Villager photos by Q. Sakamaki
Right wing rising in land of rising sun
East Village photographer Q. Sakamaki was in his homeland last month documenting Japan’s resurgent right wing. On this page are photos from the Yasukuni Jinja, the national war shrine in Tokyo, showing people coming to worship their ancestors and relatives who died in World War II. Japanese brutality in China and Korea during the war is well documented, and many Chinese and Koreans oppose the shrine’s existence.
Right-wingers try to win converts at Ochanomizu in Tokyo. The man at lower left wears a kiku (chrysanthemum) on his back, the symbol of the emperor and imperial Japan, which is also seen at the war shrine.
The right-wingers advocate cutting Japan’s relationship with the U.S. and recovering territory taken by Russia at the end of World War II. Japan’s Constitution, written under American guidance after the war, only allows Japan to defend itself from attack.
The right-wingers want to change the Constitution so the country can once again wage war of aggression. Sakamaki says while Japan’s government has been growing more conservative over the last 20 years, the hard-line right-wingers don’t have such a big following.