With his goatee and buttoned-up, collarless shirt and jacket, Satoru Aiko blended in seamlessly with other young Japanese hanging out near JR Kamakura Station on Sunday evening. Except that Aiko stood perfectly still, ceremoniously erect.

Then he started to sing. Loudly and clearly he delivered "Amazing Grace" -- slightly off key, perhaps -- but with a solemnity that told everybody who glanced up from their cell phones and comic books that he had something serious to say.

Aiko, 28, held up a sign with the words "Zettai dame" ("Absolutely not"). A steady trickle of newcomers arrived and soon 50 people -- most everyone gripping a candle -- joined in as he carried on the melody. Two women walking by stopped in their tracks and giggled, wondering what was going on. As if in answer, someone unfurled a makeshift banner: "No war."