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Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

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  • Fukushima Prefectural Tourist Information Association lists “No Foreigner” hotels on their official website, 2007

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 10th, 2008

     Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

    Hi Blog.  As a matter of record, here is a notification I received from a reader last year regarding the Tourist Information Fukushima website, an official prefectural government site, which offered information about sights and stays in the area.  They allowed — even publicized — hotels that expressly refused accommodation to NJ guests (I called a few of them to confirm, and yes, they don’t want NJ guests due to the owner’s own classic fears — language barriers, no Western beds, a fear that NJ might steal, or noncommunication in case of emergency or trouble).  As the emails I received from TIF later on indicate (it took them some time to get back to me), they have since instructed the hotels that what they are doing is in violation of hotel laws, and have corrected the TIF website to remove the option of refusing foreigners.  

    Thanks, I guess.  Now why a government agency felt like offering hotels an exclusionary option in the first place is a bit stupefying.  

    Given October 2008’s GOJ hotel survey indicating that 27% of respondents didn’t want NJ staying on their premises, this may be but the tip of the iceberg.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    From: TH
    Subject: Fukushima – discriminatory hotels
    Date: September 12, 2007 7:36:54 PM JST

    Hi Debito,

    A friend told me about Fukushima Prefecture’s English tourism website, which bizarrely lists 142 hotels and categories for them including “Acceptance of foreigners” and “Admittance of foreigners.” I don’t understand the difference between the two categories, but many hotels have one or both of these categories checked. The accommodation website is

    I looked at all 142 accommodations listed on the website. The 35 listed below bar foreigners in one or both of the above categories.

    I think this kind of categorization is completely unacceptable, even for a rural area like Fukushima. 

    I was also wondering whether you might be willing to look into this. I think you would be the best person given your tact and expertise. 

    Please let me know what you think. 


    Hotel & Ristorante Irregarro

    Hotel Tawaraya

    Nihon Kanko Hotel

    Hotel Iseya

    Hotel Higenoie


    Hotel Tamagoyu, Inc.

    Anahara Hot Spring Izumiya

    Hotel Kajikaso

    Oku-tsuchiyu Hot Spring, Hotel Kotaki

    Guesthouse Tanno

    Hotel Fukushima

    Matsukawa Masuya Hotel

    Hotel Shinobuso

    Hotel Fukushima Green Palece

    The Garden Hotel Shokeien

    Koshi Highland Fujiya Hotel

    Wafutei Morinoyu

    Resort Hotel Yuzuru

    Guesthouse Yamari

    Hotel Minatoya

    Hotel Fujiya

    Business Hotel Denen

    Business Hotel Orient

    Hotel Nakanoyu

    Hotel Oshima

    Mizuho Hotel


    Hotel Horai


    Kagamiishi Daiichi Hotel Kagamiishikan

    Toraya Shinkan

    Hotel Kashiwa

    Spa Hotel Sumirekan

    Tamayama Hot Spring Fujiya Hotel



    From: Arudou Debito

    Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 10:17 AM
    Subject: 有道 出人より転送します。Fukushima – discriminatory hotels
    (社)福島県観光連盟の加藤さま、有道 出人(あるどう でびと)です。きょうのお電話のこと、誠にありがとうございました。



     お多忙のところで申し訳ございませんが、宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人



    Subject: Re: 有道 出人より転送します。Fukushima – discriminatory hotels

    Date: September 14, 2007 10:32:07 AM JST



    あるどう でびと様 


    Subject: 調査状況について(中間報告)

    Date: October 1, 2007 2:49:25 PM JST







    (福島県観光連盟 総務情報担当 齊藤)



    Subject: 当ホームページにおける外国人宿泊可否表示について

    Date: September 14, 2007 5:26:58 PM JST


    ほんものの旅 オーダーメード うつくしま。
    社団法人 福島県観光連盟
    【総務・情報課長】 齊藤登
    Ph 024-521-3812 fax024-521-3811


    From: (福島県観光連盟 総務・情報課長 齊藤登)
    Subject: 当ホームページにおける外国人宿泊可否表示に関する件(ご回答)
    Date: October 22, 2007 7:35:30 PM JST




    ● 外国人を拒否するようなことはまったくしていない。24軒

    ● 外国人を拒否してはいないが、英語ができる人がいないので、外国人を積極的には受け入れていない。8軒

    ● 廃業や連絡とれず 3軒





    (福島県観光連盟 総務・情報課長 齊藤登)


    5 Responses to “Fukushima Prefectural Tourist Information Association lists “No Foreigner” hotels on their official website, 2007”

    1. Tyler (平) Lynch Says:

      Debito-san, I’m actively involved in updating Nagano Prefecture’s foreign language tourism website. Needless to say, we won’t be using TIF’s as an example. From Hakuba on down, I’ve only had favorable responses when talking with others in the tourism industry about Inbound (guests from overseas).


      Tyler in Foreigner-Friendly Nagano

      –For the record, a hotel in Nagano City proper tried to refuse me entry in November 1997 just months before the 1998 Olympics. Their excuse: They didn’t have Western beds. I told them that I’ve slept on a futon for the better part of a decade. I also told them (since other hotels were full that day, according to the tourist info desk I was talking to) if they didn’t give me a room, I would make sure the tourist board would hear that they were refusing NJ, and their reputation would suffer on the eve of becoming a city inviting the whole world for sporting events. They gave me my room, with apologies.

    2. Tyler (平) Lynch Says:


      Give me the name of that hotel — I’ll personally go and keblonk them on the head.


      Tyler in Foreigner-Friendly (Sometimes) Nagano

      –This was ten years ago, don’t remember, sorry. Anyway, they let me in. Debito.

    3. J. Says:

      I have just had a look through some of these hotel links and can not for the life of me find where it says no gaijin…
      Also I would like to say I have stayed at a couple of these places and although they were shocked to see a NJ getting of a motorbike and asking for a last minute booking they did not give me any trouble… even accepted my drivers license as ID without question.
      Maybe the bike helps me break some barriers…
      In all my travels (about 140,000km in 7 yrs) and 14 yrs in Japan I have never been refused entry to any hotel or ryokan, and only refused 2 onsen due to my rather large tattoo collection, the managers of which told me quite openly that if they let me in then they have to let Yakuza in too, so they ban all ink. ( but one place had a private bath and were quite happy to let me in there ((very nice place in Nasu)
      Usually if I go to an onsen it is the private room type cause I don’t like “oyaji” in my bath with me.(so I can’t really comment on that aspect properly)

      I will be on the look out for places that refuse me over the next few months as I travel, this weeks destination; Gunma :) the 3rd most beautiful place on these rocky shores, so far.

    4. meatleg Says:

      Thanks Debito!
      You rock.

    5. Giuseppe Says:

      Hi Debito,

      We own a business hotel in Shirakawa (Fukushima pref.)
      Our hotel may be small but we are making every effort to be 100% bilingual (Japanese/English) from our website down to every sign inside the hotel. We also offer a choice of a Japanese and English newspaper to our customers.

      — Marvelous! Long may you prosper. Quick note to your sysadmin: Your website crashes my Safari browser program every time…

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