DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 1, 2016

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Book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” now in paperback, discounted to $34.99 if bought through publisher directly using promo code at http://www.debito.org/?p=14096

DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 1, 2016

Table of Contents:

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GOOD NEWS
1) Ten years of Debito.org’s Blog: June 17, 2006. And counting.
2) Book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Lexington Press 2016) now out early in paperback

LESS GOOD
3) Brief comments on the July 2016 Upper House Election: The path is cleared for Japan’s Constitutional revision
4) Meanwhile back in Tokyo: Gov candidate Koike Yuriko allegedly spoke at anti-foreign hate group Zaitokukai in 2010
5) Zaitokukai xenophobic hate group’s Sakurai Makoto runs for Tokyo Governorship; his electoral platform analyzed here (UPDATED: he lost badly)
6) One reason why human rights are not taken seriously in Japan: Childish essays like these in the Mainichi.

MORE BAD
7) Shibuya Police asking local “minpaku” Airbnb renters to report their foreign lodgers “to avoid Olympic terrorism”. Comes with racialized illustrations
8 ) TV “Economist” Mitsuhashi Takaaki on foreign labor in Japan: “80% of Chinese in Japan are spies”: “foreigners will destroy Japanese culture”
9) Overseas online info site Traveloco.jp’s “Japanese Only” rules: “People with foreign-sounding names refused service”
10) Kyodo: Foreign laborers illegally working on farms in Japan increases sharply [sic]. How about the J employers who employ illegally?
11) CG on increased exit taxes on health insurance and residency when you change jobs and domiciles in Japan

AND ON A HAPPIER NOTE:

12) Ivan Hall’s new book: “Happier Islams: Happier US Too!” A memoir of his USIS stationing in Afghanistan and East Pakistan. Now available as Amazon Kindle ebook.

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By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito
The Debito.org Newsletter as always is freely forwardable

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GOOD NEWS

1) Ten years of Debito.org’s Blog: June 17, 2006. And counting.

June 17, 2016 marked the Tenth Anniversary of founding of the Debito.org Blog (as opposed to the Debito.org Website, which has been in existence this year for 20 years).

We’ve done a lot. As of that day, Debito.org has 2605 blog posts, 29,537 read and approved comments from Debito.org Readers, and probably around a hundred published articles archived with links to sources here. It has been the archive for at least one Ph.D. research, and cited as the source for many more publications by independent scholars, researchers, and journalists.

The award-winning Debito.org website remains the online domain of record concerning human rights for Non-Japanese residents and Visible Minorities in Japan, and long may it continue.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14048

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2) Book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Lexington Press 2016) now out early in paperback

”Embedded Racism” has just come out in paperback a year early, due to outstanding hardcover sales (according to WorldCat, 86 of the world’s prominent academic libraries, including Harvard, Princeton, Cal Berkeley, Stanford, Yale, Cornell, and Columbia, have it in their collections), in time for Fall Semester. The textbook describes how Japan’s under-researched minorities and immigrants suffer from systemic discrimination, and how that augurs ill for Japan’s future as its population decreases.

More information at http://www.debito.org/embeddedracism.html

The publisher has just discounted “Embedded Racism” to $34.99 (Kindle too) if bought through them directly. Use promo code LEX30AUTH16.
https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498513906/Embedded-Racism-Japan’s-Visible-Minorities-and-Racial-Discrimination

Book flyer and order form at http://www.debito.org/EmbeddedRacismPaperbackflyer.pdf
Examination copies (book and ebook) for academics available at https://rowman.com/Page/Professors

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LESS GOOD

3) Brief comments on the July 2016 Upper House Election: The path is cleared for Japan’s Constitutional revision

Commentators have talked about the deception behind this election (that Abe kept the talk on economics instead of his pet project of reforming Japan’s American-written 1945 Constitution in ways that are neither Liberal nor Democratic), about how Japan’s opposition have been so disorganized that they haven’t put up much more than an “anyone-but-Abe” policy stance, and about how PM Abe probably won’t go after the Constitution for a while.

But I would disagree. What more does Abe need in terms of confirmed mandate? As I said, he’s won three elections solidly (probably better than even former PM and LDP party-leader template Koizumi did), he’s essentially gotten a supermajority in both houses of Parliament, and these wins will be seen as public affirmation that Abe’s on the right track (especially within the ranks of the LDP itself; he already regained the LDP presidency running unopposed). Abe has made it quite clear constantly since he’s been anywhere close to power that he wants a return to Japan’s past (foreigner-uninfluenced) glories. Now nothing is really stopping him, short of a national referendum.

And despite opinion polls saying that people don’t want bits or all of Japan’s Constitution changed, I don’t think the Japanese public is all that scared of that happening anymore. Not enough to vote significantly against him at election time. My take is that Japan is becoming a more geriatric society, and with that more politically conservative. That conservatism I don’t think extends to old documents seen as imposed as part of Victors’ Justice. As of this writing, I will be surprised if a) Abe doesn’t push for Constitutional revision, and b) it doesn’t succeed. Clearly the Japanese public keeps handing Abe the keys to do so.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14086

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4) Meanwhile back in Tokyo: Gov candidate Koike Yuriko allegedly spoke at anti-foreign hate group Zaitokukai in 2010

For those who haven’t been following Japanese politics (recently it’s been a pretty dismal science), there’s another race you might want to follow — that of the race for Tokyo Governorship on July 31, 2016. This matters, because Tokyo is 1) Japan’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, one of few with a still-growing population (as Japan’s countryside continues to depopulate and die) and even significant foreign resident enclaves; 2) a world city, cited by at least one international ranking system (Monocle, incidentally partially owned by a Japanese publisher) as the world’s “most livable city”; and 3) the city with the highest GDP (according to the Brookings Institution, even adjusted for PPP) in the world — in fact, according to the IMF, Tokyo alone is the ninth-largest economy in the world, larger even than Brazil, and easily over a third of Japan’s entire GDP (at 36%).

So who gets elected governor of this capital city area should matter to the world. And it has, at least to the world’s third-largest economy. Tokyo set the trend for electing far-right xenophobic governors by electing (several times) Ishihara “I wanted a war with China” Shintaro, who legitimized a xenophobic program within Tokyo environs to the point where bullying of foreigners became normalized throughout Japan (see also book “Embedded Racism” Ch. 7). And with that, far-right hate group Zaitokukai and similar groups became emboldened to hold anti-foreign rallies (some that advocated the “killing of all Koreans”) on a daily basis in recent years. Not to mention that Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympics. Given the degree of centralization of, well, everything that matters in Japan in Tokyo, as Tokyo does, so does the rest of Japan.

That’s why the Tokyo Governorship has been a controversial seat this century. First, Governor Ishihara used it as a bully pulpit to justify destabilizing the rest of Asia. Then his hand-picked successor, former Vice-Governor and investigative writer Inose Naoki resigned after a payola scandal. His successor, TV personality and pundit Masuzoe Yoichi similarly recently resigned after a payola scandal. Now the seat has become a referendum of the two leading parties, the waxing and right-shifting Liberal Democratic Party of PM Abe Shinzo, and the waning leftist Democratic Party still trying to recapture some momentum. And into the breach has dived LDP former cabinet member Koike Yuriko, who may even be a favorite to win.

But not so fast. According to Zaitokukai, Koike spoke at their organization back in 2010. Koike is known as a person who flip-flops between parties and positions often, but this is a bit too far for Debito.org’s comfort. Is this the type of person that Tokyoites want?

UPDATE: Apparently she is. Koike yesterday won in a landslide.
http://www.debito.org/?p=14099

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5) Zaitokukai xenophobic hate group’s Sakurai Makoto runs for Tokyo Governorship; his electoral platform analyzed here (UPDATE: he lost badly)

As Debito.org’s second post on the upcoming July 31, 2016 Tokyo Governorship race, I just wanted to cover the candidacy of the anti-foreign vote, particularly Sakurai Makoto, “former leader” of the officially-certified xenophobic hate group Zaitokukai. Here’s his campaign poster:

While this bullying berk hasn’t a snowball’s chance of winning, thank goodness, it’s still a bellwether of Japan’s general tolerance of hate speech that a person like this would be taken seriously enough to allow a candidate who espouses hatred of whole peoples (and believe me he’s not alone, pre-hate speech law). So let’s take a look at his party platform, since that’s what we do here. Here are the seven points of his platform:

http://www.debito.org/?p=14116

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6) One reason why human rights are not taken seriously in Japan: Childish essays like these in the Mainichi.

Mainichi: The new hate speech law is what you might call a “principle law,” as it has no provisions for punishing violators. Furthermore, it only protects “those originally from nations outside this country” who are “living legally in Japan.” As such, it does not outlaw discrimination against Japanese citizens or foreigners applying for refugee status, among other groups. However, the supplementary resolution that accompanied passage of the law states, “It would be a mistake to believe that discrimination against groups not specifically mentioned in the law is forgivable.” I suppose we can say that the Diet essentially stated, “Discrimination is unforgiveable in Japan.” […]

I have read a paper based on research conducted outside Japan that showed that ethnically diverse workplaces produce more creative ideas than those dominated by a single race or nationality. In contrast to working with people who understand one another from the get-go, getting people with wildly varying perspectives and ways of thinking together in one place apparently sparks the easy flow of groundbreaking ideas.

So, talk to someone different than yourself. Even if that’s impossible right away, you will come to understand one another somehow. It’s time to put an end to knee-jerk hatreds, to discrimination and pushing away our fellow human beings. With the new hate speech law, Japan has finally become a country where we can say, “We will not tolerate discrimination.”

COMMENT: While this article is well-intentioned, and says most of the things that ought to be said, the tone is pretty unsophisticated (especially if you read the Japanese version — the English version has been leveled-up somewhat). I have always found it annoying how discussions of human rights in Japan generally drop down to the kindergarten level, where motherly homilies of “we’re all human beings”, “let’s just get along” and “talking to somebody different will solve everything” are so simplistic as to invite scoffing from bigots who simply won’t do that…

http://www.debito.org/?p=14054

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MORE BAD

7) Shibuya Police asking local “minpaku” Airbnb renters to report their foreign lodgers “to avoid Olympic terrorism”. Comes with racialized illustrations

A Shibuya Police poster reads:
=============================
WE ARE ASKING FOR INFORMATION FROM MINPAKU HOSTELERS
“Minpaku” is defined as the service of offering paid accommodation using empty rooms etc. from individual homes.
To prevent terrorism and for the success of the Olympics, we need information from everyone
We are especially asking for information from individually-standing homes doing Minpaku.
Please call the Shibuya Police Department, Head of Crime Prevention, at 3498-0110 ext 2612.
=============================

That’s the literal translation of the text. Note how there is no reference whatsoever textually about foreigners. However, contextually, in the margins there are illustrations of eight racialized “foreigners” of ostensibly European, African, and Middle-Eastern extractions complete with differentiated eye color, hair color, skin color, and facial hair. Note how there is no representation of “Asian” foreigners, even though they make up the majority of Japan’s tourists. I guess they’re not the type that Shinjuku cops are looking for.

My comments about this are seasoned to the point of predictably: 1) Once again, Japan’s police are using racial profiling to determine who is a foreigner as well as a terrorist. 2) Japan’s police are rallying the public to do their bidding on unlawful activities (i.e., scaring them with the threat of terrorism into reporting their foreign lodgers to the police, which neither minpaku nor actual hotels are required to do). 3) The use and proliferation of racialized caricature seems to be normalized standard operating procedure with Japan’s police. (Why not? Nobody’s going to stop them when they keep Japan’s public constantly afraid of foreigners to the point of normalized targeting.) And 4), as I have written before, Japan is not mature enough as a society to host these international events, for the National Police Agency whips everyone up into a frenzy about foreign crime, hooliganism, and/or terrorism. And then the NPA uses the events to clamp down on civil liberties for everyone. Thus there is insufficient check and balance to keep these bunker-mentality bureaucrats from exaggerating their mandate. The Tokyo Olympics are still more than 4 years away. Expect even more of this embedded racism to surface into full-blown state-sponsored xenophobia in the meantime.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14071

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8 ) TV “Economist” Mitsuhashi Takaaki on foreign labor in Japan: “80% of Chinese in Japan are spies”: “foreigners will destroy Japanese culture”

Watch this short video about Mitsuhashi Takaaki, a commentator, writer, TV personality, seminarist (juku), failed LDP candidate, and blogger about things he considers to be politics and economics. It shows how normalized bigotry is in Japan — to the point of silliness. Once you get past the stupid tic Mitsuhashi has with pushing up his eyeglasses (redolent of aspiring Hollywood wannabes of the 1910s-1930s who thought their cute catchphrase, gesture, or sneeze would fuel an entire career), you realize what he’s enabling: Japanese media to espouse xenophobia.

In the video he’s critical of PM Abe’s policies (ignorantly portraying Abe as a proponent of importing foreign labor in order to undercut Japanese workers’ salaries), but he goes beyond economics and into bigotry: about Chinese (depicted as invading hordes with queue hairstyles, where he claims that “80% are spies” [source, please?]) and foreigners in general (they will “destroy Japanese culture”). The research gets so sloppy that it reaches the point of silliness (they even misspelled TPP as “Trance Pacific Partnership”). Watch the video yourself, but not as a lunch digestion aid.

In the end, Mitsuhashi is just an IT dork relishing his time in the sun, riding a patriotic wave while dividing, “othering”, and bullying minorities for his own financial gain. Again, it’s one more indication that the long-awaited next generation of “more liberal Japanese” will be just as narrow-minded as the previous one.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14057

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9) Overseas online info site Traveloco.jp’s “Japanese Only” rules: “People with foreign-sounding names refused service”

Here we have an online information site called Traveloco.jp, which apparently reserves its services “for Japanese Only living abroad”. This is another permutation of Japanese corporate practices erecting arbitrary firewalls between people due to their nationality, ethnicity, etc., or, in Traveloco.jp’s case, “having a name that does not appear to be Japanese”. I wonder how “Arudou Debito” would fare. And as MT says below, why can’t anyone who can read and write Japanese be allowed service?

MT: I am thinking of suing traveloco.jp site because they closed and banned my account right after I informed them of my name, which to them “does not appear to be Japanese”. Note that there is no explicit mention of this in their official terms of use (enclosed), and I had some interesting ideas for them and some services to share with those Japanese who would be interested in my country or would be coming to [my home country].

I want them to review their policies, so that everyone (regardless of race) who is capable to communicate in Japanese could use the site with no discrimination against them – especially not based on their western-like names (if it is not a “Japanese” name)! My correspondence with them speaks for itself. And these are young entrepreneurs, not just some old folks, but the Y-generation!!! This sentiment and notion of Japaneseness is routed very very deeply even in these young men, who are getting their foot in the door of the start-up world.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14078

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10) Kyodo: Foreign laborers illegally working on farms in Japan increases sharply [sic]. How about the J employers who employ illegally?

Kyodo: The number of foreign laborers working illegally on farms across the nation rose threefold over the three year period ending in 2015, according to government data. The findings highlight the difficulties facing Japan’s agricultural sector, including labor shortages and the advanced age of many of the country’s farmers.

Among all the illegal foreign workers subject to deportation in 2015, the greatest number — 1,744 or 21.9 percent — had worked in the farming sector. That was up from 946 in 2014, 695 in 2013, and 592 in 2012, according to the Justice Ministry. The ministry also found illegal farm workers were “concentrated on farms in Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures, which are easily accessible from Tokyo.”

The average age of the nation’s farmers is now 66.4 years old, and the fact so many have no one to succeed them has become a serious social issue. “I just cannot keep my business afloat unless I hire (illegal laborers), even if it means breaking the law,” said a 62-year-old farmer in Ibaraki.

Comment from Submitter BGIO: I love the way that the headline is “Foreign laborers illegally working on farms in Japan increases sharply” when in reality it should have been more along the lines of “Japanese agricultural employers continue to flout trainee laws and illegally exploit foreign workers from developing countries”, or alternatively “percentage of foreign workers from developing countries exploited by Japanese agriculture sector worker rises to 7% (1,744 of 24,000) of those employed in ‘trainee’ scheme”. But then such headlines would require the type of objective and balanced media coverage than has long been missing in what has the temerity to call itself ‘journalism’ in this country.

Comment from Submitter JDG: If it wasn’t for the LDP letting it’s voters illegally employ NJ, those voters and their farming culture would be over! No wonder Ibaraki police are so crazy; they are being told one thing by the government and then expected to turn a blind eye to the NJ underpinning the local economy! That conflict of interest must be causing them trauma!

http://www.debito.org/?p=14052

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11) CG on increased exit taxes on health insurance and residency when you change jobs and domiciles in Japan

CG: I was hoping to ask you a question. I’ve done a fair amount of searching online and haven’t found an answer, and the people directly involved in the issue can’t (or won’t) give a plausible answer either. Recently I switched jobs and moved to a new town here after over ten years working for the previous town’s 教育委員会 [BOE]. When I received my final paycheck, they deducted twice the normal tax amount for 社会保険 [shakai hoken; health and pension insurance] and three times the normal amount for 住民税 [juuminzei; local residency taxes]、helping themselves to an extra over 8万円 [80,000 yen]。 Have you heard of such a situation before? The fact that I can’t find any information about such a “moving tax” or get clear answers strikes me as very strange. If you have a moment, I’d be very glad to know your thoughts.

MY THOUGHTS: Not sure. Anyone out there with this experience who figured out what was going on?

http://www.debito.org/?p=14069

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AND ON A HAPPIER NOTE:

12) Ivan Hall’s new book: “Happier Islams: Happier US Too!” A memoir of his USIS stationing in Afghanistan and East Pakistan. Now available as Amazon Kindle ebook.

Debito.org is proud to announce that longtime friend and colleague Dr. Ivan P. Hall, author of the landmark books “Cartels of the Mind” and “Bamboozled: How America Loses the Intellectual Game with Japan”, has just come out with his latest book: “Happier Islams: Happier US Too!: Afghanistan: Then a Land Still at Peace. East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh): There, an Island of Toleration, 1958-1961”. It is his long-awaited memoir of being stationed as a young man with the USIS as a cultural attache.

Book Summary: As a fragile peace in Afghanistan breaks down once again in 2016, and as machete murders in broad daylight of progressive intellectuals by radical zealots erode the rare heritage of religious toleration in secularist Bangladesh, Ivan Hall with grace and wry wit brings back to life for us today – in a chronicle penned then and there – the now totally counterintuitive “Happier Islams” he experienced as a young cultural officer with the U.S. Information Service, sent out in 1958-1961 to promote America’s good name in Muslim South Asia.

In Kabul a half century ago Islam though forbiddingly traditional was still politically quiescent. In Dacca, East Pakistan (today’s Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh) a less rigid type of Islam had long accommodated its large Hindu minority. And a “Happier US,” too, as American diplomats worked in lightly guarded embassies, personal safety taken for granted, enjoying an individual and political popularity unthinkable throughout the Muslim world today.

Rare as a memoir by an active embassy officer (rather than scholar or journalist) about a still dictator-run Afghanistan totally at peace in the late 1950s, Hall’s story also offers a unique glimpse into Dacca’s lively America-savvy intelligentsia as of 1960. Illustrated by 200 color photos taken at the time, and updated with geopolitical backgrounders for his two posts then and now, Hall’s narrative also casts a critical eye on the bent of his USIS employer at the height of the Cold War for short-term political advocacy at the expense of long-term cultural ties. By way of contrast his prologue and epilogue limn the heartwarming American genius for private sector “cultural diplomacy he witnessed or took part in during his years “before and after,” in Europe and Japan.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14044

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 1, 2016 ENDS

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13 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 1, 2016

  • Hmmmm…

    “Rio 2016: Kohei Uchimura gets £3,700 Pokemon Go bill….However, his phone company has agreed to let him pay a daily flat rate. It means Uchimura, who is favourite to retain his title, will be charged 3000 yen (£22) per day for mobile use abroad instead of the 500,000 yen (£3,700) he thought he would have to pay….”*

    Just image an NJ doing that and the response??!!

    Also shows how little is known about roaming charges and the difficulty in which to prevent them owing to the con’s by these companies.

    * http://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/36963170

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ John K #1

    Thank you for posting that. I know that you and I agree that the BBC News has a strangely pro-Japanese tone of late.

    I have to say that I think that this is a fake, planted story with the aim of hyping Uchimura (who got his London Olympic medal after complaining that the judges were discriminating against him) and ‘advertising’ for his oh-so-considerate phone service provider.

    After all, the Japanese team only arrived in Rio a couple of days ago, didn’t they? Has he not been doing any training, but rather playing Pokemon Go? I don’t believe it.

    And here’s one of many stories from 3 days ago in which international athletes complain that Pokemon Go isn’t even available in Brazil!

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/30/no-pokemon-go-brazil-olympic-athletes-disappointed

    The BBC story is a plant.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    In addition to my above points, how does that even work? I get billed for the previous months usage about two weeks after that calendar month ends. Uchimura has been in Rio, what, two days? Three days ago there wasn’t even Pokemon Go in Brazil. Is his phone service provider giving him some kind of special treatment where they bill him within hours (literally) of his billing period ending? This story is fisher than kaiten zushi.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Does anyone remember the massive ATM fraud that happened in Japan earlier this year?
    In terms of value, it’s one of the top ten heists in history.
    At the time, the J-cops blamed ‘foreign’ gangs;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/05/22/national/crime-legal/convenience-store-atm-heist-sees-¥1-4-billion-stolen-two-hours-across-japan/

    But now they are arresting yakuza from the biggest family;

    http://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/crime/four-more-arrested-over-y1-8-bil-bank-heist-using-atms

    Wouldn’t it be nice if they admitted they were wrong to tell everyone that it was foreigners?

    Institutional racism in policing does not solve crimes.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, my last word on Uchimura’s Pokemon Go ‘story’, I promise.

    Here is an article from Japan Times today that says that Pokemon Go launched in Brasil yesterday (Wednesday);

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/04/business/tech/pokemon-go-launches-rio-just-ahead-olympics/
    So, let’s get this straight, in 24 hours, Uchimura played Pokemon Go enough to generate roaming charges of around 5000 USD, his service provider billed him in Rio, he spoke to them and made a reduced payment agreement, he spoke to the BBC, and they put out the story.

    How credible is that sequence of events?

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    August! This year does not fail to disappoint- my TV is full of trailers for upcoming shows on the Second World War, all with the voice-over tag of ‘Why did the Second World War happen?’

    I guess that a refusal to accept that Japan launched a war of international invasion and aggression leaves them perpetually shuffling their feet and asking ‘Why?’ since they refuse to accept the only answer that would explain it.

    Like clock-work, every year.

    So, yesterday the Emperor made a televised address to the nation, and I found this interesting analysis that is worth a read;

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/08/the-emperor-strikes-back-japan-s-monarch-takes-on-imperialist-abe.html

    Now, I’m neither an expert on the issue at hand, nor am I sure that I can bet on the journalistic credentials of The Daily Beast, but the article, if reliable, would paint the Emperor as not only shrewd and politically savvy, but also Japan’s most high-profile human rights advocate and defender of the constitution, and that he is in a covert war with Nippon Kaigi for the future of Japan.

    I wish it was true, I really do.

    But ultimately (as I have said before) the Emperor fails to live up to the hype for me.
    If he wanted to, he could say that the black-truck uyoku do not represent his point of view, and his wants no association with them. He could totally blast them.
    If he wanted to, he could say that the constitution has protected Japan from war for 70 years and should be preserved. He could totally chop Nippon Kaigi’s legs out from under them.

    But he doesn’t because of some suggestion that this could be engaging in politics which is illegal for him, and I just don’t buy that- it’s a cop out. After all, what would Abe do, throw this 82 year old in prison? That would be the end of the LDP.

    I think that The Daily Beast is wrong, and whilst we may indeed be seeing the Emperor ‘flexing his muscles’ and causing Abe some stress, he is ultimately not going outside of comfort zones. So nothing will change because he is still playing the game by the LDP’s self-benefitting rules. The Emperor, like Akie Abe, and the DPJ, is merely prolonging the illusion of Japan as a functioning democracy where differences of opinion can be expressed.

    It’s all a charade.

    It rather reminds me of King George V of the movie ‘The King’s Speech’ fame. The movie presents him as an unwilling monarch galvanized by the threat of Nazi invasion into finding his backbone as a man and a monarch. Pure fantasy.

    In reality King George did everything in his power to keep Churchill away from the levers of power for as long as he could in the belief that a war with Germany would be lost, and the victorious nazis would take away his (and other British aristocrats) entitlements and station. King George remained a proponent of appeasement until the very moment that Churchill declared war and threatened to have him arrested.

    This is, of course, ‘taboo history’ in the UK.

    But the point is that royals of any stripe share one particular over-riding concern regardless of nationality; preserving the entitlement of their family will overwhelm any moral consideration they may believe. Japan is no exception. The Emperor’s over-riding concern is to safe-guard the position of his son in the status quo, and that makes him a vested interest. And that in-turn explains why he doesn’t just blast Abe and dare Abe to send an 82 year old Emperor to prison.

  • Aaahh..the beauty of a press that is totally controlled by the Govt. or merely obsequious out of fear, where the world is sun and laughter and all things wonderful and fully controlled in dreamland.
    Errr….nope:

    “Olympic pole vault penis claim denied by Japan athlete Hiroki Ogita….”

    “…”I never expected the foreign media to take me down like this,” the 28-year-old athlete tweeted.
    “It’s one thing if it was true, but I have to say I’m pretty devastated that they’d go so far to make something up to mock and ridicule me so much.”…….”

    Er nope, he never expected his own media to comment and assumed the rest of the world follow suit just like their own narrative of dreamland.

    Hahahaha…hillarious 🙂

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37103648

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ John K #8

    Yeah, I never heard about this until this guy got his panties in a twist and complained, THEN it became international news!

    Seems his ‘Japanese as victim’ persecution complex actually created exactly the international media response he complains of in the first instance!

    — A permutation of the Streisand Effect, perhaps.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Get ready for a new kind of ‘othering’!

    Dentsu is chasing some of that Olympic/tourism pork!
    You see, the problem isn’t that Japanese are appallingly bad at teaching and learning second languages, the problem is that NJ just don’t put the effort into learning Japanese before they come to spend their money in Japan!

    The answer?
    Develop special ‘simple’ Japanese for NJ tourists to study before they come, and then encourage Japanese in the service industry to use this ‘simple’ Japanese with NJ!

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/19/national/dentsu-push-simplified-japanese-ease-communication-tourists/

    What’s the betting that every time I go to a restaurant with my wife the staff are going to talk down to me like a kid in this ‘simple’ Japanese (dare I say ‘baby’ Japanese?) even though I politely speak fluent Kansai-ben?

    Actually, I’d say that the chances are 0 since this scheme is doomed.
    It once again shows the Japanese mindset that automatically perceives this situation as one where the NJ tourists have a deficiency which must be ‘managed patiently’ rather than recognizing that it is the Japanese education system, and social attitudes that are at fault.

    Normally Japanese are ever so proud of their customer service, ‘The customer is God’ after all!
    Unless the customer is an NJ, and then the responsibility to make everything go smoothly is put on them!

    I sense that in true J-Inc style, Dentsu will win a government financial package to implement a system that no tourists will use, that will effectively ‘other’ all NJ who live here and are fluent, overseen by plenty of ex-government high-level lifers on amakudari parachutes into Dentsu.

    Pork-barreling. I want to know;
    How much of public spending is just pork, and what percentage of Japan’s economy do pork barrel projects represent!

    I reckon it’s more than exports, as % of GDP!
    Japan, the pork-barrel economy!

  • Eido Inoue wrote this…

    havill August 7, 2015 at 1:34 am
    http://japologism.com/losing-my-racism-completing-my-transaction/2661/comment-page-1#comment-99132

    Debito is done. I, for one, have set my sights higher: The Japan Times.

    Take out the Japan Times, and Debito’s last bit of credibility is gone. It also ensures that nothing takes Debito’s place. All Debito is left with is a 1990s themed crufty blog and self-published books.
    The Japan Times is vulnerable. Very vulnerable. It’s printed circulation used to be near 50,000 to 60,000 just a few years ago. It is now down to close to 20,000.

    That’s not just bad. That’s pathetic. Additionally, its rank within Google News’ white-list has dropped so its stories don’t get featured as much. That means less referral traffic, which translates to no digital future.

    Finally, the New York Times is regretting hooking up with its prom date of desperation. It was a marriage of convenience: NYT wanted a print press and distribution network in Japan for cheap. And JT wanted the NYT brand name associated with it.
    The NYT wishes it got the deal The Japan News (Yomiuri) got. Yomiuri changed its name, not for the reasons Debito claimed in his article last month, but rather because overseas readers can’t remember/pronounce the word “Yomiuri” and phrase “The Japan News” performs better in internet search: the obviously consulted a SEO and branding expert when they did the name change. That makes, from a search engine perspective, The Japan News competitive with the Japan Times (which benefits, branding wise and SEO wise, from a name that sounds like a marquee paper like The New York Times). Now, when people search for japan news on the web, they’re just as likely to get the Japan News as the Japan Times. Smart move.

    Also, the Japan News paired up with The Washington Post (which, unlike the NYT, now has a sugar daddy: Amazon). The NYT wishes it got the deal Yomiuri got. The NYT is worried about its image being sullied by the Japan Times’ journalism quality, which is why the Japan Times volunteered to do periodic self-reviews of its content, which it publishes. It didn’t mention in its last article about its self-assessment about ANYTHING in the Community Section, good or bad: it was censored.

    Here’s how you can help: Never directly attack Debito. However, every time he or somebody else makes a factually provable mistake in an article, which he does often, be sure to point that out. For example, when he comments about events or crimes in Japan and mistranslates something or misreports news events, be sure to point out the error. Of all the writers for Japan Times, Debito’s articles are the easiest to find factual errors. That’s because Debito is driven by ideology rather than accuracy and his editor is too cowardly, weak, stupid, or lazy to correct him. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.

    The Editorial Board is watching. And so is the New York Times. Ben Stubbings doesn’t realize it, but he’s contributing to JT’s downfall long term (and the loss of his own job) by not doing his job and actually editing Debito for accuracy when he ventures from pure opinion to stating current events or facts.

    If the New York Times pulls its co-released paper because of either falling circulation or perceived damage to its brand name, the JT is in big trouble. The Japan News has something that JT doesn’t: a tie-in with a name brand paper that tourists, the primary consumer of the Japan Times (paper under the hotel door, anyone), really want. Finally, Japan Times has one final weakness: it needs to fly under the radar of Nifco’s shareholders. Nifco breaks out its quarterly reports into three sections: the huge and profitable plastic parts parts, the big bed and furniture biz, and the small money losing section it calls “others”.

    The newspaper biz is tucked/hidden into “others”, consolidated with M&A, which is a loss leader, without breaking out the numbers so its investors can’t directly see how much money Japan Times loses per quarter. Now, if someone were to buy enough shares to attend the annual shareholders meeting and ask a question regarding exactly how much money JT makes or doesn’t make, and if it isn’t making money and newspapers are a hopeless biz in the 21st century and what is a profitable plastic parts company doing with a losing biz like JT that’s not part of its core competency… JT would be in big, big trouble. Nifco’s shareholders would be aware and the board would have to do something to show they’re not wasting their money. Nifco’s CEO could no longer keep JT as a vanity project without answering to shareholders which weren’t paying attention. My guess is Nifo would sell the paper to a tourist / travel company or a big English chain, and they’d keep the brand name but convert the paper into a pure commercial ad for tourism or English education, removing all journalism and commentary.

    Anyway, just a thought. Dust off your resumes, JT editors reading this. That paper isn’t going to be around (at least in its current form) long enough for you to retire there. And don’t blame us when it happens. JT was already rolling down the hill towards the cliff. I’m just suggesting we give it a little extra push to speed up the process.

  • Dear Dr. Debito,

    I’m sure you remember Ms. Miyamoto, the lady of Japanese and NJ parentage, who was crowned Miss Universe Japan last year, and faced a racist backlash for ‘not being Japanese enough’.

    Well, I’d like to draw your attention to this young lady, also of J/NJ heritage, who has just been crowned Miss Japan;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/05/national/social-issues/woman-of-indian-descent-crowned-miss-japan/

    I’m sure she will face a backlash for ‘not being ‘proper’ Japanese’ too, and deserves our recognition and support.

    However, there’s a very large part of me that thinks that given Japan’s extremely poor showing for gender equality, and misogynist culture, that rather than representing an indicator of some glacial social progression for NJ in Japan, it more readily represents NJ being trapped into Japanese systems of control. After all, in other modern countries, beauty pageants are seen as degrading to women, but here we are told this is ‘progress’, and this seems to me to be another aspect of fetishizing these ladies non-Japanese ‘otherness’ as a commodity.

    Japan still can’t crown these legally Japanese women as beauty queens without qualifying them as ‘haafu’ rather than ‘Japanese’.

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