Japan/Okinawa Social Justice Resource List
While we didn’t get a chance to meet with all of these organizations, here’s a list of some of the groups and resources that we know about, in case you want to get more involved or are planning a similar trip.
Shirouto no Ran – This radical organization has some radical places along the local street in Koenji (Tokyo). It has an info-shop, a secondhand shop, a remakeclothing shop, a bar, a coffee shop and a free space. Shirouto no Ran is one of the organizers of anti-nuclear demos.
Henoko Sit-in Tent: Activists who have had a tent village outside the military base since 2004.
Takae-based Sit-in Tent: Many activists have a sit-in tent in Takae, a very small town in the pristine Yanbaru Forest (also home to many endangered species). The villagers are protecting Yanbaru Forest from US military, which is planning to build helipads that will train pilots to operate the dangerous Osprey plane. More info available here: http://helipad-verybad.org/ and http://nohelipadtakae.org/files/VOT-english2010Oct14.pdf
Close the Base: Good clearinghouse about US bases in Okinawa and across the Asia-Pacific (http://closethebase.org/)
US for Okinawa: A network of US activists (many currently based in Japan) who oppose the military bases. They have organized exposure trips to Okinawa to reveal the impacts of US militarism. Check out: http://www.youtube.com/user/USforOkinawa and http://us-for-okinawa.blogspot.com/
Women for Genuine Security: US-based organization for the end of militarization, violence, and all forms of sexual exploitation. Strong network to folks in Okinawa, S. Korea, Guahan (Guam), Philippines,Japan, Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, and the continental United States. Affiliated with the International Women’s Network Againt Militarism. http://www.genuinesecurity.org/
Anarchist & Anti-Authoritarian Spaces
Irregular Rhythm Asylum: Anarchist bookstore/meeting place in near Ni-Chome, Shinjuku (Tokyo). English language “About” page: http://irregular.sanpal.co.jp/?page_id=3415, plus a sweet illustrated English-speaking traveler’s ode: http://bit.ly/1288EPa.
Cafe Lavanderia: Anarchist cafe in Ni-Chome, Shinjuku (Tokyo). Come here to for a snack, to pet their resident cats, or browse their books. The folks who run this cafe are really great! Their Japanese language website, regularly updated: http://cafelavanderia.blogspot.com/
Peace/Human Rights Museums
Peace Osaka: Museum documenting the impact of war, especially as it affected Osaka
Liberty Osaka: Human rights museum in Osaka. Focuses on the experiences of marginalized communities through artifacts, oral histories, and historical documentation. Includes info on indigenous Ainu & Okinawans, LGBTQ Japan, disabled folks, etc. (Online tour: http://www.liberty.or.jp/topfile/human-top.htm). A wealth of info, including an English self-guided audio tour. Without the recordings, though, non-Japanese speakers will have a tough time accessing the museum’s content. (Pictured: Lils scopes out an exhibit about queers!!)
Hiroshima Peace Memorial: A space to honor those killed by the atomic bombings in Hiroshima, located near the epicenter of the blast. This site includes a memorial to Koreans who were killed by the bombings, while under Japanese colonial rule.
Women’s Action Museum on War and Peace: Details the role of the Japanese government had in forcing women to become “comfort women” in WWII. In Shinjuku (Tokyo) near Waseda.
Other Peace Museums in Japan: More info here: http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/mediacenter_d/w_museum/20110117134222317_en.html
Mixed Roots Japan: A Kansai-based project about the experiences of mixed heritage folks in Japan. They host conferences, radio shows, social gatherings, and hiphop concerts that celebrate and connect mixed folks. Turns out that everyone in Tadaima is mixed, so for us, this was particularly cool. We got to meet Ed Sumoto (one of the founders of this rad project), who led us on a tour of Kobe’s resources and community centers for ethnic minorities & immigrants (pictured)! Check out Mixed Roots Japan online: https://www.facebook.com/MixedinJapan
Hafu Film Project: A film project about folks who are “Hafu” or half-Japanese.
Nikkei Youth Network: An international organization that brings together people connected to the Japanese diaspora (many members are Latin American Nikkeis!). http://nikkeiyouth.com/
HinQ (Hinkon o nakusu tame no Kuia [Queer] no kai): Translation: Queers for Ending Poverty. A Gunma/Tochigi/Saitama/Ibaraki-based queer group launched on April 21, 2013 in order to “fight the social structures that drive certain people into poverty” and “make better the lives of the economically disadvantaged,” based on the philosophy that queer issues and the issues of poverty cannot be separated but are two sets of social problems that overlap each other. http://hinq.wordpress.com/english/
Bar OccaMan: an outdoor LGBTQ/CampGirls bar open only once a month on the third Saturday in Tatebayashi, Gunma. It is part of the town’s monthly event called Shitamachi Yoichi and is run by our friend Masaki and his family.
Queer & Women’s Resource Center: Osaka-based resource center for Women, Queer and Trans-folks. Japanese language website here: http://www.qwrc.org/index2.html
Kansai Queer Film Festival: Queer film festival run by some of the folks we met in Kyoto. English website: http://kansai-qff.org/index_en.html
Queers speaking English for you, and in return…: A Japan-based collection of resources on queer experience from the non-English speaking world. “Not all queers speak English as their first language. But here we speak English for you, so you can read about what’s going on in non-English speaking regions. And we expect you to return the favor (i.e., do research when you write/talk about queers like us)”. https://www.facebook.com/QSE4U
Tokyo Wrestling: Lesbian & Queer culture webzine (http://www.tokyowrestling.com/)
Women & Poverty
Women and Binbow Network: Women and Poverty Network, working at the intersections of gender and poverty
Takatori Community Center: home to Mixed Roots Radio, Asian Women’s Empowerment Project, NGO Vietnam, FACIL Multi-language Center, Hyogo Latin, AMARC Japan Council, Leaf Green, World Kids Community, and Noda North Hometown — a collection of organizations for immigrant & international communities in Kobe. This space is the homebase of relief efforts in the Nagata ward in Kobe, after the 1995 earthquake that devastated the entire city, especially the eldery and immigrants. http://www.tcc117.org/
Sex Workers and Sexual Health (SWASH): SWASH is a group of sex workers, working so that you can safely join the work force. Since its founding in 1999, they are active in the current and former sex workers and supporters. Also has a trans sex worker project within it.