Asahi: Survey: Discrimination encountered by 42% of foreign residents in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward; Asahi wants NJ resident opinions

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Hi Blog.  The Asahi Shinbun recently has been doing specials on NJ as residents of Japan (another positive step towards situating them in Japan and humanizing them properly).  First, they do some assessments of the problems of discrimination, then they ask for feedback from NJ readers (“The Asahi Shimbun is also seeking opinions from foreign residents about life in Japanese communities at the AJW website. Please send in your contributions in English to asahi_forum@asahi.com”) and give it in follow-up articles (such as the fluff piece on “Do as the Romans do” also included below).  At least somebody is broaching the possibilities of immigration and assimilation.

Debito.org Readers, please feel free to take up the Asahi’s invitation.  Many of you are already, like it or not, Visible Minorities.  Now be Visible Residents.  And I hope that the GOJ expands its discrimination surveys beyond Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, nationwide.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

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Survey: Discrimination encountered by 42% of foreign residents in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward
Asahi Shinbun, January 25, 2016, courtesy of JK
By YURI IMAMURA/ Staff Writer
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201601250038

Around 42.3 percent of foreign residents in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward “often” or “sometimes” feel discriminated against by Japanese people, particularly during searches for a home, a survey showed.

In comparison, 47.2 percent of non-Japanese in the ward said they “never” or “not too often” experience such discrimination, according to the survey by the Shinjuku Ward government.

The situation most cited for prejudice or discrimination against foreign residents was “when they were searching for a place to live,” at 51.9 percent, followed by “when they were working,” at 33.2 percent, and “when they were going through procedures at a public agency,” at 25.6 percent.

Around 38,000 foreign residents make up 11 percent of Shinjuku Ward’s population.

The ward sent questionnaires to 7,000 randomly selected foreign and Japanese residents listed in the Basic Resident Register last summer for the Survey on Multicultural Living in Shinjuku Ward. It received responses from about 2,000 residents through autumn.

A total of 22.1 percent of the Japanese residents said that having foreign neighbors is “favorable” or “relatively favorable,” surpassing the 16.9 percent who said it is “unfavorable” or “relatively unfavorable.”

The Japanese respondents, however, cited various concerns about having foreign neighbors.

Some 47.6 percent of the Japanese said, “I am worried about how they would take out the garbage,” followed by 35.4 percent who said, “I am worried about loud voices and other noises from their rooms.”

On the positive side, 28.1 percent of the Japanese respondents said having foreign neighbors “would help me take an interest in foreign countries,” while 26.7 percent said it “would help increase my chances to experience foreign cultures.”

Asked what is most needed to eliminate prejudice and discrimination, 50.7 percent of the Japanese said “accepting the different lifestyles of each other.”

AJW is also seeking views from foreign residents about life in Japanese communities.

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TO OUR READERS: AJW seeks views from foreign residents about life in Japanese communities
January 08, 2016, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201601080088

Opening up Japan to more immigrants has been proposed to deal with demographic problems facing Japan, including a declining and graying population.

But that option raises the question of whether Japanese communities are prepared to allow more foreign residents into their neighborhoods.

That is why the AJW site wants to hear from foreign residents of Japan as part of a project being organized by The Asahi Shimbun.

The vernacular Asahi is planning a weekly series of special pages on the theme of Japanese and foreigners living in the same community. The series is scheduled to begin in late January and will run in the weekend issues of the Asahi.

A main objective of the special pages will be to determine what factors help or stand in the way of Japanese who live in neighborhoods with an increasing number of foreign residents.

Special pages in the past have dealt with various themes, and the views sent in by readers were the main material used in putting together the pages.

For the new theme that will begin in January, the pages will again consist mainly of the views and opinions sent in by Japanese readers.

But to provide a different perspective on the issue, we are also interested in hearing from foreign residents to get their side of the story.

We would like to hear about your experiences in living in Japanese communities, your interactions with your neighbors as well as comparisons with life in your native land or in other nations where you may have once lived.

The contributions sent in by foreign residents will be used to shed a different light on interactions between Japanese and foreign residents in various communities.

Please send in your contributions in English to asahi_forum@asahi.com

We ask that you also include your name and a contact number in case reporters at the Asahi wish to make further contact to ask you questions.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
ENDS

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Asahi readers weigh in on ‘do as the Romans do’ in Japan for foreign residents
January 26, 2016
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201601260001

Asahi Shimbun readers are divided over whether foreign nationals living in Japan should “do as the Romans do” to assimilate in this multicultural age.

With the number of foreign residents hitting a record high of 2.17 million as of June 2015, many readers referred to the positive contributions that non-Japanese can make to their communities, while others were concerned about cultural friction and deteriorating public safety.

A central issue was whether foreign nationals need to embrace the “do as the Romans do” approach to become fully functioning members of their communities.

Younger generations, citing growing globalization, said such a mentality was counterproductive.

Of 699 people who responded to an online questionnaire posted in early January, 495 said as of Jan. 21 that a society with a sizable foreign community will inevitably be multicultural where people with diverse cultural backgrounds and values live harmoniously.

Respondents are allowed to pick multiple answers.

In 465 cases, respondents said such a multicultural society will provide greater opportunities for members to learn and experience different languages and cultures.

However, 371 agreed that a multicultural society could create cultural friction over language and lifestyle differences, while 275 voiced concern that accepting a huge influx of immigrants could have a major impact on public safety.

Of the 699 respondents, 335 said they feel very familiar brushing shoulders with foreign residents and 197 said they are somewhat familiar with foreigners, while 124 said they are not very familiar, followed by 43 people who said they are not at all familiar with foreigners.

The survey also collected opinion letters, and readers turned out to be divided over what attitude foreign nationals should adopt in order to become fully functioning members of Japanese society.

A woman in her 50s from Osaka Prefecture said foreign nationals should adopt the “do as the Romans do” mentality and respect Japanese laws, culture and customs if they want to create symbiotic relations with Japanese.

“I believe the ‘do as the Romans do’ attitude is essential for anyone to live in a foreign country, and I would like to ask how many foreigners came to Japan with the idea of respecting Japanese culture in such a manner,” the woman wrote.

A respondent from Tokyo in her 40s said that “if a foreigner chooses to live in Japan, he or she must at least have respect for Japanese culture and manners.”

However, she added that “I think the time is ripe for Japanese people to reform their island-nation mentality, which tends to exclude outsiders.”

“I myself need to keep an open mind to build friendly relations with foreign residents,” she wrote.

A man from Kyoto in his 20s also argued that requiring all members in society to adopt a “do as the Romans do” attitude is obsolete in this era of globalization.

“Culture is a transient thing by nature, and globalization has made us live in a highly diversified world,” he said. “What we need to do is find ways for different cultures and value systems to coexist in harmony.”

Sam Teckenbrock, a 58-year-old U.S.-born resident of Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, who has served as chairman of the local neighborhood association for the past seven years, said foreigners certainly need to develop the “do as the Romans do,” although he concede it was very frustrating for him trying to become accustomed to Japanese culture at first.

“Japanese are tactful as to what they say on the surface and what they truly mean, and it confused me a lot, but I eventually learned that speaking this way is partly meant to avoid hurting another person’s feelings,” he said.

“I don’t think it is difficult at all for Japanese and foreigners to live together in harmony when they candidly tell each other things they could not comprehend and try to understand each other in person.”

* * *

The Asahi Shimbun is also seeking opinions from foreign residents about life in Japanese communities at the AJW website. Please send in your contributions in English to asahi_forum@asahi.com

23 comments on “Asahi: Survey: Discrimination encountered by 42% of foreign residents in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward; Asahi wants NJ resident opinions

  • “Please send in your contributions in English to asahi_forum@asahi.com”)”

    Why in English? The percentage of foreigners (as well as Japanese) in Japan fluent in English is extremely small.
    The common language here in Japan is naturally Japanese.

    Here is the article in Japanese:
    http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASJ1P77NNJ1PUHBI025.html

    外国人が偏見・差別感じるのは…「家探し」 新宿区調査

     区民の11%にあたる約3万8千人の外国人が住む東京都新宿区が、区内の外国人と日本人を対象にした「多文化共生実態調査」の結果をまとめた。家探しに苦労する外国人が多く、外国人のごみの出し方を心配する日本人が多いといった現状が浮かび上がった。

     住民基本台帳から無作為抽出した外国人と日本人の計7千人に昨夏、アンケートを送付。約2200人から回答を得た。

     外国人に日本人からの偏見や差別を感じることがあるかを聞くと、「全くない」「あまりない」が合計で47・2%。「ときどきある」と「よくある」との回答も計42・3%に上った。

     偏見や差別を感じた理由で最も多かったのは「家を探すとき」(51・9%)。「仕事のとき」(33・2%)、「公的機関などの手続きのとき」(25・6%)と続いた。

     一方、日本人に、外国人が近所に住むことについて尋ねると、「好ましい」「どちらかと言えば好ましい」が計22・1%で、「好ましくない」「どちらかと言えば好ましくない」の計16・9%を上回った。

     ただ、近所に外国人が住むことで感じることは「ごみの出し方が悪くならないか心配」(47・6%)、「部屋から大きな声や物音がしないか心配」(35・4%)と心配ごとが多く、次いで「外国に関心を持つようになる」(28・1%)、「外国の文化に触れる機会が増える」(26・7%)だった。

     偏見・差別をなくすために必要なことは「互いの生活習慣の違いを認め合う」が50・7%と最多だった。(今村優莉)

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Hmm…

    ‘A respondent from Tokyo in her 40s said that “if a foreigner chooses to live in Japan, he or she must at least have respect for Japanese culture and manners.”’

    I would agree based on my western liberal understanding of the meaning of ‘respect’ (for others culture and manners), but the key problem in Japanese (and indeed in Japan’s) relations with non-Japanese is that the ‘culture and manners’ we are being asked to respect is one that is based on a world-view established on the belief of the inherent superiority of Japanese culture and manners (effectively making Japanese institutional racism a taboo subject amongst NJ).

    There is a fundamental flaw in Japan’s culture that needs to be addressed, not wallpapered over. Criticizing being discriminated against is not ‘bad manners’ and a culture based on hierarchies of discrimination and bullying deserves no respect.

  • @ Jim,

    Yes, the respect is not reciprocal, and you make excellent points. So easy for house gaijin to point out how we all must abide by rules, but the same rules can be used against you.

  • Do as the Romans do?
    So, while on OUR planet, the Japanese will adopt OUR SUPERIOR democratic and anti-racist models, yes…?

  • “A man from Kyoto in his 20s also argued that requiring all members in society to adopt a “do as the Romans do” attitude is obsolete in this era of globalization”

    would have to agree with this, when it comes to Japan. The problem with do as the romans do mentality is a bit obsolete when the romans openly practice discrimination towards their subjects, its going backwards, then remaining on that spot, just because its comfortable. To assume an inferior identity, just because the romans say so, and then squash your own, is a crime against yourself, in my opinion, regardless what the romans think. This does not mean you have to disobey or disrespect the romans culture.

  • This may be irrelevant, but what is up with “worrying about how they would take out the garbage?” I read/hear this time after time as one of the major worries. It is as if foreigners are packs of wild animals instead of intelligent human beings who just need to learn the recycle/garbage rules of the particular neighborhood.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    “I am worried about loud voices…”
    “Loud voices” too often translates as “people talking in a language I don’t understand.

    And of course garbage and public safety are the big killers. Since ALL Japanese, without exception, follow ALL rules, laws and social norms of Japanese society, foreigners by default, do not. QED

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Betty Boop #6

    I’ll just throw this out there, maybe others can show me if my reasoning is incorrect.

    I think that Japanese society emphasizes the aspects of its culture that it sub-consciously realizes are the weakest, as a kind of self-affirmation exercise in wishful thinking (eg; Japan is a safe/modern/democratic country, or ‘there is no discrimination in Japan’).

    So the comment about the garbage is a statement that there is some ‘Japanese way’ about garbage, and if NJ don’t know it, and do it correctly, all manner of chaos will be unleashed!

    Of course, what this mentality reveals is the extent to which garbage ‘rules’ have been hammered into ordinary Japanese, and the massive place such ‘rules’ occupy in the Japanese consciousness.

    As an analogy, in the warring states era, samurai were often treacherous and switched sides betraying their lords constantly, hence Hagakure constantly bangs on about samurai being loyal to their lord above all, and now this plea for loyalty is seen as historical reality rather than the perfidy that inspired the plea.

    So, with the garbage, we could posit that most Japanese are unsure of/pretty bad at observing the rules, and find the whole thing bothersome, hence the fact that they obsess over how important it is, otherwise they would have to face the simple truth; it’s a pain in the a** that most of them can barely be bothered with.

  • Indeed. I live near an apartment building and the area by the dumpster is a mess.
    Recycling is a problem since some Japanese there do not bother to separate, so sometimes it does not get picked up.
    Cans, plastic bottles and glass can be found together, and not separated.
    I have tried in vain to get my own wife (Japanese) to recycle plastic but she cannot be bothered.
    And then of course are the crows, who like to rip up garbage bags left, since they may not be left under the yellow net, just next to it.

    Jim, I agree with your post.

  • The thing about “doing as the Romans” is that it is that even if you do, you still generally won’t be treated as a fellow “Roman.” Indeed, many become uncomfortable (perhaps because it dissolves their fictitious self-identity of “uniqueness” and “being Japanese”) if you are too 日本人っぽい. (I think this may go a long way towards explaining why many Japanese respond to NJ’s Japanese in English; it’s one of their last ditch efforts to maintain that distinction.) As far as I can tell, the “foreigners don’t follow the rules” mantra is an artificial construct intended to create an a priori reason to exclude or ostracize others, especially given the percentage of Japanese who themselves do not follow those rules. It’s almost an insurmountable obstacle, as in reality there are no true rules, no one unique way of doing anything. Given the inconsistency in behavior among Japanese, when a Japanese says “Japanese people do like this” or “a Japanese wouldn’t do that,” they are probably merely describing their own viewpoint, and due to their delusional view of Japanese society as homogeneous, ascribing their personal feelings to all.

    Indeed, perhaps so many Japanese are truly in such a state of ethnocentricism and denial that they themselves do not realize the contradictions in their own society. I especially feel this way when people state that someone is “more Japanese than a Japanese person,” an obvious contradiction that only serves to demonstrate the delusional degree to which some folks have literally defined being Japanese as excellence.

  • @ Jim Di Griz #8

    When you put it like that it makes sense but it still drives me crazy every time I hear or read it.

  • ‘Of course, what this mentality reveals is the extent to which garbage ‘rules’ have been hammered into ordinary Japanese, and the massive place such ‘rules’ occupy in the Japanese consciousness.”

    Perhaps in any new handbook for newcomers with updates, one of these very misunderstood facts about Japan could be added. That is its a society based on rules, not convictions, and can be hard for an outsider to understand. Japanese are bound by rules and conformity and its what keeps it all together. Its why situational ethics and other twist and turns creep up latter.

    As far as garbage and the knee jerk apologist answer like “duh, its why Japan is such a clean country” No, Singapore is a clean country, however I did see some trash dumped there in an area by the causeway. Japan, however, is anything but. There are companies who hoard trash, because its too expensive to haul away and due to their conservative money hoarding mentality (another misunderstood fact about Japan, many companies are sitting on allot of money, but just wont spend) they wont spend money to dispose of it, and where are the health inspections? Im talking years of trash just piled up outside. Ive seen rats the length of my arm, and Japanese sitting have a smoke break where they take out the garbage with an indifferent attitude about it. People are just too overworked, and its not their role to do anything about it, and they are keeping the “rule” of nothing more nothing less when it comes to effort.

  • Bill Bryant says:

    I love how the garbage thing plays out. It assumes that 100% of Japanese follow 100% of rules. I live in Tokyo and Nagoya. One day outside my apartment building in Tokyo a Japanese resident threw his trash bag of unseparated trash at the pick up point. I politely, in Japanese of course, brought to his attention he had not correctly separated his trash. His reply, “No gaijin will tell me what to do.” Outside the office I work at in Nagoya there are tables to eat lunch. All the tables have the no smoking signs on them. I and a Japanese colleague sat at a table to eat lunch and at a table next to us was a man smoking. I politely pointed out the tables were non smoking and he screamed, “You are in my country. How dare you shame me like this. Go back to your country.” My colleague to this day refuses to admit what he witnessed.

  • JDG #8

    I would go one step further.
    I have observed on numerous occasions, Japanese outside Japan on their holidays or on business. Once outside their highly conformist society rules (for the sake of being ostracised) after a period of time, their obsequiousness to rule following slowly ebbs away. And I have often seen their faces slowly begin to show what is commonly known as a smile and their countenance changes too! It dawns on them that the world does not stop if the rule is not followed, no one will die, no one will no longer not talk to them, everything continues on without a care in the world. Similarly, I have also observed the opposite. Those typical Salary Japanese males when away from their norms of obedience behaving very badly to, in their eyes, a lesser race/nation. They tend to run amok. Just like the uneducated Brits who go to the South of Spain etc. because no one can see them back home and thus report how bad they are behaving!

    It seems to me that all these socialital rules exist in Japan for very good reasons. Historically they have shown themselves to be incapable of being “civilised” towards each other in the absence of such.
    Thus social laws/manners trump everything else, all always. Take out the rubbish (garbage) in the way that is acceptable – in their eyes!

  • @BB #13 – Ah yes, the technique known as Gaslighting, straight out lying to the degree of trying to convince someone (in this case you) that your memory of reality is false, when really it is their account of reality which is false.

    In general, I have found, in my experience, in my opinion, that folks raised in Japanese culture practice this bold Gaslighting degree of lying relatively more than folks raised in Western culture.

    This practice is ESPECIALLY damaging to the victim of this history-warping reality-warping mind-abuse attempt, when not just one person attempts to deny the reality you saw, but instead 2 or 3 or 4 or more folks “back-up” the initial Gaslighting perpetrator’s lie.

    If one were to take video footage of the initial actual event, plus video footage of the subsequent Gaslighting attempt (including the digging in of the heels by the Gaslighting perpetrators, as they repeatedly and strongly and bold-facedly LIE about the reality which all of you plainly saw) showing these conflicting pieces of footage together to a neutral observer would make it clear how EVIL this Gaslighting technique is: attempting to make someone doubt their own memory of reality, through the power of repetition of a lie, and the geometrically-increasing-power of additional lying-witnesses jumping in and attempting to back-up the lie repetition as a unified group, attempting to outweigh with sheer numbers the actual reality which you saw.

    This really would make an interesting video blog documentary on Japan. Simply wear a go-pro (or any such small video camera) as discreetly as possible (or openly, whichever, nobody has privacy in public) and record at all times one’s daily interactions with people in public.

    Record the initial event, be it someone saying something rude or racially discriminatory or whatever, and then record the subsequent Japanese-culture-approved Gaslighting attempt, and then show both pieces of evidence to a neutral observer. It would be tragic and hilarious at the same time, to see liars lie to such an absurd degree.

    For bonus effect, also record how the Gaslighting-attempt perpetrators react when you show THEM the side-by-side video footage which proves the group attempted to lie, as a group, in this way.

    Probably one will then be able to also record bonus footage of the liars attempting to CONTINUE the lie even further, doubling-down on the lie, so to speak, as they begin yelling, “This footage must be altered! Either the footage of the initial event, or the footage of us denying the initial event. One of these parts must be altered! Because we are not liars!” Haha, it would be comedic for neutral observers to watch such proof of modern-day surprisingly-common attempts at: Gaslighting in Japan.

    That could be the show title, “Gaslighting in Japan”. Haha.

    But remember, to the victim suffering this group-perpetrated mind-abuse attempt, especially the 99% of victims who did NOT manage to record video footage of the initial event nor of the subsequent event-denial, to such a victim of Gaslighting WITHOUT video proof to back up the actual reality experienced, this mind-abuse technique can be VERY emotionally/mentally (and physically) damaging.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting

    If needed, begin recording video evidence. With all of the lying and false accusations that the powerful-majority in Japan uses to attempt to damage the powerless-minorities in Japan, it actually makes sense to record all public interactions, to show to the judge in a court case later when needed, for the protection of yourself and for the protection of clear evidence of reality/history/events/actions.

    Either way, with video evidence, or without, be strong when folks attempt this Gaslighting technique on you.

    Be confident in your memory of reality folks: reality is NOT something that is voted on by numbers. You KNOW what you experienced. The liars can lie, but they can NOT change reality.

  • Just picking up on what Bill says because I was of a similar mind. First It’s a sort of no-win scenario. The whole questioning about foreigners assumes an “us and them” attitude from the outset. Second, the operational reality reinforces the assumptions
    1. Japanese follow rules because “Japanese are like that”
    (Witness the countless “we Japanese” type conversations many of us long-term residents have to go through
    2. Foreigners have to learn to follow the rules
    3. If they don’t they are trouble.
    4. Therefore foreigners are potential trouble

    Like strange beasts, not from planet Japan, inherently potentially having trouble or causing potential trouble, lets cut them some slack might be the kindly approach- othering with kindness
    Like strange beasts, we have to find ways to control them, fear, fear, fear might be the real default line for so many brainwashed and buying in to the myths of Japan as an orderly paradise on earth where wa rules and gaijin just are incapable of understanding the otherness of the “Japanese.” This path leads to the prejudices of Sono’s generation, whose racist members feel they can express themselves openly (because they are self-evidently correct).

    I think the Asahi is trying to make some ground on the issue by putting this out but the whole logic is faulted and unhelpful. It assumes that the “Japanese are like this XXX” and “non-Japanese are like that XXX” so immediately puts fault lines and installs barriers.

    But the essential premise is that foreigners are trouble to be dealt with. That’s not a good start.

    As Bill so correctly points out, and something that happens to me all the time, is that Japanese allow themselves to make and break rules when its convenient, but foreigners have to follow the rules all the time.

    I see this all the time; countless examples. It’s a sort of heads we win, tails you loose scenario.

    One of the funniest happened to me just yesterday. I was in a rush approaching the “famous” Shibuya crosswalk yesterday (Sunday morning) and several of us cyclists in a sort of clump weaved our way through the red light onto the crossing where people were walking.

    An obasan traffic cop wobbled over diagonally, singled me out and waved me down with her orange plastic batton. What proceeded was a lecture about traffic rules and not wearing my headphones and (in a kindly way) which also involved marching me along the sidewalk, contents of orders being that I should also dismount when on the sidewalk.

    Was it a dozen or twenty other cyclists, many wearing headphones, doing just what I did whizzed past, a couple of others on the sidewalk weaving their way through people while riding, then cars flashing through the red lights when the lights changed again.

    It was a sort of weird parallel reality. There we were, dozens of people breaking the rules, but the 50-something gaijin gets a very public (although to be fair kindly) lecture by an officious traffic policewoman something like 10 years her junior.

    I sort of gave her a quizzical look and said, “well, what about all the others- look” and put on the front of being genuinely puzzled. I’ve learned that getting angry in these situations is just counterproductive.

    Bless her, she did look a bit embarrassed. We both knew the game was up- she thought me an easy target for gaijin control and a public display, and ended up talking to someone whom I hope she thought was a pleasant and reasonable man.

    At least she didn’t pretend not to understand me and became progressively less dogmatic.

    A very minor human exchange over the huge barriers erected between us, all in her mind. At least she did her job in a professional way and listened to me. You argue back with cops in the U.S. and if you’re the wrong color they shoot you!

    It’s often the reverse- I guess many of us have used the gaijin card to get out of situations where we’ve broken the rules. It’s incumbent on us to be responsible – I can’t say citizens because we aren’t and that’s another basic issue closely related to the us and them premise put out by the Asahi- but, ultimately, it’s heads we win and tails you loose.

  • ONLY 42% honestly sounds rather low… And bullshit on the garbage excuses. It’s called communication and talking with people, try it apartment owners. I’ve seen it solve problems in magical ways.

  • “I have also observed the opposite. Those typical Salary Japanese males when away from their norms of obedience behaving very badly to, in their eyes, a lesser race/nation.”

    Thats a good observation, one I have observed as well. I was recently in another country and watched a group of Japanese salary man, dressed and acting like they were in Tokyo, but with very sour faces, with a look of disdain for their surroundings. Kind of pitied them, but it also disgusted me, because conformity feels like a cult, so I got away from them as fast as I could.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    The garbage thing is part of the mantra. It’s even included in elementary school moral education lessons on “international understanding”, usually in the form of an NJ being on the receiving end of discrimination because they didn’t put the garbage out correctly. Someone then corrects them and the discrimination magically disappears! (Which, as we all know, is not how discrimination works)

    Much like the mantra that “Japanese are original and others copy Japan”. I’ve shown kids pictures of the Eiffel Tower only to have them mutter out loud that it is a copy of Tokyo Tower (slaps forehead). Even worse, however, is the reaction of ADULTS when I mention that some people think Tokyo Tower is modelled on the Eiffel Tower… cries of “We are not like China! We don’t copy!”
    (“We don’t copy” I wish someone would tell that to all the Japanese teenagers when they hand in their assignments and I get four identical compositions)

    And the denial. “Japanese don’t do drugs” (Kiyohara might beg to differ…), the old woman on the train who got up and looked for another seat after you sat down next to her “wasn’t racist, she was probably afraid you’d speak to her in English and…” (Everyone is a psychic), you find yourself a victim of crime and you’ll get “It must have been a foreigner”

    Amid all this are the TV programs (possibly time slots!) telling Japanese how wonderful, unique, clever, etc. they are.

    Day-to-day life for the NJ can be a real grind.

  • Bill Bryant says:

    What is so sad to me is that people come to Japan for very specific and good reasons. Most of which are to contribute Japanese society in one way or another. Then from the start it is soft beat down then after a few years it is full on beat down. Tool and die is dying in Japan (sorry, no pun there) and as one who has been in the business for 25 years and as a consultant now. Owners for some reason would rather their business die than to leave it to a non-family member. Do not even think of a US or EU partnership to keep the business alive, oh no they’d rather the business die. I can’t wrap my head around this.

    Yet, in every instance it is “This is how WE Japanese are.” I can’t imagine letting a family business that is 70, 50, or even 30 years old die just because there is no immediate family member to leave the business. Even more so to let the business die because GASP we can’t let foreigners run the business grandpappy started, oh no he’d turn in his grave. It is just madness to me. Japanese tool and die is without doubt the best in the world due to the lazer levels and robotics. Sadly in 10 or 15 years it may all be done in China or South Korea. And they’d rather see that than to make changes to save the industry.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I don’t have an issue with the findings. But I have to say this survey has several limitations including but not limited to length of period, lack of respondent’s demographic information (age, gender, location, socio-economic demography, etc.), unclear target sample(number of foreign residents who actually participated in survey in contrast to Japanese), etc.

    If you have 38,000 foreign residents in Shinjuku Ward, and get some out of the pool as random sample, you sure might want to secure them as much as possible regardless of your initial estimate. The thing is initial estimate is just an estimate. It does not give you an exact number of responses for all samples you give out initially. You always need to consider any possibility that brings invalid data–i.e., incomplete questionnaire, double-dipping, no return. A lower turnout (28%) shows that the survey does not go through a lot about the representation of foreign residents community, as it seems to be made in expedite(or rash) manner for quick outcome: regarding the size and varieties of its community spreading out in multiple districts of the ward, 5-6 months are just too short to get enough data for the target sample. The survey needs to be open-ended for long-term research.

    If you have some foreign residents in specific war or district of the town, and you select some portion out of the pool as a random sample–you sure might want to get it as much as possible for data analysis.

  • I have been here only 9 months as a spouse of a Japanese citizen and I have already shockingly experienced all that you mentioned on the comments: the denial, gaslighting, “oh we Japanese…” and “oh it must be foreigners” (to throw garbage without separating it or worst throw heavy iron-metal like garbage in the woods to avoid paying).and gets free lectures on how to do even the simplest things such as washing dishes in the Japanese way (always assumed as the only right way existing on earth) lol! Add up that my son experience ijime at school five days per week and that in such a long time I did not manage to have one single japanese friend (sorry I still dont speak the language) cause nobody dares to speak to me lol! They usually say to me “oh it s because Japanese are shy!” bullshit. I am European and lived in several different countries but never experienced such an isolation and so many discriminating behaviors in less than a year of residence!

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