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Japan Travel Guide

Pop Culture in Japan: Uyoku



The loud-speaker-mounted trucks of the uyoku, or ultra-nationalists, are an inescapable and noisy feature on the streets of every Japanese city. These mobile ghetto blasters, decorated with Rising Sun flags and screaming slogans, blare out distasteful right-wing messages or stop outside large companies and banks, broadcasting embarrassing statements about them.

There are estimated to be around a thousand such ultra-nationalist groups in Japan, and to a startling extent, the police turn a blind eye (and deaf ear) to their activities. Politicians and the media who openly criticize the ideals and institutions they hold dear, such as the imperial household, set themselves up for some kind of nasty retribution. To most people, though, uyoku are an embarrassment best ignored.

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