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    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on April 4th, 2012

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    The Japan Times Tuesday, April 3, 2012
    JUST BE CAUSE Column 50
    Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths
    (Original title:  “Let’s put some myths to rest”)
    By ARUDOU, DEBITO
    Courtesy of http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120403ad.html

    Congratulations to Donald Keene, who was granted Japanese citizenship last month with great media fanfare. At 89 years young and after a lifetime contributing to world scholarship on Japan, he truly deserves it.

    Unfortunately, while receiving all the kudos, Keene demonstrated that he had fallen for two of Japan’s media-manufactured myths about non-Japanese (NJ) residents: 1) that they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in Japan, and 2) that they fled Japan (as “flyjin”) in disproportionate numbers due to the Tohoku disasters.

    In media reports, both when he applied for citizenship last November and when he got it on March 7, Keene said repeatedly that he was naturalizing to “encourage,” “endure hardships” and “show solidarity” with the Japanese people as a Japanese — unlike, the media also repeatedly reported him as saying, the large number of foreigners who left Japan after the earthquakes.

    He also joshed at a March 7 press conference, quote, “As a Japanese, I swear not to commit any crimes.”

    Very funny. You know a public discourse has become hegemonic when you can joke about it. But when you have an iconic (former) NJ promoting falsehoods about NJ, we need to put them to rest.

    First, about foreign crime: As has been discussed in these pages before (Zeit Gist, Feb. 20, 2007, Oct. 7, 2003, and Oct. 4, 2002), the National Police Agency has performed all kinds of statistical magic to inflate NJ crime figures. Hence the rise of foreign crime over the past decade has been, to put it mildly, disproportionately reported in both scope and degree. As always, 99 percent of crime in Japan is committed by Japanese.

    Even more so now. According to the most recent NPA figures (www.npa.go.jp/sosikihanzai/kokusaisousa/kokusai/H23_Z_RAINICHI_ZANTEI.pdf), foreign crime has dropped every year without pause since its peak in 2005. In fact, by more than half — so precipitously that the NPA includes crime numbers from 1982 (when there were far fewer NJ here anyway) to depict some kind of comparative rise.

    Last year was no different, with crime falling by double-digit percentages in every major category, to below levels last seen in 1993! This matters because Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara infamously predicted in 2000 that in the event of a natural disaster (and 2011 had at least two), “bad foreigners” would riot and need rounding up by the Self-Defense Forces.

    Clearly none of that happened. Yet the public discourse of NJ as criminal, as promoted by grumpy (or acidulously jokey) geriatrics, hasn’t changed.

    Now let’s look at the renewed flyjin discourse, since Keene’s self-promotion as a paragon of virtue now threatens to similarly tar NJ as deserters.

    I have talked about flyjin before (Just Be Cause, May 3, 2011), essentially arguing, “So what if NJ left? It’s not as if they were made to feel welcome and a part of Japan.”

    But now that last year’s statistics are in we need an update — because it’s clear the whole flyjin phenomenon was a myth.

    According to the Ministry of Justice (www.moj.go.jp/content/000094842.pdf), the NJ population registered with the government (so as to leave out NJ tourists, who must depart within three months anyway) dropped for the third straight year in 2011, by 55,671 souls, or 2.6 percent. This is little different than 2010’s drop of 51,970, or 2.4 percent — meaning this is an ongoing trend little changed by the disasters.

    Moreover, look at the largest drop in terms of nationality: Brazilians, falling by nearly 9 percent, for more than a third of the total. Where are Brazilians clustered? Around Nagoya, nowhere near the disaster areas.

    The point is, NJ migration (in a science riddled with caveats and complications) was happening anyway for two reasons unrelated to Tohoku: 1) because NJ are the first downsized whenever our labor market goes sour, and 2) because it is standard operating practice within Japan’s visa regimes to boot out unwanted NJ workers (JBC, March 6, 2012, and April 7, 2009).

    Moreover, if this column does what the Japanese media steadfastly refuses to do (that is, compare Japanese with NJ numbers), we can see that according to the government Statistics Bureau (www.stat.go.jp/data/jinsui/pdf/201203.pdf), the numbers of “Japanese flyjin” last year (that is, those who actually left the country, as opposed to the indubitably higher numbers who moved away from the danger zones domestically) also increased: A net 24,889 Japanese left Japan in March and April 2011 alone.

    And, as a brief but indicative tangent, consider the comparative migration patterns of “Japanese flyjin” during Thailand’s disastrous floods last October. Not only did Japanese not remain in Thailand “in solidarity,” they also took Thai workers with them (on one-time temporary six-month visas, of course) so as not to disrupt Japanese factory production schedules.

    The hypocrisy is palpable. And from what I have seen, the Thai media did not bash either the Japanese fleers or the Thai temps as deserters.

    The point is, Keene has made his life one of careful, disciplined research, and he should have tapped this wealth of knowledge and reactivated his critical faculties before shooting off his mouth like this.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is not to impugn Keene’s life choices — he can live where he likes and take out whatever citizenship he desires. But he should not be denigrating other people’s complex and personal life decisions (many made with careers to consider and families in tow) based upon flawed paradigms about NJ — paradigms fabricated by a sensationalist media and grounded in a discourse of prejudice and hypocrisy.

    If he does, he should be called out on it like anyone else. And in that spirit, let’s consider a few inconsistencies:

    Keene has said that he wants to live out his remaining years in Japan out of respect to the “resilient spirit of the Japanese people in a traumatic situation.” However, Kyodo reported on March 9 that this move was “partly because travel (between his homes in America and Japan) had become physically demanding.” At his advanced age, that’s understandable. But why so much public self-hugging for naturalizing?

    Moreover, what sort of support in “solidarity” for the Tohoku victims will Keene be involved in? The Yomiuri on March 9 notes that this month he’s traveling by ship to India and Africa for vacation. As soon as he gets back, he said, “I’ll continue to work more diligently in a suitably Japanese way. I also want to contribute to areas affected by the disaster.”

    Like how? Collecting and driving supplies up to Fukushima? Volunteering to help out at gymnasiums sheltering displaced people? Organizing international fund drives? Moving rubble around, as so many NJ residents who did not “flee Japan” have already done?

    Here’s one thing Keene could do: Publicly retract his denigrating statements with apologies, and acknowledge the good that NJ have done for Japan all along — working here for decades, paying taxes, raising families, and living lives that fly in the face of the hegemonic yet unquestioned discourse that “NJ disrupt Japanese society.”

    People who rise to mythical status should not perpetuate myths themselves. For someone who’s spent his life helping the outside world understand Japan, it’s ignominious indeed that Keene would now do the opposite for outsiders in Japan.

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

    Debito Arudou’s latest book is “In Appropriate” (www.debito.org/inappropriate.html) Twitter arudoudebito. Discussions on this issue on Debito.org at debito.org/?p=10017. Just Be Cause appears on the first Community Page of the month. Send comments on this issue to community@japantimes.co.jp
    ENDS

    31 Responses to “Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column 50, April 3, 2012: Donald Keene should engage brain before fueling ‘flyjin,’ foreign crime myths”

    1. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      A well-balanced article. Liked it.

    2. Jeff Says:

      Seems like he’s gone ‘all in’ with ‘Team Japan’, consciously.

      Many (ok, we all) sometimes forget when we ‘join’ something that we have individually something to contribute also that makes our unique views and opinions valuable to the greater whole we’ve just joined. Even if the other parts of the whole only want something limited or specific.

      So with that truism in mind… those who refuse to see all of our differing points of view generate useful, thoughtful discussion and only think ‘complainers’ lurk here: Go pound salt, lots of us choose Japan, thoughtfully ;)

      (except for all those Anime Freaks, they can come on very limited time tourist visas. Heh. ;^)

      – It’s unclear to me whether or not Keene is oblivious or generally swayed by a sense of entitlement. I think we’ll get a better sense of that if he answers this column.

      One thing we can say for sure, however, given how fawning the domestic press and the ruling elites have been towards him, is that the existence of an elite ruling class in Japan (in a society that has pretentious claims of “everyone being middle class”) is undeniable.

    3. Charuzu Says:

      A very moderate article.

      It should excite no concerns amongst readers.

    4. ML Says:

      There is another question raised in my mind, and I haven’t seen people talk about it yet. Will this Keene receive nenkin or any kind welfare since he is old enough to receive them? However, if he receive that, it’s obviously unfair to rest of NJ who work here for long.

      – I think he’ll probably receive support at least through his longtime partner (although same-sex marriages are not recognized in Japan), if not through nenkin if he has contributed (I assume he has; he won’t get it otherwise).

      Then again, his partner could adopt him (as many gay couples do in Japan), and now that he is Japanese his name can go on his partner’s koseki (or vice versa) without any issues, for social benefit and inheritance purposes. This may have also been an (unmentioned) reason for Keene’s naturalizing.

      Again, good for him (and his partner). And even better if somehow, somewhere, this leads to a discussion of how silly and discriminatory the whole koseki Family Registry system can be in Japan.

      Alas, I doubt it will. Criticism of NJ is much easier than criticism of a system that is at the very root of defining Japanese citizenship and identity.

    5. djw Says:

      Your articles recently–and this one in particular–reminded me of an Aussie I used to teach with in a university here in Japan. He would scour the news looking for a negative article on Japan, and would proudly start mouthing off about how bad Japan/Japanese people are every morning to all who would listen. We (his co-workers) treated him as a joke due to his extreme opinions; within a year, he was another bitter foreigner who left. I fear this is happening to you. This website is a source of excellent information regarding the very real problems of divorce/custody issues/police problems and so on, but your articles recently border on the desperate—-I mean, if Donald Keene criticizes foreigners, so what? His opinions will have no bearing on my Japanese co-workers or Japanese friends, and none on your Japanese friends and acquaintances either. The man has devoted his life to the country, and this is the path he has chosen. Demanding that he apologize is ridiculous. Please get back on focus to where you were a few years ago-—sorting out practical, everyday issues. At the moment, you come across exactly like my ex-coworker-—bitter, hateful, and ready to jump ship.

      – Whatever. If you think that with recent coverage in the J media that “His opinions will have no bearing on my Japanese co-workers or Japanese friends, and none on your Japanese friends and acquaintances either,” then you don’t know who Donald Keene is or what he has meant to Japan’s place and self-image in the world. His opinions matter and what he says about NJ in comparison to himself does make a difference.

      And if you think I’m too bitter, don’t read me, silly. This is what I do and have done for decades.

    6. Loverilakkuma Says:

      I enjoyed reading your article. Just as amusing as like Thomas Frank blasting off his salvo on pathetic elitists—like Glenn Beck, Jack Abramoff or Rick Santorum in “Pity the Billionaire” or “What’s the matter with Kansas?” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Frank).

      My only concern is an insinuation from heartless, clueless readers falsely accusing you of vilifying a humble (?) 89-year-old man with a nasty title, which is not yours. Or record-breaking swamps of letters that may pressurize the JT editor to affect the faith of contract like Japan Today, maybe. Couldn’t be more blasting than Debitorpedo chooses an individual as its target. I wonder how Mr. Angry-ogre responds to the JT next month.

    7. Danny Says:

      Great article! I would love to hear what Keene has to say in his defense.

    8. Nogbad Says:

      Interesting how you pulled all these themes together. However, I still don’t think that that much was made of the “flyjin” phenomenon outside the English language press. Saying that, many Japanese I speak with do seem to hold the belief that lots of foreigners deserted Japan last year. This does fit with the data you linked to: showing a net loss of around 190k in the NJ population (about 10%) in March last year, with numbers gradually increasing back up over the rest of the year. (the Japanese numbers departing Japan are not significant, but I’m sure there were J-flyjin, going elsewhere in Japan, rather than leaving the country; no different to NJ temporarily returning to their own hometowns overseas). Also, we know that some permanent “flyjin” do exist – I certainly personally know of several and I’m sure other Japanese residents will too. To be honest though, these may represent people who were unhappy here and re-evaluating their lives in the wake of the earthquake decided to make the move back home; with the added advantage of the face-saving reason for their departure, rather than a failure to adapt to Japan or Japan to the NJ community. It’s hard to criticize people for that decision and ones I know are much happier now.

      The crime figures are interesting and I’m sure your reporting of then can only raise awareness. Let’s hope that trend continues until it is impossible to be ignored and the oft-trotted out lie about foreigners being more criminal works its way out of the head of ordinary otherwise sensible Japanese. Maybe the figures could be explained by the suggestion that criminal NJ were more likely to flee Japan than more well-educated NJ with stable positions here. The worry is of course that the police might use this as validation that their tactics have worked or that the tight immigration controls are keeping the “bad” NJ out and letting in only the few “good” NJ.

      – I have made the case in articles I linked to (see May 2011 JBC for exact citations) that the J press made a great deal about the “flyjin” phenomenon (just not using that name), to the point where the GOJ unusually had to tell J servers to remove malicious rumors about rape-and-pillage NJ gangs and that the earthquakes were created by NJ terrorism. The fact that people around you “seem to hold the belief that lots of foreigners deserted Japan last year” attests to that media saturation, and its lingering aftereffects as a hegemonic discourse for Keene to ride.

    9. Giovanni Says:

      Now, honestly anybody who wrote those articles denigrating Filjins, I would really like to see how many Japanese would stay in a country during a natural disaster.
      I think flijins did the right thing to go home as I did with my family.

    10. Charuzu Says:

      Giovanni #9:

      You make a very good point.

      Why should it be considered as reprehensible for non-Japanese (or Japanese for that matter) to leave after Fukushima?

      I. We know that the authorities did not fully disclose the extent and nature of the radiation emergency.

      Even many Japanese are distrustful of governmental assurances regarding current statements by authorities regarding the radiation hazard.

      II. We know (through Debito’s work) that Japanese society and its government generally provide fewer rights and human rights to non-Japanese.

      As such, was it not entirely rational and reasonable for a NJ to assume that the authorities were misleading the NJ, even at the cost of severe damage to the life and health of the NJ?

      As such, even if Keene were correct about flyjins, why would such behaviour be bad?

      If one abuses a fellow being, is it wrong for the abused to flee when it thinks that the abuse will be particularly severe?

    11. TJJ Says:

      I’m pissed that Keene made all his money from America and now that he’s squeezed all he could from there, just ups and leaves the country for good. Doesn’t he have any loyalty? *

      *Snark – turnabout is fair play.

    12. B Says:

      Debito, I think this is one of your best articles yet. Very well balanced, and very clearly made point. I truly hope it gets the publicity it deserves.

    13. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Not to rehash an old point, but since Keene was given preferential treatment in getting fast track nationality (with many waivers), let’s see what happens to Neko after his olympic marathon effort for Cambodia. I surveyed some post-grad J-students on this a short while ago (without any reference to Keene), and the majority opinion was that Neko should be refused citizenship, with some respondents calling him a traitor to his country.
      ‘Painting yourself into a corner’ is the phrase that springs to mind.

    14. ML Says:

      Somehow I notice the disgusting part of this “flyjin” thing is that, Japanese don’t take the discrimination part seriously. Indeed, when days go calm, noone would care about the term anymore, but when bad days come again, I am sure there will be new name (bad name, of course) for NJ. The problem is not who is fleeting, the problem is that ASYMMETRIC report cause twisted image. It’s like planting the seed of racism and hatryed toward NJ.

    15. DeBourca Says:

      Here is an article about Keene giving a lecture in Japan about his relationship with the Tohoku area.

      It’s relevant to Debito’s points about his (Keene’s) citizenship being used to show how generally cowardly and ignorant most non Japanese behaved in the wake of of the March disasters. Of course, this is not directly stated:)

      Notice the comments about Keene’s “fluent Japanese” and educating the audience on their own unique culture. The final comments from an audience member I found particularly nauseating.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fd20120408a1.html

    16. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ DeBourca #15

      I love this part of the article you link too;

      ‘Keene visited the temple in September, and gave a speech complementing the temple to an audience that included people whose homes were damaged in the earthquake and tsunami.’

      It’s a brilliantly pathetic demonstration of what Keene means when he talks big about helping the people of Tohoku. It is exactly the kind of thing I predicted he would do when Debito first opened a thread on the topic.

      Jim Di Griz Says:
      June 15th, 2011 at 9:42 pm
      Keene says: ‘when I knew the horrible nature of the tsunami etc. I instead was filled with the very strong thought of wanting to go to Japan’. Really? What’s the old geezer going to do? Help with reconstruction? Deliver food, water, and medicine? I doubt it, at his age. At best, he could at least rush up to Tofuku and read them all a quick haiku, couldn’t he? Just to remind them what a beautiful country Japan is, and how ‘in touch with nature’ they all are. I’m sure they would love it.
      http://www.debito.org/?p=8999

    17. DeBourca Says:

      @ Jim De Griz:

      I think you could have written Keene’s lecture for him:)

      It would be interesting to see how quick he’d hotfoot it up to Tohoku in the event of another serious accident at Fukushima Daiichi (which is unfortunately still possible).

      FWIW, Keene reminds me of one of those old British “servants of the empire”, who went native in places like India, the Middle East etc, in order to study the locals. They basically spent their lives in a rather comfortable bubble, treating the public back home to an idealised view of the subjected Other.

    18. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @DeBourca #17

      I agree with you. It ties in rather nicely with the discussion last week on JP, taking Hearns idealized fantasy of Japan (and presenting an idealized fantasy of the man himself) at face value, and holding the man up as an example of the ‘good gaijin’.

    19. matty-b Says:

      my friends and i, japanese and non-japanese, hosted a series of music-charity events and raised money for peace boat to send relief efforts, as well as to send donated musical instruments, to the post-disaster tohoku area. i wasn’t a major player in this series but that’s what we did thanks to the careful efforts of others.

      if my ass were stapled to a publicly recognized desk with cameramen on-call perhaps i could make sweeping generalizations as mr. keene has done and have speeches rewarded by press releases rather than actually doing something aside from presstitute-appeasing paperwork.

    20. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Matty-B #19

      Matty-B, I respect the fact that you gave as much practical assistance as you could. That’s totally commendable. Keene could be using his ‘fame’ to raise awareness in the English speaking world, of the suffering and hardships many Tohoku residents still face, but he doesn’t. He is self-serving, and searching for ‘pats on the back’ from the powerful J-elites, and J-press. Maybe they could give him a medal?

      After the disaster, I stayed in Kansai, and helped with the loading and unloading of donated medical supplies, and food. I was disappointed that so many of my ‘Pray for Japan’, and ‘Quakebook’ friends didn’t want to give up their free time to help out. I guess they were too busy posting on the net about how terrible they felt about it.

    21. debito Says:

      Lookie here what I found. A fawning editorial from the JT which not only hugs Keene but also disses NJ. That was a year ago. Look how much the discourse has not changed since:

      ===========================
      The Japan Times Saturday, April 23, 2011
      EDITORIAL
      Mr. Keene’s noble decision

      Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20110423a1.html

      Mr. Donald Keene, a prominent scholar of Japanese literature and Columbia University professor, has decided to make Japan his permanent home and has begun the process of becoming a naturalized Japanese citizen, it was reported last week. In an interview with NHK, the 88-year-old Japanologist said that now that Japan has suffered tremendously from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, he would like to express his “faith” (shinnen) in Japan, which he stated he loves. He went on to say, “I married a woman called Japan.”

      Mr. Keene has a residence in Tokyo and spends about half a year annually in Japan. His decision to become a Japanese citizen is an expression of the strong solidarity he shares with the Japanese people at a most difficult time — especially with those in northeastern Japan who have lost their loved ones, property or communities in the disasters, and those who are living in the shadow of the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. His decision should give every Japanese citizen a feeling of joy and encouragement, especially because so many foreigners left Japan in the wake of the disasters.

      Mr. Keene read “The Tale of Genji” in translation while at Columbia, studied Japanese in the U.S. Navy and served as an intelligence officer in the Pacific region during World War II. After the war, he studied Japanese literature at Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge and Kyoto universities. Japanese authors he translated include Yoshida Kenko, Matsuo Basho and Yukio Mishima. He also wrote many books, including “Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan.” He received Japan’s Order of Culture in 2008.

      For their part, Japanese should take a cue from Mr. Keene’s love for Japan by developing a greater appreciation of Japanese culture and tradition (without becoming insular), making efforts to protect Japan’s natural environment and building a society in which the socially weak are never abandoned.

      ENDS

    22. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Debito #21

      ‘His decision should give every Japanese citizen a feeling of joy and encouragement, especially because so many foreigners left Japan in the wake of the disasters.’
      I hope every individual Japanese felt an overwhelming rush of joy on hearing that another NJ was coming to live in Japan, especially as so many of the mercenary sods left their thankless jobs in a society that doesn’t offer them an incentive to invest in it, and went home in case the nuclear disaster was worse than the government and TEPCO were admitting. Is that what it means? Is that what the JT was trying to say?

      ‘For their part, Japanese should take a cue from Mr. Keene’s love for Japan by developing a greater appreciation of Japanese culture and tradition (without becoming insular)’. Too late, I would say, but I am sure that many Japanese love to be lectured about how to value their culture by an ojisan from the US.

      Wow, the JT was really patronizing on that day!

    23. matty-b Says:

      I’m not sure why the Japanese would be encouraged by an elderly man naturalising, especially given the reason in the report regarding the “so many foreigners who left Japan in the wake of the disasters.” I can picture people rejoicing in the parks, running around and screaming with fervor at the fact that an old man with a few books who lives here half the time has decided to change his paperwork.

    24. snowman Says:

      The whole thing is such a joke isn’t it? Keene with his comments must be going senile. Why stay in the face of nuclear disaster when all you are allowed to have is some totally insecure 1 year contract job??

    25. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Snowman #24

      Even if you are the boss of the company, why stay? (Woodford).

    26. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Debourca #17

      I would disagree with your statement;
      ‘FWIW, Keene reminds me of one of those old British “servants of the empire”, who went native in places like India, the Middle East etc, in order to study the locals. They basically spent their lives in a rather comfortable bubble, treating the public back home to an idealised view of the subjected Other.’
      At least it could be argued that the British ‘masters of the Empire’ were bringing modern schools, hospitals, railways, infrastructure, communications, and global trade, to places like India and the Middle East, whereas, on the other hand, what is Keene bringing? Is he going to ‘fix’ Japanese politics, educations system, tax problem, national finances, power supply shortages? No! He is going to tell them all about their own history and culture. I would say that at a time when Japan could benefit from some intervention to improve the above, Keene is not going to address any of this society’s real problems. He is, in that respect, of rather less practical use than the mandarins of the FO.

    27. John (Yokohama) Says:

      Keene’s love for Japan still growing after 70 years
      Asahi Shimbun Asian and Japan Watch, April 17, 2012 (excerpt)
      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/people/AJ201204170001

      “Question: What made you decide to obtain Japanese nationality?

      Answer: It started when I was hospitalized early last year. I was able to take my time and think about the rest of my life, and I realized that there is little time left for me. When I wondered about the last thing I wanted to do, it was to become Japanese.

      If it had not been for the Great East Japan Earthquake, my obtaining Japanese citizenship would only have made a few columns in the newspapers. But the earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear accident have given my personal wish a special meaning.

      I have received many letters. They said they were encouraged or impressed by my decision to leave the United States and settle in Japan at a time when many non-Japanese people fled Japan.

      Q: You were not happy to hear of foreigners leaving Japan, were you?

      A: No. In my heart, I was already Japanese.

      I could not sleep after I watched black waves sweeping the coast. I was worried about what had become of Matsushima (the group of islands in Miyagi Prefecture) and the Chusonji temple (in Iwate Prefecture), both closely associated with the haiku poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694).

      Last year, I visited Chusonji and made a speech there. Some people in the audience had lost family members and had their homes washed away. As I spoke, I found my heart filled with empathy for the survivors. I thought I wanted to live with them. It was an awakening experience.”

    28. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @John (Yokohama) #27
      Interesting post.
      Keene says (in your link);
      ‘“Question: What made you decide to obtain Japanese nationality?

      Answer: It started when I was hospitalized early last year. I was able to take my time and think about the rest of my life, and I realized that there is little time left for me. When I wondered about the last thing I wanted to do, it was to become Japanese.’

      But this is at odds with the Yomiuri March 9th article that states;
      ‘Keene, 89, decided to permanently live in Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake.’
      http://www.debito.org/?p=10017

      Opportunist? Sycophant? Maybe both.

      This quote from the above is also interesting;
      ‘In my heart, I was already Japanese.’

      That’s nice for him. Shame that all the zainichi who were actually born here are denied the same sentiment.
      If Keene can do it, so can I!
      From now on, I am Japanese! I feel it in my heart. Any one who dares to defy my feeling is going against the much lauded Keene!

    29. flyjin Says:

      “If it had not been for the Great East Japan Earthquake, my obtaining Japanese citizenship would only have made a few columns in the newspapers. But the earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear accident have given my personal wish a special meaning.”

      Either this is badly worded or badly written (odd, considering his career choice) or is it just me in thinking this sounds really self-centred and egomaniac?

      Thats like me saying, ” I have always wanted to become American, the 9/11 attacks made my wish all the more special”. Wha’fk?

      What about the people who died? And you are worried about damage to a temple? The people were mentioend at the end, like an afterthought.

    30. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Flyjin #29

      I think he said exactly what he meant to say.
      ‘would only have made a few columns in the newspapers’
      NB; Not ‘a mention in the newspapers’, but ‘a few columns’! Hubris much?

      Again, what is revealing about the quote is that he says that he had made his decision to live in Japan before the disaster. However, he is on record as repeatedly saying that he made the decision because of the disaster (whilst taking a cheap shot at NJ who left Japan).
      Before the disaster or because of the disaster? Please choose a narrative and stick to it Donald!

    31. Flyjin Says:

      Hey Donald! I know what you mean.

      “I have always wanted to come out as a homosexual. But the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980’s have given my personal wish a special meaning”.

      Now you can feel what others feel about your hijacking of a national disaster for personal satisfaction and ego boosting.

      It’s all about you, you, you isnt it?

      In remarkably poor taste.

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