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Hi Blog. Alert Debito.org Reader XY sends me the following cover, for the Nagoya City Next Term General Plan (Intermediate Draft), dated August 2018.
Striking is what’s found on page 62, under official city definitions of terms:
It offers a definition of “Foreign City Citizens/City Denizens” (gaikokujin shimin), which is itself a reasonable category, since we want to attribute citizenry/residency within a city regardless of nationality (which the juuminhyou Residency Certificate system tried to separate and exclude for six decades).
But look who falls under the definition of “foreign” (my translation):
“In addition to people with foreign nationalities with an address within Nagoya City, this includes people like those who obtained Japanese citizenship, children born from international marriages, people with foreign cultures in their backgrounds, and people who have foreign roots.”
That pretty much makes it clear that you can’t ever be Japanese without “pure” Japanese blood and culture. In Nagoya, officially that also means you can’t escape being foreign. Ever. Even if you naturalize, or have a Japanese parent (who alas coupled with a foreigner), have any cultural ties to a foreign country, or have any roots in a foreign land.
Any taint or connection means you’re “foreign”. Not “international” (such as Kokusai Shimin). Foreign.
Granted, the next definition distinguishes between a foreign resident (gaikokujin juumin) and a foreign, er, citizen/city denizen (gaikokujin shimin), where the former is solely made into a matter of foreign nationality.
But in a society like Japan’s that adheres pretty strictly to a binary, where you’re either Japanese or you’re not, i.e., you’re a Nihonjin/Wajin or a Gaikokujin/Gaijin, I doubt that most people will be this sophisticated in their worldview. You’ve got any foreign ties? Case closed and door shut. You’re a foreigner, a gaikokujin. At best a Japanese with an asterisk. Even Nagoya City (Japan’s third largest city behind Tokyo/Yokohama and Osaka) officially confirms it.
Therefore, for this blatant and ignorant attempt to further classify, stigmatize, and alienate diverse Japanese away from a mythical “pure” Japan free from any foreign influences, I hereby award the coveted Debito.org “Dejima Award” to Nagoya City (only the seventh in Debito.org’s quarter-century of existence), for effectively reviving 19th-century discredited Eugenics theories about thoroughbredness. That any Japanese tainted by foreign blood, culture, roots or ties is to be classified as a foreigner. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
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