This weekend sees Japan vote in its 3rd general election in the space of 5 years. A sign, one could argue, of a healthy democracy. Or at least one could if the ruling Liberal Democratic Party hadn’t held near continuous power since its foundation back in 1955. Two minor blips totalling a measly 4 years being the party’s only time out of power. And despite some seemingly early promise this time from a rejigged opposition, Sunday’s election will do nothing but boost that incredible record. The only real speculation is how large Prime Minister Abe’s new majority will be; a number that could have huge consequences for both Japan and the region in general, as a big win will give Abe a very real chance of achieving his overriding political goal — the rewriting of Japan’s pacifist constitution.
This desire for constitutional change, however, has more than a few opponents — many of whom are now increasingly willing to show their disdain in public. Generally it’s in groups or marches, but encouragingly the occasional individual is prepared to go it alone, regardless of the reception they may receive from the wider public.
Ha, so funny to see someone else get those looks and not you! 😉
Haha, yes, I suppose it does. Happy to say that generally I only manage one dirty luck, almost never three!
Love the silver maned guy upper centre, and I like the fact that the lookers are all sporting rather mono-colour outfits.
It’s interesting how this lady gets looks and this guy does not…
Is it that she is impinging on peoples personal space by being “in the way” or “making a noise” rather than quietly exhibiting the beliefs she has?
Or is it that you can have any belief/style/interest you like so ong as you don’t try to foist it upon others.
Possibly the latter as this guy is trying silent persuasion and gets the looks too…
Anyway, I’m proud of myself not being baited by your lure into political discussion 🙂
Yeah, he was an interesting looking fella. He gave me a nice big smile as he passed.
I think it was simply the noise factor. She had a loudspeaker on the back of her wheelchair. You can see it sticking out behind her back. Just after I took this shot a staff member from the shop she was outside asked her to move on. She clearly wan’t helping trade. That contradicts why the other protester was getting similar looks, but that was probably just down to his rather comical headwear.
You certainly did much better than me. I planned to not bang on about it, but that clearly didn’t happen…
I wonder what influence the wheelchair has on the peoples’ responses. Isn’t there a a stigma for people that are (excuse the phase) “reduced in function or cultural integration”, such as homeless and mentally unstable folks? Combine the stigmatized wheelchair bound that folks want to ignore and a loudspeaker that can’t be ignored and passers by are probably in a quandary.
I think it’s interesting how the walking ladies in the photo appear to be veering away from the “outcast” troublemaker.
That’s a very interesting point. There’s certainly a tendency to avoid certain groups of people, or simply pretend they aren’t there. In this case I’d have probably just gone with the fact that she was simply very, very noisy. I first heard her from quite a way away, and went over to see what was happening. But now that you’ve mentioned it, her behaviour was unusual, so it’s likely that the ‘outcast’ element was, at the very least, a contributing factor to the reactions.
Ken Caldicott says
I was wondering what all the loudspeaker vans were doing this week. Also found that Suziki-san’s shamisen shop in Suitengumae has shut.
Only tomorrow to deal with, then relative peace and quiet will return — thank goodness. I live right by a train station, and there are politicians (or wannabe politicians) stood outside shouting their names to commuters from early morning. Not much fun…
A sadly all too common story. So many places I’ve enjoyed visiting, or just enjoyed looking at, have either closed or been knocked down. Inevitable I guess, but very sad nonetheless.
That’s absolutely too much alliteration. ‘Shut’ (if final) is a step too far!
Haha! Allowing oneself the indulgence of a little bit of alliteration is always lovely.
Much of Nippon seems to have become much more outwardly expressive since WW2 ended. This photo seems to reinforce this observation; at least at the individual level.
The older generation’s ‘group think’ or ‘cultural think’ mode is perhaps less influential now than in previous generations.
The photos from the student protests in Japan during the 1960s have always fascinated me. Partly because of the photographs themselves and the new approach to photography they helped encourage, but also because it seemed like a very different country back then. Protests. Genuine anger in the streets. Something I’d barely seen a hint of during my time here.
A lot of that changed after the earthquake in 2011 and the nuclear meltdown that followed. The protests after that were huge, and while there is nothing on that scale anymore, it seemed to bring in a new era of protest, as since then I’ve regularly seen people out on the street or marching against a whole host of issues. The government and particularly Abe in general. The dreadful secrecy law he pushed though. Japan’s article 9. Plus other issues such as hate speech, a lack of childcare services etc. A definite shift, and yes, a noticeable move away from the collective mindset. That said, a lot of those doing the protesting are invariably older, so not sure what that says in regards the future…
Reflective of how I imagine the average Japanese person views politics: mystified, rather perplexed, somewhat annoyed, can’t be bothered, and basically “kankei-nai”. Something to be stepped around as you rush along pursuing your daily tasks.
Great composition – as usual. Reminds me of narrative paintings from the Renaissance and 19th century.
That’s so very true. Abe seems to be deeply unpopular, and yet him and his party keep on winning comfortably. Something to scowl and moan about, but at the same time do little to actually change. There’s a typhoon here today, so voter turn out will presumably be even lower than usual. A further boost, I presume, for the LDP…
Thanks. That’s very nice to hear.
The only thing that has kept and still keeps the LDP in power are the skewed voting districts which have the less populated and more LDP freindly reprensetative districts great power in the Diet the far greater populated urban representative districts. Rotten boroughs if you will.
Yes. That ain’t going to change any time soon either.
The increasingly large older, largely LDP voting block make anything other than an LDP win even more unlikely too. A viable opposition would help in that regard though. It’s all far too easy for Abe and his pals. A man who isn’t all that popular is now likely to become the country’s longest serving post-war PM with what looks like a 2/3 majority. A thoroughly dismal state of affairs, and although the weather has admittedly been awful, voter turnout in the low 30s pretty much says it all…
“Why aren’t all you kids having sex and making babies? Don’t you know that in 150 years the Japanese genome as we know it will cease to exist?”
“Having families is so 20th Century, grandma!”
“Why, you little brat! When I was your age, I had already popped out three kids!”
“I’m late for my virtual date, grandma. Have a nice day screeching at folk.”
“What? Hey! Come back here! You! You, young lady! Have sex with my grandson right now! Make babies to save our country!”
“Ew, gross! No! He likes ‘Kono Sekai no Katasumini’ anime and I like ‘Osomatsu-san’!”
“If you don’t have babies right now, we’ll have to import foreigners!”
A lot of truth in that. An awful lot!
Lol, great little scene.
Reminds me of this cartoon I saw recently…
Great street shot. Awesome framing as always! 🙂
HA! Love it. It’s sad, though.