What a sight in the midst of the splendid bamboo forest walk at Arashiyama: A young couple posing for wedding photos in a stream of light on the wide path. The bride’s long white dress glowed with a brilliant light that appeared to emanate from the bodies of the...>>
In November 2013, the newly elected Councillor (sangi- member of the Upper House of the Japanese Diet) Yamamoto Taro caused a political controversy by handing a handwritten letter to Emperor Akihito. By chance, on the day following this event, I happened to be taking a walk around the Diet (kokkai gijido: the Japanese house of parliament). Many right wing groups had gathered to hurl abuse through their soundtrucks- a common practice by the highly vocal right-wing minority. I managed to make a recording of the protesters calling for Yamamoto's removal from the House of Councillors (sangi'in) (they expressed a desire to "beat him up" for insulting the Emperor).
On a personal note, the right-wing group noticed me walking by, and then began to verbally abuse me through their loudspeakers, chanting racist phrases. I quickly finished recording and, escorted by a policeman who was at the scene, walked to safety in nearby Kasumigaseki.
Of interest in the recording is the almost total silence, except for the sound of the men chanting and raving on the megaphones (mounted on the back of the truck). These trucks were parked in front of the entrance to the House of Councillors and were blocking traffic- all the other cars and buses (filled with school children on excursions to the Diet) were sitting patiently and silently (perhaps the drivers were afraid to use their horns?) as they waited for the protest to end.
Recording: Thomas Baudinette Photo: Abasaa used under Creative Commons license from WikiCommons Text: Thomas Baudinette