Archive for the 'Sport' Category
Issues involving sports, sportingness, fair play, and level playing fields in Japan regardless of nationality.
Posted by debito on 27th April 2013
We’ve talked about Tokyo’s Olympic bids for 2016 and 2020 before on Debito.org (I see them as basically a vanity project for Japan’s elite ruling class to convince themselves that the outside world is still paying attention to them, especially after successful bids in Beijing 2008 and Pyeongchang (South Korea) 2018). But here’s an interesting development: According to the New York Times, Tokyo Governor Inose Naoki (a good writer and analyst before he became Vice-Governor then Governor, and from whom I expected more intelligence and sophistication) is taking cheap shots at other Olympic bidders, violating IOC rules.
Particularly at Istanbul for its religious and ethnic/economic composition, Inose has said, “Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes”. He also said that other countries lack “Tokyo’s excellent sense of hospitality”. Funny, that. As if Japan does not have classes of its own based upon economic clout or connections to a ruling elite.
And of course, there’s the frequent claim by Japan’s promoters of lack of infrastructure and development elsewhere. Never mind how that infrastructure doesn’t seem to be taking care of its hundreds of thousands of victims and homeless after the Tohoku Disasters more than two years afterwards. But you see, we’re not holding the Olympics in Fukushima. And we’ll take advantage of Fukushima by trying to claim a sympathy vote for Tokyo in their stead. Also never mind that unfettered discrimination against domestic minorities in a society also violates the Olympic Charter. So much to see when you scratch the surface.
There were some subsidiary arguments about Japan’s aging society, which Inose turned on their head to say that healthy seniors are the sign of a healthier society. That’s fine — that’s just boosterism. But then he violates IOC rules again by denigrating: “I’m sure people in Turkey want to live long. And if they want to live long, they should create a culture like what we have in Japan. There might be a lot of young people, but if they die young, it doesn’t mean much.”
See what I mean about a lack of sophistication? I guess the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree (as Inose is an Ishihara Shintaro protege, and Ishihara is a bonafide bigot). Or else Inose has been so steeped in the dominant discourse of Japan being a unique and peerlessly rich, homogeneous, developed society, that he actually has come to believe it himself. Hence the blind spots cluttering his analysis. Put it down to the effects of being steeped in affluence and power.
As submitter MH notes about what he calls Inose’s “idiotic, xenophobic and downright racist comments”, “One doesn’t have to extrapolate too far to see how a racist landlord or real estate agency might feel a certain (ingrained) justification for banning foreigners.” Quite. So much for Japan’s “excellent sense of hospitality”.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Sport | 34 Comments »
Posted by debito on 5th March 2013
The International Olympic Committee is currently in Japan considering Tokyo as a venue for the 2020 Summer Games. In light of recent events that point to clear examples of discrimination and advocacy of violence towards, for example, Koreans (see below), human rights groups in Japan are advocating that the IOC understand that these actions violate the Olympic Charter and choose their venue accordingly. Articles, photos, and letters follow from the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (Nichibenren), Tanaka Hiroshi in the Mainichi Shinbun, and sources demonstrating that, for example, all GOJ educational subsidies for Korean ethnic schools have been eliminated as of 2013 from government budgets.
Academic Tessa Morris-Suzuki might agree with the assessment of rising discrimination, as she documents on academic website Japan Focus the protection of xenophobic Rightists and the police harassment of their liberal opponents. Her conclusion: “But there is no rule of law if the instigators of violence are left to peddle hatred with impunity, while those who pursue historical justice and responsibility are subject to police harassment. There is no respect for human rights where those in power use cyber bullying in an attempt to silence their opponents. And democracy is left impoverished when freedom of hate speech is protected more zealously than freedom of reasoned political debate.” Have a look.
SITYS. This is yet but another example of Japan’s clear and dangerous swing to the Right under PM Abe. And granting an Olympics to this regime despite all of this merely legitimize these tendencies, demonstrating that Japan will be held to a different standard regarding discrimination. Wake up, IOC.
Posted in "Pinprick Protests", Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Education, Exclusionism, Gaiatsu, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Government, Problematic Foreign Treatment, SITYS, Sport | 16 Comments »
Posted by debito on 1st February 2013
We have an interesting case of a Japanese sports player quitting an overseas soccer team claiming “racial discrimination” (jinshu sabetsu). Nakamura Yuuki, formerly of Slovak football club MSK Rimaska Sobota, has been reported in the Japanese press as returning to Japan last September, blogging about his treatment. But look closely. I have included three English-language articles and translated two Japanese articles for comparison
AFP: [...] In an online blog entry dated Wednesday, Nakamura [Yuuki], 25, said he returned to Japan because of racism that had even involved some of his own teammates. “Unfortunately, I have come home because I was subjected to racism at the club I belonged to, Rimavska Sobota, and could not live there any more,” the footballer wrote.
Calling out his name before and after matches, some club supporters raised their middle finger to Nakamura “with a look of furious anger”. “No teammates helped me. There were even some players who joined in (the harassment),” he added. “It wasn’t normal anymore, and the team even received some sort of threats. They cannot be responsible (for my safety), so I came home,” he said.
Submitter AS: Reading through the article and the blog quoted in the article, I can’t find anything that clearly shows racial discrimination. People giving him the finger? With no context, that could mean anything from racial discrimination to thinking he’s a useless player.
COMMENT FROM DEBITO: I just find it interesting the difference in treatment in the media and public argument. Nakamura essentially has a nervous breakdown due to the taunts, and then both the Japanese and overseas media report it as racial discrimination, put it in a larger context, and don’t question Nakamura’s claims. Yet when we get the same kind of jeering in Japan of NJ (Shimizu S-Pulse’s Coach Ghotbi being accused in 2011 by supporters in a banner of being connected to Iranian nuclear weapons; or official-level jeers: Japan’s Ekiden running leagues justifying extra hurdles for NJ athletes by claiming that sports are only interesting for Japanese fans if Japanese win them; or claims by Japan’s rugby union not winning because they have “too many foreign players” (including naturalized Japanese); and how about Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s 2012 remarks about NJ judo Olympians being “beasts” spoiling “Japan’s sport”?), nobody calls it “racial discrimination” in the Japanese press (if the foreign press pay any attention to it at all). Racial discrimination only seems to happen overseas.
Where is FIFA or any other international sports league to decry racism when this sort of thing happens in Japan? Buried in cultural relativism. You can see that even more strongly in the comments to the Japan Today article cited above, which are overwhelmingly sympathetic to Nakamura. I don’t doubt that Nakamura had readjustment problems and decided not to stay because he wasn’t comfortable overseas. But imagine the reaction if a NJ player in the J-League were to quit, justifying it by saying “fans gave me an angry look” or “people gave me the finger”. He’d be told by commenters to grow a pair, and would have bloggers both in English and Japanese questioning not only the veracity of his claims but also his mental stability. That’s not happening in Nakamura’s case. Now why? Are we that programmed to holding Japan to a different standard?
Posted in Cultural Issue, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept., Sport, 日本語 | 49 Comments »
Posted by debito on 10th August 2012
Yomiuri: Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro (79) said at his regular press conference on August 3, regarding the difficulties the Japanese judo team is having at the London Olympics, “Watching Westerners do judo is like watching beasts fight. An internationalized judo has lost its exquisite charm.” He added, “In Brazil, it’s said that they eat chocolate in their norimaki, but I wouldn’t call that ‘sushi’. It’s a shame that judo has also gone the same way.”
Posted in Bad Social Science, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Sport, 日本語 | 66 Comments »
Posted by debito on 15th November 2011
Allow me to present a very rare and coveted award (this is only the fifth one in Debito.org’s history) that Debito.org only gives out to egregious racists and offenders of the sensibilities: To people who are basically beyond any sort of appeal to logic or reason regarding treating other humans as equal and dignified human beings. A Dejima Award. And once again (this is the third time) it goes to that ever-encouraged admixture of bastion nationalism and Team-Japan-ism: A Japanese sports league. One that blames Japan’s apparently poor showing in rugby on the foreigners (apparently even those “foreigners” who are naturalized Japanese citizens).
Japan Today: All Blacks legend John Kirwan, due to quit as Japan coach after the Brave Blossoms’ disappointment at the rugby World Cup, came under fire Saturday for his use of foreign-born players. The criticism came at a board meeting of the Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) which reviewed the World Cup in New Zealand, the union’s chairman Tatsuzo Yabe said…
“We talked about how our scrum went or how our breakdown went. We also talked about our mental side,” Yabe said. “Some argued that we had too many foreigners.” Kirwan picked a record 10 foreign-born players, half of whom have obtained Japanese nationality, for his World Cup squad. The previous highest was seven, also selected by Kirwan for the 2007 World Cup in France.
Posted in Bad Social Science, Dejima Awards, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Sport | 35 Comments »
Posted by debito on 23rd June 2011
Okay, Tokyo, you asked for this when you revoted in this creep for a fourth term last April. Now not only is racist xenophobe and Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro using the Tohoku Earthquake (which he originally called “divine retribution for Japan’s egoism”) as sympathy fodder for a renewed Olympic bid, but also, according to ANN News, he is calling for Japan to have nuclear weapons (in order to be taken seriously on the world stage, comparing it to a Mah-Jong game), military conscription, and even a military government!
Well, in my view this was only a matter of time, especially since Ishihara, if he’s not just flat-out senile, is of a generation (the Showa Hitoketa) which venerates Japan’s military past without actually serving in the military and experiencing the horrors of the Pacific War. He’s basically a warrior of words. And, again, the Tokyo electorate keeps putting him in a place where he can use those words for great effect and audience. Including advocating siphoning off funds from disaster reconstruction for the purpose of circus.
Yomiuri: Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has expressed his intention to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics… The message that Tokyo wants to host the 2020 Games as proof of Japan’s recovery from the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis–just as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics were symbolic of the nation’s rebuilding from the ashes of World War II–will likely be able to obtain empathy from many countries…
Nation must be united…
We realize the government must currently place top priority on securing funds to finance restoration and reconstruction projects from the March 11 disaster. But sooner or later the government will need to clarify its stance toward hosting the Olympics in this country.
The government should proactively study the feasibility of hosting the 2020 Games in tandem with such bodies as the Tokyo metropolitan government and Japanese Olympic Committee.
Posted in Bad Social Science, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Sport, Unsustainable Japanese Society | 13 Comments »
Posted by debito on 13th June 2011
We have some proactive treatment against discrimination towards a NJ coach in Japan’s soccer leagues. Witness the reaction of other fans towards a nasty fan banner singling him out by his nationality, attributing to him behavior that is unrelated and unwarranted: criticism and the taking of responsibility. Good. Regardless of whether one might argue this actually constitutes “racism” or not, it is still indicative of the zero tolerance of discrimination that should be (and is, under FIFA) a hallmark of world sport leagues worldwide, including Japan’s.
I am, however, of two minds about manager Ghotbi meeting the nasty fans to somehow enlighten them. It on one hand seems a good PR strategy — engage and convince the nasties that their targets are humans with feelings after all. On the other hand, it may encourage other trolls who want attention (not to mention get a meeting with a famous NJ — just insult them and you get an audience) to do the same thing — and enough of these banners and people may start claiming “cultural misunderstandings” as justification (you get that with nasty slogans against NJ in Japanese baseball, e.g., the racist banners against Warren Cromartie). In my experience it doesn’t always work to talk to discriminators (sometimes their names exposed to social opprobrium is enough), but sometimes it does, and at least there is social opprobrium and media attention this time. Let’s keep an eye on this and see how it flies. Hopefully buds get nipped.
Kyodo: Shimizu S-Pulse manager Afshin Ghotbi has turned the other cheek toward two Jubilo fans who have been indefinitely banished from Iwata games for hoisting a racially motivated banner in the Shizuoka derby two weeks ago, wanting to meet them to try to raise international awareness throughout the J-League.
The two teenage Jubilo supporters were outlawed by their club on Monday after writing a banner that read, ‘‘Ghotbi, stop making nuclear weapons,’’ in the May 28 J-League contest between Shimizu and Iwata at Outsourcing Stadium… Ghotbi, the ex-Iran national coach who is in his first season in Japan at Shimizu, is Iranian-American…
Yet rather than further fry the two fans amid arguably the nastiest controversy between the Shizuoka-based clubs, [Ghotbi] wants a clear-the-air meeting with the pair to stamp out racism in the J-League for good…
Posted in Anti-discrimination templates/meetings, Cultural Issue, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 5th January 2011
Director’s Cut with excised text from published version and links to sources:
Top Five for 2010 (plus five honorable mentions):
5) RENHO BECOMES FIRST MULTIETHNIC CABINET MEMBER (June 8 )
4) P.M. KAN APOLOGIZES TO KOREA FOR 1910 ANNEXATION (August 10)
3) TOURIST VISAS EASED FOR CHINA (July 1)
2) NJ PR SUFFRAGE BILL GOES DOWN IN FLAMES (February 27)
1) THE DROP IN THE REGISTERED NJ POPULATION IN 2009
Top Five for 2000-2010 (plus five honorable mentions):
5) THE OTARU ONSENS CASE (1999-2005)
4) ISHIHARA’S SANGOKUJIN RANT (April 9, 2000)
3) THE SECOND KOIZUMI CABINET (2003-2005)
2) THE POLICE CRACKDOWNS ON NJ (1999- present)
1) THE DROP IN THE REGISTERED NJ POPULATION IN 2009
Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Business Practices, Bad Social Science, Education, Exclusionism, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hate Speech and Xenophobia, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Japanese Politics, Labor issues, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept., Sport, Tourism, United Nations, Unsustainable Japanese Society | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th October 2010
Japan Times: Local favoritism is built into organized sports. At the macro level you have whole countries rooting for national teams at the Olympics or the World Cup. At the micro level you have fans cheering a hometown boy who plays for a team far away. By the same token, nationalistic fans denigrate opposing countries’ players in international tournaments, while athletes from outside a locality may not receive the same level of local enthusiasm as those who grew up there.
In its Sept. 30 issue, Shukan Shincho attempted to build a story on two recent events: Hakuho’s breaking of Chiyonofuji’s record for consecutive sumo victories, and Ichiro Suzuki’s milestone 3,500th hit as a professional baseball player. That these events occurred within 24 hours of each other was irresistible, and Shincho wanted to connect them in a way that was guaranteed to attract attention. The headline of the article was, “Ichiro’s and Hakuho’s racism problem.”
Both athletes are strangers in foreign lands; or, at least, they started that way. Ichiro has been an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners in the United States since he entered the Major Leagues in 2001 after nine years playing in Japan’s Pacific League, and he has consistently been one of the game’s best hitters in both countries. Hakuho was born and raised in Mongolia, and is now the sole yokozuna (grand champion) in what is an ancient and traditional Japanese sport. Shincho’s point is that because both are “foreigners,” they do not receive the same attention and respect from the media and the public in their respective countries as native athletes, despite the enormity of their achievements.
Shincho claims that Ichiro’s 3,500th hit, a landmark that very few players in the history of the major leagues have reached, was virtually ignored by the American press. The reason, according to the magazine, is that Ichiro compiled this record in two countries, and Americans don’t take Japanese baseball seriously. To support this theory, the reporter quotes Japanese sports writers and baseball players who make the case that Ichiro’s talent is superior to that of the vast majority of currently active American baseball players.
As proof that Americans don’t evaluate Japanese players equally, the opinion of retired major leaguer Pete Rose is cited…
Posted in Bad Social Science, Cultural Issue, Media, Sport | 6 Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th June 2010
I just wanted to say before retiring for the night that tonight’s Japan-Paraguay game for the Top Eight was excellent. Japan played very well (and also quite fairly — I was rather unimpressed with how often Paraguay’s players went for people’s legs instead of the ball), and coming down to a 0-0 draw after two overtimes is testament to how well Japan played. Penalty kicks (Para 5 Japan 3, with Japan going second so no chance to make it 5-4) are the luck of the draw, in my opinion, and it could have gone either way, the teams were so well matched.
Now I’m worried about how the Japanese media is going to digest this. We already have Manager Okada apologizing for not having enough power to achieve his “Best Four” goal (but so what — the current team is streets ahead of any other World Cup team Japan has ever fielded; ergo coaching power aplenty).
I’m afraid we’re going to get the loss viewed through the Nihonjinron Lens of the high-pressure Japanese media, with excuses about some sort of innate Japanese superiority/inferiority (as I mentioned last time I blogged on this topic the other day), and how this loss is representative of something.
Look, it’s just a game. This time a great series of games done by a great team that just lost out thanks to one ball getting through at the very end.
Posted in Media, Sport | 9 Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th June 2010
It was certainly worth getting up at an ungodly hour this morning to watch the Japan vs. Denmark football match. Defying many people’s expectations (especially the domestic media’s), Japan has played very well in this World Cup, and earned their keep today by beating Denmark (according to FIFA, the 36th ranked, with Japan the 45th) soundly and clearly, 3-1. Omedetou!!
Now the Japan team is advancing to the Best 16. I had strong doubts about having Okada on as coach again (given his previous dismal performance, I thought the powers that be hired him essentially because he’s Japanese). Looks like I was wrong — he does have more than a pretty face. Good team, good football, good games so far. Again, well done, Nippon! Ganbare!!
UPDATE: Thought of this while cycling to work this morning. To put a Debito.org angle on this issue, let’s keep an eye out on how the Japanese media begins to spin this victory. I’ve found that if a team representing Japan loses, the media looks for an issue of unfairness or unequalness (such as the alleged lack of good food at the Turin (a city hosting a world cuisine!) Olympics affecting Japanese performance). But if there is a win, the media searches for “Japanese qualities” that gave the J athlete an advantage (winning J swimmers keep having the “yamato damashii” (Japanese Spirit) attributed to them). I already saw TV commentary this morning referring to the special “cooperativeness” of Japan’s soccer team. But of course, if they had lost, no doubt we’d hear about the innately small and weaker Japanese bodies going up against the formidable Danish and Dutch tank-built bodies, etc. It’s never a neutral, “may the best man win on a level playing field”, is it? There are plenty of examples of how sports rules under Japanese control are tailored to that bias (here, here, and here). It’s not terribly “sporting”.
Ears open for how this gets spun, everyone? Thanks.
Posted in Good News, Media, Sport | 23 Comments »
Posted by debito on 3rd March 2010
The Japan Sumo Association announced on Feb. 23 that it would limit sumo stables to one foreign wrestler each. Since there are only 52 stables, and only about 800 sumo wrestlers in total registered with the JSA, this funnels things down considerably.
Worse, the JSA will now define “foreign” as “foreign-born” (gaikoku shusshin), meaning even naturalized Japanese citizens will be counted as “foreign.” This, according to the Yomiuri, closes a “loophole” (nukemichi).
Sorry folks, but this rule is unlawful under Japan’s Nationality Law, not to mention the Constitution. Neither allows distinctions between foreign-born and Japanese-born citizens. Under the law, a Japanese is a Japanese — otherwise, what is the point of naturalizing?
OK then, how about unleveling the playing field overseas for sports that Japanese are good at? Limit, say, American Major League Baseball teams to one Japanese player — even if they take American citizenship? If you really want to get pernickety, you can say that Americans of Japanese extraction are also “Japanese,” kinda like two governments famously did for Japanese- Americans and Japanese-Canadians during World War II when deciding whom to send to internment camps. No doubt that would occasion outcries of racism by the Japanese media, the watchdogs for how Japanese are treated overseas (yet significantly less so regarding how NJ are treated in Japan).
But that wouldn’t be good for the sport. Talent in athletes spans borders. More than a quarter of all active baseball players in the U.S. (28.4 percent) were foreign-born in 2009. That’s a good thing. If you want to have a healthy sport, you get the best of the best competing in it. Everyone given a sporting chance, regardless of nationality or birth.
But hey, that’s not the concern of now-bona-fide certified racist institutions like the JSA. All they want is for Japanese to win.
Posted in Articles & Publications, Exclusionism, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Sport | 14 Comments »
Posted by debito on 25th February 2010
In one more step to define Japan’s slide into international irrelevance, the national sport (kokugi) has decided to turn not only exclusionary, but also undeniably racist. The Japan Sumo Association announced this week that it will no longer count naturalized Japanese sumo wrestlers as “real Japanese”. Then it will limit each stable to one “foreign” wrestler, meaning “foreignness” is a matter of birth, not a legal status. This is a move, we are told by the media, to stop sumo from being “overrun with foreign wrestlers”.
That means that if I wanted to become a sumo wrestler, I would become a foreigner again. Even though I’ve spent nearly a quarter of my life (as in close to ten years) as a Japanese citizen in Japan.
Well, fuck you very much, Sumo Kyoukai. You are the shame of Japan.
Posted in Dejima Awards, Exclusionism, Sport | 35 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th February 2010
Olympics are the topic du jour, so let’s bring up something that relates to Debito.org.
Debito.org Reader JPS sent me a comment yesterday with some links (thanks, see below) pointing out how once again in Japan, citizenship and dual nationality are political issues, not legal ones. We have dual nationals (in the case below, the Reeds, two Japanese-Americans) skating for Team Japan.
For the record, I’m fine with that. Participate however you can in whatever team you choose as long as you’re doing so properly under Olympic rules. The problem is that under Japan’s rules, legally one of the Reeds should not be a dual national anymore — she had to choose one by age 22 and didn’t. But for the sake of politics and medals, we’re bending the laws yet again — claiming people as ours only when it suits us.
Let’s just face reality, and allow dual nationality in Japan. Period. Then we have fewer identity problems and conflicts of interest.
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Sport | 22 Comments »
Posted by debito on 19th October 2009
MOSCOW, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Yuko Kawaguchi was branded a traitor in her native Japan when she changed nationality to pursue her childhood dream of competing in the Olympics.
Since Japan does not allow dual citizenship, the figure skater was forced to give up her Japanese passport in exchange for a Russian one, enabling her and partner Alexander Smirnov to represent her adopted country at next year’s Winter Games in Vancouver…
While competing internationally for Russia required approval only from the sport’s governing body, the International Skating Union (ISU), she had to obtain Russian citizenship in order to take part in the Olympics.
COMMENT:Here’s another case of how Japan’s lack of dual nationality causes unnecessary hardship and sacrifice. Figure skater Yuko Kawaguchi has to give up her Japanese nationality in order to skate — and she reportedly gets branded a “traitor” for her trouble.
Japan puts enough pressure on its athletes to be world-class (sometimes demanding no less than a gold medal), and this lack of a “personal-best” culture (i.e. Japanese athletes have to become the pride or shame of the entire nation in any international competition) means many Japanese choke and crumble under the stress. Or in this case, give up their legal ties to Japan entirely. Silly. Then again, if Kawaguchi DOES get the Gold, we might claim her all over again (like we did the emigrant “Japanese” who got Nobel Prizes recently).
It’s time to get governments off their 20th-Century war footings (as in, “If we grant dual nationality , what if we go to war with that country? Which side will you choose?”) and allow individuals more options and identities. And nationalities. Because, again, international migration warrants that.
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Sport | 20 Comments »
Posted by debito on 7th October 2009
Hi Blog. Just something quick to say: CONGRATULATIONS HOKKAIDO NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS!! PACIFIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 2009 I watched as they took the Pacific League Pennant (their third time since moving up here, what was it, six years ago?) in a Fighters sports bar. Extra innings, they took it 5 to 4 shortly after hearing that [...]
Posted in Good News, Sport | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th September 2009
Something coming up next week of surprising interest to Debito.org: Guv Ishihara’s pet project to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Tokyo. We’ll hear the decision on October 2. Here’s where Debito.org stands:
While understandable a sentiment (what booster wouldn’t want to bring such a probable economic boon home?), Debito.org has been unflinching in its criticism both of Ishihara (for his xenophobic rantings over the years, start here) and of the Tokyo Police (keishicho), who will no doubt be given charge of the security at the event. As history has shown repeatedly (G8 Summits, overt and unapologetic racial profiling — even public scapegoating of NJ, border fingerprinting justified on bigoted grounds, deliberate misconstruing of crime data to whip up public fear, even spoiling one of the last Beatles concerts!), you don’t want to hand over matters of public security to a police force without proper checks and balances — because as even Edward Seidensticker noted, Keishicho will convert Tokyo into a police city if the event is big enough. The Olympics is just that, and it really complicates things by bringing in foreigners, for the police get particularly anal when they feel the outside world is watching.
Terrie below (understandably) hopes Tokyo gets the Olympics. I, for the record, hope it doesn’t. It’s not because I live in Sapporo (I would have mildly supported Fukuoka’s bid, even despite the NPA, simply because Fukuoka never had the chance — unlike Sapporo — to be an Olympic host). But the fact remains, as Terrie alludes to below, this is just a vanity project for one mean old man, working through Japan’s elite society to get what he wants, who feels as though he’s got one good deed to redeem all his bad works and ill-will over the years. Don’t fall for Ishihara’s ego, IOC. Spare Tokyo, its tourists, and its ever-more-policed international residents. Give the Olympics to somebody else.
Posted in Bad Business Practices, Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit 2008, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Sport | 40 Comments »
Posted by debito on 12th September 2009
Just a quick blog entry for today. I was in Nagoya a few days ago finishing up one of my intensive courses on Media Professionalism, and at checkout from my hotel who should I bump into on the elevator but somebody I could have sworn looked just like one of my heroes.
Ramos Rui, a famous soccer player who has done a great deal in my opinion for assimilation of NJ (he even naturalized in 1989), toughing it out in what would become the J-League, then the Japan National Team, was standing right there. I asked him, he acknowledged, and we had a quick conversation in Japanese about things. Photo enclosed.
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Sport | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 7th September 2009
[Gamba Osaka striker Leandro's] departure has the potential to unleash catcalls that Brazilian players are only in the J-League for the money.
Well, so what if they are?
In a country where xenophobia is a softly-spoken secret – how’s this for McDonald’s latest Japanese ad campaign?– can anyone really blame Leandro for hopping on the first available flight to Doha?…
There are plenty of Brazilians in the J-League committed to the cause. Some, like the high-profile Zico, are afforded star status.
But others toil in relative anonymity, happy to ply their trade far from their homeland, struggling to overcome cultural and language barriers.
Often their contracts are terminated with no fanfare and little regard for their welfare…
It’s a draining lifestyle – one I can attest to – and I don’t begrudge a single Brazilian player who chooses to make a living in Japan, or one who departs for pastures anew.
Posted in Cultural Issue, Immigration & Assimilation, Sport | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 9th June 2009
A bit of follow-up on a case that Debito.org took up some months ago due to the politics of Sumo (and our perceived need for the Association to divert attention from its own excesses by bashing the foreigners). The stablemaster whose orders resulted in the death of Sumo wrestler Tokitaizan two years got his: Seven years in the clink. Good. But it’s now on appeal, and who knows if it’ll be lessened to the degree where it does not become a deterrent for future leaders to order and carry out the bullying and hazing of its underlings.
Posted in Good News, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport, Tangents | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 23rd May 2009
NYT: With over 50,000 signatures on a petition to keep [Bobby] Valentine, this is a struggle, the fans believe, that goes to the heart of Japanese baseball. They see Valentine as a positive influence who is leading the team and the sport toward a more viable future by promoting more access to players and more fan-friendly marketing concepts.
At the same time, they view the current front office, led by the team president, Ryuzo Setoyama, as more interested in the old status quo, when, they contend, fans were treated less as coveted customers and more as people expected to attend games out of a sense of duty. Although the team insists that Valentine simply makes too much money to be retained in 2010, the fans believe other factors may be in play.
“This problem is more than Japanese baseball itself; it’s about the Japanese society,” Kazuhiro Yasuzumi, a 39-year-old Marines fan and leader of the protest, said through an interpreter. He said that people with power and influence in Japan did not necessarily appreciate someone like Valentine, who has never been bashful about offering his opinion.
Valentine is indeed paid a lot of money: $3.9 million per season. When, and if, he goes, he will take with him some significant accomplishments, starting with the championship he won in 2005, the Marines’ first in 31 years. It was after that feat that he became the only foreigner to win the prestigious Shoriki Award for contributions to Japanese baseball.
Posted in Cultural Issue, Labor issues, Sport | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 3rd February 2009
I have been avoiding talking about the “puff pieces” about pot smokers in Sumo (I’m sure toking helps with the munchies around chanko-nabe time; we might even get people finding other uses for the hemp-like substance surrounding much of the ceremonial decor), because there was nothing particularly noteworthy or unfair about it. Three sumo wrestlers who just happened to be Russian got caught inhaling, and they got it in the neck. Dumb of them to do it.
However, now a Japanese rikishi, Wakakirin, just got caught and expelled. Funny thing is, he tested positive for the substance (twice) back in August like all the rest. Why wasn’t the bong lowered on him then?
More importantly, this becomes Debito.orgable because Kyodo just had to run a bit saying that he got his stash from foreigners in Roppongi. That’s right, even when it’s a Japanese gone to pot, weasel in some blame for the NJ all over again. Sheesh.
A couple of articles substantiating this follow.
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Media, Sport | 16 Comments »
Posted by debito on 8th November 2008
Here’s an article which made me conclude something that I have been suspecting all along.
Baseball hero Oh Sadaharu, a Zainichi Taiwanese, is retiring. He has done a lot for baseball and no doubt for the image of NJ in Japan (especially the Sangokujin, Tokyo Gov. Ishihara’s pet NJ to target as potential criminals).
But I am not a fan. As the article rather euphemistically headlines below, Oh’s record was hard to beat. That’s because anyone, particularly a line of foreign baseball players, who came close, was stopped because they were gaijin players. Often by Oh himself. Now, that’s unsportsmanlike. I will cheer anytime anyone does well as a personal best, especially when they overcome great personal odds (Oh was not allowed to play Korakuen High School baseball tournaments because Japan didn’t, and still doesn’t to some degree, allow foreign players to play in Kokutai leagues where “they might qualify for the Olympics and become national representatives” sort of thing).
But Oh for years now has struck me as a person who earns his laurels and his pedestal, then pulls the ladder up behind him, even for others who face similar obstacles. It’s one thing to discriminate because discrimination is the norm and you’re just playing ball. It’s another to go through the discrimination yourself, then turn around and abet the discrimination against others. It’s hypocritical, and Oh should have known and done better. He chose not to. And now that we have an authority on Japanese baseball, Robert Whiting, coming out and indicating as such in the article below, I’m ready to draw this conclusion:
Oh Sadaharu may be a baseball hero, but he’s an Uncle Tom and a turncoat, and that tarnishes his image as a genuine hero. Shame on you, Sadaharu.
Posted in Exclusionism, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | 8 Comments »
Posted by debito on 21st September 2008
I’m here in Niseko for a little while longer after coming here to learn how to play Cricket. Yes, that sport played by the Commonwealth on a field lacking two bases, using that wickedly hard ball without gloves. And I can still type this morning without broken fingers. Attending an international Cricket competition and charity event and discovering the game is actually a lot of fun! More details on the event (consider attending next year, Cricketeers!) in this blog entry.
Posted in Sport, Tangents | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 10th June 2008
Every now and again we do need a reality check. I’ve been heavily critical of Japan’s paranoid rules about G8 Summitry and security. Well, let’s cross the pond and see how silly China comes of regarding security during their Olympics. From the Shanghai Daily: “Overseas visitors suspected of working in the sex trade, of smuggling drugs or belonging to a terrorist organization will not be allowed to enter China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics… Foreigners with mental or epidemic diseases, including tuberculosis and leprosy, will also not be issued visas to visit China, the Organizing Committee said in a circular published on its official Website. Entry would be banned to anyone with “subversive” intent upon arriving in China, according to the rule…” But wait, there’s more…
Posted in Cultural Issue, Humor, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport, Tangents | 26 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th May 2008
Summary: Bulgarian Sumo Wrestler Kotooshuu today became the seventh NJ (and the first Caucasian) to win a Sumo Tournament, after Hawaiians Takamiyama, Konishiki, Akebono, and Musashimaru, then Mongolians Asashouryuu and Hakuhou’s past victories. The last five became Yokozuna in their own right. Here’s hoping that Kotooshuu also joins their ranks!
Posted in Sport | 5 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th November 2007
TV celebrity Kazutomo Miyamoto urged immigration officials during a photo-op to use a new process to fingerprint inbound foreigners to fight foreign crime, not terrorism as the government claims the system will be used for.
“I think it’d be best if we could cut the amount of crime foreigners are committing and make Japan a safer place,” Miyamoto said at Narita Airport, where he was serving as the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Chief For a Day as a promotional event for the fingerprinting process.
Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Sport | 10 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th November 2007
Posted in Fingerprinting, Targeting, Tracking NJ, Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese Government, Media, Sport, Uncategorized, 日本語 | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 11th November 2007
LA Times: “As is common in Japan, Aichi police reached their verdict on how [brutalized sumo wrestler] Saito died without an autopsy. No need for a coroner, they said. No crime involved. Only 6.3% of the unnatural deaths in Aichi are investigated by a medical examiner, a minuscule rate even by nationwide standards in Japan, where an autopsy is performed in 11.2% of cases… But Saito’s case has given credence to complaints by a group of frustrated doctors, former pathologists and ex-cops who argue that Japan’s police culture is the main obstacle. Police discourage autopsies that might reveal a higher homicide rate in their jurisdiction, and pressure doctors to attribute unnatural deaths to health reasons, usually heart failure, the group alleges. Odds are, it says, that people are getting away with murder in Japan, a country that officially claims one of the lowest per capita homicide rates in the world… “All the police care about is how they look to people; it’s all PR to show that their capabilities are high,” Saikawa says. “Without autopsies they can keep their percentage [of solved cases] high. It’s all about numbers.”"
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Sport | 2 Comments »
Posted by debito on 4th November 2007
Hi Blog. Not a matter of fingerprinting for a change, but another article to show that topics we bring up do make some ripples in the press. And I’m still waiting for the “coach” (rather, the owner of a sumo stable) to actually be ARRESTED for assault and criminal negligence (if not manslaughter)–even after publicly [...]
Posted in Sport | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 22nd October 2007
You would think that fairness is the virtue of sports, but tell that to the Japanese authorities. In May, they approved a high school ban on foreign students running the first and the longest leg of a relay race in response to complaints from fans, a spokesman for the All Japan High School Athletic Federation said. The decision came after the federation received mounting complaints from fans that “African runners lead the race so much that the Japanese athletes can’t narrow the difference or catch up throughout the race.”
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 29th September 2007
The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, *OUR* local team, has just won its second pennant IN A ROW in the Pacific League. BANZAI!!
Posted in Sport | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th August 2007
The persecution of Yokozuna sumo wrestler Asashoryu is all a diversion from the real story: That Sumo’s house of cards is being shaken. We have a death deterring people from joining a system with institutionalized bullying, renewed allegations of bout fixing, the very real possibility of bodybuilding chemicals banned in most world sports, and the entirely possible death of the Sumo’s credibility that the Ohnaruto Scandal of 1996 would have done a lot sooner…
Posted in Ironies & Hypocrisies, Sport, Tangents | 7 Comments »
Posted by debito on 21st July 2007
Here’s one way to avoid the accusation that foreigners in Japanese sports make events too boring: J.R. Sakuragi, a former NBA player known as J.R. Henderson, has become a Japanese citizen and will play for the Japan National Team in the FIBA Asian Championship, which begins on July 28 in Tokushima…
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Sport | No Comments »
Posted by debito on 30th June 2007
High school sport associations in Japan have introduced tough restrictions on foreign students because they are apparently trouncing the Japanese athletes in sports such as the ekiden relay marathon, basketball and table tennis. This follows in the mould of a longstanding similar rule in the Kokutai National Sports Festival. And once you have one prominent exclusionary rule, it’s legitimized enough for others to copycat…
Posted in Immigration & Assimilation, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | 1 Comment »
Posted by debito on 29th June 2007
Most recent Sumo Banzuke shows that nearly a third of all the top-ranked Sumo wrestlers in Japan are now foreign born, not to mention both of the two at the top rank of Yokozuna. And there are more coming in the lower ranks. Glad to see that Sumo has opened up significantly since the bad old days, as one of the world’s most exclusive sports, once inextricably linked to nationality (“kokugi”), has opened itself up to this degree. Phenomenon bears brief mention on Debito.org, with comment from 3YEN.COM about Sumo’s recent recruiting difficulties.
Posted in Fun Facts, Sport | 3 Comments »
Posted by debito on 24th May 2007
In what is sure to be a continuing series, I would like to award the Second Debito.org Dejima Award to the All Japan High School Athletic Federation.
Suggested by Chris Flynn, the Dejima Award is a showcase for those small-minded people in this society who feel the need to keep foreign peoples, ideas, and influences from these pristine shores. In much the same spirit as Feudal Japan kept foreigners secluded on an island off Nagasaki named Dejima centuries ago.
The obvious prescience displayed by the people who organize these footraces for students, when deciding to “keep the race more interesting for disgruntled fans” by shutting foreigners out of the starting lineup, is sure to make foreign students feel more welcome, and help keep Japan’s education system (struggling with our low birthrate, desperately courting foreign students) solvent and equal-opportunity. Not.
Posted in Dejima Awards, Education, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | 4 Comments »
Posted by debito on 14th November 2006
1) TBS INTERVIEW RE 2-CHANNEL BBS, THIS THURSDAY LUNCHTIME
2) NOOSE TIGHTENS: ZAKZAK AND MUTANTFROG ON NISHIMURA & WASEDA SPEECH
3) ASAHI: NORIGUCHI PONTIFICATING ON LANGUAGE TEACHING AGAIN
4) LETTER TO KITAKYUSHU AUTHORITIES RE EXCLUSIONARY RESTAURANT
5) EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF JAPANESE PRISON VISIT
6) FOREIGN MARRIAGES NOT ALLOWED FOR POLICE AND JSDF?
7) CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN TO HOKKAIDO NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS!
Posted in Education, Human Rights, ２ちゃんねる, Japanese police/Foreign crime, Lawsuits, Media, Newsletters, Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 12th November 2006
Our home team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, after reaching the top in Japan last month, just won the Asian Series, 1-0, vs Taiwan.
Posted in Sport | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 26th October 2006
Just in case any of you are hiding under any rocks…
Posted in Sport | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 26th October 2006
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters are poised to take the national championship tonight. This is a quick essay on what this season’s outstanding performance in baseball has meant to Hokkaido.
Posted in Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 3rd October 2006
1) J TIMES: DEVELOPMENTS IN FOREIGNER TRACKING AND QUALIFICATION
2) SPORT: BASEBALL “ANTI-GAIJIN” COMMENTS RE FOREIGN COACHES
3) J TIMES: ENFORCED “KIMIGAYO” PATRIOTISM RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
4) ROGUES’ GALLERY: “JAPANESE ONLY” SIGN IN OHTA-SHI, GUNMA PREF.
5) ADDITIONS TO UNIV BLACKLIST: RITSUMEIKAN, KYOTO SANGYO, KITAKYUSHU
6) ADDITIONS TO UNIV GREENLIST: UNIVERSITY OF AIZU
7) J TIMES ON LINGUAPAX ASIA CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND AT TOKYO UNIV
Posted in Articles & Publications, Human Rights, Immigration & Assimilation, Japanese Politics, Labor issues, Newsletters, Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Speech materials, Sport | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 27th September 2006
“He won’t comprehend our words or feelings.” (「言葉も気持ちも通じない」)
–Yaeyama Shoukou High School coach Ishimine Yoshimori, regarding Lotte baseball coach Bobby Valentine, after Valentine’s high school draft pick coup disrupted the process of letting star player Ohmine Yuuta go to his preferred team, the Softbank Hawks. On these grounds, Coach Ishimine refused to meet Valentine September 26, on the grounds of his foreignness, thus citing a language barrier as an excuse. Courtesy Sports Houchi (September 27, 2006)
Posted in Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | Comments Off
Posted by debito on 27th September 2006
However, that was vastly overshadowed by the actions of Fighters starter Satoru Kanemura, who threw a major hissy fit due to being pulled by manager Trey Hillman in the fifth inning needing just one out to become the first Nippon Ham hurler to rack up five straight ten win seasons since Yukihiro Nishimura. After the game, he told the press that. yanking him was “absolutely unforgivable” and then took a racial shot at Hillman, grumbling that, “because he’s a foreigner, he doesn’t care about players’ individual goals.” He then challeneged reporters to print his remarks. “I don’t even want to look at him,” Kanemura said of Hillman. In addition, he accused the former Rangers farm director of being more indulgent with Iranian-Japanese righthander Yu Darvish than him. In the context of this little explosion, that also has a racial tinge to it. Kanemura also beefed that he didn’t think Hillman trusted him.
Posted in Problematic Foreign Treatment, Sport | Comments Off