DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 18, 2020

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 18, 2020
Table of Contents:

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PROPAGANDISTS AND COLLABORATORS

1) Kyoto City issues comic book on local street safety to grade schoolers, created by Kyoto Seika Univ & Kyoto International Manga Museum, portraying “foreigners” as unintelligible ill-mannered tourists!
2) Kyoto City manga denigrating “foreigners”, produced by Kyoto Seika University, has naturalized African-Japanese citizen Dr. Oussouby Sacko as University President!

NJ TREATMENT DURING THE PANDEMIC
3) Debito interviewed by Shingetsu News Agency’s “Speakeasy” forum: “Japan’s Foreign Residents in the Coronavirus”, Apr 27, 2020

… and finally …

4) Debito’s SNA column: “Pandemic Releases Antibodies toward Non-Japanese”, Visible Minorities col 9, April 20, 2020

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By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)

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PROPAGANDISTS AND COLLABORATORS

1) Kyoto City issues comic book on local street safety to grade schoolers, created by Kyoto Seika Univ & Kyoto International Manga Museum, portraying “foreigners” as unintelligible ill-mannered tourists!

As I recently said in an interview with the Shingetsu News Agency, people who live in Japan (including NJ Residents) have to speak up if they feel they are being unfairly treated or depicted in public. And they do, sometimes with success.

Consider the case of RJO below, who writes that he saw a Kyoto Government comic book (ironically, scripted and edited by Kyoto Seika University, in conjunction with the Kyoto International Manga Museum!) issued to local grade-school children about traffic safety (a concern in Kyoto for commuting kids). Amidst other concerns, the booklet veered off on a tangent to target and alienate “foreigners” (not to mention Visible Minorities) as loud, ill-mannered loiterers and litterers.

That’s the NJ Community’s only appearance in the comic — as guests (not residents). Of course, according to eyewitness reports (and personal experience), this is in spite of all the ill-mannered loud littering Japanese around Kyoto as well. (Those kind of manners, you see, are exogenous to Japan. Even an elementary school student knows that. Now!)

The good news is that RJO and a friend took this up on Facebook, then directly with the City Government. Within hours the downloadable link to this pamphlet disappeared! RJO tells his story below. Good job. Again, if you live here as a Resident, you have to make yourself known as one sometimes. Demand non-differential treatment. And definitely demand not to be alienated in a primary school setting!

http://www.debito.org/?p=16041

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2) Kyoto City manga denigrating “foreigners”, produced by Kyoto Seika University, has naturalized African-Japanese citizen Dr. Oussouby Sacko as University President!

A little over a week ago, Debito.org issued a report from a Kyoto NJ Resident who protested an official comic book, issued by the City of Kyoto to local grade schoolers, depicting NJ only as noisy English-speaking tourists, litterers, and loiterers. And how local residents managed to get Kyoto City to remove that comic with a phone call of protest. (Even that blog post had an impact: It smoked out a Gaijin Handler who tried to blame us as a foreign “troublemaking demographic” wasting Japan’s money.) That’s fine. The irony here was that the people who developed this comic were Kyoto Seika University and the Kyoto International Manga Museum — “international” places you think would know better than to encourage prejudice.

Well, I’m not sure why this didn’t dawn on me sooner, but as pointed out on FB, Kyoto Seika University just happens to have a naturalized Malian-Japanese named Dr. Oussouby Sacko as its President (see Debito.org posts on him here and here). I wonder if he was aware of this project, and if he would have anything to say about it now? Given Dr. Sacko’s flawed social science training regarding how racism works, and his apparent obliviousness about his own privilege in Japan, I’m not so sure. (Dr. Sacko’s only apparent public contact is at ksuinted@kyoto-seika.ac.jp.)

Anyway, here is Kyoto Seika University’s statement of principles, undersigned by the man himself. How does this square with being involved in encouraging prejudice in Japan’s grade-schoolers?

http://www.debito.org/?p=16066

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NJ TREATMENT DURING THE PANDEMIC

3) Debito interviewed by Shingetsu News Agency’s “Speakeasy” forum: “Japan’s Foreign Residents in the Coronavirus”, Apr 27, 2020

Here’s an interview I had with the Shingetsu News Agency, in one of their “Speakeasys” (YouTube, 25 minutes). I’m making the case that the GOJ could be doing a much worse job taking care of their NJ Residents, but that’s because people have been vigilant about potential human rights abuses. It could very easily revert to racist and exclusionary habits if systems get overloaded or panic hits. Also, I argue that it’s also incumbent upon NJ Residents themselves to step out of their “Guestism” mentalities and claim their due as taxpayers and residents.

http://www.debito.org/?p=16058

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… and finally …

4) Debito’s SNA column: “Pandemic Releases Antibodies toward Non-Japanese”, Visible Minorities col 9, April 20, 2020

SNA (Tokyo) — Pandemics can bring out the best in people. Newton came up with theories on calculus, optics, and gravity while in quarantine. Shakespeare wrote some of his best plays, and Edvard Munch created iconic paintings in isolation. Even today, we’re seeing heroes in the health care industry, volunteers sewing and distributing basic personal protective equipment, neighbors checking up on each other, and leaders stepping up their organizational skills. When the daily normal becomes a struggle between life and death, we see what people are really made of.

In Japan, we’re seeing much of the “keep calm and carry on” mettle found in a society girded for frequent natural disasters. But that grit hasn’t trickled upward to Japan’s political elite, which has ruled largely without accountability for generations, and at times like these appears particularly out of touch. More concerned about the economics of cancelling the Tokyo Olympics than about the safety of the general public, Japan’s policymakers haven’t conducted adequate Covid-19 testing, exercised timely or sufficient social distancing, or even tallied accurate infection statistics.

As happened in prior outbreaks, such as SARS and AIDS, leaders have deflected blame onto foreigners. First China, then outsiders in general, starting with the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship (which, despite a third of its passengers being Japanese citizens, was even excluded from Japan’s coronavirus patient tallies). But treating outsiders like contagion has consequences: Society develops antibodies, and Japan’s already-normalized discrimination intensifies. Consider the case of Mio Sugita, a Liberal Democratic Party Lower House Diet Member from Tottori…

Read the rest at http://shingetsunewsagency.com/2020/04/20/visible-minorities-pandemic-releases-antibodies-toward-non-japanese/

Debito.org discussion at http://www.debito.org/?p=16031

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 18, 2020 ENDS

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One comment on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 18, 2020

  • We already talked about this in the comment during the past 2 months, but now the JapanTimes finally wrote an article about it (took them long enough):

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/05/19/national/social-issues/japan-foreign-residents-stranded-abroad-coronavirus/

    Like all of us have been saying here for months, Japan is the only first world country which denies entry to almost all foreigners, regardless of their visa status. I was interested in how the apologists will try to spin this one, but to my surprise none of them decided to leave a comment under this article. Looks like even the apologists can‘t manage to defend this act of clear racism and xenophobia. What‘s even worse is that the article mentions how foreigners who flew back from countries which are not on the entry ban list (like India) are still being denied entry, because the immigration officers are claiming „all foreigners are banned“. So, not only do we have a racist regulation by the government here, immigration officers are even expanding this racist regulation thus making things even worse than they already are. This whole situation is just racist, unprofessional and unprecedented in the developed world. The only thing I can say here is shame on Japan. This situation is just disgusting. I hope all these peoole will be able to see their family again one day. And I hope they move out of Japan together with their families once all of this is over. I actually wish all foreigners would move out of Japan at once. The government can then celebrate this together with the right wingers because Japan would finally be racially „pure“. Good luck with the economy and the social safety net though.

    Reply

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