According to an official of the Japan Library Association today, pages have been torn out of over 200 copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl in multiple libraries across Tokyo, including those in Nakano, Nerima, and Suginami. In addition, Japanese media are reporting that other Holocaust-related literature was also found to have been vandalized.
The incident has drawn sharp condemnation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “The geographic scope of these incidents strongly suggest an organized effort to denigrate the memory of the most famous of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis in the World War II Holocaust,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean. “I know from my many visits to Japan, how much Anne Frank is studied and revered by millions of Japanese. Only people imbued with bigotry and hatred would seek to destroy Anne’s historic words of courage, hope, and love in the face of impending doom. We are calling on Japanese authorities to step up efforts to identify and deal with the perpetrators of this hate campaign.”
Just last month, the Tokyo Times reported on the unique place Anne Frank has occupied in Japanese culture, noting “Frank’s story has been presented in many ways in Japan, including comic books, cartoons, museum exhibitions and educational initiatives, while at least four popular manga comic books about her and three animated films were released in Japan so far.”