[Event now over]
On Saturday, members of the group will be taking part in the national Amnesty campaign to persuade the Japanese to end the death penalty in their country. We will be asking people to sign labels which are then attached to a small tree. Amnesty will be collecting these up from around the country and delivering them to the Japanese Embassy on 10 October, the World Day Against the Death Penalty.
This action is inspired by a long standing Japanese tradition. In the summer, people across Japan write their wishes for the year on small strips of paper (called tanzaku 短冊) and tie them to bamboo branches. Tanabata 七夕, or the ‘Star Festival’, is believed to be a 2,000-year old tradition to celebrate the day when Orihime and Hikoboshi, two lovers driven apart, are able to be together.
At the same time, people sit in solitary confinement on Japan’s notoriously secretive death row. At the end of 2016, at least 141 people were under the sentence of death by hanging. As a family member, you’re unlikely to find out your loved one has been executed until afterwards. One of Amnesty’s long term cases, Matsumoto Kenji, has been on death row for 25 years and suffers from a delusional disorder as a result of his prolonged detention.
If you can spare a moment to sign, it would be appreciated. We shall be in the Library passage or the cheese market outside depending on conditions.
If you are interested in joining the group please come along and make yourself known.