DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2016

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Table of Contents:

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GOOD NEWS
1) Japan Scholar Tessa Morris-Suzuki reviews book “Embedded Racism” in journal Japanese Studies, calls it “important, courageous and challenging”

SPECIAL ON EFFECTS OF NEW HATE SPEECH LAW

2) Mainichi: After Osaka hate speech ordinance adopted, daily xenophobic marches decrease, hateful language softened
3) Mainichi: Effect of new anti-hate speech law spreads to executive, judicial branches
4) Mainichi: Court orders anti-Korean group to compensate woman over hate speech
5) Kyodo: Japan’s laws against hate speech piecemeal, lack teeth
6) Mainichi Editorial: Japan needs effective hate speech law to stamp out racist marches

… and finally…

7) My Japan Times JBC column 101: “US and Japan votes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (Oct 3, 2016)
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By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
Debito.org Newsletters are freely forwardable

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GOOD NEWS
1) Japan Scholar Tessa Morris-Suzuki reviews book “Embedded Racism” in journal Japanese Studies, calls it “important, courageous and challenging”

Morris-Suzuki’s concluding paragraph: In the final sections of Embedded Racism, the author looks to the future, without great optimism, but with some clear and cogent suggestions for steps that the Japanese government should take if it truly wishes to make Japan a more open society. These include passing strong and effective laws against discrimination, strengthening the powers of the Bureau of Human Rights, reforming the citizenship and family registration systems, and legalising dual nationality. Arudou also argues for the involvement of non-citizens in the processes of creating new policies affecting foreign residents. He expresses little confidence that the Japanese authorities will respond to such ideas, but his critique of Japan’s embedded racism and his proposals for change certainly deserve to be read by policy makers, as well as by scholars of Japan. This is an important, courageous and challenging book, and it casts a sharp light on problems which are often ignored or veiled, but which have profound consequences for the present and future of Japanese society.

Full review at http://www.debito.org/?p=14248

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SPECIAL ON EFFECTS OF NEW HATE SPEECH LAW

2) Mainichi: After Osaka hate speech ordinance adopted, daily xenophobic marches decrease, hateful language softened

Debito: When Japan’s first actual law against hate speech was passed in January this year, critics (naturally) decried it as a means to stifle freedom of speech. I took exception to that, saying that it was a step in the right direction, at least. Recent articles in the Mainichi Shinbun seem to bear that out. Here is one, talking about the positive effects of the law, where once-daily hate rallies are down, xenophobic language is softened and made less normalized, administrative organs now have means of enforcement, and even court cases are ruling in favor of targeted victims. Good. Read on:

Mainichi: Mun Gong Hwi, an ethnic Korean, […] says, “In a street demonstration by a hate group in April, there was a moment when one participant started to use blatantly offensive language to attack Koreans, and the organizers hurried to stop them. The number of hate demonstrations has also fallen greatly since around the time of the ordinance taking effect.” […]

The response of police and the government administrations to hate marches has also changed. On June 5, just after the execution of the new law, the Kawasaki Municipal Government refused to give permission for a park to be used for a protest targeting the social welfare corporation “Seikyu-sha,” which gives support to the many ethnic Koreans living in the city’s Sakuramoto district. Additionally, the Kawasaki branch of the Yokohama District Court called the hate speech demonstrations “an illegal violation of human rights” and prohibited them from being held near the Seikyu-sha building. Kanagawa Prefectural Police gave permission for the demonstration to be held in a different street location, but protesters staged a sit-in. The police urged the organizers to call off the demonstration for safety reasons, and it was canceled. […]

The thinking of those putting out hate speech and the (essential) content of what they say may not change, but at least on the surface we can see the effects of the countermeasures. It seems (for example) that the organizers are not allowing demonstrators who often say extremist things to have bullhorns. Preventing hate marches through the law thus depends not on cracking down on such actions, but on government policies that put a stop to discrimination.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14139

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3) Mainichi: Effect of new anti-hate speech law spreads to executive, judicial branches

This is the second article of three talking about the progress being made under the recent adoption of local laws against hate speech in Japan.

Mainichi: A new law aimed at eliminating hate speech campaigns, which instigate rejection of specific racial or ethnic groups from local communities, came into force on June 3. While the legislation has proven effective in some parts of the country, such as in Kawasaki where the court handed down a provisional injunction banning a hate speech rally in an area home to many Korean residents, there remain challenges that need to be addressed.

On June 5, a hate speech demonstration in Kawasaki was called off after participants were surrounded by hundreds of citizens protesting against the rally and police urged them to discontinue the event. The organizers terminated the rally after demonstrators paraded only about 10 meters down the road, in what was going to be the country’s first such demonstration since the anti-hate speech law came into effect. […] The June 2 provisional injunction issued by the Yokohama District Court’s Kawasaki branch also quoted the same international treaty, as well as the anti-hate speech law that had just been enacted in May. The ruling called hate speech rallies “illegal actions that infringe upon the personal rights for leading a peaceful life” and pointed out that grossly illegal hate speech campaigns, such as repeating loud chants with bullhorns, lie “outside the bounds of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression guaranteed under the Constitution.” […]

Signs of change are also emerging in police responses over the issue. In step with the anti-hate speech law coming into effect, the National Police Agency issued a notice to prefectural police departments across the country asking them to strictly respond to hate speech demonstrations by making full use of existing legislation such as that against defamation and contempt. […] Yasuko Morooka, a lawyer who authored a book titled “Hate Speech towa nanika” (What is hate speech?), hails the anti-hate speech legislation, saying, “The law provides support for courts, local bodies and police in making a decision on their strict responses to hate speech.”

The new law, however, has its own limits. In order to provide relief to victims who suffered damage from hate speech, they still need to prove in detail violations of their personal rights and defamation, just as they needed to before the law came into effect. The June 2 provisional injunction banning a hate speech rally became viable as there existed crystal-clear damage in Kawasaki, where the organizers of the planned rally had repeatedly staged similar demonstrations on about a dozen occasions.

http://www.debito.org/?p=14141

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4) Mainichi: Court orders anti-Korean group to compensate woman over hate speech

Mainichi: The Osaka District Court on Sept. 27 ordered a citizens’ group that holds hate speech rallies targeting Korean residents in Japan to pay 770,000 yen in compensation to a Korean woman over defamation carried out by the group and its former chairman. Freelance writer Lee Sin Hae, 45, filed the lawsuit against “Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai” (literally, “citizens’ group that does not forgive special rights for Korean residents of Japan,” or “Zaitokukai”) and its former chairman Makoto Sakurai, 44, demanding 5.5 million yen in compensation for defamation by fueling discrimination against Korean residents through hate speech campaigns.

According to the ruling, after Lee contributed an article criticizing hate speech to an online news site, Sakurai called her “an old Korean hag” at rallies his group organized in Kobe’s Sannomiya district and targeted her on Twitter using a discriminatory word for a Korean person sometime between 2013 and 2014 when he was the head of the group. Presiding Judge Tamami Masumori acknowledged that some of the things Sakurai had said and tweeted invaded her personal rights and concluded such actions constituted insults banned under the U.N. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination…

http://www.debito.org/?p=14230

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5) Kyodo: Japan’s laws against hate speech piecemeal, lack teeth

Kyodo: Japan’s first hate speech law, which took effect in June, was created in line with Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression, and Article 13, which guarantees basic human rights. Experts, though, say the law is flawed because it lacks both a stated prohibition of hate speech and carries no punishment for perpetrators.

In July, an ordinance to curb hate speech took effect in the city of Osaka. It helped minimize threatening expressions, including “Die!” and “Kill them,” but did little to curb slurs like “the crime rate among Korean people is high.” Yet the environment surrounding offensive displays appears to be changing. Kawasaki announced on May 31 it would not allow the organizer of a hate speech demonstration to use a park following past remarks and activities. In Osaka, police called for “a society free of discrimination.” But perpetrators of discriminatory behavior have turned their attention to the political arena…

http://www.debito.org/?p=14254

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6) Mainichi Editorial: Japan needs effective hate speech law to stamp out racist marches

This article offers a good accounting of just how much work went into getting the local governments to take a stand on the issue, and how grassroots movements do indeed influence national policy in Japan.

Mainichi: In 2014, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination advised the Japanese government to take resolute action against hate speech, and to enact anti-hate speech legislation. There are also strong domestic calls for a government response to hate speech. In January of this year, the city of Osaka enacted the country’s first anti-hate speech ordinance. In addition, more than 300 local government assemblies across Japan have adopted a written statement calling on the central government to take appropriate legal action against hate speech, while staying within the Constitutional right to freedom of expression. In these acts, we can see a definite fear that Japan will lose the trust of the international community if hate groups continue to peddle their poisonous polemics unhindered. […]

The LDP-Komeito bill defines hate speech as unjust discrimination. The bill differs greatly from the opposition’s version, which seeks to regulate a wider range of discriminatory acts and calls for the outright ban on hate speech. Neither bill, however, lists a punishment for hate speech violations. To the contrary, we believe that Japan needs a law that clearly defines hate speech, preventing broad interpretations that could be warped into threats to the freedom of expression. The law should also include provisions that will have some practical effect, such as giving authorities the power to deny hate groups the use of public facilities and roads for demonstrations.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13933

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… and finally…

7) My Japan Times JBC column 101: “US and Japan votes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” (Oct 3, 2016)

JBC: I love elections. Anywhere. It’s fascinating to see how politicians craft public appeals. No matter how flawed the process, it’s how nation-states recharge their legitimacy and publicly reaffirm their mandate to govern.

During this season of the world’s most-watched presidential campaign, JBC will assess “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of how the United States and Japan run their elections. […] I want to talk about the expression of political culture and momentum that has grown from generations of campaigning, and how it brings out the “good” (things that are healthy for a representative democracy), the “bad” (things that aren’t), and the “ugly” (the just plain ludicrous)…

Read the rest in the Japan Times at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/10/02/issues/comparing-elections-u-s-japan-good-bad-ugly/
http://www.debito.org/?p=14237

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That’s all for this month. Thanks as always for reading!
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2016 ENDS

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25 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2016

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Japan to conduct first ever survey on racism NJ face in Japan by sending survey to NJ sample group!

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/30/national/social-issues/justice-ministry-conduct-first-major-survey-racism-japan/

    If anyone gets this survey, please share it with Debito.org before completion, so that I can check the methodology to see if it’s a fair survey or rigged to reinforce the prevailing idea that ‘there is no racism in Japan’, please?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Brain-teaser!

    Now, I personally don’t like the writer Haruki Murakami, nor his scribblings; I regard both to be forced and pretentious, with his ‘characterization’ relying far to much on yahoo Japan search results, but he has been an outspoken critic of Abe’s brand of nationalism (remember a couple of years ago he said it was a liquor that made you feel good, but left you feeling terrible the morning after).

    Well today I read this;
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/31/national/denmark-awards-speech-murakami-warns-xenophobia-urges-people-face-shadows/

    Is Murakami, as the article suggests, attacking the perceived right-wing movements in Europe following the ‘migrant crisis’ (which would be a bit rich for a Japanese, after all, Japan took literally 14 refugees last year. And anyway, how does that explain Murakami’s anti-historical whitewashing comment?), OR…

    Is Murakami here criticizing Japan’s racist insularity and fear of foreigners, along with Abe’s right-wing revisionism, but he is too afraid to actually name names (fear of losing his elevated status in Japan, fear of losing book sales in Japan, fear of being knifed on the streets of Tokyo by a right-wing loon?), thereby rendering his speech open to Japanese deflection (B, b, but in Europe!).

    I can’t decide.

    I think that Murakami, like other internationally high-profile Japanese celebrities (I’m thinking Yoko Ono for starters- her parents used to holiday with the imperial family) is absolutely terrified to point the finger back at Japan and risk being made ‘soto’ to the entire Japanese ‘uchi’.

    Reply
  • Gessssssssss…how can this keep happening in this 24/7 internet wifi twitter blogsphere world ….this points to something really really seriously wrong in Japan if it is not known such would cause an offence! What makes it even worse is the usual lame excuses.

    “J-pop row: Sony apologises for Keyakizaka46’s ‘Nazi’ outfits….” *

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37843779

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Japanese uni student stares at Brazilian guy arguing with Japanese restaurant staff about being ripped off when the bill came.
    Brazilian guy asks him what he’s staring at.
    Japanese uni student ‘gets irritated’ by the question, throws Brazilian guy to the floor and kicks him repeatedly in the face, putting him in a coma.

    https://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/crime/university-student-arrested-for-assaulting-brazilian-man

    Omotenashi indeed.

    Reply
  • Japanese parochial cultural insensitivity never ceases to amaze me!
    Today is Armistice Day (Nov 11th), even marked in my calendar as 世界平和の日 (World Peace Day), yet the geniuses behind the chocolate snack Pocky (no doubt silver-spooners from Dentsu) have decided that today should be renamed as a marketing gimmick;

    https://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/national/nov-11-its-pocky-and-pretz-day

    Can you imagine the uproar if mushroom farmers ANYWHERE in the world suggested August 15th be ‘mushroom day’?

    Reply
  • I saw this on the front page in reddit which basically means (literally) millions of views. (with almost 4900 comments and 5600 upvotes)

    “TIL that a white American became a Japanese citizen, and successfully sued a business that refused entry to non-Japanese for racial discrimination, winning $25,000 in damages” (The link in the title leads to your Wikipedia page)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/5dxj48/til_that_a_white_american_became_a_japanese/

    — Yet even the very headline gets it wrong.

    Reply
  • The Japanese government’s efforts to recruit desperately required NJ nurses to meet a shortfall of staff in Japan has repeatedly failed due to unnecessary and strict practices designed to exploit them before sending them home for failing kanji tests.

    Japan’s ‘intern training program’ has been widely recognized as slave labor.

    Now it seems that aside from the J-gov, organizations that actually need caregivers and nursing staff are discriminating against NJ by categorizing NJ applicants based on presumed ‘love of Japan’ and ‘morals’.

    Surely, relevant professional qualifications should be the primary (indeed, only) factor?

    Patient: “How do you like Japan?”
    NJ caregiver: “It’s so-so.”
    Patient: “Get the hell away from me! I’ll manage without my medication thank you very much!”

    Really? I think not.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/24/national/recruiter-hot-water-ranking-foreign-trainees-nationality/

    Reply
  • Interesting letter in the Japan Times today;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/12/04/how-tos/riding-foreign-jr-kyushu-can-costly-business/

    If you select a non-Japanese language on JR ticket machines, tickets prices could be as much as 2000¥ higher. JR confirms this is true! Ripping off tourists is some low third world kind of behavior.

    Regrettable indeed. Omotenashikunai〜.

    — I saw that. I was going to make that the next blog entry…

    Reply
  • Like the proverbial mice seeking a way to tie a bell to the cat’s tail, the Japanese have been desperate to find a way of visually marking ‘legitimate’ NJ for year; ‘gaijin cards’, RFID chips, facial recognition software trailed on NJ in Osaka station.

    But the problem is how to ‘mark’ NJ without facing accusations of ‘putting stars on Jew’s clothing’ style abuse of human rights?

    Well, here’s the answer; a QR chip sticker that attaches to your fingernail, and is perfect for issuing tourists at immigration! Long term residents can be issued a years supply at low cost!

    Of course, this application isn’t the focus of the media attention, oh no. Rather, ‘look how helpful this is for identifying dementia sufferers who go outside and get confused’. Ahh, the road to hell, and all that.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/09/national/japanese-city-tags-elderly-dementia-sufferers-barcodes/

    Reply
  • I’m actually deeply offended by this;
    An article about the decline in the number of mixed sexes public bathhouses follows this tortuous route;
    1. A bath house was closed because a Japanese group was filming a Japanese porn movie in the bath, in front of Japanese spectator. To…
    2. There is a type of ‘parasite’ customer who comes to shamelessly leer at Japanese women, called alligators/crocodiles (wani), and…
    3. Gives example of Japanese men staring at the wife in a Japanese couple who use such a mixed hot spring. So far, so creepy, but then, after all this ‘bad Japanese manners’, comes the cognitive dissonance sucker-punch;
    4. Article wraps up by blaming the industry’s decline on Japanese woman made to feel embarrassed by ‘men ogling at women, adding that there were particular problems with certain overseas visitors who “didn’t have the same kind of bathing culture.”’.

    Ah, when Japanese men stare at your wife or make porno in the bathhouse it’s just Japan’s ‘unique culture’, but if an NJ looks at a Japanese woman in the bath, she can never go back, and the industry’s doomed!

    What absolute racist rubbish.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2016/12/10/lifestyle/last-splash-immodest-japanese-tradition-mixed-bathing-may-verge-extinction/

    Reply
  • Japan’s ‘Internship’ program of rotating door visa’s for NJ ‘trainees’ to come to Japan for the promise of skills training that ultimately proves to be merely a human-rights abusing minimum wage slave labor stop gap for declining manpower for blue-collar work (mainly farming, fisheries, and agriculture), MUST be running out of steam!

    The word must be out that it’s exploitative!
    Why?
    Because the J-gov is launching a new initiative!
    This time they are asking for NJ university graduates in agriculture, WITH Japanese language ability, to pick vegetables for minimum wage, in special ‘zones’.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/12/national/skilled-foreign-workers-employed-farms-special-zones/

    It reminds me of the drive to attract NJ nurses and caregivers;
    Japan needs these workers.
    Japan invites these workers.
    Then Japan gets cold feet about a few thousand NJ coming,
    So Japan gives them abusive conditions and impossibly high hurdles to stay.
    The NJ leave.
    J-gov shrugs shoulders and says ‘unreliable NJ, foolish to have expected them to do better. Not our fault’.
    End of problem! (Right?)
    No!
    Japan learns nothing from its policy failure, and doubles down on a bad idea!

    Reply
  • #JDG

    While the rest of the “developing world” realise how bad it is, even for just PR and must change. Yet here we have Qatar, and Japan trying other ways of keeping it….nice one 🙂

    “Qatar abolishes controversial ‘kafala’ labour system…… Human rights groups say the change leaves the system – which they describe as modern-day slavery – intact….Amnesty International says the measure will not lead to significant changes.
    “This new law may get rid of the word ‘sponsorship’ but it leaves the same basic system intact,” Amnesty’s James Lynch said. Rights groups say that migrant workers will still need employer’s consent to return home.”

    When will they ever learn…oh yeah, when there is no more foreign labour to exploit.

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38298393

    Reply
  • Scariest thing I’ve read all year!

    Osaka has Nippon Kaigi run kindergarten that operates on Imperial era constitution and rules.

    https://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/lifestyle/japanese-kindergarten-teaches-students-pre-war-ideals

    Endorsed by Abe and his wife, it’s teaches pre-schoolers that the Emperor is a god, that kids should not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for the nation, and that they should spread unique Japanese nationalism around the world.

    This is truly child abuse and N. Korean style brain washing.

    Reply
  • Funniest thing I’ve read all year!

    Japanese fret over (another!) ‘gaijin crime wave’ if casinos allowed to open in Japan.
    (Obviously, that’s not the ‘funny’ part).

    Look at the comments!

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/14/national/citizens-worry-japans-casino-bill-will-fuel-crime-addiction/

    There’s arch Debito/Debito.org naysayer, slam-blogger, and Japan racism apologist Ken Yasumoto Nicholson right there! He’s criticizing Japan! He’s criticizing Japan’s racism!

    The irony!
    I almost made a Disqus account so that I could reply in a fake right-wing Japanese manner that if he “hates Japan so much why doesn’t he just go back to Scotland?!”, and tell him to keep his “cultural imperialist racism to himself!”.

    But I figured that Ken, like Greg Clarke, must’ve had his imaginary fantasy of Japan bubble finally burst, and now he’s lashing out at the perceived betrayal.

    I never met apologist who survived having their precious Japan/precious me bubble burst.

    Merry Christmas to all debito.org readers.

    Reply
  • @ Jim, #9, categorizing NJ applicants based on presumed ‘love of Japan’ -so they will accept low wages and work here “for the love it”. This has been going on for decades, usually by exploiting Japanonphiles’ and offering little in return for their work except the “Japan experience” (which could include hardship, its part of this unique, invaluable experience too haha).

    So many times I got “offers” that were unpaid, but that it was good for “promotion”. Promotion? Of what? Myself? To possibly include a line on my resume (so I get locked into low paid work).

    Why don’t they just admit they want unpaid volunteers?

    Reply
  • Japanese-Australian right-wing revisionist group with links to apologist Tony ‘Texas Daddy’ Marano appeals to Australian human rights laws for the removal of a Korean sex-slave memorial installed on private church land since it infringes on their human rights as Japanese and they feel ‘hugely intimidated’.

    https://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/politics/comfort-woman-statue-at-sydney-church-upsets-japanese-australian-community

    The revisionists website is most insane; they claim that the ‘comfort stations’ were set up to stop the thousands of rapes committed by the Japanese Army early in the war. So it seems that they are willing to accept that Japanese troops raped thousands of women, but just not these women. Some other women.
    I am aghast at the illogical contortions these people go through to deny wrongdoing.

    Reply
  • I’ve often said that the former Kempeitai staffed Ministry of Education has from its outset sought to preserve the inculturation of Imperial-era ideology in Japan’s youth. They’ve been relatively successful- most Japanese have a poor (at best) and distorted (at worst) understanding of Japan’s wartime aggression.

    Those who (willfully) forget history are doomed to repeat it. Don’t believe me? Japan’s revisions to interpretations about deploying the SDF abroad are already subject to ‘mission-creep’;

    https://www.japantoday.com/smartphone/view/national/media-shown-sdf-drills-to-protect-japanese-citizens-abroad#

    This is the interesting part;
    ‘SDF personnel can also be dispatched at the foreign minister’s request to countries where Japanese citizens may be at risk due to terrorism or political upheaval.’

    Let’s consider an example of that, shall we?
    When a Japanese-owned railway in China had a little explosion, Japan blamed China and started invading them. It later turned into a full blown war known as the Second Sino-Japanese War. Of course the railway incident was later known as the “Mukden Incident”, where Japanese troops were the ones who planted the explosives as a false flag operation.

    The apologists continue to say that Japan is nothing like the militaristic country that it used to be, and the Japanese would never go on a rampage through Asia again. Fair enough, but if that’s true, why are they taking away all safeguards to prevent that, and instead create the circumstances that started the whole thing back in the day?

    Reply
  • @ Baudrillard #17

    Yes, of course, ‘love of Japan’ means never EVER criticizing Japan for anything at all whatsoever, otherwise NJ get labeled ‘Japan-bashers’ and told to go home.
    In practice it means that NJ workers will be exploited until they run out of goodwill and go home. And then they will be replaced with ‘fresh’ NJ with undepleted ‘goodwill’ reserves.

    Maybe I should do some research to see what the value of ‘NJ goodwill exploitation’ is worth in ¥ terms to the Japanese economy? Anybody got any ideas how to estimate that?

    Reply
  • I’ve always believed that all the ‘we Japanese’ ‘unique Japan’ myths propagated by nihinjinron-giron snake-oil salesmen are nothing but systems of control to inculcate a desired level of nationalism and patriotism into Japan’s Meiji-era masses for the purposes of ‘nation building’ the Japanese state in 1868, and these tools were so brilliantly effective at controlling the Japanese masses that their use never ended. Indeed, perhaps those with their hands on the levers of J-power are themselves now buying into these myths with no awareness that they are untrue inventions used as tools of control.

    If not, how to explain this bizarre article in Japan Times?
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/17/national/media-national/western-culture-end-japanese-harmony/

    ‘“Japan,” he writes, “got weird after its defeat in World War II and the subsequent Occupation.”

    It lost its “Japanese spirit.”

    “Postwar Japanese conservatism became simply a matter of doing what America said.”’

    Says the Japanese guy in his sofa in his huge New York office, with a window view framing the Empire State.

    I guess ‘J-elite’ can do whatever they want, but the rest of the Japanese better not forget their ‘unique Japanese’ of service-overtime and silently ‘ganbaru’.

    Reply
  • Bladerunner!

    I remember a while back here on debito.org discussing how the movie Bladerunner was instrumental in inspiring a generation (or two, or three) of NJ to come to Japan. The movie presented an 80’s vision of a then ascending Japan’s ‘cultural triumph’ over the USA.

    NJ like me bought into it in our droves, and the Japanese were happy to embrace our misconceptions about ‘Japan; so futuristic!’.

    Of course, that wore off quick once you saw a Japanese paper dominated office. Like Japan’s ‘Thunderbirds’ era massive infrastructure projects that are now decaying kitsch eye-sores of a future that never happened, Bladerunner seems like a sad disappointment when you know the reality.

    And I recal commenter Baudrillard, I think, stating that director Scott had such a miserable time trying to film around Japanese bureaucracy that he swore never to shoot in Japan again.

    Well, he’s gone further than that. Dr. Debito mentioned in our original discussion that Sci-Fi movie ‘futures’ are ‘Japan passing’; Ultra Violet and Looper- Shanghai, Cloud Atlas- Korea, and now it seems the Bladerunner sequel too;

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=haXvp8M9Cog&sns=fb

    This trailer for Scott’s sequel features none of the Japanese cultural imagery and language of the original, but prominently features Korean Hangul script.

    I don’t know how that will work out, but Scott’s unwitting contribution to Japan’s ‘cool’ factor soft-power in the 80’s appears to be something he has no desire to repeat.

    Reply
  • Hi Jim, on bladerunner (annoyingly claimed by Japan propagandists in the 90s), I see that more about Japanese immigrants integrating into future US urban areas, rather than any triumph of Japan itself. In the movie, they were street punks,an underclass, speaking a patois of Japanese and other languages, so for me they reminded me of those counter culture Japanese who just want to get the hell out of conservative Japan!

    The other recurrent image though is of the Japanese advertising, but that is imported products and yes, the zeitgeist of the 80s. Maybe said Japanese immigrants would be their best own customers in that world.

    In the 90s though, this was seized upon J gaijin handlers as a proof to visiting rose tinted glasses Njs of Japanese superiority-vindication through Hollywood.
    William Gibson, the cyberpunk novelist who set lots of his stories in Japan and had Japanese protagonists like Yamazaki, etc, recalled

    “My guide gesticulates excitedly to me in Shinjuku- you see, you see? This is Bladerunner town!”

    Not really. In fact industrial Kawasaki (the reclaimed southern bit, was perhaps more redolent of Ridley Scott’s nightmarish fire belching towers of the opening sequence). But hey, they arent going to take William Gibson, a yumei jin, to Kawasaki.

    But J cyberpunk, Gibson, Ken Ishii and Akira, etc are sooooooo 90s passe. They deserve to be consigned to the dustbin of history as a hedonistic aside,and irrelevence, the last hurrah of pseudo alternative lifestyles in Japan, a misleading red herring that drew inspired young NJs to Japan on false and ephemeral pretenses.

    At the time it was almost compulsory to like or buy into this stuff, to pay lip service to cyberpunk, to a soundtrack of cool Japan minimal techno (oh good, no pesky Engrish lyric writing necessary, dont need to hire Peter Barakan or other NJs to check it).

    I love Bladerunner the movie still, but tend to ignore (passing?) the Japanese bits, like reading around the ads in a newspaper, and if one pays too much attention to that aspect it seems a bit dated and embarrassing.

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  • @ Jim, 21, As soon as I saw the pic of the oyaji in the expensive office, I thought, “Japan pass!” The article meanders a bit, but I like the silly Tokyo v Kanagawa hair splitting about the minute differences that may or may not exist getting obsessed over.

    “Postwar Japanese conservatism became simply a matter of doing what America said.”’

    Well, yes Japan was essentially rebranded. The postwar Japan is a postmodern construct where signs and signals do not always make sense. Thus the social ills, mental issues and pressure stress, and hikikomori realizing rightly that human relationships in a Japanese company etc are so difficult to maintain as anything you say might offend someone, etc that its better to say nothing and just do your own thing, in isolation.

    A bit like Japan on the world stage….

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  • Hmmm..same old same old crying of fowl because the rest of the world doesn’t understand!!

    “The big row over a small Australian statue…..Outside a church in suburban Sydney sits a bronze sculpture of a young Korean girl in traditional dress. She stares in silent protest, a symbol of the estimated 200,000 women were forced to work for the prostitution corps of the Japanese army during World War Two………Last week, a Japanese lobby group lodged a racial discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Commission in a bid to remove the statue from Ashfield Uniting Church in Sydney’s inner west….” *

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-38362304

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