A message to friends all over the world: We are against the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Emperor Akihito’s reign

Japan today is probably best known to young generations all over the world for animated cartoons it produces, dubbed japanimation. And most japanimation producers construct future society images with mixed fantasies of the European and Asian origins. In most of the imagined worlds they construct, tribal leader-like characters having emerged out of a time/space where the past and the future are one would engage in never-ending bloody battles. Such animation films are a major export item of the 21st century Japan.

It should be remembered, however, that Japan, the renowned home of poets of images, is also a country reigned by a king, who, constitutionally a mere symbol of the state, sustains his throne by dint of violence. He calls himself Emperor, a big appellation, but he is just one of the kings who are getting fewer in today’s world.

We want the following to be known to the people all over the world. In this country, if you criticise the monarchy explicitly, you are met by overt and covert harassment by the security police and royalists, and may even be doomed to mysterious death. All this is true despite the presence and functioning of a democratically elected parliament. It is quite rare for these dark sides of the matter to be reported at home, let alone abroad. Newspapers, TV stations, and politicians are totally silent about them. Mainstream media are busy pouring gracious images of the royal family into the public mind.

It is strange that in their stories meant for global audience, Japanese poets of images never let any of the legendary great kings of the Japanese dynasty appear as characters. Royalists claim that the first king was enthroned more than 2600 years ago, such remote days of yore that King Arthur, whose legendary 6th century deeds Walt Disney made into animated films, would appear a recent hero. Why then are the Japanese kings missing in japanimated stories? Are the producers afraid of blasphemy? Are they concerned about possible negative responses from the world market which is still sensitive to the scars of war? Or are they just trying to escape into a very distant nowhere?

The incumbent king, Akihito, is the heir to the deceased king Hirohito. Along with Hitler and Stalin, Hirohito was a major 20th century dictator who played a leading role in making wars and perpetrating genocides. No dictator of the century save Hirohito has succeeded in evading punishment and preserving his dynasty to date. Akihito and his family members with their dainty performance and beguiling utterances serve to conceal the 140-year history of imperial wars, aggressive militarization and remilitarization, greedy economic expansion, and open and secret oppression of the people. Such is the smokescreen role all royal family stories play.
But are the days coming when japanimation stories begin to praise killings by Japanese kings?

We do not want to see such happen. We therefore refuse to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Akihito’s reign and his Heisei era. We are opposed to the big party of celebration held today by the Japanese government. If we hold a festival, we will do so only for our reasons.

We want to let you know that in Japan there is our kind of people too.

Anti20 Coordinating Group @Japan
November 12, 2009