May Day 1961 in Tokyo - Lumumba or Raoul Roa

Matthias De Groof's picture

Dear collegues,

Allow me to inquire about the following picture on May Day 1961 in Tokyo. I wonder who the man is on the left in the first picture and on the right in the second.

The first one is described by Associated Press as “MAY DAY IN JAPAN. This was one of the many scenes in the Japanese capital of Tokyo during May Day celebration, on May 1, 1961. Demonstrators are shown carrying huge heads depicting slain Congo premier Patrice Lumumba, left, and Cuban premier Fidel Castro, at right. Note the sign reading "Cuba Si, Yankis No." (AP Photo)”

Another source, however, describes a photo of the same heads differently: “1961 Press Photo May day marchers carry paper-mache heads, Tokyo Japan May day marchers in Tokyo carried papier-mache heads of Cuban Premier Castro and Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa. Leftists staged one of the biggest May day celebrations in the history of Japan. Photo is dated 05-01-1961.”

Thank you for your help in identifying! Matthias De Groof



Hello Matthias, interesting post! I guess the answer is easy - Raul Roa does not seem to have a beard, especially one that points upwards towards the mouth. Lumumba has a beard of exactly the same shape. Hope it helps. Cheers, Ernest

Thank you, Ernest. Well, it might be Cabral, after all....
I guess the journalists at that time did not do their proper work.
I'm still eager to find some sources speaking about that march. Which party marched?


You may want to poke around in the Takazawa Collection ( The collection is (quoting the website) "an extensive collection of resource materials on postwar Japanese social movements that was donated to the University of Hawaii by Kōji Takazawa in in 1993. The collection contains 1,800 books and over 9,000 issues of magazines, 1,200 serial titles, and the majority of which are not available in any other library. It also contains pamphlets, manuscripts, clipping files, trial documents, handbills, letters, audiovisual materials, folders of miscellaneous materials, and artifacts."

Much of the material is available on line and it may be of help in tracking down some of the images/information of the demonstration.

Hope this helps.

Christopher Bondy

The weekly newspaper of Japan National Railways Labor Union (Kokurō) "Kokutetsu Shinbun" on May 5, 1961, p.1 reports for the 32. Mayday that two Papier-mâché modells of "Kuba's PM Castro and Kongo's deceased PM Lumumba" were carried around. Lumumba was murdered in January 1961, so this is probaly accurate.

I hope this is helpful.

Till Knaudt

Dear all, Thank you all for your helpful answers. matthias