Racial Profiling by Japanese Police in Tokyo Azabu: Uprizine’s Interview with Austin Freeman, a student at Temple University Japan


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Hi Blog. Debito.org has talked for years about racial profiling by the Japanese police (see for example here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, not to mention demanding urine samples from “foreigners” in Roppongi only; seriously). Clearly it’s still going on. The issue here, however, is how institutions that are supposed to support and inform NJ in Japan of their rights, options, and protections in Japan (in this case, Temple University in Japan) are apparently not doing so. Read on. Dr. Debito Arudou


Racial Profiling by the Japanese Police: An Interview with Austin Freeman (excerpt)
Upri-Zine.com, April 2, 2018. Courtesy of NC

INTRO:  In December 2017, TUJ added a new section to their Student Handbook titled Public Safety and Encounters with Law Enforcement (pages 21-23), “TUJ does not assume obligations for students’ off campus behavior or for their interactions with Japanese law enforcement personnel or the criminal justice system.”

Read more at https://www.upri-zine.com/single-post/2018/03/28/Racial-Profiling-by-the-Japanese-Police-An-Interview-with-Austin-Freeman


UPDATE APRIL 7, 2018: Response from UPRIZINE after I notified them that their article appeared on Debito.org:

Dear Mr. Debito, First, we would like to thank you for your interest in our website, article, and what we are doing. However, we request that you take down our article which you have copied and pasted onto your own website. As a Temple University Japan affiliated group and as owners of the website, we ask that all reproduction of our material be done with our permission and with the consent of all participating members of an article. Not doing so minimizes our work, what we are trying to achieve, and could pose as an issue for the image of our magazine and institution. Mr. Freeman is also not comfortable with your usage of this piece as it is not an excerpt of the article but rather an appropriation of it. We politely request that the article be taken down from your website and that all social media posts linking to your website regarding it be taken down as well. If you would, however, like to continue helping this cause, you can edit your post to link our website with only the first paragraph of the article and “read more at (https://www.upri-zine.com/single-post/2018/03/28/Racial-Profiling-by-the-Japanese-Police-An-Interview-with-Austin-Freeman) “ in order to direct readers to our site. You can also write your own article based off ours as Mr. Freeman has agreed to this. We thank you once again for your interest and hope you understand our stance on this. Sincerely, UPRIZINE


Debito.org’s response:

Dear Uprizine,

Thank you for your personalized email response. I have complied with your command to include only the first paragraph of your article on Debito.org. I hope this provides enough context to inspire readers to read further.

Debito.org apologizes for inadvertently minimizing your work, what you are trying to achieve, and the image of your magazine and institution.

Please also send my apologies to Mr. Freeman for making him uncomfortable by drawing attention to his cause.

Sincerely, Debito Arudou (Ph.D.)
Do you like what you read on Debito.org?  Want to help keep the archive active and support Debito.org’s activities?  Please consider donating a little something.  More details here. Or even click on an ad below.

33 comments on “Racial Profiling by Japanese Police in Tokyo Azabu: Uprizine’s Interview with Austin Freeman, a student at Temple University Japan

  • It’s sad and i’m agains any racial profiling but let me say one thing: It doesn’t matter wether someone is black, yellow or white. I’m white too and I wouldn’t put my nose while passing through while J cops search you. Even in other countries. I don’t know what have you done. Was it just racial profiling or something that you really have done? I don’t know. This is why I would pass it. Sorry.
    By the way, last year I saw on crowded street in Shibuya, Policemen were searching young Japanese student backpack.

    • Read the story again. He was walking, then the police stopped him and insisted on searching him. What was he doing? He … was … walking. That’s it.

      You can pretend skin color doesn’t matter, but when we’re just walking down the street and then the police come and mess with us, but not the people around us, it’s pretty clear why.

      I’ve never been searched, but I’ve been ID checked many times, as have tons of other people, just because we’re visible minorities. It’s sad, it makes us feel bad, it makes others think we’re shady for nothing, it puts our health and safety at risk, and it doesn’t reduce crime.

      • I think he’s saying that a passer-by wouldn’t know if you’ve done something wrong.

        It would seem pretty unwise for a stranger to “intervene” with he police when they are searching someone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for posting that Baudrillard.

      That summary, by a Japanese attorney, has correct points and incorrect points.

      In case it ever disappears, here’s an archive http://archive.is/iS17L

      Here are the J-attorney’s correct, good advice, points:

      + Film the police and never stop filming no matter what they yell. You have the right to continue filming no matter how many times they request/demand you stop. DON’T STOP FILMING.

      + You do NOT have to answer questions, you do NOT have to give permission to any searches.

      + If a police officer prevents an individual from walking away from the police questioning it can be seen by a judge as ILLEGAL DETENTION. An individual who was physically not allowed to leave (or told he was not allowed to leave) for a long time, can bring a criminal case against the police: Penal Code Article 194 outlaws a police officer arbitrarily confining an individual, and Penal Code Article 195 outlaws a police officer harassing an individual. The police officers will CLAIM to the judge that the individual was voluntarily staying there (and thus the individual should have simply calmly refused and walked away.) Since standing there and agreeing to participate in shoku-shitsu is entirely voluntary, one has the right to calmly refuse and WALK away BUT: NEVER RUN because you do NOT want to give the police the ability to claim you were trying to escape.

      Here are the J-attorney’s incorrect, bad advice, points:

      – He strangely does NOT tell people about the MOST IMPORTANT Police Duties Law Article 2 which entirely outlaws in the first place: the initiation of police questioning without first having reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime. By NOT telling people that Police Duties Law Article 2 specifically OUTLAWS RANDOM STOPS, this Japanese lawyer is pretending that police officers are magically allowed to stop individuals without reasonable-suspicion-of-a-crime. ABSOLUTELY WRONG, and probably not even mistakenly wrong since any good lawyer knows Article 2 by heart, probably this lawyer is purposefully concealing that vital law in an effort to minimize complaints about “his country’s” daily illegal police actions. He gave a little truth (e.g. you have the right to refuse and the right to film) but then he pretends police can stop people without cause. Withholding the truth about Article 2 is equal to lying to the readers.

      – Not only does he refuse to bring up that most vital Police Duties Article 2, he then absurdly states that “simply walking in a neighborhood which has a reputation for crime involving foreigners” somehow magically gives the police officers the legal ability to initiate police questioning (of course that stance is absolutely wrong, that totally violates Police Duties Law Article 2) and he even goes on to claim that a judge will probably agree with this “foreign criminal neighborhood equals any foreign-looking-individual walking is legally a crime-suspect” stance (no, no, no, judges demand that officers actually see an actual ACTION about a crime FIRST, before initiating a stop, and when officers violate Police Duties Article 2 the judges throw out the entire case due to the police officer’s illegal action and even financially PENALIZE the police officer.)

      – Since he refused to tell the people the truth about stops-without-cause-of-a-crime being violations of Police Duties Law Article 2, I think he is also not telling the truth when he claims “even though the law doesn’t mention allowing it, court precedent somehow magically allows police to touch anyone at anytime without their consent, and to search people’s clothes without their consent at the same time – as long as the touching of genitals is unintentional and as long as this consentless-body-search and consentless-clothes-search is labelled (using unlegislated terminology) a ‘pat-down’.”

      – This no longer credible Japanese lawyer also pretends that the Police Laws only protect Japanese CITIZENS, which is a dangerous myth he is (probably purposefully) perpetuating. WRONG. The Police Laws do NOT limit themselves to protecting only Japanese Citizens. On the contrary, Police Law Article 162 specifically states: the Police Laws protect ALL individuals.

      So in summary, enjoy the confirmation about the 3 good points which he admitted to, but don’t be fooled by this Japanese lawyer’s excuses, half-truths, and bold-faced-lies, about the legality of police officers stopping people (and touching their body and clothes) “simply because there are a lot of foreign race criminals around here”. No, Mr. Japanese Lawyer, such reasonless stops are patently a violation of Police Duties Law Article 2 (Keisatsu Hou, Dai 2 Jou.)

      By the way, about the two laws which the Japanese lawyer admitted to which penalize illegal police actions, here’s a little bonus information for Debito readers:

      Penal Code Article 194 (“Keihou Dai 194”), which outlaws a police officer arbitrarily confining an individual (“Shokken Ranyou”) has a penalty to put the police officer into prison for up to 10 YEARS.

      Penal Code Article 195 (Keihou Dai 195″) which outlaws a police officer harassing an individual (“Boukou Ryougaku”) has a penalty to put the police officer into prison for up to 7 YEARS.

      So, well-prepared individuals should remind officers:
      “Shokken Ranyou wa 10 nenkan keimusho kanou.”
      “Boukou Ryougaku wa 7 nenkan keimusho kanou.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry you were the victim of an illegal police questioning.

    And sorry you were so scared of an illegal police arrest that you chose to voluntarily do things you were NOT legally required to do.

    You were NOT legally required to answer any questions, and you were NOT legally required to show your documents or your things at all.

    Many people foolishly think that by doing whatever the police officer requests, that you will make him like you, and that he will then go easy on you, and that you will thus be able to get to your destination more quickly. WRONG.

    First, the fact is that answering questions and showing things will not make him like you, it will only increase the chance of finding a sentence or an item to use against you, it will only increase the chance of him ARRESTING YOU and PUTTING YOU IN JAIL until a trial and then possibly even convincing a judge (based on the foolish answering of questions and showing of things which you did during the initial stop) and thus PUTTING YOU IN PRISON.


    And even before all that, it is ALWAYS illegal for a police officer to initiate police questioning WITHOUT first having reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime.

    RANDOM police questioning is ILLEGAL police questioning. Repeat this fact internally until you really understand.

    Now, in the spirit of improvement, let’s fix a stance which the victim took:

    “These area-specific policemen should be able to make the distinction between an African-American and a Nigerian.”

    That is NOT a good stance, because that implies it would magically be OK for a police officer to initiate such illegal police-questioning-without-first-having-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime IF the individual WERE Nigerian.

    No to that stance, let’s graduate from that mistake.

    Victims should not fall into the trap of thinking, “I’m not one of THOSE people whose appearance shows they probably ARE overstaying and probably ARE carrying drugs. Police officers should initiate police questioning to THOSE appearance-having people, not me.”

    See, it is a dangerous mistake to wrongly think and spread the incorrect stance of “I shouldn’t be stopped because I my racial appearance or nationality appearance is supposedly statistically-low-chance-of-Overstay and I shouldn’t be stopped because my clothes appearance is supposedly statistically-lowchance-of-CannabisLoving. so instead the police should go stop those Nigerian-race-appearance-individuals, the police should go stop those Rasta-culture-appearance-individuals.”

    Also, the reply statement “I saw policemen searching young Japanese student backpacks” is not a good stance, because that implies it would be OK for a police officer to initiate such illegal police-questioning (questioning-without-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime) towards non-Japanese-racial-appearance-individuals AS LONG AS the police officers are also doing the same thing to Japanese-racial-appearance-individuals.

    See, it is a dangerous mistake to wrongly think and spread the incorrect stance of “Non-Japanese-race-appearance-individuals should NOT complain about police stopping them for no reason because the police are doing that to Japanese-race-appearance-individuals too: the police are stopping people at random, they’re stopping everyone, so that somehow makes it legal.”

    Nope, that “as long as they do it to Japanese people too, random police questioning magically becomes legal” stance is totally incorrect.

    RANDOM police questioning is ILLEGAL police questioning. Repeat this fact internally until you really understand.

    Here comes the correct stance, which cares about ALL individuals:

    The laws of Japan protect from illegal police questioning protect ALL individuals who haven’t been seen doing any ACTION-which-gives-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime.

    Japan’s police duties laws protect ALL individuals in Japan from illegal police questioning, regardless of appearance: a Japanese-race-appearance individual, a Nigerian-race-appearance individual, an Iranian-race-appearance individual, even an individual who appears to be a race or nationality which supposedly has a statistically-high-chance-of-OverStaying, even a Japanese-race-appearance individual whose fashion sense supposedly has a statistically-high-chance-of-being-SociallyWeird, even an individual who wears red-yellow-green clothes which supposedly has a statistically-high-chance-of-being-CannabisLoving.

    Police officers must obey the laws of Japan which require for the police officer can NOT initiate police questioning of ANY individual at all until the police officer has FIRST actually SEEN an ACTION-which-gives-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime, REGARDLESS of the individual’s racial appearance / nationality appearance / language appearance / religion appearance / political appearance / opinion appearance / clothing appearance / etc.

    And, understand this: even in the ultra-rare-case in which a police officer actually HAS seen an individual do an ACTION-which-gives-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime, EVEN THEN the police officer legally cannot force the suspect to do much at all.

    The officer STILL can’t make an arrest, because he didn’t actually see a crime, he can only make various requests. Requests such as “Please acknowledge my presence. Please stop walking. Please speak sentences to me (which I will misremember, mistranscribe, and use against you later to put you in prison.) Please hang out with me long enough for you to accidentally brush against me (when I brush against you, so I can arrest you for assaulting a police officer.) Please allow me to search your bags, your pockets, even strip search you in a van if you seem weak enough, and even pressure you to pee in a cup if you seem willing (so that if I find nothing I might simply drop a little something in your belongings or into your pee so that I reach my monthly arrest quota.) Basically, please do whatever I ask you and start worrying that saying no would somehow give me me grounds to arrest you.”

    The problem is, the police officers PRETEND they are giving you orders, but (as they will tell the judge later) they are actually only making STRONG REQUESTS which you weakly agreed to voluntarily agree to.

    (By the way, in the extremely-ultra-rare case when a police officer actually SAW A CRIME, you will know it because he will be putting handcuffs on your wrists. If there are no handcuffs on your wrist, the police officer did not actually see you commit any crime. He is simply initiating police questioning in the hopes that you will agree to the conversation, mess up by saying two statements that don’t match perfectly, mess up by accidentally touching him, or mess up by allowing him to start touching your stuff. As long as there are no handcuffs on you, you are not under arrest, your movement is not physically being arrested, you are legally free to go and actually you are legally free to never have even stopped your gait of walking in the first place.)

    Anyway, again, as has been said many times here, the ONLY time you have to admit you are a non-Japanese-nationality and show your Zairyuu Kaado is in one particular case: when the police officer actually SAW you do an ACTION-which-gives-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime.

    Which is why you need to get confirmation right from the start about which stance is he taking. If he is taking the easily-defeated illegal stance of “I don’t have reasonable suspicion of you committing any crime actually, I’m just randomly stopping folks” you can remind him that random stops are illegal.

    If he is taking the stronger legally-acceptable stance of “Actually I stopped you because I SAW you do an action-which-gives-reasonable-suspicion-tobeleive-you-committed-a-crime.” then this is the only situation where legally you are required to SHOW (not give, just SHOW) your Zairyuu Kaado (it should remain firmly lodged in your own personal ID-holder held firmly in your hand (because the officer only needs to see with his eyes not his hands) (and if you are really a careful person your police-style ID-holder should be attached to a necklace or attached to your bag to make sure it is not taken away from you, because if it is taken away from you the police officer will likely hold on to it and “study” it for the next hour, thus sneakily preventing you from leaving.)

    As soon as the police officer has SEEN that your Zairyuu Kaado has a valid expiration date (which takes only 5 seconds, max) you should enter the verbal loop of “I showed you my Zairyuu Kaado is valid, so I am free to walk now, right.” – the loop which must be repeated until this police officer (or his supervisor) will admit that yes you are of course free to walk now.

    And again, if the police officer did NOT see you do an ACTION-which-gives-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime, then he is acting OUTSIDE the confines of the police duties law, which means that according to the immigration law about Zairyuu Kaado that is NOT a situation in which one needs to show your Zairyuu Kaado.

    To summarize, the immigration law about Zairyuu Kaado states that one only needs to show the Zairyuu Kaado WHEN the police officer is ACTING WITHIN THE POLICE DUTIES LAW, and the police duties law states that it covers ALL individuals, and the police duties law states that police officers can NOT initiate police questioning until AFTER seeing the individual do an ACTION-which-gives-reasonable-cause-to-believe-the-individual-committed-a-crime.

    Sorry for repeating this so many times, but these reports of people bending over so quickly and showing things they don’t need to show means that people still need to read these facts to have knowledge to have the power to say “If before stopping an individual you did NOT have reasonable-cause-to-believe-this-individual-committed-any-crime. (Hito o tomesaseta mae ni, nanika tsumi ni tsuite utagau ni tairiru soutou na riyuu ga nakatta baai) it was illegal police questioning (ihou na shokumu shitsumon deshita) so I am free to walk now, right. (dakara ima watashi wa aruku kenri ga arimasu desu ne)” ~ the loop which must be repeated until this police officer (or his supervisor) will admit that yes you are of course free to walk now.

    And if the police officer does NOT quickly admit that you are indeed free to walk now, if the police officer instead keeps pushing you to answer his questions and obey his requests-disguised-as-commands, then you will have to pull out the longer speech:

    “I invoke the right to NOT answer ANY of your questions. I invoke the right to NOT allow you to touch my body and NOT allow you to even pat down my clothes. I invoke the right to NOT allow you to touch any of my things and NOT allow you to even look inside my things. I invoke ALL rights.”

    “Japan’s Ombudsmans and Japan’s judges definitely do NOT forgive illegal police questioning and illegal detainment and illegal arrests (Nippon no koan iinkai to Nippon no saibankan wa zettai yurusanai yo: ihou na shokumu shitsumon to ihou na koukin to ihou na taiho.)”

    “I am NOT under arrest so I am free to walk now, right. (Watashi wa taiho sareteinai dakara ima watashi wa aruku kenri ga arimasu desu ne.)” ~ the essential loop that will allow you to keep walking.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, the above summary should mention that the invocation-of-rights speech also needs to include, “I invoke the right to NOT answer any questions without attorney present.”

      And the above summary should also mention that to maximize the chance of properly scaring the police officer into obeying the laws of Japan, one must properly show the police officer that a judge will definitely see the police officer’s illegal actions for proper penalization.

      (Proper penalization being: the financial penalty the police officer must pay, the loss of his police job, and even the possibility of imprisonment of the police officer, for violating the rights of an individual.)

      Which means that for the judge to properly do his job, YOU (the victimized individual) must film the entire police questioning for the judge right from the start (using Evernote or a similar app which sends the video evidence to the cloud in real-time, so that even if the police officer grabs your phone and smashes it or carefully deletes the on-phone video-file, you and your lawyer can still retrieve the cloud-copy video-file evidence absolutely for sure later.)

      And you must bravely continue filming the police officer even though he tells you to stop (and he will lie by telling you it’s illegal but remember he is allowed to lie to you, he has no legal obligation to tell you the truth about laws, he can lie all he wants to you, but you of course are not allowed to lie to him.)

      Keep filming for the judge to be able to rule that the police misconduct at the beginning (like the illegal stop, the illegal detainment, the illegal touching, the illegal searching, all without the legally-required reason and all without the legally-required consent) makes all the evidence against you subsequently collected all unusable in court and thus have the entire case against you thrown out.

      And keep filming for the judge to be able to even imprison the police officer who stopped you (an unarrested individual clearly stating one’s legally-guaranteed right and intention to walk away now) for the judge to see the police officer illegally preventing you from walking away, because that is illegal detainment = illegal confinement.

      Either through PHYSICALLY preventing you from walking away or through COMMANDING you “Don’t walk away” the police officer violated Police Law Article 194, which outlaws a police officer arbitrarily confining an individual, which has a penalty to put the police officer into prison for up to 10 YEARS. (Keihou Dai 194 ni yori, Shokken Ranyou wa 10 nenkan keimusho kanou.)

      So here we come to heart of this vital advice: while filming the entire conversation for the judge, each time the police officer “tells” you to do something you must GET DISTINCT CLARIFICATION:

      “Is that a voluntary request or an unconditional command, which is it?” (Sore wa nin’i na onegai soreka mujouken na meirei, dotchi desu ka?)

      You must GET THAT DISTINCT CLARIFICATION each and every time the police officer tells you to do something.

      And thus (since he’s being forced to distinctly clarify each of his vague requests-disguised-as-commands, WHILE being filmed for the judge to see) suddenly the police officer becomes scared to claim “That ‘Don’t walk away from me’ sentence I spoke just now was an UNCONDITIONAL COMMAND” and instead suddenly the police officer becomes more willing to honestly admit “Um, well, actually that ‘Don’t walk away from me’ sentence I spoke just now was just a request for voluntary cooperation, of course, you are always automatically free to walk away since you are not under arrest.”

      So remember the essential loop of “Am I under arrest or am I free to go?” repeated as many times as needed, and refuse to not be pushed off-track from that theme, since you are not under arrest you are free to walk away now.

      And remember, the police officer himself could be imprisoned, for preventing an unarrested individual from walking away, so if the police officer says anything to the effect of, “No, you can’t walk away now, don’t walk away now, stay right here” you should get on video for the judge distinct clarification:

      “Is that a voluntary request or an unconditional command, which is it?” (Sore wa nin’i na onegai soreka mujouken na meirei, dotchi desu ka?)

      If he claims that staying there with him is “an unconditional demand”, then obey that unconditional command and use a good lawyer later to put the Police-Law-194-Violating police officer in prison.

      If he admits that staying there with him is a voluntary request, then choose to politely REFUSE THAT REQUEST (just as you should politely refuse ALL voluntary requests) and immediately exercise your right to slowly calmly walk away now. 🙂

  • ProfiledVictim says:

    It happens to white people and Japanese people (the ones looking like a literal yanki), but I can tell you the police checks happen more often the darker your skin tone is. I’ve been stopped 5 times the one year I lived in Japan.

    As for that campus jerk in the article. In the US, where I live now, so far I haven’t been shot and have been talked to respectfully by the police.

    I’m a law-abiding citizen with a six-figure salary income (except in Japan). Didn’t matter for the Japanese Police.

    I knew an Indian person that was stopped every other week regularly.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I know this is not something new. It’s not surprising to see elsewhere in Japan. Police’s callous behavior is too visible and revealing to ignore. What’s more bothering to me is seemingly dismissive attitude of university representatives who attempt to trivialize student experience as the matter of cultural misunderstanding by chastising him for bringing up a race issue. It’s really problematic especially such attitude comes from someone in administrative position, who is supposed to defend the student. Attempt to normalize racial profiling as an ordinary practice that only occurs in a western country but ignore the similar practice seen in other country is an exactly product of whiteness rhetoric that skews the scholarly perspectives toward Japanese social science/humanities. Hope TUJ Student Association will set up their own council and address any race-related issue to fight back against any attempt to silence student voices.

    • Anonymous says:

      “an exactly product of whiteness rhetoric that skews the scholarly perspectives toward Japanese social science/humanities.”

      The university person’s response doesn’t have anything to do with “whiteness.” He or she was just deflecting by saying things would be worse in America so the student was lucky this happened in Japan. Saying “things are worse in other countries” with respect to racial issues gives majority-race people in Japan a psychological “out” so they can avoid facing up to and dealing with these issues in their own society.

      • Anonymous says:

        Interesting that someone chose to post using “my” nickname.

        I want to make it clear that I, the usual “Anonymous” who posts here, did not post the above statement.

        But, as it happens, I do of course agree completely with the above statement.

        A minority-race-in-Japan had their human rights violated by the majority-race-in-Japan.

        That action should be called Racism, or Injustice, or Unfairness, or the Power-Holding-Majority being bad towards the Power-Lacking-Minority, in whatever country it occurs.

        The University staff in Japan should STOP trying to deny or minimize or deflect this racist human-rights-violation committed by Japan’s majority race by claiming “racism committed by the White race is worse.”

        The Japanese race Japanese culture “I got discriminated against in America, I’m the perpetual victim here, at this site about Japan” poster “LoveRelaxBear” should STOP trying to deny or minimize or deflect racist human-rights-violations committed by Japan’s majority race by claiming “racism committed by the Japanese race should be labelled White-ness.”

        LoveRelaxBear has attempted over 10 times now at this site to normalize and popularize the revenge-racism-against-whites-forever term while pushing his patently-racist stance that “all racism committed around the world should forever be labelled White-ness.”

        Stop trying to imply that acts of racism committed by the Majority Race in Japan should be blamed on Whites.

        And stop implying that readers don’t understand your “high-level” “deep-discourse” “intellectually-profound” choice of terminology.

        Your “All Racism should be called White-ness” stance (and your proud paper in which you expounded upon that stance in detail) is itself racist no matter how much you act offended when we ask you to stop it.

        If you want to be involved in the discussion about Embedded Racism in Japan, call it what it is:

        The Majority Race in Japan violating the human rights of the minority races in Japan.

        If you really want to add the suffix “-ness”, you could call Japanese Racism “Japanese-ness”, since the majority culture of Japan currently maintains that remaining apart from, and treating differently, the 7.4 billion “Non-Japanese, Sub-Japanese, Racial Outsiders” is for some reason a proud part of “Japanese-ness.”

        But I doubt you, as a proud Japanese insider, would want to start writing “racism committed by the Japanese race should be labelled Japanese-ness.”

        Of course not, just as you would not want to start writing “all racism committed around the world should be forever labelled Japanese-ness.”

        Because mislabeling Racism as “Japanese-ness” would imply Japanese Culture as being an inherently racist culture or Japanese Race as being an inherently racist race.

        Just as mislabeling Racism as “White-ness” would similarly imply White Culture as being an inherently racist culture or White Race as being an inherently racist race.

        LoveRelaxBear, if you really want to keep deflecting the topic towards racism committed by Whites, and labeling all racism as White-ness, you should start a blog about one of those countries where Whites are the majority. This site here is about Japan.

        Japan is a country where Whites and Blacks and Latinos and Indians and Arabs and Persians and ALL “Non-Japanese” races are minorities being discriminated against daily due to Embedded Racism in Japan: Racism committed by the Majority Race in Japan, “The Japanese”.

        • Loverilakkuma says:

          I don’t think you understand the point of this student’s whole story in the first place. Go goole the term “whiteness” if you are still skeptical of its validity.
          What’s more chilling to anyone who experiences racism in foreign country is the moment being dismissed chastised, insulted, accused by his/her NJ peers for being drama queen. If you believe I am using this term against the existence of racism, you are not paying attention at all.

          • Anonymous2 says:

            To the above Anonymous: I didn’t realize this your username on this site. Sorry for causing confusion. I will use Anonymous2 for now.

            To Loverilakkuma:

            Looking up “whiteness” on Wikipedia redirects to the page on “Whiteness studies”, which says:

            “Major areas of research in whiteness studies include the nature of white privilege and white identity, the historical process by which a white racial identity was created, the relation of culture to white identity, and possible processes of social change as they affect white identity.”

            The only term in that passage with a link was the term “white privilege”. The first paragraph of the page on that topic says:

            “White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit people whom society identifies as white in some countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. Academic perspectives such as critical race theory and whiteness studies use the concept of “white privilege” to analyze how racism and racialized societies affect the lives of white or white-skinned people.”

            It’s not related to this situation with the student in Japan at all, sorry.

      • Loverilakkuma says:

        Contrary to your repetitive statement, nowhere did I ever attempt to distort the core of the race problem in Japan. Funny, you use the term “mislabel” every time you bicker on as if I was trying to replace the term “racism” with “whiteness”. That’s simply not true.

        Yes, whiteness studies are focused on critique of race discourse primarily in the west. But it’s a hasty generalization to conclude whiteness has nothing to do with discourse of racism in Japan. NOTE: Critical Race Theory, a flagship theoretical framework that holds caliber on whiteness studies, is also employed in “Embedded Racism.” Clearly, there is the existence of white privilege in Japan. And some of those do choose to take side with perpetrators of racism to mock, taunt, or vilify the victims. People like Donald Kneene and Gregory Clark are representatives of “privileged minorities” who disassociate themselves from culture of “visible minorities” to become a “full” Japanese. What about some alt-right nationalist/supremacists like Jarod Taylor and William Daniel Johnson, who had cultural connection with Japan throughout international mission? These people believe that some “privileged gains” have the right to determine “who is eligible for being Japanese or not.” Even some of those NJ who are lucky enough to run their business in Japan for a long period do have white privilege in exercising their rights on employment, visa-sponsorship that would affect the lives of their NJ employees or partners. And even some whacky apologist/ignorant like Ken Yasumoto-Nicholson is exercising their own privilege for spewing garbage in a fictitious trolling site.

        I don’t think we should dismiss these affairs as secondary to the interest of NJ residents, as they are clearly standing in our way. I find white privilege visible mostly on the rightist side (although I don’t deny its visibility from the left).

        And lastly, I will make it very clear that I have no obligation to get along with you, Anonymous. I certainly would not consider you as an ally, as you keep bugging me with insinuation over the use of term(which, in my view, is superficial). I feel not only annoyed with your snobbish attitude in your comments(including this one, http://www.debito.org/?p=14950#comment-1648736), but get offended with your statement that you as an individual poster have every right to decide what issue/agenda I bring as you please, even though you are NOT an owner of this blog! I would call you out and give you a stern warning for repetitively obnoxiousness behavior imposing upon the student for promoting your ideas(even though they are sounding), if I were Debito.

        — And I am. So I’ll let LLK have the last word here. This comment thread is closed.

    • Stop talking about Whites, Loverilakkuma, the subject here is Racial Discrimination in Japan committed by the Majority Japanese Race in Japan.

      Loverilakkuma has attempted 11 times now to take Racial Discrimination in Japan and mislabel it“White Racism” “White Deflection” “White-ness” “White Studies”.

      Loverilakkuma’s inherently racist term “White-ness” can NOT be used in Japan where that particular race is neither predominant nor dominant.

      The human rights violator who illegally detained Austin Freeman for “walking while Gaijin” was: the Majority Japanese Race in Japan.

      The Temple University Japan General Council who obtusely, disrespectfully, and deflectively claimed, “You should smile more to make the Japanese police feel more comfortable. And you should be thankful you’re in Japan instead of America where you’re more likely to be shot” was: Masamune Furukawa the Majority Japanese Race in Japan.

      Long-time Debito readers have no trouble comprehending Loverilakkuma’s supposedly-high-level stance: “Racist acts committed by the Majority Japanese Race in Japan should be labelled acts of White-ness. Racist acts committed anywhere by anybody should be labeled acts of White-ness.”

      That stance is wrong.

      Labeling Racists Acts Worldwide “Jewish-ness” is wrong,
      even though “The Jewish Race” did/does many Racist Acts.
      Labeling Racists Acts Worldwide “German-ness” is wrong,
      even though “The German Race” did/does many Racist Acts.
      Labeling Racists Acts Worldwide “White-ness” is wrong,
      even though “The White Race” did/does many Racist Acts.
      Labeling Racists Acts Worldwide “Japanese-ness” is wrong,
      even though “The Japanese Race” did/does many Racist Acts.


      Dr. Debito rightly mentioned the theoretical TRAPPINGS of “White-ness” Studies:

      The term “White-ness” perpetuates the current misconception that White is the dominant majority-power race in Japan.

      Seriously, we must rally humanity against All Racist Acts Worldwide.
      We must NOT rally humanity against White-ness or Japanese-ness.

      The enemy is not “The majority race in America or Europe.”
      Just as the enemy is not “The majority race here in Japan.”

      The enemy is: Racist Acts going unpunished by courts due to power corruption.
      The enemy is majority groups creating unfair systems which victimize minorities.

      We are against All Racist Acts, so let’s not fall into the
      currently-acceptable-by-some theoretical-trappings of using
      that “Race-ness” label which blames one race for all Racism.

      So, we do NOT wish to wipe White-ness off the face of the map.
      We do NOT wish to wipe Japanese-ness off the face of the map.
      We wish to wipe the Regime of RACISM out of Japanese culture.
      We wish to wipe the Regime of RACISM out of Humanity culture.

  • ChizuSuteki says:

    Posted this on Reddit and posting again here for visibility. These stories are constant but they’re primarily limited to expat forums. Japanese people will never care and at the end of the day will just grumble about foreigners complaining too much. Unless we get some actual stats proving this along with some viral content, nothing will change.

    How about proving this now? Do an experiment. Get a well-produced video out that details the experiment and its results. If the experiment meets the minimal scientific criteria, non-expat-focused publications will pick it up.

    (1) get a large sample size of people with different skin tones
    (2) have them walk the same routes in Roppongi, carrying a bag
    (3) record who gets stopped and who doesn’t
    (4) share stats

    Anyone who is or knows a darker-skinned person in Japan knows what the results would be. Pre-Olympics, the Japanese government will have no choice but to respond and instantly make this a mainstream issue. Until we have some content like this to rub their faces in, we’re all just spinning our wheels. We need to stop blogging and start recording video and stats.

    • Your post is spot-on.

      ChizuSuteki and Debito-san, let me get right to the point of this post, WE NEED A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN, AND WE NEED IT _BEFORE_ THE OLYMPICS. Allow me to explain:

      1. We need formal stats on this stuff for the media to pick up. Personal anecdotes invite victim blaming and are nowhere near as effective or irrefutable, nor as media-worthy, as a formal study.

      2. Too many people are preaching to the choir. Ranting to other expats who don’t have the right to vote, in English, will change virtually nothing. So much good energy is being wasted on such an ineffective outlet.

      3. Many of us (myself included) are extremely busy (and on one-year visa renewals at the whim of the J-government) and lack the time resources or visa stability to join in the fight. Or some of us have been on figurative “front-line combat duty” for years against these thugs and really need some R&R.

      4. Therefore, the solution is that we need to pool our money and hire the right people, who DO have these resources–a well-known poll agency to conduct an unbiased racial discrimination poll, lawyers to litigate against the thugs, some naturalized foreign-looking J-citizens, some bilinguals to bring these issues not only to CNN or The Washington Post, but the Japanese themselves, etc.

      I CANNOT spare much time to be a crusader. I have to scramble to make ends meet with eikaiwa.

      I CANNOT continue to stick my neck out with racist cops, uyoku dantai members, or thugs and put my life and visa in danger repeatedly. I’ve already been doing that for 16 years in East Asia (seven in Japan), and I’ve had so many close calls, it’s a wonder I haven’t been illegally detained and deported or killed by now (though I HAVE been injured–my battle scar is a tooth chipped by racist gangsters who beat me up in a back room when I protested the refusal of my entry into their club).

      I CANNOT be the public face of NJ rights in Japan–my face is too “suspicious” (foreign), and with only JLPT N2 and Kanji Kentei 3-kyuu, Japanese are more likely to ask me if I can use chopsticks than they are to listen to me or take my opinions seriously.

      However, as the outright owner of a small condominium in Hachioji (i.e no rent payments), and with a full-time job, I CAN donate ¥100,000 to a common “Foreigner Defense Fund” on Kickstarter! I could even donate that amount yearly!

      Come on guys, if 100 of us do that, we can have a powerful “NJ Human Rights Machine” with a ¥10,000,000 per year budget!

      Debito-san, what do you think? Let’s start a Kickstarter fund, hire the right people!

      – Conduct formal polls and studies and get them in CNN and BBC!

      – Launch lawsuits against Zaitokukai, the various thugs who intimidate protesters at uyoku rallies, etc.!

      – Hire someone skilled in sound equipment to carefully monitor decibel levels of sound trucks and pursue action when they blare their military marches before 8:00 AM!

      – Hire black and white naturalized J-citizens to walk past police, refuse to show ID for suspicionless ID’ing, be detained, and then we pay for their lawyers so they can sue the pants off those racist cops and get the racist cops locked up for years so they can’t harass any more innocent visible minorities!


      And I’ll say it again: If such a thing appears on Kickstarter with the backing of Debito-san himself or another prominent NJ defender, I WILL donate ¥100,000 and possibly more if it looks credible and I see good results.

      • ChizuSuteki says:

        A university or news organization should conduct this study. A bunch of expats with a kickstarter is a bad look.

      • Anonymous says:

        Respect to ChizuSuteki’s idea, and Charles’ idea plus financial offer.

        I think ChizuSutek’s ORIGINAL idea posted on another thread is a little better, which I’ll present here with improvements:

        JAPAN: 90% of Vacant Apartments refusing viewings based on Race.

        Video a “100% Japanese sounding” person (born-in-Japan 100% Japanese-culture-raised person, for example one’s Japanese wife) sitting at home and calling 100 phone numbers in ads for apartments being advertised as currently vacant.

        Your Japanese spouse (whose face will be safely not shown, of course) should pretend to be a real estate agent who suddenly has the misfortune of a “gaijin” visiting her office and asking about that particular apartment vacancy (which by the way should be a nice “predominantly Japanese” seeming apartment in a nice “predominantly Japanese” neighborhood, not some Japan-market-force-created Gaijin Ghetto apartment.)

        Your Japanese spouse should simply say, “Yamato Fudousan no Satou desu kedo, XYZ apaato ni tsuite, kyoumi aru na gaijin wa kicchatta desu kedo, yappari gaijin wa dame da yo ne…”

        To which the answer will usually be, “Sou desu ne.”

        By your Japanese spouse pretending to be openly racist and not caring about the “gaijin” sitting in her office (by her using the phrase “gaijin wa kicchatta”) the respondent when hearing the “yappari gaijin wa dame da yo ne…” will be more likely to similarly answer directly without diplomacy “Sou desu ne.”

        Maybe 10% of respondents will reply, “Iyaa, gaikokujin no katta demo daijoubu, kono apaato o itsu mitai desu ka?” Wonderful, those 10% pass the test.

        Probably 90% of respondents will reply “Sou desu ne” and will hang up without arranging a viewing of the vacant apartment.

        Post the video, showing 90% of Vacant Apartments refusing viewings based on Race due to the interested person being described as “gaijin” by your wife.

        Post the video on Youtube and Reddit and elsewhere, help it go viral, and at the same time send it to the top international media outlets around the world.

        + Lower cost, no need for litigation-lawyers.
        + Lower risk, no need to risk any false-arrest.
        + Higher “care factor” from people and media.

        (People often make excuses for police doing the police crime of reason-less stops.)
        (People often claim police “need” to do reason-less stops for “uh, pre-crime” prevention.)
        (People often claim blame the race, clothes, or demeanor of the reason-less stop victim.)
        (People do NOT often make excuses for vacant apartments refusing viewings based on race.)

        I am strongly against being forced to show my Zairyuu Kaado during a reason-less stop, but
        I also think that vacant apartments refusing viewings based on race is an even BIGGER problem.

        And based on comments from NJ in Japan over the years, it seems that vacant apartments refusing viewings based on race is the #1 problem we wish to tackle.

        And, I think that 100 “vacant apartments refusing viewings based on race” video-audio evidence will instantly make people worldwide appropriately outraged about this injustice.

        • PS – When making the video recording described directly above (JAPAN: 90% of Vacant Apartments refusing viewings based on Race) legally one might need to censor the names of the replying realtors/owners (and their company names as well) because after this video goes viral these realtors/owners who refuse a “gaijin” viewing of a vacant apartment might actually try to sue the video creator for “Meiyokison” (“Defamation”) if their name or company name is included in the video, because even such recorded TRUTH can be punished according to Japan’s Defamation Law Criminal Code Article 230. Also, phone recording without advance notification might be illegal as well. So if one publishes this phone recording of 100 realtors/owners who refuse a “gaijin” viewing of a vacant apartment, you probably need to censor the realtor/owner names and company names and even do the final uploading anonymously for your own legal safety.

          • Also heard of this BS defamation situation. From what I understand, it is true, but are there cases that can be confirmed specifically? It’s just disgusting that such a situation could even be allowed when you are technically recording activity that IS ILLEGAL by Japanese law (civil at least?)

            — Well, it’s at least unlawful. If it was “illegal”, it could be enforced by criminal, not civil, court.

  • In general, the University authority’s response of “Well in America you would have been shot so count yourself lucky” is Trumpist “whatabbout-ism”. Whatabout Africa hey? Whatabout car homocide hey? Whatabout Hillary’s crimes?

    It’s a surprisingly effective and simple deflection tactic that should always be met with “Don’t change the subject! We’re talking about [THIS]” , in the strongest terms possible.

  • Noticed a lot of friends reporting similar problems recently. Is there some sort of sudden surge in these racial profiling stops recently? Honestly, I’ve faced it so, SO many times I have grown to fear the police any time I even see them out of the corner of my eyes.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I’ve only ever spoken to the J-cops twice in all my time in Japan. Both were late at night. Once was when I saw a japanese man dragging a screaming Japanese women down the pavement by her hair. Once was when I saw a japanese man hitting a japanese woman on the floor on the head with his umbrella so hard the handle snapped off. Both times I called the police. Both times the police turned up and detained me for visa status questioning whilst letting the Japanese couple just get up and walk off.
    I’ll never get involved with the J-cops voluntarily ever again.

    • Baudrillard says:

      Indeed. I have learnt sadly to never get involved with any “Japanese Only” male v female arguments. One time I even intervened when a drunken oyaji was harrassing a Chinese worker in Japan.

      The result? She thought I was checking her visa status and ran off!

      Now I know why Japanese people often don’t get involved.

    • I went to the local police box and reported a woman’s hat lying in a lot of blood and a bloody handprint on the wall. I had very clear pictures of the scene I had taken on my iPhone, and showed them. It took them 20 minutes to go and investigate because they were spending so much time copying my Residence Card by hand and asking me about my job, how long I’d been in Japan, and how long I’d been living at my current address. Nice to know the J-cops have their priorities straight. BTW, Debito-san, I still have photos of the bloody scene that they deemed a lower priority than questioning me, if you’d like to see.

    • (first, please see my other comment that I just made about when I reported the woman’s hat and a lot of blood, and the bloody handprint on the wall)

      I think that although what the police do (fixating on your visa status and not on the violent crime that you’re reporting) is extremely wrong, you should still report serious violent crimes anyway. I’m not happy with the near-total incompetence of the J-police that I’ve witnessed in over seven years here, but I’d rather be interrogated about my visa status ten times and save one person’s life than get interrogated zero times and save no one’s life.

    • Similarly disgusting experiences here. That’s absolutely terrible, I worry about the same situation. In every situation that is problematic, police or otherwise, I always get my phone camera rolling.


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