The project was created for Human Rights Week in Japan to raise awareness about voices that go unheard
The Tokyo Shimbun has launched a micro newspaper called 'Silenced Newspaper', which gathered stories of the marginalised. It was published on December 10th, Human Rights Day.
The project resonates with the goal of Human Rights Week in Japan, which ran from December 4th to 10th.
This annual campaign, led by the Ministry of Justice and the Federation of Pro Human Rights Committees, promotes awareness of human rights issues.
The mass media, including newspapers, has repeatedly discussed issues surrounding human rights. Despite this effort, many voices — those of women, children in poverty, people with disabilities and LGBT identifying people — still go unheard. Tokyo Shimbun created a micro-sized newspaper as a platform for the voiceless among us to share their struggles and triumphs.
‘Silenced Newspaper’ was distributed at three places in Shibuya, which most embodies diversity inside Japan. This newspaper will also be delivered to 1,000 people selected from a pool of applicants. In addition, all of the articles in 'Silenced Newspaper' appear on a special micro website which can be read only when it is zoomed in on.
'Silenced Newspaper' is smaller than the screen of a smartphone. Each page is 89mm high and 63mm wide. The newspaper features eight individuals or groups of people who experienced or confronted discrimination — among them are SECRET GUYS (the first transgender idol group in Japan), a boy who has Down’s Syndrome and his family, a man who is blind, a single mother, and a man who runs a restaurant for children growing up in poverty.
People who were interviewed for 'Silenced Newspaper'
Mr. Kazuhiro Uno
Mr. Uno is blind. He says that although Japanese society is competitive and capitalist, we need to find a way to live harmoniously with each other. He gives a lot of importance to the idea of kyosei [co-existence] instead of kyoso [competition] among people.
Mitz is one of the most prominent crossdressers in Japan. Identifying as gay, Mitz endeavors to create a powerful presence by not using the stereotypical image of gay men. He says, “I am skeptical of the word LGBT itself. I know that I’m a minority, but I’m just living my own life like anyone else.” He questions the current Japanese society’s typecasting of sexuality.
Ms. Momoko Harada and her daughter
Ms. Harada criticizes harsh economic conditions that single mothers like her are facing. She says, “It is impossible for us single mothers to avoid the problem of money. I myself am a person who questions this thoroughly, but I don’t think many mothers are like me. I don’t want them to let the matter drop.”
All of the members — Yukichi, Shuto Yoshihara, and Taiki Ikeda — are trans men. In order to normalize LGBT identity, they perform as an idol group called SECRET GUYS. At the event which was held in Tokyo last month, Yukichi said to their fans, “We don’t even know what we’re going to do because we have no role models. We will make our own paths, please support us!”
Mr. Akira Takegishi
Mr. Takegishi is the director of Kawasaki Terakoya Shokudo, which offers meals and education for free to children from poor families. He points out the invisibility of child poverty in Japan. He says, “Children who are suffering from poverty tend to be reserved and less assertive. As they are always hungry, they aren’t motivated to study.”
Mr. Ryutaro Nagata
Mr. Nagata has come out as gay and works in the public sector. He says, “Interestingly my job evaluation has improved since I came out as gay. This is because I was not able to express myself before — I guess I was afraid of being found out. But, isn’t it strange that, to gay people, coming out is kind of an inevitable initiation ceremony for just being themselves?”
Mr. Daisuke Koga
Mr. Koga claims that the elderly should not be left out of participating in society. He suggests the possibility of an ageless society in which the elderly can play active roles.
Mr. Kazuhiro Sasaki and his family
Mr. Sasaki has Down’s Syndrome. His mother Yuka is proud of Kazuhiro, who is the third born out of her four children. Recognizing Down’s Syndrome not as a disability but as his gift, she raised Kazuhiro with great love and care. According to her, we need to give extra care when we explain something to people who have Down’s Syndrome.
Distribution of 'Silenced Newspaper'
‘Silenced Newspaper’ was handed out at three places:
Shibuya MARK CITY in JR Shibuya station, Shibuya City Gender Equality and Diversity Centre IRIS, and the venue for the SECRET GUYS’s concert which was announced in the newspaper.
It will also be mailed to 1,000 people selected from a pool of applicants.
All of the articles in 'Silenced Newspaper' can be found on its special website
. This website was miniaturised to force readers to zoom in to access its content