Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012

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Hi Blog.  Significant news:  In addition to the bars, bathhouses, internet cafes, stores, restaurants, apartment rental agencies, schools, and even hospitals, etc. that have “Japanese Only” policies in Japan, the media has now publicized a longstanding case of a tertiary education institution doing the same.  A place called Konsho Gakuen (aka “Saitama Cooking College”, “Saitama Confectionary College” in brochures featured on NHK) in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, offering instruction in cooking, nutrition, and confections, has since it opened in 1976 never accepted NJ into their student body.  This exclusion was even written in their recruitment material as a “policy” (houshin):


People knew about this.  A Peruvian student denied entry complained to the authorities in 2012.  But after some perfunctory scolding from Saitama Prefecture, everyone realized that nothing could be done about it.  Racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan.  Nobody could be penalized, and it was unclear if anyone could lose a license as an educational institution.

So finally it hits the media.  And after some defiance by the school (claiming to NHK below inter alia that they don’t want to be responsible for NJ getting jobs in Japan; how conscientious), they caved in after about a week and said that the policy would be reversed (suck on the excuses they offered the media for why they had been doing it up to now — including the standard, “we didn’t know it was wrong” and “it’s no big deal”). would normally cheer for this.  But the school is just taking their sign down.  Whether they will actually ALLOW foreigners to join their student body is something that remains to be seen (and the J-media is remarkably untenacious when it comes to following up on stories of racial discrimination).  When we see enrollments that are beyond token acceptances (or happen at all, actually) over the course of a few years, then we’ll cheer.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


‘No foreigners allowed’ cooking school backtracks, will accept foreign applicants
May 23, 2014 Mainichi Japan, Courtesy of JK

A private vocational school in Saitama Prefecture which had barred foreigners from enrollment has reversed course and will begin allowing foreign applicants for the 2015 academic year, the Mainichi has learned.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported in its May 23 morning edition that the Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture-based Konsho Gakuen states explicitly in its student recruitment material that “foreigners cannot enroll. This is school policy. Please be aware that this school does not accept foreigners.” Konsho Gakuen, established in 1976, operates three schools, one each for cooking, nutrition and confections.

A school representative told the Mainichi that it was “not accepting press inquiries,” and that the school’s policy “is exactly what it says (in the pamphlet). Foreigners had better go somewhere else.” According to a source related to the education sector in the prefecture, the school was “worried there would be trouble if it had many students staying in Japan illegally.”

Meanwhile, the prefectural educational affairs department said that the same “no foreigners” passage was included in Konsho Gakuen’s materials for both academic 2013 and 2014. Furthermore, the prefecture had formally requested in January and August last year that the school “select students for admission fairly, based on ability and aptitude,” but that Konsho Gakuen had not responded.

At about 11 a.m. on May 23, after the story had appeared in that morning’s edition of the Mainichi Shimbun, Konsho Gakuen board chairman Akio Imai called the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare — which overseas cooking schools — to apologize, according to ministry sources.

Imai was quoted as saying, “Starting from this academic year’s entrance exams, we will begin accepting foreign applicants.” He also apparently said the no-foreigners passage in Konsho Gakuen’s student recruitment materials would be deleted.

Original Japanese article:

毎日新聞 2014年05月23日 07時45分, Courtesy of MS








国籍による差別を巡っては、試合会場でサポーターが「JAPANESE ONLY」と書いた横断幕を掲げた問題で、3月にサッカーJリーグ1部の浦和レッズがリーグから処分を受けた


School axes policy of barring foreigners
(excerpt of the bottom half of the article, full article at

[…] When contacted by The Japan Times, Imai said he had decided to ditch the policy and said all three schools would start accepting applications from foreign students from the next academic year.

The decision came only a few months after an incident at a J. League soccer game fueled a nationwide debate about racial discrimination. At the game, fans of the Urawa Reds hung a banner above the stadium entrance declaring, in English, “Japanese Only.” The J. League punished the team for failing to remove the banner by forcing it to play its next home game in an empty stadium.

“I acknowledge that the (‘no-foreigner’ part) of our admission policy was terribly misleading,” Imai said without elaborating.

Imai said the remote location of his cooking schools in Kumagaya kept them somewhat isolated from the trends of globalization, making the mere thought of taking in foreign students “inconceivable.”

“I also acknowledge that we’ve had this fear about what would happen if we accepted foreigners. We’ve been afraid that there will be unpredictable consequence if we do,” Imai said without elaborating.

As for the no-foreigner policy, Imai said he never thought it would be considered discriminatory or xenophobic, despite warnings from the prefectural government, which has no authority to order a change in the private school’s policy.

“I thought other schools were doing the same, too,” he said.

After media pressure built, however, he spoke with the schools’ principals and decided Friday that he should make the admission policy “fairer” and bring it “up to date.”


NHK 5月23日 12時14分, Courtesy of MS (with video)










32 comments on “Saitama’s Konsho Gakuen school, “Japanese Only” since 1976, repeals rule only after media pressure, despite prefecture knowing about it since 2012

  • Also in Portuguese media, courtesy of SC:

    Postado em: 23/05/2014
    Colégio de Saitama proíbe estrangeiros

    O governo da província solicitou várias vezes a retirada da medida por considerar um ato discriminatório REDAÇÃO Kumagaya – Os jornais e as emissoras de tevê do Japão destacaram nesta sexta-feira uma norma da instituição de ensino particular Konsho, em Kumagaya (Saitama), que proíbe a admissão de alunos estrangeiros. O grupo é responsável por três colégios técnicos nas áreas de nutrição, culinária e confeitaria.

    O governo da província de Saitama já tinha solicitado ao colégio que retirasse a proibição aos estrangeiros por considerar um ato discriminatório, mas a administração se negava a atender o pedido alegando que era uma norma que já existia há décadas.

    Nesta sexta-feira, porém, o colégio informou que estuda a possibilidade de permitir o ingresso de estrangeiros a partir do próximo ano letivo, que começa em abril de 2015. Por ser uma instituição particular, o governo não tem meios de obrigar a mudança.

    Em 2012, um estudante peruano tentou ingressar no colégio para fazer um curso de culinária, com a intenção de se tornar um chef, mas foi obrigado a desistir da ideia após ter a matrícula recusada por ser estrangeiro.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Yep, this guy also ticks every box in the racists arsenal of ‘excuses’, but fails to just come clean and say it was in the wrong. Which means that it is still racist to the core.

    O-mo-te-na-shi Japan strikes again!

  • FaithnoMore says:

    How can this be possible in a “democratic” “liberal” “developed” society in 2014?

    Hang your heads in shame (who? – The school certainly won’t, they didn’t want gaijin and half-breeds in to educate them to steal jobs from the masters) while we nod in knowing disbelief.

  • Do we know if any Japanese citizens of white, black or mixed-race appearance were denied entry? Were any naturalized Japanese citizens with East Asian appearance denied entry?

    No doubt this is discrimination based upon citizenship, but is there solid evidence that people were barred for race or appearance alone? Discrimination and prejudice based on citizenship should not be confused with racism. Both are bad, but the former is based on government documents while the latter is based upon appearance. Two different kinds of bad behavior.

    — You are in dire need of an update on modern definitions of racism. It is not only a matter of appearance.

  • Am I surprised by this companies discriminatory policy No, and Im surprised by the local governments inaction No, even though they have known about this racist since 2012.This kind of thing will unfortunately happen again and again because Japan refuses to take this seriously and it is still happening everyday to NJ with regards to housing discrimination,family court discrimination,social services discrimination and all other daily life issues that NJ face here.And the government has done nothing to address these issues because there still isn’t a anti-discrimination law in Japan.

  • My question is: what kind of cuisine did they teach at this school?

    Something that’s been bothering me lately is the way it is taken as “atarimae” that a Japanese person be brought on a show and presented as an “expert” on, say, French or Italian cooking.

    But, at the same time, those same people ooh and ah at the very mention of a foreigner who can so much as eat sushi.

    It’s just assumed as natural that Japanese people are masters of any and all cultural traditions, but that foreigners can’t possibly understand Japanese culture. Internationalization in the context of Japanese TV (and, to some extent, in general Japanese society) is so one-sided this way: Japan willingly takes the world’s cultures for them to play with but refuses to let anyone play with theirs.

    So, it would add insult to injury if this were a cooking school that focused on non-traditional, Western cooking. It would really, in my mind, confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt the tendency for racists in Japan to see themselves as masters of foreign culture EVEN TO THE EXCLUSION of actual foreigners. It would really be a supreme example of appropriating and co-opting culture.

    If that is the case – if this school teaches Western cooking styles, techniques – hell, if they only so much as use Western cooking utensils – it would really demonstrate the highest possible arrogance and lowest possible racism I think you can have in a Japanese context.

    Does anyone know what they actually teach at this school?

  • Very impressive domestic & international coverage of this issue. A simple google search showed most Japanese news sites covering this story, as well as articles in German, Spanish, Portuguese, English…

    This school has been “Japanese only” since opening its doors in 1976.

    From the Japan Times:
    Quote #1:
    “As for the no-foreigner policy, Imai said he never thought it would be considered discriminatory or xenophobic, despite warnings from the prefectural government…”
    Quote #2:
    “I’m very sorry that I was immature and stubborn,” he said, pledging to overcome what he described as his own long-standing fear of accepting foreigners.”

    So the new policy is to accept foreigners. But who thinks foreigners will be treated & judged fairly?

  • @Dr. Debito,

    Thanks for keeping the heat on this stuff. This is getting ridiculous. “gaijin may not enter our school”

    Why not? Just because we are gaijin?

    — Read the articles. They give some reasons.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @David, #4

    Contrary to your argument, history of race relations or politics in developed countries(i.e.,US, UK, and Europe) suggests that citizenship and race are NOT mutually exclusive. If you think these two are constructed merely based on authority’s paperwork or biometrics, you are completely missing the point. Discourse of racism is much more profound than how it is described in the textbooks or the law. It has been socially and institutionally structured throughout history, and reflecting on the magnitude of social inequality.

    The use of term ‘gaikokujin’ in this culinary school’s admission policy is a classic example of racializing those who have-nots as the means of separation/segregation. It means denying all potential NJ students equal access to the resources Japanese students deserve.

  • >So, it would add insult to injury if this were a cooking school that focused on non-traditional, Western cooking. It would >really, in my mind, confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt the tendency for racists in Japan to see themselves as masters of >foreign culture EVEN TO THE EXCLUSION of actual foreigners. It would really be a supreme example of appropriating and co->opting culture.

    Of course they teach all kinds of cooking (western, chinese, japanese, pastries, even french culinary vocabulary), else you can be sure they wouldn’t fail to point out in their name that they are not just any kind of cooking school, but a japanese-style one.
    Running a school only with courses on Japanese cooking would probably not be very profitable and limit the number of qualifications they can offer. The irony of it.

  • It would be interesting if some well known chefs, or even culinary institutions form said countries, of the cuisines they are teaching audited them. Just as Toshikatsu Matsuoka, the then agriculture minister of Japan, insisted on doing after getting in his view poor sushi in a restaurant in Colorado. He made such statements as:

    “..”What people need to understand is that real Japanese food is a highly developed art. It involves all the senses; it should be beautifully presented, use genuine ingredients and be made by a trained chef,” he continued. “What we are seeing now are restaurants that pretend to offer Japanese cooking but are really Korean, Chinese or Filipino. We must protect our food culture.”..”**

    So, here we have Japanese chef’s doing the same…cooking/preparing Non-Japanese food, yet according to T. Matsuoka, this must be stopped!…oh the irony 🙂


  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ John K #11

    This is because learning to make western food is like learning western languages;

    If a Japanese person can ‘endure’ sufficiently, they can master it, whereas no matter how hard a westerner strives to learn how to make sushi, or speak Japanese, they will never really ‘master’ it, since (as the il-logic goes) only Japanese people can have the unspoken, unexplainable ‘sense’ of what these ‘unique’ Japanese things really mean.

    It’s a myth that serves to trap NJ and Japanese in limiting roles.

  • John (Yokohama) says:

    I remember teaching this lady English when she essentially said that only Japanese people can cook real Japanese food. She was in her 20s/30s and worked for a famous international Japanese company.

    I said by her “logic” then that Japanese people cannot cook real foreign food. She told me that it was her “traditional thinking”. I punched up the translation for either prejudice or racism on my iPhone and showed her the giant kanji (via the Google translate app). Again she went with the traditional thinking expression. I said you can call it whatever you want but that is the word.

    She had no answer for that. Deer in the headlights essentially.

    #2 (Jim) I was thinking when I read his litany of excuses that he really had quite the list in his head…

    — He would. Cognitive dissonance creates whole separate worlds that don’t stand up to scrutiny. Pity that in Japan that, out of deference or mendoukusainess, that scrutiny rarely comes — especially as you become the king of all you survey. Given that many of these “colleges” are family-run fiefdoms, I think “chair” Imai Akio as the prototypical ganko oyaji lived in his own little intellectual bubble at Konsho Gakuen.

  • [According to a source related to the education sector in the prefecture, the school was “worried there would be trouble if it had many students staying in Japan illegally.”

    continuing on the theme of inscrutable excuses, I’m not particularly knowledgeable on the subject, but isn’t there the status of student visa, exactly for this kind of thing ? That is, as a foreigner if you get enrolled in some japanese education institution(ie a valid reason for being in the country), you are eligible for the visa that applies for 2 years ? Don’t really know details, I’m not a student. A friend of mine studied in Japan, though he never really had to bother about that stuff because the exchange organisation took care of all the trivia.
    Maybe it’s different between a big university and some backwater vocational school, but then again I’d guess it’s not and here’s just someone again imposing his unaccountable regime again. And what’s the issue with “illegals”, just check their visa status beforehand, no problem.

    “I also acknowledge that we’ve had this fear about what would happen if we accepted foreigners. We’ve been afraid that there will be unpredictable consequence if we do,”

    Yes, the unpredictable consequences of accepting confectionary students. Who I assume applied because they wanted to study confectionary making. Who can imagine what will happen ? Besides them just.. learning how to make sweets, I guess. Do they imagine the school will dissolve into an uncontrollable jungle of cake-terrorism and cookie-crime or what ? I can’t imagine any problems coming up that couldn’t be managed with already existing rules (ie. unruly behavior or whatever, just send them home – same as you’d do with japanese students already now)

    I guess those pesky NJ should not have made the mistake of trying to get an education, they should have followed the correct procedure and applied for one of those grrreat “Trainee”-programs where they belong doing something useful (= making money for their masters while learning no valuable skills).

    As for the general hypocrisy of japanese being all ‘you cannot understand’- snobby about all things japanese, while appropriating foreign things without the same consistency (sure, they are not alone in this), if you’re feeling particularly argumentative you can turn it around, for example, I’m german and schnitzel is an intimate essence of our unique culture (bullshit but that’s how it goes), therefore your puny japanese attempts are just soulless imitations that could never grasp “the true meaning of schnitzel”, yada yada..
    Everyone can play that game, it gets boring after a while (particularly if you have travelled the world a bit and see beyond each narrow-minded BS). Though I doubt much will cognition will register with people still trapped in their bubble.

  • Enginerd – My take on the issue:
    Japanese society is based on hierarchy. Whether in school, work, whatever, the younger defer to the older (kohai/simpai).
    Japanese students do not openly question their teachers (or elders, or anyone, for that matter).
    Outside of Japan, most advanced nations encourage discussion, debate – an exchange of ideas. Most people in positions of authority in Japan are scared by this.

    I think this school (and much of Japan) is afraid of foreign students questioning their knowledge (or lack of?), and challenging their authority.
    What happens to a Japanese culinary teacher if a Mexican student knows more about Mexican food than the teacher of the class?
    Will Japanese students respect the teacher?
    Will they follow the teacher w/o question?
    This is a big part of what keeps Japanese society from falling apart.

    If this school allows foreign students to enter, the teachers might actually have to know what they are teaching. If they don’t, who knows what could happen?

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Dude #15,

    I agree with you about hierarchy.
    Why do so many Japanese buy into these bullying power based social relationships?

    Because it absolves the individual of responsibility;

    ‘My boss/teacher/sempai/the government said…’
    If you are the lower partner in the dynamic, you don’t need to think, make a decision, and live with the consequences- everything becomes ‘someone else’s fault.

    If you are the higher partner in the dynamic, you can do want you want with no fear of being challenged.

    This is why Japan is stagnating. These hierachal relations are counter to the basis of genuine democracy.

  • Dude

    Yup..that about sums it up.
    For amusement i decided to teach English with Cooking, a combo of the two, as I had a group of local ladies that were interested in both. Ok, fair enough. (Im not an teacher by the way, but I do take some students for conversational English, which is where word got around).

    The chef whip who ran their “group” was clearly trying to garner my attention all the time and also making “points” with her flock. Sadly for her, I had to correct her about the incorrect assumptions and the historical errors as well as factual errors in the foreign cuisine I was teaching them, and how Japanese get it so wrong. Suffice to say I only had one lesson with them. The chef whip, obviously did not like me correcting her especially in front of her acolytes!

    It was a pity because several of her group expressed a real desire and interest (one was an air stewardess), but, owing to the kohai/sempai, could not approach me without the chef whips approval!!… much for progress!

  • Baudrillard says:

    Dude, above “Whether in school, work, whatever, the younger defer to the older (kohai/simpai).
    Japanese students do not openly question their teachers (or elders, or anyone, for that matter).”

    As I just said on the trainee thread, thats why they want YOUNG NJs.

  • @Dude (#15) Very good insights. I also have come to the conclusion that a big part of the Japanese trying to keep foreigners out, or at least in a place where they are tightly controlled and supervised is that they fear that outsiders could see behind the curtain and catch the emperor with no clothes, if I may use a pun here.
    Many fear to admit (to themselves mainly) that the “Japanese miracle” after all wasn’t created by the Japanese themselves – and that truly allowing competition in Japan would lead to a complete destruction of the Japanese collective feeling of self-worth.
    Hence the steady navel-gazing and search for affirmation, and also the disdain for China and South Korea for challenging the Japanese idea that in Asia only Japan is a “civilized country on par with the West”. (I personally think none of those three countries will be able to truly catch up with Europe unless go through what Europe went through in 1789).

  • ShauninMiyagi says:

    #Dude (12)
    Right on the spot there. There was the same sort of problem when the JET/ALT system started up; friction with the older English teachers found that their spoken English was seen as pitiful as compared to the ‘living’ English spoken by the JETs/ALTs.
    On a humorous note, somebody must have left the ‘chiku’ out of the middle of the school’s name.

  • Steve Jackman says:

    Debito, just saw the following on today’s Mainichi News Website. Given how important it is, perhaps you can also post this as its own seperate story. Thanks!

    3 teenagers arrested for hurling eggs at Nepalese student

    TOSU, Saga — Three teenagers have been arrested for allegedly hurling eggs at a Nepalese student studying at a Japanese-language school here earlier this month, police said.

    The three youths, whose names are being withheld under the Juvenile Act, stand accused of assault. Officials of the Japanese-language school say 19 of its students from Nepal, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, have been targeted in similar attacks since December last year.

    A 19-year-old suspect from Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, denied involvement in the incident saying, “I know nothing about the case,” while the two others from Tosu, Saga Prefecture, both aged 18, have admitted to the allegations.

    At around 9:35 p.m. on May 20, the three hurled eggs from a car at a Nepalese student in his 20s, who was on his way to school in Tosu by bicycle, local police said. When the victim attempted to escape, the suspects overtook him, got out of the car and further hurled eggs at him, according to investigators.

    In similar attacks, assailants asked the victims where they came from and suddenly hurled eggs or threw mayonnaise at them. There were also cases where assailants fired an air gun or hurled gravel at the victims. At least one student was targeted on a few occasions. The Japanese-language school had reported these incidents to local police.

    May 27, 2014 (Mainichi Japan)

  • dwayne2d3d says:

    You know i’ve been reading your website for a while and for complicated reasons
    i try to refrain from commenting.

    I do plan on going to live in Japan in the near future, but every now and then
    Debito you put out a story that just send chills through me.
    I mean is this a place i really want to move to and raise a family??!!
    Some of your stories put me in such a cross road.

    In one sense i’ve been studying Japanese too long to give up,
    and in the next sense i’m like, do i really want to deal with issues like this when/if
    i go there to live.

    Racism in nothing new to me, i’m use to all it’s insidious forms, but if you
    complain enough here you’ll gain enough sympathizers, over there doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Thanks for all the hard work you do, it doesn’t go unappreciated….

    — Thanks. What appears on is not Japan in toto. Go there and see things for yourself. But take your time before deciding to live there permanently.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Dwayne2d3d #22

    Just my opinion, but…

    Don’t make any investment of time, money, or emotion in Japan. Just come to Japan for a few years, for whatever job it is you do, and don’t delude yourself that becoming fluent in the language or the culture will give you ‘access’ and better treatment- it won’t.

    Just be like all the undergrad English teachers, or parachuted in from overseas company workers; know enough Japanese to order a beer, say please and thank you.
    The Japanese will always treat you with courtesy if you do this; you will be the honored guest (who will go home and say ‘Japan was great!’)- that is what the Japanese want.

    If my undergrad teachers at uni had told me the truth about Japan, I’d have dropped out and done something else with my life, but they didn’t because they are vested interests (no students= no job). So when I can here to do post-grad research and discovered the truth, I decided that when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade, and did further research on the distasteful truth of Japanese social myths. I got married, I have kids, but I always feel like Japanese society resents me for knowing too much of the truth, and for being here as anything other than a visitor. It is a draining experience most of the time.

    To top it all, I have no confidence that Japan will get anything other than worse to live in (for Japanese and NJ) due to economic and demographic problems, and you tell me; Where in the world have such problems NOT lead to increased xenophobia and racism (and Japan had plenty of that, even when the going was good).

    I live here with the constant knowledge that the government might introduce some strange, discriminatory legislation almost over-night, and I will have to pick up the wife and kids, a bag, and leave.

    If you come to Japan, enjoy it like a long holiday, but don’t put yourself out to be here, IMHO.

  • dwayne2d3d says:

    @Jim Di Griz
    thanks alot for your opinion.
    You know my feelings are complex, full explanation would require an essay.
    I mean should one follow their dreams no matter the barrier or the cost.
    Or do i accept things as they are (eg. they’ll never change) and just move on.

    A book i read (the name eludes me) spoke of racism’s history and it’s various manifestation.
    eg. America black/white, Canada english/french, Ireland protestant/catholics ect….
    What’s most interesting about that book was how easy victim became perpetrator.
    Thats why in my comment to Debito, i said i refrain from commenting because in
    life for about 99.9% of us our opinions/views are based on not what is right or wrong
    but what side of the fence we sit.

    For the sake of not rambling on too long Jim Di Griz, i truly understand your fears even though i’m
    not there yet. But i often think to myself do i stand and fight even if it means death, or do i
    find somewhere else to live even though it not my first choice, but simply because their views
    are more inline with mine!!??..

    thanks for your advice.
    When i think of what you do, i think of a recent rappers comment….
    He’s labeled a sell-out for venturing into various fields, fashion/sport agent/business ect…
    but in the interview he said that he is like the Indian that has to go over the other side of
    the hill and make sure all is okay before the others follow suit.
    Right now he’s viewed as a sell-out but in the future he’ll be viewed as a trailblazer.
    Sorry if the analogy is 1to1, but what i mean is that even people who endure racism maybe
    upset at you for rocking the boat Debito,but in the future you’d be viewed as the catalyst for change.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Dwayne2d3d & Dr. Debito

    My final post on this issue to prevent total thread derailment.

    Dwayne, you said;
    ‘should one follow their dreams (?)’ I understand, but realize a dream is just a dream, and the reality is different. If you come to Japan because of your dream based on a preconception based on the image that Japan projects to the world, you will be disappointed.

    You also said;
    ‘do i stand and fight even if it means death (?)’. Why would you want to do that? If living in Japan will be a fight, a fight that you seem prepared to accept will overwhelm you, then why even bother? Do something more fulfilling with your life!

    You will never change the minds of the Japanese people, and transform them into open minded, tolerant, and accepting people ( has been trying for years), so why bother? Even IF you could, is that the aim of your life; to be the man who ‘opened Japan’?

    You could ‘go for it’ in Japan, or you could ‘go for yourself’ instead.

  • Dogginabox says:


    Do what you want; who could tell you otherwise? Japan is a lot of fun and a great place to be in a whole lot of ways, particularly for a few years. In my experience it’s only after a few years of experience and some language ability that patterns become clear in how people tend to interact with you, you realize the implications, and your place within the society becomes clear. In a lot of ways it ain’t pretty, but I do feel like it has really raised my level of understanding and sensitivity toward similar issues in the States, particularly as a white American from the south. I think that my experience here has made me a bigger, more empathetic person. But in the short term, I do get frustrated a lot.

    Regarding Debito himself being seen as a boat-rocker by some, I’ve never understood this position. Even if we were to say that he goes too far sometimes (which I don’t believe), so what? Japanese society is run by adults. Big boys and girls. They’re going to be just fine. Some NJ here seem to internalize the message in the ether here that we don’t have and somehow don’t deserve a voice in Japan. But personally, I haven’t seen fit yet to abandon my dignity. Human beings have a right to a voice; Japan as an entity is free to not listen, but nobody is doing anything wrong by talking, disseminating information and/or engaging in legal activism.

    I mean, I don’t necessarily agree with all of what the ACLU does, but I certainly don’t begrudge an organization that exists to fight for my (and everyone’s) civil liberties.

    Sorry for the tangent!

    — I think we’ll draw this tangent to a close with this post.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    The commonplace racism that Abe flirts with is holding back his dreams of economic re-birth!

    Please note the story of Fan, a Chinese construction worker who has been allowed to work in Japan for a limited number of years, to help the Abe administration spend the trillions of yen earmarked for construction, but unspent due to lack of laborers; Fan does overtime, works on his days off, and makes…,,200,000¥ a month. Exploited much?

  • Baudrillard says:

    @ JIm, 200 000 a month aint too bad for a 3rd world worker, although yes, he is working too hard and too long hours.

    But China (as on the other thread) isnt really 3rd world per se, unless you come from the impoverished hinterland- maybe Fan does. Also as I said on the other thread, salaries are low in China as although the money is there, it hasnt trickled down and if you divide it by 1 billion, you get sod all.

    but the bottom line is why the hell get paid in the weakened Yen when you can get paid in RMB? Is e really much better off when he converts his yen into RMB, minus all the extortionate living costs in Japan?

    Thats the tricksy part of Japan- just as China has regulations stopping people taking out too much RMB from the country, Japan has the same mechanism via its high living costs. The money you make in Japan you spend in Japan. I even know Japanese people who go to extraordinary and somewhat bizarre lengths to save money- like never buying clothes in Japan, as they are too expensive (bar Uniqlo- hence it’s success for the secretly poorer lower middle class, actually only middle class by the skin of their teeth).

    Its also why Japan cannot get traditional labor pools to come to Japan anymore, such as the Philippines. Because their economy depends on remittances from abroad, Japan is now the last place any Japayuki Filipina would come, let alone a skilled nurse, as they cannot save or remit very much at all.

    So when they say they want NJs to come for the “Japan Experience”, not money, this actually goes without saying because you will end up spending most of your salary just on living here, and of course rising taxation (without representation, lol).

    Unless of course you get a fantastic expat deal, I wonder how many of them there are these days?

  • Baudrillard says:

    Good article-““Some Japanese have a biased view against the Chinese and there were occasions when I was treated badly,” said Chinese national Lin Ruilian, 45. A Japan resident for more than a decade, she now runs a tiny acupuncture and foot massage shop near Tokyo’s Shinbashi Station. “But Japan is a good place to live. The food is safe and even civil servants provide good service. That is unthinkable in China!””

    This is it in a nutshell. Japan needs China, but doesnt like China. The Chinese working here like Japan, because its even worse in China for a lot of people, and the food in China is often fake, has toxic ingredients, or is polluted.

    Of course, Lin Ruilian is in complete ignorance about Fukushima or how the food chain could be irradiated, which is ironic.Double irony is that this is exactly the kind of NJ that certain conservative Japanese would love-one who praises Japan and doesnt worry/be happy.

    Except she is Chinese. Ah. Zannen.

    Since the 80s a certain segment of J society has been longing for young, attractive blue eyed westerners to completely buy into Japan and not question things too directly, but unfortunately anyone educated (and to get a work visa you need a degree) is always going to question the dodgy things that go on in Japan sooner or later.

    Still, that might oil the revolving door that Abe says he wants (“come here, work and then leave”). And thats why so many NJs leave as detractors.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    In other news…
    Having ailed to attract nurses to care for Japan’s increasing aged population from Indonesia and the Phillipines, Japan has reviewed the extremely high language hurdles placed on applicants, and addressed the grueling ‘study whilst working as a dogs body’ programme, in order to increase the number of nurses who will be able to work as nurses in Japan!

    Nah, just kidding!
    The J-gov hasn’t changed the program one little bit!
    They are just moving away from Indonesia and the phillipines, where the program is seen as exploitative, and moved on to trying to con Vietnamese nurses into the scheme.
    If they keep this up, they’ll run out of nations with nurses to exploit in a few years! Change the program!

    — Run out of neighboring countries that don’t have a kanji advantage, you mean. As I have argued before, the GOJ could bring in candidates from any number of countries that are kanji-literate (China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan) and ameliorate some of the test-literacy issues. But that’s not what policymakers want. They don’t them to stay. They just want them to keep coming and then leave. The jig is up for Indonesians and Filipinas. Not yet for the Vietnamese. The program will not change for the foreseeable future.

  • We should start a FB campaign for foreigners livng in Saitama to actually try to join the school. Anyone with friends around there? Pity I live too far away. Can you imagine their faces when they start getting applications from gaijins (yes, I use the word as an imsult, Debito 🙂 Interesting scoial experiment. Anyone willng to be our mole? As usual, we will deny your existence 😛

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