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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 September 2 - 8  > Ceremony commemorating Korean victims of 1923 massacre held at Tokyo park
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2020 September 2 - 8 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Ceremony commemorating Korean victims of 1923 massacre held at Tokyo park

September 2, 2020

On September 1, the day marking the 97th anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake, an annual memorial ceremony took place at a Tokyo park to pay tribute to Korean victims who were slaughtered as a result of groundless racist rumors amid the chaos following the quake.

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was held with a limited number of participants and streamed live online.

After a powerful earthquake hit the Kanto region centering on Tokyo on September 1, 1923, xenophobic rumors were spread claiming that Koreans were poisoning wells, and as a result over 6,000 Koreans and 700 Chinese were killed by the Imperial Japanese military, police officers. and vigilantes. The annual memorial ceremony is held by the organizing committee to ensure that this tragic history will be remembered.

The ceremony participants renewed their determination to prevent a recurrence of such a tragedy. At the same time, they criticized Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko for refusing to send a message of condolence to the ceremony since 2017, a year after she assumed office, by breaking predecessors’ tradition.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira sent his message to the ceremony. In the message, he pointed out that the Tokyo governor has a responsibility to face up to and reflect on Tokyo’s bitter legacy. He noted that it is not too much to say that Governor Koike’s refusal to send a message has played a role in fueling hate speech movements.

Koike also said that the Tokyo Metropolitan government attempted to impose an unfair requirement on the ceremony organizing committee for the use of the metropolitan park for this year’s event and took the outrageous stance of putting the organizer in the same category with hate speech groups that hold a rally simultaneously nearby. Koike stressed that the Tokyo government gave up its attempt, but it should still be criticized for its attitude.

Koike concluded his message by saying that the 1923 massacre of Koreans is not a thing of the past but that discrimination continues unabated and that he will do his utmost so that such hate crimes will not recur.

Past related articles:
> Tokyo gov’t approves use of metropolitan park for memorial service for Korean victims of 1923 massacre [August 5, 2020]
> Gov. Koike's stance on Japan's past colonial rule and racism draws criticism [June 30, 2020]
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