JAPAN PROBE reports the overseas press is calling the publisher of GAIJIN HANZAI Mook, and cracks are starting to show in the logic:
Very good excerpts from two news media:
Bloomberg has published a story on the Foreigner Crime File, in which they mention Debito and Japan Probe:
Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — FamilyMart Co., Japan’s third-largest convenience store chain, yesterday pulled a magazine on crimes committed by foreigners from store shelves, citing the publication’s “inappropriate racial expressions.’’
FamilyMart withdrew copies of “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu,’’ or “Secret Foreigner Crime Files,’’ after receiving at least 10 complaints from customers since Feb. 3, Takehiko Kigure, a spokesman for Tokyo-based FamilyMart Co., said in a telephone interview yesterday. About 1000 copies of the magazine, which costs 690 yen ($5.74), were sold.
“We decided to remove it from our shelves because inappropriate racial expressions were found in the magazine,’’ Kigure said. The company removed the book from 7,500 stores in Japan yesterday.
Secret Foreigner Crime Files featured widely in Japanese blogs and other Internet forums after it appeared on FamilyMart’s shelves.
Debito Arudou, a naturalized Japanese citizen and author of “Japanese Only,’’ posted a bilingual letter for readers to take to FamilyMart stores protesting against “discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.’’
Another blog, Japan Probe, asked readers to check that FamilyMart is complying with its pledge to remove the publication.
The Spanish Media has also picked up on the story, and they have published an interview with the publisher of the magazine. Here is an English translation by Julián Ortega Martínez:
Publishing date: 7/2/2007 14:11:16
Magazine [editorial] director: “I feel I am in danger”
Shigeki Saka, director of a xenophobic magazine, receives a wave of complaints and threatening mails. Interview.
Tokyo – IPCJAPAN/Shiho Kohinata
Shigeki Saka, Eichi Shuppan’s editorial director, which published Gaijin Hanzai Ura File, a magazine accused of being xenophobic and racist, told ipcdigital.com he was conscious the magazine could arise criticism from foreigners, but he claims his intention was to lead Japanese people to discuss the increase of crimes by foreigners and the country’s internationalization.
He denied the magazine has any xenophobic sentences, claimed he’s not a racist and refused to apologize. During the dialogue with ipcdigital.com he received threatening e-mails whose content he did not want to disclose.
ipcdigital.com: What is your opinion on the reaction of the public about your magazine?
Shigeki Saka: I don’t understand it yet well. There are a lot of questions from foreign press [outlets] as Reuters or Bloomberg. I know there are a lot of complaints. But that depends on how you receive this stuff. In principle it is a magazine written in Japanese and sold in Japan. Then, it’s for Japanese people to read it. Besides, on the magazine there are not any discriminatory claims, though I imagine that foreigners who are always discriminated are a little bit more sensitive.
ipcdigital.com: What did you wanted with the approach given to the magazine?
SS: Currently Japan is facing a lot of offences starred by foreigners. There must be a why. I wanted to find that “why”. I can’t act as if nothing was actually happening. Today there are some Japanese afraid of foreigners and I wanted to survey these people’s psychology. I want you to read the magazine. You’ll see.
ipcdigital.com: And what have you discovered so far?
SS: Foreigners’ crimes in Japan have a profile which changes depending on the country and this is what I also wanted to know. For example, about Chinese and Koreans. Japan welcomes them as kenshusei and that system is officially intended to they to learn Japanese working techniques and that they take them back to their countries. But it happens that they are put to work as common employees, but with low salaries and some of them cause minor offences. The kenshushei system is the problem that has been generated by Japan. It is a problem from here.
ipcdigital.com: What are you based on to give an opinion about the crimes?
SS: We have spoken with Japanese police in order to write each article. For them this issue is serious and they have provided the data. I have also spoken with Japanese specialists, as university professors devoted to this issue. This magazine is a summary of these data and focused on the foreigners’ issue.
ipcdigital.com: Don’t you think the way the photographs are used is tendentious?
SS: If you read the magazine you will understand it. Maybe foreigners can’t read the articles in there and they only see the pictures of the discriminated. The magazine has a lot more than photographs, which is 1/4 of the total. I wanted the magazine to be read by a lot of people, so many people bought it we put shocking pictures, to call everyone’s attentiona. But I don’t want they think it’s a discriminating magazine only because of the pictures. Besides, I’m not a racist. In Japan there are a lot of contradictions and, in order to have a coexistence between different cultures we have to erase those contradictions. To solve those contradictions is one of the goals of this magazine.
ipcdigital.com: How did you get the photographs you published?
SS: There is a very special photographer. He walks the commercial districts as Roppongi, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Shibuya. He’s around the city all day. He’s a freelancer. I did not ask him to take pictures of the foreigners, but he offered the ones he had to us. In the city there are a lot of foreigners, but he doesn’t go only after them.
ipcdigital.com: What do you think about Familymart’s withdrawal of the magazine?
SS: I’m sad about that. We can’t say anything else about the withdrawal of the magazine at the combini because Familymart has not communicated anything yet, they withdrew it without asking us. Normally distributors are more powerful. We can’t do anything, but I think that withdrawing it is a way to reject the debate. The magazine raises an issue to discuss. Why there are so many crimes by foreigners? What can we do? Without a magazine of that kind we can’t know the positive or negative opinion from the people. I want a discussion and I want to find the way to solve this problem. This is my other objective. But I see that the foreigners who are angry, but that’s because they’re afraid to be discriminated, that’s why they overreact. At the internet blogs I see they’re only putting the pictures and they discuss from that, I confess I’m discouraged about that. I want a discussion. Else, we will never be able to internationalize this country
ipcdigital.com: Will you apologize?
SS: Look. First, I’m receiving a lot of e-mails which seem like a joke.
ipcdigital.com: What do they say?
SS: I can’t tell you, but I feel I’m in danger. I want opinions, but most of the ones I receive are overreactions from the foreigners. Most complaints come from foreigners. I want to know the reactions of the Japanese. I must say I’m a little worried. I know there are some people bothered but if you read the magazine, you’ll see there’s no single discriminatory phrase, so I don’t know why should I apologize.
You can see what the problem is in my full review of the magazine, available at
http://www.debito.org/?p=214 No single discriminatory phrase? Makes me wonder if HE actually read the book.
One more article, while I’m at it. From the South China Morning Post:
JAPAN: Magazine’s focus on crimes by foreigners sparks outrage
Graphic collage of foreigners’ crimes touches on Japanese xenophobia, say rights groups
South China Morning Post
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
By Julian Ryall
A lurid “true-crime” magazine that depicts foreigners as red-eyed criminals bent on causing mayhem in Japan has been criticised by a rights group as “ignorant propaganda” which will increase intolerance towards people from other countries.
Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes went on sale across Japan on January 31, according to Eichi Publishing, but quickly caused outrage with its garish depictions of Chinese, Koreans, Iranians and US military personnel.
Eichi is an otherwise unremarkable publisher which also publishes mainstream magazines, including hobby and movie magazines, as well as some soft-core pornography.
The one-off, glossy 128-page magazine, which sells for 690 yen (HK$45), includes graphic, manga-style comic strips retelling the story of the murder of a family of four by three Chinese nationals in 2003, grainy pictures of a police raid on a brothel, images of off-duty American soldiers in a street scuffle, and shots of foreigners holding hands with Japanese women under the headline, “Yellow cab real street photo”.
One is captioned “Hey nigger! Get your f****** hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!” Another reads: “This is Japan! Go back to your own f****** country and do that!”
“It’s disgusting,” said US-born Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese who campaigns for foreigners’ rights. “It’s fallacious, baiting, ignorant propaganda from cover to cover.
“It focuses exclusively on the bad things that some foreigners do, but has absolutely nothing about crimes committed by Japanese,” he said. “Crime is not a nationality issue and they are simply equating evil crimes with evil foreigners.”
A spokeswoman for the publisher declined to comment.
The publication is on sale in bookshops and convenience stores throughout Japan, as well as through Amazon Japan, although Mr Arudou said the FamilyMart chain, with nearly 7,000 stores, had removed it yesterday morning.
Mr Arudou said conservative politicians and media were edging Japanese society to the right and heightening fear of foreigners, and a magazine such as Eichi’s bordered on incitement to racial hatred and would not be tolerated in most other societies.
One chapter of the magazine reveals the alleged tricks that foreign sex industry workers use to take advantage of drunk Japanese men – adding a dig about Korean women smelling of kimchee.
Another article is titled “City of violent degenerate foreigners”, while a map of the world gives a “danger rating” for countries, with China top of the pile, followed by Korea and Brazil.
“The publication feels like a sales pitch for keeping foreigners out of Japan, and that’s a campaign that the Japanese police began in 2000 when they began to get tougher on people from overseas,” Mr Arudou said. He pointed out that the magazine contained an interview with a former police officer and mugshots of suspects. “I get the impression the police have been co-operating with the publishers.”
According to the National Police Agency, 47,865 cases involving foreigners were solved in 2005, an increase of 737 cases from the previous year. Some 21,178 foreign suspects were arrested, down 664 in the same period.
Date Posted: 2/7/2007
Still waiting for this to catch fire domestically… here’s hoping. Will cite this in my speech tomorrow to human rights groups here in Wakayama. Bests, Debito in Shirahama
UPDATE MARCH 15, 2007
Here’s an article I tracked down this morning while doing research for an academic piece on this subject. Was on the road, missed it, sorry. From China’s PEOPLE’S DAILY. Surprisingly, the issue of how evil Chinese criminality was portrayed in the book was completely ignored in the article. Hm. Debito
Japan stores withdraw ‘foreigner crime’ book
UPDATED: 16:55, February 06, 2007
PEOPLE’S DAILY, CHINA
Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart and other retailers are pulling copies of a book on “foreigner crime” from their shelves after a wave of complaints, the stores said yesterday.
The front cover of Shocking Foreigner Crime: The Undercover File, published in Japanese, features caricatures of non-Japanese, alongside the question: “Is it all right to let foreigners devastate Japan?”
“We are removing the book from our shelves today,” said Takehiko Kigure of FamilyMart Co’s public relations department. “We had complaints from customers, and when we checked the content of the magazine, we found that it contained some inappropriate language,” he added.
Inside the glossy magazine-style book, photographs and illustrations show what the editors say are non-Japanese engaged in criminal or reprehensible behaviour.
“We wanted to take this up as a contemporary problem,” said Shigeki Saka of Tokyo-based publishers Eichi, which also publishes magazines on popular US and South Korean television dramas. “I think it would be good if this becomes a chance to broaden the debate,” he added.
One caption in the magazine refers to a black man as “nigger”. “This is not a racist book, because it is based on established fact,” Saka said. “If we wanted to be racist, we could write it in a much more racist way,” he added, saying that the word “nigger” was not considered offensive in Japan.
Details of well-known past crimes committed by foreigners are also given, such as last year’s kidnapping of the daughter of a wealthy plastic surgeon by a foreign group.
Source: China Daily/Agencies