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From Debito's doctoral research:

Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

  • Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination
  • (Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield HB 2015, PB 2016)

    Click on book cover for reviews, previews, and 30% discount direct from publisher. Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle eBook on

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • Archive for February, 2011


    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 28th February 2011

    As a quick break to the blog break, here is my latest DEBITO.ORG PODCAST. It is a speech in Japanese I made to the 48th Annual Hokkaido High School Research Convocation on Friday, January 7, 2011.

    The speech is in Japanese. Two hours. No cuts. Includes the Q&A. Follow along with the accompanying powerpoint presentation I’m reading from at

    Fri January 7, 2011: 講演「情報化社会と人権問題について」。第48回 北海道高等学校教育研究大会 主催。研究主題:「未来を担う人を育む北海道高等学校の創造」。有道 出人 講演者


    Posted in Podcasts, 日本語 | No Comments »

    UPDATE on my new novel: It’s done.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 23rd February 2011

    This is just an update to tell you that after two weeks of intensive writing and revising, I have successfully written my first novel.

    What’s it about? Well, right now, about 141 pages.

    Sorry, old joke zone.

    No, actually it’s about child abductions in Japan.

    I’ve already sent out a preliminary draft to several readers to for some feedback. Once that’s back in, I think I should have the book on sale sometime in March.

    More information as it comes available! Thanks you for reading!

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Child Abductions | 8 Comments » Blog will be on vacation until April. Writing my next book.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 4th February 2011

    I will be vacationing until April 2011, so that I can concentrate on writing my next book.

    Sorry about this, but the Blog takes about an hour or more out of my day every day and as such is a major time bandit. Same with reading and approving every comment. So let me just say ja shitakke ne for a little while.

    I will of course still put up podcasts and my Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE columns the day after they come out. But comments and the like will take a while to approved, as will answers to emails to me directly.

    Please be patient. As always, thanks for reading and commenting to

    Posted in Articles & Publications, blog and website biz | 11 Comments »


    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 4th February 2011

    Table of Contents:
    1) JT’s Philip Brasor on BBC QI show and atomic-bombings and “victim ownership of historical narrative”
    2) Kyodo: MOFA Survey shows divided views on GOJ signing of child custody pact
    3) Japan Times on what needs to be deregulated for Japan’s future as an Asian business hub
    4) NYT: Japan society puts up generational roadblocks, wastes potential of young
    5) Weekend Tangent: compares GDPs of US states with whole countries
    7) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column Feb 1, 2011: “Naturalized Japanese: foreigners no more” (full text)
    8 ) Japan Times JBC/ZG Column Jan 4, 2010: “Arudou’s Alien Almanac 2000-2010” (full text, Director’s Cut)

    Posted in Newsletters | No Comments »

    Kyodo: MOFA Survey shows divided views on GOJ signing of child custody pact, despite best efforts to skew

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 4th February 2011

    Here’s some news on a MOFA survey that was skewed (by dint, for one thing, of it being rendered in Japanese only, effectively shutting out many opinions of the NJ side of the marriage) linguistically to get results that were negative towards the signing of the Hague Convention on Child Abductions. Even then, MOFA got mixed results (as in, more people want the GOJ to sign the Hague than don’t, but it’s a pretty clean three-way split). Nice try, MOFA. Read the survey for yourself below and see what I mean.

    In any case, the bureaucrats, according to Jiji Press of Feb 1 (see bottom of this blog post), seem to be gearing up to join the Hague only if there is a domestic law in place for Japan to NOT return the kids. I smell a loophole in the making.

    NHK’s “Close Up Gendai” gave 28 minutes to the issue on February 2, 2011 (watch it here), in which they gave less airtime than anticipated to portraying Japanese as victims escaping to Japan from NJ DV, and more instead to the Japanese who want Japan to sign the Hague so they can get their kids back from overseas. Only one segment (shorter than all the others) gave any airtime to the NJ side of the marriage — but them getting any airtime at all is surprising; as we saw in yesterday’s blog entry, NJ don’t “own the narrative” of child abductions in Japan.

    Posted in Bad Social Science, Child Abductions, Human Rights, Japanese Government, Japanese Politics, Shoe on the Other Foot Dept., 日本語 | 4 Comments »

    JT’s Philip Brasor on BBC QI show and atomic-bombings and “victim ownership of historical narrative”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 3rd February 2011

    Here’s an excellent column on the recent “humor” segment on the BBC show QI, derided by officials and family as “insensitive” because it was connected to the Japan atomic bombings. The author then links it to the issue of DPRK abductions of Japanese, where deviation from the official line of “they’re still alive over there” is taboo, and comes up with an interesting conclusion: He who owns the “narrative” on this history (particularly as a victim) gets to dictate how it is represented in the media. Very insightful indeed. I can see how this analytical paradigm can be applied to the realm of human rights and racial discrimination in Japan — how NJ are often not allowed to “own” their own narratives in Japan. Worth a think about.

    JT: Yamaguchi’s daughter told Kyodo News that her own family had joked about her father’s experience, but that doesn’t mean British people can do the same. The reason they can’t, she said, is that Great Britain is a “country that has nuclear weapons.” But it’s not within the purview of “QI” to make such distinctions. Britain may possess nukes, but the guests on the show certainly don’t; and for all we know they may be opposed to their country’s policy of deterrence. No, the real reason they don’t have a right to joke about Hiroshima, at least from the Japanese critics’ point of view, is that they aren’t atomic bomb victims themselves.

    The same line of reasoning informs the suit that the parents of Keiko Arimoto, one of the Japanese people abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ’80s, brought against veteran journalist Soichiro Tahara in July 2009. Earlier that year, Tahara speculated on a TV Asahi talk show that Arimoto and another abductee, Megumi Yokota, were dead and that the Foreign Ministry knew they were dead. Akihiro and Kayoko Arimoto believe that their daughter is still alive, and Tahara’s remarks caused them great “mental suffering,” so they sued him for damages.

    On the program in question, Tahara was discussing Japan’s policy toward North Korea and questioned the wisdom of predicating any engagement with NK on the communist state’s first returning all remaining abductees to Japan. “But North Korea says they’re dead,” Tahara said, “and even the Foreign Ministry knows they’re not alive.” Unofficially, Tahara’s remark is taboo: One cannot publicly put forth the opinion that the abductees may be dead, because their families have stated that they believe they aren’t. In Japan, the families own the abductee narrative because they are victims, and owning the narrative means you get to control how it’s told…

    Posted in Cultural Issue, Japanese Government, Lawsuits, Media | 13 Comments »

    Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column Feb 1, 2011: “Naturalized Japanese: foreigners no more”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 2nd February 2011

    JBC: That brings us to the point of this column: What might have been meant, and what comes across in the article, are the common misunderstandings that we long-termers should understand and avoid.

    One issue to consider is what trail is being blazed, since Mr. Lewis offered his three wise men up as examples of “foreigners” who have “made it” in Japan.

    Congratulations to them. Seriously. However, they are not really templates for others. Given the extraordinary hoops these gents had to jump through, they are the exceptions that prove the rule — that the barriers to success are too high for most non-Japanese to get over.

    In fact, if they still feel that they are “foreigners” after a generation of life here and Japanese citizenship, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with the template.

    The bigger issue, however, is the image these high-profile long-termers are projecting when they still refer to themselves publicly as “foreigners.” Not only are they avoiding the appropriate status (after a century here, they should be calling themselves “immigrants”), but it also has knock-on effects that go beyond them as individuals.

    These attitudes imperil the ethnic identities of Japanese children of international marriages…

    Posted in Articles & Publications, Bad Social Science, Education, Immigration & Assimilation, Practical advice, Problematic Foreign Treatment | 22 Comments »


    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on 1st February 2011

    In this podcast:

    Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 18, “Unlike Humans, Swine Flu is Indiscriminate”, on the the lessons to be learned from Japan’s public panic due to the Swine Flu Pandemic, and how to avoid discrimination arising from it (August 4, 2009)
    Japan Times ZEIT GIST Community Page Article 51/JUST BE CAUSE Column 19, ” McDonald’s Japan’s “Mr James” campaign: Why these stereotyping advertisements should be discontinued”. (September 1, 2009)
    Plus interim excerpts from Tangerine Dream “White Eagle” and an excerpt of another song from Duran Duran’s most recent album, “All You Need is Now”. Title: “Being Followed”.

    22 minutes. Enjoy!

    Posted in Podcasts | 3 Comments »

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