On Karasuma Dori (street) in central Kyoto, a familiar black sound truck emblazoned with the hinomaru flag and thick Chinese characterszen nihon yushi kai (literally, "All Japan Friendship Intent Society," but that does not capture the menace that lurks behind those beautiful characters) was illegally parked.
In front of it stood three thugs in para-military gear. They had the buzz cut favored by the Japanese right wing, and the vacant look of the converted. The two on the outside stood at attention, holding flags facing the Yomiuri Shinbun (newspaper) Building across the street.
The man in the middle then began a loud amplified tirade about the spinelessness of Japanese foreign policy, the holiness of the Emperor, the horror of North Korea, how foreigners are ruining Japan and at the end, before signing off, apologized for causing trouble.
With the exception of woman no doubt a girlfriend videotaping it from across the street, no one paid the group the least bit of attention. Not even a bored looking cop who rolled by in his patrol car.
May 28, 2006.