Persona Rapper Lotus Juice Speaks Out in Support of Black Lives Matter Movement
posted on by Kim Morrissy
On Sunday, Japanese rapper Lotus Juice wrote a series of tweets expressing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The rapper, who lived in New Jersey since he was eight years old before returning to Japan to attend university and start his music career, recounted his experiences with racism in the United States as follows:
I remember vividly til this day the first day of my elementary school in NJ. I was nervous as hell. I must've gone to the bathroom literally like 18 times just cause I was terrified of new circumstance. I didn't speak a word of English, didn't know jack about America.— Lotus Juice #BlackLivesMatter (@lotusjuice) May 30, 2020
but so afraid I didn't know where to sit. I was in tears and that is when Travis said,— Lotus Juice #BlackLivesMatter (@lotusjuice) May 30, 2020
Hey! Come over here, you can sit here! Come join us!
with a hand gesture.
We became friends since then.
I will NEVER forget.
He is my first friend in the US.
He is an African American.
I live in Japan now and this may or may not be any of my business but I had to stand up even from far east Japan for my friend Trav— Lotus Juice #BlackLivesMatter (@lotusjuice) May 30, 2020
This is no joke. Stop judging.
Lotus Juice later wrote another thread about his thoughts on cultural exchange and racism:
Thus obviously I am far from being a racist and I love people who are cool generally. It is not about race or gender, it's about if you can connect in some way, FUCK the skin color.— Lotus Juice #BlackLivesMatter (@lotusjuice) May 30, 2020
Cuz think about this, every country has it's own criminal sadly.
Love your friends if you think y'all click. Don't let these racists determine who you should hang out with.— Lotus Juice #BlackLivesMatter (@lotusjuice) May 30, 2020
aight I'm going to sleep.
These past racist incidents got my furious sorry guys.
The artist also participated in the Blackout Tuesday hashtag on Instagram:
Lotus Juice has provided music for much of the Persona game and anime series, including the theme songs for Persona 3 the Movie #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream, Persona 3 the Movie #3 Falling Down, Persona 4 The Animation, Persona -trinity soul-, Persona 3, Persona 3 Fes, Persona 3 Portable, and Persona 2 OP. He has also provided music for anime including JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Soul Eater, Noragami, The irregular at magic high school, Black Butler, and Bungo Stray Dogs, among others.
Other musicians who have performed for anime have also spoken out in support for Black Lives Matter. OLDCODEX vocalist Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Ta_2) tweeted: "It's not like I understand everything, and I might be told 'Don't bother with such a belated statement' or 'Stay out of this.' But seeing the news that comes in every day, there's one thing that's been going through my mind: We don't need racism."
OLDCODEX has performed songs for the anime togainu no chi, Kuroko's Basketball, Future Diary, Arata The Legend, Bakuman. 3, Free!, Free! Eternal Summer, Q Transformers: Kaettekita Convoy no Nazo, God Eater, High Speed! -Free! Starting Days-, and Servamp.
Singer Crystal Kay urged people to sign an online petition demanding justice for George Floyd. The singer, who was born and raised in Yokohama to an African-American father, performed opening theme songs for the Pokémon: Giratina & The Sky Warrior film and Parappa the Rapper anime, as well as ending theme songs for Fullmetal Alchemist and Nodame Cantabile. She also had a voice role in Pokémon: Giratina & The Sky Warrior.
Rapper Mitsuhiro Hidaka (Run with the Wind OP) commented: "This is becoming so terrible. I understand the desire to stay out of it because you're not one of the people involved, but we are certainly not outsiders. We should simply say no to discrimination across the world. This incident particularly stings to me because I owe so much to Hip-hop and R&B, but Japan is also a country with strong undercurrents of racism."
Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise music composer Ryuichi Sakamoto shared information on Twitter about the protests and police violence in the United States. Singer-songwriter Taichi Mukai (Run with the Wind ED) tweeted with the Black Lives Matter hashtag and expressed his desire to keep learning and thinking. Hip-hop artist Minmi (Samurai Champloo ED theme) tweeted her support for the movement and praised Black artists' contributions to art. Singer Beni (Eyeshield 21, Major EDs) shared online resources for educating and donating to Black Lives Matter.
Guitarist MIYAVI (Kokkoku OP) tweeted a message with the hashtag that included the words: "As an Asian family far away in Tokyo, we want you all to know that we stand in solidarity with you." Singers Gen Hoshino (Doraemon the Movie: Nobita's Treasure Island), Asako Toki (Gurazeni: Money Pitch), and JUJU (Star Blazers 2199) participated in Blackout Tuesday on Instagram, along with One OK Rock vocalist Takahiro Moriuchi (Rurouni Kenshin live-action films), former AKB48 member Yuko Oshima, and former KAT-TUN member Jin Akanishi.
Outside the anime music world, a number of Japanese celebrities have also spoken out on social media in support of Black Lives Matter, including fashion models Rola and Kiko Mizuhara, tennis player Naomi Osaka, hip-hop artist PUNPEE, singer-songwriter Haru Nemuri, actress and comedian Naomi Watanabe, R&B singer Thelma Aoyama, and hip-hop MC AKLO.
A number of companies, including Square Enix, The Pokémon Company, and Niantic have announced that they are donating money to support the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition, other companies such as CAPCOM, PC Gamer, and Sony have announced postponements of events in order to redirect focus on the Black Lives Matter movement and ongoing protests.
Protests have flared across multiple cities in the United States and across the world after the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, as local police forcibly held him down with a knee against his neck in Minneapolis for nine minutes. Floyd died short thereafter and both the Hennepin County medical examiner and an independent examiner hired by Floyd's family determined his death was a homicide. The four officers involved in Floyd's death have all been arrested and charged. Officer Derek Chauvin is awaiting charges of second-degree murder and officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Video footage of Floyd's arrest where he is heard telling officers that he couldn't breathe quickly spread. The protests have also sparked sympathetic protests in other cities outside the United States, highlighting police discrimination and brutality in their own communities.