Category Archives: World Saving

People’s Climate March Kyoto; April 30th 2017

Here’s the good word from Aileen Mioko Smith:

The new Donald Trump administration has attacked the hard-won protections of our climate, health, and communities, and the rights of people of color, workers, indigenous people, immigrants, women, LGBTQIA, young people, and more.

A new wave of protests larger than at almost any other point in history is fighting back — let’s make sure that we mark the 100th day of his presidency with another mass action that stands up for our communities, including in Japan.

Join us on April 30th at 12pm at Bukkoji Kouen. Let’s march together.

Date: Sunday April 30th
Place: From Bukkoji Kouen to Kyoto City Hall
Time: Meet at Noon at Bukkoji Kouen (near Shijo/Kawaramachi)
Bring a placard.
The demo ends at Kyoto City Hall by around 1pm.
Directions to Bukkoji Kouen (park):
From Shijo Kawaramachi intersection, go south to first signal, turn east.

Please spread the word!


UPDATE: The new flyer for the march can be downloaded here:

“To The Village Square” – An Evening with Photographer Lionel Delevingne

Here’s a message from Lionel Delevingne about an event tomorrow night!


Friday, September 30th
7pm 〜9pm

at Impact Hub Kyoto

Lionel Delevingne will be at Impact Hub Kyoto to present and speak about the photographic images from his book “To The Village Square”, with comments from Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action (Kyoto). We look forward to a lively discussion with audience and speakers.

To the Village Square
From Montague to Fukushima: 1975- 2014

Retracing the birth of the safe energy movement starting in Montague, Massachusetts in 1974 through Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

“To the village square we must carry the facts of atomic energy.
From there must come America’s voice.”
Albert Einstein, June 1946

Place: Impact Hub Kyoto
Nishijin IT ro-ji building ,97 Kainokamicho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto
(Just west of Aburanokoji and Nakadachiuri intersection.)
Enter from the gate at west side of building next to pay phone.
Phone: 075-417-0115

English / Japanese interpreting.
All Welcome.
No reservation required.
Admission Free
Green Action
E-mail: info[at]

Charity Auction for NICCO at Kyoto Isetan; February 20th – 22nd

The following message was sent in by Akiko Yoshida of the Kyoto based NGO NICCO and all queries should be addressed to her at the contact address given below.

The 26th Charity Auction for NICCO:
“Exhibition of Finearts” in Kyoto
February 20th – 22nd at JR KYOTO ISETAN
(Open Event)

nicco charity auction

The 26th Charity Auction for NICCO will be held at JR KYOTO ISETAN during the period of February 20th to 22nd, 2016. All of its proceeds will be donated to NICCO, Kyoto-based humanitarian organization, for its projects in and outside of Japan such as support activities for victims of the tsunami in Tohoku and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. By either bidding for or purchasing these works, visitors can contribute to humanitarian projects for people living in developing countries and disaster affected areas.

The Event
To support our overseas projects, we hold an event which is called “Charity Auction for NICCO-Exhibition of Artifacts-” for our fund raising. The exhibition has been held every year in one of the famous department stores in Kyoto City since 1991. This event is supported by a variety of artists such as ceramic artists, Japanese-style painters, masters of tea ceremony and calligraphers. These include Kyoto-based creators like Mr. Brian Williams and Mr. Randy Channell. These supporters contribute by donating their works freely as charity. The total number of works of art will be over 200. People can appreciate and obtain these works at a relatively reasonable price by participating in the auction. All the profits – except for necessary expenses – will be donated to NICCO.

Dates and Time:
February 20th (Fri) to 22nd (Mon), 2016
Venue: JR KYOTO ISETAN, 10th floor (JR Kyoto Station Complex)
Admission: Free
Organizer: “Charity Auction for NICCO” Executive Committee

Charity Auction for NICCO

Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development (NICCO) is a Japanese non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to supporting self-reliance among people in developing countries in Asia, the Middle-East and Africa. Since its establishment in the early days of Japanese NGOs in 1979, NICCO has focused on emergency assistance and human resource development, as well as rural development based on environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Akiko Yoshida, Charity Auction for NICCO Executive Committee
Tel: +81-75-241-0674
E-mail: info[at]
Address: 101 Nishi Rokkaku-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan 604-8217

A Long March – Ted Taylor Reflects on Anti-Nuclear Protest in Kyoto

Each year, as the anniversary of the 3/11 disaster in Tōhoku approaches, anti-nuclear protestors here in Kyoto hold a rally and march to protest the government’s pro-nuclear policies. On Saturday March 7th this protest will take place once again. A year ago Ted Taylor joined this same rally and reported on it for our book, Deep Kyoto: Walks. As the marchers once again gather in Maruyama Park, the time would seem opportune to revisit that report. We join Ted as the demonstrators begin to move from the Park into the streets of Kyoto…

Excerpt from A LONG MARCH by Ted Taylor

…Most around me are in their 30s or 40s, being political only to the extent that they want a safe home and future for their children. As there are fifteen reactors just to the north of us here in Kyoto, they have great reason for concern. Regardless of personal beliefs about whether or not nuclear power is safe, the Fukushima disaster proved how unsafe they can be under current conditions. While the marchers here today are most certainly against even a single one of the fifty inert reactors in Japan coming back online, an even larger percentage of Japanese takes a more pragmatic approach, and would accept some of them back online as a temporary solution until other means can be found, though with greater safety protocols in place. As I walk I ponder this, and the passing buses and automobiles douse us in their exhaust, a reminder of equally unpleasant alternatives.

We’ve moved up Shijō-dōri by now, following the parade route that the yamaboko floats take during Kyoto’s renowned Gion festival. The festival began as a purification ritual to appease the gods thought to cause fire, floods and earthquakes. Perhaps in this nuclear age, our group of walkers serves as a new type of float. Today too, our procession is being observed by the thousands of people out shopping and sightseeing, many of whom have bemused looks on their faces. None are more amusing than the confused looks on the faces of foreign tourists. A worker at one of the tourist shops stands out front offering samples of yatsuhashi to passersby. For a moment I’m tempted to break ranks and taste one of these famed sweets, as it seems like a very Kyoto thing to do.

Our bit of street theater merges briefly with the crowds just coming out of the Minamiza, and then we’re off again, crossing the river and making an eventual right turn onto the bustling Kawaramachi. As the chants now turn to “Kyoto o Mamorō!” or “Protect Kyoto!” I look up this canyon of towering steel and glass, wondering if there is anything left to protect.

Picture 15 A Long March by Ted Taylor (Medium)
Text and photograph by Ted Taylor. To read the rest of Ted Taylor’s A Long March, download Deep Kyoto: Walks here: LINK.

DeepKyoto-cover-0423-finalAbout Deep Kyoto: Walks

Deep Kyoto: Walks is an independently produced anthology of meditative strolls, rambles, hikes and ambles around Japan’s ancient capital. All of the writers and artists involved in this project have lived and worked in Kyoto for many years and know it intimately. The book is in part a literary tribute to the city that they love and in part a tribute to the art of walking for its own sake.

About Ted Taylor

tedBased in Kyoto, Ted’s work has appeared in The Japan Times, Kyoto Journal, Resurgence, Outdoor Japan, Kansai Time Out, Elephant Journal, and Skyward: JAL’s Inflight Magazine, as well as in various print and online publications. A Contributing Editor at Kyoto Journal, he won the top prize in the Kyoto International Cultural Association Essay Contest. He is currently at work on a series of books about walking Japan’s ancient highways. Ted blogs at

See also:
Meet the Authors
Meet the Artists
An Exclusive Extract from Judith Clancy’s Walk
Old School Gaijin Kyoto – An Excerpt from Deep Kyoto Walks by Chris Rowthorn
Ghosts, Monkeys & Other Neighbours – An Excerpt by Bridget Scott
Blue Sky – An Excerpt by Stephen Henry Gill
Across Purple Fields – A Reading by Ted Taylor (VIDEO)

Kyoto’s Annual Anti-Nuclear Rally at Maruyama Park, This Saturday, March 7th 2015!

名称未設定 1

From Aileen Mioko Smith,

I realize this is late notice! Here is the information on the big
annual no nukes rally to be held this Saturday, March 7th at Maruyama Park. The demonstration will leave the park and end at Kyoto City Hall.

The rally starts at 1:30pm. Booths are open from noon, right outside
the venue.

Everyone welcome.

Thank you, Aileen! Details, in Japanese, are on the flyer below.

バイバイ原発3・7きょうとチラシ うら

Support Kai Fusayoshi & the Spirit of Honyarado this Saturday February 28th at Urbanguild!


Honyarado as it was…

…the café caught fire in an unknown cause before dawn of 16th January and over 2million frames of black-and-white photographic negative film I’ve saved for more than 40 years, along with tens of thousands of prints, thousands of copies of more than 40 books I wrote, posters, postcards, my favorite cameras, a hundred and several tens of diaries I’ve kept for 43 years, manuscript of “Youth of Honyarado”, my new book on the pleasant early days that was about to be published, valuable guest books conveying the atmosphere of early days vividly, and thousands of books from my library, were mostly burned down and lost.
I am now at a total loss. I don’t know where to begin…

KAI Fusayoshi

the spirit of honyarado

Legendary Kyoto cafe Honyarado, once famed as a center for counter-culture and folk music, was sadly lost to us in a fire on January 16th of this year. Fortunately, Kai Fusayoshi the proprieter, escaped unhurt, but he did lose many of his precious negatives and books. Kai is a well-known black-and-white photographer who has been documenting the lives of ordinary Kyoto citizens (and cats) for many years now, so this is a terrible loss. The good news is that the good people at Urbanguild have organized an event this Saturday to show their support for Kai, and encourage him to start afresh. This is a good opportunity for the local community to come together and show some support for one of our most valued members, and I’m sure it will be a memorable night.

Here are the details:

February 28th Saturday
Doors open: 17:00
Show starts: 18:00
Close: 21:00

Entry: 1000 yen (+ one drink) -> and a donation!

The Performers:
Kevin McHugh
trace elements (max & ryotaro)
草壁カゲロヲ (VOGA)
ゲバゲバ2 [KEi-K (alto sax) + 横田直寿 (ds)]

Location: UrBANGUILD. From Sanjo Dori go down Kiyamachi Dori. This is the narrow street running alongside Takase stream. Urbanguild is on the east side (left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo). Walk approximately 150 metres. Its on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a MAP.

Apparently some “smoked” photographs will also be on sale & there will be an after-party at Kai’s bar, Hachimonjiya (map here).

Please Support EMA Japan’s Campaign for Same-Sex Marriage Rights & Sign their Petition!

emaLast week the good people at Japan Today were kind enough to publish a profile piece I wrote on the Equal Marriage Alliance of Japan (EMA Japan for short). Founded in February of this year, EMA Japan is the only NPO advocating solely for legal same-sex marriages in Japan. Unfortunately, same-sex marriage is still illegal in Japan, so EMA are running a petition that aims to put pressure on politicians of all parties to support a change in the law.

I would urge you to sign that petition: LINK.

My article was the result of a lengthy interview with EMA’s President Kazu Terada, and Vice President Jeffrey Trambley. In the finished piece I tried to emphasize how denying a minority of people their spousal rights impacts negatively both practically and profoundly both on individual lives and on society at large. Here is a clip :

…the spousal rights denied to same-sex couples are many. To name but a few, same-sex couples cannot benefit from the tax deductions and inheritance rights that are due to married couples. They cannot apply for joint housing loans. In a medical emergency, a same-sex partner cannot make decisions on behalf of their loved one, and perhaps most upsetting of all, in the event of death, a same-sex partner has no legal entitlement to attend the funeral.

But beyond these legal rights and benefits, Terada believes that marriage equality would bring social validation to the whole LGBT community. “The social meaning of the right to marry could be the most important benefit. When legal discrimination ended in Denmark, society became much more open. There were fewer instances of bullying in schools because the new law sent a message of tolerance and acceptance. Parents of those with homosexual children didn’t have to worry about their future. They could be confident that their children would be treated fairly before society and the law.”

Trambley adds, “I think of closeted people working in Japanese companies and those that cannot come out to their families. It’s hard for them that they can’t be themselves. Even if a person doesn’t want to get married, to have an easier time being yourself in society, this is a major benefit of marriage equality.”

You can read the full article here: New NPO brings same-sex marriage equality into Japanese public debate.

My interview with Kazu and Jeffrey covered a lot of ground, but of course I was not able to include everything within the parameters of the Japan Today article. On a blog though, you can do what you like. So here is part of our original conversation, where we discuss how the lack of overt discrimination in Japan, paradoxically leads to a lack of action on LGBT rights…


DK: How much of the opposition to same sex marriage is tied in with traditional ideas about marriage and family?

KAZU: The situation in Japan is that we don’t see so much opposition to the idea of same sex marriage. The problem is more indifference. The problem is not staunch opposition per se, but the intrinsic indifference in society.

DK: Do you think a lack of outright discrimination against the LGBT community, has also led to a lack of awareness about the legal issues facing same sex couples?

KAZU: Yes, absolutely. And this is why European countries were able to achieve same sex marriage earlier. Because of outright discrimination, like Stonewall in New York in the 1969 and other cases of discrimination in Denmark in 1973, the LGBT communities were moved to action.

JEFFREY: So without a galvanizing event, it is a challenge to get people to think about the issue seriously and educate, not only the LGBT community, but society at large, that inequalities exist.

DK: Much of the Japanese media seems to treat gay identity as a source of amusement. Do you think this has helped to create an atmosphere of indifference? How should this change and what role should the media play in the future?

JEFFREY: The popularity of such celebrities such as Matsuko Deluxe shows that the media generally accepts sexual minorities only in a humorous way. Unfortunately, the existence of such celebrities and talento can lead some to assume that all gay men like to dress up as women, whereas this is a very small minority. The media does not highlight the more mainstream gay or lesbian members. Rather than indifference, the media has created a mistaken image of the LGBT community.

KAZU: First, the media itself should take up more mainstream gay and lesbian people in their stories – present a more balanced image of LGBT members of society, not just the comic portrayals. If you look at the dramas in the US and UK these days, there is more diversity in casts, often including gay, lesbians and transgender roles, portrayed in a realistic way.

JEFFREY: Yes, the diversity in American dramas and sitcoms has grown tremendously in recent years. A recent Amazon TV drama called Transparent, features the story of a transgender man in his 50s how he came out to his adult children and wife. This kind of story at present does not exist in the Japanese media portfolio. In America, the buzzword of diversity is everywhere, especially in the major networks. Americans want to see TV that reflects the society in which they live. In Japan, LGBT members exist in society, but they are as of yet not represented on the TV we watch here, other than these caricatures that are presently shown.

DK: How much popular and political support is there for marriage equality?

KAZU: We have been pleasantly surprised to find many politicians quite supportive of equal marriage. In fact, EMA has met with several prominent politicians in both the ruling and opposition parties and progress is being made towards bringing the issue forward in the Diet. The opposition parties, especially the liberal-leaning DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan), are beginning to see that in order to get back into power, supporting a platform of diversity including marriage equality, could be vital to facilitating their return to power.

JEFFREY: With the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, Japan should strive to be a leader in human rights in Asia. We see the marriage equality issue as a human rights one. The Olympics and Paralympics are a huge opportunity for Japan to create a legacy of openness and acceptance. Especially after the negative press Russian received when its anti-gay laws were put into force, Japan should see the 2020 games as a chance to show the world the true meaning of omotenashi.


I believe that in a fair and just society people should be allowed to live with and legally marry whoever they love, regardless of their gender. Denying people the legal right to marry is a form of discrimination, and an insidious one that has far-reaching effects on our society and in some ways harms us all.  Please add your voice to the EMA Japan petition here:

You can also find EMA Japan at the following links. Sign up, spread the word and don’t be indifferent.

REBELDOM 31st EDITION 〜尊芯塾 × DAM (from Palestine) @ Club Metro

This event at Club Metro on Thursday October 9th features the award-winning Slingshot Hip Hop film, a short discussion about current conditions in Gaza & the West Bank, and a rocking live performance by DAM, Palestine’s first and foremost hiphop group.
RebeldomDate: Thursday October 9th 2014
Part 1

19:00: Doors Open
19:30 Movie: Slingshot Hip Hop
21:00 -21:30: Discussion

Part 2
REBEL SOUNDS:DAM (from Palestine) / RITTO (from 琉球) / 志人 / STINKY SCIZA (BONG BROS.) / DR.HASEGAWA
/ DJ PLANT (尊芯塾)

Tickets for Part 1 OR Part 2: 2000 yen for advance tickets / 2500 yen on the door
Tickets for Part 1 AND Part 2: 3000 yen
All tickets include one drink.
Order advance tickets here: ticket[at]
Access: Club Metro sits beside the Kamo river on Kawabata Dori, below cafe etw and above Marutamachi Station. Take Exit 2 from the station to find it. Here is a map:
Check this page for details:

Rebeldom reverse

Help Send a Bright Young Tibetan, Tsewang Phuntsok, to University

The following is from Kyoto blogger Heenali Patel,

Hello everyone!

I’d like to introduce you to somebody who has meant a great deal to me for almost 7 years. His name is Tsewang Phuntsok.


Tsewang Phuntsok has “dreams of bettering the lot of his family, ambition, and a generous heart to match” – Click on the picture to help him go to University.

Tsewang was a 12 year old student at the school I volunteered at, in Nepal back in 2008. His family comes from a small village in Tibet- he was sent to live in Kathmandu in the hope that it would give him a better life.

Unfortunately, his life in Kathmandu was anything but better. The school where he lived was poor, dirty and managed by a corrupt individual who siphoned any funds from sponsors into his personal bank account.

I remember feeling utterly shocked to see all 100 students or so, sleeping in cramped spaces, infested with insects and rats. They had no clothes but for their tattered school uniforms- many didn’t even have shoes. I even knew a little girl who took to wearing a cardboard box. Illness and infection was common, and despite the best efforts of the cook, meals were often nothing more than porridge.

Yet, the children were bright, always happy to play- and always happy to learn. Many had a thirst for education that I’d never seen in the UK. One of these students was Tsewang- he had dreams of bettering the lot of his family, ambition, and a generous heart to match. We became friends very quickly- by the time I left Nepal, I thought of him as a brother. Me and my mum Vina Patel promised to help him pursue his education.

After I left, there was an outbreak of tuberculosis at the school. I don’t know how many of the children I had played with survived. In an act of total bravery- the likes of which I’ve never seen from any other 13 year old- Tsewang ran away from the school. With our promise to support him, he found a new school that gave him what the other could not- a decent chance at life.

My mum and I have supported Tsewang through his education for almost 7 years. Far from the undernourished child that I knew, he has grown into a strong young man- though his heart remains as beatiful as the day I met him.

Now, I’ll get to the point. Tsewang’s dream is to become a marine captain. He needs to train at the Nepal Institute of Maritime Studies in order to do this. But his fees are too much for us to pay entirely. His parents have sold what little land they own in the mountains- but even then, this only covers half the cost.

So now I’m going to try putting Tsewang’s education into the hands of all my friends, family and any other genourous soul who want to change someones life for the better.

I need to raise £2000 for Tsewang’s university fees- this will cover him for his full course, including an apprenticeship that will secure a regular paying job for him in the future. PLEASE HELP ME! 🙂 Any amount would be appreciated so much- this isn’t just helping any anonymous charity- but helping a young man who I have known and loved for a very long time!

Thank you so much!

Thank you Heenali! Well, £2000 doesn’t seem like such a difficult target. I’m sure if a few big-hearted Deep Kyotoites chip in, even just a little bit, it will go a long way to setting Tsewang on the road to a brighter future. Whaddya think?

Please add your donations at:

See also Heenali Patel’s site: The Japan Philes

To Boldly Go – TEDxKyoto x George Takei & Patrick Linehan

This picture by Minori Murata

This picture by Minori Murata

Once again I have to congratulate Jay Klaphake and his TEDxKyoto team of volunteers for organizing a splendid event at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies today!

It was a delight to see Patrick Linehan speak here again, this time on the effect his last speech at TEDxKyoto has had on his life and also on the lives of others. In September he told us to embrace the qualities that make us different and celebrate them. Today he told us how he is now often recognized by people who have seen this talk, and how they tell him how much they have been encouraged by it. One young lady told him he had inspired her to come out to her parents. Another young man was inspired to embrace his transgender identity. As before Mr. Linehan’s speech was characterised by its warmth and gentle humour and left us all feeling highly motivated.

George Takei then took the stage and told us of his family’s terrible experiences during and immediately after World War 2. Rounded up into internment camps at the outbreak of the war for simply being Japanese-American, they lost everything, and after enduring the hardships of the camps they had to start again after the war was over from the poorest conditions. Despite these hardships however, young George Takei was inspired by his own father’s fervent belief in democracy and by those young Japanese-Americans who despite the discrimination they faced at home signed up to defend democracy and bravely fought in the European theater of war. In particular he told us of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, the most decorated regiment in the history of the US army. In an especially memorable story, he told us of one battle where they helped to break the Gothic Line, the last major line of German Defense in the latter stages of the war. To break the line of defense, the 442nd regiment scaled a sheer cliff under cover of night and launched a surprise attack the following day. Many soldiers fell to their deaths while attempting to climb that cliff – but George told us, even as they fell they did not cry out, for they did not want to give their comrades’ position away. They fell silently. Continue reading