Ryuichi Sakamoto and Fuji Rock Festival chief Masahiro Hidaka are amongst a group of leading Japanese artists, DJs and opinion leaders who have launched a petition defending club culture, after police started enforcing midnight curfews and raiding clubs throughout Japan.
The petition aims to overturn New York style Cabaret Laws dating from 1948 which police have been enforcing in the last year forcing club closures, particularly smaller venues in cities including Fukuoka and Osaka. The artists hope 100,000 people will sign the petition before January, to help persuade authorities to exempt nightclubs from the antiquated sex-industry laws, to protect ‘freedom of expression, the arts and culture’.
“Do you know that dancing is against the law?” the petition begins.
“Dance culture is gaining civic rights in many countries. Even the Olympics have employed Disc Jockeys (Tiesto) to play dance music in their opening ceremony. Nightclubs are places for economic as well as social activities (such as employment opportunities, consumption of goods and human communications) through means of dancing,” it continues.
“There are countries and cities, including but certainly not limited to, Berlin, Germany, which has incorporated dance to develop the city and attract visitors as a city policy.”
The petition received the enthusiastic support of Japanese newspaper the Japan Times this week, who, in a lengthy editorial column, said supporting underground club culture is vital for revitalising Japan’s economy by generating ‘new ideas, unique attitudes and fresh innovations.’
“What young Japanese need most is not more technology and more isolation, but instead more safe, comfortable and meaningful places to socialize and enjoy themselves. Dancing is healthier psychologically, socially and physically than most of the sedentary, isolating alternatives,” said the Times.
“Choking off the wellsprings of youth culture will kill off the vibrancy that made Japan "cool" in the first place.” (Japan Times: http://bit.ly/OAxFvo )
http://www.letsdance.jp/file/english-petition.pdf (‘[/b]Nightclubs are the places for people to meet and communicate each other through music and dancing: they are the places of people who are all trying to eliminate drugs and violence; they are the places where so many great artists have been produced; they are the places where people are creating new cultures . . .’)
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