He decided he would buy a projector and protest the two men. He took images of the men feeding the fish, animated them and wrote the words, “Don’t take the bait. Beware of these men. Resist all wars.” His partner, Sorane Yamahira, is Japanese, and she helped translate the words, so they appeared in both languages in the projections.
“I had to do something. It is crazy, with the prime minister and Trump. They are really banging the drums of war, and I wanted to make sure people weren’t distracted,” Bell said. “We need level heads; we need cool, calm and collected people. Clearly, these two are not.”
Bell typically uses a van to plug in his projector and drive up to the building on which he will project his art. He’s already used the Trump International Hotel, the Justice Department headquarters, the Internal Revenue Service building and more to display his projection art at nighttime. People take photos of them, and they typically go viral among liberal spheres of the Internet.
Because he didn’t have a van in Japan, he found a small battery-operated projector in a local shop. He designed the art in a single day and projected it onto Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, a nearly 150-year-old monument to those who died in war.
Bell and Yamahira projected the art about 12:30 a.m. Eastern on Monday (Tuesday in Japan) and let it stay for about 20 minutes. No one confronted them, though when they saw a security guard, they stopped.
“I didn’t want to ruin my vacation, but we felt like we had to do it,” Bell said. “We are staying at the center of where all the Trump stuff is going down [in Japan]. I think we are actually closer to Trump now than when we lived in D.C., and we live in Mount Pleasant.”
Trump is on a five-country, 12-day trip through Asia. Japan is his first stop. During his trip, Trump has employed tough rhetoric pushing for more fair, open and reciprocal trade with Japan. He also continued his tough line on North Korea, saying at a news conference with Abe that the “the era of strategic patience is over,” and promised to counter “the dangerous aggressions” of North Korea.