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Philosophies and activities
Uyoku dantai are well known for their highly visible propaganda vehicles, known as gaisensha (街宣車) – converted vans, trucks and buses fitted with loudspeakers and prominently marked with the name of the group and propaganda slogans. The vehicles are usually black, khaki or olive drab, and are decorated with the Imperial Seal, the flag of Japan and the Japanese military flag. They are primarily used to stage protests outside organizations such as the Chinese, Korean or Russian embassies, Chongryon facilities and media organizations, where propaganda (both taped and live) is broadcast through their loudspeakers. They can sometimes be seen driving around cities or parked in busy shopping areas, broadcasting propaganda, military music or Kimigayo, the national anthem. The Great Japan Patriots, supportive of the US-Japan-South Korea alliance against China and North Korea and against communism as a whole, would always have the US national flag flying side by side with the Japanese flag in the vehicles and US military marches played alongside their Japanese counterparts.
Political beliefs differ between the groups but the three philosophies they are often said to hold in common are the advocation of kokutai-Goji (retaining the fundamental character of the nation), hostility towards communism and marxism and hostility against the Japan Teachers Union (which opposes the display of Japanese national symbols and the performance of the national anthem). Traditionally, they viewed the Soviet Union, China and North Korea with hostility over issues such as communism, the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands and the Kurile Islands.
Most, but not all, seek to justify Japan's role in the Second World War to varying degrees, deny the war crimes committed by the military during the pre-1945 Shōwa period and are critical of what they see as "self-hate" bias in post-war historical education. Thus, they do not recognize the legality of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East or other allied tribunals; consider the war-criminals enshrined in the Yasukuni Shrine as "Martyrs of Shōwa" (昭和殉難者 Shōwa junnansha); or support the censorship of history textbooks or historical revisionism.
It is difficult to arrest uyoku dantai members because freedom of ideology is protected by the Constitution of Japan. This is one of the reasons why Yakuza groups use uyoku dantai as camouflage.
Below is a list of some groups usually considered uyoku dantai.
- Aikokusha (愛国社?, "Society of Patriots") – Set up in 1928 by Ainosuke Iwata. (Not to be confused with an 1875–1880 organization of the same name). Activities included organization of anti-communist student movements in various universities and indoctrination of youths in rural villages. On November 14, 1930, Tomeo Sagoya, a member of the society shot Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi at Tokyo Station in an assassination attempt.
- Genyōsha (玄洋社?, "Black Ocean Society") – originated from a secret society of former samurai, with an aim to restore feudal rule, Genyosha was an ultranationalist secret society. They engaged in terrorist activities such as the attempted assassination of Ōkuma Shigenobu in 1889. It formed an extensive espionage and organized crime network throughout East Asia and agitated for Japan's military aggression. Forced to disband after the war.
- Black Dragon Society (黑龍會 kokuryūkai?) – an influential paramilitary group set up in 1901, initially to support the effort to drive Russia out of east Asia. They ran anti-Russian espionage networks in Korea, China, Manchuria and Russia. Expanded its activities worldwide in the subsequent decades and became a small but significant ultranationalist force in mainstream politics. Forced to disband in 1946.
- Daitōjuku (大東塾?, "Great Eastern School") - a cultural academy set up in 1939. Runs courses related to Shinto and traditional arts such as waka (poetry) and karate. Conducted several campaigns, such as the restoration of the National Foundation Day's original status of kigensetsu ("Empire Day") and of the legal designation of Japanese era names as Japan's official calendar.
- Great Japan Patriotic Party (大日本愛国党 Dai-nippon aikokuto?) – Set up in 1951 by, and centred around, Satoshi Akao, a former anti-war member of the pre-war National Diet who was well-known at the time for his daily speeches at Sukiyabashi crossing in Ginza, Tokyo. The party advocated state ownership of industries with the Emperor as the head decision maker. They emphasized the need for solidarity with the United States and South Korea in the fight against communism. Their propaganda vans were decorated with the Stars and Stripes alongside the Japanese flag, and Akao once stated that Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima) should be blown up as it represents an obstacle to friendship with South Korea. A former party member, Otoya Yamaguchi, was responsible for the 1960 assassination of Inejiro Asanuma, the head of the Japanese Socialist Party, at a televised rally.
- Issuikai (一水会?) – Formed in 1972 as part of what was then known as the "new right wing" movement which rejected the pro-American rhetoric of the traditional right wing. It sees the Japanese government as an American puppet state and demands "complete independence". Advocates the setting up of a new United Nations on the basis that the current UN structure is a relic of the Second World War. Fiercely critical of the Bush Administration over issues such as the Iraq War and the Kyoto Protocol.
Groups affiliated with yakuza syndicates
- Nihon Seinensha (日本青年社?, "Japan Youth Society") – one of the largest organizations with 2000 members. Set up by the Sumiyoshi-ikka syndicate in 1961. Since 1978, members have constructed two lighthouses and a Shinto shrine on the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyutai), a collection of uninhabited islets claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan. In June 2000, two members of the society attacked the offices of a magazine which ran a headline which was allegedly disrespectful to Princess Masako.
- Nihon Komintō (日本皇民党?, "Japan Emperor's People Party") – affiliated to the Inagawa-kai syndicate. In 1987, it conducted a bizarre campaign to smear Noboru Takeshita during his quest for the position of Prime Minister, by constantly broadcasting excessive praise of Takeshita using twenty loudspeaker trucks. The broadcasts were stopped after the intervention of Shin Kanemaru. This incident led to a series of political scandals which eventually highlighted the involvement of organized crime in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In April 2004, a bus belonging to the group rammed the gate of the Chinese consulate in Osaka, damaging the gate. Police arrested Nobuyuki Nakagama, the driver, and Ko Chong-Su, a Korean member of the group, for orchestrating the attack.
- Taikōsha (大行社?, "Great Enterprise Society") – a Tokyo-based organization with about 700 members, officially affiliated to the Inagawa-kai syndicate.
- Seikijuku (正氣塾?, "Sane Thinkers School") – a group based in Nagasaki Prefecture set up in 1981. Responsible for a number of violent incidents, including the 1991 near-fatal shooting of the mayor of Nagasaki who stated that Emperor Hirohito was responsible for the war.
- Yūkoku Dōshikai (憂国道志会?) – an extreme nationalist party. The group set fire to Ichirō Kōno's house in 1963. The members were armed with guns and katana, took eight hostages, and barricaded themselves in Japan Business Federation's office in 1977. Its leader Shūsuke Nomura had admired Korean nationalist An Jung-geun as a patriot. on 37th election of assembly member of the House of Representatives (1983), a secretary of Shintarō Ishihara defamed his opposition candidate Shōkei Arai (Bak gyeong-jae/박경재) as a "Korean", the party protested hard against Shintarō Ishihara.
- National Socialist Japanese Workers' Party (国家社会主義日本労働者党 Kokka Shakaishugi Nippon Rōdōsha-Tō?) – a small neo-Nazi party headed by Kazunari Yamada, who maintains a website and blog which includes praise for Adolf Hitler and the September 11 attacks. Pictures of Yamada, a Holocaust-denier, posing with Cabinet minister Sanae Takaichi and LDP policy research chief Tomomi Inada were discovered on the website and became a source of controversy; both have denied support for the party.
- International Federation for Victory over Communism (国際勝共連合 Kokusai Shōkyō Rengō?) – Set up in South Korea and Japan in 1968 by Sun Myung Moon, the founder of Unification Church. The Japanese chapter was set up following a meeting between Moon and Ryōichi Sasakawa, an ultranationalist businessman, and Yoshio Kodama, a leading figure in organised crime. These two figures, both suspected class-A war criminals due to their involvement in drug smuggling operations in China during the war, headed the organisation. In 1969, it campaigned to close the (pro-Pyongyang) Korean University in Japan which was run by Chongryon, a pro-Pyongyang Korean group in Japan. In 1971 it organized hunger strikes to protest against Japan's official recognition of the People's Republic of China. The group advocates a nuclear armed Japan and solidarity with United States and South Korea.
- Ganbare Nippon (頑張れ日本！全国行動委員会 Hang In, Japan! National Action Committee?) - A group founded on February 2, 2010 It is chaired by former Air Self-Defense Force chief Toshio Tamogami. who has led the group since its founding. Following the attempt by Hong Kong activists to land on the disputed Senkaku Islands, the group landed on the islands and raised the Japanese flag. During the subsequent 2012 China anti-Japanese demonstrations, they organized counter protests in Tokyo with a turnout of only fifty people.
- Japanese nationalism
- Japanese militarism
- Statism in Shōwa Japan
- Sound trucks in Japan
- "Forgiving the culprits: Japanese historical revisionism in a post-cold war context published in the International Journal of Peace Studies
- David E. Kaplan, Alec Dubro, "Yakuza:The Explosive Account of Japan's Criminal Underworld," Collier Books, August 1987
- Hori Yukio, "Uyoku power in the Post-World War II" Keisoshobo, October 1993 (Japanese Book)
- Manabu Yamazaki, "An affirmative theory of modern yakuza" Chikumashobo, June 2007(Japanese Book)
- Bacchi, Umberto (September 8, 2014). "Japanese Minister Sanae Takaichi in Neo-Nazi Photo Controversy". International Business Times. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
- Lee, Elaine. "Japan nationalists return after nearing islands disputed with China". MSN.News. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- The Japan Times Conservatives rally against DPJ January 30, 2011 Retrieved on August 20, 2012
- Reuters Japan nationalist dreams of new patriotic party July 27, 2012 Retrieved on August 20, 2012
- The Daily Yomiuri Tokyo govt applies to land on Senkaku island / Police question Senkaku visitors August 21, 2012 Retrieved on August 21, 2012
- Time magazine Activists Up Ante in China, Japan Isle Dispute August 19, 2012 Retrieved on August 20, 2012
- Warnock, Eleanor (September 18, 2012). "Small Turnout for Anti-China Protest in Tokyo". The Wall Street Journal.
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