About 260 copies of Anne Frank’s diary and related books were vandalized in 31 municipal libraries in Tokyo, Kyodo News reported on Monday.
Not only did copies of “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank become victims of vandalism, but related books about the Holocaust were destroyed as well. The reports said some libraries had taken copies of the diary off their shelves to protect them.
Tokyo officials told AFP that they did not know who was responsible or the motive for the behavior, but said the events started in the beginning of February.
Last week, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga expressed disappointment with the damage, saying that police would investigate. “It is extremely regrettable and shameful,” he told reporters.
Regarding the anti-Semitic acts, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a global Jewish human rights organization, expressed concern and shock in a statement and called for the authorities to investigate.
“The Diary of a Young Girl” is a vivid day-to-day account of the lives of Anne Frank and her family. It was added to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Memory of the World Register in 2009.
Anti-Semitism is not common in Japan, but news and magazine articles denying the Holocaust or outlining conspiracy theories suggesting Jews were behind the historical events are occasionally published, the New York Times reported.
BBC News also pointed out that Anne Frank’s diary was translated into Japanese in December 1952 and topped the bestseller lists in 1953. It continues to be a popular book of history in Japan.
Currently in Japan, some extremists celebrate Adolf Hitler’s actions and praise Nazi’s “accomplishments,” stirring concerns there.
By Ha Ji-won, intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)