Globally, people are mobilizing to protest police brutality and racism in the name of Black Lives Matter. These protests reached Japan over the weekend as a crowd of over 1,000 marched through the streets of Osaka on Sun, June 7. Chanting “no more racism,” foreigners of various backgrounds and Japanese walked together in solidarity. The message was clear—silence equals complacency.
Black people living in Japan are not exempt from racism and the injustices happening in the US are a reflection of a worldwide problem.
Organized by the Kansai Black Lives Matter chapter, protesters walked for two kilometers from Osaka City Hall to Nishiumeda Park. The event culminated in an eight-minute-long moment of silence in honor of George Floyd who died at the hands of police in Minnesota. A police officer pinned Floyd down, holding his knee on top of his neck for eight minutes until he could no longer breathe.
Black lives matter globally
Black people living in Japan are not exempt from racism and the injustices happening in the US are a reflection of a worldwide problem, says Fernando André Echavarria, a BLM Kansai volunteer.
“Even in Japan, a place very far away from the United States, racism is still a part of my daily life,” he said. “It’s not as dangerous as it is in the United States, where I have anxiety about dealing with the police, but racism comes in degrees. [In Japan], it’s the subtle racism that when you deal with it every day, gets disheartening.”
Echavarria has lived in Osaka for nine years.
Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice—the list of Black people dying by the hands of police seems neverending. Protestors held signs with these names asking for people not to let them be forgotten.
BLM Tokyo held another such demonstration on Sun, June 14 which garnered a massive crowd of around 3,500 people. The organizers emphasized that this was a peaceful event and asked participants to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
BLM Kansai march photos
The photos below show some powerful moments from Osaka’s demonstration.