“No Foreigners” (and no women) Capsule Inn Omiya hotel in Saitama (UPDATE AUG 21: No-foreigner rule withdrawn, but lots more exclusionary hotels found on Rakuten)

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Hi Blog.  Joining the ranks of hundreds of other places nationwide that have “Japanese Only” rules in place is this capsule hotel called “Kapuseru In Ohmiya” in Miyamachi 5-3-1, Ohmiya-ku, Saitama, close to JR Omiya Station East Exit, phone 048-641-4122.  Incidentally, and also in violation of Japan’s Hotel Management Law, it does not allow women to stay there either.  Here’s a screen capture of their entry on Rakuten as of August 18, 2014, with all their contact details.  Courtesy of MF.

(Click on image to expand in your browser.)

Front door with directions there:

JapaneseOnlyCapsuleInnSaitamafront

Entire site with “No Foreigners” and “No Women” rules listed at very bottom:

JapaneseOnlySaitamaCapsuleInn081714

Anyone want to give them a call, and/or to report them to the authorities?  Here’s how.

Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

UPDATE AUGUST 21, 2014:  THEIR RAKUTEN ENTRY HAS REMOVED THE “JAPANESE ONLY” RULE, AMENDED IT TO A “BRING A JAPANESE SPEAKER IF YOU DON’T SPEAK JAPANESE, AS THE STAFF DOESN’T SPEAK FOREIGN LANGUAGES”.  THE “MEN-ONLY” RULE REMAINS. RAKUTEN PAGE SCREEN CAPTURE BELOW:

JapaneseOnlySaitamaCapsuleInnrulerepealed082114

ENDS

59 comments on ““No Foreigners” (and no women) Capsule Inn Omiya hotel in Saitama (UPDATE AUG 21: No-foreigner rule withdrawn, but lots more exclusionary hotels found on Rakuten)

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  • I see payment options such as Visa/AmEx etc.

    Why not contact such institutions and notify them that their payment services are being used by companies that practice racial discrimination and blatantly too.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I have never used capsule hotel in my life. Personally, I just don’t understand its concept at all. What’s the point in building a super mini-condo complex elsewhere–especially within commuting distance while you see several hotels/accommodation– both local and chains–nearby the train stations? It’s not surprising to see the problem they have due to ill-defined business(e.g., low- budget/high-turnout) and ethical standpoints(e.g., race, gender/sexism).

  • Does Rakuten have a “Report This Page” page? If so, a copy of Japan’s Hotel Management Law should be sent to them.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Rakuten is trying desperately to compete with Amazon in the global marketplace (at least, that is Mikitani’s goal), witness how sensitive they were in delisting on-line stores that sold whale and dolphin products after the news hit the English speaking press earlier this year, and how the Japanese press mis-reported that as Rakuten being blackmailed by ‘western cultural sensitivities’ due to the ICC ruling on Antartic whaling.

    I imagine that if this story picks up any steam, Rakuten will drop this hotel like a hot potato, make a clear policy decision on future listings, and the Japanese media will cry foul.

    As for VISA etc, yes, they could be embarrassed. Give them a go!

  • John K, Bill Lewis – both fine ideas.
    Does anyone have a list of western media outlets? How about the International Olympic Committee? Maybe they would have influence?
    I know the American Embassy (and British, Australian, etc.) doesn’t care at all, but somebody just might think this is an interesting story, and pick it up.
    Are there standards that Japan is supposed to maintain in order to continue membership in the G8, G20, etc?
    Are there U.N. committees that Japan could be kicked off of until their government changes policy?
    Are there U.N. committees that deal with this sort of thing?

    What about trade organizations – how many consumers of Japanese products overseas are aware of the racist reality on the ground in Japan? How many people would feel comfortable buying Japanese products, once they are made aware that the Japanese government allows blatant discrimination?

    What about involving China? They would love to expose Japanese offenses.

    The enemy of my oppressor is my enemy – I changed it, but you get the idea.

  • The same busybody who would phone the police should first phone the hotel company and explain they should change to site to read: “We are sorry. We can only provide service in Japanese.” Rather than assume the worst, confirm this company is intentionally implementing a racist policy, or just the result of the boss having one too many issues because no one on staff can speak a foreign language.

    It takes just as much time and effort to phone the hotel company as it does to phone the police and explain why racism is an issue.

    — Then you do it, Jon, and I dare you to do it in your capacity as a city councilor. Lose the scolding tone. We’re not the ones putting up an exclusionary policy online, so don’t treat us like we’re the bad guys here for calling it out.

  • Chand Bakshi says:

    Hotels refusing gaijin is my pet hate, I had a lot of of problems when i first arrived in japan and Japanese friends would book hotels for me in their name only for me to turn up and be refused. In Tokyo or big city not so much of a problem but in rural areas when there’s no other hotels around its a problem.

    Anyway, I called them, spoke to a Mr Saito, he said it was a mistake, they will, and have accepted gaijin customers. He said he’ll contact Rakuten and get it changed. He said other people had contacted him about it today.

    Whether he was just saying this as an excuse and they just decided to say it was a mistake now that people are complaining, or it genuinely is a mistake on Rakuten’s part?
    Hope it’s not something that Rakuten writes as standard for capsule hotels?

    I’d check with Rakuten, but it would probably have to be via email and my written japanese isnt up to the job i think.

    Does anyone know of a gaijin that has stayed there?

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ John K,

    Give them a VISA a call and report it.

    Although, and I say this to all of us here, the hotel will of course use the ‘we’re so sorry, we don’t speak English, this is not racism, this is Japan’s unique business culture, please try to understand’ line, BUT the ‘No women’ part is so non-PC that it will be the part that really gets backs up.

    No-one cares if the Japanese discriminate against foreigners, but there is significant potential for international outrage that Japan, a ‘modern country’ has ‘No women’ signs. That’s the track I’d follow.

    Also, I think that there does need to be international awareness that buying Japanese serves to reinforce Japanese cultural imperialism and associated institutional racism against NJ in Japan- something that the world could just say ‘doesn’t affect me’, except that now it does, because Japan is preparing to host the olympics. The best route in that case would be to target the biggest non-Japanese sponsors of the olympics, and make it known that the media in those countries have been passed the details of your concern.

    As for China, well, if they were angry enough, and put their foot down, their economic clout would ensure some effect. I don’t think the Chinese have cottoned on to the fact that they have the power to call out the US/Aus/UK/etc yet on the fact that these countries are essentially overlooking discrimination against their own citizens in Japan for the sake of economic benefit (which is, of course, dwarfed by the economic benefit those countries get from their relationship with China), and the fact that if the Chinese chose to do this, they could really embarrass Japan internationally.

  • Best part: “No women or foreigners. Please understand.
    “Also, if you are SUPER drunk, we MIGHT refuse service.”

  • @Jon – One does NOT need to prove “racist intent” one only needs to prove “exclusion, mere exclusion” based on race, or gender, or whatever of the many types of division terms that are named in the U.N. treaties Japan has already signed to obey.

    I don’t care what the person was thinking, and neither does the law. It’s the act of exclusion itself, the mere act of exclusion itself, which is illegal according to the United Nation treaties.

    Case closed, award to plaintiff, perpetrator punished financially. Boom, judged. Boom, lawyered. 🙂

  • Mainichi_struggle says:

    I don’t believe that there is any way that such discriminatory language stated in such a stark manner could have been overlooked or accidentally fudged. 「日本語のみの受付としております」 ”Reservations are only taken in Japanese” or 「英語での受付は致しておりません」 ”We do not accept reservations in English” would be fine alternatives (despite my personal opinion that working in the hospitality field requires you to be able to communicate, at least minimally, in the most common global language).
    「外国のお客様の予約はお受けできません」is equivalent to “We do not accept reservations from foreign guests.” There is no way, in your native language, to easily overlook such a statement. On a side note, as you refuse them service, it is incorrect to call them guests.

    The offending hotel is just using cost/benefit analysis to: First, exclude non-Japanese guests for being too time consuming/troublesome to deal with. Next, deny any ill intent in order to avoid a scandal which would be even more time consuming.

    Rather than offering the offending party the opportunity to cover up their offense, I would be more keen to shame them publicly. At the very least they are extremely unprofessional to allow such a mistake. At worst, they have, do, and will continue to practice discrimination – albeit under the radar.

    Now for the tangent:
    #9, chand bakshi,

    While you might be fine with the term gaijin and consider it a simple abbreviation, it is not so simple. Likely more readers than myself would prefer that you use another word (as has been covered at length on this website).

  • I think people are getting the wrong idea here, by focusing on the fact the place excludes women as well as gaijin. It is not the same thing. Stop trying to kill two birds with one stone! Yes, there is a lot of sexism in Japan, but I really don’t think capsule hotels is the chalk face there…

    Perhaps a lot of posters here have never stayed in one, so don’t really know how places work… Most capsule hotels don’t allow women and I, as a foreign male, have stayed at a lot of places which are men only. So there is no real link there. They are two entirely different issues. Anyone who has stayed at capsule hotel knows that they are largely full of old, often drunk Japanese guys who stubble around half-naked wearing nothing but a yukata. This is especially the case late at night in places like Shinjuku or Shibuya. They are not really hotels and more like over-night saunas. I doubt many women, Japanese or otherwise, would want to stay in that kind of environment. Even if they did, there are serious safety issues to consider. Capsules don’t have a lockable doors and there is just a kind of rattan blind you pull down, so any creep or pervert could, if they wanted to, bust into a neighboring capsule if they wanted to. So, it more like a youth hostel dormitory, rather than an hotel. Recently more and capsule hotels, at least the larger big-name names places in busy urban areas like Tokyo, do have women’s floors. Usually it is just one floor, though, and there are two or three floors for men. That is obviously just a supply and demand issue. Capsule hotels are just not as popular among Japanese women as they are for men for a range of pretty obvious reasons.

    Anyway, I think in the case of smaller capsule hotels, especially out in places like Saitama, they most likely don’t allow women simply because they don’t have the space or demand or money to build a women only floor. It is nothing to do with sexism, as has been implied by some of the posters here. The exclusion of gaijin is another issue entirely and is obviously not OK and that is discrimination. There is no practical reason foreign men can’t bunk in the same room as Japanese guys… But, yeah, let’s not mix our drinks…

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Bob #14,

    I wasn’t saying that sexism was ‘the issue’ and that is was the same as discrimination against NJ, all I was trying to say is that when the Japanese discriminate against NJ, and get called out on it, they use the ‘unique culture’ BS as an excuse, and get a free pass from international opinion. HOWEVER, calling out this establishment and Rakuten on it’s ‘no women’ policy would be indefensible under the ‘unique culture’ excuse, and international opinion would not give them a free pass, especially since Abe is on his ‘womanomics’ trip at the moment. That is all.

  • FaithnoMore says:

    I read with interest Bob’s contribution. I think it’s an important point. Let’s square the circle.

    It goes to the “it can’t be helped,” or “shigata ga nai” cop-out/ excuse which is a de facto fallback for condoning or not prosecuting unacceptable behavior/ practice(s).

    Bob’s spot on. Anyone of us who has stayed in one of these places knows they well have more than their fair share of, ahem, older gentlemen who are more often than not “tired and emotional.” That’s to say, littered with of foul drunken oyagi more or less used to ruling the roost.

    Anyone who knows Omiya also knows that under the gleaming showboating of the expensive conference center, a few hundred meters behind the facade and you are quickly into the murk of yet another charmless, history-less and community-lacking bed town with its underbelly of itinerants and underemployed. I remember going to a conference in the late 90s there and walking past a small army of people roughing it. So without being snobby at the clientele of this hostel, they are not likely to be the most enlightened and empathetic of people, unless of course it’s talking about horse racing with their ‘brand new best buddies’ very much the worse for wear on cheap shoju or chu-hai at 02:00.

    It’s a good bet that regardless of the management’s attitude toward gaijin and women, they probably figure they are too much “trouble,” largely because of the stinking clientele they service. Not that the gaijin and women would cause trouble, but but they would be the source of trouble. You can easily picture it; women getting abused, felt up, sexually harassed. Most of the drunks there not caring or realizing they are doing anything wrong (any women comes here must be ‘up for it,’ or ‘easy’) and if the gaijin don’t like being abused, they should go home to their own countries, etc.

    So one factor is probably, well, you know, “it can’t be helped.”

    “We cater to scum, you can’t do much with them, so it’s better to exclude sources of trouble straightway. We’ve got nothing against gaijin but that’s the way it is. We had some in before and there were fights and misunderstandings. It’s probably better that women and gaijin don’t stay in such places, as they will be uncomfortable or there’ll be trouble.”

    Perhaps the management would like to have a place where they can get extra trade from customers from the other half of the population and or other fellow humans. But realistically they can’t.

    It’s a damning insight into the real Japan, as opposed to the omtenashi image sold to foreigners who are welcome to come and spend and then “go back to their home countries [where they belong].” The SHIGATA GA NAI attitude is EXACTLY THE WRONG ATTITUDE.

    It’s the Jim Crow attitude: segregation. It’s the leering sales boss attitude; women who are out and about without their husbands or not in the home where they belong are targets.

    It’s disgusting, shameful and there ought to be no excuse for it.

    Which takes us back to the need for real legislation and action, laws and legal sanctions to start educating people about appropriate behavior. No you can’t drunkenly abuse other guests for the fact that they aren’t Japanese or display other facets of discrimination. No can’t grope a young women or abuse her because she’s (a) vulnerable or (b) a slut in your warped little mind.

    Progress can be made. Look at what is happening on the trains now with chikan. THis utterly foul and unbelievable behavior on Tokyo trains is being attacked progressively. Chikan now know that there are no gray areas or get out clausus- if caught both the social and criminal sanctions against their disgusting actions are quite clear.

    The question is applying this to racial discrimination. Unfortunately, officially, at least in Japan, racial discrimination does not exist and/or isn’t problem. Yeah, right.

    Of course to any rational person this is ludicrous position. It just doesn’t bear the slightest scrutiny. But they keep on getting away wit it.

    Isn’t it time to just face facts?

    The first step to progress is to recognize and admit there is a problem. The Japanese government is drunk on its own propaganda. It knows it has a problem. It’s addicted to the myths of a made-up history based on lies and historical grudges.
    But it’s too embarrassing to admit. It’s too much trouble to change.

    Yeah, right…

  • @FaithNoMore (no. 16)

    First, Mainichi_struggle (no. 13) has already said this far better than I can,

    “While you might be fine with the term gaijin and consider it a simple abbreviation, it is not so simple. Likely more readers than myself would prefer that you use another word (as has been covered at length on this website).”

    The racist and discriminatory word “gaijin” is highly offensive, and is no more “just an abbreviation” than using “Nip” or “Jap” to refer to Japanese would be. Please use a different term to refer to foreign people. I pay the exact same taxes as Japanese do, and I refuse to be referred to as “outside person” as the thanks I get for it. Ta very much all the same.

    Secondly, Bob has hit the nail on the head. There’s only really one issue at stake here from my POV, which is this capsule hotel turning down foreigners. Most capsule hotels, especially smaller ones in smaller cities, are men-only. This is just a fact of life, and is (at a guess) to protect female travellers rather than to somehow inconvenience them. As has already been said in this thread, it’s *not* universal, and bigger capsule hotels in big cities do tend to have women-only floors too (there’s even an entirely women-only capsule hotel in Fukuoka… gee, why haven’t I heard anyone kicking up a fuss about that?). This is no more discrimination than the fact that when you go to an onsen or sento there’s a “men’s” section and a “women’s” section.

  • UPDATE AUGUST 21, 2014:  THEIR RAKUTEN ENTRY HAS REMOVED THE “JAPANESE ONLY” RULE, AMENDED IT TO A “BRING A JAPANESE SPEAKER IF YOU DON’T SPEAK JAPANESE, AS THE STAFF DOESN’T SPEAK FOREIGN LANGUAGES”.  THE “MEN-ONLY” RULE REMAINS. RAKUTEN PAGE SCREEN CAPTURE BELOW:

    JapaneseOnlySaitamaCapsuleInnrulerepealed082114

  • I apologize for the negative “busybody” comment. But my meaning stands. It takes just as much effort to try to explain to police as it does to a business. The only difference, the police probably won’t do anything, but the business, in its own self interest, will. Flys and honey…

    I promise to do my best with the police. I have already intervened with a few local businesses so it’s not like I’m sitting on my thumb.

    — Thanks. We appreciate your position and ask that you use your leverage from time to time.

  • Chand Bakshi says:

    So, the hotel told me they’d change it and it looks like Rakuten also talked to them.
    I ended up contacting Rakuten, like most Internet companies it’s almost impossible to find a telephone contact number. Contacted the English site, which gave me this address if anyone wants to contact them in future,
    It looks like a web address but it is an email address.
    www@mail.travel.rakuten.co.jp
    Or a more direct contact is
    travel@faq.rakuten.co.jp
    My complaint was dealt with by a Nakano San.
    Below is their reply.
    #ご案内 Eメール経由(中野) – 2014年08月21日 15:53
    Dear Mr Chand Bakshi,

    This is Nakano from Rakuten Travel Customer Service.
    Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

    We deeply apologize for the way the hotel has written
    that phrase, that was indeed not the intention of the
    hotel to cause discomfort to foreign customers.

    Certainly, hotels can not deny their services based
    on race, and we do not permit such practices, therefore
    we have contacted the hotel and ask them to remove
    completely the phrase used. We can confirm that
    the phrase has been removed.

    However the hotel wants to inform customers that it is
    a men only capsule hotel as many others in Japan,
    due to the lack of privacy in this type of facility it
    may be not safe for women to stay in there, and
    that no staff capable of speaking any other language
    other than Japanese is available on site.

    Therefore they are kindly asking, that in case that you
    do not speak Japanese, please be accompanied with
    someone that does, to avoid miscommunication and also
    to ensure that the hotel can provide their good services
    as some conditions in capsule hotels have restrictions
    that normal hotels will not, and if this is not understood
    could cause trouble.

    Once again we apologize for the inconvenience.

    We can only hope to count on your kind understanding,
    and that you might still be inclined to use our services
    in the future in spite of the unfulfilling experience you
    had this time.

    Warm regards,

    Rakuten Travel, Customer Service#

    Ok, so I was pretty happy with this for the following reasons,

    1) The hotel claimed it never had such a policy and the rakuten entry was a mistake. So even if they had written the policy before they seemed to know it was indefensible this time.
    2) Rakuten acted pretty quick, contacted the hotel, had the page amended and responded pretty quickly,

    Now for the negative,

    1) They still refuse women. Now I don’t want to defend discrimination against someone else while I’m complaining about discrimination my self, but most capsule hotels I’ve stayed in didn’t have separate bathroom facilities, just communal ‘sento’. There are also female only capsule hotels; to ask a male hotel to take female guests would obviously mean female hotels would have to take males….. there are female only gyms, cooking schools. Is male/female segregation acceptable under the Ryokan Law? I don’t know so I feel I can’t argue that aspect of it.
    2) Rakuten’s response kind of has lot of caveats; the intention wasn’t to cause ‘discomfort’ or ‘inconvenience’. It was due to possible language barriers etc. And they seemed to be saying it’s an isolated incident of miscommunication…..but…..

    then I thought there’s got to be more hotels on rakuten with discriminatory clauses. So I googled and this popped up.
    民宿 たつみ荘<神奈川県>
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/38909/38909.html
    Now this Minshuku in Kanagawa states..
    外国のお客様はおことわり致します。

    I assume there are more on there is someone takes the time to look.
    The problem I see here is that before the odd hotel here and there had hidden discriminatory rules or a sign that few people saw.
    But with the Internet and large sites like rakuten. If they’re allowed to display this, people will get used to seeing it whilst browsing and being on a large site like rakuten will add legitimacy to these practices.

    I contacted both the second hotel and Rakuten and I’ll update when I have the full replies.

    — Thanks Chand. Great work.

  • Thanks Chand for the good find and letter.
    One can search within any site, like this
    site:travel.rakuten.co.jp “外国人” “お断り”
    site:travel.rakuten.co.jp “外国の方” “お断り”

    Below, are 30 more hotel listings there that are illegally excluding people.

    (Language concerns don’t legalize hotel exclusion based on Race.)
    (Language concerns don’t legalize hotel exclusion based on Nationality.)
    (Apologizing and stopping when caught does NOT erase the illegal exclusion which occurred.)

    Should we let them avoid prosecution by warning them, and thus the whack-a-mole continues,
    or should a foreign-appearing-Japanese-citizen simply go on tour get excluded and sue each?

    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/4958/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/15743/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28711/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28712/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28713/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28714/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28715/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28717/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28718/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28719/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28721/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28723/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28725/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28726/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28727/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28728/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28730/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28731/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/52874/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/56734/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/69340/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/71940/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/74602/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/84607/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/135912/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/38474/CUSTOM/3847460809131449.html
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/108614/CUSTOM/108614100831214240.html
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/108617/CUSTOM/108617101005122410.html
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/137792/CUSTOM/137792130401105833.html
    http://hotel.travel.rakuten.co.jp/hotelinfo/plan/142927

  • The larger capsule hotels that take women are able to do so by accommodating the genders on separate floors. The individual capsules have no doors to lock, so security is indeed a concern. Also many check-ins occur late at night, and male guests who have been drinking prefer to use them because the cost for spending the night may be considerably less than the cost of taking a taxi home, especially in Saitama bed towns like Omiya.

  • Chand Bakshi says:

    thanks for the links,
    I passed them on to rakuten. See what the reply is.
    It’s going to be a real hassle for them to contact each hotel. I think they’ll either erase them or just start ignoring my complaints with some ‘the pages arent rakutens responsibility’ kinda thing.

    Does anyone know of a hotel that has ever been penalized for breaking the ryokan law? Not just for discrimination, just anything?

    — Yes. The hotel in Kumamoto penalized and pilloried for refusing former Hansen’s Disease patients in 2003. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2004/01/06/national/hotel-now-opens-its-doors-to-hansens-patients/

  • Chand Bakshi says:

    Ok, so here is an update on the hotels on Rakuten Travel.

    So to recap, a hotel refusing gaikokujin found on Rakuten travel. Contacted hotel, they said it was a mistake, contacted Rakuten and they said they contacted the hotel and the page was changed. All was well, except a google search showed another hotel the たつみ荘 in Kanagawa. And then more hotels, over 30 were found on there with similar problems.
    I passed them onto Rakuten and contacted the first hotel, the たつみ荘 myself.
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/38909/38909.html
    Their page stated “外国のお客様はおことわり致します”
    I called the hotel.
    They answered in Japanese stating the hotel name. I double-checked in Japanese they were the correct hotels. As soon as they heard my gaijin voice they said they were not a hotel. The said wrong number.
    I asked why they had just given the hotel name when they first answered and they hung up on me.
    I called back multiple times; they eventually answered and said they were the hotel. I asked if the statement on their Rakuten page was a mistake, did they just mean that they could only speak Japanese but would in fact accept gaijin guests. They said definitely no, no gaijin allowed. They did say sorry but no gaijin allowed, that was the rule, it wasn’t breaking any law and it was not discrimination.
    I told them I would ask Rakuten to take down their page if that was the case. They repeated it wasn’t discrimination and hung up on me.
    So, I contacted Rakuten with this hotel and told them the hotel wasn’t mistaken in its explanation, but in fact 100% discriminating.
    Rakuten replied and said they contacted them, and they would accept gaijin guests so they altered their page to *日本語のみの対応となります(Japanese ONLY)*
    Yes I know it says Japanese Only but they are referring to language only. I would like to talk to Rakuten directly to point out that it still sounds discriminatory in English even if it isn’t in the Nihongo. To double check this I contacted them again.
    This time she was polite, and said they would accept gaijin but they could only interact in Japanese. She did add as long as they had available rooms.

    So they changed their rule, but only after being told by Rakuten. Why the sudden change? Maybe they believed Rakuten rather than me when I said it was illegal and discriminatory. I wish I knew what Rakuten was actually saying to them, because I got the feeling, especially with her ‘if rooms available’ comment that Rakuten might have just told them they can’t write that kind of stuff and should be clever about their discrimination.
    That’s me just being cynical, but if anyone gets a chance to visit Kanagawa, try staying there as a test. Get a Japanese person to make the booking in their name for you to be sure though.
    I’ll post Rakuten’s emails in full and their replies about the other 30 odd hotels when I get a chance later.

    — Excellent work, Chand. Thanks for it. I note that the Japanese and English rendering of the new rules are fundamentally different to those who cannot read Japanese: Anyone who reads English only will think that only Japanese people are allowed — so don’t bother reserving. End of transaction. Given how nasty Tasumi Sou was to you, it’s pretty likely that’s the intent. No doubt benefiting here for these managers.

    Anyway, I’m glad Rakuten is being helpful here. It’s only their leverage (and your assiduousness) that is getting these rules amended. I think we should devote a separate blog entry to your research soon.

  • I wonder if the on-line booking by in-coming fans will be exposed even more, now that Japan has (for some odd reason) been awarded the Super Rugby franchise to host the sport. More foreigners and their fans arriving on the shores of “welcome to Japan”..who may receive a less than friendly welcome by such establishments.

    “..Japan will host a new franchise in the Super Rugby competition, the southern hemisphere’s premier club rugby tournament, from 2016..”

    * http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-union/29756459

  • Update: Nothing has changed, still 30 Rakuten pages with Japanese hotel owners denying entry to foreigners.

    On August 22nd Chand Bakshi notified Rakuten’s Mr. Nakano at travel@faq.rakuten.co.jp about these thirty pages:

    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/4958/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/15743/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28711/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28712/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28713/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28714/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28715/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28717/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28718/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28719/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28721/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28723/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28725/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28726/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28727/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28728/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28730/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/28731/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/52874/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/56734/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/69340/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/71940/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/74602/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/84607/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/135912/
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/38474/CUSTOM/3847460809131449.html
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/108614/CUSTOM/108614100831214240.html
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/108617/CUSTOM/108617101005122410.html
    http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/HOTEL/137792/CUSTOM/137792130401105833.html
    http://hotel.travel.rakuten.co.jp/hotelinfo/plan/142927

    Each of the 30 Rakuten pages above clearly state in Japanese that no foreigners are allowed.

    Rakuten’s Mr. Nakano has proven himself and his company Rakuten knowingly taking part in (knowingly accomplices of) illegal Denial of Entry by Hotels.

    When the foreign media begin to report about this situation the president of Rakuten is going to look bad while the stock price of Rakuten goes down. Better fix it now.

  • Actually, it looks like something has changed. There is now a comment that says that the staff only speaks Japanese (at least for the ones that I have checked).

  • Other Anonymous says:

    I poked around randomly at 8 of the above 30 entries. Where does it clearly state in Japanese that no foreigners are allowed?

    I see this part:
    —–
    現地にはスタッフがおりません。また、日本語以外を話せるスタッフもおりません。
    There is no staff on site. Furthermore, our staff only speaks Japanese.
    —–
    …but I don’t see any other mention of no foreigners allowed (gaikokujin okotowari; taiou fuka; etc).

    Am I missing something?

  • Ctrl+F found 外国 in all 30 pages right before posting the update 3 days ago, so obviously Rakuten noticed the post (Google Alerts) and quickly stepped in and wrote “日本語以外を話せるスタッフもおりません” on all 30 pages (notice how suddenly all these various hotels coincidentally now use the exact same sentence.)

    Great, so we won, I guess. Rakuten cleaned up their pages. But now someone needs to make a few phone calls to those 30 (who were boldly writing about their refusal to allow foreign guests up until a few days ago) see if the Rakuten pages having been recently cleaned up actually proves that their racist policy has really stopped, or if, as Chand discovered by phone already, that when called by non-native speakers they clererly claim “we’re not a hotel, wrong number” and hang up in an effort to avoid following the hotel law about never refusing an open room to a person who wants to rent it.

    So yes folks, the Rakuten pages have been cleaned up, and this happened immediately after “the dirty 30” were posted on this thread again October 26th.

    The question remaining is will the dirty 30 actually start allowing foreign guests from now on?

  • Ah, turns out it was Google’s -ex-employee Adrian Havill (Eido Inoue) who saw the post here on October 26th, then did his usual game of “Hey, somebody found your sign which admittedly denies entry based on either race or nationality (both illegal acts of entry denial) BUT I know you’re not racist right, so here’s how to fix it and claim it was all a communication problem about a communication problem. It was just about language. You just didn’t know how to express that properly, so you wrote, “No Foreign People” and “Japanese People Only” but I understand that what you really meant to write was “We only have Japanese language speakers here, please be able to speak the Japanese language here” see now nobody can sue you for what your sign said yesterday. Just claim you have bad English skills and this whole illegal act of having had a sign that clearly said “外国人はお断り” just goes away forever. And from now on, don’t publicly admit your honne anymore. If you don’t want to do business with foreigners, just say, “We’re all booked up.” See, just don’t write those honest signs like you were doing before. Those signs are illegal.”

    http://japologism.com/tomorrows-japan-times-headlines-today/2360/comment-page-2#comment-85190

  • I took a look at some of the pages listed in comment #26 shortly after it was posted, and there was clearly discriminatory text in each that I checked (“since our staff only speaks Japanese, foreigner reservations will be refused”, etc.) The pages have been changed since the comment was published on this site, which was just 2 days ago.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I don’t think it matters if the apologist Havill has been giving Japanese firms tips on how to get away with racism for free, the news is still out there;
    Amazon.com challenger wannabe Rakuten supports racist practices.
    That’s the damaging part.

  • Eido Inoue works/worked for Rakuten (not Google), so that makes his job easier advising his racist clients how to be more PC. It’s fun to see the non-native speaker of Japanese coach the natives on how to discriminate better.

    Wait until he gets refused from a real racist place that won’t take him in no matter what he says or does because they won’t take foreigners (including the naturalized ones). It happens. Will his attitude towards racism change then?

    — Sorry, point of order. Naturalized foreigners are Japanese. Eido is a Japanese. Let’s keep our terminology as such.

  • Jim Di Griz Says:
    October 29th, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    I don’t think it matters if the apologist Havill has been giving Japanese firms tips on how to get away with racism for free, the news is still out there;

    The true litmus test is for a Japanese speaking foreigner to turn up at some of the named hotels which have changed their pages and enquire about vacancies. Please video the reaction on your mobile phones.

    It would make a great story with international consequences because I suspect the original postings of ‘Japanese Only’, before the apologist got them to change their pages, is their real intended message

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Anonymous, #30

    I don’t know what you are up to. I understand you have an issue with a person you refer to. I sometimes find myself snickering at that person’s language behavior– which somewhat resonates with some tech-geeks working for the Gates Foundation, AEI(American Enterprise Institute), or even aggressive promoters(like Bill Gates, David Coleman, and Ed secretary Arne Duncan) of CCS(Common Core Standards).

    But I don’t see any reason why he should be called out for this mess just because he works for the company being accused of. Is he hired as a web administrator who has responsibility for daily maintenance of company website? Is he a sole owner of it? I might have an issue if he is indeed in a sole possession of entrepreneurship like Hiroshi Mikitani, and doing some data-mining thing or promotion of VAM models for phony education privatization business to please powers-that-be like Gates or Duncan.

    I have a point of order, too. I don’t feel comfortable having persons here doing similar creepy talking-behind-one’s-back tactic that can be seen in some stalking website to the detriment of integrity and ethics in civil discourse. That’s what this blog should not allow to happen.

    — Points well taken.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Loverilakkuma #36

    I do agree with your point; we ARE better than them, and posts like #30 give the wrong impression. The fact that we are not like that is why Debito-org is a vibrant and welcoming on-line community, and stalker site is an obsessive intellectual cul-de-sac of a site, that is paranoid towards new posters.

    However, I do think that the information posted above may be relevant (Doctor Debito can decide), since the apologist forces are working in a concerted effort against debito.org (remember the hack, anyone?), and a core tenet of their cult is that Dr. Debito (and this site) are full of people with an axe to grind, whereas they themselves are just trying to ‘set the record straight’.

    Now we can see (as Dr. Debito posited in his JBC about apologists) that this particular apologist appears to be a vested interest, and far from ‘setting the record straight’, appears to be a player in the game of denying equal rights to NJ.

  • It just seems ironic to me, that Eido approaches these people who have admittedly put up signs that say “Black People Not Allowed Here” “White People Only Here” oops I mean “Japanese People Only Here” “Non-Japanese People Not Allowed Here” and approaches them in a non-scientific, non-neutral way, meaning, he assumes in every case (usually quite obviously incorrectly) that such a sign which patently denies entry to certain groups of humans somehow does not express the correct intent of the sign poster.

    He approaches illegal action perpetrators and helps them avoid prosecution. A sign that says “No Foreigners” means “No Foreigners” publicly-posted-policy-of-racial-discrimination or patently-illegal-denial-of-entry-based-on-race-or-nationality-or-appearance.

    And yet this Eido guy approaches such literal perpetrators with a strongly false assumption that “No Foreigners Allowed” somehow is just a typo and what the sign poster really meant to post was the totally different and legal “Japanese Laguage Only”, why assume beforehand that the sign poster didn’t mean what he posted?

    Eido complains that Debito assumes bad faith, but my complaint is that Eido assumes good faith on the part of proven perpetrators, which is not being neutral at all. And Yes, I mean perpetrators in the legal sense, for example, any person who has ever denied entry (through signs or through real actions, like lying about room availability) based on the potential customer’s race or nationality, those people have committed illegal acts and thus are perpetrators by definition, since those hotel owners, managers, and staff, have refused people for being foreign, or refused people who look or sound foreign. It’s absolutely illegal for hotels in Japan to do hide rooms from potential customers, this is far from that whole debate about rights of private companies, this is about hotels breaking the hotel laws of Japan.)

    So yes I’m pissed that once again, this guy has walked up to somebody clearly breaking the law: like imagine you see someone breaking into a car and hot-wiring it, you see the window smash and the wire business going on, you’re obviously witnessing an illegal act, there is a victim and a perpetrator, and your sense of justice wants a police officer to arrest the perpetrator of illegality, and for that arrest and the subsequent penalty to be harsh enough and publicized enough to scare future potential-perpetrators into deciding to instead obey the law to avoid the same scary penalty…

    And yet here comes Mr. “That probably isn’t an illegal act, that’s probably an innocent guy” comes along and helps the car thief drive off with the car without arrest. In this case, it’s Mr. “This racist ‘No Blacks Allowed” sign isn’t racist in intent, it’s just a language mistake caused by lack of language ability on the part of the owners plus bad past behavior on the part of some black folks in the past, but still this racist sign is definitely not racist, this poor Japanese old man didn’t realize that what he should have written is ‘I only speak Japanese here’ so I helped the old guy avoid prosecution, aren’t I cute, I’m helping this old perpetrator avoid prosecution, by feeding him the excuse to claim when called by justice seekers, and by claiming to everyone I can through video interviews that the old man who had a sign saying ‘No Foreigners’ was in fact a quite likeable guy and is the victim in all of this so let’s not prosecute the old guy, because that sign was just a big misunderstanding.”

    This Mr. Denial has once again assumed that the sign didn’t mean what it said, and quickly worked to hide the evidence to avoid a lawsuit.

    I’m not happy with this guy’s actions, because I seriously see him as helping perpetrators (like the Udon owner) to avoid prosecution for their illegal actions (in this case, hotels in Japan that were caught publishing a policy of denying rooms to non-japanese-people, and let’s keep in mind that these hotels have clearly been caught with the Internet Archive standing by as witness of the pre-censored policy written pre-October 26th, and yes the Internet Archive is an impartial source that has been used successfully in court cases as evidence of the published record, so those hotels and Rakuten still are on the record as having made statements which have broken the hotel laws of japan. Pretty cut and dry really. Screenshots have been taken and uploaded to facebook for posterity and proof of upload date (a new court approved dating method), so Rakuten should be worried, with valid reason, about a major lawsuit being filed and won, as well as a very bad publicity scandal in which Rakuten tried to get the Internet Archive to delete all their cache of those 30 dirty hotels. Rakuten had better submit an Admittance, and Apology, an Archive of what they tried to hide, and a Promise to never allow such illegal activities (breaking hotel laws of Japan) and all 4 of these steps must be done immediately to avoid this Rakuten problem going viral now.

  • Evidence A, Rakuten published:
    http://i.imgur.com/1gvWETa.png

    Evidence B, Rakuten published:
    http://i.imgur.com/5FsTuHG.png

    Evidence C, Rakuten published:
    http://i.imgur.com/KaKn7rX.png

    Rakuten has deleted the evidence.

    Where is the 反省 from Rakuten for having been an accomplice in a published crime against hotel law?
    Where is the 反省 from the hotel owners for published evidence of their crime against hotel law?

    Rakuten has actually merely tried to delete the evidence, but the evidence is still there as shown above in Google Cache and Internet Archive and other well known evidence gathering spiders.

    So, I really do think that Rakuten is obliged to admit there was a problem, because currently Rakuten is being caught attempting to hide the illegal action they participated in (knowingly or unknowingly) without any hansei, without any deep internal reflection (which would, logically, lead to real repentance and a true apology) but here both Rakuten and the Hotel Owners have been convinced (By Eido Inoue, sorry to mention his name, but he decided to take the credit by publicly announcing that he “solved the problem” as shown in his post above) convinced that they can simply hide this past tense illegal action which happened.

    Rakuten’s PR team must now Admit that those sentences were once wriiten, Apologize for the lack in oversight of keeping illegal things off Rakuten, Archive the jiken for transparency (just like Warner Brothers did), and Promise to never again allow such illegal sentences to be published on Rakuten.

    Want to be forgiven for your crimes? Admit, Apologize, and Promise. Show us the Hansei, Rakuten.

  • Re: Eido, I agree that he is extremely disingenuous – and I hate that the internet has become a false dichotomy between Debito and Eido – one person pointing out clearly racist things, though with plenty of flaws of his own – and another guy who just jams his fingers in his ears and says, “Nuh-uh.” As I said in a previous comment, every comment Eido makes on Debito’s articles is a completely disingenuous, irrelevant attempt at sabotaging the conversation.

    And, as I also said before, he personally uses racial slurs in his comments, and insists that they “aren’t racist” because the dictionary says so.

    What he does with these businesses is like a reverse cold-reading. He walks up to racists and says, “Hey, your sign wasn’t meant to be racist, was it?” and literally hands them an excuse for their racist sign: “You clearly meant ‘We only speak Japanese’, right?”

    With a nudge and a wink, and OF COURSE the racist business owner nudges and winks right back. “Oh, yeah, right, sure, of course, we didn’t mean to be racist. It’s, uh…yeah, what you said!”

    And Eido goes online to crow about what a wonderful anti-racism crusader he is, but really all he’s doing is cold-reading his audience, giving them an out, allowing them to hide their racism behind a dogwhistle.

    All he’s really teaching racist business owners is that there will always be a foreigner willing to play along with the ruse, play along with the racist little game. All Eido is really doing is teaching racist business owners that white men are the “right” kind of foreigner, who will come in and “translate” his little sign for him from blatant racism into dogwhistle racism.

    Because, who else is better at dogwhistle racism than white man? Well, Japanese people are PRETTY good at dogwhistle racism, so I guess that’s why Eido gets along so well with all these shop owners with racist signs.

    Like attracts like, right?

  • Chand Bakshi says:

    So I was meaning to chase up Rakuten on the fact nothing had changed, but work kept getting in the way.
    I think Rakuten has been slow, and mailed them to say so (waiting for a reply)

    But in response to Anonymous:-“So, I really do think that Rakuten is obliged to admit there was a problem, ”
    Rakuten deserve a little credit here, with the original complaint they clearly stated,

    “Certainly, hotels can not deny their services based
    on race, and we do not permit such practices, therefore
    we have contacted the hotel and ask them to remove
    completely the phrase used.”

    I will update when i hear back from Rakuten.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @#38&40

    Sounds like Eido always has to play a devil’s advocate every time Debito’s article comes out. His decision to make his testimony on a whacky JP website three years ago—-which seems nothing more than promotion of his publicity stunt, to me– shows he has to stand by for his commitment.

    What makes it so funny is his comments become antithetical and obnoxious especially when the topic is becoming more specific and serious–e.g., child abduction, police brutality—that it goes beyond his knowledge and expertise (is it RFID!?).

    I wouldn’t be surprised with his behavior. Cold, dry, phlegmatic attitude seems to be common among computer engineering folks.

    Regarding his action on recent incident at Tentake restaurant, however, I personally don’t have a problem with his approach to the owner for removing “No Foreigners Allowed” sign. No matter what motives he might have, he did the right thing at least for that. He was sure it was not right for owner and anyone because it could send a wrong message.

    — I’m all for people going in and getting exclusionary signs down. Obviously. What I am not for is people saying, “it was all a misunderstanding,” or worse yet, “all of these kinds are signs are basically misunderstandings”, which was the lesson alleged from the Tentake Case. This historical denialism, both according to historical survey and court precedents, is simply not true for all cases.

    So if the sign comes down and the manager changes the policy to make things more inclusive for customers, great. If the sign comes down and another sign goes up that still gives the manager the option to refuse people under essentially the same rubric as before (as happened in the Otaru Onsens Case), not so great. Empowering excluders with weasel-worded signs to enable them to potentially exclude as before is a very dangerous precedent, one that I think will eventually come back to haunt collaborators, because they are not addressing the root causes of discrimination that will ultimately affect them and their children too.

  • @Chester #40 – I agree 100% with your concise summary.
    It’s like a black man in America telling business owners,
    “Replace your ‘Whites Only’ sign with ‘Dress Code Enforced’.”
    “Yep, you’re all good now, problem solved, now you’re Legal.”
    “Now you can simply point to the sign whenever dark folks come.”
    “When white folks come wearing the exact same clothes, let ’em in.”
    “So the illegal sign disappears, but you can still choose your clients.”
    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/city-sues-lucky-strike-lanes-discrimination-barred-dress-code-article-1.176557

    @Chand #41 – Rakuten should put that sentence ON THE PAGE,
    just like a newspaper correction, for the permanent record.

    The fact that you received a private e-mail from an employee,
    is unprovable, and unseen by people who visit those 30 pages.

    Society requires a PUBLIC Admittance+Apology+Promise on those pages.
    Not just some private e-mail that potential customers will never see.

    @Loverilakkuma #42 – I like your general vibe, but this phrase is wrong:
    Re: why the signs must be taken down: “because it could send a wrong message.”
    It seems you too have been convinced that “No Foreigners” meant “Speak Japanese.”
    Please reconsider. These are not signs with 2 possible meanings, like “Japanese Only.”
    Perhaps you were still thinking about those old vague signs that COULD imply language.

    These are signs that explicitly wrote “Japanese PEOPLE Only” “Non-Japanese PEOPLE Banned.”
    How can you, a rational brother, think that those signs uh, “could send the wrong message.”?
    The hotel owners sent a PERFECTLY clear message in Japanese about their law-breaking policy.

    These hotel owners broke the hotel law, and must be forced to admit it like the Kumamoto Hotel.
    Please Loverilakkuma, don’t start claiming that ”外国人はお断りします” really meant ”こちらは日本語だけ”.

    Please don’t fool yourself into thinking these hotels were ALLOWING foreigners who speak Japanese.
    These particular signs DENIED entry to ALL foreigners. Even those who speak Japanese. All banned.

    Please forgive me for correcting that one phrase you wrote, my brother. In general, I love reading all your posts. 🙂

  • ““Replace your ‘Whites Only’ sign with ‘Dress Code Enforced’.””

    EXACTLY.

    It’s kind of hard to put into precise words, because this kind of thing is so subtle and pervasive. It’s all about arbitrary rules enforced arbitrarily that JUST HAPPEN to punish the minority more than the majority.

    We have literacy tests for voting, or poll taxes, or any number of things that whites used to exclude non-whites without openly saying what they were doing.

    “Dogwhistle” is a pretty new term, I believe coming from Australia, not the US, and not originally a term for racism. But “dogwhistle racism” is precisely this: a seemingly innocent phrase that actually has a racist meaning if you understand the context.

    A classic dogwhistle in the US is “Pull your pants up!” In line with your “dress code” example, American whites are known to often use “sagging pants” and the concept of “dress yourself properly” as racist weapons against non-whites.

    “Japanese language staff only” is a VERY clear dogwhistle, saying, “We aren’t even going to bother trying to understand you, so you may as well go somewhere else.” Or, put simply, “Sorry, you aren’t welcome here.”

    Japan can go on and on with their “omotenashi” circle jerk, but it is and will always be just that. If you have a business where the only English on your sign or website is, “Sorry, we don’t speak English,” you’re not being very welcoming.

    It would take all of ten seconds on Google translate to add the phrase, “…but we will do our best to serve you, because all are welcome!”

    Eido, again, is just a disingenuous racist (yeah, I’m gonna say it: he himself is racist, being part of a system of clear majority/minority dichotomies – and, as a white man, he is clearly comfortable and happy with the concept of both white AND Japanese privilege). He’s happy to perpetuate racial and racist systems, and makes a hobby out of giving racist people safe dogwhistles they can use instead of outright stating their bigotry.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Anonymous #43

    “It seems you too have been convinced that “No Foreigners” meant “Speak Japanese.”

    How so? Never have I mentioned that “No Foreigners” is equivalent to “unable to speak Japanese” in my post above. I was pointing it out as a direct message (English translated, could be slightly different) posted on the front door of Tentake restaurant. Different people interpret the message in different ways–depending on how one sees the message, and argue over its connotation and its potential impact on customers and the property owner. My understanding is that business owners tend to put a controversial sign or note without thinking its meaning and the consequence for doing do. That’s a huge problem, and such ignorance or neglect cannot be excused as “cultural misunderstanding” if it leads to a graving consequence for potential injury.

    I’m not fooling anything at all. If you really think it otherwise, sorry, it’s you who are trapped in a silly linguistic mind-game.

    But, anyway, thanks for your last comment.

  • @Loverilakkuma #45 – Brother, first you wrote “could send the wrong message” and now you’ve written “Different people interpret the message in different ways”, correct?

    My reply is this: “Japanese Only” written in English is the ONLY time one could rationally claim MIGHT possibly mean “Japanese LANGUAGE Only”.

    Look, we’re talking about a different phrase here: “外国人はお断り” written in Japanese is not up for interpretation.

    See, I have to make this clear to you LRK, because you wrote above two sentences which Eido is writing over there right now.

    He’s assuming that “外国人はお断り” doesn’t necessarily mean “外国人はお断り”, that it COULD mean “日本語を話せない外国人はお断り”.

    That’s the obviously flawed assumption he keeps making… but the fact that these “外国人はお断り” signs are WRITTEN IN JAPANESE disproves his false assumption.

    He claims we’re misinterpreting these signs, that we’re making false assumptions. But “外国人はお断り” undeniably means “外国人はお断り”.

    So far, the excuses for non-prosecution of these hotel owners who broke the hotel law are as follows:

    #1 Their self-published policy of “外国人はお断り” didn’t really mean “外国人はお断り”, it meant “日本語を話せない外国人はお断り”, so: their “外国人はお断り” policy never broke the hotel law.

    #2 Even if “外国人はお断り” really did mean “外国人はお断り”, until a person RECORDS their self-published law-breaking policy being ENFORCED at the door, then: their “外国人はお断り” policy never broke the hotel law.

    #3 If before, when the self-published hotel-law-breaking policy was online turning away Japanese-speaking-foreigners who were browsing Rakuten Travel looking for lodging, if during that “sign existing” period even ONE FOREIGNER back then managed to convince the staff make an exception to the policy because “I’m not the kind of foreigner you’re trying to ban, I’m a GOOD foreigner”, then: their “外国人はお断り” policy never broke the hotel law.

    #4 If now, AFTER the hotel has received letters informing them that their old policy broke hotel law, if they THEN take down the sign now: their “外国人はお断り” past-policy never broke the hotel law.

    #5 If now (AFTER the hotel has received letters informing them that their old policy broke hotel law) if they then take down the sign now AND BEGIN allowing folks blacks or whites to come in and publish a pleasant experience of having been allowed in post-change, then: their “外国人はお断り” past-policy never broke the hotel law.

    #5 Their “外国人はお断り” past-policy DID break the hotel law, but the hotel owners were IGNORANT of the law, so: no prosecution for having broken the hotel law.

    #6 Their “外国人はお断り” past-policy DID break the hotel law, but since they stopped breaking the law AFTER having been caught, then: no prosecution for having broken the hotel law.

    Note:

    In the cases of Debito’s collection of evidence of past law-breaking on the part of various establishments, we made sure to have good photographic evidence of the law-breaking BEFORE getting the sign removed, but in this case, we don’t even have screenshots because the evidence of law-breaking disappeared WITHOUT any evidence that it ever occurred.

    Hey Eido, did you do what Debito has always done, by CAPTURING PHOTOGRAPHIC (or at least screenshot) EVIDENCE of the hotel-law-breaking “外国人はお断りします” policy?

    Seriously, did you take screenshots of those 30 law-breaking pages published by Rakuten BEFORE advising them to erase the “外国人はお断りします” policy?

    And if so, are you willing to post them publicly so that those hotel owners’ PAST hotel-law-violation can never be denied?

    And if we find that some of these places still do refuse over the phone reservations from Non-Japanese-Citizens, will you then send that evidence to the the Ministry of Justice and the Prefectural Governments?

    I doubt you would, since so far you have NEVER sought financial penalties for “外国人はお断り” polices. Never. Your history is clear.

    And finally, I sure wish we Debito readers had done things differently: for example, recorded on video a Japanese-Language-Fluent person who-happens-to-be-black (preferably a person who also happens-to-be-a-Japanese-Citizen, with a 100% Kanjified name, to keep his or her skin color a total surprise until getting to the front desk) being suddenly refused at the door from entering the pre-confirmed online-reservation.

    See, THEN we would have had a much better chance of having the world opinion force the Ministry of Justice and the Prefectural Governments to do exactly what they did to that Kumamoto Hotel linked above: started prosecution which requires either heavy fines as a penalty for having broken the law, or at the very least: public admittance, public apology, public promise to obey the law in the future.

  • I just noticed that in ‘certain circles’ on the Japan-side blogging community, Eido is being praised for ‘doing in 20 hours, what Debito.org failed to do’, that is to say; remove the signs.

    This is a disingenuous attitude since it totally overlooks Eido’s assumption of innocence, potential conflict of interests and lack of full disclosure with regard to Rakuten, and also fails to understand that one of the missions of Debito.org is NOT to simply remove racist signs, but rather to highlight, and challenge the underlying ideology in Japanese society that discrimination against NJ is an unacceptable problem, something that Eido’s actions are, whilst superficially beneficial to NJ, are actually deeply harmful to NJ by NOT ADDRESSING THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM, rather instead, sweeping it under the carpet, IMHO.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @Anonymous, #46

    Sigh. I have two things to say in your rejoinder. First, I just don’t understand why you are harping on this to veer off the track. I made my point very clearly that the message could be interpreted differently among people. Why? It’s simple. The sender and receivers are NOT on the same page–regardless of language. That’s the bottom line, period. Communication 101.

    I’m not gonna go any further than that. As I predict, you seem to be trapped in linguistic mind-game. I suggest go google ‘Kenneth Burke’
    and do some research on so called ‘terministic screens.’ That will help you figure out how people are using language in a way to create their own meaning as ‘symbolic action.’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Burke
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terministic_screens

    Second, if you have an issue with Eido, go send your message directly to him. Don’t use this space to ramble it on too long because it causes nothing but distraction. I know many readers here take a dim view of him, and I understand that. But, we still need more ethnographic records of his encounter with race/culture discourse (I haven’t seen anything other than Tentake. Anyone?), if we are going to pass a final judgment on his position.

    Again, I will raise a red flag like others if I found him doing something equivalent to this man (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rick_Berman) or like this (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2014/10/teaches_union_ed-tech_startup.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-FB).

    That’s the end of my words on this tangent.

  • ”The ‘外国人はお断り‘ message could be interpreted differently among people” – sigh.

  • @Rillakkuma, I think it’s not helping us understand or explore the motivation of the people who wrote that sentence if you demand that we have to apply some sort of scholarly hermeneutics to the message in question. Of course there is room for interpretation, but that room is not infinitely big. Therefore what you say is, and this might be due to cultural differences too, little more than the same old excuse along the lines of “it’s doesn’t mean what is says.” Hermeneutics applied to real world situations would render any flow of information pointless.
    To be honest, I am still not sure what you are trying to do here on Debito. Almost every source you cite is from outside Japan, and almost always you’ll bring in some completely unrelated US politician or case. It could also be your laboured style that is a little too show-offy for my taste.
    You seem to be one of those people who say “yes, bad things happen in Japan, but look how bad it is in the US!” And I think I’m not wrong with that observation.

    — He’s not one of those people. I’ve met Loverilakkuma in person and spent an afternoon talking shop. He’s on the level. Anyway, let’s get back on topic.

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