Posted by debito on February 13th, 2007
Hi Blog. The issue I was notified of and posted about last November has finally hit the national press. Background on that issue here:
Japan Today reports the following:
English school condemned for limiting teachers to blond hair, blue eyes
Monday, February 12, 2007 at 07:16 EST Courtesy Kyodo News
KOFU — An English-language school in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, had publicly posted a recruitment poster limiting instructors to those with “blond hair, blue or green eyes,” leading activists to file complaints, people involved said Sunday.
The poster for recruiting instructors the school sends to kindergartens was posted at the Yamanashi International Center for six months until November, when the center removed it after receiving the complaints and apologizing for its “lack of consideration.”
“Linking appearance and qualifications of English educators is questionable. It encourages discrimination on appearance and race,” according to the complaints filed with the center by the activists, including American-born Japanese citizen Debito Arudou.
Arudou, associate professor at Hokkaido Information University, who is working on human rights for foreign residents in Japan, also filed written requests with the school, kindergartens and the Kofu Regional Legal Affairs to promote human rights.
According to people related to the school, several kindergartens in Kofu have asked it to send English instructors so their children can get accustomed to “foreigners,” attaching such conditions as “blond hair” and “blue eyes.”
The school “was aware that it was an old discriminatory idea, but couldn’t resist customers’ needs,” one related person said, noting that the school now regrets it.
It’s pretty late, and I’m too tired right now to comment meaningfully at the moment; will do so later on today. Watch this space. Debito in Kurashiki