To everyone throughout the world who is fighting against discrimination, from the Rescue Committee for Comet Black, December 4:
we would like to let you know what happened on a street near the Shibuya station, Tokyo, on December 4, 2010.
Choi Daniel (崔檀悦), also known as Comet Black, a young Korean sociologist born in Japan, a Zainichi, protested by himself against a Japanese racist rally filled with ethnic hatred. The racist mob assaulted him, and he suffered severe injuries requiring three weeks to heal. The police, nonetheless, took no action against the perpetrators of violence, and arrested Comet Black, the victim of violence, for assaulting Shuhei Nishimura, a Japanese grass-roots racist activist.
Comet Black protested non-violently, standing alone before the racist march, holding a banner (See the following video). And the banner contained significant messages.
He did not resort to any physical violence. Rather, dozens of racists started attacking him at once, hitting him with fists, kicking him, using Hinomaru poles as weapons. A lot of police officers were present at the scene to see it. The Shibuya Police Station *1 arrested him, however; they took his finger prints; they did not offer him immediate medical care; moreover, they let the actual perpetrators of violence walk free without proper investigation.
Fortunately Comet Black was released after about fifty hours of detention. However, this incident revealed the corruption and depravity of the Japanese civil society and government. Today’s Japan tolerates hate speech that debases human beings, and also condones hateful collective violence.
Comet Black’s banner contained the following messages:
I am here for a dialogue.
We shall defend the rights to ethnic education!!
We shall hold onto the spirit of the HanShin Educational Struggle!
Unification of the homeland! 우리는하나 ANTIFA Comet Black☆
Comet Black was born in Japan, and grew up in the Republic of Korea until the age of 13; since then, he has lived in Japan. In the nineteenth century, Japan started invading Korea and unlawfully annexed the peninsula (then the Greater Korean Empire) in 1910. Through its colonization, Japan forced assimilationist education there, tying to deprive Koreans of their names and language and make them second-class Japanese. Even since its surrender in 1945, Japan has continued to violate the legitimate rights of Korean residents in Japan, Zainich, and other foreigners to ethnic education. Symbolic of the resistance to such oppression was the HanShin Educational Struggle, which protested against the order, issued by the General Head Quarters (GHQ) of the American Military Administration (AMA) in 1948, to close down Korean schools.
Instead of facing the historical responsibility for crimes against humanity, however, the Japanese government has persisted in its complicity with the division of the Korean Peninsula. Japan participated in the Korean War on the American side; even now, it poses a military threat to the Peninsula as an ally of the United States. In 2010, the Japanese government chose to take a further step: it excluded Korean schools from the “tuition-free policy for high schools,” which was supposed to be universal. The action was taken as a part of the unjust sanctions politics against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. At the same time, it is also a clear sign of Japan’s continuing colonialism; it is an oppression of Korean residents in Japan, Zainichi, and it should not be tolerated.
Comet Black has been actively opposed to such discrimination. He has objected not only to discrimination against Koreans but also to discrimination against all foreigners living in Japan. He has been collecting signatures, participating in peaceful rallies; he has even organized an antiracist march himself; he is also networking people against anti-foreignism on the Internet. His supporters include his fellow Koreans, Japanese who oppose anti-foreignism, and even Japanese nationalists. He has been contributing to the antiracist movements in this country. His non-violent direct action on December 4 was no sudden caprice; it should be situated in the context of his steady commitment to the movements to counter anti-foreignism and discrimination against Korean schools.
Now, about the racists against whom Comet Black protested alone on December 4, 2010: they were celebrating the anniversary of their achievement on December 4, 2009, which was to attack the First Korean Elementary School of Kyoto, calling the students “sons and daughters of spies,” shouting “get out of Japan” (See the video). He expressed his opposition to such people in a non-violent way, and was heavily beaten up. The police arrested him; the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office *2 did not indict him after a lawyer (Kenta Hagio)’s interventions on his behalf, but made an ambiguous decision: under the Japanese legal system, they should have explicitly stated “no suspicion,” but chose not to do so.
We are disappointed at what has been going on; we are also filled with a sense of crisis. We should never let him be isolated. As a member of the Japanese civil society as well as a Korean and a world citizen, he should not be personally exposed to any social, economic, political costs because of what has been taking place since December 4 last year.
We are his friends; we are his comrades. And we never tolerate unjust discrimination and violence. It is our sincere hope that the international anti-racist communities agree. I express solidarity with Comet Black. We express solidarity with Comet Black. I am a Comet Black. In Japan, social sanctions on Comet Black still persist even after his release. That is just unjust. If the attacks on Comet Black are to continue, please add me/us to the list.
We never stop saying this:
We do not tolerate discrimination under any circumstances.
OUR struggle has a long way to go.
January 9, 2011
Signed by the Rescue Committee for Comet Black, December 4