The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter


I went along yesterday to photograph and talk to over a hundred Kurdish immigrants in Japan taking part in a 12 hour “Hunger Strike” outside the United Nations University in Omotesando in Tokyo. The strike was held to show solidarity with nearly 800 Kurdish political prisoners in 38 jails in Turkey who have been on hunger strike for over 2 months.

The strike started at 8am and lasted until 8pm and was part of an international day of action by Kurdish people to draw attention to the struggle of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey, Syria and Iraq and to call for the UN and international community generally to help in the protection of Kurdish cultural identity and secure the release the leader of the Kurdish Workers’ Party or the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan who has been in jail over 12 years.

Though the PKK is called a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, among others, and has carried out a violent struggle for Kurdish independence since 1984. The leadership now seems intent on seeking Kurdish autonomy alone and some protections for the culture that is under threat from the countries Kurdistan shares geography with.

Kurdish people are nice people who have a tough time in Japan, and everywhere. It was a peaceful, sit down protest more or less ignored by the passers by. Which is a shame as The Kurds could do with some support if their culture is to survive.

More stock images of the Kurdish hunger strike in Tokyo at my archive here:




2 responses

  1. Had no idea about this protest or the Hunger Strikes in Turkey. Great photos and I learnt something, what journalism should do! Thanks.

    November 11, 2012 at 8:07 am

  2. Thanks Adrian. Not sure how effective the protest is exactly as it was singularly ignored by most people, plus not eating for a day is hardly going to cause authorities enough inconvenience to act. But it does at least show solidarity with people starving themselves for a point for real and if anyone knows that is good. Plus it allows Kurds living in Japan to feel part of the struggle even though their lives are a lot easier.

    November 11, 2012 at 9:13 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s