Posted by debito on February 6th, 2007
Hi Blog. Writing remotely, and have a speech to 350 people (not on this, but I might find a way to squeeze it in) coming up in a few hours, so I`ll be brief:
Looking at the crop of comments this morning (thanks very much for that–I had no internet access last night, so apologies for the delay in approving them), people forwarded us letters from retailers like Family Mart offering apologies and stating they would be pulling GAIJIN HANZAI from the shelves. Well and good.
(I’m not used to this computer, and don’t have time to figure out how to copy and paste links, so please tool around the comments sections of the GAIJIN HANZAI posts and find them? Some here: http://www.debito.org/?p=205#comments”>http://www.debito.org/?p=205#comments)
Also, overseas press, according to JAPAN PROBE (http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1095), have also been reporting on the situation, and Eichi Shuppan publishers have been quoted as saying that “nigger is not an offensive word in Japan”. Kinda like the word “gaijin”, huh?
Lastly, I finally found time last night on the plane and train to give GAIJIN HANZAI a good going-over. My initial reactions are that the magazine, despite a few sections where the authors are trying to show gaijin in a somewhat favorable light, this becomes faux given the invective. Examples:
After showing the murders of the Fukuoka family by Chinese thieves, they conclude by saying, “Did they do this because they are Chinese?” (No, they did this because they were murderous individuals.) They also depict one of the killers as laughing and saying, after murdering the wife in the shower in a titillatingly-drawn scene, “That’s put paid to one of them.” (What possible evidence could there be that he actually said that?)
In the photos of the crime scenes, all the Japanese faces are covered up. The foreigners faces are rarely covered up. One scene in Roppongi shows the authorities helping a downed person on the street. The caption reads, “And the foreigners seem to show diffidence”, deliberately not covering up their faces to show how carefree they are in this “lawless zone”. That’s completely unwarranted attribution.
Finally, I’m amazed at how good the photos are of the crime scenes. The magazine even has a passport photo of a suspect. These things should be hard to get. I’m beginning to wonder whether they had any police cooperation in the production of this magazine. They have an interview with an ex-cop…
Anyway, I said I’d keep this brief. Gotta clear my head for the speech, so I’ll hopefully write a more detailed analysis of the magazine later, if this topic isn’t passe by then.
UPDATE EVE FEB 6 9PMJust got back from speech: More attended than expected (about 380), sold ten books and two t-shirts. Lovely enkai afterwards. A bit tipsy, so excuse candor.Got calls from two reporters (South China Morning Post, for one) regarding the GAIJIN HANZAI mag before the speech. Should be 500 words somewhere, keep an eye out.
Managed to copy four pages from the mag (hadn’t time to scan it in Hokkaido. Friend took digital photos) and project it up for the audience today. Lots of shockwaves. Summary thoughts pointed out FYI:
1) THERE IS NO ADVERTISING IN THE MAGAZINE. Given the fact that this is a very high-quality publication selling for the very reasonable price of 657 yen, it is very clear that these people have some very rich patrons financing them.
2) IT FEELS TO SOME OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS PEOPLE THAT THERE IS SOME OFFICIALDOM INVOLVED BEHIND THIS. They have seen the likes of this before.
3) PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA. Curiouser and curiouser.
PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA. Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.
PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA. Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.Anyway, next stop Kyoto tomorrow. Then Shiga the next day. Keep us posted, everyone. Thanks. Debito in Kashihara
UPDATE FEB 7 FROM HIRAKATA, KANSAI
Finally back online after two days in the wilderness, sorry. Just found out that the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Evening News had a brief blurb from the Reuters Wire (page 3, Feb 6) saying that FamilyMart is removing the books from its shelves.
Meanwhile, I stop by every convenience store I see. Haven’t seen the mag yet in the Kansai. Good. Debito in Hirakata