Tokyo (AP) – Holding handmade signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” hundreds of people marched peacefully in Tokyo on Sunday, highlighting the outrage over the death of George Floyd even in a country often perceived as homogeneous and untouched by racial issues.
Sunday’s turnout in Tokyo underlined how Japan has historically been reticent in dealing with diversity and is now trying to understand the Black Lives Matter movement and grapple with its own history of discrimination.
Last week, a rally with similar themes in Tokyo drew several hundred people, and one in Osaka, in central Japan, drew about 2,000.
“There is no country without racism, and I think the countries that don’t portray it are just because people are ignorant of the problem,” said Kazuna Yamamoto, a Japanese woman living in Chile who was taking part in Sunday’s rally in Tokyo.
Osaka, who has Haitian and Japanese parents, has expressed empathy for the Black Lives Matter movement, and posted a photo of Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who knelt during the U.S. national anthem, in protest of racism and police brutality.