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  • Shuukan Kin’youbi: Protests against NJ businesses in Tokyo turn ugly, yet J media compares Chinese protests against J businesses to Kristallnacht

    Posted by arudou debito on October 13th, 2012

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    Hi Blog. Something came up over the past month that deserves mention on Debito.org when it comes to putting all the “violent Chinese etc. protests against Japan” into some perspective. Something that was not given much audience in the Japanese media — far-rightists targeting domestic minorities in Japan due to the recent flap over some offshore rocks.

    Yes, people say “both sides are guilty of saber rattling and banging nationalist drums.”  But one thing I like to remind people is:  Who picked this most recent fight over the Senkakus? And who keeps perpetually stirring things up by having what I would consider a denialist view of history when it comes to being an aggressor and colonizer over the past hundred years? Sorry, but many of Japan’s prominent leaders do. And they (deliberately, in this case) serve to stir up passions overseas. Then when people overseas protest this, who then suddenly claims that the foreigners are overreacting or Japanese are being targeted and victimized? Japan’s leaders. And Japan’s media, to rally the rest of the public.

    However, Japan’s victimization trope is being overplayed.  Japanese media, according to the Japan Times, is turning up the invective to compare Chinese protests to Kristallnacht. See here:

    ============================
    The Japan Times, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012
    BIG IN JAPAN
    Tabloids return fire, urge China business pullout

    By MARK SCHREIBER
    On Sept. 29, the 40th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, Sankei Shimbun editorial writer Ryutaro Kobayashi asked how it would be possible for Japan to continue discussions with a China that had “lost its national dignity.”

    Kobayashi was referring to the sometimes-destructive renhai (human wave) demonstrations in over 100 cities in China protesting Japan’s nationalization of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, which resulted in billions of yen in damages to Japanese-owned businesses.

    Scenes of angry mobs trashing stores and factories have led, not surprisingly, to viscerally emotional reactions in Japan’s media. One common response has been a palpable sense of victimhood, of which perhaps the most extreme example appears in a 98-page “mook” (a short book in glossy A4 magazine format) from Shukan Asahi Geino devoted entirely to China, under the headline “Chugoku, fuyukai na shinjitsu” (“China: The unpleasant facts”). Superimposed over a photo of the ransacked branch of the Heiwado supermarket in Changsha, Hunan Province, is a caption that reads, “Sept. 16, 2012 will be inscribed in history as China’s version of the Kristallnacht” (a reference to the notorious pogrom against Jews in Nazi Germany and Austria on Nov. 9, 1938).

    Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fd20121007bj.html
    ============================

    Well, consider the following domestic actions by Japanese far-rightists against not just foreign business communities overseas, but actual NJ residents of Japan who have been living in Japan for generations (who, by all reasonable standards — including fighting and dying for the Japanese Empire — should be Japanese citizens by now). Are we seeing the same comparisons to Krystallnacht? And will we see those comparisons in the media once we get glass in the gutter and bloodied faces? If the standard for violence in Japan is also “verbal” (as in kotoba no bouryoku), then we’re on our way.

    Stop it, everyone, before you do something you might regret later. (Then again, perhaps not, if Japan’s revisionist attitudes towards history continue to hold sway.) Arudou Debito

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

    Nationalists converge on Shin-Okubo’s Koreatown
    JapanToday.com KUCHIKOMI SEP. 18, 2012
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/nasty-nationalists-converge-on-shin-okubos-koreatown

    Sandwiched between two major streets running parallel, the “Shin-Okubo Koreatown” in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district is home to dozens of Korean-style restaurants and retail shops proffering goods that range from Korean cosmetics to items appealing to fans of “Hanryu” dramas.

    Shukan Kinyobi (Sept 14) reports that on Aug 25, a large demonstration of rightists—who are upset over South Korea’s territorial claims to Takeshima island (referred to as Dokdo in Korean)—marched through the neighborhood. The demonstration, whose organizers had tabbed “The Citizens’ Great March to Subjugate South Korea,” consisted of an estimated 500 demonstrators, many of who waved the militaristic “kyokujitsuki” (rising-sun flag), and who chanted such slogans as “Kankokujin wa kaere” (South Koreans go home) and “Chosenjin wa dete yuke!” (Koreans get out).

    Things got even nastier after the march ended, when the marchers broke off into smaller groups of around 10 and moved from the main drag to the neighborhood’s many small lanes, where they confronted shopkeepers with even more hostile remarks, such as “Chon-ko wa karere” (Go home, you Korean bastard”) or “We’ll kill you.” They also intimidated compatriots they encountered with veiled warnings like “If you’re a Japanese, then don’t come to this area.”

    “It’s very aggravating,” a worker of a street stall selling confections is quoted as saying. “Some young visitors from South Korea got harangued by the protesters. Since that day, the number our customers has tapered off.”

    “It appears that the Zaitokukai (short for Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai or group opposed to special rights for Koreans in Japan) thinks it can build momentum for its movement by harping on the Takeshima and Senkaku issues,” says journalist Koichi Yasuda, who authored a book titled “Pursuing the ‘darkness’ of Internet patriots, the Zaitokukai” (Kodansha), about the noisy group that has been boosting its membership through skillful use of the Internet.

    “While I don’t see any signs yet that they are increasing their influence, they still bear watching,” Yasuda adds. “As far as they are concerned, discriminating against the ‘zainichi’ (Koreans in Japan) is everything, and they aren’t terribly concerned about what will become of the disputed territories in the future. But they can use the timing of the dispute as a pretext for pushing their own agenda.”

    Some rightists also provoked clashes in the Chinese enclave adjacent to the north exit of JR Ikebukuro station, resulting in police being summoned.

    When such run-ins occur, however, Shukan Kinyobi notes that it has been rare for Japan’s mainstream media to devote much coverage. And even those who are confronted by the rightists tend to refrain from seeking sympathy from society, perhaps out of fears that any negative publicity will drive away their customers.

    When the Shin-Okubo Merchants’ Association was approached by Shukan Kinyobi for a comment, it declined on the grounds that “We haven’t grasped the details.” The Shinjuku branch of the Zainichi Korean Association replied, “There’s nothing to discuss.” The Chinese in Ikebukuro were also reluctant to speak to reporters.

    A staff member at one Korean firm in Shin-Okubo confided to the magazine, “The South Korean embassy here sent out a warning advisory to Korean businesses and groups to the effect that from Aug 25, we should not approach demonstrators or make inflammatory remarks. ‘Refrain from any activities that would put your safety at risk,’ it advised.

    “If trouble were to break out, nothing good would come from it, as far as we’re concerned,” he added.

    As long as this country has no statute against hate crimes, Shukan Kinyobi opines, this kind of ethnic and racial discrimination will remain out of control. Sixty-seven years since the end of the Pacific War, the issue of “territorial disputes” is being used as a new pretext to abet what are long-term trends.

    ENDS

    21 Responses to “Shuukan Kin’youbi: Protests against NJ businesses in Tokyo turn ugly, yet J media compares Chinese protests against J businesses to Kristallnacht”

    1. Johnny Says:

      These groups seem to be allowed to operate with impunity. There seems to be a real pattern though with the Japanese authorities to not care when the victim is NJ.

    2. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      Again, the local media needs to cover the activities of right-wingers. Not give them a voice, just show the rest of the country what some of their cohorts are doing. Otherwise it’s just giving a free pass.

    3. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Everyone’s too scared of them because of their connections to the mafia, and politicians. If any diligent police officer dared to pull on one of these ‘threads’ the whole system of Japan Inc. would unravel, and that would cause far more disturbance to the average schmucks ‘dreamy day’ to be permitted. Remember, the objective of Japan Inc. / Team Japan is to preserve the illusion, the tatamae, of Japan as a wonderful place. Something wrong? Please ignore it, would you like to continue shopping? Please click here. Most of the J-public realize that Japan is rotten to the core, but choose to return to the ‘consensual hallucination’ as a solution to the cognitive dissonance of the tatamae/reality clash.

      Tatemae.

    4. Graylandertagger Says:

      I think the main reason why the Japanese media isn’t paying much attention is due to how brutal the anti-Japan protests in china have been. There was even a guy who was beaten up just for driving a Japanese car:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/world/asia/china-suit-for-anti-japan-attack.html

      – Perhaps. But “have been”… check out the timeline to see which events came first. I don’t think it’s a matter of degree. I think it’s a matter of editorial policy, as the Shuukan Kin’youbi article alludes.

    5. Man in Holland Says:

      When you refer to “the Japanese media” comparing the recent riots to Kristallnacht, you are, might I suggest, taking things out of context. Shukan Asahi Geino is a magazine that publishes stories describing, for example, how hard it is to be a Japanese porn star and how easy it is for peepshow operators to get around regulation. The magazine and publisher even has an award for porn actors named after it:

      http://www.tokyoreporter.com/2011/03/25/amami-tsubasa-wins-shukan-asahi-geino-media-award-at-2011-porn-awards/

      Meanwhile, the mooks it usually produces are for fans of the Yakuza, and it was clearly stated in the Japan Times article (in the headline, in fact) that the author was focusing on stories in tabloids.

      Would you describe anti-Islam stories in the Daily Mail or the New York Post as representative of the “English” or “American media”? If not, then why the different standard for Japan?

      – I see. So for you it doesn’t count as real media because it’s a tabloid. Okay, I think you’re the one with differing standards. Especially if you think that the shuukanshi do not have any effect on the discourse in Japan.

    6. Man in Holland Says:

      No, what I’m saying is that I don’t think Shukan Asahi Geino is as representative as you are implying with the term “the Japanese media.” It’s not as if it is the Asahi Shinbun, or for that matter even the Shukan Asahi, which does indeed have relevance. Shukan Kinyobi is also important and appears to be reporting above on anti-Chinese marches without engaging in any jingoism itself.

      In other words, there are shukanshi and there are shukanshi. The Shukan Asahi Geino (no relation to the “real” Asahi, and thus the katakana) is little more than a yakuza-loving porn-gossip rag with a bit of political speculation thrown in. If you think that people are reading this for informed comment, you are sorely mistaken.

      In any case, even if porn-star worshiping publications such as these did have the relevance that you seem to think they do, what should we make of it when they run stories of Japan-China reconciliation?

      http://www.tokyoreporter.com/2012/09/24/former-av-star-hotaru-akane-shocks-fans-with-pro-china-comments-over-senkaku-row/

      Further, what should we make of it when the Shukan Kinyobi, a much more relevant weekly actually complains about the lack of hate crime legislation in Japan? Could it be, perhaps, that there are a number of perspectives in the industry, and thus, it is inappropriate to claim that one quote in one magazine about Kristallnacht is a quote by “the Japanese media”?

      – Yep, sorry to dodge being encased within the Straw Man you’re trying to construct and burn in effigy, but obviously there are a number of perspectives in a media. This is one. Yes, there are quotes and there are quotes, but I’m reporting on the undercurrent of victimization within a national discourse and how it only favors one party to a dispute, in the process getting blown way out of historical proportion by jingoistic elements within the media. Within the Japanese media.

      Under your logic, something as hateful as the GAIJIN HANZAI mook way back when doesn’t count as anything representative of what kind of hate speech appears in the Japanese media because it wasn’t featured in what you would call a credible source (just in a xenophobic mook published by a soft-core porn publisher, yet found on bookstore and convenience store shelves nationwide). Agree to disagree, shall we?

    7. Man in Holland Says:

      I think we shall. Especially because I think that it is better, in a society where free speech exists, that such “undercurrents” are visible so they can be resisted and ridiculed by the mainstream.

      – I would love for that to happen more often. Media discourse on minorities in Japan, when compared to the sheer amount of reportage focusing on the “bad things foreigners do”, rarely defends minorities in favor of Wajin, resists or ridicules anti-minority discourse, or represents minority views. Heck, the “monocultural, homogeneous society” trope that holds sway denies that minorities even exist in Japan. Thanks for commenting.

    8. Man in Holland Says:

      Well, I’ve never met a Japanese person who denies that there are minorities in Japan. On the contrary, there has been quite a bit of mainstream coverage of how minorities are doing in Japan in the wake of protests in Korea and Japan that emphasizes the multi-ethnic nature of Japanese society and the importance of international ties:

      http://www.asahi.com/national/intro/TKY201208280674.html?id1=2&id2=cabcaicj
      http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0928/TKY201209280523.html

      I also think there might be more resistance to the type of discourse that you’ve highlighted than you believe. The fact that it took about five days for the Gaijin Hanzai Fairu mook to be taken off shelves speaks volumes. And kudos to you for your role in that.

      However, it is not somehow as if it is only the efforts of the expat community that gets deviant actions noticed and publicized. Major series by the Shukan Asahi Geino have been designated a “harmful publications” by prefectural authorities. Meanwhile, the mainstream Japanese media (notably, the Asahi in its print edition) did report on recent protests in Shin-Okubo in Japanese. Although the Japanese article is only available on the Internet if you have Kikuzo, the Asahi online database, the newpaper also put together an English article, which was placed online for the world to see:

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/china/AJ201208300031

      The dailies have reported on protests in the past as well. For example, the print edition of the Asahi Shimbun (September 1, 2011) reported a protest last year against Fuji TV’s apparent love for Korean drama (telling in itself) as potentially dangerous. At the same time, however, they belittled the protesters as people for whom outrage was a hobby. TV networks covered that protest, as well as the results of the court case where the protesters were sued for damaging private property.

      Despite what you read in the Japan Times or on Japantoday, it’s not as if the kenkanryu or hannichi “undercurrents” go ignored or uncriticized by a tame mainstream media. Anyway, I have a bunch of work piling up on my desk and I’ll have to leave it there. Thanks for the exchange.

      – Thanks for citing some examples of coverage. Yes, there are some articles (I never denied there were) in the Japanese media that cover the views and lifestyles of multiethnic members of Japanese society. There are also articles that have the opposite effect of reinforcing monoethnic tropes (and I daresay if you have never met a Japanese who has denied that there are minorities in Japan (as in shousuu minzoku), you haven’t talked to too many politicians or top-level bureaucrats). Point is, there are articles on both sides (and I know from my studies that the ones that portray NJ negatively far outweigh those that portray them positively.)

      Whether you think that only the articles that appear in mainstream media are the only ones that really count or are representative of Japanese media is where we have, of course, agreed to disagree. But I don’t think that even your articles cited above really disabuse the notion of Japan as a monocultural society — rather that foreigners who live here (as opposed to “Japanese/Japan residents with international roots,” which is what they are or should be by now) should be treated not as parties to the geopolitical dispute. It’s a fine editorial distinction, but these “foreigners” are still being portrayed with the tone of being transplants. Better than portraying them as potential subversives, of course. But still not IMHO quite as sunshiny as you seem to be arguing.

      We are, however, getting away from the point of this blog entry, which is to talk about how the vicitimization discourse generally goes one way in the Japanese media, and how it is with this comparison to Kristallnacht going too far. Again, thanks for the exchange.

    9. Fight Back Says:

      In this Internet age, it’s all too easy for people like the Man In Holland to cherry-pick articles using Google to back up any point of view. 

      As Debito responded, his analysis of ALL j-media has shown an anti-NJ bias that refuses to go away. 

      Apologists like to point to examples of “good Japanese” as if that somehow excuses the behavior of the unfriendly and unaccepting majority. What the Man In Holland should also realize is that the acceptability level for intolerance of NJ should and must be set at ZERO. 

      If there is even one ‘tabloid’ magazine writing lies about NJ, then that is already one too many. Until Japan wakes up and cleans house of all anti-NJ discrimination, hiding behind a couple of articles you found in a search engine to ‘disprove’ Debito is a cheap trick. As Debito has talked to politicians and key opinion leaders face-to-face, I don’t see how such an obvious apologist ploy could ever hold water. 

      Next time you meet a Japanese person who tells you they are one of the ‘good ones’, be sure to let them know that they then are responsible for doing something about the discriminatory majority, rather than just sidestepping the issue, and make it clear that Japan will not be accepted internationally until this is done. 

      – Well, not ALL j-media. But a representative sample and proportion over the years. Both as a reader and a participant.

    10. James Annan Says:

      I’ve met “educated” Japanese who were unaware (indeed, denied) that there was more than one language spoken natively in this country!

    11. Baudrillard Says:

      @ Man in Holland, I have met many many Japanese who deny that Okinawans have a separate identity or language. Ainu are ridiculed. A former friend of mine called them “inu”. I d hate to think how the Caucasian Ogasawarans or Russians in former Karafuto would fare.

      Probably marginalized, until they hopefully leave.

    12. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Man in Holland

      Re: ‘ I’ve never met a Japanese person who denies that there are minorities in Japan.’

      Please clarify minorities for me in the context of those discussions.
      I, for example, have never met a Japanese who denies that there are minorities in Japan either, but only in the context of ‘many foreigners come to Japan because Japan is so much better than their home country’. I will agree that in that case, every Japanese will agree that Japan has many foreigners who come to Japan, and would classify them as minorities (this would also include zainichi, for example, who were born here). BUT this is not the same as minorities who are Japanese.
      I have never met a Japanese person who would believe that there are any ethnic minority Japanese. In fact, that would appear to them as an oxymoron.

    13. Man in Holland Says:

      I’m afraid that after that last comment by Fight Back, I’m going to have to put my work aside for a minute and explain what cherry picking is or, rather, what it is not. I was responding to claims in the Shukan Kinyobi article which stated that mainstream media in Japan did not report on and criticize anti-Korean protests. Further, Shukin made a rather specific claim about a rather specific protest. So I found and cited examples where the mainstream media (the Asahi Shimbun, which, with a circulation of 8 million per day is the second most read media organ in the country and sells roughly 200-600 times more copies per week than most of the weeklies discussed in the JT article above, including Shukin) reported on and criticized these specific protests. I also threw in some positive stories about minorities in mainstream outlets that were published in the same specific time frame, referencing the same specific protests because they were relevant to the particular topic we were discussing. I also provided examples where protests almost identical to the one mentioned in Shukin were covered both by the mainstream print and TV media. I wasn’t just Googling around to find some foreigner love and posting what I found on line. I was testing—falsifying, if you like—a specific claim.

      Indeed, I could have gone further. I could have mentioned another large article that appeared on page 3 of the Asahi on August 28. That article, as well as criticizing those same specific protests that the Shukin claimed aren’t covered by the Japanese mainstream media, also castigated nationalists active on the internet, bigots like Sakurai Yoshiko and the Zaitokukai, and right-wing magazines like those mentioned in the JT. It focused on SAPIO, a right wing rag well known among liberals both within Japan and without, not least because it carries the work of Kobayashi Yoshinori who has called, among other things for “expelling the barbarians in the Heisei era (Heisei joi)”. I know who these people are, and I know what they think, and that Fight Back would call me an “apologist” excusing their views is insulting to the extreme, especially because, having read his(?) comments, I am pretty sure I know better where these views are located within the Japanese national discourse than he does. Most Japanese people, moreover, know where to locate them as well, in part because they can read critical pieces about them in the mainstream media:

      http://www.asahi.com/news/intro/TKY201208280309.html

      Of course, Fight back might continue to stress that I am simply citing random articles (despite the fact that these are not just “alternate views” but refute specific claims about protests not having been covered), and that there is no evidence here of mainstream acceptance of a particular point of view. He should consider, then, who Kodansha, the fairly-middle-of-the-road-if-not-a-bit-conservative publishing house, and by the way parent company of Shukan Kinyobi, decided to give their prestigious non-fiction prize to: the Asahi Shimbun journalist Yasuda Koichi. His book? “The Net and Nationalism: Pursue the Darkness of the Zaitokukai” (Netto to Aikoku: Zaitokukai no yami o oikakete), which discussed similar protests to those mentioned above and even postulated a theory of victimization similar to that which Debito is talking about, although Koichi stated that this victim narrative was one located in those specific groups. Yasuda has written several critical articles about the Zaitokukai in the Asahi and has been quoted criticizing them in other mainstream organs as well. The Asahi reviewed his book extensively (May 13, p. 18). And now he has won a major prize for it from an established publishing house, which the Asahi covered as well (July 21, p. 37).

      In sum, if Fight Back still thinks that coverage and criticism of such movements, and acceptance of this critical stance, is limited to a few articles here and there, he is in total denial.

      Which gets me to the other problem I see here. If all we are discussing is the shape and form of undercurrents of nationalism in Japan, then I have no problem with that. In fact this is something that I am very much interested in. These currents have always been around (and are around elsewhere—in Holland, yes, liberal Holland, there is a political party that represents their interests in the national parliament). However, barring complete and utter political and social meltdown, which I do not see happening in Japan, such nationalists tend to be held in check by mainstream forces, and have always been thus. The opening pages of Morris’s seminal 1960 volume on right-wing nationalism in Japan, which essentially announced that the groups under examination in his work were loud but not particularly influential, I believe, still holds true.

      Indeed, their shrillness has increased the less influential they have become. In the 60s and 70s there were still fairly well-respected nationalist intellectuals like Hayashi Fusao and Eto Jun who, like the nationalists of today, played the victim card all the time, particularly in regard to Japan’s relationship with the United States. Except for Ishihara, those guys are gone, and in my opinion the “new” nationalists today are just thugs and pseudo-intellectuals who don’t attract as much of a following as their forebears. They might be able to negotiate themselves into positions of power if they can convince a significant number (although seldom a majority) of the voting public (often about 50 percent at the local level) to go with them, but their most madcap schemes are blocked before they come to fruition. Ishihara’s attempt to purchase the Senkaku Islands was an exception in that it caused a lot of trouble at the national level, but it is important to remember that China’s dissatisfaction came about because Noda blocked Ishihara’s purchase in order to avoid the outrage that happened anyway. Ishihara found a way to wiggle through, yes, but I still don’t think his views, and particularly the victim consciousness, whence his “Japan that can say no” mentality arose is representative of the mainstream.

      Nevertheless, I could be wrong, and mine too is a falsifiable assertion. And that’s why I’m puzzled. Debito has mentioned that this victimhood sentiment associated with right-wing nationalism is “a representative sample” and that his research easily proves that. I assume what he means is that it is representative of a broader, mainstream discourse, but the term “representative sample” refers to statistical analysis, not simply identifying, explaining and criticizing texts that are “out there.” Sure, identifying such material and explaining and exposing these narratives is a valid intellectual pursuit and social goal in itself, although I would argue with the claim that we need to keep fighting until ALL discriminatory speech is banished from society—Fight back is proposing what I suspect he knows is an impossible task—and I’ve also noted my reservations about hate speech laws. Nevertheless, such explaining and exposing is necessarily done on the basis of an interpretive methodology which is altogether different from the statistical, scientific—that is, positivist—understanding of reality that Debito is claiming to have presented. He can’t just show us pictures of things he thinks is racist. His “proof” would require a completely different methodology. One that wouldn’t be subject to rival interpretations of “representative” Japanese opinion, such as that which I have just presented. There are several methods available—data mining of representative texts, for example, or the column-inch method that Chomsky applied to mainstream newspapers. And to hold up, it would need to have been subjected to the scrutiny of peer review, of course.

      So where is this research?

      – Wow. Thanks for the essay, but you set your work aside to duke it out with some anonymous poster (despite being anonymous yourself, so it’s not as if this is an attack that impugns your character) on a blog? And somehow you manage to drag me into it even after we agreed to disagree? Chillax, dude.

      As for my research, you can read my book JAPANESE ONLY (Akashi Shoten 2nd Ed. 2006) which goes into detail on how minority voices in the Japanese media were stymied and stifled in the domestic debate on racial discrimination (and you can see all my primary-source articles that substantiate my claims archived from here, for starters). And that’s before we get to all the experience I have as an activist trying to nudge the media and the domestic debate in the direction of increased tolerance towards diversity (and have written up in real time for public consumption in the journalistic community et.al). I am also currently at work on a book on this, so look out for it hopefully within a year or so.

      Meanwhile, I suggest you dial down your insecurity a skosh. As you keep saying, you have work to do, no doubt more important than this.

    14. Fight Back Says:

      Ha ha, well said Debito. I look forward to reading the new book sometime soon!

      I do think insecurity is a large part of apologism. Suggesting that the mainstream keeps the racist undertones of Japanese society “in check” is not much of an excuse, especially to those of us who have actually experienced discrimination at the hands of ‘mainstream Japanese’. Just because anti-NJ attitudes are not being published in the media daily, doesn’t mean that these attitudes don’t exist.

      When will the apologists give up denying that NJ discrimination is real?

    15. Man in Holland Says:

      Great. So Fight Back simply uses the same insult that set me off in the first place. Do you call everyone who disagrees with you an “apologist” Fight Back? Or is that word only used when you are too lazy or don’t have the facts to respond to specific evidence brought to bear on specific claims? By the way, I don’t deny that discrimination exists in Japan, although I’m not terribly sure what an NJ is. You know who else doesn’t deny that discrimination exists? The mainstream Japanese media. That article I linked to in my last post mentions “discrimination” (sabetsu) against zainichi kankokujin/chosenjin and Chinese residents pretty damned specifically.

      Actually, Debito, I would suggest that article is worth your time to find. It has interviews of even some fairly reprehensible rightists themselves denouncing the Zaitokukai and its behavior as too narrowly nationalistic. But what is interesting for you is that it actually explicitly compares the protests in China and Japan as similar phenomena, as you do. I think that’s going a bit far, myself (and no FB, that does not mean I am an apologist), but I thought the way they explained it as a social phenomenon–and the parallels they drew between the paucity of the political worlds in China and Japan–was interesting, if flawed as a comparison.

      As to your book, it is an interesting take on how to do activism in Japan at the beginning of the millennium, and it certainly shows that bureaucratic structures do impede human rights efforts. And your catalog of abuse certainly does show that there is discrimination in Japan, some of it endemic to bureaucratic systems. But this is not what I meant when I asked you to back up your claims that a “representative sample” of Japanese media are discriminatory. I’ll assume you simply meant something like “there is discrimination in Japan.” That there are rightists with racist views in Japan is a truism that nobody can deny, and it is, as I said, nonetheless a worthy project to identify and describe the views, ideologies, and motivations of such people, even if you can’t definitively say that discrimination is a consistent and prevalent trope in mainstream discourse. Again, on that point we’ll just have to disagree.

      I’ll ignore the snide bullshit about insecurity, save to point out that Fight Back seems to have a victim consciousness all of his own. By the way, I cleared most of the work on my desk today. Thanks for caring!

    16. Fight Back Says:

      Man in Holland makes the amateur mistake of believing that Japanese society is influenced mainly by the media, as in open Western societies, whereas we all know that anti-NJ discrimination in instilled by forces within Japanese society. The senpai system is often used to prevent younger members from associating with NJ, and it’s hard for the Japanese to resist conforming.

      Also, how much discrimination against NJ is acceptable? 10%? 25%? Where do you draw your line?

      I see that as the thin edge of the apologist wedge.

    17. Joe Says:

      “Man in Holland makes the amateur mistake of believing that Japanese society is influenced mainly by the media, as in open Western societies, whereas we all know that anti-NJ discrimination in instilled by forces within Japanese society.”

      Don’t understand this at all. Looks like someone’s making the “amateur mistake” of somehow thinking that the media aren’t a “force within Japanese society.”

    18. Scipio Says:

      16.Fight Back Says:
      October 19th, 2012 at 1:58 pm
      Man in Holland makes the amateur mistake of believing that Japanese society is influenced mainly by the media, as in open Western societies, whereas we all know that anti-NJ discrimination in instilled by forces within Japanese society.
      I see that as the thin edge of the apologist wedge.

      You should find some Chinese Japanese-hating website which would be more appreciative of your hate.

      This site I believe is not about hating Japanese per se, but a collection of individuals who want to discuss and publicize the often xenophobic and feudalistic practices of a system which serves no resident, Japanese citizen or otherwise, well

      Man in Holland, while I disagree with his opinion, is allowed to opine on his observations. Your name calling and hatred of all things Japanese, serves nobody well.

      Fightback, find another place to spew your vitriol.

    19. Man in Holland Says:

      Great, Fight Back. So first you claim that Debito’s analysis of “all” Japanese media shows a trenchant and prevailing discrimination against foreigners, but when I show relevant examples of mainstream news organisations speaking out against discrimination, suddenly media analysis isn’t important anymore. Do you always shift the goalposts around like this? If we stick to the line that you are now taking, basically all the information in the Japan Times and the Shukan Kinyobi posted above can’t be trusted. In fact, a lot of what Debito posts in general, according to your current logic, should simply be discounted. Nevertheless, Debito can rest assured that your logic seems pretty malleable.

      Nevertheless, while you are currently committed to this line of thought, I should note that, in itself, the notion Western sociological methods such as media analysis don’t matter in a strange, and uniform but amorphous Japan that is held together by unspecified social forces is a theory that we’ve heard before. It goes by many names. In Japan, it is called “Nihonjinron”. In the West it often comes with an assumption that these supposed patterns of Japanese social interaction are inferior to American and European models of liberalism or pluralism. This seems to be the tack you’re taking. Many scholars would call this essentialism or Orientalism. I’d just call it racism myself.

      Finally, enough with this “apologism” crap already. It’s a term which means nothing and one that you’ve obviously adopted to shut down any argument that happens to disagree with the position that you’ve taken. Who am I “apologizing” for? People like the Zaitokukai? No, I’ve already told you I find their ideas and actions vile. “The Japanese”? I’ve already made it pretty clear that I see discourse in Japan (like anywhere else) as a multifaceted phenomenon, so, while I recognize there is a mainstream discourse, I don’t really recognize a blanket category of “Japanese” discourse. It’s you, not me, who seems to think of Japan (and “the Japanese”) as a monolithic entity that must be judged by your superior standards. Don’t project this impoverished view of the discourse of an entire nation onto me, please. In the final analysis, using the term “apologist” in the way that you do is like comparing Chinese riots to Kristallnacht. It is a way of condemning others when you are too lazy or full of too much hate to acknowledge their grievances or accept that they might have a valid point of view even though it disagrees with your own.

      – “Debito can rest assured…” Don’t project this impoverished view of the discourse between you and Fight Back onto me, please. I’ve already had up for years, within the Debito.org Posting Guidelines, that “Approved comments do not necessarily mean Arudou Debito approved OF their contents or agreed with their arguments.” So I think we’ll bring this discussion between you and Fight Back to an end. No more posts from you two on this thread will be approved.

    20. Mark082 Says:

      I’m just happy that this was restricted to a march with verbal taunts. The Korean expatriate/diaspora community has had a history with being victims of getting out of control, like the massacre in Tokyo in 1923, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what the ethnic Korean community experienced in 1992 in South Central Los Angeles. Question: Since the Zaitokukai felt the need to march through Lotte World Tokyo (sorry, since the Hanryu, Shin Okubo has become kinda an amusement park version of Korea IMHO), does that mean that they’ll march through Tokyo Disneyland when they have issues with the Americans?

    21. DeBourca Says:

      More xenophobic isolationist behaviour. When it stretches to popular entertainers, you know the infection is spreading:

      Korean singers dropped from yearend NHK music show
      Kyodo
      South Korean pop singers and groups who have been fixtures of NHK’s “Kohaku Uta Gassen” music show in recent years have been dropped from this year’s show to be broadcast on New Year’s Eve, according to a list of performers announced Monday.

      Announcing the lineup of 50 individual and group performers, NHK said the “Korean wave” performers were dropped “considering public opinion and (their) activities this year.”

      Diplomatic relations between Seoul and Tokyo soured when South Korean President Lee Myung Bak in August visited Takeshima, a group of islets controlled by South Korea and claimed by Japan.

      Rest at
      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121128a4.html

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