extended to foreigners who have been granted Special Foreign Resident status. Most such foreigners are Zainichi Koreans and hold South Korean or North Korean citizenship.[1] According to its official website, its membership is over 11,000.

It is led by Makoto Sakurai. Although they are an extremist group, they generally engage in non-violent protests.[2]


Zaitokukai alleges that Zainichi Koreans have special legal rights granted to them through the process of their integration into the Japanese society. It claims that Zainichi Koreans use "pass names" that are Japanese-style and often very different from their original Korean names and they exploit their pass names to abuse welfare and administrative systems. It also believes that it is much easier for Zainichi Koreans to claim and receive welfare benefits than for it is Japanese citizens, causing serious problems in the entire welfare system in Japan to the detrimental effects on Japanese citizens. It attacks Zainichi Koreans for cheating the tax system as well, claiming that Zainichi Koreans pay reduced amounts for many taxes, including income tax, corporate tax, and council tax. It argues that Zainichi Koreans wrongfully claim those rights by saying that they are a deprived and discriminated minority of the Japanese society and that Japan should deny them all of those special rights.[3]


Zaitokukai has often been criticized by those who believe that there is no evidence for their claims. Even where Zainichi Koreans enjoy rights that differentiate them from Japanese citizens, such as the use of a "legal alias" or Japanese common name, it is argued that these are not exclusively given to Zainichi Koreans but used by many other foreign nationals in Japan.

The group is criticized for its aggressive and racist behaviour towards non-citizen residents of Japan, mostly Zainichi Koreans. It frequently organizes small-scale public demonstrations against Zainichi Koreans and other social and political issues, and its members make racist insults against Koreans, Chinese, and other foreign nationals in these demonstrations.[4]

Ikuo Gonoi, a professor for Takachiho University and fellow researcher for the Institute of Social Science of International Christian University, has described them as "just an archaic type of 'mob' (which Hannah Arendt defined in The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951), not something like a 'new wave'".[5]


On August 10, 2010, four members of Zaitokukai were arrested for harassing Korean students in Minami Ward, Kyoto,[6][7] at a pro-DPRK school.[8]

On 17 June 2013, Makoto Sakurai and three other members were arrested in Shinjuku, Tokyo, when a fistfight broke between the counterprotesters and the Zaitokukai.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blair, Gavin (August 2008). "Wai oh why?". No.1 Shimbun (Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan) 40 (8): 6–7. Retrieved 2009-12-16.  PDF
  2. ^ Fackler, Martin (August 28, 2010). "A New Wave of Dissent in Japan Is Openly and Loudly Anti-Foreign". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2010. "Though some here compare these groups to neo-Nazis, sociologists say that they are different because they lack an aggressive ideology of racial supremacy, and have so far been careful to draw the line at violence. There have been no reports of injuries, or violence beyond pushing and shouting. Rather, the Net right’s main purpose seems to be venting frustration, both about Japan’s diminished stature and in their own personal economic difficulties." 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "A black sun rises in a declining Japan". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). August 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Spreading hate speech: from revisionism to anti-semitism", June 5, 2013, Astand (Japanese)
  6. ^ "Rightists arrested over harassment of schoolchildren". Asahi Shimbun. 2010-08-11. 
  7. ^ "Several to be held for allegedly harassing Korean school". Mainichi Daily News. August 10, 2010. 
  8. ^ Sharp, Andy (August 12, 2010). "Rightists’ Childish Attacks". The Diplomat. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ Fackler, Martin (June 17, 2013). "8 Arrested in Tokyo Fights Involving Anti-Korean Group". The New York Times. 

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