Osaka – On June 7, the Black Lives Matter Kansai chapter showed why Osaka — and the Kansai region — is still a vital place when it comes to standing up for what you believe in. Local media reported that a march the group sponsored drew at least 1,000 people. Others say it was more. But the final figure is less important than the diverse group of Japanese and non-Japanese who participated.
For many years, public marches in Japan for human rights issues and minority issues have been notable for the average age of those who gather to hold signs and shout slogans. Which is to say a large proportion of participants appear to be at, or beyond, sometimes well beyond, retirement age. They marched as young students in the 1960s for all sorts of liberal and progressive causes. Now, grandfathers and grandmothers, they feel an obligation to keep marching even as they gripe about young kids today having no interest at all in anything other than smartphones, video games and making money.