"Mizu" (water)

SHOW ME YOUR LIFE: Michio is a 12-year-old boy from Japan. We have recently been talking a lot about the idea of struggle and the idea of survival. Michio has been working with Joseph (peer mentor @ Cinematheque), and they have put together this video Michio calls “Mizu.”


"fewer people want to become Yakuza, those who do will be very logical, very scary -- and much, much more dangerous."


Japan and Russia are the only members of the Group of Eight (G-8) that do not criminalize possession of child pornography.

Japan is a country of destination and transit for boys trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Boys trafficked to Japan for commercial sexual exploitation come from the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, and, to a lesser extent, Latin America. Japanese men continue to be a significant source of demand for child sex tourism in Southeast Asia. Japan is a transit country for boys trafficked from East Asia to North America.

Traffickers also target Japanese boys for exploitation in pornography or prostitution. Many of the boys, both foreign and Japanese, are reluctant to seek help from authorities for fear of reprisals by their traffickers, who are often members or associates of Japanese organized crime syndicates (the Yakuza). The Yakuza’s tribal marks and signs included stuff like full-body tattoos, missing digits and a pseudo-family structure. 

Although Japan has outlawed child pornography — reluctantly, after international pressure left officials no choice. The ban, criminalizes producing and selling child pornography, but not owning it.  This pornography is still part of the Yakuza’s base income (many including publishers, are raking in millions).

Manabu Miyazaki, a writer whose father was a Yakuza, feels although "fewer people want to become Yakuza, those who do will be very logical, very scary -- and much, much more dangerous."

Police say although full-fledged membership in Yakuza groups have fallen due to tighter laws against organized crime, the number of Yakuza hangers-on, including thugs and members of motorcycle gangs, who are willing to do their dirty work, has risen.

If Japanese law enforcement knows so much about the Yakuza, why don’t the police just take them down. “We don’t have a RICO Act,” senior police officer explains. “We don’t have plea-bargaining, a witness-protection program or witness-relocation program. So what we end up doing most of the time is just clipping the branches. . . . If the government would give us the tools, we’d shut them down, but we don’t have ‘em.”


Japan has ratified the following conventions:

·      the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (CRC);

·      the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography;

·      the Optional Protocol to the CRC on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict;

·      the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

·      the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

·      the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women;

·      the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour; and

·      the Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment.


Japan has not signed the following conventions:

·      the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction;

·      the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children in Intercountry Adoption;

·      the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law and Recognition of Decrees Relating to Adoptions; or

·      the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.


Japanese people have a tendency to keep their suffering quiet, to hide it. They believe society does not want to know their problems, that it will perceive sufferers as weak (Makiba Yamano, World Vision).

Latest Gallery Updates

Visit Art Gallery
Back to Top