HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022: Tokyo Asakusa “Suzuya” theatrical prop store bars “foreign customers” to “prevent COVID infection”. (Plus Momosaku, another repeat offender in Asakusa.)

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Hi Blog. Happy New Year 2022! May this be a healthy and happy one for all Debito.org Readers.

Let me open the year inauspiciously with a post about new “Japanese Only” signs.

The first one is from a store called “Suzuya Buyou Kodougu” (Suzuya Traditional Dance Props) in Asakusa Kouen Nishisandou. Courtesy lots of people, but notably SD, RO, and MW.

Entertainment Goods 浅草公園西参道
有限会社すずや舞踊小道具店
電話 03-3844-3798
〒111-0032 東京都台東区浅草2-7-13
営業時間 am10:00~pm6:00(火曜日定休)
お問い合せ、ご注文はお電話でお願いいたします。
http://asakusasuzuya.co.jp/shop.html
Mapped at https://itp.ne.jp/info/133487635100000899/

Feel free to contact them and tell them what you think about their sign, particularly since no foreign tourists (and very few foreign residents) are being allowed into Japan to spread Covid. Yet that doesn’t stop racist signs depicting foreigners already here (who like regular Japanese residents probably haven’t travelled abroad) as more infectious than Japanese from appearing on stores (again).  Because (again) there’s no law against racial discrimination in Japan stopping anyone from putting up a “Japanese Only” sign for any reason whatsoever.

Meanwhile, eagle-eyed Debito.org Readers are sending in other exclusionary signs they’ve discovered:

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

From: XY
Subject: Discriminatory posting spoted in the wild
Date: December 27, 2021
To: Debito Arudou <debito@debito.org>

Hi Debito,

Since you post things like this from time to time, I thought I’d send over a photo of a sign I saw tonight when I was out looking for a place to grab a bite. It’s an izakaya in Asakusa called Momosaku.

Why post that you only have service/menus in Japanese when you can reach straight for the discrimination, I guess, eh? — XY.

Name: 100 (izakaya) (Momosaku 百作)
Address: 4 Chome-7-12 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032
http://tinyurl.com/yb9uv3tz

[Japanese version: None of our staff at this establishment speak foreign languages, so we refuse entry to all overseas people (kaigai no kata)].

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

No “overseas people” could possibly speak Japanese to their staff, of course.

The funny thing is, we featured Momosaku on Debito.org back in April 2018.  Back then, the submitter pulled down that sign, and it was replaced a day later.  Clearly Momosaku’s managers don’t like foreigners, Covid or no Covid.

Feel free to drop by and let them know how you feel about their “Japanese Only” sign.  Perhaps pull it down again.  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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9 comments on “HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022: Tokyo Asakusa “Suzuya” theatrical prop store bars “foreign customers” to “prevent COVID infection”. (Plus Momosaku, another repeat offender in Asakusa.)

  • “sorry”.
    Sorry, you are a racist? I really want to go there and ask Chotto kikitai koto ga arun desu ga, “gaikokujin no imi tte, kankousha dake desu ka?” Filming if necessary, watch the worm squirm on Youtube.

    Its a dirty job but someones got to do it….

  • Where am I going to get my theatrical props from now!!!

    I’ll have to order them directly from China. Which will cost less.

  • Gary Bremermann says:

    Sadly, when this story first broke on Twitter, another shop named Suzuya on Nakamise Dori, just 100m from the culprit, was named and they’ve had to deal with unwarranted vitriol. They are actually super nice and welcoming people. If any readers of this blog have made that mistake, please make amends.

    — It’s a shame that there are two Suzuyas in the same area. That’s nobody’s fault. Who’s at fault is the person who put the exclusionary sign up.

    I hope the public meiwaku that was only intended to inconvenience “foreigners” now causes some meiwaku for Suzuya’s neighbors, who were hitherto insufficiently motivated to get that racist sign down. Maybe they’ll feel more motivated now.

    Was the “No Foreign Customers” sign still up when you visited?

  • Dr Debito (or anyone else), have you ever had a negative reaction from shop staff when you just stood outside and took a photo of the sign?
    Did anyone coming rushing out, crossing their arms saying ‘dame” or such?

    Thinking they must’ve got wise to the power of the internet to shame or give them negative publicity, or perhaps there are still some whose dislike of foreigners outweighs such considerations.

    — I’ve had that experience. Many times. See here for example. They generally don’t want the signs photographed, because that creates a maelstrom of public reaction they might not be able to control. And that’s why we take the photos and publicize them. You put that kind of a sign up in a public place, you take responsibility for the consequences.

  • Have given the good guys a proper correct review. It must be awful especially at this economic status we’re in. Had to borrow a couple of pictures from ppl but owners know the deal now, thanks to here and Twitter. Sadly there are photos on their google map page that are wrong and Google would only remove one photo. Hopefully it’ll blow over soon. Job done as far as we can folks.

  • Nice to meet you. My name is Amano Kaori, and I’m a staff member of Souvenir Shop Suzuya on Nakamise Dori. The other day, a “No Foreigners Allowed” sign that we do not display was tagged on a google page as belonging to our store. However, thanks to the kind people, including “Mika san”, “Gary san” & you, who were concerned about our store and sent out the correct information, we were able to let many people know the truth about us. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to them.
    However, I thought that the continued existence of that sign would continue to hurt the dignity and hearts of many foreign nationals living abroad and in Japan, so I went to the other store, “Suzuya Buyou Kodougu” today to talk to the owner. I told him how sad and hurt many foreign nationals felt when they saw that sign. He said that he had written the wrong sign like this one because the main customers of their store were Japanese, but he didn’t know that the sign had hurt people so much. I think he realized his mistake and will never put up that sign again. However, it is a fact that the posters put up by his store hurt the hearts of many people, and I am saddened by this fact and sincerely sorry as a Japanese person. In fact, the wrong picture is still on our google page. But I am more afraid that the photo will continue to hurt many foreign nationals and make them hate Japan and Japanese people. I sincerely hope that the day will come when many people will want to visit Japan again, and foreign nationals living in Japan will once again feel that they are truly happy to live in Japan.

    — Thank you for commenting here, and for going to the other store to tell them about their sign. I am sorry your store was confused for theirs, and I hope Google corrects their error ASAP.

  • Forgive my cynicism, but this is so old style “Japanese” an approach, i.e. appeal to the “feelings” of the individual in a direct ” o negai” which has perhaps worked in this individual case, but is completely unworkable on a wider scale unless one Japanese person takes it upon themselves, as Kaori san has kindly done, to personally reproach every single case of offensive signage.
    -He said that he had written the wrong sign like this one because the main customers of their store were Japanese, but he didn’t know that the sign had hurt people so much. I think he realized his mistake and will never put up that sign again.

    Ohhh, I see. So he had a reasonable motive. Its all a misunderstanding.

    While I applaud Kaori san for doing this, and indeed if more Japanese people pro actively policed transgressors, Kaori san, being a injured party, does in this case have a vested interest to tell off the other store with the same name.

    Thus, this is an exception as in the vast majority of cases, no Japanese has an interest to go to bat for the wronged NJ.

    We. just. need. an. anti discrimination. law. to. be. enforced.
    Cynical, but realistic.

  • -“But I am more afraid that the photo will continue to hurt many foreign nationals and make them hate Japan and Japanese people. ”

    Japan as victim? What about the hate the NJs are receiving from the xenophpobic atmosphere that allows such signs to exist?

    Omotenashi NOT.

  • I recommend all here to give the shop a call to ask if the sign has been removed. I shall do that as soon as they open today.
    DO NOT delegate to someone else to do it for you, it takes a minute of your time to prevent this from happening again, maybe forever.
    Pass the phone number to others, all your Japanese friends too, to do the same,
    浅草公園西参道
    有限会社すずや舞踊小道具店
    電話 03-3844-3798
    〒111-0032 東京都台東区浅草2-7-13

    Thank you to debito.org for the relentless struggle against bigotry in Japan

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