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  • “Japanese Only” sign on Okazaki Internet Cafe

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 14th, 2006

    Hello Blog. Just made a revision to the “Rogues’ Gallery” of Exclusionary Establishments–places nationwide in Japan which explicitly restrict or forbid foreign customers entry.

    http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html

    Newest entry (the 22nd municipality found yet so far) is from Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. An Internet cafe, of all things:

    Okazaki City (Aichi Prefecture)
    Internet Cafe “Dragon BOZ”
    Aichi-shi Kakemachi Amigasa 5-1
    ドラゴンBOZ
    444-0011 岡崎市欠町網笠5-1(かけまちあみがさ)
    Ph 0564-22-2051 or 0564-66-1156
    http://www.dragonboz.com/main.html info@dragonboz.com

    Sign up in English and Portuguese:

    http://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Okazaki
    dragonbozsignsm.jpg
    dragonbozfrontsm.jpg

    COMMENT FROM THE SUBMITTER: “This Sunday (December 10th, 2006) I went to an internet café relatively close to where I live, since I have no access to the internet during Sundays and I had an urgent mail to send. I translate Japanese children’s books into Swedish in my spare time, and I had a deadline. Lo and behold, a true “foreigners only” at the desk. I was there with a japanese friend, so they said it would be OK for me to enter anyway: they had had some problem with a foreigner who didn’t speak Japanese two months ago, and felt that the sign was in good order to avoid further problems.

    “Being a social anthropologist, I chose not to make a fuss over it in their face and instead came back with at tape recorder and actually got an interview with some middle-management boss about the reason for the rule, the café’s view on it and his personal (at least he said so) view. Surprisingly enough he even managed to come up with the “I realize that I would feel bad if I saw a ‘no japanese’ sign abroad” argument himself, but whether or not he was just being polite or not, I don’t know.

    “Talking about it with a friend, I got the link to your homepage. It was quite a shock for me to see such a sign for the first time, and it made me feel much worse that I would have guessed.”
    ===============================

    COMMENT: As it should. Pity the feeling didn’t stretch across the divide enough to convince the management that this sort of policy shouldn’t exist.

    Hm. Should probably give these people a call and find out what’s on their little minds… Debito in Sapporo

    4 Responses to ““Japanese Only” sign on Okazaki Internet Cafe”

    1. debito Says:

      UPDATE DEC 15:

      Gave them a call this afternoon after lunch and asked to speak to the manager. Wasn’t in. Asked if they have a policy of refusing foreign customers entry. They said they didn’t. Said that I have a photo saying they did as of last weekend. They said they quit that policy as of the beginning of this week. I will call the manager again next week and inquire further about what happened, and have asked the original notifier to drop by and do a quick check. Out. Debito

    2. debito Says:

      UPDATE DEC 16: Reply from Jonas, the person who reported this place to me in the first place:

      ========================
      December 16, 2006 5:15:51 PM JST

      SUCCESS! I am writing this from the very cafe itself. Seems that they changed the rule within days of my complaint. No fuss involved at all. They changed it into the much more reasonable requirement of being able to show a Japanese address and a Japanese drivers licence or (any) passport. I will be back with a picture of my new, highly foreign, Dragon BOZ membership card. Best regards, Jonas.
      ========================

      COMMENT FROM DEBITO:
      Well good. I asked Jonas if they gave a reason why this change occurred. And if they require some proof of address or ID from Japanese as well to get a BOZ membership card. I’ll call them myself next week and ask.

      But again, you see, it pays to say something. Thanks Jonas. Debito

    3. debito Says:

      UPDATE DEC 17, FROM JONAS:

      No, I don’t know why they decided to change the policy, but they seemed to do it one or two days after I asked them to, so I guess they just needed a gentle prod in the right direction.

      Yes, Japanese are required to show ID such as a drivers license to get a membership card, so it’s pretty much the same deal. The membership was free for me, so requiring me to be a member due to not being Japanese (and I’m not, I’m here on temporary visa) wasn’t a big deal since it’s not an additional fee.
      ENDS

    4. debito Says:

      UPDATE DEC 18, FROM DEBITO:

      Called Dragon BOZ at 0564-66-1156 shortly after lunch today and talked to the manager (tenchou) Mr Asakura. He explained the proceedings thusly:

      1) About three weeks ago, somebody (they don’t know who) used their computers to do some inappropriate accessing of mailing lists (fusei akusesu). He didn’t go into detail, except to say that it involved something financial, and the conclusion was that it involved a foreigner was based upon the fact that the lists were in English, French, and Portuguese. Thanks to that miscreant, nobody from Dragon BOZ’s IP can use that mailing list anymore.

      2) They instituted a “no-foreigners rule” for about a week, before they realized on their own that refusing foreigners a) affected their business badly, and b) was unfair to all the other foreign customers, who had nothing to do with the actions of this particular person.

      3) Then they rescinded the exclusionary rule, as Jonas pointed out above, and instituted a membership system to register and keep accountable all customers regardless of nationality.

      ———————-

      That’s it. Case closed. I’m satisfied with the result. I told Mr Asakura that I was pleased that he came to these conclusions on his own, and thanked him for his conscientiousness. Well done.

      Debito in Sapporo

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