2. October 2, 1990

The media publicized the October 2 "riot" as the first riot in Kamagasaki in 18 years. Television showed Kamagasaki as if it were airing a baseball game live. It happened when intellectuals were arguing that there would be no riot.

The economy was booming. As long as a worker was healthy, a job was there. The payment increased by 1000 yen annually for several years, and a worker with a job was free of worries.

In the evening of October 2, 1990, some people began protesting at the Nishinari Police Station for a trivial incident. It was a natural consequence of what the police did.

In the morning of October 2, it was reported in the media that Officer Haga of the Nishinari Police Station received a graft from gangsters in return for providing them with internal information.

The trivial incident mentioned earlier took place in the evening of October 2. There was a small fight among workers in front of a labor union office. Policemen from the Nishinari Station rushed to the scene. Then a dog owned by a worker bit a policeman. He took the worker to the police station, and another worker who witnessed this became furious, saying police had no right to do such thing. What he meant was if police would arrest someone just because of that, they should do something about the misconduct of the fellow policemen.

The worker was talking about the bribery case reported earlier in the morning. Then workers on their way home gathered around the Nishinari Station one after another. The protest began.

Workers who took part in this protest, and were arrested and stood on trial, testified that they spontaneously joined in the protest. When they were relaxing after supper, they heard some voices outside. When they went outside, they saw many people standing around the police station, and heard that it was a protest against a policeman who took bribe from gangsters. There was the anger against police who don't treat workers as human beings. It was a protest against police who shut their eyes to crime committed by their fellow officers and arrest a worker as a criminal for such a trivial thing. If not now, when can a protest be done? The workers came forward and continued their protest.

But this is how the prosecutors interpreted these feelings:

"They were just excited and joined in the riot without knowing the reason which started the riot. The riot had nothing to do with the defendant (underlined by the writer). The defendant only wanted to look good in front of many people, and nothing can extenuate the motive of such rebellion.

How can they be so mean? Does someone protest the police just because he wants to look cool to others? The workers engaged in the protest with the understanding they could be arrested and tried later. It is not something one can do unless he has deep anger in his heart.

The evidence can be seen in the diaries written by workers in detention.

"This was triggered by the fact that the Nishinari police and gangsters were hand in hand. How can they arrest me? It just doesn't make sense." "B"

"The riot is something that I will never feel ashamed of. There is no doubt about that. The Nishinari Police Station is to blame for everything, and the reason is because they don't treat us day workers a humans. They are always arrogant and even tried to make one of our hard working men a criminal, forcing him to confess with violence by many officers. These things are happening countlessly, and I have been a victim, too. It is only natural that the riot took place." "C"

"Maybe it was a little too much. But this crime I have committed, I don't have any feeling of shame. There is no doubt about this. Because the Kamagasaki riot was nothing but an explosion of anger toward the injustice done by police." "D"

The protest against the police was not only against the policeman who took a graft. It was a protest against police violence routinely done against the workers. The workers in court testified to this.

"Three years ago, I was questioned by police in front of my apartment and was lynched."

lawyer: "Are you often questioned by police?"

"Five or six times before."

lawyer: "How do police usually treat workers?"

"They use foul language and do not treat us as humans. They are often very violent."

lawyer: "Have you witnessed any such violence done after your arrest?"

"At 8:40 p.m. on October 2, one of us was beaten and kicked by four or five policemen, and I saw the policeman who interrogated me cleaning the floor with a mop. I am sure he was clearing blood stains."

It is a widely known fact that the policemen of the Nishinari Police Station use violence against the workers. But since it is perpetrated behind closed doors, it seldom surfaces, and policemen are never punished. But on April 28, 1989, Satoru Nishioka of the Liaison Council to Fight Discrimination Against Kamagasaki filed a civil suit against the police, demanding compensation for damages, saying he was victimized by police violence inside the Nishinari Police Station. The verdict was handed down on March 19, 1992. The court ruled that police did violence to Nishioka, who had witnessed a worker in trouble with a policeman, came to the police station with him to explain the situation. The violence was committed by a policeman who didn't know anything as to why Nishioka was there.

The evidence to prove police violence on October 2 is in the video tapes taken by TV stations. Policemen in riot gear were attacking defenseless workers trying to flee with the shields and rods. If you consider this an exercise of official duties, you have no right to criticize the verdict of not guilty handed down to a group of policemen in Los Angeles, which triggered the Los Angeles riot which lasted for three days. The riot in Los Angeles is not something that belongs to a different world.

If the violence done to a young black man who was caught speeding in March, 1991 stems from discrimination against black people, the violence routinely done to the workers in Kamagasaki should also be recognized as discrimination against day workers. And the October 2 incident should be regarded as a protest against such discrimination.


Many things happened during the last two years in Kamagasaki. I have chosen two incidents and explained them in length. For the latter incident, the media has vast information. But there are many things untold; real voices and actions of ordinary workers, or something which could be said as "feelings." If the purpose of this white paper is to document those feelings not filtered through the media, the efforts of "S" who drove the doctor of Daiwa Chuo Hospital that far into a corner should go down. "S" spoke about his motivation of getting involved in accusing the hospital as follows:

"I was the kind of person who didn't care much about other people's pain. But when "M" died, I somehow began to understand other people's pain and sorrow. It was only two years ago."

This feeling of "S" has something in common with the feelings of those who were in the protest on October 2. The two incidents look very different from each other. But it must not be missed that both of them are protests by workers who were not receiving fair treatment as human beings.

There is an expression in the Ainu language which goes like this.

"Ainu Neno An Ainu, which means "A human like a human." I think I saw "Ainu Neno An Ainu" in "S" and the workers who stood up on October 2.

Rev. Nobuaki Koyanagi