Wednesday, 24 October 2012

unite 2 fight the dance prohibitions

Anti-dancing law out of step with Japan's youth culture by Eriko Arita in The Japan Times is a good intro to the police crackdown and resultant disillusionment in the club community.

The article quotes a recent interview with Ryo Isobe, seasoned Tokyo clubber and author of the book, "Odotte wa Ikenai Kuni, Nihon (Japan: the Country Where You Must Not Dance)", which is about his experiences and views of the late-night dance ban.
The piece also draws attention to the murkier politics involved in the crackdown - the Tokyo Government's attempts at a 'purification mission' in Kabukicho (!) and the Osaka government's possible intentions to separate the entertainment district from residential areas, promoting casinos instead of dance clubs...
These government drives tend to push the sex trade further underground, making conditions worse for sex workers, at the same time crushing the late night dance scene (which as we know, has little direct involvement with the sex industry anyway).
The piece finishes with a call to action from Isobe who says clubs should be more united in their actions, lobby politicians, and clean up their act by ensuring customer ID is checked on entry to their premises and that drugs are kept out of clubs.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

flashbacks of '98

The Fueiho is not a new law, nor is this the first time it's been used to suppress club, music, and youth culture. While searching for information on the current crackdown, I came across this article, published in Tokyo Classified (which would go on to be renamed Metropolis in 2001).  Stop the Music, published in issue 296, seems to have been written in the late 90's, and describes a crackdown on clubs in Minato ward.  The thing that struck me about this article is how similar the situation was to the one we have now, in 2012.  Familiar themes emerged: a lack of clarity on why the old law was suddenly being enforced, theories of certain areas being targeted for image change, and few willing to speak on record.

Then, too, the reaction from the club/ music/ dance world was that the law was ridiculous and oppressive.  Here's one voice of protest: a anti-Fueiho anthem from You the Rock.  From 1998, here's Hoo! Ei! Ho!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

High Jinx in Shibuya with an excited group of young zombies protesting the dance ban...

Yesterday's Zombie Prom was a blast! The costumes and the larger number of participants helped to make a more determined ripple in the lively pond that is Saturday-night Shibuya.  The dancing zombies and funky spooks met in Yoyogi Park and at the Hachiko dog, practiced moves, put on their faces and generally psyched up before setting off in a raggle-taggle parade down Sentaa Gai, handing out fliers and Let's Dance Petitions...

Thanks to all participants for an excellent awareness building parade and let's meet again soon. In the meantime don't forget to print off the Let's Dance petition, sign it, get your friends to sign it and pop it in the post. Have your say!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Zombie Prom

Darkness Falls Across The Land 

The Midnite Hour Is Close At Hand 

Creatures Crawl In Search Of Blood 

To Terrorize Y'awl's Neighbourhood 

And Whosoever Shall Be Found 

Without The Soul For Getting Down 

Must Stand And Face The Hounds Of Hell 

And Rot Inside A Corpse's Shell 

The Foulest Stench Is In The Air 

The Funk Of Forty Thousand Years 

And Grizzy Ghouls From Every Tomb 

Are Closing In To Seal Your Doom 

And Though You Fight To Stay Alive 

Your Body Starts To Shiver 

For No Mere Mortal Can Resist 

The Evil Of The...

Tonight, 10PM at Shibuya Hachiko exit....


take it to the streets

Dance hall days

'Japan: no dancing please', by James Hadfield, posted on Japan Connect on Friday, October 12th, 2012

This in-depth article dives into the historical context in which the fueiho developed, from the first crackdown on dance halls in the 1920's, to the links between prostitution and dance in the 40's that were the the reality when the 1948 laws were penned.   After brushing us up on our history, Hadfield explores theories of why the crackdown is happening.  Is this a public morality campaign, a convenient cover for other police investigations, or something else?


'Let them dance', Editorial comment in The Japan Times on Sunday, August 5th, 2012

This opinion piece describes how the enforcement of the Business Entertainment Control Law squeezes out smaller clubs and businesses while denying youngsters meaningful spaces in which to socialize and enjoy themselves. While safety regulations are obviously important, the editorial points out that fights, drugs and prostitution are not specifically linked to the DJ and music scene, and so the outlawing of dance as a threat to public morals is meaningless.

Get into the groove...

To bring you up to date on developments over the last couple of years and further back still, we will post informative articles which have appeared in various publications casting some light on the dance ban madness starting with:

'Late-night dancing should not be a crime in Japan', by Ian Martin, from The Japan Times on Thursday, November 24th, 2011

This article discusses the impact of the recent police crackdown on the dance scene in Tokyo and Osaka as well as the live music scene in smaller provincial cities such as Kumamoto, where it has been even more devastating. Martin describes the ban as an attack on local culture and regional economies and the vague and outdated Business Entertainment Control Law as a 'convenient stick with which to beat down a section of society [the police] feel threatens social harmony.' 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dance: a menace to society?

Did you know that late night dancing in Japan is facing a police crackdown? This is because, in the last couple of years, without any official explanation, police have started enforcing a 1948 law restricting dance  - a law that was more or less ignored for six decades! It is known as the Entertainment and Amusement Trade Control Law or alternatively The Businesses Affecting Public Morals Regulation Law.  In Japanese, it's known as the Fueiho (short for Fuzoku Eigyo Torishimari Horitsu).   

We are a group of dance lovers passionately opposed to the enforcement of a law which is ridiculous, archaic and sinister! We wish to raise awareness of the dance ban and gather support for the Let's Dance petition, which calls for dancing to be removed from the activities that are regulated under the Entertainment and Amusement Trade Control Law.  If you too oppose the current crackdown on dance, please join us by following us here or on Facebook or Twitter and by signing the online petition!

On this blog you will find: 
information about the law and its enforcement
news about the activities of our community and of other groups protesting the ban
links to articles covering these topics 

We welcome your ideas and participation. Together let’s reclaim our right to dance through the night!