TOKYO (majirox news) – Each year on Constitution Day the forces of the Right, miniscule as they are, muster on the streets of Tokyo in selected spots to stage ritual confrontations with the riot police, shown here wearing helmets and carrying shields and looking altogether un-militant.
Every May 3 marks the day set aside to commemorate the 1947 charter that is Japan’s supreme law or Constitution. The rightists, with their black vans (not many of these fellas inside the vans) symbolically protest the charter on the grounds that it was written by a foreign power, the United States, then holding almighty power under a military Occupation that lasted for 6 and a half years (1945-52).
The police are out on the streets to hold the forces of the Right at bay, on the borders of Ginza, an upscale shopping district. It’s all a bit artificial and unenthusiastic on both sides. No one is ever arrested, and no one so much as brandishes a sword or other weapon. It’s all very orderly. It’s a mini-Kabuki of the streets in the midst of the azalea season.
David Powell is a photojournalist based in Tokyo, Japan. He is the author of Shoot Tokyo, a daily photographer blog on Life in Tokyo in Japanese and English. You can read his blog at www.shoottokyo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ShootTokyo.