Japanese Police in Full Riot Gear Raid Kyoto University Dormitory

Screenshot of news coverage of the Kyoto University police raid via YouTube user TV Yahoo.

Screenshot of news coverage of the Kyoto University police raid via YouTube user TV Yahoo.

Dozens of riot police officers clad in helmets, shields and protective gear supported plainclothes detectives as they searched a Kyoto University dormitory for evidence on November 13 after three students allegedly obstructed officers during a protest in Tokyo.

The three had been arrested earlier in the month and were accused of using violence against riot police on the sidelines of a labor rally in Tokyo on November 2. The raid on the Kyoto University dormitory presumably was intended to gather evidence against them.

The police look just like the stormtroopers from Star Wars. It's disgusting that we're living in a police state like this. @Darkpbs77@uminohana @tart_k From here on in we're no longer a constitutional democracy, but like you have said, we're going to be seeing more raids and so on conducted by these thugs.

The raid on the Kyoto dormitory received coverage in the Japanese media, including on this popular morning current affairs program (the clip also includes some historical background on student radicals in Japan, including violent demonstrations against the development of Narita Airport in the mid-80's). The segment is titled “Breaking news: police search Kyoto University's Kumaya Dormitory”:

Riot police are often brought in to provide crowd control during demonstrations in Japan. However, generally speaking Japan's universities have largely been free from radical politics for at least 30 years, so the raid on the Kyoto dormitory is unusual.

The raid is part of an ongoing conflict between far-left Marxist group Kakukyōdō (usually known as Chūkaku-ha) and police. This far-left radical student group rose to prominence in Japan in the late 1960s, 70s and 80s, when student protesters clashed with Japanese police, torching universities and disrupting major construction projects.

Twenty years of a faltering economy plus the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and the ascendancy of Japan's hawkish right wing in recent years have breathed new life into Japan's protest movement. For example, take a look at this tweet from June 14, 2014:

RT @Thoton#Japan: Anti-government demonstrations held in #Tokyo#Kyoto protesting against the Abe government's proposed changes to the constitution

Two of the students arrested were Kyoto University students, and the third has a possible connection to unofficial student group Bunka Renmei, which has clashed with Hosei University for six years. Hosei authorities and a group of students are locked in a poisonous struggle that has turned that campus into something resembling a low-security prison.

The police search of the dormitory occurred nine days after students caught a plainclothes officer entering a Kyoto University dormitory without permission in order to monitor a rally held at the university in protest against the arrests.

Kyoto University is one of Japan's leading universities, and is home to elite researchers, scientists, and a long line of Nobel Prize winners. Faculty and students at the national university located in the heart of Kyoto do have a reputation for feistiness and independence. 

As well, student dormitories and student life at Japanese universities can often be chaotic and anarchic.

Another Kyoto University dormitory that was first built in 1913 still houses student squatters for the ultra low price of ¥2,500 (about US$21) a month.

While the raid has generated a lot of interest in traditional and social media, at the end of the day the students at Kyoto University are finding a way to cope:


  • JEng

    Why haven’t they gotten the same level of coverage as the Hong Kong Occupiers?

    • Nevin Thompson

      Thanks for your comment! In regards to coverage, this is nowhere near the scale of the HK protests, where hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life shut down many parts of the city. Although there were a ton of police, this was much smaller.

      • JEng

        well don’t believe me but the Occupier crowd is 10k not multiples of 100k:

        go to zonaeuropa.com which is run by a statistician who scrutinized crowd control number in past reports on HK gatherings which may have curbed the enthusiasm of the pro-Occupier coverage at least as far as crowd count

        also, international press did not cover that in the same week that all of china in total numbered 80k in protest of the diaoyutai “purchase” between the Japanese nonowners, Okinawa was protesting was 100k strong.

        Obviously, I don’t want the Americans to leave those islands unless the United States want to leave and for all I know, Japan is behind the protests for American military to leave the premises.

        • JEng

          “- The Chinese have a saying: “Breaking someone’s rice bowl is like killing their parents.” You broke their rice bowls and you still want to sell democracy to them. You are lucky that the chef did not chop you up into ground meat.”

          Well, literally my family’s Occupiers murdered my dad and are probably behind sabotaging our rice bowl so that my family’s health is paying the price.

          • Nevin Thompson

            I wonder if you meant to post these comments someplace else?

          • JEng

            No – it’s meant to attach to the original advisement of the zonaeuropa site. I think that genuine opposition tends to invite vindictive backlash – it’s actually described as a trait in the homicidal triad – that when killers turn respectable – they engage in economic violence and sabotage as a replacement for the actual violence they crave.

            Now this raid is a definite overreaction that advises ALL Japanese citizens to back down – and the most serious objection the citizenry has right now is the nuclear reactors restarting.

            Has anyone notice that the govt of elites is NOT interested in pushing its citizens OUT of the way of the radiation and cancer tsunami that is promised them with these ongoing dangers from the reactors – by the sea, on fault lines, in the path of active volcanoes.

  • Takahashi Akira

    Hello. I’m an alumnus of the dormitory.
    Thank you for reporting from a neutral point of view.

    I’d like to tell you the truth of this raid.
    On twitter and Facebook, many witnesses including my friends say that a lot of reporters surrounded the dorm BEFORE the riot police came, which means that police announced the plan of raid to media in advance to make it sensational. Indeed, most Japanese media describe the incident as if most dorm students were far-left and violent. In reality, however, far-left students are minority in the dorm and not even violent in this decade. Actually, “Thursday’s raid showed no evidence of any violence” [JapanTimes, Nov 13] as usual.

    Japanese main newspapers and TV stations blindly follow the authority, sensationally exaggerate the incident, and therefore are totally unreliable.
    About this raid, Japan Times seems reliable so far.

    By the way, to the best of my memory, last two pictures (by Nippon.com) were taken in the raid on 26 April 2013, not this time. You can see them on the link below (in Japanese).


    • Manfred Deutschmann

      Thank you for the Information. Please don’t stop the fight against the evil forces in your country and keep safe! Germany is on your side and not on the side of Right-Wing Japanese.

      • Takahashi Akira

        Thank you for your solidarity!
        I’m glad that foreign people properly understand the incident and appreciate their support.

      • JEng

        What a lie. Merkel gave China a distorted/reduced map of China as a GIFT and deleted all of Germany’s postwar “remorse” by refusing to simply visit the Holocaust memorial – NOT to side with China against its bestest only friend Japan – but simply because the Holocaust AND the unnamed Chinese one in Asia (Sook Ching anyone?) is WRONG.

        Germany totally chucked their OWN ball – are they going to claim that China TRICKED them? because Germans dislike Chinese so much that it is OKAY to do to them very similarly what was done to the Jews?

        CLEVER GIRL got Germans to clap;


        • Manfred Deutschmann

          You have extremely wrong information about German politics. Germany is not a friend of Japan as long as Japanese people elect the same families of fascists as their government, and do not fight the huuuge problem of organized crime which controls most of Japan.
          Germany also does not wish to have a “friend” like China, but the economic relationships with China are too important for Germans to say their true opinion about China.
          But if you compare China and Japan – then Germans will choose China. Because Germans know that China is evil BUT it is not a secret.
          Japan is also evil, but they have managed to keep it a secret.
          It’s easier to deal with China because they’re open about it and also they offer cheap slave labour, while Japanese people are too used to buy Louis Vuitton bags and therefore are worthless to German industry (wages are much too high).
          Maybe when Japan finally crashes and becomes a third world country again soon, then Germany will go back to Japan, but there is no doubt that both countries (and also South Korea) are evil and can never be trusted.

          • JEng

            I see it with my own eyes – the penchant for joining when germans and japanese strangers are in the same room. A Swiss signed the lease for his Japanese nongirlfriend before she dumped him. There IS a natural gravitation. Maybe because they trust each other having been on the receiving end of being vanquished by the Western and Russian cavalry. I saw it in college with group projects and I saw it in Beijing dorms though curiously and this is how much smarter the Germans are than the Japanese – the German girl dragged me into an invitation to a private sukiyaki feast in a corporate scion and friends – upper middle class, attractive quarter somethings in China with industrial connections in the family and bases already set up for them in secondary cities especially in Dongbei.

            I could see how head on a swivel the German girl was and how she had to know how nasty it looks when the Germans sip champagne with Naruhito over the anniversary of their long friendship – something more intimate than a similar commemoration in countries like Spain and of course, The Netherlands.

            so tag team partners but a partnership where one is more embarrassing and tone deaf than the shrewder one.

            Germany must decide – how many more Uighur attacks when the anti-Chinese activists like the anti-government Turkmeni, the anti-China Tibetans – all have ties to Germanic countries and if I noticed as a stone cold nobody – what about those fresh young college students – the little emperors – so automatically displeased by what they consider to be unfair assessments?

            I enjoyed Angela Merkel’s attempt at a dig because she’s not dealing it out to some poindexter Asian kid in high school – she dealt it out to the Beijingers whom my mother recently expressed – how is it even possible that the hard liners are corrupt and collaborating with Japanese to the point that they would attempt to flee to Japan to which I answered – they absolutely wouldn’t. They are like the hardest stone in China. Didn’t your expats NOTICE?

          • Manfred Deutschmann

            I am not sure if I understand what point you are trying to make.
            But I like to restate my basic opinion on the German view on East Asia: None of the countries there are worth to become true friends with because they are still politically too primitive and too opaque to ever be trusted.
            Germans are Western people, largely Christian, and let’s be honest, East Asian people are simply not seen as equals as long as they don’t create the same open societies and democracy as the Western world (which is far from perfect but still lightyears ahead of East Asia).
            We know that Japan would still be a third world country if the US wouldn’t have taken them under their wings after WWII.
            The Japanese are too proud of their own alleged achievements, because they ignore the fact that without the help of white people (opening Japan up at the beginning of the Meiji period), Japan would be worse off than Indonesia nowadays.
            I hope that Japan will be taught another lesson like the US taught them. They need to get over their pride and realise that they will never be seen as equals by Germans or other White people.
            China is basically the same, but the jury is still out if they choose the same destructive direction as Japan, or if their brains are developed enough to understand that they are not a superior race and accept their place.

          • JEng

            I’m scared of all those places that killed Jews. It’s Five Eyes or nothing really.


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