From HandWiki
Short description: Japanese far-right organization
LeaderYasuhiro Yagi
Dates of operation2007[1]–present
Active regionsJapan
Political positionFar-right
Major actions
StatusDesignated as a potential threat to law and order by the Japanese government due to their "extreme nationalist and xenophobic" ideology.[3]
Zaitokukai demonstrating in support of withholding the right of non-citizens to vote in Shinjuku on January 24, 2010

Zaitokukai, full name Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (在日特権を許さない市民の会, lit. Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi), is an ultra-nationalist and far-right extremist political organization in Japan , which calls for an end to state welfare and alleged privileges afforded to Zainichi Koreans.[3] It has been described by the National Police Agency as a potential threat to public order due to its "extreme nationalist and xenophobic" ideology.[3]

Its membership is between 9,000[4] to over 15,000.[citation needed] Vice News called them "J-racism's hottest new upstarts" in 2014.[5] The group is considered by critics to be an anti-Korean extremist hate group,[6][7] and have been compared to neo-Nazis.[8]

It was founded and led by a man who goes by the assumed name of Makoto Sakurai. On November 16, 2014, Yasuhiro Yagi was selected as chairman for the fifth term as the result of a vote of confidence by the group's members.[citation needed]

Sharon Yoon and Yuki Asahina argue that Zaitokukai quickly succeeded in framing Korean minorities as undeserving recipients of Japanese welfare benefits. Even as Zaitokukai declined, far-right anti-Korean discourse powerfully influences public fears.[9]



Zaitokukai was founded on December 2, 2006, and held its inaugural meeting in January 2007.[1]

Sakurai founded Zaitokukai after seeing a TV news report on a group of Japanese citizens organizing to support the Zainichi Koreans who brought a lawsuit to obtain national pensions without making any premium payments. Sakurai was disturbed by the fact that there were Japanese who backed the suit which he thought could destroy the Japanese pension system. He then searched for a conservative political organization fighting against what he regarded as an extraordinary demand of Zainichi Koreans, but could find none. He then decided to establish Zaitokukai.[10]


The group has been protesting against the extension of suffrage to non-citizen foreign nationals. In September 2009, it held a demonstration in Akihabara calling for the resistance to granting suffrage to non-citizen foreign nationals with about 1,000 participants, according to Sakurai himself.[11] Some time before that, Zaitokukai held a counter-protest against a demonstration by more than 3,000 in Ginza, Tokyo, organized by Mindan (the Korean Residents Union in Japan) to extend suffrage to foreigners.[12]

The group involves themselves extensively on social media.[5]

Several members of the group made donations to the political funding organization of Tomomi Inada between 2010 and 2012.[13]


Zaitokukai alleges that Zainichi Koreans have special legal rights granted to them through the process of their integration into the Japanese society. It claims that members of this ethnic group use "pass names" that are Japanese-style and often very different from their original Korean names to abuse welfare and administrative systems. Members of the group also believe that it is much easier for Zainichi Koreans to claim and receive welfare benefits than it is for Japanese citizens, causing serious problems in the entire welfare system in Japan to the detriment of Japanese citizens. It accuses Zainichi Koreans of cheating the tax system as well, claiming that Zainichi Koreans pay reduced amounts for many taxes, including income tax, corporate tax, and council tax. It argues that Zainichi Koreans wrongfully claim those rights by saying that they are a deprived and discriminated minority in Japanese society.[14]

In pursuit of its goals, Zaitokukai has set an ultimate goal of repealing the Special Act on Immigration Control (入管特例法)[15] which gives Zainichi Koreans special permanent residence status which can never be granted to other foreign nationals. The first chairman Sakurai declared in his book that Zaitokukai would be dissolved when the Special Act on Immigration Control is repealed.[16] The second chairman, Yasuhiro Yagi, also affirmed in his inauguration message that Zaitokukai's ultimate objective is to annul the said Act.[17]


Anti-Zaitokukai group. Behind to the right is noted anti-racist activist Yoshifu Arita.
Anti-Zaitokukai rally in Tokyo, 2013

The group has been compared to neo-Nazis although sociologists[who?] quoted by The New York Times in 2010 stated "they lack an aggressive ideology of racial supremacy. There have been no reports of injuries, or violence beyond pushing and shouting."[8]

The group is criticized for its aggressive and racist behaviour towards non-citizen residents of Japan, mostly Zainichi Koreans. Its supporters have described Zainichi Koreans as "criminals" and "cockroaches", and called upon them to be killed.[3][18]

It frequently organizes small-scale public demonstrations against Zainichi Koreans and other social and political issues, and its members make racist insults against Koreans, Chinese, and other foreign nationals in these demonstrations.[19] A writer for Vice News pointed out they tend to focus on Zainichi Koreans to the exclusion of other groups that might violate immigration statutes.[5]

They also take to the Internet, and in August 2014, Lee Sin (variously named as Lee Shinhae and Lee Shin-hye), a Zainichi Korean freelance writer, filed two lawsuits, one for damages of ¥5.5 million against the group and Sakurai and ¥22 million against the administrator of Hoshu Shimpo, a conservative news website compiler for defamation by hate speech, the first of its kind. Lee received sometimes hundreds of negative messages daily on her social networking site and says that she would like to hold responsible the website compiler that profits from compiling discriminatory internet commentary.[20]

Ikuo Gonoi, a professor at Takachiho University and researcher at the Institute of Social Science at International Christian University, described them in 2013 as "just an archaic type of 'mob' (which Hannah Arendt defined in The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951), not something like a 'new wave'".[21]


In 2009 they showed up at the school and home of a Filipino girl whose parents were deported for overstaying their visas.[22] In 2010 they protested showings of The Cove.[4]

On December 4, 2009, four members of Zaitokukai were arrested for harassing Korean students in Minami Ward, Kyoto,[23][24] at a pro-DPRK school.[25]

On June 17, 2013, Makoto Sakurai and three other members were arrested in Shinjuku, Tokyo, when a fistfight broke out between counter-protesters and the Zaitokukai.[26]

In early 2014, their demonstration of 100 in Ikebukuro were met by double the number of counterprotesters. Sakurai's van was surrounded but managed to escape to Koreatown, and one member and four counterprotesters were arrested.[4]

See also

  • Uyoku dantai
  • Chongryon
  • Japan First Party
  • Ethnic issues in Japan
  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Movement Against Illegal Immigration


  1. 1.0 1.1 Makoto Sakurai, Daikenkanjidai (大嫌韓時代), Seirindo, 2014, p. 162.
  2. Julia Trzcińska, ed (2018). Polish K-Pop Fandom: Phenomenon, Structure & Communication. Stowarzyszenie Badaczy Popkultury i Edukacji Popkulturowej Trickster. p. 79. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 McCurry, Justin (4 December 2014). "Police in Japan place anti-Zainichi Korean extremist group Zaitokukai on watchlist". The Guardian. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fackler, Martin (28 August 2010). "New Dissent in Japan Is Loudly Anti-Foreign". The New York Times. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Punk, Olie (24 March 2014). "Japan's 'Internet Nationalists' Really Hate Koreans". Vice News (Vice Media). "The post was recruiting activists for a counter protest against a right-wing group called Zaitokukai, J-racism's hottest new upstarts." 
  6. Quigley, J. T. (8 October 2013). "Japanese Court Rules Against Anti-Korean Hate Group". The Diplomat. 
  7. "Rise of Hate Speech in Japan" (in ja). Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Fackler, Martin (August 28, 2010). "A New Wave of Dissent in Japan Is Openly and Loudly Anti-Foreign". The New York Times. "Though some here compare these groups to neo-Nazis, sociologists say that they are different because they lack an aggressive ideology of racial supremacy. There have been no reports of injuries, or violence beyond pushing and shouting. Rather, the Net right’s main purpose seems to be venting frustration, both about Japan’s diminished stature and in their own personal economic difficulties." 
  9. Sharon J. Yoon, and Yuki Asahina, "The Rise and Fall of Japan’s New Far Right: How Anti-Korean Discourses Went Mainstream." Politics & Society 49.3 (2021): 363-402 online[|permanent dead link|dead link}}].
  10. Ditto, pp. 159–160.
  11. Makoto Sakurai, Zaitokukai toha “Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai no Ryakusho desu! (在特会とは「在日特権を許さない市民の会」の略称です!) meaning “Zaitokukai is short for ‘Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi!’”, Seirindo, 2013, p. 62.
  12. Ditto, p. 63.
  13. Supreme Court dismisses LDP's Inada's defamation suit against the Mainichi , The Mainichi (June 2 2017).
  14. "在日特権を許さない市民の会 - 7つの約束". 
  15. Formally “Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan” (日本国との平和条約に基づき日本の国籍を離脱した者等の出入国管理に関する特例法 ) (Japanese)
  16. Makoto Sakurai, Zaitokukai toha "Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai" no Ryakusho desu! (在特会とは「在日特権を許さない市民の会」の略称です!) (which means "Zaitokukai is short for 'Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi!'"), Seirindo, 2013, p. 43.
  17. 会長選挙当選の挨拶 (Japanese)
  18. McNeill, David (September 26, 2014). "Japan's cabinet rocked by new claims of links to neo-Nazis who target the ethnic Korean population". The Independent. 
  19. "A black sun rises in a declining Japan". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). August 23, 2012. 
  20. Takahashi, Mei, "Damages Claimed for Hate Speech", Voices From Japan (Asia-Japan Women's Resource Center), No. 29 March 2015, p.49
  21. "Spreading hate speech: from revisionism to anti-semitism" , June 5, 2013, Astand (in Japanese)
  22. "How Fukushima gave rise to a new anti-racism movement - Human Rights - Al Jazeera". 
  23. "Rightists arrested over harassment of schoolchildren". Asahi Shimbun. 2010-08-11. 
  24. "Several to be held for allegedly harassing Korean school". Mainichi Daily News. August 10, 2010. 
  25. Sharp, Andy (August 12, 2010). "Rightists' Childish Attacks". The Diplomat. 
  26. Fackler, Martin (June 17, 2013). "8 Arrested in Tokyo Fights Involving Anti-Korean Group". The New York Times. 

Further reading

External links