“Japanese Only” signs come down in Monbetsu, Hokkaido. Finally. It only took 22 years.

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Hi Blog. Good news. A couple of weeks ago, friends Olaf and James wrote in to say that they went down Hamanasu Doori in Monbetsu, a seaport town in Eastern Outback Hokkaido. Here’s what book “Embedded Racism” Ch. 3 has to say about this case (expanded from the original entry on the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments on Debito.org):

============================
Monbetsu, Hokkaidō

Place: Miscellaneous places around Monbetsu City (Hokkaidō) (two public/private sector bathhouses, a ramen shop, a restaurant, a karaoke parlor, and more than 100 bars).

Background: According to newspaper articles, plus several visits and interviews between 2000 and 2009 by the author and other activists, since 1995 Monbetsu’s local restaurateurs’ association (inshokuten kumiai) created and sold standardized signs in Cyrillic saying “Japanese Only Store” (Nihonjin sen’yō ten) that went up on over 100 bars and restaurants in the Hamanasu Dōri nightlife district. Interviews with bars displaying the signs revealed fears of Russian sailors’ custom, including the language barrier, drunken unruliness, nonpayment of bills, rumors of rape, surrounding Japanese customer dissatisfaction, and ties to Russian organized crime (although many interviewees said they had no actual experience with any of these issues – the sign was a preventive measure); some refused the author’s business even though he is not Russian and was accompanied by other Japanese. Three restaurants and a karaoke parlor expressed similar sentiments, and said they would have refused the author had he not been a fluent Japanese speaker. Two bathhouses (one private-sector, one public/private (dai-san sekutā)) claimed drunk and unruly Russian bathers were driving away Japanese customers).

Action taken by observers/activists: In July 2000, the Japanese Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Human Rights (jinken yōgobu) Asahikawa Branch wrote a letter (see ER Chapter Eight) to the restaurateurs’ association calling their activities “clear racial discrimination against foreigners,” demanding they remove their exclusionary signs. In an interview with the author in April 2001, the kumiai head claimed that these signs were now the property of their respective purchasers, and what they did with them was not their concern. After extensive media exposure of the situation in local newspapers and national TV between 2000 and 2005, signs began coming down, and further interviews and media exposure of the restaurants, karaoke parlor, and the bathhouses resulted in exclusionary rules being rescinded in the karaoke parlor, one restaurant and the public/private-sector bathhouse. In 2006, an interview with another restaurant enabled the author to personally take down one of the Cyrillic signs with permission. In 2004, the author and one other activist submitted a petition (chinjō) to pass a local anti-discrimination ordinance (jōrei), which subsequently died in committee.

Current status (as of end-2014): Confirmed in January 2010, at least sixteen of the original mass-produced Cyrillic signs are confirmed as remaining on the storefronts of Hamanasu Dōri bars and one restaurant. The private-sector bathhouse still has an exclusionary sign, but will let in “foreign” clientele if they speak a level of Japanese that satisfies the manager on duty. One of the former exclusionary restaurants went bankrupt in 2007. Monbetsu still has no anti-discrimination ordinance.

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So the update is:  The exclusionary signs are down in Hamanasu Doori.  Pity it only took 22 years for it to happen, apparently by attrition.  No thanks to the Monbetsu City Government, natch.  Dr. Debito Arudou

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26 comments on ““Japanese Only” signs come down in Monbetsu, Hokkaido. Finally. It only took 22 years.

  • I was in Monbetsu last month talking to a sushi chef. He told me the reason the ‘Japanese Only’ signs had decreased was because Russian ships didn’t dock in Monbetsu port anymore. They now docked in Chinese ports where they get a better price for their crabs.

    Hardly call this progress

    • Japan passing makes discrimination moot? “They now docked in Chinese ports where they get a better price for their crabs.”

      The question remains whether Japan prefers the loss of business to the “freedom” to be racist/xenophobic/exclusionary.

      Alas, I fear many prefer the latter. “Towards an irrelevant Japan?”

      • Of course the Japanese prefer ‘Japan passing’ making discrimination moot; they can BLAME US for Japan passing!

      • don’t think the boats that used to come to Mombetsu are heading to China. It’s rather a long way around the Korean peninsula and the boats were rust buckets.. It is possible that Russia is marketing it’s crab catch to China and shipping them in either bigger boats or trucking them but imo it is far more likely the Russian crab stocks collapsed due to overfishing and there isn’t a profitable catch to be had.

        • Interesting. The removal of discriminatory signs seems to be a function of the economics of Russian crab fishing rather than any human rights awareness progress by the Japanese.
          I’m literally LOLing that the Japanese have avoided the issue for so long that it’s become irrelevant. That’s Japan’s entire future in that sentence, right there!

      • Haha. Nice one Baudri. Upcoming newspaper article’s first paragraph:

        “Japan-Passing: From Tokyo to Hokkaido, a surprisingly large percentage of international companies are choosing to ‘pass’ on doing business in Japan, citing grave concerns about personal safety due to racial discrimination being still legal in Japan, since Japan in 2017 still lacks legislation of any Civil Rights Law (the kind of ‘all races equally protected from race-based discrimination’ law which the United Nations’ Japan-signed CERD Treaty requires with Supreme Law of the world force). So until Japan legislates Civil Rights Law, and enforces it strongly enough for all racial-discrimination victims (e.g. all “non-Japanese-Races” in Japan, who Japanese people label as being “gaijin” races) to be sufficiently protected, to gain legal recourse when suffering the emotional and financial damage from “No non-Japanese races allowed” signs and policies, many companies around the world are choosing to ‘Japan-Pass’ recently.”

        • Which newspaper please? Which companies japan passing?
          I hadnt noticed this trend in the 90s (when Japan was still an essential Asian market by default, impossible to ignore), but around 2007 or so a businesswoman for a shoe company told me she wouldnt be doing a buying trip here again “because they are so racist”.

          That’s when I knew the cat was out the bag; world had reached foreign shores about the Real Japan. It’s been downhill since then, what with Fukushima radiation, earthquakes, North Korea, shrinking economy, better alternatives.

          Sorry, but what’s to like? Oh yes, the ANIME.

      • Upcoming newspaper article … by whichever major journalist has the intelligence and courage to report on this human-interest-story of Japan’s continued lack of any “all races equally protected” Civil Rights Law in 2017.

        Whoever writes this article will greatly benefit by using the powerfully concise phrase which longtime Debito.org posters Baudrillard & Jim Di Griz have both used recently: “Japan-Pass / Japan-Passing”.

        Much more presently relevant than the old “Japan-Bash / Japan-Bashing” phrase which Japan used to pretend to be the victim, this newer and more appropriate “Japan-Pass / Japan-Passing” phrase properly explains how people around the world are realizing they have the right and the ability to CHOOSE to REFUSE to do business with Japan, just like the world justly previously chose to refuse to do business with South Africa, until Japan finally ends its belligerent legal-Apartheid stance of refusing to enact the U.N. CERD treaty-mandated “all races equally protected” Civil Rights Law.

        The companies and people who choose to “Japan-Pass” are taking this action not just for moral reasons, but for personal safety as well: one simply cannot safely live in or even temporarily visit a country in which racial discrimination is legal in 2017.

        Racial discrimination in Japan continues to be committed daily by private individuals: like company owners and staff quietly enforcing the “no Non-Japanese races” policy, from restaurants to real estate agents to even litigation lawyers.

        Japan labels all “Non-Japanese races” as “Gaikokujin / Gaijin” even if the person in question holds a Japanese passport. Meaning: even if a person is a citizen of Japan (whether naturalized or even from birth – born to parents who are both citizens of Japan) Japan’s cultural stance still maintains if one’s racial appearance does not match the “Japanese race” appearance stereotype, Japan forever labels one a “Gaikokujin / Gaijin” foreign-race-outsider, to be discriminated against as a sub-Japanese “Non-Japanese race”.

        And racial discrimination in Japan continues to be committed daily by public workers: like police officers initiating race-based interrogation without the prerequisite probable-cause nor reasonable-suspicion of any actual crime. Walking while appearing to be a non-Japanese race continues to be “sufficient grounds” to be detained in Japan.

        Japan’s prosecutors and judges continue to call such racially-discriminatory-actions legal in Japan, since Japan’s Constitution is being interpreted as NOT protecting “Non-Japanese” races from public workers’ racially discriminatory actions, and Japan’s legislators’ refusal to enact an all-races-equally-protected Civil Rights Law means: companies in Japan still think it is perfectly legal to refuse to do business with non-Japanese races.

        Well then, the world’s 2017 response is: we humans around the world have the right and the ability (and the moral obligation, plus the personal-safety reasons) to “Japan-Pass” and to increase the “Japan-Passing” until Japan’s legislators enact the U.N. CERD treaty-mandated Civil Rights Law, to require Japan’s public workers and Japan’s private companies to treat all races equally.

        TL;DR: “Japan-Pass” “Japan-Passing” article to be reported by a major newspaper soon, hopefully. 🙂

    • Loverilakkuma says:

      I guess cultural backwardness in remote geography makes it worthless for what the city has done. Local media(Hokkaido Shinbum, I guess) wouldn’t even consider it worth reporting. All what little they have made will likely be buried until the last man dies. That’s the fate of city that is left economically and socially left behind. Sad.

  • Abe Rosenblum says:

    Is it possible the signs were taken down because the people from the generations who had them up are dying off?

    • We can only hope so. But I doubt it. The ‘Nishinomiya study’ proved maturation effect in Japanese; open minded young people become conservative old people.

      • I searched for this “Nishinomiya study” but wasn’t able to find it. I’d like to read it. Can you please give me a hint where to locate it?

        • Way back I came across it published in something else in a university library, and it stuck in my mind because the research was conducted on the same individuals over about 20 years.
          In the beginning they were all so liberal, by the end they all sounded like the worst right-wing oyaji you ever met.
          I don’t remember anything else about it, except that I referenced it in a paper I wrote!
          I’ll see if I can find something.

          • Jim, thanks so much for posting that. The conclusion is particularly noteworthy:

            “…there are two countering tendencies which need to be observed. One is that as a person becomes older, he or she tends to become more conservative; thus, the younger generation in years to come will tend to behave more and more like the older generation. The reason for this conservative tendency is that the
            conservative values of the society are not just accidentally associated with the establishment, rather they are there because they buttress the existing economic and political
            institutions. These institutions are slow to change. As they persist, the value system supporting them is also likely to persist. As younger Japanese join established economic and political institutions, they are likely to become more conservative in outlook and espouse more conservative values, in short, the tenets of Nihonjinron.

            Which of these two sets of opposing forces will have the upper hand in future, no one can say. One scenario would have Japan become more internationalized and less oriented toward Nihonjinron. The other would forecast a more conservative Japan increasingly favorably oriented toward Nihonjinron. Still a third scenario would see both trends continue, with increasingly divergent and polarized public opinion, where conservatives in the establishment upholding tenets of Nihonjinron will continue to guard the establishment while the liberals, disenchanted with Nihonjinron, will gain in numerical force without being able to capture political power.”

            I think it’s pretty clear that the third scenario is coming into fruition at this point.

  • Abe Rosenblum says:

    Is it possible the signs were taken down because the people from the generations who had them up are dying off?

    Not at all because if you go to the places where the Russian boats still dock, Kushiro, Otaru and Wakkanai, the foreign exclusion feel is still as strong as it has always been. It might not be so visible, with ‘Japanese Only’ posters, but the exclusion of the non-Japanese is enforced by other means. A point to note is that places where it wasn’t very noticeable, because there weren’t many non-Japanese visitors, suddenly have taken a turn for the worst.
    Hakodate is a good example of this. Because of the recent non-Japanese tourist booms and Hakodate local government seem to be getting their act together (renovating the port area), Hakodate now has a lot of non-Japanese visitors. I know of three places where the management now boast to me that they now don’t accept non-Japanese customers. I, because I’m a regular customer of over 20 years are treated as an honorary Japanese.

    For me the problem of Japanese racism/exclusion has always been that familiarity, outside of the non-Japanese bubbles (Hiroo or Roppongi) and institutions (Hub and Dubliner pubs), breeds contempt. It’s the Dejima Island mental factor, controlling the unknown so that the unexpected doesn’t happen. Until the Japanese, as a whole, get over this frame of thought, the exclusion of foreigners, in one form or another, will continue.

    Those interested in the changing economic fortunes of the Hokkaido crab import trade and losing out to China, which itself breeds bitterness on the Japanese side because its the Russians’ fault with their greed that has caused this economic down turn, rather than Japan is no longer the only big dog on the block who can afford such imports, please peruse https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/06/27/russian-fishing-tycoon-to-challenge-crab-quote-auctions-results/

    ‘In addition to the traditional US, Japan and South Korean sales markets, in recent years the demand for Russian crab has significantly grown in China. As a result, prices for Russian crab in the global market have grown by many times compared to the beginning of the 2000s’.

    • “For me the problem of Japanese racism/exclusion has always been that familiarity, outside of the non-Japanese bubbles (Hiroo or Roppongi) and institutions (Hub and Dubliner pubs), breeds contempt.”

      This.
      Scipio, could you please elaborate?

      I’m curious if you’re pointing to my biggest gripe living here: as long as you keep inside a foreign community (especially if you’re a white, white-collar well-paid professional) you’ll be fine. Ie: live in Akasaka, look for an apartment through a special agency for foreigners, go to upscale supermarkets and restaurants where Japanese patrons can say “oh, what an international place” when they want to go there and get their fix of… of… dunno what to call it.

      But if you’re a foreigner that learned the language, sorts their trash, and wants to live like 99% of the country, woe betide you expect equal treatment the moment any problem arises. Really makes you wonder why you bothered to learn Japanese, mingled and made the effort to learn the rules.

      • “Really makes you wonder why you bothered to learn Japanese, mingled and made the effort to learn the rules.” Joke: so you could understand ANIME perfectly well and buy more products related to it (Taro Aso’l’s geek fantasy for solving the trade deficit).
        Sadly, over that time when we did bother to learn Japanese, the benefits derived for doing so evaporated, athough some were illusions to begin with, like serious promotion in a company if you speak Japanese.

        So now, speaking Japanese just means you will incur more social obligations and work, but without equal rights as you ll always be a foriegner and thus a second class “citizen”.

        Again, what’s to like? Oh yes, the ANIME.

    • Let’s please remember that this is not merely exclusion of “foreigners,” but more accurately of minorities, especially visible minorities.

  • @HJ, yeah, it’s a fairly old study, so I think it’s conclusions were prophetic.

    It’s the main reason I roll my eyes every time some newbie or news outlet runs a ‘young people of Japan aren’t meeting the traditional image of Japanese’ story.

  • Just want to add one more comment to this page.

    Some folks seem to be assuming that the end of “Japanese [race] Only! No Foreigner [races] allowed!” signs in Hamanasu Doori is NOT mainly thanks to Debito. Even Debito himself modestly wrote the reason for this success was “apparently by attrition.”

    Well, we never will know exactly what thoughts occurred within the minds of the company owners who finally decided to take down their “Japanese [Race] Only! No Foreigner [races] allowed!” signs, but I think that a MAJOR reason for this much-belated success is that they thought about Debito’s conversations with them, and they thought about the financial penalty that one bathhouse was ordered to pay by the civil court. It took some of them 22 years for this thought process to occur, but the point is: if Debito had NOT talked to them, and if Debito had NOT taken one of them to civil court, if Debito had left those racially discriminatory signs unchallenged, over the past 22 years those signs could have spread throughout Hokkaido and eventually in the present day throughout Japan in much greater numbers, gaining momentum and increasing at an exponential rate, probably (or, at the very least, possibly.)

    So Debito deserves respect and praise for having taken a stand against such “Japanese [race] Only! No Foreigner [races] allowed!” signs.

    And Debito deserves respect and praise for having proved to the world that such signs are not just barring people who aren’t Japanese citizens (which would be bad enough), such signs are even going so far as barring people who don’t appear to be “the Japanese Race.”

    Debito proved that Japan is not only guilty of failing to outlaw entry-denial-based-on-nationality (which is unacceptable in any first-world-country) Debito also proved that Japan is guilty of failing to outlaw entry-denial-based-on-RACE.

    And finally, some say “Well, the civil court judge ordered a fine, so ipso-facto such racial discrimination is illegal in Japan.” Wrong. If a LAW against barring entry based on race were illegal in Japan, the police would have had to arrest the sign owners and taken them to criminal court for a criminal court judge to determine the prison sentence and/or fines. There isn’t even a statute in Japan to make race-based-entry-denial a tiny ticket-able offense.

    One has to merely hope that each victim personally has the time+energy+money to hire a lawyer to file a civil court lawsuit, and then the victim has to hope that the judge might be so kind as to throw the victim a bone (probably the judge just wants to quiet down the embarrassing newspaper story about one particular case) and EVEN THEN since this is civil court, not criminal court, the perpetrator can STILL simply not pay the civil-court-ordered payment to the victim.

    Some liars/idiots on other sites claim such small civil court “wins” means that somehow race-based-entry-denial is illegal in Japan, but that claim is obviously incorrect.

    From 1996 to present day, Japan has been and continues to be in violation of the U.N. CERD treaty which Japan signed.

    In 2017, there still is no LAW in Japan to make race-based-entry-denial illegal.

    Still, we all are grateful for Debito fighting for justice-for-all-races-in-Japan for over 22 years.

  • Anonymous says:
    Some folks seem to be assuming that the end of “Japanese [race] Only! No Foreigner [races] allowed!” signs in Hamanasu Doori is NOT mainly thanks to Debito. Even Debito himself modestly wrote the reason for this success was “apparently by attrition.

    You’ve obviously not been to Hamanasu dori. There’s no companies there, it’s just a collection of ma and pa restaurants and bars.

    The notices came down because they weren’t needed anymore, there are no Russians docking in Monbetsu.

    If, by some miracle, the Russians were to again to dock in Monbestu, with their crab laden rust buckets, the notices would be back up in a day.

    That’s the sad reality of Japan and will remain so until the Japanese government passes effective legislation against racial exclusion; which is never, as far as I can see.

  • Yes, the collection of ma and pa restaurants and bars on Hamanasu Doori are owned by people.

    About 100 of those people had put up those entry-denial-based-on-race signs, due to a combination of malevolence, ignorance, and most importantly Japan’s lack of a Civil Rights Law outlawing racial discrimination.

    Those people were told by Debito that entry-denial-based-on-race is illogical, immoral, and causes damage both to the victims emotionally and to the owners financially.

    Those people also read about and heard about Debito’s success in getting a civil court judge to order one particular person (the person who owned the Yunohana bathhouse in Otaru) to pay ¥3 million yen for the damage caused to the 3 victims in that case of entry-denial-based-on-race.

    Definitely, SOME of those Hamanasu Doori people took down their entry-denial-based-on-race signs due to Debito’s conversations with them, due to Debito’s media campaign about such signs and policies, and due to the reports about Debito’s lawsuit partial* success.

    (* = Admittedly only a partial-success, since the judge financially penalized merely one perpetrator yet did NOT financially penalize the government for its violation of U.N. CERD treaty: the violation by the cities, prefectures, and national government of Japan, for continuing to refuse to outlaw entry-denial-based-on-race, and all other such acts of racial discrimination in Japan.)

    As Debito correctly wrote – “After extensive media exposure of the situation in local newspapers and national TV between 2000 and 2005, signs began coming down, and further interviews and media exposure of the restaurants, karaoke parlor, and the bathhouses resulted in exclusionary rules being rescinded in the karaoke parlor, one restaurant and the public/private-sector bathhouse. In 2006, an interview with another restaurant enabled the author to personally take down one of the Cyrillic signs with permission.”

    Positive change, however slight, HAS occurred over the years thanks to the effort, money, and time spent by Debito having traveled to and spoken with many race-barring company owners, having submitted a petition (chinjō) to pass a local anti-discrimination ordinance (jōrei), having convinced the Japanese Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Human Rights (jinken yōgobu) to write a letter to the restaurateurs’ association demanding they remove their exclusionary signs and calling such a policy “clear racial discrimination against foreigners” (that was quite a rare letter from any MoJ official), having tirelessly done many interviews with the media to raise awareness about this Hokkaidō (and nationwide) problem, having endured death threats of “get out of Japan or WE WILL KILL YOUR KIDS” from “friends of the local onsen” delivered to his home, having sued an especially unrepentant owner of a public-style (dai-san sekutā) bathhouse for committing race-based-entry-denial (of both non-Japanese-citizens who-are-visual-minorities AND Japanese-citizens who-are-visual-minorities) in which Debito made the giant leap for all minorities in Japan by having proved in court that the “Japanese Only, No Foreigner” policy is in fact a “Japanese RACE Only, No Foreigner RACES” policy, having written many books and hundreds of monthly newspaper columns about racial discrimination in Japan, having earned a PhD in the subject and having authored Embedded Racism (the best book ever, in my opinion, with voluminous evidence of Japan’s profound systematic institutional legal racial discrimination continuing well into the 21st century) so, Debito has expended a million times more energy in his lifetime towards the goal of getting Japan to legislate a Civil Rights Law, than I (or any of us) have.

    So, finally when a little bit of good news comes in from Olaf, about how the “Japanese (Race) Only” signs are now all gone in that place where Debito started his lifetime campaign 22 years ago, I think it is extremely modest and humble of Debito to write, “it happened apparently by attrition” and I think it would be a little bit mistaken / cold / ungrateful / incorrect for our replies to imply that Debito’s lifework had ZERO percent to do with ANY of those 100 signs having come down, or that all 100 of those signs came down due merely to old owners passing away, or that all 100 of those signs came down merely to current crab economics.

    Nobody can know for sure exactly what thoughts occurred within the minds of the 100 company owners who finally decided to take down their signs.

    Yes, probably SOME of those people simply passed away.

    Yes, probably SOME of those people took down the signs due to less foreign-race-customers visiting that area due to less crab business there.

    And, definitely SOME of those people took down the signs thanks to thinking (however slowly) about: Debito’s past conversations with them, combined with Debito’s past media discussions about them, combined with Debito’s past MoJ Bureau of Human Rights demand letter written to them, combined with Debito’s past ¥3 million yen court judgement for having such a sign up.

    No big debate needed here about which factor is “THE (ONE AND ONLY) REASON” why the signs came down gradually over 22 years from 100 to finally zero now.

    I simply think, in my opinion, that a MAJOR reason for this much-belated success is that a sufficiently high percentage of those establishment owners thought about Debito’s conversations with them, and they thought about the financial penalty that one bathhouse was ordered to pay by the civil court, AND that even if only say 7 owners took down their signs directly due to Debito’s efforts, that those initial 7 signs that were taken down STARTED THE BOULDER ROLLING which created a slow-but-steady (22 year) trend of other owners deciding to also take down their signs as well (monkey see, monkey do, the natural “humans copying other humans” tendency) which (of course combined with other factors, of course) led to the current result of zero signs remaining there presently.

    I don’t think that all of the 100 signs which came down were due ONLY to the reduction of crab fishers.

    I don’t think that all of the 100 signs which came down were due ONLY to Debito’s efforts in Hokkaidō.

    It was of course a combination of many factors, swirling around in the conscious and unconscious minds of the company owners who one by one eventually decided to take down their signs.

    Yes Scipio, I accept your point that the crab-economic “not many Russian fishers visiting anymore” factor should be given proper inclusion when guessing the reason for no more signs (and your opinion agrees with Debito’s opinion, that it was probably due more to ATTRITION, than to any actual soul-searching repenting by the majority.)

    And yes Scipio, you’re right that such signs might very possibly be put up again, if a new factor were to be added into the mix, for example: if there were to be a return of a high number of foreign-race-customers in the area in the future.

    Of the original 100 sign owners, some are still surviving and still owning a shop there, possibly the thought process would go like this:

    “Hmm, those foreign-race-customers are starting to come back to this area, what should I do?

    On one hand, I don’t want to risk some stronger-than-me foreign-race-customer minorities possibly scaring away my relatively-weak-bodied relatively-racist-minded Japanese-race-appearance majority customers,

    but I don’t want to risk a ¥3 million yen civil court judgement like the one which bankrupted the owner of that bathhouse,

    but I’m probably safe from that risk since the bathhouse was a ‘public-private’ business (dai-san sekutā) while my restaurant/bar/shop is safely labelled a ‘100%-private’ business so I still can legally do race-based-entry-denial since Japan has no Civil Rights Law,

    but I don’t want to risk another letter from the MoJ Bureau of Human Rights demanding I stop my policy of racial discriminatory exclusion again,

    but probably they won’t send me such a letter again since that activist Debito who came and spoke to me was the only person in Japan who ever convinced any MoJ official to send such a demand letter about this issue so probably nobody else will be able to repeat that feat,

    but I don’t want to be different than my neighbors so I don’t want to be the only person on this street to re-up one of those old signs which currently nobody on this street has up now,

    but if a few of us re-up the old signs probably a new trend will be created which will allow many of us to confidently put up the signs again,

    but I would like to get a little more income to my dying shop even if the customers happen to be foreign-race-customers…

    hmm, so many factors to weigh, it’s a difficult decision for me now, even though I had the confidence to put up the sign before.

    Maybe I’ll keep the sign down to avoid criticism, while continuing to refuse all foreign-race-appearance people by throwing up the ‘batsu-mark’ hand-gesture and claiming ‘sorry, all full, private reserved party coming, leave now, if you don’t leave now you are trespassing, no videos can be taken inside this private establishment of what I am saying, no filming inside private property, get out now or the police will come arrest you for trespassing’ verbally each time.

    Or maybe I’ll do that verbal refusal action to some foreign-races, but allow some foreign-races to enter, depending on how rich/poor safe/violent fluent/not-fluent I stereotype each respective foreign-race to be.

    Hmm… muzukashii desu ne… So many factors to think about…”

    The point is, of the 100 people who previously had such “no foreign races” policy posted publicly-visible on the outside of their shop, definitely SOME of the people who took down their signs MUST have been (and still are) effected in their thought factors (however major or minor) by Debito’s positive equal human rights actions.

    When I saw this little positive report being shared by Olaf and James, to Debito and to us Debito.org readers, my root reaction is: thank goodness, finally, and thanks (however major or minor) should be given to Debito (and to everyone else positively involved) who HELPED become positive factors towards this positive end result.

    OK, and yes, thanks to the accidental factors of attrition and crab prices too. 😉

    Relevant example: my father saved up for 3 years, and then quit his job and moved across the country to give free volunteer help to Jack Herer (RIP) in Oregon and to Chris Conrad and Dennis Peron in California, and during his few years of activism my dad’s personal result was (by choosing sufficiently effective sentences, said with a sufficiently effective vibration, to an extremely high number of people, and knowing how quickly to move on to the next potential signer) he successfully personally collected 10,000 signatures for their righteous campaigns to put on the state ballots propositions to legalize the adult consumption of cannabis in one’s own home.

    (Plus, even though not gay, he also spent a year doing the exact same volunteer work to legalize the act of gay sex in one’s own home in places which were at the time still absurdly banning such ‘obscene acts’.)

    The cannabis-freedom (and partner-freedom) propositions he helped were successfully put on the ballot: some were passed by the voters, some weren’t, but that STARTED THE BOULDER ROLLING, that subsequently led to more easily-passable laws (like medical-use only) which then led to more fully-free laws (like recreational use legal, and gay marriage legal too) and now 20-something years later most states in America have passed laws protecting the rights of all humans to partake in such victim-less actions. He just collected 10,000 signatures, so he can’t be called “the only person, the only factor” that successfully re-legalized those things, of course not.

    In addition to the thousands of other altruistic activists volunteering their time just like him, there were of course other factors as well, such as time leading to many misguided elderly anti-cannabis-freedom anti-gay-freedom fascist-control-freaks gradually passing away over the past two decades which can be called “attrition, of a percentage of the wrong-belief-holding individuals”, combined with increase of objective-evidence and open-minded subjective-consideration about equal human rights for ALL persecuted people (whether about their race, gender, religion, partner-choice, plant-choice, whatever), and of course economic factors helped the decision process as well.

    But the point is he put in good work for a few years, and it shouldn’t be implied that he had absolutely zero positive butterfly-effect on the final positive outcome.

    Imagine if you gave years of your life to help fix a problem, and then when a small success finally comes about someone implies with surety that your years of work had no effect. Such an implication would be possibly hurtful and probably untrue.

    Well, the point I wanted to make here is, compared to my dad who spent just a few years as an activist, and compared to a person like myself who has NEVER spent any time/money/energy taking any action, we should remember that while we merely comfortably post anonymous comments on Debito’s site, Debito has been altruistically spending over TWO DECADES of his lifetime actually taking ACTIONS (only some of which are listed above) to take down the “Japanese Only” signs in Hokkaidō and throughout Japan.

    And my personal opinion is that Debito’s efforts, one of which being this site which he established March 15th 1996 (which Ana Bortz no doubt had read back when she too righteously took a stand against race-based-entry-denial in 1999: definitely mutual back-and-forth inspiration leading to synergistic upward advancement for all) are all major factors which led to us readers in Japan knowing about the most powerful supreme law United Nations CERD treaty which requires Japan to legislate a Civil Rights Law.

    That massively important signed treaty, which all human-rights conversations and letters and lawsuits in Japan must always remember to focus on, which Judge Tetsuro Sou admitted as he handed down his ruling in the Ana Bortz case in 1999: “Banning foreigners from a store has an element of treating them cruelly because of their differences and is not appropriate behavior: Japan is a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and THAT TREATY IS EFFECTIVE AS DOMESTIC LAW.”

    Unfortunately Japan’s Legislators and Supreme Court Judges still refuse to admit in 2017 what that civil court judge admitted in 1999.

    Someday, Debito’s (and Olaf’s, and Ana’s, and all such equal-rights-for-all-races-in-Japan action takers’) work WILL eventually result in a Civil Rights Law in Japan someday, even if it takes 22 more years, and we observers (and our children, the eventual beneficiaries of this great work) should remember to be grateful and respectful of the positive butterfly-effect which the action-takers created because they STARTED THE BOULDER ROLLING.

    TL;DR: successes are thanks to many factors combined, but the main point is that Debito’s 22+ years of great human-rights-in-Japan work should be remembered with gratitude forever. 🙂

    PS – No matter how it may appear, I receive no payment for strongly “plugging” Debito’s lifetime-efforts and his lifework-encompassing Embedded Racism book. I simply get that really nice internal feeling that comes from speaking the highest truth one knows. I hope readers who feel my vibration will choose to donate a tiny token back to Debito, by sending him a little donation and/or by purchasing a signed copy of Embedded Racism as I have done, it feels good to give a little physical thanks. 🙂

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