The Tokyo Gas Attack & Objects of Disobedience (for the wrong reasons)

Back in January I went to an exhibition in London called Objects of Disobedience. The objects exhibited were ones which were/ are used in movements to fight for or against something. You could say, for a good cause, of course, depending which side of the fence you sit on. Now to my point, a few days ago, I was filming in the Tokyo Underground in Kasumigaseki on the Marunouchi line. Kasumigaseki was the scene of one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in Tokyo just over 20 years ago. It was here that deadly sarin gas was released inside the train. The perpetrators used their own objects of disobedience to puncture and release the sarin gas. In this case, the objects of disobedience were ordinary vinyl umbrellas but were used for the wrong reasons. The gas bags were punctured using the sharp spike at the tip of the umbrella. Like many people that live in a climate with a rainy season, vinyl umbrellas are as ubiquitous as a bar code on a shop product. However, after reading Haruki Murakami’s book-Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, about 10 years ago, for me, these cheap vinyl umbrellas symbolise one of trepidation and I’m probably not the only one.

Vinyl Umbrella


In March 1995, Tokyo suffered one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism – The Tokyo subway sarin attack, though the media referred to the incident as the Subway Sarin Incident. The attack was perpetrated by the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo. The enforcers released sarin, an extremely potent colourless, odourless liquid used as a chemical weapon in several train lines in the Tokyo subway, killing 12 people, injuring 50 and affecting over 1,000 people who were on the trains of the morning rush hour, March 20, 1995. The targeted trains were ones passing through Japanese Government areas-Kasumigaseki and Nagatcho. The sarin was released on three metro lines by five perpetrators.

Details from Wikipedia




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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s