Sound trucks in Japan

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A Liberal Democratic Party sound truck in Shinjuku, during an election campaign in 2016

Sound trucks in Japan (街宣車, gaisensha) are sound trucks, trucks equipped with public address systems, used by political parties and candidates to express their views. Vendors also use sound trucks for the purpose of selling goods, collecting recyclable materials, and other purposes. The trucks have one or more loudspeakers which play a recorded message or recorded music as the truck tours through neighborhoods.

Many right-wing political groups and Japanese nationalists drive around city streets in sound trucks, play nationalistic music at high volume and communicate their political views to the citizenry.[1] They sometimes station themselves on a street, while one of the group's members addresses the public.

Many Japanese people are annoyed with these displays by the right wing groups; however, few Japanese openly challenge or complain to those who operate the trucks.[2] The Japanese police tend to ignore them or allow them to operate freely, in the interest of free speech.

To a lesser extent, the Japanese Communist Party also uses sound trucks.

Black van with large white characters on it.
Nationalist sound truck, demonstrating in Kyoto, Japan on Constitution day. The large white characters read from the right (the front of the vehicle) 敬愛倭塾 kei ai yamato juku, literally translate as "respect ancient Japan school".
Small yellow van with speakers attached to the top.
Sound truck, operated by the Japanese Communist Party, seen in Aichi, Japan

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