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On the afternoon of Sunday, May 15, hundreds of protesters gathered in the streets of Koenji, a neighborhood west of Shinjuku, Tokyo. For about three hours, these protesters — hippies, punks, shopkeepers and salarymen alike — walked and danced behind flatbed trucks equipped with large speakers from which local bands and DJs played songs and repeated the protest’s slogan: “We don’t need gentrification.”

The third such anti-gentrification protest in Koenji since 2018 (and the first since the COVID-19 pandemic), the May 15 event was organized by a confederation of local business owners and Koenji denizens aiming to stave off the kind of urban redevelopment that has, in their view, changed the local culture of neighborhoods throughout the city.

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