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  • Sankei Sports etc: J soccer player Nakamura Yuuki quits Slovakian club, feels victimized by “racial discrimination”; my, how ironic!

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 1st, 2013

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    Hi Blog.  We have an interesting case of a Japanese sports player quitting an overseas soccer team claiming “racial discrimination” (jinshu sabetsu).  Nakamura Yuuki, formerly of Slovak football club MSK Rimaska Sobota, has been reported in the Japanese press as returning to Japan last September, blogging about his treatment negatively.  But look closely at this case and some odd thoughts come up.  According to the press (English-language ones first, then Japanese, translated):

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

    Japanese soccer player Yuki Nakamura quits Slovakian club due to racial abuse
    By Ida Torres / January 31, 2013 /
    http://japandailypress.com/japanese-soccer-player-yuki-nakamura-quits-slovakian-club-due-to-racial-abuse-3122445

    Japanese soccer striker Yuki Nakamura has quit his Slovakian club Rimavska Sobota saying his club and his teammates did nothing to support or protect him from the racial abuse targeted at him by supporters.

    “It’s a real shame but I have come home because I have been subjected to racism at Rimavska Sobota and I can’t carry on living there,” Nakamura posted on his blog. The 25 year old, on loan from Czech side Viktoria Zizkov, said that fans would hurl racial slurs at him before and after games. When he told the club about it, they said there was nothing they could do about it. He decided he couldn’t continue living there and decided to just come home to Japan. He has previously played in Romania and the Czech Republic.

    Other Japanese players have also experienced difficulties while playing overseas. Most recently in 2011, Lierse goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was taunted by opposing fans with chants of “Fukushima, Fukushima” in reference to the nuclear disaster from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Racism in football is still a persistent, serious problem and FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes it is one of the biggest scourges in the sport. He believes points should be deducted from teams in cases of racial abuse. Kevin Prince Boateng of AC Milan, who also plays for the national team of Ghana, walked out of a friendly match against Pro Patria after fans didn’t stop their “monkey” chants, even after being called out by the stadium announcer. United State’s Jozy Altidore is also another recent victim of racist chants, during a Dutch Cup game for his club AZ. The referee wanted to halt the fixture after fans continued hurling abuse at him, but Altidore asked for the game to continue.
    ENDS

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

    SOCCER

    Nakamura quits Slovakian club over racism
    JAPAN TODAY, SPORTS JAN. 31, 2013 – 07:00AM JST ( 24 )TOKYO —
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/sports/view/nakamura-quits-slovakian-club-over-racism

    Japanese striker Yuki Nakamura says he has left Slovakian club Rimavska Sobota because he was a target of racist abuse.

    “It’s a real shame but I have come home because I have been subjected to racism at Rimavska Sobota and I can’t carry on living there,” the 25-year-old Nakamura wrote on his blog on Wednesday.

    Nakamura, who has also played in Romania and the Czech Republic, says supporters would hurl abuse at him before and after games and that none of his teammates would offer help.

    “This is not normal,” said Nakamura, who was on loan from Czech side Viktoria Zizkov. “Some type of threat was made to the club but they said there was nothing they could do about it, so I came home. I doubt there are many players that have experienced this.”

    Several Japanese players have encountered difficulties while playing overseas. In 2011, former Lierse goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was taunted with chants of “Fukushima, Fukushima” by opposing fans in reference to the nuclear disaster following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter recently reiterated his belief in deducting points from teams in cases of racial abuse — which he believes is the one of the biggest scourges in soccer.

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

    Nakamura quits club over ‘racism’
    Agence France-Presse February 01, 2013
    http://gulftoday.ae/portal/79584aa6-ff5b-43e8-9fef-79e360def8ad.aspx

    TOKYO: Japanese striker Yuki Nakamura says he returned home over intolerable racism at Slovak club Rimavska Sobota, adding that the side had received threats over his appearances.

    The incident is the latest in a string of racially-linked incidents in European football, with Italian giants Lazio fined a total of 140,000 euros ($190,000) by UEFA on Wednesday after their Europa League clashes against Tottenham and Maribor were marred by racist chanting.

    In an online blog entry dated Wednesday, Nakamura, 25, said he returned to Japan because of racism that had even involved some of his own teammates.

    “Unfortunately, I have come home because I was subjected to racism at the club I belonged to, Rimavska Sobota, and could not live there any more,” the footballer wrote.

    Calling out his name before and after matches, some club supporters raised their middle finger to Nakamura “with a look of furious anger”.

    “No teammates helped me. There were even some players who joined in (the harassment),” he added.

    “It wasn’t normal anymore, and the team even received some sort of threats. They cannot be responsible (for my safety), so I came home,” he said.

    Nakamura played in Romania and the Czech Republic before joining Rimavska Sobota on loan in July last year.
    ENDS

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

    Even more at EIN World News Report.

    Compare these with the Japanese-language reports below (my translation, then originals)

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

    Japanese Soccer Forward quits club due to severe discrimination

    Sankei Sports, January 31, 2013 (translation by Arudou Debito; corrections welcome)

    Forward Nakamura Yuuki (25), of Slovak football club MSK Rimavska Sobota, wrote on his own blog on January 30 that “I received racially discriminatory treatment and could no longer live there, so I came back to Japan”, making clear that he had quit his team.

    According to his blog, Nakamura had already returned to Japan by last September.  The target of racial discrimination from soccer fans, he also made clear that teammates would side with them.  “Before and after games, soccer fans would say my name with an angry demonic look in their eyes (oni no gyousou de), give me the finger… and none of my teammates would help me.  It also seemed like some of the players would have a hand in it too,” Nakamura wrote in detail.

    In addition, Nakamura reported that the club explained to him, “We cannot take responsibility if threats come to the team.”

    Nakamura began playing for a Rumanian club after graduating from Kokushikan University.  In 2012 he switched to the Viktoria Zizkov team in the Czech League, and in August he was on loan to MSK Rimavska Sobota.

    Regarding incidents of racial discrimination towards Japanese players, in August 2011, Japan Team Goalie Kawashima Eiji, then a member of club Lierse in the Belgian League, was jeered at fans during a game where they said “Kawashima, Fukushima!” in reference to the nuclear accident.  This led to Kawashima protesting to the head referee and interrupting the game.

    The soccer world is thick with (habikoru) problems of racial discrimination, FIFA president Sepp Blatter (76) has is considering deducting winning points from any team which engages in racial discrimination.

    TRANSLATION ENDS.  ORIGINAL FOLLOWS

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

    日本人FW、激しい人種差別を理由に退団
    産経スポーツ 2013.1.31
    http://www.sanspo.com/soccer/news/20130131/int13013119100002-n1.html, courtesy of HS

    サッカーのスロバキアリーグ、MSKリマフスカ・ソバタ所属の日本人FW中村祐輝(25)は30日、自身のブログで「人種差別的なことを受けて生活できなくなり帰国しました」と綴り、チームを退団したことを明かした。

    ブログによると、中村は9月にすでに帰国しており、サポーターから人種差別の標的にされ、中には彼らに加勢するチームメートがいたことも明かした。「試合前、後にはサポーターから鬼の形相で自分の名前だけ叫ばれて、中指を立てられ…チームメイトは誰も助けてくれない。そこに加担するかのような選手もいました」と克明に記している。

    さらに「チームに脅迫みたいなものが来てしまい責任を持てない」とクラブから説明があったことも語っている。

    中村は国士舘大学卒業後にルーマニアのクラブでプレー。12年にチェコリーグ、ビクトリア・ジジュコフに移籍し、同8月からリマフスカ・ソバタにレンタル移籍していた。

    日本選手に対する人種差別をめぐっては11年8月、当時ベルギーリーグ、リールス所属だった日本代表GK川島永嗣(29)=現スタンダール・リエージュ=が、ゲルミナル・ベールショット戦で敵サポーターから福島での原発事故を連想させる「カワシマ、フクシマ!」の野次を浴び、川島自ら主審に抗議して試合を一時中断させる騒動があった。

    サッカー界では人種差別問題がはびこっており、国際サッカー連盟のゼップ・ブラッター会長(76)は対策の一環として、差別行為があったチームの勝ち点を剥奪するなどの処分を検討している。
    ENDS

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

    Japanese soccer player in overseas league confesses that “racial discrimination” made him “unable to live there anymore”

    RBB Today/Livedoor Sports, February 1, 2013 (translation by Arudou Debito; corrections welcome)

    Forward Nakamura Yuuki (25), of second-tier Slovak football club MSK Rimavska Sobota, blogged that he had been subject to racially discriminatory treatment and could no longer carry on living there.

    On January 30, in a blog entry entitled “The truth is…”, he wrote “This time I wanted to return to Japan sooner than usual.  So by the end of September I was back,” reporting that he had already come home.  “It’s a shame, but because I received racial discrimination at MSK I couldn’t live there anymore and so came home,” clarifying why he came home earlier than usual.

    The treatment that Nakamura called “racial discrimination” was, as reported, “There were many things that made me think ‘Would such a thing happen in this day and age?’  Before and after games, soccer fans would say my name with an angry demonic look in their eyes (oni no gyousou de), give me the finger… and none of my teammates would help me.  It also seemed like some of the players would have a hand in it too.”  Nakamura also added that “things that looked like threats” also happened to the team.  But since the team wouldn’t take responsibility (for Nakamura’s safety), it looks like he made the decision to leave.

    On Nakamura’s blog in August before he repatriated, Nakamura reported about recent play and living conditions, “Honestly, I’m tired.  I’m the only gaijin [sic] on this team and there are lots of communication problems;” “Well, it doesn’t matter where you go in this world, there’ll always be problems, right?’  Problems and adverse conditions.  It’s times like those when you really have to think about how to think about them,” showing the difficulties he was having with playing for overseas teams.  On his most recent blog entry, when he revealed how severe the bashing he was getting overseas, he said, “I think few other sportsperson have had this kind of experience,” concluding his blog entry with a positive feeling.

    [Last paragraph of the article details his former Japanside career as a soccer player.]

    TRANSLATION ENDS.  ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOLLOWS

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

    海外リーグ所属の日本人サッカー選手、現地での“人種差別”を告白……「生活できなくなった」

    RBB TODAY 2013年01月30日13時23分
    http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/7363415/, courtesy of AS

    スロバキア2部リーグのMSKリマフスカ・ソバタに所属していた日本人サッカー選手の中村祐輝選手が、現地で人種差別を受けて生活できなくなったとして、帰国したことを自身のブログで明かしている。

    30日に「実は。。。」とのタイトルで更新した公式ブログで、「今回はいつもより早く日本に帰ってきていたんですよね。そう、9月のあたまには日本にいました」と、すでに帰国していたことを報告。「残念ながら、所属していたMSKリマフスカ・ソバタで人種差別的なことを受けて生活できなくなり帰国しました」と、通常よりも早い時期に帰国した理由を明かした。

    現地で受けたという“人種差別”について中村選手は、「この時代にそんなことするか?って思うことがたくさんありました。試合前、後にはサポーターから鬼の形相で自分の名前だけ叫ばれて、中指を立てられ。。。チームメイトは誰も助けてくれない。そこに加担するかのような選手もいました。。」と告白。さらに所属チーム宛てに「脅迫みたいなもの」が寄せられる事態になっていたという。チームも「(身の安全に)責任を持てないから」として、帰国するに至ったのだそうだ。

    中村選手は帰国前の昨年8月のブログでも、現地でのプレーや近況について報告するとともに、「正直かなり疲れました!外人は自分1人だけなんでコミニュケーションの問題とか色々と」「まあどの世界でもどこでも何かしらの問題はありますよね? 問題であったり逆境であったり。そんな時にどう思えるかって凄く大切だと思います」と、海外チームでプレーする苦労をつづっていた。今回のブログで、現地で猛烈なバッシングを受けていたことを明かしたが、「こんな経験をした選手もなかなかいないんじゃないでしょうか?」と、前向きな気持ちをつづってブログを結んでいる。

    中村選手は、清水エスパルスのジュニアユースから静岡県立藤枝東高等学校を経て、国士舘大学卒業後にルーマニア2部リーグのCFRクライオバに入団。2012年にはチェコ・ガンブリヌス・リーガのFKヴィクトリア・ジジュコフに移籍してプレーしていたが、同年7月にMSKリマフスカ・ソバタへレンタル移籍していた。

    ENDS

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

    As Submitter AS notes:  Reading through the article and the blog quoted in the article, I can’t find anything that clearly shows racial discrimination.  People giving him the finger?  With no context, that could mean anything from racial discrimination to thinking he’s a useless player.

    As Submitter HS notes: I find it very interesting how low the bar is for Japanese to scream “racism” overseas. Someone yells “Kawashima Fukushima” during a soccer game and Kawashima stops the game to protest?? And the Japanese media consider this taunt to be “racism”?? Surely the jeer is not appropriate but racism???

    Try looking for an apartment – a place to live! – and being told “No!” simply because you are not Japanese. THAT’S racism. But why do I get the feeling that the Japanese media would make excuses, justify, and attempt to convince me that this is not racism but just a big misunderstanding on MY PART?

    COMMENT FROM DEBITO: I just find it interesting the difference in treatment in the media and public argument.  Nakamura essentially has a nervous breakdown due to the taunts, and then both the Japanese and overseas media report it as racial discrimination, put it in a larger context, and don’t question Nakamura’s claims.  Yet when we get the same kind of jeering in Japan of NJ (Shimizu S-Pulse’s Coach Ghotbi being accused in 2011 by supporters in a banner of being connected to Iranian nuclear weapons; or official-level jeers:  Japan’s Ekiden running leagues justifying extra hurdles for NJ athletes by claiming that sports are only interesting for Japanese fans if Japanese win them; or claims by Japan’s rugby union not winning because they have “too many foreign players” (including naturalized Japanese); and how about Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s 2012 remarks about NJ judo Olympians being “beasts” spoiling “Japan’s sport”?), nobody calls it “racial discrimination” in the Japanese press (if the foreign press pay any attention to it at all).  Racial discrimination only seems to happen overseas.

    Where is FIFA or any other international sports league to decry racism when this sort of thing happens in Japan?  Buried in cultural relativism.  You can see that even more strongly in the comments to the Japan Today article cited above, which are overwhelmingly sympathetic to Nakamura.  I don’t doubt that Nakamura had readjustment problems and decided not to stay because he wasn’t comfortable overseas.  But imagine the reaction if a NJ player in the J-League were to quit, justifying it by saying “fans gave me an angry look” or “people gave me the finger”.  He’d be told by commenters to grow a pair, and would have bloggers both in English and Japanese questioning not only the veracity of his claims (dollars to donuts they would dismiss his claim of “racial discrimination” as cultural misunderstandings or insensitivity) but also his mental stability.

    That’s not happening in Nakamura’s case.  Now why?  Are we that programmed to holding Japan to a different standard?  Arudou Debito

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

    Nakamura’s blog, cited in the articles above:

    第1節?4節とカップ戦。

    http://ameblo.jp/yuki-nakamura64/entry-11326750228.html

    2012-08-12 18:27:20

    7月28日にスロバキアのリーグが開幕して、2週間でカップ戦含め5試合戦いました。

    結果は2勝1分2敗。。。

    良いとも悪いとも言えず。

    個人としては5試合ほぼフルで出ましたが、まだゴールがありません。

    上手くいかない時はこんなものなので、とにかくポジティブに準備していくしかないです!

    2部になると前泊なんてなかなかなくて、片道3時間バスに乗って試合してまた帰るというのが普通です。

    正直かなり疲れました!外人は自分1人だけなんでコミニュケーションの問題とか色々と。

    まあ試合に出れていることはいいことなんで、うれしい悩みでもあります。

    しっかり疲れをとって来週の土曜日に臨みたいです!

    それではまた!

    ENDS

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

    UPDATE FEB 2, 2013:

    Debito here. Let me make a clarification to my post, since some people (off list) aren’t getting it:

    Here’s what I am and am not saying:

    • I am NOT saying that Nakamura has no standing to have a complaint about the way he was felt he was treated.
    • I am NOT saying that Nakamura should have stayed on if he felt that way.
    • I am NOT saying that because racial discrimination (RD) also exists in Japan that Nakamura has no standing to claim RD in Europe.
    • I AM saying that the standards for what is called RD in Europe and in Japan seem to be different.
    • I AM saying that it is ironic that unequal treatment towards NJ sportspeople in Japan is not similarly decried as RD.
    • I AM saying that if international sports authorities are willing to acknowledge Nakamura’s treatment in European sports leagues as RD, those same international sports authorities (not to mention pundits and media commentators) should also have something similarly critical to say about the way NJ sportspeople are treated in Japan as well.

    Thus, the irony I am pointing out is not that Nakamura claimed RD. The irony is that Japan’s unequal treatment of people by race/nationality/national origin is not held to the same standard as Europe’s unequal treatment of people by race/nationality/national origin.

    For Nakamura, the threshold (based upon the standards of proof that he offered) was much lower than what people claim (and find their claims discounted for “cultural reasons”). Again, if any NJ quit his Japanese team due to getting the “stink eye” and “the finger” from the stands, nobody would take him or her at all seriously. It’s sweet that people (both European and Japanese) did in Nakamura’s case. But let’s universalize the thresholds and standards, shall we?

    Capisce? Debito

    49 Responses to “Sankei Sports etc: J soccer player Nakamura Yuuki quits Slovakian club, feels victimized by “racial discrimination”; my, how ironic!”

    1. Jim Di Griz Says:

      I’m not convinced that what he suffered was ‘racial discrimination’, rather than simply ‘offensive vulgar comments and gestures’, which most players would be expected to be a little more thick skinned about. Did anyone insult him for being Japanese? Asian? A foreigner, even? I can’t see that in the reports.

      It’s the double standard and victimization culture of Japan in play; he can’t even ‘imagine’ that this would happen in Japan, right? The bloody knob-head should try my average day.

      Not supported by team-mates, who even joined in the abuse? Really, why so sensitive?
      The club said there was nothing they could do? Must be the outside worlds ‘unique culture’ that he’s not understanding.
      There were even death threats sent to the club? Like when a cinema in Japan wanted to screen that ‘Yasukuni’ documentary?

    2. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Debito

      ‘Yet when we get the same kind of jeering in Japan of NJ (Shimizu S-Pulse’s Coach Ghotbi being accused in 2011 by supporters in a banner of being connected to Iranian nuclear weapons; or official-level jeers: Japan’s Ekiden running leagues justifying extra hurdles for NJ athletes by claiming that sports are only interesting for Japanese fans if Japanese win them; or claims by Japan’s rugby union not winning because they have “too many foreign players” (including naturalized Japanese); and how about Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s 2012 remarks about NJ judo Olympians being “beasts” spoiling “Japan’s sport”?), nobody calls it “racial discrimination” in the Japanese press (if the foreign press pay any attention to it at all). Racial discrimination only seems to happen overseas.’

      You forgot the limits on NJ in Sumo!
      http://www.blogofasia.com/japanese-sumo-wrestling-foreigners-need-not-compete.html

      – I didn’t, actually. I just didn’t include them because it’s not exactly an international sport where an international league sets standards. We’d get apologists arguing therefore that since it’s a sport sacred to Japan it can set its own standards. Anyhoo…

    3. Loverilakkuma Says:

      I don’t see a problem with Nakamura personally since he’s the one who became a target of nasty bullying from local fans. It’s unfortunate for him to have a harsh experience in a place where racial slurs and jeers are no stranger in succor match. Fans are not always friendly to international players, unfortunately.

      It’s hard to see this is a clear racial discrimination in a given context; much less to prove that Nakamura was targeted because he is Japanese. Well, I agree fans jeering him and showing antics are jackasses. But I suspect the credibility of report that states his teammates ignored and some of those even instigated the antics?) when he’s in trouble. Really? Then why was he able to play as a starter in all games when he was truly mistreated by the club, according to the media report!?

    4. Peter Says:

      Since I am living in Europe and experience the media and the press firsthand, I’d like to add in that there is a very real problem with racism in soccer. Throughout all major leagues in Europe; the more eastern you go, the bigger the problem gets. Most racism originates from soccer hooligans and associated “ultra” fan-groups.

      On the other hand though – and I’d say that is the biggest difference to Japan – this is a very soccer specific problem. A problem the mainstream press is very aware of; the incident with Prince Boateng made headlines in almost all major European newspapers. My point is: There is very strong and sometimes even violent racism and hostility against foreigners in several European countries. But that’s not necessarily the major consensus or mainstream in these countries – just look at election results from right-wing parties. This is very different from Japan where violent racism rarely occurs, but subtle discrimination and glass walls are prevalent almost everywhere in the society.

      I do not want to talk down racism in Europe though. There is a very real problem. Especially AS’s submitted comment is very borderline, imho. These events are clearly discriminating, if not openly racist. A “Now you finally know how it feels”-attitude doesn’t do anything good.

    5. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Peter #4

      Please show me what is ‘discriminatory’ or ‘openly racist’ in Nakamura’s case.

    6. dude Says:

      And Japanese right-wingers will use this as justification for increased discrimination against all NJ in Japan. How quaint.

      Maybe they interpreted his Japanese manners as being rude, aloof, etc? Maybe they thought he was acting like a snob? Or they just did not like him?

      “Kawashima, Fukushima” – To a non-Japanese speaker, this is probably easy to remember. It rhymes. Fukushima has been in the news a lot, and hearing Kawashima, I think it is a natural pairing (especially if these are the only two words you know in Japanese). It has the makings of a good chant. Both words are Japanese-sounding. Add alcohol (I assume soccer fans drink…), and this kind of works. BTW, Doesn’t he know that when you are in a foreign country, you represent your entire country??? Just ask Japanese people in China, or Chinese people in Japan, this is not a secret.

      Note:
      My friend Harry, when he lived in Japan, told people his name was “Harry”, which often drew the response “DIRTY HARRY” from Japanese people. Racism?
      My friend Kevin heard “KEVIN COSTNER” – racism?
      My friend Bill heard “BILL CLINTON” – racism?
      and so on.

      “middle finger” – There are lots of people who do this. If this is racism, then I too am a victim. Who is not?

      Japanese – is not a race. I doubt his teammates, opponents, or fans really gave a damn that he was Japanese. He probably acted different than everyone else…. what is it the apologists always say:
      1.”You see racism (in Japan) because you are looking for it” and
      2.”I have not experienced such racism, so it does not exist” and
      3. “Those foreigners who experience racism (in Japan) are the kind of people who want everything to be just like it is in their home country”
      so given this, he was looking for it, brought it on himself, and oh, yeah, it wasn’t racism. He just has a piss-poor attitude. He is emotionally weak, and was not prepared to grow up… he caved to minor pressure, and ran home. But his claims of racism will play well to the home crowd. This is the drum that gets beaten often before wars start. How long until one or more NJ are attacked in Japan in retaliation? Any white person will do…

      Meanwhile, you people on the front lines (NJ living in Japan) should brace yourselves for increased harassment from Japanese racists, who will want revenge for the racism done to their boy Yuuki…

    7. debito Says:

      Debito here. Let me make a clarification to my post, since some people (off list) aren’t getting it:

      Here’s what I am and am not saying:

        I am NOT saying that Nakamura has no standing to have a complaint about the way he was felt he was treated.
        I am NOT saying that Nakamura should have stayed on if he felt that way.
        I am NOT saying that because racial discrimination (RD) also exists in Japan that Nakamura has no standing to claim RD in Europe.
        I AM saying that the standards for what is called RD in Europe and in Japan seem to be different.
        I AM saying that it is ironic that unequal treatment towards NJ sportspeople in Japan is not similarly decried as RD.
        I AM saying that if international sports authorities are willing to acknowledge Nakamura’s treatment in European sports leagues as RD, those same international sports authorities (not to mention pundits and media commentators) should also have something similarly critical to say about the way NJ sportspeople are treated in Japan as well.

      Thus, the irony I am pointing out is not that Nakamura claimed RD. The irony is that Japan’s unequal treatment of people by race/nationality/national origin is not held to the same standard as Europe’s unequal treatment of people by race/nationality/national origin.

      For Nakamura, the threshold (based upon the standards of proof that he offered) was much lower than what people claim (and find their claims discounted for “cultural reasons”). Again, if any NJ quit his Japanese team due to getting the “stink eye” and “the finger” from the stands, nobody would take him or her at all seriously. It’s sweet that people (both European and Japanese) did in Nakamura’s case. But let’s universalize the thresholds and standards, shall we?

      Capisce? Debito

    8. Mikan Says:

      After reading the rather harsh and at times even defamatory comments to the Japan Today article, that were directed towards the whole country of Slovakia and its people, I think there is a need of a reality check.

      First of all, let’s set the record straight that Mr Nakamura did not leave the club on his own volition, but was rather relieved of his duties…..LAST SEPTEMBER, as evidenced by the official statement of Jozef Pisar the sporting director of MSK Rimavska Sobota. That’s September 2012. Since then Mr Nakamura has been operating his business from Hungary. So what’s the fuss about being a victim of racism and escaping to Japan…..in FEBRUARY 2013?

      As for the alleged racist discrimination, MSK’s manager Branislav Mraz says that the player never shared any concerns with him or any other members of the club. During Mr Nakamura’s short spell with the club there were constant contractual disagreements as the Japanese wanted a pay rise. Mr Nakamura’s poor performances on the field and insufficient language skills just added to the frustration.

      It is also important to point out that Mr Nakamura played only six games for the club before being fired in mid-September 2012. While this fact can never justify any alleged racial discrimination, if indeed any was present, let us remind ourselves that football legends such as Nicolas Anelka, Mario Balotelli and Rio Ferdinand to name but a few, have suffered years of vile racist abuse during their playing careers.

      Slovakia is a member of the European Union and as such, it has ratified all existing Union laws against racial discrimination, antisemitism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia. So if Mr Nakamura feels he was deprived of his rights, the courts are always at his disposal.

      Here is the link for the quotes that I give.
      http://www.cas.sk/clanok/242311/japonsky-futbalista-nakamura-nadavali-mu-lebo-hral-slabo.html (Slovak)

      Here is a video footage of a broadly smiling Mr Nakamura, while being applauded by MSK Rimavska Sobota’s fans.
      http://tivi.azet.sk/video/1538384/japonec-nakamura-sa-zbalil-a-z-rimavskej-soboty-odisiel.html

    9. Markus Says:

      If giving the finger and staring someone down like the devil is racism, then Michael Ballack could have sued me a couple of times over (hey, I’m not proud of what I did to him).
      If that’s all what Nakamura had to go through, then he simply doesn’t understand what pro “soccer” is like in Europe. I’ve seen full stands of people giving the finger and shouting mean things at players they hated. It’s more like “saying the most offensive thing you can think of”‘, which racist remarks are widely considered to be. I doubt most of the people who do this are actual racists who hedge a real hatred against people of a certain race.

      Like Debito said, the acceptance of racism in a society is what makes the difference. In England or Germany, when racist bullying happens, there will be a huge public reaction and statements from politicians against it. I think it would be a good idea to deduct points if one club’s supporters do it repeatedly.

      The racism in Japan is in a whole different, well, league. It is widely accepted, if people aren’t even completely oblivious to their racist ways. It’s not even an offensive thing for them. Then you have the whole area of institutionalized racism and absence of anti-discrimination laws in Japan, which is absent in Europe today.

    10. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Debito #7

      I was with you from the start on those points.
      It’s interesting that the subject of racism is so emotive that apologists will lay into you for this thread (without, evidently, having read what you wrote), whilst making excuses for much more serious transgressions by Japanese against NJ.
      Just proves the double standards of the apologists.

    11. Joe Says:

      @Jim

      Interesting that you use the phrase “double standard”. Given your track record of shock-horror reaction to any evidence of racism in this part of the world, I’d have thought you’d be equally up in arms over this issue. But the victim’s Japanese here, so suddenly you’re “not convinced”.
      This is a bloke who’s played in Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He’s been around, he knows the deal. Why are you “not convinced” by his story? Is he a liar, is he stupid, or is he, perhaps, a bit oriental?

      Why can’t people react as human beings to the mistreatment of other human beings? I’m as opposed to Ishihara’s racist bile, as I am to Hashimoto’s neo-imperialism as I am to Czech Nazis. They’re all wrong.

      I’m concerned that this site is being subtly taken over by racists. (Not you, Jim). There are people who come on here and abuse a site dedicated to anti-racism with blatantly anti-Japanese propaganda. A lot like folk I knew back in university who used the cover of anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian groups to promote their hatred of Jews.

      Racism is sick and horrible wherever it occurs. No point in trying to make exceptions.

      – No, just universal standards.

    12. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Joe #11

      I am against all forms of racism.

      In Nakamura’s case, he was given the finger, and ‘looked at angrily’. Hardly warrants running back to Japan (6 months after being dropped by your club?) to bang on his blog about being the victim of racism, does it?

      Again, if I am misreading the articles, and there is an example of racism towards Nakamura mentioned therein, please show me. I can’t see any!

    13. Mikan Says:

      Joe,
      don’t you think you might be getting away from the point talking about the Middle East and ‘neo-imperialism’? Mr Nakamura’s story is that he was paid a hefty salary for scoring goals and he didn’t score any. Not surprisingly his contract was discontinued. In fact as Mr Nakamura himself wrote on 17 august 2012, it’s just too easy to blame the coach and the other players. It’s much wiser to stay motivated and be passionate. I do think he is a nice young man and I hope he proves himself the next time. Is there any other part of the story that we all somehow missed?
      And by the way, there aren’t any ‘Czech Nazis’ in Slovakia.

    14. Bayfield Says:

      Joe said:
      “Why can’t people react as human beings to the mistreatment of other human beings? I’m as opposed to Ishihara’s racist bile, as I am to Hashimoto’s neo-imperialism as I am to Czech Nazis. They’re all wrong.”

      Joe, I think everyone should have a right to be treated as equals too. Nakamura, has the right to make his claims, and I won’t judge whether his points are valid or not. What I don’t like is how the Japanese media is using Nakamura’s case of unfair treatment by NJ to further promote xenophobia. In fact I think, Japan is further victimizing one of their own in this situation.
      I think Japan should also combat racism within themselves too, but as long as xenophobia remains the sole bread, butter and power source of the elites, fighting discrimination experienced by NJ would be the last thing Japan would do.

      Another problem with news like this is that the Japanese media don’t seem to mind putting anti-discrimination articles back-to-back with pro-discrimination articles.

      “I’m concerned that this site is being subtly taken over by racists. (Not you, Jim). There are people who come on here and abuse a site dedicated to anti-racism with blatantly anti-Japanese propaganda.”

      Sir, have you been to sites like Sankaku Complex? or even DeviantArt? I’m concerned that on that other side over there, Japan is turning gullible NJ into ultra-nationalist apologists. As Japan becomes more radical, so to becomes the apologists, and when they return home to their respective countries, they start to support and vote ultra-right parties. Apologists will never admit they are ultra-right/racist, simply with the excuse that they have a Japanese friend.

      “A lot like folk I knew back in university who used the cover of anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian groups to promote their hatred of Jews.”

      Joe, I am also bothered by something like this as much as you, where people hide and spread xenophobia under the guise of something else, particularly with how far right parties in Europe are doing right now, changing their scripts to sound more subtle and less extreme sounding to get support from moderate even if their end agendas remain the same. However, two wrongs don’t make a right and Japan should not use any ills experienced by Nakamura as an excuse to “get-back” at NJ and one-up their xenophobia.

      There is also a similar situation amongst many Japanese as well as apologists. Under the guise of anti-communism and anti-terrorism, many apologists use this to support their ultra-right views and are completely oblivious to their blatant racial attacks against Chinese, Koreans, and as well as people of middle eastern decent.

      I’ve been told by apologists and right leaning Japanese alike that if I really liked Japan then I should not make friends with Chinese or Koreans as well as taking the extra step of hating them. Also, with the way politics are going Japan, Abe or maybe Ishihara/Hashimoto(assuming they get elected for whatever reason) will probably make this law, according to Abe’s definition of “liking Japan”.

      I do love Japan for everything else it has to offer though (art, technology, parks, ancient buildings, games, onsen etc etc.). But I want to be able to enjoy Japanese life without the element of hate. I refuse to become another Gregory Clark just to fit in to become the NJ that the Japanese want. Why should enjoyment of Japan must include hating NJ? (particularly, Koreans and Chinese, whom the Japanese don’t even bother hiding their hate anymore).

      It seems anyone who doesn’t fit the Gregory Clark model is immediately labeled as anti-Japan nowadays, far more so with recent political events. The logic of Japanese and apologists is that if you don’t hate Chinese and Koreans, then therefore you must hate Japan and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING else matters to them if hate is absent in you. May I at least ask why?

    15. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      Especially AS’s submitted comment is very borderline, imho.

      Borderline?
      I’m not denying that Nakamura may have been subject to racist taunts or remarks, but when his only evidence is being stared at and given the finger, well, I could use the same standards to claim racism from my siblings! If he wants to claim that he was the victim of racism, he’d better come up with some harder evidence.

      My gripe is that the J-media went and played the race card straight off the bat on this one. Let’s hope that they will cover any NJ’s claims of racism with the same level of sympathy.

    16. Markus Says:

      After seeing the above linked sources, I think it would be very important for Nakamura to either give proof and further details or his claim of personally suffered racism, or retract that statement.
      If he doesn’t this surely looks like he is using racism as a way to weasel out of a situation that has him looking bad. Maybe he simply is ashamed to admit that he didn’t make it in Europe. It would be understandable at the completely exaggerated level of scrutiny the Japanese media applies to Japanese players abroad if he thinks that coming back “empty handed” would make him a loser in the public perception. Making up a scape goat like “I was subjected to racism” would fit in very well with the “the world outside Japan is grim and dangerous” narrative.
      I surely hope the media will do their job and get to the bottom of this, i.e. find out what exactly he had to suffer through that is different from the non-racist abuse all pro “soccer” players have to endure. The J-media was mute as usual about the definitely racist chants Mike Havenaar saw himself subjected to in Kashiwa and Tochigi (“kuso hakujin”) (http://www.sponichi.co.jp/soccer/news/2011/05/09/kiji/K20110509000785060.html). By the way, has anyone heard about the announced “severe punishment” for those clubs?

    17. debito Says:

      More allegations of racial discrimination perpetrated upon Japanese athletes overseas:

      Isn’t this also another key to surviving the American Major Leagues? Uehara Kouji’s surprising confessions
      Livedoor Sports, Feb 3, 2013 (translated by Arudou Debito; last two paragraphs’ translation welcome)

      According to TBS’s Feb 2 broadcast of “Secrets of those types of jobs”, baseball player Uehara Kouji, currently of the Boston Red Sox, was on. As the program has the concept of depicting secrets within many job fields, Uehara was on describing his singular recipes for success in the American Majors.

      Regarding his secret for thriving in the Majors as a Japanese player, Uehara has sworn off ever studying English. “Me, I’m a coward (shoushinmono), so I don’t want to understand the jeers. If iI did, I’d get put off my game.”

      He also said, “I’m in the bullpen where fans can see me. They jeer. Some of them are studying Japanese, so they say [in katakana] ‘UE-HARA-SAN UE-HARA-SAN’. And they say ‘drop dead’ (shine). That’s rough. And it was worse at the Koushien [in Japan].”

      “People have many tried times tried to pick fights with me,” said Uehara. More concretely: “They know about a lot of private stuff about me. I’m currently a bit of an itinerant (roujin), but they say ‘[benkyou oshietaro ka]’ and ‘what the hell are you [dabutten nen’? [etc. I’m too tired tonight to translate slang or the last paragraph; suggestions welcome– ED.]

      これもメジャーで生き抜く秘訣? 上原浩治が驚くべき告白
      Livedoor Sports, Feb 3, 2013
      http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/7375306/, courtesy of AS

      2日放送、TBS「ジョブチューン ~アノ職業のヒミツぶっちゃけます!」では、ボストン・レッドソックス所属となったメジャーリーガー=上原浩治が出演。様々な職業の秘密を明かすというコンセプトの同番組において、独自のメジャー成功論を語った。

      日本人選手がメジャーリーグで活躍する秘訣について、「英語を勉強しないことです」と言い放った上原。その理由を「僕、小心者なんで、グラウンドでの野次が分かってしまうと嫌なので。知ってしまうと、マウンドでビクビクしてしまう自分が・・・」語る。

      また、「ブルペンってファンから見えるところにいるんですよ。(野次は)言われます。日本語を勉強している人も中にはいるので、“ウエハラサン、ウエハラサン”って言われて見るじゃないですか。“死ね”って。これはキツイですよ」と明かした上原だったが、野次に関しては「甲子園はもっとすごかった」とも。

      「ケンカしかけたことも何回もありますからね」という上原。具体的には「すごいプライベートを知ってるんですよ。僕は浪人してますけど、“勉強教えたろか”とか“なにダブってんねん”って言われて。“僕はダブったんちゃう”って言いますけど」というエピソードを語った。

      すると、番組MCのネプチューン・名倉潤が「(メジャーでも)キャッチャーがマウンド来る場面あるじゃないですか。上原さん見てたら、よく(キャッチャーと会話しながら)頷いてるのを見るんですよ」と質問。上原は「(キャッチャーの言ってることは)右から左です。はよ戻ってくれって。ほとんど分かってないです」と、驚くべき告白をした。
      ENDS

    18. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Debito #17

      Seems like Nakamura’s little gripe about being the subject of ‘dirty looks’ and ‘the finger’ being elevated by the media to the status of ‘racism’ has opened the flood doors for other Japanese sportsmen to complain about how racist sport is in the west.
      I think that given that Nakamura left his club 6 months before the story broke, and Uehara has only just decided to share this now, makes me wonder if we aren’t seeing ‘Japan Inc.’ working in response to the recent rape and bullying scandals in judo.
      The timing is odd. And we know how J-logic loves to divert attention from domestic problems by saying something along the lines of ‘look how bad it is in *insert country*’.
      Will the J-media tire of (=forget) the crimes in the judo world and pick up more stories of ‘victim Japanese’ in the world of overseas sports?

    19. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Peter #4 & Joe #11

      I’m still waiting for you to let me know how ‘the finger’ and ‘evil stares’ qualifies as ‘racism’, rather than a regular insult.

    20. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Debito, let me take a stab at those last few paragraphs. In order to understand them, you have to know that Uehara failed his entrance exam to college and spent a year as a rōnin. I assume that that’s what the word refers to, and not the fact that he’s one of those players — called ‘journeymen’ in baseball lore — often in their late thirties, who get signed easily because teams know they can contribute for a pennant race but don’t want to give them long contracts, and thus wander from team to team. The Japanese word 浪人 would make sense for such players, though I’ve never heard it used that way.

      Anyway:

      “The bullpens [in the major league ballparks] are where fans can see them. So I can hear [the jeers]. Some of the fans are studying Japanese, so when I hear, ‘Uehara-san, Uehara-san!’ I turn around. And then they tell me to ‘drop dead!’ That kind of thing is pretty rough.” He adds, however, that “Koshien was even worse.”

      “Sometimes I’ve tried fighting back with them,” he adds. “They know all kinds of private things about me. I was a rōnin [after failing my college entrance exam the first time], and fans will say, ‘Need some tutoring?’ and ‘What, did you get left back?’ I have to tell them that I wasn’t exactly ‘left back’.”

      Jun Nagura, television host and member of the comedy group Neptune, once asked Uehara, “You know how the catcher comes out to the mound? I often see you nodding (when he’s talking to you).” Uehara answered: “(What he’s saying to me) goes in one ear and out the other. I’m just thinking, ‘I can’t understand a word you’re saying. Just hurry up and get back [behind the plate].”
      ENDS

      – Thanks very much. This is where my relative disinterest in sports puts me at a translation disadvantage! (Especially after a weekend’s intensive course; very tired.)

      Submitter AS also adds:
      Incidentally, Livedoor had the link to the article as
      上原浩治に米ファンが「死ね」[American fans tell Uehara Kouji to “die”]
      I consider this a bit rich, especially since Uehara claims that Koshien was even tougher.

    21. dude Says:

      #15 Andrew: You know the J media will not cover anti-NJ issues. Mostly, they don’t know, and they don’t care. Even when they know, they won’t publish. It is not important to them.

      Most Japanese people have a serious chip on their shoulder.
      But they are also rather open in sharing their world view, if only we are willing to see:
      Ekiden, limiting the number of NJ who can participate, because Japanese fans will not watch if NJ win each year… (unlike in other countries), it is not about watching the most talented athletes compete. It is about watching the most talented JAPANESE athletes compete (with a few NJ thrown in).
      Japanese baseball, limiting the # of NJ players per team… (ditto above)
      I could go on…

      Japanese people prefer their culture, their language, and their privileges be enjoyed by themselves only.
      In modern Japan, there is no attempt at inclusion.
      NJ cannot live where ever they want – only where they are allowed.
      “Japanese only” ? Not illegal.
      Annual contracts for NJ employees, long-term for J.
      Good manners for J, no manners for NJ? No problem. Young J calling much older NJ by their first name, with no honorific? NO PROBLEM. Just don’t do it to J – THAT would be rude.

      As I have said before, the playing field is not level. And most Japanese people are OK with this. And most of you long-timers know this, even if you don’t want to admit it.

      Japan is not fair.
      Japan does not claim to be fair.
      It is not the land of opportunity, or equality.
      It does not market itself as a welcoming, multi-racial melting pot. It wants to be “Japanese” – whatever that is.
      It protects its domestic markets, while exploiting overseas markets.
      It does not believe it has to give in order to get – it can take, and not reciprocate, and there will be little or no consequences.
      When NJ beat J in judo – it is because they are “beasts” – is that a “fair” analysis of one athlete’s skill over another? Or is it a biased way of avoidance?
      Japanese (language) has held onto an incredibly inefficient writing system – that continues to separate foreign words from Japanese words. How fair is this? Why even invent an entirely separate alphabet, if both hiragana and katakana are “equal”? Japanese redefines “separate and unequal”.

      The message (I think) is quite clear: Japan is for Japanese people. The world is for everyone else.

      Japanese people, being more refined than NJ (they say), are more offended when they receive less than ideal treatment overseas. That is, I believe, the reason why discrimination by NJ is big news. They feel. We think we don’t.

      Double standard? of course. But its not just in the media.

    22. DK Says:

      One more “shoe-on-the-other-foot” case study?

      “Bagel Head Trend: Japanese Claim Western Media ‘Distorts’ and ‘Glorifies’ a Nonexistent Fashion Fad”

      http://www.mstarz.com/articles/5300/20120929/bagel-head-trend-japanese-claim-western-media-distorts-and-glorifies-a-nonexistent-fashion-fad.htm

    23. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      DK,
      Sometimes I wonder if those reports about how popular Japanese ( insert here ) is overseas fall into the same category.

    24. john k Says:

      Dude #21

      I would say that sums up everything rather nicely.

      The only part not ‘technically’ correct, nit picking, is the “foreign words” part. Since I assume, correct me if I am not, you’re referring to Katakana?

      (Slight digression)
      Katakana was developed during the Heian period circa 1000 years ago. Apparently coming from “short hand” scribbles by students unfamiliar with certain words during lectures/teachings on Buddhism, which was a phonetic short hand as such. They were each developed from a Chinese character which corresponded to a particular syllable, but also, interestingly they only took a single part of a kanji.

      So “technically” not used for feign words, just words the students didn’t understand at that time of their learning.

      But what is interesting is why they (Japanese) selected Katakana to write foreign words/names and not Hiragana…or a mixture, why “isolate” the word into one writing system?…or were their elements of racism in the Japanese psyche from the beginning?…a Darwinian mechanism at play, to survive?

      – I doubt it. Look at old legal script. Katakana and kanji are used instead of hiragana and kanji. Not a loanword script.

    25. Markus Says:

      @Dude (#21) Your summary is correct. It’s good to be reminded sometimes about the basic parameters of how this country works. The country you describe seems to suffer from a severe case of extremely fragile collective self-esteem. Anything that might disturb the ideal of “Japan is superior to all other countries” will be ignored, or if that isn’t possible, eliminated from the country. And whenever that fails, and there is absolutely no way the Japanese can avoid admitting defeat (in war, sports, culture, etc.), then it is sour grapes for the years and decades to come.
      Such behaviour might be the reason why the Japanese are often described as “childish”.

      Relating to NJ, the big question for me is, why is it that Japan still has this positive image of a perfectly democratic, quasi-Western country, at least outside of Asia? Why are we deluding ourselves since WWII, even on the academic level? I’m with Eric C. when he says we should simply get out and let Japan close up again. What is a much more worthwhile goal is to demand a correction of the Western view on Japan, one that is based on facts more than goodwill.

    26. Baudrillard Says:

      @ Jim, In Nakamura’s case, he was given the finger, and ‘looked at angrily’. Hardly warrants running back to Japan (6 months after being dropped by your club?) to bang on his blog about being the victim of racism, does it?

      I think it does, considering “being a foreigner” can cause “fuan” and justify reporting an NJ on a snitch site.

      or where “domestic violence” can be defined as raising your voice during a disagreement.

      Ultra sensitive chip on their shoulder, as Dude says above. And Dude also listed some good examples as to why there are in fact systems or laws to “protect” (separate) Japanese from NJs, and certainly not the other way around.

    27. c_mac Says:

      #9 Markus:

      “It is widely accepted, if people aren’t even completely oblivious to their racist ways. It’s not even an offensive thing for them.”

      Exactly. It is simply not controversial in Japan to apply one set of rules to the “Japanese” and another to those who are deemed “foreigners”. In the mono-cultural echo chamber that is Japan the lack of basic human equality does not register and the Japanese themselves have a hard time even recognising this. As such their idea of “racism” is skewed as are ideas about the world outside Japan and the people who inhabit it.

      In my opinion the telling fact is not that he was treated unfairly or with disrespect (which he definitely was) but rather that he automatically linked these actions to discrimination based on his race. He clearly has a limited understanding on what real racism is, which I feel is common in Japan (where ironically enough xenophobia is systemic). Once I was having a class discussion about having to carry a gaijin card with me at all times and my being stopped and questioned by police (as has happened in Japan around a dozen times) all for “my safety” as they put it. One student said he also experienced this kind of “racism” when he was asked to show his ID when entering pubs in Australia. When I pointed out that all people entering pubs are routinely asked for ID to confirm their age he was adamant that it was because he was Japanese and that Australia was a racist country.

    28. Joe Says:

      @Jim

      Obviously I wasn’t there so I’ve got no direct evidence regarding what happened. Call me gullible if you like, but it never occurred to me that Nakamura wouldn’t be telling the truth. He’s played abroad in three different countries and if he felt he was being abused for racial reasons then I’d tend to believe he’s right.
      Other than that, there’s the pretty horrible reputation of the whole of Eastern Europe regarding racism in football, with one Russian club’s set of fans recently circulating a petition demanding that the team exclude all players who aren’t “racially-pure” Russians.

      @Mikan

      You’re dead right about the Czech/Slovak mix-up, my bad. Serves me right; I used to tease a Czech colleague at work by calling him “the Slovak guy”.It came back to bite me.

      @Bayfield

      I’m interested that you associate apologists with right-wing views. I’d never thought of it like that, but you’re probably right. I was brought up in a family which not only read the “Guardian”, lefty liberal rag hated by unthinking Tories, but also the “Socialist Worker” and the “Soviet Weekly”.
      I’m no right-winger, but I honestly don’t recognise the pressure you feel to “hate” Korea and China. Who is telling you to hate them? Your neighbours, your friends, family, random strangers? I go through the list in my head and I literally can’t imagine anyone trying to convince me to hate anyone like that. I have heard bad stuff about the regime in North Korea, but that’s both justified and is targeted at the government, not the people.
      And I don’t think it’s a good idea to go comparing this site with some of the nastier racist Japanese sites out there. Surely we’re better than that.

    29. DK Says:

      AS,

      The topic itself (the bagelhead fad) is idiotic and insignificant, but what struck me in the report was the final note, by a Japanese media talking head:

      A pal of La Carmina was hoping the National Geographic study on the bagel head trend would help lead Westerners to a greater understanding of underground, Japanese cultures. But it seems like “understanding” just means glorification and amusement – “If you say something on the Internet about Japan,” he points out, “people tend to believe it.”

      As if the opposite weren’t true – and probably on a much larger, pervasive scale.

      The usual self-victimising whiners.

    30. Jim di Griz Says:

      @ Joe #28

      Please tell me if being given ‘angry stares’ and ‘the finger’ is racism, in your opinion.
      Yes/no answer will suffice.

      I see nothing racist in Nakamura’s allegation.
      It’s that simple, and there’s no need to widen this to your opinion of eastern European soccer.
      I just want to focus on the specifics of the allegation that Nakamura made.

    31. Bayfield Says:

      “Who is telling you to hate them? Your neighbours, your friends, family, random strangers?”

      A few co-workers, and some classmates. The rest are from the internet. Its frustrating when looking for anime, manga, food-recipies, etc. that you run into apologists and ultra-nationalists 1/3 of the time. I do feel that unlike any other hobbies/clubs, there is something about Japan that attracts more than its fair share of extremists as opposed to other hobbies.

      You would probably know them better as “Japanophiles” where some would even go as far as posting youtube videos claiming themselves to be somehow a reincarnated Japanese. I do love Japan, but I would never go as far as to make a youtube video to declare myself Japanese like some apologists would.

      “And I don’t think it’s a good idea to go comparing this site with some of the nastier racist Japanese sites out there. Surely we’re better than that.”

      Apologist attitude does seem pretty uniform everywhere though. JapanToday used to have a forums section, it got pretty bad there in 2005 with apologists, ultra-nationalists, spam and random trolls taking it over.

      “I have heard bad stuff about the regime in North Korea, but that’s both justified and is targeted at the government, not the people.”

      Some discussions, but not all are like this. I think that Sinophobia will be the new norm once people start getting bored with Islamophobia.
      An open minded person will distinguish extremists from moderates, and government from the average citizen. But for a lot of people, it is too overwhelming for them to think this way and is easier to paint an entire nation and race as evil.

      You can go to any news site and look at its commments under news that talk about China or Korea. Most of the comments tend to group race-politics-government-people all into one category. Along with a whole slew of snide comments and juvenile, racially charged “jokes” about non-japanese asians the apologists think are funny.

    32. DeBourca Says:

      @Joe:

      Well, I HAVE been enouraged to “hate” Chinese and Koreans by being expected to listen while Japanese people of all ages have spouted their racist,ignorant views about said nations. And if you bring up the fact that these countries might just have a point being disgruntled over Japan’s atrocities committed leading up to and during WW2, it gets very ugly.Also, please explain NHK’s decision to not have any korean performers at the last kohaku. To be honest Joe, I think you should stop anwering criticism by merely posting “well, it’s grand for me, so I think others are being excessively sensitive/racist etc.”It doesn’t lead to fruitful discussion. why don’t you back up your assertions with relevant links and stats?

    33. Baudrillard Says:

      @ C-Mac, thanks for redefining the framework and focus of our argument to recognize there is indeed on set of rules for Japanese and another for foreigners, both widely accepted rules or even anti foreigner laws. As I said before, there is not just a lack of protection for foreigners, there are actually laws actually against foreigners fully participating in society.

      -“One student said he also experienced this kind of “racism” when he was asked to show his ID when entering pubs in Australia. When I pointed out that all people entering pubs are routinely asked for ID to confirm their age he was adamant that it was because he was Japanese and that Australia was a racist country.””

      Well at least he accepted that ID cards (and thus the NJ cards) are a form of racism by extension…

    34. Markus Says:

      @DK (#29) True. Apart from some die-hard conspiracy theorists who will accept any private web page full of blinking animations and hyperbole as a credible source, I am not sure if the majority of NJ take stuff they find on the internet as fact.
      This sounds quite a bit like projection on part of the Japanese guy. After all, it’s his brethren who make statements like “it is written, so it must be true,” which in the internet age is a very dangerous way to acquire facts. That is, if they are even interested in facts. Oh well.

      I am not saying that in the Western media there is an exaggerated attention to cultural aspects of modern Japan that are “strange” or “quirky”, because I tend to think there is. Western journalists often do not seem to have a good concept of orientalism. But that’s not the real issue here. The problem is the deliberate vagueness and byzantine way in which Japanese society, including politics and media, works. If Japan wants to keep up this vagueness, it will have to live with the consequences. Because if Japan is not willing to accept global standards of accountability and transparency, then people, like the Western media, is free to interpret and control the message. It is a form of Gaiatsu. Japan is of course free, and invited to, stop the charades and communicate openly. If it prefers not to, then there is no reason to complain at all.

    35. Loverilakkuma Says:

      @DeBourca, #32

      >Well, I HAVE been enouraged to “hate” Chinese and Koreans by being expected to listen while Japanese people of all ages have spouted their racist,ignorant views about said nations.

      Many Japanese don’t learn about their neighbors– much less people living in a country next to Japan– until they have a history class at the middle school. A growing problem is that conventional teaching in Japanese classroom does not provide opportunities to the students to think deeply about the ethnic/cultural conflict throughout history lesson. Instead they only force students to accept phony national narrative as fact and cram them as junk knowledge for high school & college entrance exams. Of course, teachers should not mislead students into warp sense of Japanese patriotism or radical anti-Chinese/Korean sentiment–just like some radical schools in Korea and China are practicing anti-Japanese sentiment– to their masochistic satisfaction. I am more concerned with government’s assault on public education in general—especially the sticky spider webs Abe and Shimomura (a chief cabinet minister to MEXT) spread to the cliques of Oyagaku (Parent Education). I find it very disturbing when I learned the story about Oyagaku from the link in the article. Especially my eyes dropped on Shiro Takahashi’s argument that developmental disorder is fixable through a rigorous discipline of parenting based on neo-conservative ideology (i.e., pre-war). What??? It’s tantamount to say that there’s no such thing like autism/Asperger and parents are fault for children suffering from learning difficulty. Sounds like Michael Savage– to me. That’s what I find most offensive about Oyagaku—and Takahashi is an academic quack who promotes such a junk science regardless of his little expertise in clinical psychology. If I were a parent, I would never send my kids to Japanese school for the sake of their education. That’s just so awful.

    36. dude Says:

      #24 John K: Many things change over time. Once upon a time, single-use, disposable chopsticks were a new thing. Now they are a Japanese tradition. I was speaking to the way katakana is currently used to separate, not to unite.

      Ex: When a manga shows a Caucasian (or any ‘foreigner”) speaking, and all their words are written in katakana, a deeper meaning is being conveyed. The writer is not allowing the subject to speak the same as other (Japanese) characters. This has been called by many names, but it functions as a way to remind younger (and older) Japanese people that “they” are different. The majority race just won’t let minorities blend in/assimilate – they require differences to be highlighted. What purpose does this serve?

      #25 Markus: “…the big question for me is, why is it that Japan still has this positive image of a perfectly democratic, quasi-Western country, at least outside of Asia?”

      In my opinion:
      1. Japanese racism, mostly, is a softer, less in-your-face kind of racism. It is (usually) not physical, so it is not as obvious to people who don’t live in Japan for a long time.
      2. Japanese people have a habit of treating guests nicely. If a tourist hears stories of racism in Japan, then visits Japan as a tourist, they are usually oblivious to the underlying racism – they visited Japan, and the locals were great! So to them, racism in Japan does not exist.
      3. Dark skinned Asians feel the brunt of Japanese racism.
      4. Japanese racism is evidenced by policies that clearly favor J over NJ – but they are packaged in a way to soften the blow. Westerners who want to see only what is presented are pacified. People who look deeper see the truth.

      At the core of racism in Japan is the underlying framework, which allows it to continue unimpeded.

      Ex. 1: I witnessed a Japanese client (building a house in Hawaii) who would never say what he wanted. The Japanese person seeing to this client’s needs was continually trying to figure out what the client wanted – but he just kept getting it wrong. In the end, the client got a hefty discount, the employee was “not up to the task”, and the job was finished.
      Analysis: Since lower ranks are supposed to serve higher ranks in Japan, and J-schools train students to ‘gaman’ quietly, employees will endeavor until the boss is happy, so to speak. Adapting this methodology to accommodate racism is EASY. If an NJ tries, and fails, is it racism, or just the impossibly high standard required by Japanese customers? This doubt works in their favor.

      Ex. 2: Have you ever seriously listened to some Japanese conversations?
      a. She got the job because she is young and beautiful.
      b. He will be department head because he went to Todai.
      c. Her eyes are small, so I don’t like her.

      Note: A Japanese woman once asked me why unattractive white women could walk with such confidence – don’t they know that they are ugly? I asked how an ugly woman should walk. “Not confident”, was the answer. How do you argue with this kind of logic?

      Given that there is so much discrimination in Japan already, racial discrimination is just a small part of the larger problem.
      Note: When Prince Naruhito went looking for a wife in the late 80’s, it was very important, and well-known that his bride NOT be a member of any sub-group (like Ainu, Korean, Burakumin (Dowa), etc.). He searched for, and found, a ‘pure’ Japanese.
      Japan is largely a superficial, vacuous place. It is ok to discriminate against certain people, but not against others. It is run top-down, by people who base decisions on how you look, and what school you attended – NOT your merits or skills.

      It has taken decades for the word to get out, but people around the world are beginning to see Japan for what it really is – elitist, egotistical, discriminatory and racist.

      To bring this discussion back to the topic, Yuuki Nakamura, and the ‘mean looks’ – to him, probably never having been treated this way, it may have seemed like racial discrimination.
      He knows that he was treated ‘unfairly’. What did he expect?
      He knows that there were ‘communication difficulties’. Whose fault would that be?
      He knows that he was not treated this way in Japan. Because he is part of the privileged class?
      He is not a Burakumin, Ainu, Korean, Chinese, or member of any other group that would make it ok to treat him this way. So why are they doing this to him, a JAPANESE? Well, the answer can only be racism.

      Questions:
      Are there ANY Japanese programs (dramas) that include a non-ethnic Japanese person in any normal role (speaking normal Japanese)? Not a comedy or talk show.
      Are there ANY NJ in leadership positions in Japanese companies?
      Are there ANY NJ or mixed-race Japanese who have assimilated to the point of being accepted into the Japanese military? Navy? Police? Local government office?
      Are there ANY NJ or mixed-race Japanese who are in charge of Japanese men (not in a foreign company)?

      End.

    37. Flyjin Says:

      “Who is telling you to hate them? Your neighbours, your friends, family, random strangers?”

      An ex student “China is a saiyaku no kuni, you had better not having anything to do with them”

      My ex wife (after I said I was interested in studying Chinese in Taiwan for a month):”I dont like them. Why the hell do you want to do that?”

    38. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ All re; being told to hate Chinese or/and Koreans,

      Something interesting happened to me today at work.

      I had a 2nd year uni student (male, Japanese) who told me the in the 3rd class of the semester ending now, when asked what his likes and dislikes are, ‘I hate Chinese. They are my enemy’, in English. Since there were fee paying Chinese students in that class (a national university, so no tuition fees for the Japanese students), I told him in Japanese that it was an inappropriate comment, and he should apologize if he didn’t want to leave. He stood up and walked out. I never saw him again, and failed him last week when I was doing my paperwork, only to be told today by my department head that I would give him a pass.

      Never mind the fact that Chinese students will likely tell their universities back home that Chinese students should take their money elsewhere, and give this university (if not Japan) wide berth, what really riles me is that as a national university, the official stance is that in failing him, I may be breaching his right to freedom of expression.

      My uni needs the overseas student’s fees, the place is a crumbling shadow of the greatness of it’s reputation. What attitude is this endorsing in the student body?

      I told my boss to give the kid any grade he pleases, it won’t improve his English. Thank god I’m finished in a couple of weeks. Sayonara stupid.

    39. Loverilakkuma Says:

      @Jim Di Griz, #38

      That’s exactly what happens in Japanese universities as usual. It is a perfect example of simulated schooling appeared in Brian McVeigh’s “Japanese Higher Education as myth”(2002). Japanese universities have pretty bad reputations for grade inflaming because they tend to go too easy on students by treating them like a pampered child. Missing class more than 6 times? In Japan: no deduction on attendance. In the west, students will receive some penalties—depending on the type of classes—for missing more than 3 classes. In public speaking class at my university, students will fail if they miss classes 7 times—including excused and unexcused absence. Missing citations and plagiarism on final paper/project grades? In Japan, few or no penalties whatsoever. In the West, students will receive severe penalties on the former. On the latter, they will receive zero and likely fail the class. (I know some scholars are pretty good at detecting academic dishonesty by petulant students. One of them does that pretty good by using Google—hook, line, sinker! Gotcha.)

      If I were you, I would do exactly the same thing toward one of your students. I would warn him like, “Well, you have a problem with China, that’s your thinking. But that doesn’t give you any justification for badmouthing Chinese people in general–including students in my class. It’s inappropriate and way off the mark. You should knock it off right away; or otherwise, you will have serious consequence for your conduct. If you’re not cool with that, then, I suggest you drop the class soon.”

      This is the reason why I don’t trust academic integrity and credibility of students at Japanese higher education. Many departments order faculties to change the grade to give petulant students free pass. Whether they do so in the case of having NJ faculties or specific departments (i.e., humanities, social science) is anybody’s guess.

    40. Mark Hunter Says:

      Hi Debito. This article on racism directed toward Asians at a Duke University party and the appropriate response to it caught my eye. May be of use to us on this site (?)

      http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/duke-racist-rager-141248540.html

      Cheers

    41. Flyjin Says:

      @ Jim, Thank god I’m finished in a couple of weeks. Sayonara stupid.

      Are you leaving Japan? would you suggest I apply for your old job? I want to get into university teaching and I will give them a run for their money.

      Personally, I would have just marked “I hate Chinese” as incorrect.

    42. Becky Says:

      @Joe#28
      “I’m no right-winger, but I honestly don’t recognise the pressure you feel to “hate” Korea and China. Who is telling you to hate them? Your neighbours, your friends, family, random strangers? I go through the list in my head and I literally can’t imagine anyone trying to convince me to hate anyone like that.”

      Are you kidding, and do you really live in Japan? Anti-Chinese sentiment is so very pervasive, amongst all classes and age groups, that I literally cannot go through a single working day without being an unwilling facilitator for an anti-China diatribe or two. Typcically, most of the moaners are people who have never visited China proper, or attempted to become friends with any people from China. They just believe what they read in the news. It’s extremely extreme. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. I can’t even make an innocuous comment about the weather without setting off an abusive rant about air pollution or human rights.

      It’s gotten to the stage that I’ve started to think about leaving Japan not because of the ineffectual government, the annoyingly immature people, or the ever-dwindling work opportunities … it’s because I’m just so sick of every conversation turning into an anti-China rant (and I don’t even like or have any interest in China, and am not planning to go there anytime soon!).

      Please tell me I’m not alone. I can’t be the only person here who has noticed that Japan is suffering from a big, huge China complex.

      They are scared, they are really scared.

      On the plus side, it’s taken the heat off South Korea to some extent. I hear far less Korea-bashing than in the past.

    43. Jim di Griz Says:

      @ Flyjin #41

      You’re welcome to the job! Good luck! However, you may be too late. My university decided it didn’t need to replace me with another Phd. doing English teaching and research, but rather (and in the tradition of Japanese higher education establishments) has decided to save money and lower quality by outsourcing to an infamous dispatch company.

    44. john k Says:

      Becky#42

      “…I can’t be the only person here who has noticed that Japan is suffering from a big, huge China complex…”

      I sympathise…

      Trouble is I have experienced this is many countries I have either stayed long term, owing to work, or lived in for several years, often owing to work too.

      When I was in Oz….endless pom bashing. At first I thought it was a joke for the newbie…but nope…year after year the same tired old bollocks because they still chips on their shoulders…

      In the US i witnessed endless rhetoric about extremism of Muslims etc…anyone who is a Muslim and has a big bushy beard is anti US…

      In Iran..anti US because ..well…just reciprocation for starters…

      In Poland..hating the Russians for what occurred in WWII and beyond.

      In Columbia…anti-US for a mixture of odd reasons, mostly mine and drug related

      In the Philippines..a mix of love and loathing. The US decimated 80-90% of hard wood exotic trees on Cebu island….took the trees back to the US and left it in a mess…so many despise them for it.

      In Hong Kong..anti China….because its destroying their democracy

      In S.Korea…anti-US and anti -China…for same reasons above.

      I have not lived or worked long term in any country that does not have “issues” with another. Some are less pervasive in their rhetoric than others. But each country has its favourite country it loves to hate..for whatever reasons.

    45. Bayfield Says:

      “Please tell me I’m not alone. I can’t be the only person here who has noticed that Japan is suffering from a big, huge China complex.”

      Absolutely not Becky, As of past and current, xenophobia, particularly Sinophobia, can be viewed of as an organ of Japanese culture and etiquette. And with xenophobia being systemically part of the government, media and the corporation, it can be said to be an unwritten tradition.

      Xenophobia in Japan is so routine, so organized, so systematic and so commonly and ritually practiced just like any other tradition that its hard not to admit that its not part of the culture and its traditions.

      The way xenophobia is practiced in Japan fits the very dictionary and wiki description a cultural tradition and social norms. Its likely also the reason why apologists take up Sinophobic and as well as anti-korean stances. Its one way apologists use to bond with and blend in with the Japanese.

      Infact xenophobia is so ingrained in Japanese culture that it is practiced like an art and with a passion. Such as making casual “jokes” about NJ, making gaijin-masks (as mentioned in other articles), and putting them on comedy-tv, manga, and anime and make a fool out of NJ.

      anti-NJ ranting, the way I see it, are one of those instances where Japanese can express and speak without heed to strict “tateme” and “honne”.

    46. Markus Says:

      @Becky I am experiencing the exact same thing. I too can’t go through a single day without being patronised to agree to statements like “Chinese people are dirty, aren’t they?” or “Chinese food is so dangerous!”, etc.

      I honestly wonder what China has done in the past to become the target of such hatred in Japan. I have read here that it might be subconscious thing, i.e. China reminds the Japanese of their dark side and the stronger it gets, the more leverage it becomes on the world stage. Maybe they fear that some day, China has enough influence to make the Japanese house of cards crumble?

      – We’ve gotten off track.

    47. GiantPanda Says:

      @Becky – Mr. Panda is Chinese so I get it from both sides – the mindless Japanese self righteous superior blatherers and the brainwashed Chinese propaganda spouters. Neither side really seems to have any interest in the truth or actually finding out for themselves what the people of the other side are like. I used to get upset and try to reason with people, but I gave that up long ago.

    48. Baudrillard Says:

      Bayfield, “”anti-NJ ranting, the way I see it, are one of those instances where Japanese can express and speak without heed to strict “tateme” and “honne”.

      anti-NJ ranting, the way they see it, are one of those instances where Chinese can express and speak without heed to strict “tatemae”, “face” and Party control.

      Oh, the irony. But then, Max Weber would just say that these 2 Asian giants are postmodern products of western imports ideas, and rationalization is no different in a big industrialized power, be it attached with the label “capitalist” or “communist”.

    49. Mike Says:

      whatever happened to “shoganai” or “gaman shite” for this guy? When I complain about the othering I get in Japan, all I hear is “shoganai dayo”

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