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  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • “WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS” stickers for businesses now on sale at Debito.org (Paypal OK)

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on March 13th, 2008

    HANDBOOKsemifinalcover.jpgFranca-color.jpg
    Hi Blog. Happy to announce, along with the sale of HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS, another new program on Debito.org to push back the night–and counteract the nationwide spread of JAPANESE ONLY signs on businesses: New signs that say “WE WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS”:

    welcomesticker.jpg
    More details on how you can order these stickers through Paypal here:
    http://www.debito.org/welcomestickers.html

    I’ll have a list of businesses with the stickers up there as orders come in. Please patronize these establishments, and tell the management that you approve of the sticker!

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    (PS: I’ll be on tour from now until April with only sporadic Internet access. Sorry to keep commenters waiting…)

    38 Responses to ““WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS” stickers for businesses now on sale at Debito.org (Paypal OK)”

    1. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Debito,

      Any chance of “INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS” instead of “NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS”? Forgive me if this has been discussed already, but people dno’t generally like to be defined in terms of what they aren’t, and certainly don’t like having the prefix “non-” at the front of the name of their group. “International” or “worldwide” are more positive and say the same thing.

    2. Philip Says:

      Recently, while reflecting on certain content within your site/data base, I thought of a certain social experiment one might conduct: On a day that a business normally would take a holiday, instead of merely closing shop, its owner(s) could post signs on or in front of the establishment in Japanese proclaiming,
      “日本人お断り” or “Non-Japanese Only.” The experiment, being of course perfectly legal, would serve to draw people’s attention to the non-existence of anti-racial discrimination laws in the country and give them the opportunity to sympathize with those who are in some places targeted in such a way. It could be enhanced by informative fact sheets that one could make available to anyone taking a closer look. Non-Japanese could also volunteer their support by frequenting the establishment on the alloted days, and this would be good business all the same. A cafe might be the ideal place to do this. And journalists could be invited to report on it. It could be called “flip-flop discrimination day” or some such thing as that.

    3. Philip Says:

      In reply to Mark in Yayoi.

      That’s an understandable point, but, to my mind, “international” or “worldwide” also have their problems. “Worldwide” simply sounds awkward when applied to an individual (who is not, say, a far-ranging traveler), but I find “international” as a code-word for everything that is not Japanese to be problematic for a few reasons, to wit: i) it implies that Japan and the people of Japan are, by contrast, merely local or regional in nature; ii) it suggests that all those who are not Japanese have access to an “international” identity or education, when this is surely not true, since many such individuals are narrow-minded partisan defenders of their own local customs and language; iii) it flattens out the vast and varied horizon of cultures and languages and racial types into a single category, much like the expression “world music” connotes any music that is not the direct or indirect product of vast media giants, most of which are centered in the United States (and which definition includes all copy-cat big-business musical production such as J-pop).

      The third point gives us reason for thinking that “definition by negation” actually has something positive to it. It does not create a false category of its own which, in use, becomes restrictive and simplistic. Moreover, “non-Japanese” is not necessarily pejorative. It may refer simply to the absence of Japanese citizenship. Compare, if you will, “non-human,” or “outside-the-human,” or “not-fully-and-authentically-part-of-the-human-experience-as-lived-in-Japan,” which all formulate in different ways the implications of the expression “gaijin.”

      In short, not all definition by negation is to be frowned upon. One has to distinguish between different cases; and there is reason for thinking that, in the case of “non-Japanese,” there may be benefits (despite the possible negative connotations you highlighted).

    4. Anon. Says:

      As much as I respect your work, honestly I do not care for this sticker. While it is positive in nature, the effect is essentially the same as the “No foreigners” signs in that it specifically distinguishes between Japanese and non-Japanese. I think that the us / them mentality is the biggest barrier. There should be no need to welcome (or not welcome) people by nationality. It should be just “Welcome”.

    5. Mark Says:

      Agree completely with Anon. There should be only one sign for any business: “Welcome”.

      The existence of a “Welcome non-Japanese” sign implies that welcoming non-Japanese is somehow special or praiseworthy. It isn’t and shouldn’t be.

    6. Justin Says:

      I agree with Anon that this sticker is counter-productive. If some stores have it in their window, it implies that the ones that don’t have it may not welcome non-Japanese. Foreigners should not be made to feel that they need to look for a sticker in the window of a store before concluding they will be welcome there.

    7. HO Says:

      Would anyone tell me whether there is a law that prohibits discrimination at commercial establishments in the US?
      I looked for such statute and found 42 USC Sec. 2000a.
      But the statute only prohibits discrimination and segregation at;
      (1) Hotels
      (2) Restaurants and Gas Stations
      (3) Theaters and Stadiums.
      http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/42C21.txt

      Is it OK to discriminate customers at, say, bookstores, grocery stores, and public baths in the US?
      Does anyone know?

    8. scott lucas Says:

      You’re doing a great job, Debito, but on this issue I totally agree with Anon.

    9. Bryce Says:

      Oh, so now you ARE claiming that Japanese only signs are “spreading” throughout Japan. Last time I questioned this notion you were very cagey that that is in fact what you were saying.

      Anyway, Anon has made the point that I wanted to when I saw this sign. Surely efforts should be directed towards exposing the notion of nationality as a social construction that holds no relevance in the majority of everyday relationships between individuals. This just institutionalises the perception of difference that you ostensibly want to break down.

      Nevertheless I (happily) doubt you’ll get many businesses to put this up, because it is something that doesn’t need to be said and as Anon has noted may actually turn some people off.

      –I have used the word “spread” at the very top of the Rogues’ Gallery for many moons now….

    10. Bryce Says:

      To make things perfectly clear, I actually find this sign quite offensive.

    11. GordonM Says:

      Personally, I would be surprised if you sold more than a handful, and EXTREMELY surpised if I actually saw one anywhere.

      Why is the sign just in Japanese and English? Don’t you think it’s a little culturally bias? Aren’t there sufficient amounts of Portugese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Eastern Europeans, etc.. who DON’T understand English and probably suffer more hardships than us native English speakers?

      Anyway, good luck to you.

    12. Martin Says:

      No offense but the sign is a bit cheesy. We’re overwhelmed by signs, publicity, pictures and stuff like that. You should ask someone who has experience in publicity, design… to create a better, multilingual, more “flashy” sticker. Should put a globe or flags of the world, something that looks “international”. You know, like the gay(gay, lesbian, trans…)-friendly-rainbow-stickers they put in hotels or restaurants in the “West”. If you really wanna do something to help, I think you should avoid putting your site’s address on the sticker; it’s kind of too much and inappropriate. Will you get money from those establishments ? For people who would be turned off by that kind of sign, would you be turned off if you’d see a “We speak English” sign in front of the establishment?
      Or “Yaks please don’t enter” (like in capsule hotels) ?

    13. JV Says:

      HO-san,

      The law you are looking for is the 14th ammendment to the US constitution. It guarantees “equal protection” under the law. To put it simply, all people must be treated the same, regardless of any differences they may have, including race, sex, age, national origin, religion, etc.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
      Hope that helps.

    14. Peter Says:

      I completely agree with Anon. There is no reason to put Japanese and non-Japanese into two separate groups. No one is denying that the “no foreigner” signs in Japan are wrong. However, this is no better. Rather, it is no different than stooping down to the same level and doing the same thing in reverse. You can not beat them by joining them. Shame on you.

      Not that it is important, but I am a non-Japanese and I would be offended if I saw that sticker at a store.

      GordonM wrote:

      > Why is the sign just in Japanese and English?

      I initially took the 外国人客歓迎 part to be Chinese rather than Japanese. However, it should be mutually understandable to both speakers. I wondered why it also wasn’t in Korean as well as Koreans make up a significant portion of the NJ population in Japan.

    15. Jean-Paul Says:

      Why not simply have a sticker with “Welcome” in as many languages as you can fit, including Japanese, and no mention of debito.org?

    16. GordonM Says:

      >Why not simply have a sticker with “Welcome” in as many languages as you can fit, including Japanese, and no mention of debito.org?

      Because Debito is a shameless self promoter.

    17. Sean Says:

      Like most people here I completely agree with Anon. I find the sign offensive because of what it stands for and because the design is awful.

    18. Bryce Says:

      “Because Debito is a shameless self promoter.”

      That may be so, but he does do some good. I think the problem here is that Debito frames everything in Japan through a bifurcated lens of NJ/Japanese, and attempts to promote the non-Japanese “side”, rather than attacking the false dichotomy. If this is all about better treatment for foreigners rather than fair treatment for the whole group, rather than specifically for foreigners who are an oppressed subset of the group, then Debito’s conceptual framework falls over and his efforts lose their purpose.

      Debito, got any proof that the non-Japanese sign phenomenon is “spreading”? “Proof” would constitute a data set over time. I don’t see that on your rogues gallery.

      –You can see the data set over time in my book JAPANESE ONLY, available in two languages and referenced from the Rogues’ Gallery. Have you read it?

    19. Bryce Says:

      Sorry, badly put:

      If this was all about fair treatment for the whole group, rather than specifically for foreigners who are an oppressed subset of the group, then Debito’s conceptual framework would fall over and his efforts would lose their purpose.

    20. HO Says:

      Thank you JV. But I believe 14th amendment is about equality in the public sector and is not about private sector conducts such as discrimination at commercial establishments.

      For reference, this is what the US Senate said about International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
      http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/d_icerd.htm
      See “declarations and reservations”.
      http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/treaty2_asp.htm
      United States of America
      Upon ratification:
      I. The Senate’s advice and consent is subject to the following reservations:
      (2) That the Constitution and laws of the United States establish extensive protections against discrimination, reaching significant areas of non-governmental activity. Individual privacy and freedom from governmental interference in private conduct, however, are also recognized as among the fundamental values which shape our free and democratic society. The United States understands that the identification of the rights protected under the Convention by reference in article 1 to fields of `public life’ reflects a similar distinction between spheres of public conduct that are customarily the subject of governmental regulation, and spheres of private conduct that are not. To the extent, however, that the Convention calls for a broader regulation of private conduct, the United States does not accept any obligation under this Convention to enact legislation or take other measures under paragraph (1) of article 2, subparagraphs (1) (c) and (d) of article 2, article 3 and article 5 with respect to private conduct except as mandated by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

      It seems to me that the US Government even believes it is unconstitutional to broadly prohibit discrimination at the private sector.

      –Once again, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. If you think the private sector is free from government interference (including stopping discrimination), what the heck are, say, business licenses doing existing?

      The ICERD does not cover interactions between individuals. But it does cover it between corporations and individuals. If you don’t believe that, try setting up a “WHITES ONLY” restaurant in the US and see long it stays in business before the authorities intervene.

    21. HO Says:

      Thank you, Debito. Actually, I do not know much about the anti-discrimination laws in the US. I know there are equal employment opportunity laws, fair housing laws, and equal education laws. But when it comes to commercial establishments, only hotels, restaurants, gas stations, theaters and stadiums are prohibited from discriminating by 42 USC Sec. 2000a.
      Maybe, there are other laws that prohibit discrimination at commercial establishments in the US. I hope people here would help me find those statutes.

    22. JV Says:

      I gotta put a vote in for Welcome in about a dozen different languages. It sends an overall better more positive message.

    23. Jean-Paul Says:

      Some golf clubs in the United States and the UK have been allowed to not accept women as members.

    24. Coal Says:

      While I don’t disagree with the sentiment, I would think more emphasis on welcoming ALL customers would be a better tack. The context is Japan so focussing on the minority makes sense, but counter-polarising can also be counter-productive.

      On the other hand it’s a tricky one. I live in a sumo town, and a large number of establishments have signs up in the windows saying they welcome sumo wrestlers. I suppose that anybody who consciously feels different from those around them, whether by their blond hair and big noses, or being at least 2 foot taller and wider is going to take a certain comfort from knowing from the outset that a given establishment will not eject them before they get through the door.

    25. Bryce Says:

      As long as we are comparing these things…

      http://www.katc.com/Global/story.asp?S=4016414
      http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usrace194389345aug19,0,4335854.story
      http://www.blackpressusa.com/news/Article.asp?SID=4&Title=Departments&NewsID=2770
      http://www.fox11az.com/news/topstories/stories/KMSB-20080215-ktvkbp-racistsign.c58a1adf.html
      http://www.usdoj.gov/oig//special/9603/gr000069.htm
      http://www.myfoxphilly.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=5222813&version=6&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.1

      Of course, I wouldn’t run around claiming on the basis of this evidence that anti-foreign signs are “spreading nationwide” throughout America, and I’m sure it will be pointed out that these signs attracted media attention, but so have those in Japan. But are there signs like this in the US and elsewhere that don’t grab attention? Obviously people put them up, so it’s hard to say. In any case, I’d like to know how many of the signs on the rogues gallery here are still up. Does anybody check these things?

      And it’s not quite in the same league, but…

      http://www.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/02/15/whites.only.ap/

      And of course, if you really want something with less subtlety:

      http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/2667/captsgeflh5726070708001zt2.jpg

      –The last example is just silly, Bryce…

      There are xenophobes in every society, Bryce, as I have always said. But are you trying to justify Japan’s xenophobes putting exclusionary signs up by saying other people do or have done as well? And yes, it seems people (and the media) are fighting these far more actively than just little ol’ me with a website gallery.

      And yes, I do check these things. So can you. You have the addresses and phone numbers, even web addresses for some, so being an armchair academic in New Zealand is no excuse. How about attacking the issue rather than the people who bring it up? (I hope you find the actual “JAPANESE ONLY” signs “offensive” too.)

    26. Bryce Says:

      yes, and that is the spirit in which it was offered.

      –So you’re just playing games. Don’t have time for this.

    27. Bryce Says:

      “But are you trying to justify Japan’s xenophobes putting exclusionary signs up by saying other people do or have done as well?”

      No, I am merely responding to your assertion that “authorities” would intervene in cases where there is blatent discrimination elsewhere. It is you who first offered up the comparison.

      “I hope you find the actual “JAPANESE ONLY” signs “offensive” too.”

      Now it is you who is playing games. I have clearly stated elsewhere on this blog that I find these signs wrong. What I also find offensive, however, is the way you present your evidence. To me, putting up a big map of Japan and marking out racist establishments all over the country is okay, although it may suggest to some that “Japan” is racist. But then claiming that these establishments are “spreading” is just plain false. Just because you find a few more a year, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t there before. For all you know the number could actually be decreasing. Only one or two of the examples on your gallery, including the swathe of signs in Monbetsu indicate signs that weren’t there before.

      As I have said, I also find the shonky little sign that you have designed offensive, as it reinforces the notion that welcoming foreigners is something that only certain establishments do in Japan. It’s insulting to Japanese businesses and its insulting to people who do not want to be reminded that they are non-Japanese when they are conducting transactions that, quite frankly, should have nothing to do with their nationality.

      “How about attacking the issue rather than the people who bring it up?”

      I do attack the issue. I have mentioned here that I find “no foreigner” signs offensive. If I saw one in Japan, believe you me, I would confront the owner of the establishment where it was posted. The fact is though, I have never seen one in Japan and I believe you tend to overstate the problem.

      However, for the purposes of this thread, the “issue” I am attacking here is the shonky sign above, and in that context, you are hardly the “messenger.”

      “being an armchair academic in New Zealand is no excuse”

      Quite frankly, you have no idea what my job entails, and indeed whether or not I am an “armchair academic” or politically active. That you keep pointing out that I am from New Zealand – a detail you garnered from my email address, which I have explicitly told you I consider confidential information – seems to be a barb aimed at either my nationality (which I probably would find offensive if I cared about such things) or at the image you have of New Zealand as a distant remote land removed from the issues we are discussing here (which would just show your ignorance). Either way, you seem to be quite fond of whacking the “messenger” about the ears with the odd ad hominem attack when it suits your purposes.

      “Don’t have time for this.”

      Sheesh. Talk about patronising…

      –Look, Bryce, like it or not, you stand where you sit. And the world knows a lot more about where I stand than where you sit. It matters that you are an overseas academic. It will affect your viewpoint and credibility. But I bring it up because you often argue and berate here and on other lists in a way unbecoming of an academic. And since you’re not even in Japan anyway, good luck ever finding a sign to confound your sample size or to confront. Yet you sit in such judgment of what us residents do over here to confront these signs, including ad hominem, down to criticizing tastes (shonky?). It matters in the course of debate. Because who you are does matter to what you say. I’ve made it very clear for many years now who I am when I approach these matters. You won’t. So if you’re going to get nasty about things, then you’ll have to take as much as you dish out. And that includes bringing in matters of your identity and position in society.

    28. Jean-Paul Says:

      I think that some of these comparisons with the United States are valuable -

      1. It was said plainly on this blog in the context of discussion of the recent rape case that material evidence is necessary for conviction. In Japan AND the United States there are legal precedents stating that victim testimony alone is adequate.
      2. People have claimed that the taxi driver who struck a foreign pedestrian in Tokyo is guilty of murder. It is clear that there was no pedestrian crossing in the area and this is cannot be legally considered to be murder in Japan, the United States, or any just about any society that I am familiar with.
      3. An individual died after a bar scuffle. The individual was, by all accounts, acting in a belligerent manner. In the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, etc. these types of cases have typically resulted in manslaughter charges with 3-5 year sentences – very likely the leniency discussed by the Japanese police in that case.
      4. In the United States, it is apparently legal to discriminate by gender in some cases, as the golf course examples show.
      5. On the sign problem, is Japan really an exception?

      http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/extinguish-racist-sign-in-ga.html
      http://www.11alive.com/news/article_news.aspx?storyid=100324
      http://www.okimc.org/taxonomy/term/57 (not on a business, but not interfered with on a business site)
      http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1579

      Yes, there are online protests, etc. but they seem to be from the victim groups, not from the mainstream.

      The following are investigated, but I don’t believe that I have heard tell of such a thing in Japan -
      http://media.www.southerndigest.com/media/storage/paper950/news/2008/01/18/HbcuNews/Famu-Police.Investigate.white.Power.Sign-3158677.shtml

      A journal article that touches on “foreigners” being driven out of American establishments -
      http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=312879

      I hope this one is a joke, but you never know -
      http://www.boners.com/grub/796998.html

      There is also this trend that, while not racist, does enforce an “us” and “them” attitude, and let’s face it, if similar signs were appearing in Japan, it would be all over the net -
      http://www.desimanifesto.com/american-owned/2007-12-26

      Nobody is posting this sort of material here to suggest that Japanese who put up signs are blameless, it is simply a refutation of suggestions that Japan’s situation is unusual or backward.

    29. Bryce Says:

      Sure these signs exist everywhere, and Debito is right when he says that in itself that doesn’t justify the signs in Japan. What is important here is that in many of these cases the “authorities” did not initiate action, as was previously claimed. Some of the owners of the signs seem to have no action taken against them but were reported in the media (same as Japan), some were asked to remove them and did (same as Japan), some were sued (same as Japan, and I note that no one thought it appropriate to sue the “authorities” for non-enforcement of the law), but only a few resulted in independent official action, despite claims above.

      What is also true is that in the USA there exists no website – to my knowledge – which makes these signs it’s raison d’etre and suggests they are an “American” problem. Debito may claim that he is not doing so vis-a-vis Japan, but when you combine a Japanese map, the cheesy Japaneesy microsoft background, a list of offending establishments and an (unproven) statement that they are spreading “nationwide” all on one page, it seems pretty clear to me that you are essentialising what you see as “Japan”.

      When you encourage businesses to regard patrons in terms of their “non-Japaneseness” when nationality shouldn’t matter, you are doing the same thing. And speaking of which, I note the lack of an answer to my concerns about the sign above. I’m not the only one on this thread who finds the sign offensive or silly. Even people who claim they support you do not approve of the sign. So, do you have an answer? Or, like many of the people who put up “Japanese only” signs, do you think you don’t need one?

      –To answer the last paragraph, I am encouraging people to consider the fact that in many places in Japan, nationality (and physical appearance) does matter. That’s why they have exclusionary signs up, in violation of our constitution and international treaty. That deserves attention and action. One way is to demand the signs come down, by whatever means necessary. Another is to show that nationality is not a problem (which of course should be the default), by drawing attention to the issue at individual establshments by showing that it is NOT a problem at this establishment.

      It is not intended to show anything about places that do not display the signs. It is a means to make people ask the question, “why do we need this sticker in the first place? are there places out there with say NJ are NOT okay?” And the answer is yes. These stickers are intended to draw attention to the issue of discrimination by race and nationality. It is another avenue–where people who support the movement to eliminate discrimination can declare their support thusly in a positive manner.

      Don’t want to participate? Don’t buy the sticker. Keep your doors open without a declaration. But it’s meant as a means to combat closed doors by enlisting the assistance of the open-doored. Debito

    30. GordonM Says:

      so, have you sold any stickers yet? No doubt with your marketing genius and business accumen the printing company is struggling to keep up with demand, right?

      –Actually, yes I have.

    31. Jean-Paul Says:

      “It matters that you are an overseas academic. It will affect your viewpoint and credibility.”

      Are you suggesting that overseas academics are not credible or not as credible? I think that you should clarify this.

      –Do people normally overthink things like this? Crikey! Derrida still lives.

      I am saying that academics are more credible a source of information. And they should argue with that tone and after enough research. Bryce I doubt has even read JAPANESE ONLY (given the uninformedness of his comments), yet he’s commenting with verve on racial discrimination in Japan. Shikata ga nai for a troll. Not so for someone who is a trained researcher who should do more research before commenting.

    32. Bryce Says:

      I have merely read excerpts from “Japanese only”. What I have read of it suggests to me that it is a highly personalised account of the problem you try to identify. While it may be entaining, I doubt it is particularly informative, as others have noted. If my library had a copy I might be tempted to have a look, but it doesn’t, and I have better things to do with my cash.

      I am not the one pointing out that I am an academic, nor have I ever claimed any special insight from my profession on this blog. I have pointed out that your methodology leaves much to be desired, but as you have admitted yourself, others have done this too. By giving you my real email address, I had supposed you would respect my right to anonymity – as the registration form indicates when it asks for readers’ email addresses – but let me remind you once again that it is you who has told your reading public what I do and (broadly) where I live. You deserve nothing but approbrium for that, in my opinion.

      In any case, you do not need to do any “research” to understand that the sign we are discussing here is wrong. You just need to do a bit of thinking. Here is an illustration of the problem at hand. You believe that the fact “Japanese only” signs *merely exist* in Japan is a problem and the appropriate response is to stick signs up on shop windows pointing out that certain establishments in Japan welcome “non-Japanese”. Fine. Given that you have acknowledged that these signs exist in other places, such as the United States, and that they are a problem there too, do you think it would be appropriate to put signs up on the windows of American businesses saying “non-Americans welcome” or, given that many see “Japaneseness” as an ethnic category as well as a nationality, even “we serve non-whites too!”? I suspect if you believe that such signs would be acceptable elsewhere, you would be deluding yourself. So why is it okay in Japan? It’s not. It reminds people that they are of a different nationality (or ethnic identity) in situations where such things should not matter, and it is therefore an example of discrimination.

      I applaud other actions that you have taken. I think your handbook for newcomers is a good idea, and as I have noted before I think there are grave problems with judicial process in Japan, but this sign is at best just counterproductive and at worst discriminatory.

      –So you haven’t read the book and you’re commenting on it. Gotcha. Great scientific method there. I think that makes it pretty clear that we really haven’t much further to discuss. You’re an academic that won’t research thoroughly before commenting, or read up on the cases that are discussed here on Debito.org. And if you comment with ignorance and bile yet think the anonymity of the internet will allow you some cloaking device from doing proper social science despite your station as an academic, then you really aren’t worth debating with.

      I’ll approve your remaining comments outstanding, but please don’t bother commenting further on Debito.org. Because it’s not worth anyone’s time jousting with someone who just wants to play intellectual games from overseas with no stake in what’s going on here, and doing so in a way unbecoming of one’s education and training. You can heap as much opprobrium as you like, but that doesn’t excuse both your faulty social science and irresponsible demeanor.

    33. Bryce Says:

      “And since you’re not even in Japan anyway, good luck ever finding a sign to confound your sample size or to confront.”

      I lived, worked and studied in Japan for many years. I return to Japan for research. I have never confronted a sign because I have never seen one.

      “Yet you sit in such judgment of what us residents do over here to confront these signs”

      Please. Who gives you the right to speak for “us residents”? I left Japan after you had started your blog. I was aware of it, and at no time did I ever believe that you spoke for me. And may I remind you once more (although I am sure it won’t be the last time) that I do indeed oppose the “Japanese only” signs. I just think your methods are counter-productive and some of your assertions are unfounded. If you can’t see why that is, maybe I am just banging my head against a wall.

      “It matters that you are an overseas academic. It will affect your viewpoint and credibility.”

      Oh, I guess John Dower, Chalmers Johnson and Richard Samuels are all on shaky ground then.

      –If you’re going to compare yourself to these giants in the field, then let’s see what you’ve written then, Bryce. I know your real name. Why don’t you give it in public? Because people would look at your record and see, for example, that there’s not a single book by you on Amazon. Which means you impugn others’ records yet won’t open yourself up to the same scrutiny. That’s cowardly. And intellectually disingenuous.

      Again, don’t bother commenting again on Debito.org. Your IP has been added to a number of IPs as instant spam.

    34. JV Says:

      Everyone knows that complaints are like cockroaches and the idea is recognized by most large corporations. You see one and you know that there are another 100 you can’t see. One verified complaint equals on average a certain number of complaints that never get reported. I would therefore like to present the idea that the limited number of signs found so far are only the tip of the iceberg. I personally have lived in four different prefectures in Japan over the last 10 yrs and I HAVE seen “Japanese only” signs in 3 of them. Obviously, this is not statistically representative of anything but the point should be ONE is too many. To argue over wording like “spreading” is pointless. As a solution to this pointless debate, Debito, could say “OK, maybe its not epidemic” and Bryce could say “I agree with Debito’s point that one is too many”, and then we could all discuss other things like how to inform those who just don’t get it. And then we can all just try to get along.

    35. Mark Says:

      While I disagree with the “welcome non-Japanese customers” sign idea, I believe Debito has done more to raise awareness for gaijin and empower gaijin and non-racially Japanese people in Japan than anyone else. Also, he puts himself out there 100%, hides nothing (unlike many of us myself included), and while this leaves him vulnerable to criticism, he plods on improving things for all of us here including the whiners, the nit-pickers, and the nay-sayers. You may not agree with everything he does or the way he goes about it, but he doesn’t just curse the darkness or even deny that it is dark (!) as some would like to do so as to not rock the boat. I believe people need to be judged ‘on balance’ and I applaud and admire Debito for he’s dedication and perseverance. Unless you don’t beileve in his cause, let’s keep our criticism of him in context.

    36. Peter Says:

      Regarding Japanese-only signs, Bryce wrote:

      “I have never seen one in Japan and I believe you tend to overstate the problem.”

      Debito responded:

      “And since you’re not even in Japan anyway, good luck ever finding a sign to confound your sample size or to confront.”

      Not that I doubt that such signs exist, but I’ve been in Japan for about a decade now, and I do not recall ever seeing any such signs either, so I can relate with Bryce. Nor have I ever been turned away or refused service.

      That is not to say that life in Japan perfect. Rather, each year seems to get harder with increasing policies, regulations, and stereotypes to put up with. But I suppose that is not the issue now.

      “[...] don’t bother commenting again on Debito.org. Your IP has been added to a number of IPs as instant spam.”

      Obviously you two disagree on some issues, but I think that you are being a little harsh. Both of your have made some excellent arguments, but you are trying to win the debate by silencing your opposition which is not right.

      –If I thought there would be anything to gain from debating with this person, I would. But there isn’t. He isn’t even open to considering all the evidence (such as reading book JAPANESE ONLY), and has proven time and again (even within this thread) that he wants to play intellectual cat and mouse. No thanks. I only want serious debaters and point raisers on their blog, ones that actually have the possibility of changing their mind. There is nothing I could say that could convince Bryce, even despite his academic standing and training in the scientific method, to do that. So that’s two strikes. And doing it time and time again even in other threads on Debito.org makes three. Sorry. Debito in Nagano

    37. Alisa Says:

      I’m pretty confused on this one as well. Didn’t you raise a fuss when a Realtor in Osaka made a point of putting “Gaijin OK” stickers on all the apartments where NJ’s were accepted? This seems like pretty much exactly the same thing, except that I’d say that NJ are turned down more often at a rental agency than at a normal business, which (in a perverse way, of course) makes the “Gaijin OK” stickers that much more useful.

      The sale of these stickers sort of makes it seem like the businesses that serve NJ are in the far minority, which is of course far from the truth, and that they somehow need identification and organization under the flag of “Debito.org”.

      As I believe was your point when you wrote-up the Osaka agency, non-discriminatory business practices should be the rule, not the exception. A Foreigner or NJ resident should be able to walk in any business and expect great service, and not just pre-determined safe harbors as determined by a sticker on the door. I think you missed on this one.

    38. LB Says:

      “I only want serious debaters and point raisers on their blog, ones that actually have the possibility of changing their mind. ”

      That’s not called a “serious debater”, that’s called a “yes man”.

      Alisa also has an excellent point. The vast, nay, overwhelming majority of businesses cater to everyone equally. They do not need the blessing of Debito, inc. They don’t need your name on the door – it ain’t about you, as hard as you try to make it so. Besides which, I know quite a few foreigners who don’t particularly like being called “gaikokujin” by Japanese (I am not one of those who are bothered by it, but…). Do try to show some intercultural sensitivity, won’t you?

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