A Collection Of Right-Wing Japanese Propaganda Buses

If you've ever spent any time in Japan, you've seen them: big, black buses blaring right-wing propaganda. And today, you're going to see an entire fleet of them. If Japanese itasha enthusiasts gather, Japanese right-wingers do, too. Here, it was also to mark Japan's creation. This weekend, that's exactly what happened.

Feb. 11 is National Foundation Day, the day that the country's mythic first emperor, Jimmu, ascended to the throne. Jimmu is believed to have descended from Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess.

It's the stuff of legends (and the video game Okami), and the day was used in the past to whip up nationalism. Today, it's been stripped of its patriotic fervor — just don't tell these folks who showed up in Kashihara, Nara, where Emperor Jimmu, is supposedly buried.

Dubbed "gaisensha" (街宣車) or "propaganda trucks" in Japanese, the vehicles blast right-wing slogans and songs. The vehicles are intimidating — even to regular Japanese folks. Like anywhere, loving one's country is fine, but extreme patriotism can be frightening.

While Japan does have noise pollution laws, it also has free speech laws. These vans are able to get the same licenses that allow political parties, and even religious groups (hello Japanese Christians!), to drive around and broadcast their opinions.

These right-wing groups, or uyoku dantai (右翼団体) as they're called in Japanese, have existed in Japan since the country opened itself to the West. They are not mainstream. Some members are connected to organised crime — and some of them are not even Japanese citizens, but Japanese-Koreans, or Zainichi Koreans. Wikipedia has a list of groups considered to be uyoku dantai.

As Japanese website Gigazine pointed out, it's fairly normal to see these big black buses patrolling the city streets, blaring propaganda. However, this past weekend gave a rare chance to see an entire parking lot full of them.

In year's past, gaisen were mostly huge buses, but due to new automobile emissions regulations, they are getting smaller — mini-vans and even hybrids are not unheard of. And how about those Japanese right-wingers driving around in American cars?

Have a look at the propaganda mobiles. Photos courtesy of Japanese site Gigazine.

街宣車が大集合している橿原神宮の紀元祭に行ってみました [Gigazine]


    Isn't thr rising sun flag almost as bad as the swasticka?At least Germany have the good taste to outlaw their symbol of fascism.

    @Boomzzilla, I'm pretty sure it is just their naval flag. Like in Australia we have the white version of the blue flag. Or something like that.

    Alot of people gloss over the PTO when they look at WW2. The focus being more on Europe and the fight there against the Nazis. Completely overlooking the fact that the Japanese were just as bad, if not worse than the nazis.

      The invading Japanese committed horrific crimes to civilians and POW's throughout Asia, but does that mean Japan today should forget thousands of years of history and tradition leading up to WW2?

      You should be able to draw a solid line between celebrating national pride and celebrating crimes against humanity.

    I don't understand how this is relevant to games? The only reason I clicked this link was to ask the community: Does anyone really enjoy articles about Japanese culture (this isn't even otaku)?

      Yep, I do!
      And if I do, i'm sure i'm not the only one

    Why would any Japanese person drive an American car?

    It's like a Michelin star chef going to McDonalds for dinner...

    Oh how I miss those things.. Echoey broadcasts filling the streets, not unlike the broadcasts heard throughout Half-life 2

    This article sure says right wing a lot, am I to conclude that because it's an 'American' article that they mean conservative? or something more imperialistic?

      It's conservative but also imperialistic, yeah.

      Some right-wing politicians and supporters in Japan are ultra-nationalistic, it's very different to conservatism in the US or Australia.

        Thanks for answering Aidan :-)

      Hard to explain.

      The Japanese right and the American right are very different.

      The Japanese right are heavily nationalistic. The American right are generally nationalistic but they do not have a monopoly on it.

      The Japanese right are socially conservative. As are the American right (the conservatives, at least... American libertarians aren't right-wing or left-wing).

      The Japanese right are, however, anti-free-market economics. So is MOST of the American right, but the American right is GENERALLY less hostile to free markets than the Japanese right.

    "The Japanese right are, however, anti-free-market economics. So is MOST of the American right, but the American right is GENERALLY less hostile to free markets than the Japanese right."
    Where on earth did you get the idea that the American right is anti-free market? They worship totally free markets--unbridled captalism of the 19th century variety. Their stated goals are to reduce govenment to a shell and eliminate virtually all regulation of business. They have decided that corporations should be able to out-bid real people in purchasing TV time and politicians. The Japanese right worships the Emperor and the concept of Imperial government; the U.S. right detests government (except the military part of it).

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