New eBook: “JAPANESE ONLY: The Otaru Onsens Case”, 10th Anniv Edition with new Intro and Postscript, now on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook $9.99

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Hi Blog.  I am pleased to announce the eBook release of my book “JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” Tenth Anniversary Edition, available for immediate download for Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble NOOK.

The definitive book on one of Japan’s most important public debates and lawsuits on racial discrimination, this new edition has a new Introduction and Postscript that updates the reader on what has happened in the decade since JO’s first publication by Akashi Shoten Inc.  A synopsis of the new book is below.

You can read a sample of the first fifteen or so pages (including the new Introduction), and download the ebook at either link:

Price:  $9.99 (a bargain considering JO is currently on sale on Amazon Japan used for 3100 yen, and at Amazon.com used for $390.93!), or the equivalent in local currency on all other Amazons (935 yen on Amazon Japan).

If you haven’t read JO yet (as clearly some media presences, like TV Tarento Daniel Kahl or decrier of “bathhouse fanatics” Gregory Clark, have not; not to mention “My Darling is a Foreigner” manga star Tony Laszlo would rather you didn’t), now is a brand new opportunity with additional context.  Here’s the Synopsis:

SYNOPSIS OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF eBOOK “JAPANESE ONLY”

If you saw signs up in public places saying “No Coloreds”, what would you do? See them as relics of a bygone era, a la US Segregation or South African Apartheid? Not in Japan, where even today “Japanese Only” signs, excluding people who look “foreign”, may be found nationwide, thanks to fear and opportunism arising from Japan’s internationalization and economic decline.

JAPANESE ONLY is the definitive account of the Otaru Onsens Case, where public bathhouses in Otaru City, Hokkaido, put up “no foreigners allowed” signs to refuse entry to Russian sailors, and in the process denied service to Japanese. One of Japan’s most studied postwar court cases on racial discrimination, this case went all the way to Japan’s Supreme Court, and called into question the willingness of the Japanese judiciary to enforce Japan’s Constitution.

Written by one of the plaintiffs to the lawsuit, a bilingual naturalized citizen who has lived in Japan for 25 years, this highly-readable first-person account chronologically charts the story behind the case and the surrounding debate in Japanese media between 1999 and 2005. The author uncovers a side of Japanese society that many Japanese and scholars of Japan would rather not discuss: How the social determination of “Japanese” inevitably leads to racism. How Japan, despite international treaties and even its own constitutional provisions, remains the only modern, developed country without any form of a law against racial discrimination, resulting in situations where foreigners and even Japanese are refused service at bathhouses, restaurants, stores, apartments, hotels, schools, even hospitals, simply for looking too “foreign”. How Japan officially denies the existence of racial discrimination in Japan (as its allegedly homogeneous society by definition contains no minorities), until the Sapporo District Court ruled otherwise with Otaru Onsens.

JAPANESE ONLY also charts the arc of a public debate that reached extremes of xenophobia: Where government-sponsored fear campaigns against “foreign crime” and “illegal foreigners” were used to justify exclusionism. Where outright acts of discrimination, once dismissed as mere “cultural misunderstandings”, were then used as a means to “protect Japanese” from “scary, unhygienic, criminal foreigners” and led to the normalization of racialized hate speech. Where even resident foreigners turned on themselves, including Japan Times columnist Gregory Clark’s repeated diatribes against “bathhouse fanatics”, and future “My Darling is a Foreigner” manga star Tony Laszlo’s opportunistic use of activism to promote his own agenda at the expense of the cause. Where the plaintiffs stay the course despite enormous public pressure to drop the lawsuit (including death threats), and do so at great personal risk and sacrifice. Remaining in print since its first publication in 2003, JAPANESE ONLY remains a testament to the dark side of race relations in Japan, and contains a taut story of courage and perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Now for the first time in ebook format, this Tenth Anniversary Edition in English offers a new Introduction and Postscript by the author, updating the reader on what has changed, what work remains to be done, and how Japan in fact is reverse-engineering itself to become more insular and xenophobic in the 2010s. Called “a reasoned and spirited denunciation of national prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry” (Donald Richie, legendary Japanologist), “clear, well-paced, balanced and informative” (Tom Baker, The Daily Yomiuri), “a personal and fascinating account of how this movement evolved, its consequences and how it affected those who participated in it” (Jeff Kingston, The Japan Times), and “the book of reference on the subject for decades to come and should be required reading for anyone studying social protest” (Robert Whiting, author of You’ve Gotta Have Wa), JAPANESE ONLY is a must-read for anyone interested in modern Japan’s future direction in the world and its latent attitudes towards outsiders.

More reviews at http://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html
ends

Success, of a sort, as a “Gaijin Mask” maker amends their racist product to “Gaikokujin Masks”. Same racialized marketing, though.

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Hi Blog.  Been doing some writing and inserting into my research the definition of “gaijin” in Japan in terms of marketing.  You might remember this little tidbit from Debito.org, March 25, 2009:

Well, when I was looking up the maker and sales price on Amazon Japan last night, guess what I discovered.  The product has now been changed, as of August 2012:

Note the stereotypical racialized characteristics for both “dokkiri” party goods include large a large nose, blue eyes, cleft chin, blond hair, “Hollywood smile,” and grand gesticulations.  The default language for the “foreigner” (as seen by the harō and ha-i!) is English (if not katakana Japanese for the desu copula).  However, “gaijin” has been adjusted to “gaikokujin” (as if that makes the commodification of racism all better).

Note also that even though this apparently has been a recent change (information was received by Amazon Japan only last month), it’s suddenly “currently unavailable” and “can not be shipped outside Japan“.  (I wonder if anyone looking at the product with an IP in Japan is also unable to purchase it.)  See screen capture here:

(Screen capture as of September 22, 2012.)

Same thing with the racialized Little Black Sambo dolls I found on Amazon Japan last night (which have been on sale since shortly after unbook Little Black Sambo was resuscitated in Japan, extending racism into the next generation):  It’s also “currently unavailable.”  And anyway not for sale outside of Japan.  So methinks the producers are well aware that they could get in trouble if marketed to an overseas audience.  But no matter — there’s money to be made here — who cares if the product is racialized when the domestic market from childhood thinks racism of this sort is unproblematic? (Moreover believes it only goes one way — given the Perpetual Victim Complex, Japanese are more likely to be the victims of racism than the perpetrators of racism, of course.)

Anyway, I think Debito.org can claim credit for the “gaijin” => “gaikokujin” change.  Who else is covering this issue and archiving it?  I have the feeling that they saw it (as news anchor Kume Hiroshi did back in 2006, when he apologized ten years later for an obnoxious remark he made on national TV about “gaijin” back in 1996) and felt embarrassed enough to make some adjustments.  Not embarrassed enough to take it off the market, of course (as Mandom did their racist product back in 2005).  But we’re working on that.

Thanks for your support, everyone.  Arudou Debito

UPDATE Sept 24:  Here are a couple more, courtesy of the same company (thanks Debito.org Readers):  The “Kurohige Gaijin-san” (beard seems to be chiseled to look a bit like Tony “Darling Foreigner” Laszlo‘s comic character) and the “Hana Megane Gaijin-san.”  

http://www.kk-jig.com/products/orderno_6156/

http://www.kk-jig.com/products/orderno_6084/1/

However, the packaging for the Gaijin Beard mask is significantly different if you find it on the store shelves.  The image is less Tony Laszlo, more mullah.  Courtesy of DMG, taken at Tokyu Hands Shibuya, September 23, 2012.

Funny how the mullah glasses even have UV protection…

Japan Times: “Darling foreigner” Tony Laszlo is “less passionate today” about discrimination against foreigners

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog. As we wind down the year and the decade, we’ll start having more retrospectives on Debito.org. Kicking this off is a fluff piece from the Japan Times from “My Darling is a Foreigner” Tony Laszlo, and how he’s put himself out to pasture from an alleged human rights activist to a cunning linguist.  A paragraph of note:

(photo courtesy Japan Times Dec 14, 2010)

////////////////////////////////////////////

WHO’S WHO
For writer, languages are his ‘darling’
Multilingual author and subject of ‘My Darling is a Foreigner’ comic celebrates joy of words
The Japan Times, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010

…Apart from writing, Laszlo taught for a few years at Japanese universities, and has also set up an nongovernmental organization, Issho Kikaku, in 1992. Through this NGO, he put on theatrical shows related to multicultural issues, and later, dealt with social issues such as discrimination against foreigners.

“In those days, personally, I felt a strong desire to avoid a simple dichotomy between Japanese and non-Japanese, male and female, family and friends, handicapped and nonhandicapped,” he said. Today, he said he is less passionate about the issues, and that the group’s activities have become more low-key. Now it engages in research on issues concerning human diversity, language and culture.

Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20101214ww.html

//////////////////////////////////////////////

COMMENT: Low key? I’ll say. This “issho kikaku” has a one-page website which hasn’t changed for years — moreover has done away with hundreds of pages of works from other NJ and Japanese activists that were a priceless archive of domestic activism from the late 1990’s-early 2000‘s. In fact, this “issho kikaku” was never an NGO at all. Never registered as one, in fact, yet still reported as extant by a too-trusting reporter. So “low-key” is an understatement: how about “no-key” or “delete-key”?

But yeah, it must be nice to be the appendage-half of a very successful business partnership, one that became a social phenomenon (of debatable benefit) this past decade. It’s produced a person who reportedly once cared about helping the downtrodden in Japanese society, yet can still make media hay in places like the Japan Times just by indulging in idle sweetmeat pursuits.  I guess for him that’s better than actually losing hair being being passionate about issues that might benefit from a bit of tycoon philanthropy:   Helping people avoid that dichotomy between “Japanese and non-Japanese, male and female, family and friends, handicapped and nonhandicapped.”etc.

Better to be a Darling, and lick the buttered side of the bread.

Discussion: Oguri Saori’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” manga series: Does it help NJ assimilate?

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Hi Blog. We’ve recently had a decent discussion come up in my previous blog entry, and it’s good enough to warrant its own entry.

The topic was Oguri Saori’s Daarin Wa Gaikokujin” (My Darling is a Foreigner), a best-selling series of manga depicting the life of a quirky bilingual foreigner by the name of “Tony” who marries a Japanese woman. The manga chronicles the different personalities of the husband and wife as they deal with issues in Japan, create a life and a family together, travel from one place to another, and generally try to get inside “Tony’s mind”. There are several books under Oguri’s authorship (at least one with real-life husband Tony Laszlo’s co-billing — his “Guide to Happiness”), and even a movie earlier this year, not to mention an English translation, subway and train PSAs, and an ANA advertising deal. It’s a very influential economic juggernaut that has spawned imitators (there are other “Darling”-types of books connected with different nationalities), and now with “DWG with baby” on board the epic is anticipated to continue for some years to come.

The question for Debito.org Readers: Is the DWG manga series really working in NJs best interests? As in, as far as Debito.org is concerned, helping NJ to assimilate, be treated as equals and moreover residents of Japan?

I came out in my last blog entry and said I wasn’t sure it is. Let me give my standpoint and open the floor up for discussion:

First a disclaimer: I knew Oguri Saori personally, stayed with Laszlo and Saori for many days during trips to Tokyo, and even helped Saori with some grunt work (as in erasing pencil lines) in earlier non-DWG works. We were quite close. I have immense respect for her as an illustrator (as I too like to draw) and a storyteller. I think she has earned every bit of her success after developing her talent and investing years of hard work in her craft. Bully for her. May she earn millions more.

But the problem I have had with the DWG series (and I’ve come to this conclusion after many years of watching how DWG appeals to people) is that it is selling “foreigner” as “exotic” and “different” all over again. A friend of mine concurs, seeing the appeal of DWG as “making foreigners into things, even accessories, for collection and display”. I won’t go quite that far. But watching what kind of audience the DWG media machine generally seeks to appeal to (young to middle-aged women who might want to date a foreigner — or are dating/married to a foreigner), I see that they are being encouraged to view DWG as a guide to “foreigners’ minds”. This might be an overstatement, but the title itself (“Gaikokujin”) already sets Tony-chan apart as something perpetually different, moreover something to be studied (and there is enough bad social science in Japan treating NJ as cultural representatives, worthy of petri-dish examination). Regardless of how Saori originally intended, the marketing of these books plays right into this. Tony-chan is cute, sure. Eccentric and interesting, sure. Representative of anything? No.

Imagine if we were to publish a book, “My Darling is a Japanese”, and we had this quirky Japanese man who spoke geeky English and studied all sorts of [insert country here] cultural norms and had all sorts of eccentric tics? Then imagine a publisher pushing it as having insight into how Japanese men (or for that matter, any kind of Asian man) behave within this cultural context? We’d have people buying it if it were funny, sure. But I bet there would be a little more care against pushing it as something representative of anything. Even Borat, for example, was sold as performance art, not fodder for the study of Kazakhstan or foreigners in general.

In sum, I initially liked the idea of DWG as an eye-opener and a softener. But subsequent mutations of the phenomenon have turned it into simply more of the same: Quirky foreigner comes here and still is seen as quirky because he is foreign. Not because he is a quirky person. And people lap it up because they think it offers insights. Doubt that? Read this.

I don’t see it furthering the cause of helping NJ assimilate and being treated as equals and residents, not foreigners. DWG has been a wasted opportunity.

Now let’s open up the floor to discussion. I ask respondents to please try to leave Laszlo’s and my personal relationship out of this (because it’s irrelevant, and the DWG books are not Laszlo’s anyway). Please critique the DWG phenomenon on its own merits. I seriously look forward to seeing what people (especially fans) say. Arudou Debito in Radium Hot Springs, BC

Kyodo: NJ crime down once again, but NPA spin says NJ crime gangs “increasingly” targeting Japan, whines about difficulty in statistically measuring NJ crime

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Hi Blog.  Here’s the semiannual NPA NJ crime propaganda campaign, claiming once again some kind of “increase”.  Before, we had decreases in crime depicted as an increase, depending on what crime you looked at or what language the article was in.  Now it’s the NPA, in the face of a 40% admitted drop in “NJ criminals rounded up” since  2004, giving the spin of doubting its own statistics.  What’s next, saying NJ are more likely to commit crime because of their criminal DNA?  (Actually, Tokyo Gov Ishihara beat them to that nearly a decade ago; dead record due to Tony Laszlo’s Issho Kikaku, so Japanese here.)

Here’s the report being referred to in pdf format:

http://www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai6/rainichi.pdf

Note how last month’s police raids of NJ junkyard businesses was done in time  for the survey.  Gotta say something, act as though they’re doing something, even if it doesn’t seem like they found much.

Also note how on the bottom of page two of the report, they give a definition that the “gaikokujin” they’re referring to are not those here with PR status, the Zainichi, the US military, or “those with unclear Statuses of Residence” (what, refugees?  certainly not visa overstayers).  Okay.  Pity the media doesn’t mention that.  Nor is it mentioned that although this report is supposed to deal with “international crime”, it is just titled “Rainichi Gaikokujin Hanzai no Kenkyo Joukyou” (lit. The Situation of Cases of Crimes by Foreigners Coming to Japan).  I guess just talking about garden-variety crime by NJ (back in the day when it was allegedly going up) isn’t convenient anymore.  You have to narrow the focus to find the crime and shoot the fish in the proverbial barrel — it gets the headlines that attribute crime to nationality, even somehow allows you to doubt your own statistics.  Moreover enables you to claim a budget to “establish a system in which investigators across the nation would be able to work in an integrated manner to counter crimes committed by foreigners” (as opposed to an integrated manner to counter crimes in general).

More on the issue at Debito.org here.  Let’s see what the NPA spin is next time.  Fascinatingly bad science.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

//////////////////////////////////////////

NPA says foreign crime groups increasingly targeting Japan
Kyodo News Friday 23rd July, 2010, Courtesy of JK and KG and many others

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/npa-says-foreign-crime-groups-increasingly-targeting-japan

TOKYO — International criminal organizations are increasingly targeting Japan as members of such groups, the locations where they commit crimes and their victims have become more multinational, the National Police Agency said in its white paper released Friday.

While members of foreign crime groups have tended to stay in Japan for a short period of time to steal or engage in other criminal activities then flee overseas, such groups are now coordinating with crime syndicates in Japan and repeatedly committing crimes using existing ‘‘criminal infrastructure,’’ according to the annual paper.

In analyzing the globalization of crime, the document points to underground banks, groups specializing in arranging fake marriages and scrap yards in the suburbs as examples of such infrastructure.

Police inspected in June a total of more than 400 yards in Japan. One reason was to see whether they were being used as a base for global criminal activities. Some scrap yards were found to have been used to disassemble stolen cars and heavy machinery to export parts.

The number of foreigners rounded up last year on suspicion of being involved in criminal activities was about 13,200, down roughly 40% from 2004 when the number peaked.

‘‘The extent of how much crime has become globalized cannot be grasped through statistics,’’ the paper says, attributing part of the reason to difficulties in solving crimes committed by foreigners—which are more likely to be carried out by multiple culprits than those committed by Japanese.

To counter the trend, the agency set up in February an office specializing in collecting and analyzing intelligence on crimes committed by foreigners.

It aims to establish a system in which investigators across the nation would be able to work in an integrated manner to counter crimes committed by foreigners.

ENDS

/////////////////////////////////////

UPDATE

Foreign criminals building up Japanese operations, threatening public order: NPA
(Mainichi Japan) July 23, 2010 Courtesy of MS
Globe-spanning foreign criminal organizations have secretly been building up their operations in Japan in recent years, according to a National Police Agency (NPA) white paper for fiscal 2010 submitted to the Cabinet on July 23.

According to a special “globalized crime” section of the report, the types of crimes perpetrated by foreigners in Japan are changing at the same time as criminal activity involving the movement of people money and the flow of information over borders is building — presenting what the agency emphasizes is “a threat to public order.”

The globalization of crime “could very well cause a tectonic shift in the public order of our nation,” the report declares. “From this point on, law enforcers are required to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner.”

Previously, crimes perpetrated by foreigners tended to be of the “hit and run” variety, committed during short-term stays in Japan and followed with the criminal fleeing the country. However, in recent years, cases of global foreign criminal organizations targeting Japan, and the formation of criminal groups in Japan made up of foreigners from many countries, have been conspicuous — a trend dubbed “the globalization of crime.”

As an example, the report cites a 2007 tear gas spray attack on a jewelry store clerk and theft of a 280 million yen tiara from the shop in Tokyo’s Ginza area by a Montenegrin group called the “Pink Panther” gang. It also details a 2006-2009 scam by a primarily Nigerian group that used fake credit cards to buy electronics from volume dealers, which they then sold to used electronics shops. Another example is a Pakistani, Cameroonian, Sri Lankan and Japanese group which stole heavy construction equipment in some 500 cases from 2002 to 2008, dismantled them and exported the parts.

There are also cases of foreigners involved in drug dealing, smuggling counterfeit goods, Internet-based computer hacking and money laundering, and some of them in connection with Japan’s own yakuza criminal organizations.

This year, the NPA is formulating a strategy to counter the globalized crime trend, and has set up a special “globalized crime countermeasures” unit. The agency is also strengthening cooperation and information exchanges with foreign public security agencies via diplomatic channels and Interpol. It is also building on extradition treaties for the smooth extradition of criminals.
ENDS

警察白書:「グローバル化」脅威に 外国人犯罪に焦点

毎日新聞 2010年7月23日

http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20100723k0000e040042000c.html

警察庁は23日、10年版警察白書を閣議に報告した。特集「犯罪のグローバル化と警察の取り組み」を組み、世界的規模の犯罪組織が近年、日本で暗躍する実態を解説した。国境を超えた人、カネ、情報の行き来が活発になるなか、外国人犯罪に質的な変化が起きていると指摘。「治安への脅威になっている」と強調している。【鮎川耕史】

従来の外国人犯罪は、短期滞在の在留資格で来日し、犯行後すぐに海外に逃走する「ヒット・アンド・アウエー」型が典型だった。

最近は、世界規模で活動する組織が日本を標的にするケースや、多国籍のメンバーで組織を構成しているケースが目立ち、「犯罪のグローバル化」と呼ばれている。

象徴的な事件として白書は、モンテネグロ人らの組織「ピンクパンサー」が東京・銀座の貴金属店で店員に催涙スプレーを吹きかけ、2億8000万円相当のティアラ(王冠形の髪飾り)を奪った事件(07年)▽ナイジェリア人を中心とするグループが、偽造クレジットカードで家電量販店からだまし取った電化製品を古物商で換金していた事件(06~09年)▽パキスタン人、カメルーン人、スリランカ人、日本人で構成するグループが、自動車や建設用重機を狙って約500件の窃盗を繰り返し、「ヤード」と呼ばれる作業場で解体したうえ、海外へ輸出していた事件(02~08年)--などを挙げている。

覚せい剤の密売、偽ブランド品の密輸、インターネット上の不正アクセス、マネーロンダリングでもグローバル化は進み、日本の暴力団とのつながりが判明した事件もある。

警察庁は今年、犯罪のグローバル化に対する戦略プランを策定し、情報の収集・分析を担当する「犯罪のグローバル化対策室」を発足させた。国際刑事警察機構(ICPO)や外交ルートを通じた外国治安当局との情報交換や捜査協力も強化。国外に逃亡した容疑者の特定や所在の確認、犯罪人引き渡し条約に基づく引き渡しなどでも連携を深めている。

白書は「(犯罪のグローバル化は)わが国の治安に地殻変動を引き起こす要因となりかねない。今後、組織をあげて的確に取り組むことが求められる」としている。

ENDS

Congratulations to Oguri Saori for her successful opening of “Darling wa Gaikokujin” movie

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog.  Just a word of congratulations on apparently one of the more important intercultural events of the year — the successful movie release of Oguri Saori’s hit manga series “Darling wa Gaikokujin” (My Darling is a Foreigner).

Officially released yesterday with balloons and girly frills, the movie is feted to make a splash with all the Japanese women jonesing to date foreign men (even though about three-quarters of all J-NJ marriages are J men to NJ women).

Good for Saori.  I’ve known her for years (even stayed at the couple’s apartment for many days back in the ‘Nineties), and know her to be a person of great talent.

Here are some photos from the grand opening party, courtesy of MS:

Courtesy http://www.japantoday.com/category/picture-of-the-day/view/oh-my-darling#show_all_comments

Courtesy http://www.cinemacafe.net/news/cgi/report/2010/02/7709/

Courtesy http://ticket-news.pia.jp/pia/news_image.do?newsCd=201002250007&imageCd=3

And here are some links to what kind of person the series’ mascot actually is, scrubbing away the past by deleting historical archives while trying to launch a lawsuit to silence book JAPANESE ONLY.

What a Darling.

ENDS

祝「ダーリンは外国人」の映画化、「トニー」についてパロディーマンガ

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皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。大晦日として、大栗さおりさんの大成功したシリーズ「ダーリンは外国人」の映画化を祝いたいと思います。おめでとうございます。4月ロードショーとなりますので、どうぞ皆様お楽しみに。

ちなみに、メインキャラクターの「トニーラズロ」(Tony Laszlo)の描写と実物のことは色々違いがあるように気にしてならなりません。なので、このマンガはパロディーとして載せさせていただきたいと思います。どうぞ宜しくお願い致します。良いお年を!

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Oguri’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” becomes a movie, with parody cartoon about the “Darling Dream” being sold by all this

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog.  I want to offer my congratulations to Oguri Saori, very successful author of the “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series (translated as “My Darling is a Foreigner”, but officially subtitled “My Darling is Ambidextrous”), for the news just out this month that the first book in the series will be made into a live-action movie (starring Inoue Mao and Jonathan Share as Saori and Tonii respectively).  The empire built upon the dream being sold to Japanese women for marrying a white foreigner keeps on gathering strength.  See the movie trailer here.

More interesting to me is the mutation of the Tonii character.  It’s apparently based upon Tony Laszlo, one-time unicyclist, “journalist”, “activist” and self-proclaimed leader of unregistered NGO “Issho Kikaku” (a long-defunct group — you can’t even find their once-copious archives on the Wayback Machine because they have been blocked by the site owner — see what’s left of it at Issho.org), and now happy multimillionaire thanks to his partnership with and characterization by his very talented wife.

Although portrayed in the movie by the very handsome and disarming Jonathan as a “grass-eating man”, Tonii in real life is not as he is cartooned.  Laszlo is a big fan of putting his funds into threatening lawsuits, for one thing.  And of deleting internet archives.  And more.

It just so happens I found a cartoon parodying this phenomenon of the contrasts.  As the last post on Debito.org for this decade, enjoy.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo, wishing everyone a happy new year.  For Oguri Saori, it looks to be a fine one indeed, so, again, congratulations.

(click on image to expand in your browser)

ENDS

Tangent: Debito.org has citations in 37 books, according to Amazon

 Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog.  I’m going to be on the road from tomorrow showing documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES across Japan, so indulge me this evening as I talk about something that impressed me today about the power of the Internet.

It started during a search on Amazon.com this evening, when I found an amazing avenue for researching insides of books for excerpts.  Check it out (click “Excerpt”).

I realized I could go through and see just how often Debito.org is being cited as a resource in respectable print publications.  I soon found myself busy:  37 books refer in some way to me by name or things archived here.  I cite them all below from most recent publication on down.

Amazing.  Debito.org as a domain has been going strong since 1997, and it’s taken some time to establish a degree of credibility.  But judging by the concentration of citations in recent years, the cred seems to be compounding.

So tonight I’m realizing the reach of the Internet into print media, and the power of an online archive.  Mukashi mukashi, you young whippersnappers, it was truly time-consuming to find stuff in places like microfiche and Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature.   Now we can find what we need in seconds online.  Likewise, damn those who destroy history by deleting online archives — as you can see in book citations below regarding “Issho Kikaku”).

The following is tonight’s update to part of Debito.org’s PUBLICATIONS PAGE.  Have a look at the other stuff up there if you’re interested.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

==========================

CITATIONS OF DEBITO.ORG IN ACADEMIC AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS

  1. Haffner, John; Klett, Tomas Casas i; Lehmann, Jean-Pierre.  “JAPAN’S OPEN FUTURE:  An Agenda for Global Citizenship“. Anthem Press March 2009, pg 194, regarding Gaijin Hanzai Magazine. Also cited in bibliography is Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article of March 2008 on “Gaijin Hanzai Magazine and Hate Speech in Japan.”  ISBN 978-1-84331-311-3.
  2. Johnson, David T., and Zimring, Franklin E, “Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)” February 2009.  Bibiography page 456, citing Arudou Debito, “The Myopic State We’re In“, Japan Times December 18, 2007. ISBN 978-0195337402.
  3. Graf, Arndt, “Cities in Asia and Europe (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia)”, Routledge, January 2009.  Bibliography page 154, citing Otaru Onsens Case Sapporo District Court testimony.  ISBN 978-0710311832.
  4. Minear, Richard H., “THROUGH JAPANESE EYES“, junior high/high school textbook on Japanese society.  Apex Press, Fourth Edition, July 2008.  Pp 285-288 cites a rewrite of Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article 176.  ISBN: 0-938960-53-9.
  5. Winterdyk, John, and Georgios Antonopoulos, “Racist Victimization“.  Ashgate, July 2008. Citation of Debito.org as “helpful website” on page 183. ISBN 978-0754673200.
  6. Sorensen, André:  “Livable Communities in Japan?”  Japan Focus February 1, 2008.
  7. Chan, Jennifer, “Another Japan Is Possible: New Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education“.  Reference section page 289 (in chapter dealing with nonexistent “NGO” ISSHO Kikaku) and bibliographical references page 368 cite Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”.  ISBN 978-0804757829.
  8. Ertl, John, Tierney, R. Kenji, “Multiculturalism in the New Japan: Crossing the Boundaries Within (Asian Anthropologies)”. Berghahn Books, November, 2007.  Introduction page 25 cites Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” as reference. ISBN 978-1845452261.
  9. 単行本「グローバル時代の日本社会と国籍」、李洙任と田中宏 著。明石書店2007年5月10日発行、ISBN 978-4-7503-2531-6, pg 45-47.
  10. Willis, David Blake; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen, Eds., “Transcultural Japan (Asia’s Transformations)”  Routledge, January 2008.  Page 34 bibliography cites Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article “Japan’s Coming Internationalization: Can Japan Assimilate its Immigrants?” (2006).  ISBN 978-0415368902.
  11. Chapman, David, “Korean Identity and Ethnicity (Routledge Contemporary Japan Series)”.  Routledge, November 2007.  Cites activities of The Community promoting multicultural awareness on page 121. ISBN 978-0415426374.
  12. Pence, Canon, “Japanese Only: Xenophobic Exclusion in Japan’s Private Sphere“. New York International Law Review, Summer, 2007, pages 1-73.
  13. Heyden, Carmen: “Gaijin!  Welcome to Japan…  Japan auf dem Weg in eine mulikulturelle Gesellschaft.” PRAXIS GEOGRAPHIE (German), Preisliste Nr. 30 vom 1. April 2007.  Bildungshaus Schulbuchverlage Westermann Schroedel Diesterweg Schoeningh Winklers GmbH, publishers.
  14. Burgess, Chris:  “Multicultural Japan? Discourse and the ‘Myth’ of Homogeneity“. Japan Focus March 2007.
  15. West, Mark D, “Sex, and Spectacle:  The Rules of Scandal in Japan and the United States“.  University of Chicago Press, January 2007.  Page 356 footnote 116, citing Arudou Debito book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”. ISBN 978-0226894089
  16. 「英語の新しい役割:アジアを結ぶリングア・フランカ」李洙任(Lee, Soo im)著。龍谷大学経済学論集(民際学特集)2007年記載予定。
  17. 第6回移住労働者と連帯する全国のフォーラム・北海道 報告集 第6回北海道実行委員会2007年1月10日発行。42〜48ページ、「分科会報告:外国人の人権基本法、人種差別禁止法を制定しよう」はここでご覧下さい
  18. Caryl, Christian, and Kashiwagi, Akiko:  “This Is the New Japan: Immigrants are Transforming a Once Insular Society“. Japan Focus October 2006.
  19. Zielenziger, Michael, “Shutting Out the Sun:  How Japan Created its Own Lost Generation“. Nan A Talese, September 2006.  Page 316 footnote 16,on Otaru Onsens Case and Debito.org. ISBN 978-0385513036
  20. Talmadge, Eric, “Getting Wet: Adventures in the Japanese Bath“.  Kodansha International, August 2006.  Interview pp 149 – 155, regarding Otaru Onsens Case and racial discrimination in Japan. ISBN 978-4770030207.
  21. Milhaupt, Curtis J.; Ramseyer, J. Mark; and West, Mark D.: “The Japanese Legal System:  Cases, Codes, and Commentary”. Foundation Press, June 2006, ISBN 1-599-41017-6.  Citing Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2006).
  22. Gottlieb, Nanett, “Linguistic Stereotyping and Minority Groups in Japan (Contemporary Japan)”.  Routledge, February 2006.  Page 96 talks about Kume Hiroshi Case and his use of the word “gaijin” during a 1996 live broadcast. Back references page 142 cite Debito.org on the Kume Case, and what remains of the deleted ISSHO archives on Debito.org on page 146.  ISBN 978-0415338035.
  23. Sloss, Colin; Kawahara, Toshiaki; Grassi, Richard: “Shift the Focus“, Lesson 4:  “Discrimination, or Being Japanese…?” pp 18-21, on the Otaru Onsens Case. Sanshusha Pubilshing Co., Ltd. February, 2006. ISBN: 4-384-33363-3.
  24. Lee, Soo im; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen; and Befu, Harumi, eds., “JAPAN’S DIVERSITY DILEMMAS“.  iUniverse Inc. 2006.  ISBN 0-595-36257-5.  Two citations, in Chapter 4 (Murphy-Shigematsu, “Diverse Forms of Minority National Identities in Japan’s Multicultural Society”, pp. 75-99) and Chapter 5 (Lee, “The Cultural Exclusiveness of Ethnocentrism:  Japan’s Treatment of Foreign Residents”, pp. 100-125).
  25. Hayes, Declan, “The Japanese Disease: Sex and Sleaze in Modern Japan“. iUniverse Inc., September 2005.  Page 54, citing the Otaru Onsens Case, and page 311 footnote 14, with thanks for assistance.  ISBN 978-0595370153.
  26. Spiri, John, “Japanese at Work–a look a the working lives of Japanese people”, interview pp. 35-37.  Japan Association for Language Teaching pubs, Special Interest Group for Materials Writers, 2005.  ISBN 4-931424-20-1. More information at http://www.globalstories.net.
  27. Philips, Cathy, Ed. “Time Out Guide to Tokyo“, 4th Edition, Time Out Publishing June 2005.  Page 301, regarding the usefulness of Debito.org. ISBN 978-1904978374.
  28. Anholt, Simon, “Brand New Justice, Second Edition: How Branding Places and Products Can Help the Developing World“.  Butterworth-Heinemann, January 2005.  Citing as footnote 18 on page 167 my very off-topic research paper from 1996,  “New Zealand’s Economic Reforms–Were They Worth It?”,  ISBN 978-0750666008.
  29. Close, Paul, and Askew, David, “Asia Pacific And Human Rights: A Global Political Economy Perspective (The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms)”. Ashgate Publishing, December 2004.  Debito.org cited as reference in bibliography.  ISBN 978-0754636298.
  30. Asakawa, Gil, “Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa . . . and Their Friends“.  Stone Bridge Press, June 2004. Citing Debito.org as a site of interest in resources, page 134. ISBN 978-1880656853.
  31. 聖学院大学 政治経済学部 政治経済学科 2004年度 推進入学審査 小論文問題として記載:有道 出人著の朝日新聞「私の視点」欄から「『外国人お断り』人種差別撤廃へ法整備を」(SARSによるホテルの恐怖感と一律外国人客お断りの方針)。2003年6月2日朝刊 pg14(聖学院大学の問題用紙はこちらです。引用された記 事へのリンクはこちらです)(学研(株)出版)
  32. Let’s Go Inc., “Let’s Go Japan 1st Ed“.  Let’s Go Publications, December 2003.  Page 690 on favorite restaurant Ebi-Ten, pp 696-697 sidebars, interview with Olaf Karthaus and Arudou Debito on Otaru Onsens Case.  ISBN 978-0312320072.
  33. Belson, Ken, and Bremner, Brian, “Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon”  Wiley, November 2003.  Citation page 136 of Kyodo News March 19, 2003 article translation by Arudou Debito, regarding “Tama-Chan” protests.  ISBN 978-0470820940.
  34. Arnould, Eric J; Price, Linda; Zinkhan, George M, “Consumers” McGraw-Hill/Irwin, March 2003.  Page 76 cites Otaru Onsens Case as “Cultural Category Confusion”. ISBN 978-0072537147.
  35. Mclelland, Mark, “Japanese Cybercultures (Asia’s Transformations)”, Routledge, February 2003. Page 171, citing Debito.org as an example of online activism. ISBN 978-0415279185.
  36. Fujimoto, Etsuko, “Japanese-ness, Whiteness, and the ‘Other’ in Japan’s Internationalization”.   Essay from book Transforming Communication About Culture (2002), edited by Mary Jane Collier.  Sage Publications, Inc; 1st edition (December 15, 2001), ISBN-13: 978-0761924883.
  37. Picardi, Richard P, “Skills of Workplace Communication: A Handbook for T&D Specialists and Their Organizations“.  Quorum Books, September 2001. Pp 29-30 cites Otaru Onsens Case and Ana Bortz Case, as part of New York Times November 15, 1999 article, as cases of battles against ethnocentrism in Japan.  ISBN 978-1567203622.
  38. ENDS

Tony Laszlo, “Administrator of NGO Issho Kikaku”, in Asahi “Money” Section for his wife’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgwelcomesticker.jpgFranca-color.jpg

Hi Blog.  I find it pretty amazing how myths persist. The media helps. Not only do we have “Darling wa Gaikokujin” cartoon character slash “Writer” Tony Laszlo appearing as himself (in one of the most frightening photos I’ve ever seen of him) in the “Money” Section of the Asahi (May 17, 2008), he still has the byline of “Administrator of NGO ISSHO Kikaku”. 

That’s odd for a number of reasons, but we’ll stick to the facts, that a) ISSHO Kikaku’s website (www.issho.org), containing years of work by other NJ activists, has been offline for 2 1/2 years, and has even recently mutated to plain gibberish (today’s download):

and then b) there is NO NGO registered as “ISSHO Kikaku” at websites recording NGOs registered in Japan.  I guess the reporter didn’t fact check before publication.

Never mind.  He’s being portrayed as a doting father.  Good, but that’s neither “Money” nor news.  And it may be the only thing factual in this Asahi article.  See it after the next paragraph.

Why do I have it in for this guy?  Because he’s a person who erases the historical record of NJ “Newcomers” in Japan, and threatens to sue people who want to maintain it.  Start here for substantiation.  More on the Debito.org Blog about this character here.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

ENDS

Interesting forthcoming book: “Another Japan is Possible”, citing Tony Laszlo of long-defunct “Issho Kikaku”

HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpg
Hi Blog. Speaking of books…

We have another book on Japan’s internationalization coming out. Press release below. It looks to be a serious and interesting study of the forces of minority voices in Japan. Well done Professor Chan.

There is one thing I found odd. Chapter 42 below reads:

42. Issho Kikaku
Tony Laszlo
Ethnic Diversity, Foreigners’ Rights, Discrimination in Family Registration

Hang on. Tony Laszlo of “Issho Kikaku”? Issho Kikaku has been a moribund organization for more than two years now (its archives taken offline for “site renewal” December 4, 2005! Here’s today’s screen capture:).
isshosite021808.jpg

By taking the work of hundreds of activists offline like this, Laszlo in fact has a history of deleting the historical record of Japan’s internationalization. Likewise, the Shakai Mailing List Archives, which he was also involved in, also mysteriously disappeared about a year ago. Substantiation for all these assertions here.

How can a “non-active” activist representing a non-existent organization pop up like this in a serious academic work? Well, Jennifer by sheer coincidence contacted me a couple of weeks ago for some introductions into Japan’s Muslim Community. When queried about this situation, she said she conducted the interviews with Laszlo about two years ago. Probably before Laszlo deep-sixed his site. So she probably didn’t know about his impending conversion to cartoon character and cute keitai mascot (beats sullying his hands in real activism, anyway, or tainting his cutie-pie salability with any connection to controversial topics). I wish Jennifer had done a follow-up check before publication, though. Perpetuates an incorrect job description for other serious researchers.

Anyway, without any sarcasm, I think this looks to be a great book. Bonne chance. I’ll be getting a copy. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

NEW BOOK RELEASE:
Another Japan is Possible: New Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education
Edited by Jennifer Chan, Stanford University Press 2008.
ISBN: 0804757828
Price: USD 27.95

Book summary:
This edited volume, a sequel to my first book – Gender and Human Rights Politics in Japan – looks at the emergence of internationally linked Japanese advocacy nongovernmental networks that have grown since the 1990s in the context of three conjunctural forces of neoliberalism, militarism, and nationalism. It connects three disparate literatures on the global justice movement, Japanese civil society, and global citizenship education. Through the narratives of 50 activists in eight overlapping issue areas—global governance, labor, food sovereignty, peace, HIV/AIDS, gender, minority and human rights, and youth—this book examines the genesis of these new social movements; their critiques of neoliberalism, militarism, and nationalism; their local, regional, and global connections; relationships with the Japanese government; and their role in constructing a new identity of Japanese as global citizens. Its purpose is to highlight the interactions between the global and local—that is, how international human rights and global governance issues resonate within Japan and how in turn local alternatives are articulated by Japanese advocacy groups—and to analyze citizenship from a postnational and postmodern perspective.

Advanced Praise
***
“A surprise for observers who view Japan as a developmental state, run by a powerful central bureaucracy and aligned with a conservative party whose policies often override public interest, this book casts new light on a vital aspect of Japan’s emerging political economy. A remarkable group of scholars, professionals, and citizen activists reveal the growing numbers of committed Japanese participating energetically in local and global organizations.”
˜Daniel I. Okimoto, Stanford University

“Jennifer Chan vividly illustrates the recent flourishing of nongovernmental organizations in Japan. With good contextualizing narratives and rich, informative examples of the thinking and sentiments nongovernmental organizations generate, she delivers a must-read in the study of globalization and localization.”
˜Inoguchi Takashi, University of Tokyo

“This book is rich in primary material on the human side of NGO activity in Japan, along a wide spectrum of organizations. This is a nuanced view of advocacy, strategies, and institutions, sometimes against the grain of existing views, and it adds the perspectives of new global citizens of Japan, engaged in knowledge production.
˜Merry White, Boston University

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Global Governance and Japanese Advocacy Nongovernmental Networks
I. Global Governance
1. AM-Net/Advocacy and Monitoring Network on Sustainable Development
Kawakami Toyoyuki Global Governance Monitoring and Japan
2. Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society
Sakuma Tomoko Education, Empowerment and Alternatives to Neoliberalism
3. Peoples’ Plan Study Group
Ogura Toshimaru Building a People-based Peace and Democracy Movement in Asia
4. Association for the Tobin Tax for the Aid of Citizens, Kyoto
Komori Masataka Tobin Tax, Kyoto Social Forum and Pluralism
5. Pacific Asia Resource Center
Fukawa Yoko Education for Civil Society Capacity Building
6. Japan International Volunteer Center
Takahashi Kiyotaka Community Development, Peace and Global Citizenship

II. Labor
7. Japan Trade Union Confederation (Rengo)
Kumagai Ken’ichi Globalization and Labor Restructuring
8. Shinjuku Homeless Support Center
Kasai Kazuaki Corporate Restructuring and Homelessness
9. Equality Action 21
Sakai Kazuko Gender, Part-time Labor and Indirect Discrimination
10. Filipino Migrants Center Nagoya
Ishihara Virgie Migration, Trafficking and Free Trade Agreements
11. Labor Net
Yasuda Yukihiro Neoliberalism and Labor Organizing
12. All-Japan Water Supply Workers’ Union
Mizukoshi Takashi Water, Global Commons and Peace

III. Food Sovereignty
13. No to WTO – Voice from the Grassroots in Japan
Ohno Kazuoki Agricultural Liberalization, World Trade Organization and Peace
14. Food Action 21
Yamaura Yasuaki Multifunctionality of Agriculture over Free Trade
15. No! GMO Campaign
Amagasa Keisuke Citizens’ Movement against Genetically Modified Foods
16. Watch Out for WTO! Japan
Imamura Kazuhiko Self-sufficiency, Safety and Food Liberalization

IV. Peace
17. Grassroots Movement to Remove US Bases from Okinawa and the World
Hirayama Motoh “We Want Blue Sky in Peaceful Okinawa”
18. World Peace Now
Hanawa Machiko, Tsukushi Takehiko and Cazman World Peace Now
19. No to Constitutional Revision! Citizens’ Network
Takada Ken Article 9 and the Peace Movement
20. Japan Teachers’ Union
Nishihara Nobuaki Fundamental Law of Education, Peace and the Marketization of Education
21. International Criminal Bar
Higashizawa Yasushi Japan and International War Crimes
22. Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines
Kitagawa Yasuhiro Landmine Ban and Peace Education
23. Peace Depot
Nakamura Keiko Nuclear Disarmament, Advocacy and Peace Education
24. Asia-Pacific Peace Forum
Ôtsuka Teruyo Building a Citizens’ Peace Movement in Japan and Asia

V. HIV/AIDS
25. Japan AIDS and Society Association
Tarui Masayoshi HIV/AIDS from a Human Rights Perspective
26. Place Tokyo
Hyôdô Chika HIV/AIDS, Gender and Backlash
27. Africa Japan Forum
Inaba Masaki Migrant Workers and HIV/AIDS

VI. Gender
28. Japan NGO Network for CEDAW
Watanabe Miho International Lobbying and Japanese Women’s Networks
29. Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons
Hara Yuriko Gender, Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons
30. Soshiren/Starting from a Female Body
Ohashi Yukako Gender, Reproductive Rights and Technology
31. Regumi Studio Tokyo
Wakabayashi Naeko As a Lesbian Feminist in Japan
32. Sex Workers and Sexual Health
Kaname Yukiko Sex Workers’ Movement in Japan
33. Women’s Active Museum of War and Peace
Watanabe Mina Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace
34. Feminist Art Action Brigade
Shimada Yoshiko Art, Feminism and Activism

VII. Minority and Human Rights
35. Japan Civil Liberties Union Subcommittee for the Rights of Foreigners
Fujimoto Mie A Proposal for the Law on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
36. The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
Morihara Hideki Antidiscrimination, Grassroots Empowerment and Horizontal Networking
37. Buraku Liberation League
Mori Maya Multiple Identities and Buraku Liberation
38. Citizens’ Diplomatic Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Shimin Gaikô Centre)
Uemura Hideaki Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Multicultural Coexistence
39. Association of Rera
Sakai Mina On the Recognition of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights of the Ainu
40. Association of Indigenous Peoples in the Ryûkyûs
Taira Satoko “I would like to be able to speak Uchinâguchi when I grow up!”
41. Mirine
Hwangbo Kangja Art Activism and Korean Minority Rights
42. Issho Kikaku
Tony Laszlo Ethnic Diversity, Foreigners’ Rights, Discrimination in Family Registration
43. Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples’ International
Hirukawa Ryôko Disability and Gender
44. Japan Association for Refugees
Ishikawa Eri The UN Convention on Refugee and Asylum Protection in Japan
45. Center for Prisoners’ Rights Japan
Akiyama Emi Torture, Penal Reform and Prisoners’ Rights
46. Forum 90
Takada Akiko Death Penalty and Human Rights

VIII. Youth Groups
47. Peace Boat
Yoshioka Tatsuya Experience, Action and the Floating Peace Village
48. A Seed Japan
Mitsumoto Yuko Ecology, Youth Action and International Advocacy
49. BeGood Cafe
Shikita Kiyoshi Organic Food, Education and Peace
50. Body and Soul
Takahashi Kenkichi “Another Work is Possible”: Slow Life, Ecology and Peace

Conclusion: Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education
Appendixes
Notes

Target audience:
Japanese studies, Asian studies, feminist studies, human rights and globalization researchers, transnational and local social movement studies.

To order:
Chicago Distribution Center
11030 South Langley Ave.
Chicago, IL 60628
Tel. 1-800-621-2736
Fax: 1-800-621-8471
E-mail: custserv@press.uchicago.edu
or through
www.amazon.com

For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Chan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor,
Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education; and
Faculty Associate, the Centre for Japanese Research, the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies; and Institute for European Studies.
University of British Columbia
2125 Main Mall,
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: (604) 822-5353
Fax: (604) 822-4244
Jennifer.chan@ubc.ca
http://www.edst.educ.ubc.ca/faculty/chan.html
ENDS

“NO BORDER” Nov 18 Meeting: Kokusaika & Keidanren laid bare

GROUP “NO BORDER” SECOND FORUM 2007 REPORT
HOSEI DAIGAKU, ICHIGAYA, TOKYO NOV 18, 2007

I spoke at the above gathering (http://www.zainichi.net) for about 40 minutes today. This is a little note to tell you what transpired:

1) HEARING FROM THE NEW GENERATION OF “NON JAPANESE”

This is essentially a misnomer, as these kids (college age already) are fluent in Japanese with some background in the native tongue of their immigrant parents. I met youth from China, Brazil, Peru, and most famously a young lady from Iran who came here at age seven, overstayed with her parents for a decade, and was granted a visa after much misgivings from the GOJ. Same with a young Chinese lady whose family had to go through the courts (lower court denied, high court granted) for a stay of deportation and one-year visas. Although all of these kids were just about perfectly culturally fluent in Japan (having grown up here as a product of the new visa regime, which started from 1990), they had a variety of faces and backgrounds that showed a lovely blend–a very hopeful one for Japan’s future. They made the best argument possible for visa amnesties for NJ with families–an extended life here that they have not only adapted to, but even thrived under.

The problem was they were grappling with things they really shouldn’t have to to this degree–identity. Being pulled one way by family ties overseas, and then another by the acculturation of being in a society they like but doesn’t necessarily know what to do with them. And refuses to let them be of both societies, either way their phenotypes swing. I suggested they escape this conundrum of wasted energy by ignoring the “identity police” (people who for reasons unknown either take it upon themselves to tell people they are not one of them, or who find the very existence of Japanized non-Japanese somehow threatening their own identity). They should decide for themselves who they are. After all, the only person you have to live with 24 hours a day is yourself (and believe me it’s tough)–so you had better do what you have to do to be happy. That means deciding for yourself who you are and who you want to be without regard for the wishes (or random desires) of millions of people who can’t appreciate who you are by any means considered a consensus. Trying to second-guess yourself into the impossibly satisfied expectations of others is a recipe for mental illness.

2) SPEAKING ON WHAT’S NECESSARY FOR JAPAN’S FUTURE

Rather than telling you what I said, download my Powerpoint presentation here (Japanese):
http://www.debito.org/noborder111807.ppt

3) HEARING FROM A POWER THAT BEES–KEIDANREN

Coming late to the second talk sessions was a representative of Keidanren (Japan’s most powerful business lobby), Inoue Hiroshi, who was actually in charge of the federation’s policy towards business and immigration. He gave us a sheet describing future policy initiatives they would undertake, focusing optimistically on creating synergy between the varied backgrounds and energies of NJ and the diligence of Japanese companies.
http://www.keidanren.or.jp/english/policy/2007/017.html
Yet still trying to create an ultracentrifuge of “quality imported foreigners” over quantity (or heavens forbid–an open-door policy!). Orderly systematic entry with proper control, was the theme. And Taiwan’s system (for what it was worth, unclear) was cited.

When question time came up, I asked him whether Keidanren had learned anything from the visa regime they helped create (something he acknowledged) in 1990. All this talk of orderly imports of labor and synergy are all very well, but business’s blind spot is the overwhelming concern with the bottom line: People are imported and treated like work units, without adequate concern for their well-being or welfare after they get here. After all, if their standard of living was ever a concern, then why were the hundreds of thousands of people brought in under Researcher, Intern, and Trainee Visas made exempt from Japan’s labor laws–where they have no safeguards whatsoever (including health insurance, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, education–or anything save the privilege of living here with the dubious honor of paying taxes into the system anyway). Did they expect to create a system where there are no legal sanctions for abuse, and not expect employers to abuse it?

The Keidanren rep’s answer was enlightening. He said, in essence:

1) Japan’s labor laws are sloppy anyway, and don’t protect people adequately enough as they are (so that justifies exempting people from them completely?).

2) Japanese society is not wired for immigration (so why bring in so many foreigners then? the expectation was that they would not stay–meaning the system was only designed to exploit?)

3) There are plenty of elements of civil society out there filling the gaps (so you’re trying to take credit for those who try to clean up your messes?)

To me, quite clear evidence that they powers that be just don’t care. And it’s very clear it’s not clear that they’ve learned anything from the 1990s and the emerging NJ underclass.

The meeting closed with a really fine performance from a Nikkei Brazilian rapper who sang in Portuguese, English, and Japanese (I think–I find rapping indecipherable in any language). Now that’s synergy.

Arudou Debito
November 18, 2007

—————————-
PS: And on a personal note, I might add that one of last year’s name “sponsors”, “Darling Foreigner” Manga star Tony Laszlo, of non-existent group Issho Kikaku (whose site, http://www.issho.org will celebrate in a couple of weeks its second anniversary of being under “site renewal”, with a decade’s work of hundreds of budding activists in Japan utterly lost), was not invited this year to the NO BORDERS gathering. In fact, his name has been completely deleted from the records of last year’s proceedings. Karma.

ENDS

“Issho Kikaku Rep” Tony Laszlo in Courrier Japon Oct 2007

lazgrin2007jpg.jpg

Hi Blog. Fascinating magazine “Courrier Japon” (Kodansha pubs) has in their October 2007 issue an interesting interview with three panelists: South Korean Kim Byon-Gi (Journalist for the Chuo Nippo Daily Paper), Russian tour guide and model Elena Vinogradova/Hino Erena, and…

American Citizen Tony Laszlo!

(Sorry, can’t recreate the accents over the last name as per the romaji below. American text usually eschews them anyway)


lazcourrier1007003.jpg

(click on the image to expand in your browser) 

Yep, the person who’s been portrayed as kinda European (his nationality has been ambiguously expressed both by the first Daarin wa Gaikokujin book, and reviews in Rakuten Books et al, as “Hungarian father and and Italian mother, raised in the US”), finally comes out as a garden-variety American! Howdy, pardner! Not that there’s anything wrong with being American, of course. It’s just good to see your stripes at last.

And you just gotta love Laszlo’s Bio above:

“Writer, Specialist in Languages, American origin. First came to Japan in 1985 [Daarin wa Gaikokujin pg 41 mentions his unicycle]. Representative of ‘Issho Kikaku’, which thinks about cultural co-existence. Character in the bestselling “Daarin Wa Gaikokujin” books (Oguri Saori, author).”

Note the missing “journalist” tag nowadays. And whatever happened to this “Issho Kikaku” organization that keeps finding its way to attach itself to Laszlo’s name? The Issho Kikaku website (http://www.issho.org) has been offline for “website renewal” since December 2005, and years of Issho mailing list and website archives, the work of hundreds of former members, have long since disappeared. Doesn’t seem as if the group even exists anymore.

No matter. And never mind Laszlo’s threat of lawsuit towards another writer on Japan’s internationalization, either. Sauce for the goose. Laz even mentions his adventures with sauce in an okonomiyakiya in his very first comment in the interview. Clearly, it’s important to keep one’s comic-book-created persona lightweight for public consumption nowadays…

Here is the interview in full (click on images to expand in browser). Love the illustrations. And Courrier Japon magazine in general is excellent.

courrieroct07001.jpgcourrieroct07002.jpgcourrieroct07003.jpgcourrieroct07004.jpgcourrieroct07005.jpgcourrieroct07006.jpg

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

SPECIAL REPORT: Issho Kikaku Deletion of the Historical Record

SPECIAL REPORT:
WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT MAILING LIST ARCHIVES OF JAPAN?

By Arudou Debito
December 23, 2006

(NB: The title is not meant to be sensational–merely a pun on the 1978 movie title, “Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?” The movie was a comedy. This report is, unfortunately, deadly serious. It is an update of a Dec 7 report, archived at http://www.debito.org/?p=108, because yet another mailing list has since been deleted.)

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) GOOD NEWS: KUME HIROSHI’S APOLOGY MAKES ASAHI SHINBUN
THANKS TO DISCOVERY OF THE ISSUE ON INTERNET ARCHIVES
2) THE DEATH OF THE ISSHO KIKAKU, AND NOW THE SHAKAI ARCHIVES
3) THE GREAT HYPOCRISY UNDERLYING THIS CASE
4) CONCLUSIONS: FIVE YEARS LATER, WHY SPEAK OUT NOW?

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

1) THE GOOD NEWS FIRST:
KUME HIROSHI’S APOLOGY MAKES ASAHI SHINBUN

We open this report with a newspaper article:

========= ARTICLE BEGINS ================
Newscaster regrets anti-foreigner quip
December 21, 2006 BY MARIKO SUGIYAMA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200612210418.html
http://www.debito.org/?p=136

Atonement, it seems, can never come too late. Newscaster Hiroshi Kume has apologized for a disparaging remark he made 10 years ago about foreigners speaking Japanese.

The comment offended a number of foreign residents in Japan, prompting some people to formally complain to TV Asahi Corp. that aired the remark. At the time, Kume was a presenter on TV Asahi’s evening news program, then called News Station.

The program aired in October 1996 and featured a report on India in which an Indian spoke fluent Japanese, according to Debito Arudou, 41. Arudou, who was born in the United States as Dave Aldwinckle and is now a naturalized Japanese, is active in efforts to protect the rights of foreigners.

Kume blurted out on the program, “Isn’t it better to see a foreigner speaking in broken Japanese?”

Arudou and others complained to the TV station that many foreign nationals are studying Japanese and trying to integrate into society.

He posted details of the protest on his Web site. Kume did not respond at the time, according to Arudou.

But on Dec. 1, Kume sent an e-mail message to Arudou, saying, “Thinking deeply, I realize this was quite a rude remark and I regret this as being narrow-minded.”

Kume told The Asahi Shimbun: “I recently learned on the Internet about the protest. I didn’t know 10 years ago.”

Arudou, in turn, said, “I was surprised but happy that an influential individual such as Kume did not neglect what he said in the past and tried to make things right.”

========= ARTICLE ENDS ================
(See what Kume saw at http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume)

Very happy to see this happening. As I said above, I’m elated when somebody in authority displays a conscience. And I’m also glad the media has taken this up to show that amends can be made.

But what this brings to light is the power of Internet archives. If I had not archived this on debito.org, Kume would never have seen it…. Which is why maintaining a record of the past is a serious matter.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2) THE DEATH OF THE ISSHO KIKAKU, AND NOW THE SHAKAI ARCHIVES

Information about the Kume Hiroshi Gaffe was also archived elsewhere–on a site called Issho Kikaku (http://www.issho.org). This domain is run and webmastered by Tony Laszlo, currently well-known as the star of the best-selling manga series “MY DARLING IS A FOREIGNER” (Daarin Wa Gaikokujin), created and rendered by wife Oguri Saori.

However, the Issho Kikaku archives, once open to the public, have been closed to the public since December 4, 2005, more than a year ago.

This is tragic. These archives contained the volunteer efforts of and reports from hundreds of researchers, essayists, and activists. These archives also had great historical value, as they charted the change in awareness in the mid-1990’s of the English-speaking foreign community in Japan. With the development of Japan’s Internet, foreigners went online, mobilized, and worked to change their status in Japan from “mere misunderstood guest who should shut up and behave” to “taxpaying resident with enforceable rights”.

Portions of this record can also be found in the archives of the seminal but now dead “Dead Fukuzawa Society”. (http://www.mail-archive.com/fukuzawa@ucsd.edu) Good thing these archives still exist.

However, the Issho Kikaku Mailing List archives, once a part of yahoogroups, were deleted several years ago. Information on and evidence of the list’s existence at http://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html

When asked about moribund Issho.org in December of this year, Tony Laszlo said, in his final mail to the Shakai Mailing List (also an Issho Kikaku project), quote: “ISSHO Kikaku’s website is still in renewal… Tending to a new baby boy is keeping the webmaster busier than he had expected.” (December 10, 2006)

(That email–courtesy of a former Shakai member deeply troubled by these developments–is archived here:
http://www.debito.org/shakaiarchive121006.html
I archive it on debito.org because, since then, the Shakai Mailing List archive has also been deleted.)

Congratulations on the birth. But this is an unsatisfactory excuse. The average gestation period of a human being is a little over nine months, not a full year. And as a poster to the NBR mailing list pointed out:

———————————————–
“…Tony can take months, years, decades, whatever to work on a “revamp” of ISSHO.org if he wants to. But there is no reason to REMOVE ALL THE CONTENT that was previously there while doing this work. Keep the old site running until the work is done, and then make the switch by simply changing the URL of the top page. It’s a simple task, and something that just about any website does while working on improvements.”
———————————————–
http://nbr.org/foraui/message.aspx?LID=5&pg=4&MID=26526

What’s more, despite all the busyness (and a millionaire’s income from the manga, meaning financially he can devote all his time to househusbandry, if not webmastering), Tony Laszlo is finding time to write articles again for the Shukan ST, not to mention appear in public as “Representative, Issho Kikaku” at a November 26, 2006, meeting of new NGO “No-Borders”: (See http://www.zainichi.net Click under the left-hand heading “nettowaaku ni sanka suru soshiki, kojin” . If that archive has also mysteriously disappeared, refer to http://www.debito.org/noborders120706.webarchive)

So that means there have been three archives done away with: Shakai, Yahoogroups Issho, and Issho.org–all under the aegis of Issho Kikaku. What’s next–the older yahoogroups archive for Shakai (May 2000 to Oct 2003)? Go visit it while it’s still there:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shakai-archive/

What’s going on?

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) THE GREAT HYPOCRISY UNDERLYING THIS CASE

I worked in tandem for years with Tony Laszlo and Issho.org, particularly in a Issho subgroup called BENCI (I’d send you more information on it, but, again, the Issho.org files have disappeared). I created, wrote, and maintained the BENCI webarchive. We had a falling out. I left the group.

Meanwhile, I had long since been archiving the Otaru Onsens Lawsuit website on debito.org. (http://www.debito.org/otarulawsuit.html) To this day it is still up there, along with its Japanese equivalent, serving as a citeable record for academics, lawyers, media, activists, and other interested parties as consistently one of the top twenty (of thousands) of accessed sites on debito.org.

Laszlo then told me to take related materials on debito.org down due to “violation of copyright”. Even though I never signed a waiver of my copyright, nor agreed in any way to waive it, nor received any remuneration for my writings. Yet according to Issho Kikaku former Co-Moderator Bern Mulvey, an eyewitness to this case, Laszlo was considering a lawsuit against me for “appropriation and misuse of Issho documents”:

=======================================
December 13, 2006:

I was a member of ISSHO from the late 90s. Like Debito
and several other people, I was a also a member of the
Benci Project–the action group within ISSHO Kikaku which
took action against businesses with discriminatory
practices. Finally, I was co-moderator of the ISSHO
KIKAKU forum until June of 2001; hence, I have a pretty
good grasp of the details regarding Tony’s threatened
lawsuit (and other actions) against Debito.

Tony’s “issues” with Debito came out long before JAPANESE
ONLY was published first in Japanese (2003). Even when I
was co-moderator, there was a push from Tony to have
Debito removed from the ISSHO list because of his
“redundant” website and “misuse” of ISSHO documents. The
talk of suing Debito began then as well–ostensibly to
protect the accessibility and sanctity of the archived
materials, ironic given that said materials have
apparently been erased completely and permanently.

Much of the criticism directed at Debito from ISSHO and
Benci members was over how the collected documents and
other evidence–the fruits of a number of people’s
efforts–were being “appropriated” by Debito for his
supposedly “selfish” ends. The book was ostensibly just
another example of this–e.g., how dare Debito even
reference the ISSHO/Benci information?! (Note that there
was also a more legitimate anger over Debito’s use of
internal correspondence in the book.)

Of course, what Tony and others conveniently overlooked
was that much (80%?) of the archival information had been
gathered by Debito himself. I was one of Debito’s few
defenders when all this came down, and helped scuttle
Tony’s lawsuit (supposedly “on behalf of” BENCI members,
of which I was one). Indeed, I wonder, now that Tony has
taken down all documentation of 6 years of often
successful activism–almost all of it the results of
INTENSE effort he “ordered” but did not assist in–how his
former defenders live with themselves. Two of the most
vicious, at least, owe Debito a public apology.

For a long time, Tony justified his attacks on Debito
partly by asserting the need to ensure the archival
resources we created would remain open to everyone. Now,
they are gone, and I do not understand why. I am glad,
however, that Debito stood his ground and kept whatever
archives he could up at debito.org.
Bern Mulvey
=======================================
http://www.debito.org/?p=108#comment-14

We (Bern, Olaf Karthaus, Ken Sutherland, and myself) dispute the claims Laszlo made. Please see this historical website, written in 2001, and released for the first time today with updates for this report at:
http://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html

It contains the remaining record of what went on in the Issho Kikaku Mailing list. It may also offer some insights on why these archives might want to disappear.

Then in 2004, my publisher was contacted by Laszlo’s lawyer. According to a letter dated August 13, 2004:
http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html

Laszlo, through a very famous TV lawyer named Kitamura Yukio, was formally threatening me with a lawsuit, claiming, quote, “violation of copyright, invasion of privacy, and libel” for the publication of my book “JAPANESE ONLY”.
http://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html

In a face-to-face meeting we had at Kitamura’s offices in late August, he demanded that sales of the book cease.

What’s ironic, given Laszlo’s claims, is that Tony Laszlo, a journalist by byline, has himself taken materials verbatim from an Internet mailing list (Issho’s), without permission from or notification of the source. Then used them for personal remuneration in a Nihongo Journal article, dated December 1999. Archive at:
http://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html#footnote7
http://www.debito.org/nihongojournal1299.jpg

He was also not above using his journalist byline in a published journal (Shuukan Kin’youbi, April 18, 2003) to put out a clarion call for help to deal with “a recent publication using copyrighted materials without permission”.
http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html#kinyoubi

Anyway, the lawsuit came to naught. And we got on with our lives. Until now.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

4) CONCLUSIONS: WHY SPEAK OUT NOW?

Note that I wrote the above “enoughisenough” website above more than five years ago. Why didn’t I release it then?

Because I was worried that this would just be construed as a personal squabble. Seen as a petty dispute between two alpha males who just can’t get along, or who are somehow jousting for the pole position of “Mr Kokusaika” etc. Or, as time went on and the DAARIN WA GAIKOKUJIN turned him into a media superstar, seen as sour grapes for him getting rich and famous on his wife’s talents.

So I let things go. I just thought that he could do his thing, I could do mine. Even after he threatened me with a lawsuit for me doing my thing and writing books. Let it go, life’s too short, I thought.

Unfortunately, once the above decisions were made to delete whole archives and begin a process of whitewashing over history, I realized that this was going too far.

The destruction of public records is verifiable public damage. First he threatens to sue people over information he claims is copyright Issho.org. Then that information becomes unavailable to the public anyway.

The sad thing is that, even if Webmaster Laszlo eventually decides to let the Issho.org archives come back to life, the yahoogroups Issho and Shakai mailing list archives are gone forever.

This is irreversible. It is unforgivable. And should be known about.

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
December 23, 2006
SPECIAL REPORT ENDS

Previous report of this matter (Dec 7, 2006) available on this blog at
http://www.debito.org/?p=108

Kume Hiroshi reads his decade-old gaffe on debito.org, apologizes! And why archives matter (contrast with dead and deleted archives at Tony Laszlo’s ISSHO Kikaku)

Hello Blog. Got some great news regarding some unfinished business over a decade old:

FORMER NEWS STATION ANCHORMAN KUME HIROSHI APOLOGIZES
FOR AN ANTI-“GAIJIN” COMMENT HE MADE TEN YEARS AGO
THANKS TO THE ISSUE BEING ARCHIVED ON DEBITO.ORG

This post is structured thusly:
///////////////////////////////////////////////////
1) BACKGROUND TO THE ISSUE
2) KUME’S LETTER OF APOLOGY
3) MORAL: ARCHIVES SHOULD NOT BE DELETED

(CONTRAST WITH THE DELETION AND SUPPRESSION OF HISTORY
ON TONY LASZLO’S ISSHO.ORG)

///////////////////////////////////////////////////
December 7, 2006

BACKGROUND TO THE ISSUE

I realized the value of a maintaining an archive all these years, when I got a letter out of the blue last Friday night (Dec 1) from a certain individual named Kume Hiroshi.

This is significant. Kume Hiroshi is a very influential person–for more than a decade he was Japan’s most popular (and controversial) news anchorman, hosting NEWS STATION on the TV Asahi network throughout the 1990’s. Much of his controversy stemmed from his glib editorial comments about news during the broadcast, found caustic or offensive by some viewers.

One thing that friends and I found offensive was his flippant use of the word “gaijin”, already becoming a “housou kinshi gotoba” (word not for broadcast, at least officially) on the networks at the time.

A gaffe he made in October 1996, questioning the efficacy of “gaijin” speaking fluent Japanese, caused a huge debate on mailing lists such as the Dead Fukuzawa Society and ISSHO Kikaku (both now moribund). It also occasioned my seminal essay on why “gaijin” is in fact a racist word (http://www.debito.org/kumegaijinissue.html).

Anyhow, this was one of the first human-rights issues ever I took up publicly in Japan, becoming a template for how to use “proper channels” for protest. Now, ten years later, those efforts have finally come to fruition!

What happened back then in more detail: On October 17, 1996, I emailed the following letter to TV Asahi (Japanese original):

============ MY 1996 LETTER TO TV ASAHI BEGINS =================
To Mr Kume Hiroshi:

(opening salutations deleted) On Monday (10/14)’s News Station broadcast something happened which troubled me. In the middle of a broadcast from India about the Maharaja burger in McDonald’s, some Indian apparently spoke very good Japanese.

But after that, Mr Kume apparently said:

“But it’s better if foreigners talk broken Japanese, right?”
(shikashi, gaijin wa nihongo ga katakoto no hou ga ii)

What does this mean? Maybe this was no more than an offhand comment, but I am greatly troubled. The next day, it became an issue on the the Fukuzawa internet group, and some “foreigners” felt very uncomfortable. The reason why was because foreigners both inside and outside Japan [sic] have taken great pains to become bilingual, and even if they try to fit into Japanese society, is it good for you to tell the whole country that “after all, it’s better if they remain unskilled like children”?

And then, I called TV Asahi directly and was connected to a gentleman at News Station. After I explained the above, he [replied]:

“‘Baby talk’ isn’t a bad word, I think. It’s just you who thinks so”, among other things. In other words, it seems he doesn’t take seriously the opinions of his viewers.

Even after I asked him, he wouldn’t give me his name, nor would he write down mine. “I’ll tell him” was all he said. But I really don’t have the confidence that he will pass the word along, so I am sending you this directly by email.

Afterwards, I called TV Asahi again and got hold of the Shichousha Center and talked to Mr Sekimoto. He said friendily, “That won’t do” and “I’ll talk to News Station”. However, that was around noon and I haven’t heard anything from them, so I don’t know what happened.

Anyway, Mr Kume, couldn’t you please take care of your terminology when addressing people who aren’t Japanese? If you take care about how you talk about Burakumin [Japanese Underclass], Zainichi Kankokujin [Japan-born Koreans], and “cripples” (bikko), please also do the same for the “gaijin”. (closing salutations deleted)

============ 1996 LETTER ENDS ======================
http://www.debito.org/kume1.5letterenglish.html
Japanese original at:
http://www.debito.org/kumeltrnihongo.html
http://www.debito.org/nihongo.html

(The entire issue, related articles, and the debate on Fukuzawa is archived at
http://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume)

The issue then took off, hitting the Washington Post and the Daily Yomiuri twice. Finally, on November 28, News Station devoted an 11-minute segment on the word “gaijin” itself (a digression from the real issue of the “appropriateness” of their fluency–see my write-up of the telecast at http://www.debito.org/kume5tvasahibroadcast.html).

Alas, Kume topped the whole thing off by calling the reporter who anchored the story, award-winning novelist Dave Zoppetti, a “gaijin” all over again. Would he ever learn?

Yes, he would.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////

THE LETTER OF APOLOGY

Fast forward more than ten years. Kume-san is now no longer on the air (except for a radio program one day a week), and is apparently considering becoming a politician.

This is what I received last Friday:
(Japanese original, available at http://www.debito.org/?p=106
Translated by Arudou Debito):

============ LETTER FROM KUME BEGINS ======================
Subject: Mr. David Aldwinckle
Date: December 1, 2006 7:32:40 PM JST
To: debito AT debito.org
Aldwinckle sama:

Please excuse this sudden email. My name is Kume Hiroshi. I appeared three years ago on News Station.

This is something more than ten years old, but on my program I said something about “I find it weird when foreigners (gaikokujin) are good at Japanese.” Recently I found out that you sent in a letter of protest about this.

I remember this happening. That person who came on the show had such incredible Japanese that I was blown away. My memory was that I remarked with the nuance that foreigners (gaikoku no kata) who speak Japanese should speak it like they knew that they were foreign (gaikokujin).

However, after a good think about this, I realize that this is a pretty rude thing to say. I’m thinking about how this reflects the narrow viewpoint of someone with an island mentality (shimaguni konjou).

I’m not sure how you feel about this nowadays, but if you took offense to this, I apologize from my heart for it.

KUME HIROSHI
============ LETTER FROM KUME ENDS ======================

(Note how careful he is even to avoid using the word “gaijin” throughout his letter. Good.)

Now, given the nature of the Internet, I of course had doubts about the veracity of this email. So I asked the author nicely for some more proof. He answered to give me the contact details of his agency (I checked with Dave Spector to make sure it is legit) and the cellphone of his agent, and would let them know I would be calling. I called on Monday and confirmed that yes, Kume Hiroshi really was the author. I have already made this information public to my Japanese lists, to show that Kume really is a person with a conscience.

I also send this to you to show that it really does pay to protest.

Make your thoughts known calmly and earnestly, and minds might change even at the highest levels!

However, this incident brings a more serious issue to light:

///////////////////////////////////////////////////

3) MORAL: ARCHIVES SHOULD NOT BE DELETED
(cf. THE DELETION AND SUPPRESSION OF HISTORY ON TONY LASZLO’S ISSHO.ORG)

Now bear in mind that if these Kume letters were not up and searchable on debito.org, the entire issue would have been lost to the sands of time.

Which creates a clear irony. Another letter regarding the Kume “Gaijin” Gaffe up on my website is from ISSHO Kikaku, a formerly active Internet action group which promoted diversity in Japan (http://www.issho.org), headed by Tony Laszlo, now a millionaire and public figure. Tony Laszlo became very rich and famous in the 2000’s as “Tony-chan”, the amusing foreign husband of an international couple, thanks to the magical depiction by his wife, the very talented manga artist Oguri Saori, in the DAARIN WA GAIKOKUJIN multi-million-selling comic-book series. (Japan Times article “Drawing on Love: A publishing marriage made in heaven” at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20041017x1.html)

Anyway, the thing is, you can’t find that ISSHO Kume letter up at issho.org anymore. In fact, you can’t get any information whatsoever from the ISSHO Kikaku domain, despite all the years of work by hundreds of volunteers (myself included) creating that archive and information site. Issho.org also contained information on other important issues, such as foreign academics in Japan, the Azumamura Pool Exclusions Case, and the Ana Bortz Lawsuit.

Fact is, the ISSHO archives have been down for more than a year now (all you get when you access issho.org is “Site renewal – please wait a while. Submitted by issho on Sun, 2005-12-04 11:39.”) According to others doing net searches said: ” I just hope [information on the Ana Bortz Case] wasn’t solely on the issho.org site, because according to the Wayback Machine), ‘access to http://www.issho.org has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt.’ Which means whoever controls that domain has purposely blocked any attempts from outside to access information from it.” “To be more specific, the robot directed all search engines not to create their own archive. Also, there was a text message in the file, it read: ‘Go away!'”

I don’t know any real human rights group which would do a thing like this. Collate all this information and then not let people access it?

Similarly, the archive for the former issho mailing list at yahoogroups, likewise under the administration of Tony Laszlo, was also deleted several years ago.

Why does this matter? Because ISSHO Kikaku’s archives were an important historical record of how the foreign community in Japan fundamentally changed its awareness in the 1990’s. Foreigners began to refuse being merely seen as “guests”. They began asserting themselves online with a newfound confidence as residents and taxpayers, demanding attention, due recognition, and commensurate human rights.

I also tried to chart the rise of foreign resident awareness in my books JAPANESE ONLY. However, I received a letter, dated August 13, 2004, from Tony Laszlo’s lawyer, the famous TV lawyer Kitamura Yasuo, accusing me of infringement of copyright, libel, and invasion of privacy. Kitamura’s letter is available at http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html”>http://www.debito.org/letterlazlawyer.html

On August 30, 2004, my publisher and I had a meeting with Tony Laszlo and his lawyer, where he demanded that my publisher halt publication of both my English and Japanese versions of JAPANESE ONLY. We didn’t.

I bring all this up now because there has been more than a year of dead issho.org archives, many years of dead yahoogroups archives, and an attempt to silence another published account of the times in two languages. Why is there so much suppression and/or deletion of the historical record?

The biggest irony is that Tony Laszlo is once again appearing in public as “Representative, ISSHO Kikaku”, according to a November 26, 2006, meeting of new NGO “No-Borders” (http://www.zainichi.net Click under the left-hand heading “nettowaaku ni sanka suru soshiki, kojin” in the blue field, fourth from the top. His is the fifth name on the list. If that archive also mysteriously disappears, refer to http://www.debito.org/noborders120706.webarchive)

With no clear membership, no accessible information site, and no archives to show whatever ISSHO Kikaku has ever done, it seems that this is a Potemkin group indeed.

===================================

The bottom line: It is precisely because of archives that Kume Hiroshi apologized. Without a record, we are writing sand messages on the wind. Let history be judged in retrospect without denial of access or mass deletion. If we’re ever going to get anything done for ourselves in this society, we need to know what to continue building upon.

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
debito@debito.org
http://www.debito.org
December 7, 2006
ENDS

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ADDITION: JAPAN TIMES ARTICLE
Drawing on love

The “Da-rin” books detailing a couple’s quirky ways are a publishing marriage made in heaven
By TOMOKO OTAKE, Staff writer

THE JAPAN TIMES Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004
Courtesy (and with photos and book excerpts at)
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20041017x1.html

She is a Japanese manga artist with a piercingly sharp eye for human traits and foibles. He is an American writer and language buff who can chat with equal ease in four languages. Together, they make for a magnetic — not to say a “mangaetic” — couple.

That’s because for Saori Oguri and Tony Laszlo (above), their life together has also spawned a side-splitting comic-book series which, in two volumes, has recently topped the million-sales mark.

In the first of the books, “Da-rin wa Gaikokujin” (which means, “My Darling Is a Foreigner”), 37-year-old Oguri turned her life with 44-year-old Tony into a hilarious read.

Published in December 2002, “Da-rin” depicts Tony as a sensitive, naive and reflective guy with markedly chiseled features.

In one episode, bearded Tony is so emotionally affected by seeing a bus fly through the air off the middle of a broken highway in the action film “Speed” (only to miraculously land on the unbroken other side) that he has to get up and lean against the wall for a while “to soften” the shock. Meanwhile, Saori comes across as an articulate, no-nonsense type — a spouse Tony had no chance of shifting when she’d decided to buy two luxurious 200 yen buns at a bakery, despite him urging her to just get one 100 yen bag (with two buns in it) to save money.

“But what if we died tomorrow?” she retorts, her eyes narrowing into fiery slits. Next moment, she’s morphed into a woman on her deathbed, a worn-out futon — whispering feebly from between sunken cheeks: “I . . . wanted to eat that 200 yen bun . . . ”

Talking recently with the couple at a trendy cafe near their home in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, that same comical chemistry came to life from the pages of their book, with Tony waxing lyrical and reflective while his wife, in total contrast, cut straight to the chase.

Their first encounter dates back to 1995, when Saori volunteered to help at an event organized by a nongovernmental group that Tony had founded. Which one of them first had a crush on the other is a bone of contention, with each claiming the other was the first to look him/her in the eye.

Tiffs over ‘subtleties’
But anyway they clicked, started dating, and eventually got married. Although the book describes their budding relationship humorously, it was rocky at first, Saori said. That wasn’t just because Tony hails from the United States and has Hungarian and Italian parents, or just because Saori grew up in Japan. The tiffs came from differences in “subtleties” — like feeling that the efforts you’ve made to adjust to the other went unrecognized.

It was Noriko Matsuda, an editor at the Tokyo-based publisher Media Factory, who persuaded Saori, her older sister’s friend, to create a comic book based on the couple’s life. Matsuda had been a longtime fan of Saori, whose style before “Da-rin” had been relatively low-key, often allied to serious story lines and with dramatically different graphics from “Da-rin,” featuring lots of gorgeous girls and guys.

After she agreed to rise to Matsuda’s challenge, Saori drew the first volume of the book in just six weeks — from October 2002 — after taking time off from a series she was doing for a comic magazine.

Riding the success of the first “Da-rin,” whose total print run is now up to 550,000 copies, Saori came up with a sequel, simply titled “My Darling Is a Foreigner 2,” which was published in March.

Initially, the books were targeted at cross-culturally married couples. But they have turned out to have a much wider public appeal.

Nonetheless, the scale of the books’ success — with a combined 1.03 million copies printed so far (for which Saori receives 10 percent royalties for every one sold) raises the question of whether its popularity is connected to the rising number of Japanese getting hitched to non-Japanese (36,039 in 2003, up from 26,657 a decade ago, according to official statistics). Or does it mean that more Japanese are finally embracing multiculturalism — or at least feeling obliged to tune into the English-speaking world?

According to Matsuda, the book’s success has little to do with any of that.

“Whether you marry a Japanese or a foreigner, marriage, at the end of the day, is about living with someone else,” she said. “And readers probably resonated with the author’s message, which is, if you try to understand each other better, it makes life so much more enjoyable.”

Saori agrees that it’s not the theme of “international marriage” that has fueled the “Da-rin” boom. In fact more than 70 percent of the 60 to 100 postcard responses she gets from readers every month are from Japanese married to Japanese, she said — or from Japanese who are single.

Long after the book’s publication, there was one significant other whose opinion Saori was denied. Tony stopped himself from reading it, because he didn’t want to get caught up in all the hype.

Characteristically, though, when he did recently delve between its covers, he minutely examined its every detail. That was after contracts were signed for an as yet untitled English-Japanese bilingual version of the first book — and Tony was assigned as the translator. Now, he faces the daunting task of ensuring that all its many jokes and entertaining nuances equally successfully bridge the linguistic — and cultural — divide.

“I trust him,” Saori said. Then she turned to him with just a hint of intimidation in her tone, and said: “I’m counting on you, really.”

Keys to cohabitation
So just what are the keys to enjoying living with someone else?

“Talk a lot with each other, but don’t meddle in the other’s business,” Oguri replied directly and without hesitation. “I want him to clean up his stuff, but I don’t tell him persistently.”

I asked for Tony’s input. He paused, then started talking — in impeccable and soft-spoken Japanese — about the limitations of space in big cities and how it is important for a couple to secure enough living space to avoid needless conflict with each other.

“To overcome the shortage of space, you should learn how to put things upward, instead of sideways,” he said. “It’s been some 15 years since I came to Japan, but it’s still hard to master that. In Japan, stereos and other electronic appliances are all stacked up . . . ”

“Everyone is doing it,” Saori cut in. “You’re trying to justify your inability to clean up, aren’t you?”

“And it’s important not to interrupt someone when they’re speaking,” he continued.

Saori sighed, as Tony went on to stress at length the importance of community support in a disaster-rich nation like Japan. Eventually, though, his orbit brought him back to the area of relationships.

“It would be nice if you could be flexible so that you can adjust to your partner, while at the same time retaining your solid, individual self,” he opined.

“Yes, flexibility is necessary,” Saori concurred in an ever-so-slightly un-“Da-rin” way.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004
ENDS