XY: My experience with a Harajuku shop keeper – “F*ckin Foreigner kill” racist signs and threatened violence

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Hi Blog. We’ve covered this “F*ckin Foreigner kill” Harajuku store called “Richards” before on Debito.org, and obviously media attention hasn’t deterred this nasty shop from putting up nasty anti-foreigner signs. Now, according to customer [whom I will anonymize as XY], the manager bullied her as a customer with verbal abuse and threatened her with violence. And the local police refused to do anything about it. This is beyond the pale, and XY intends to fight it. Good for her, and Debito.org puts this up as a matter of record at her request to draw attention to the issue. Dr. Debito Arudou

Richards Harajuku Maruichi Blog. 1F, 1 Chome-6-11 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0001
Phone:  03-5410-0069

////////////////////////////////////////////////
From: XY
Subject: My experience with a Harajuku shop keeper – racist signs and threatened violence
Date: December 19, 2017
To: debito@debito.org

Hi Debito,
I’m a long-term resident of Japan and I’m writing to you to share and get you to share my encounter yesterday with a racist shopkeeper in Takeshita dori in Harajuku.

It started with racist signs and ended with him threatening me with violence.

Sample signs (dated December 18, 2017):


Full report:
===========================

This happened to me today – my experience with a racist violent shopkeeper in the center of Tokyo’s busiest tourist town.
Warning … horrible language- completely NSFW or children.

Today I went to Harajuku and while I was there I did a little shopping. I went to buy a cute bag in this shop in Takeshita dori and realised that the shop had startlingly crude insulting signs up aimed at foreigners (non- Japanese).

I originally thought that it might have been because of an ignorance of English, but when I spoke to the shop keeper he said “Nihon wa jiyu na Kuni” (Japan is a free country) and I realised he meant every word.

Now I understand that he was getting annoyed that people were taking photos and not buying things, but that level of insulting hate driven language is never okay, and especially not in a place where children may go.

I even told him that I was buying it for my child, and that I would have brought my child there… and it was not something that a child should be exposed to. He didn’t care.

At that point I decided that there was no way I was going to spend any money in his shop, and anything I bought there would just feel bad so I told him that I no longer wanted the bag.

He cursed me out for being cheap and wasting his time (although in fact I was going to buy the bag and already had my money out).

Later after I had finished my other business I decided to get photos of the signs so I could publicize his nastiness, so I went back to the shop and took photos.
He yelled at me to stop taking photos and I told him I was only taking photos of the signs and not of his merchandise.

Then he grabbed something and went to hit me with it.
I screamed in shock and ran out of the shop.

Totally shaken by this experience I decided to walk down to the large police station around the corner. I wanted to make a report because I felt it needed to be on record.
The police refused to take a report and told me I should call 110 next time.

UPDATE DEC 28: I have realised that the police insistence I give the exact address before they could make a report was most likely a measure to deflect me. I had a photo of the shop front with the shop name clearly written which I showed to them.

I was already appalled by his signs, but then when he topped it off with attempted assault made me worry about what else he has done to foreign tourists or what he will do.
I’m amazed that the local business groups aren’t doing anything to stop him ruining their image with foreign visitors.

===========================

I’ve made this report public so that it can be shared, and I am giving everyone permission to share and use it.

I’m also happy to answer questions and do what needs to be done to get the word out and stand up to a bully like him.

I’m glad you are here fighting the fight for all of us. It needs to be done and I intend to fight this.

Sincerely,
XY

//////////////////
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23 comments on “XY: My experience with a Harajuku shop keeper – “F*ckin Foreigner kill” racist signs and threatened violence

  • Ah yes, those ‘hate-speech’ laws are really kicking ass, ain’t they?
    And let’s give a round of applause to the J-cops for failing to protect someone of NJ birth, refusing to let her report a violent crime, and in doing so keeping Japan’s crime stats oh so low, because, y’know, ‘Japan is safety country’.

    Reply
    • Not letting her report the crime is just ludicrous. Not surprising considering the Japanese police of course, but still just disgusting.

      Reply
      • The Signs are in English and the cops (can claim they) don’t understand English.
        Engrish is up for grabs as a symbol of “cool” regardless of the meaning. “Kill” is seen as “punk”. Ditto the F Word. Could be why the Indo Chinese mentioned on XY’s thread arent supportive either. Plus theyre resentful of so called “White Privilege”? Just speculating.

        Hey. lets be free from our J society imposed shackles on Sundays by swearing in a foreign language. How essentially cowardly and gutless.
        Try starting a punk band called “731” instead and see how you fare. Johnny Rotten was assaulted several times for “God Save the Queen”- this shop keeper and the majority of his customers are just appropriating NJ culture and pathetic, gutless Poseurs.

        Reply
    • By refusing to allow the report – leaves no evidence of a crime, and one towards a foreigner at that!.
      Ergo, no reporting no evidence., their MO is very clear.

      Which is why all the apologist cite….show me, show me..show me the stats of racism in Japan,…er….hard to when the police don’t even want to officially record it!

      Reply
  • Surely this illegal hate speech, because it includes the word “Kill” as under the (otherwise toothless)) 2016 law ” it only involves threats to someone’s body and threats to people’s lives.[“.

    But “Kill foreigner”- thats very clear evidence for prosecution.

    Reply
  • This little Hitler thinks he can do what he likes to foreigners.”Keep Rule” (whose? Yours?) “Petalty10,000” (sic) are how he thinks he can “law down the law” to the powerless Gaijin as a Japanese. Oh, and the fact he wrote “Kill Foreigner” and then got an object to hit Alison with, seemingly following through with this threat.
    Violence to women eh? It doesnt bode well for Omotenashi and the Olympics..
    Call 110.

    Reply
  • “Then he grabbed something and went to hit me with it.” Surely this is attempted assault or similar. Why wouldnt the police do anything? Did Alison stress this part to the police?
    We can’t have people randomly hitting people (customers) with sticks and the like, regardless of nationality.
    So if someone tries to hit you, isnt this at least worth the Koban bobbies coming to have a word, at least? What IS their job exactly?

    Reply
  • This is pretty “fuckin” terrible. If anything I would say this DOES fall under the hate speech law, and sounds like a threatened assault. No surprise the police did nothing of course, they never seem to do anything when foreigners TRULY need help sadly. Too many friends in dire situations got no help when even worse cases and called for help.

    Reply
  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    I’ve shared this, and I suspect it is one way of dealing with the issue – if enough people share then it might get picked up by a media outlet.
    Otherwise someone is going to have to bring the owner to the attention of the police (you know, we have reason to believe he is a drug dealer, or the like…) and make him a target of surveillance.

    I do not recommend that someone make up some t-shirts with abusive and/or threatening Japanese, wear them under jackets into the shop and then take off the jackets…
    (But that’s just my recommendation)

    Reply
  • I read recently where 2 Koreans were having coffee in a starbucks and a patron asked them not to speak in korean, the staff asked her to leave, she refused and the police escorted her out. Imagine the same thing happening in Japan. Ive been told on several occasions to not speak English because “this is Nihon!”
    threatened with violence for being gaijin, taking back damaged products and blamed for it “because I didnt check it” not having items put in a bag at the counter and asked to leave, etc etc.
    I dont make excuses for it anymore; I just apply this test; would a Japanese person do the same thing to another Japanese, and if so, what would be the consequences?

    Reply
    • Do you mean they asked the Koreans to leave or the J patron telling them off for speaking Korean? I’d like to say this is a recent phenomenon, but thinking back to the 80s, even then there was this Nj bullying going on, at that time acompanied with a smug sense of economic superiority as the Japanese had the money to throw around. That’s gone, but the exclusionist attitudes remain.
      Even then there were the Little Tojos ” I ll report the teacher who doesnt follow the rules to immigration”.
      Even then, your gaijin handler would sometimes “J’splain” to you that you couldnt talk (even in Japanese) to that person as “They dont ‘do”/cater to (dont like) gaijin, Sorry”.
      Even then, this was widely seen as a “lifestyle choice” of the Japanese, that “J-democracy” means the freedom to discriminate.
      Even then, many shops refused foreigners, not to mention the real estate offices. One “nice” agent tried for me, but out of 28 he called, only 4 said “gaijin OK” and these were of course the overpriced ones far from the station etc. What a surprise.
      Even then, the Honored Guests, the Rich Rockstars, would have a great time as “they really look after you” but that dovetails with “handling”. Even they were aware that the special treatment only applied so long as you left when you were supposed to.

      I recall the UN report around the time Bustamente came and met Debito, “Does this mean Japan wants to limit interactions with foreigners?” – a claim strongly denied by the J spokesman. And Alberto Fujimori friend, Ayako Sono’s pro Apartheid comments, decried as likely to make any NJS thinking of working in Japan as “distrustful” of Japan’s motives.

      Distrustful indeed.

      Reply
  • Hi Debito,

    I’m a long term reader of your excellent website.

    In my opinion, this should go into your annual “Top 10” issues facing NJs.

    – Phil.

    Reply
  • Do you mean they asked the Koreans to leave or the J patron telling them off for speaking Korean?

    Before you go off on one. It happened in the US, there’s a video of it. A white old woman asks 2 Koreans to stop speaking their disgusting oriental language. A two members of staff, Starbucks I think, tells the old woman that they two can speak whatever language they wish, and asked the old lady to leave the shop because her behavior was discrimination/against Starbucks policy. The old lady refused, so the Starbucks staff called the police, who evicted the old woman. The ironic side of this story is that this episode caused such furor in Korea, a country on par with Japan for xenophobia. Many Koreans, like many Japanese, seem so sensitive to the racial slights thrown their way, yet so so liberal with the racial slurs they throw out to others; never quite understand it. Looking at half of the comments on XY’s thread, who blame her for the signs and treatment she received at the shop, I was shocked how many people condoned the shopkeeper’s action, including a large number of Indonesian Chinese who are always complaining on their own Facebook sites of the discrimination and racism they face in Indonesia at the hands of the native populace majority.

    Reply
  • The police refused to take a report and told me I should call 110 next time…

    Does anyone know if it’s legal in Japan to record a police encounter?
    Having also a video evidence can further help prove the case of discrimination, especially in the court of public opinion.

    — It is legal.

    Reply
    • Is there a law that we can refer to or it’s just simply not mentioned anywhere and thus implicitly allowed?
      I’d like to get my arguments ready for when they will invariably start complaining.

      Reply
  • “Engrish” is oft seen as an “anything goes” languages by Japanese, with frequent F word usage free for all replacing the -masu forms of usually polite Japanese. Time and again I have met Japanese polite in their own language whse opening greeting was “How the Fck are you?!”
    They dont seem to realize that English has its own set of rules and politeness; it isnt an excuse for honour-bound Japanese to suddenly let all their frustrations come out.

    There is also a postmodern meaningless to this as they may think the signs have no “serious” meaning (yeah, to them) just like various other meaningless signs and symbols or bizarre, yet offensive, T shirts written in English in Japan. Many violent, demonic, borderline hate speech messages are “OK” in Japan “because its just fashion dakara”. Ditto Nazi Chic, which was popular in the 80s but still pops up from time to time in J-pap, maybe under the direction of a retrogressive Oyaji producer bereft of new ideas.

    I recall that the American president of Disney was so incensed by the “cultural dumbing down” of English on T Shirts and various products in Japan that he forbade the local Japan office to release anything without a native speaker checking the content, much to their chagrin. Stuff like “Look at the shape of Daisy Duck’s fanny” on a Kid’s product, for instance. Oooops. (I am not making this up).

    The Local J Staff would try to dismiss it as, “It’s for domestic market so its OK”.

    So I think that is partly what is going here with the signs’ content, and possibly the shopkeeper’s attitude. Like a teenager who has suddenly discovered a new vocabulary, he thinks it is “cool” to swear. And because its Engrish, it doesnt matter. He may also think it is somehow “rad” to write Fcckin Foreigner. Maybe he thinks it is “punk”.

    Come to think of it, there was a record shop in East Shinjuku with a similar vibe and attitude, the wannabe punk owner with the mohican shoved me for taking pictures at a public event in 2007, but I digress.

    What is annoying is they think that because its English, it doesnt matter. Hate speech OK if not written in Japanese?

    Reply
  • realitycheck says:

    Just to focus on the practicalities of bringing this racist clown to wider attention – I’m pretty sure that shop has violated copyright laws by stocking merchandise that liberally rips off labels or copyrighted images from over the world.

    If you have any photos of the merchandise, post it to the relevant companies. They can nail this racist clown for stealing their property.

    Same goes for the other racist clowns around Harajuku/Shibuya etc. They are stealing from licensed distributors by selling products they never asked permission to copy or bought from distributors pirating images etc.

    Reply
  • Yes, if the same situation happened in Japan that happened to the Koreans at the U.S.starbucks, you would just be told “shoganai” by the staff as you, the gaijin, are ALWAYS to blame, but if you post it and it goes viral, oh my! the outrage. I find this double standard by many Asians to be weird.

    Reply
  • Rodriguez says:

    Oh wow. I know who you’re talking about. The same guy attacked me when I asked him about the meaning behind the sign. I asked him why he would post hate speech like that, he told me it wasn’t hate speech, I disagreed with him, and then he ran at me and quarterback sacked me. I tried to make a police report, but they woukdn’t accept it since I was moving back to the States a few weeks after it happened, and I “wouldn’t be available,” for contact.

    Reply

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