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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 14 - 20  > Citizens in birthplace of ‘Freedom of Expression’ exhibit call for reinstatement of closed artworks
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2019 August 14 - 20 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Citizens in birthplace of ‘Freedom of Expression’ exhibit call for reinstatement of closed artworks

August 15, 2019
A group of concerned citizens in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward on August 14 took to the streets to collect petition signatures protesting against the closure of an exhibit in the Aichi Triennale under unjust political pressure, demanding the reinstatement of the exhibit.

The shuttered “After ‘Freedom of Expression?’” exhibit was projected by Triennale Artistic Director and journalist Tsuda Daisuke as a follow-up to an art event which was held at a small private gallery in Nerima in 2015 to showcase artworks representing threats to the constitutional right to freedom of expression. The artworks in the Nerima exhibition included a statue of a girl depicting wartime Japanese military “comfort women”. They were also displayed in the Aichi Triennale.

Illustrator Hassaku Taro, who joined the street action, pointed out that the “comfort women” statue recounts human rights violations against women during the war. He also said that to bar the display of the statue will lead to a Japan which disregards people’s basic human rights. Using a microphone, Hassaku called on passersby to sign the petition by saying, “It is natural that every piece of art becomes a subject of love-it-or-hate-it discussions. The latest incident in the Triennale indicates a move toward creating a society where freedom of expression is limited due to political pressure.”

A 65-year-old woman signed the petition and said, “Freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. I wanted to see the ‘After Freedom of Expression’ exhibit. I’m really angry at the Nagoya mayor’s remark attacking the statue symbolizing ‘comfort women’ victims as well as at the unreasonable and unjust objections to the exhibit.”

Japanese Communist Party members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and the Nerima Ward Assembly, Toya Etsuko and Sakajiri Masayuki, took part in the street campaign.

Past related articles:
> Majority of Aichi Triennale artists call for reopening of ‘shuttered’ exhibition [August 7, 2019]
> Political pressure on exhibit of ‘statue of Korean girl’ in Aichi Triennale violates Constitution banning censorship: Koike [August 4&5, 2019]
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