Soon after the New Year 2015, a sad news arrived suddenly; Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr. Kenji Goto were killed. Islamic State released the cruel video to the world that showed the beheaded bodies with heads on it.
A week after the killing of the second victim, Mr.Goto, was revealed, there held memorial ceremonies to mourn the deaths in Hokkaido, Miyagi, Chiba, Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka, Kyoto and Fukuoka at the same time. For around 2 hours, 600 participants gathered with the photos of the deceased and the placards which called for peace, and observed silence. No Sprechchor was heard as the purpose for the ceremonies was simply to mourn.
Japan government carried out its will to refuse any negotiations with Islamic State and Prime Minister Abe told repeatedly that he would not submit to terrorism. He expressed the solidarity with international community along with the United States. Nonetheless, the message form the government did not represent the voice of Japanese citizens. IWJ filmed the memorial ceremonies in Japan. Grief, vexation and prey for peaceful world without violence were heard from the participants.
▲Mourning participants with various placards at Hachiko-mae in Shibuya
- Table of Contents:
- Afraid of the widespread public opinion of “no alternative but military retaliation”
- “‘To make pay the price’ is careless word” says a journalist, Mr.Munesuke Yamamoto
- A fresh resolve not to make Japan capable of waging war
- Concerns about the discrimination and prejudice against Muslim
Afraid of the widespread public opinion of “no alternative but military retaliation”
▲“May Rest In Peace” poster with the photo of Mr.Yukawa and Mr.Goto
In Fukuoka, about 30 citizens gathered at the corner of a busy district, Tenjin. Mr.Irie, one of the representative of this gathering, told the reason why they held the ceremony. “We called for the gathering because we were afraid of the widespread public opinion, such as ‘self-responsibility’ or ‘no alternative but military retaliation’. We thought the way to resist it was to mourn the deceased. “ In Sapporo, Hokkaido, around 50 participants gathered in front of a clock tower shivering with cold. One of the representative told his feeling about the event. “Several feelings are intertwining. I am angry at somebody’s saying ‘it’s self-responsibility’ and the government’s management, but now I want to pray silently.” In Aichi, more than 50 participants gathered in Hisaya Odori Park at Sakae district while it was raining. One of the participants told the motive of participation. “People thinks variously about this sad event, but many people wants to mourn the deceased. We wanted to gather to share the mourning.“ In Shibuya, Tokyo, the rain stopped just before the ceremony started. Around 200 people carrying various placards mourned for the dead. A man and a woman told to IWJ; “Islamic State released unilaterally the video that indicated the killing, I came here to express that Japanese people has the feeling of mourning.” “I think there increased the risk extremely for Japanese who is living abroad. Can we leave this situation as it is? What can we do for it? I participate for repose of souls of the dead, with the resolution to fulfill their wish and not to make such event happen again.”
“‘To make pay the price’ is careless word” says a journalist, Mr.Munesuke Yamamoto
▲In memories of Mr.Goto who reported from the war zones wishing the world without war
Mr.Munesuke Yamamoto and Mr.Ryusaku Tanaka, freelance journalists like Mr.Kenji Goto, visited Shibuya for interview and both of them commented on the death of Mr.Goto; Mr.Mukesuke Yamamoto said “The voice of citizens gathering here does not spreads but Prime Minister’s message spreads all over the world. I must point out that the Prime Minister said at Cairo that Japan pledged a total of $200 million to aid the countries fighting against Islamic State.” “Prime Minister must imagine how the message is received by Muslims when it is translated into English, it is a matter of diplomacy. He said that he would make them pay the price and this message was translated into English then into Arabic. He said that he would retaliate like top military officer. It is careless word.” Mr.Ryusaku Tanaka said “The truth goes into a black box unless someone goes to the troubled area and reports the local voice. Usually someone who massacred never says they massacred, and the victims of an air strike exaggerate thedamage. The journalists need to do their job.” “It seems everything is allowed under the pretext of the war on terrorism. It is odd that the Diet passed a bill unanimously. If the condemning resolution is carried out without any investigation of the past, Abe gets what he wants. It is the Iraq invasion by the United States that created Islamic State and Koizumi administration helped it. Now it has been forgotten. And if we do not think carefully about this hostage event, the issue left unsettled. Everything is allowed under the pretext of the war on terrorism, it is a shock doctrine.” A man who participated the gathering in Fukuoka also worried about the future of Japan looking back upon the Iraq War in 2003. “Japan deeply involved in the background that created Islamic State, for example Iraq war. It is unlikely a war happens soon like 70 years ago when Fukuoka city was bombed, but it is very likely that Japan is going to be a murderer. “
A resolve not to make Japan capable of waging war
▲Placard against the government’s foreign policy going toward war
In Kotodai Park in Sendai city, Miyagi, a daughter, a mother and a grandmother participated in the ceremony. The grandmother said she spent every morning praying for the release of two hostages and could not stop crying after she found out the killing of the second victim Mr.Goto. “Why such a person who desired peace had to be killed like this.” The lady continued to say with tears. “Maybe it is a difficult problem between States, but the life should be the first priority. If we could save them by paying money, I wanted Japan to pay”. In front of Kyoto City Hall, there placed placards and candles side by side on the steps. Around 80 people gathered. One of the representative told us with the condolences and protest. “I doubt that Abe administration really had the intention to save them. Now there is a sign that the self-defence force would be sent to overseas using the occasion of their deaths. In order to reward their deaths, we need to renew resolve not to make Japan capable of waging war.” In Dotonbori, Osaka, about 100 people gathered. One of the participant pointed out the indifference of society. “I can not straighten my thinking about the event yet. All of us needs to think deeply about this. I think if we keep on being indifferent, it might cause the similar event happening again. There is nothing to do for me, but I came here to share our feeling with others.”
Concerns about the discrimination and prejudice against Muslim
▲Woman who participates in the ceremony prays silently with candles
In Chiba, around 20 people gathered to the ceremony in front of the Crystal Doom. The voice by a woman who concerned about the discrimination and prejudice against Muslim was impressive. “I want to do something I can to protect people from the discrimination and prejudice against Muslim.” “I have many Muslim friends. Last year there was a notification at a shop where my daughter was working that it was necessary to report when Arabs came to buy medicines. It was sad and I was afraid.” A man who came to Chiba gathering from Ibaraki commented that we should not forget the fact that citizen in Syria were killed because of the air strike by the coalition. ■Click the link to see the video archives of memorial ceremonies held at several cities in Japan.
▲【Hokkaido】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Hokkaido ▲【Miyagi】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Miyagi ▲【Chiba】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Chiba ▲【Tokyo】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Tokyo ▲【Aichi】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Aichi ▲【Kyoto】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Kyoto ▲【Osaka】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Osaka ▲【Fukuoka】 Memorial ceremonies for Mr.Haruna Yukawa and Mr.Kenji Goto in Fukuoka