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  • GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka responds on Japan Today, with my rebuttal

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 16th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Here we have an interesting development: The editor of the GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES responds to his critics. A fascinating and relatively rare glimpse into the mindset of a person with a “thing” about gaijin. I post his response below, then I offer up some comment after each paragraph:

    =================================
    CRIME
    Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics
    By Shigeki Saka, Editor, Eichi Shuppan Inc

    Japan Today
    Friday, February 16, 2007 at 07:03 EST
    Courtesy http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/399166/all

    TOKYO — Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

    The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

    On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

    This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

    On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

    Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

    What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

    For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

    That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

    Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English word

    Another criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

    Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

    Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

    Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

    Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

    Shigeki Saka is an editor at Eichi Publishing Company in Tokyo.

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

    Now let me reprint the entire article and offer comments below each paragraph:

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

    Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics

    First of all, let me thank Mr Saka for taking the trouble to respond. Most people of his ilk do not come forward with their views and hold them up to scrutiny. (The publisher himself hides behind the name “Joey H. Washington”, which is legally questionable) So I offer these comments hopefully in the same spirit with a bit less defensiveness, and hope that a constructive dialogue, which Mr Saka indicates he wants, will ensue in future.

    Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

    Right from the start we get the underlying current of the mindset behind the response: A perpetual feeling of victimization on the part of people who threw the first stone. As if the critics are the bad guys guilty of “harassment”. Agreed, there are limits to how far criticism can go, and once there is a threat of violence the line has been crossed. But ye shall reap. You wilfully create an inflammatory book and put it on bookshelves nationwide, you will get inflammatory reactions. As an editor in the publishing world, Mr Saka should by now be used to criticism. But to cry about his own treatment in the media, after publishing something this distorted, shows a definite lack of self-reflection that will do him little good as a professional in future.

    The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

    The meaning of “taboo”, even in Japanese, means something that cannot be discussed. However, there has been much discussion about foreign crime since 2000, from Ishihara to the NPA to the tabloids to the Wide Shows to the respectable press. Not taboo at all, and for an editor to get this word so wrong in even a formal debate calls into question his qualifications as an editor and wordsmith.

    As for distorting the facts, GAIJIN HANZAI does a respectable job of doing it all on it’s own (starting from the very cover, where “gaijin” are going to “devastate” Japan if we let them, and where “everyone” will be a target of “gaijin crime” this year). Saying that people on both sides are getting it wrong (even if true) is no defense, and no license to do it yourself.

    On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

    I don’t want to get hung up on semantics here (as I have not seen the original interview in Japanese), but here we have the victim complex combined with the editor clearly admitting which side he’s on. “Our” side. “Our” daughters. “Our” homes. As opposed to crime affecting everybody badly, which it does. You can’t do “us” and “them” when criminals are indiscriminate sharks who treat everybody as food. Especially since almost all criminals in Japan are Japanese no matter how you fudge the “facts”.

    Whether or not the foreign criminal is out to “destroy Japan” (as opposed to take advantage of it for profit motive like any other criminal regardless of nationality) feels more like a figment of Mr Saka’s active imagination. Last I heard, there are no real anti-government anarchic groups out there run by foreigners; that’s usually the domain of the Japanese radicals.

    This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

    This “attitude” being referred to here is not the fault of the critics, but the fault of the instigator, in this case the people who funded Mr Saka and Eichi Shuppan. By all means, let’s have an informed discussion about where crime and criminality comes from. But putting it in terms of racial and nationality paradigms certainly does not inform the discussion. Given how blunt these tools of analysis are as social science, this book generates far more heat than light.

    Criminality is completely unrelated to nationality anyway. By offering no comparison to Japanese crime, there is no chance for informed conversation whatsoever since it is not grounded in any context. Which means the entire premise of your book is flawed and not on any search for the truth.

    What you are getting, however, IS frank discussion. But you pass that off as “harassment”. Your positioning yourself as the victim switches off so many intellectual avenues.

    On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

    Here we go with the victim mentality again, where an “army” of bloggers (I’m amazed the translator didn’t use the word “horde”) “bullied” innocent victim convenience stores into submission. This odd world-view assumes a) non-Japanese are that organized (Believe you me, they’re not! Unless you get their dander up like your magazine so effectively did.), and b) the convenience stores were powerless to stop them (No, the shopkeeps–and EVERY other Japanese I have shown this magazine to–reacted to your rhetoric, particularly when one showed them the pages with the interracial public displays of affection–with shame and revulsion. One didn’t even need fluency in Japanese to inform the discussion. You made our job incredibly easy for us.)

    No, the shopkeeps and distributors, who apologized not out of fear or compulsion, decided for themselves that this book was offensive and not worthy of their racks. As did your advertisers, as you admit below.

    Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

    Let’s walk through this Trojan Horse of logic. You deliberately put out a book that will aggravate a section of the Japanese population. If anyone successfully protests, you say we are censoring you. Drop the tatemae, already, and stop hiding behind pat and half-baked ideas of “free speech” when the honne is that all you want to do is sell books. And it was after people actually SAW the mook that shopkeeps followed through with sending them back.

    (And for those who haven’t seen the mook, here’s the whole thing, scanned, and available for free:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultraneo/sets/72157594531953574/)

    What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

    No lies, such as talking about Japanese penis size? Or that a Mr. “Joey H. Washington” published this book…? Anyway…

    You fill the book with statistics, yes. But three tests of telling the truth is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By leaving out any mention of Japanese crime, which is, if anything, more likely to target Japanese and devastate the Japanese way of life, you leave out the whole truth. This is a distortion, which is inaccurate.

    So are the statistics about rising crime rates. Many crime rates in certain sectors (and in general, according to recent news) have fallen. So have the numbers of visa overstayers EVERY YEAR since 1993. Maybe you didn’t get all that in before press time. Or maybe you just did not feel that these “facts” were convenient enough for inclusion.

    For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima [SIC–It was Fukuoka]. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

    For instance, it is true that a woman in Wakayama fed her neighbors poisoned curry rice. It is true that a Tokyo woman killed her husband with a wine bottle, cut him into little pieces, and threw him away with the nama gomi. It is true that a man killed a British hostess for his own sexual predilections. It is true a man killed his Dutch partner in Paris and ate her. It is true that a prostitute strangled her patron, dismembered him, and walked around town with his penis around her neck… Need I go on?

    All of these criminals were Japanese. How would it feel if I were to write a book and publish it overseas saying you should never eat curry in Wakayama because Wakayama people might poison you. Or that one should never marry a Japanese woman because she might bludgeon you with a bottle and cut your prick off?

    Or that a Japanese robber posing as a doctor poisoning everyone in a bank shows that Japanese are more devious than Westerners because they have to kill everyone in the building in order to get at the money? I bet there would be howls from the media and even the Japanese embassy.

    And the groping thing? The Japanese government has to take measures to segregate public transportation because the “chikan” problem is so bad here. The differences between this and that is that it’s harder to photograph the same acts happening in a crowded train. And that it is consensual. Which means it is not a crime, and beyond the scope of this book.

    That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

    Another Trojan Horse of logic. No, Eichi Shuppan didn’t block out the gaijin faces because they didn’t think there would be any trouble from them, especially legally. Why not leave in the Japanese faces for more illustrative power that the situation is Japanese vs gaijin? Because you’d be slapped with a lawsuit for invasion of privacy, that’s why. Again, lose the tatemae.

    Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English wordAnother criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

    You are seriously trying to argue that nigaa is not derived from the English epithet, that the Japanese streets just spontaneously came up with it to describe people with high melanin skin, or that it has no emotive connection to its root? 

    I wonder who elected Mr Saka representative of all Japanese when it comes to interpreting how we feel about epithets. Every Japanese I have shown this book to (and I have shown it to thousands) has recoiled at the word (and one display to the shopkeeps gets it quickly removed from the shelves). Try saying it on Japanese television or using it in the respectable press. And try being the target of “jappu”, “nippu”, “yellow monkey”, “yellow cab” etc. anywhere in the world and see if that “street slang” defense works.

    Same with the word “gaijin”, used in every situation in the book (even the title) except when citing police statistics (where the official word is “gaikokujin”, of course). Even here we translate it as “foreigner”, which is not the same word with the same emotive power either. But interpretation of epithets is less the property of the speaker, more the person being addressed. And Mr Saka’s attempt in an earlier explanation to say “this book is for a Japanese audience” (which he does not make in this essay) is a facile attempt to exclude or deligitimize the non-Japanese resident’s voice from the free and open debate he so highly prizes.

    Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

    I am looking forward to your next expose on the Yakuza and their methods of crime. Then I think you would have some real security concerns. A few angry letters in your email box does not a similarly life-threatening harrassment campaign make.

    You still haven’t answered the question of where your funding came from. And the fact that advertisers had more sense than to be associated with your mook (and shopkeeps and distributors, once notified of the contents, also quickly washed their hands of you) should be some cause for self-reflection on your part.

    Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

    Cue victim complex again. We Japanese been done wrong (one or two generations ago, when Japanese were likewise contemporarily calling gaijin “devils”, “barbarians”, “lazy illiterates”…). So it justifies our doing wrong right back. How far back do we have to go here to justify the use of historically hateful and insulting epithets in the present day? And does Eichi Shuppan really want to sink to the level of the bigots (found in every society) who use those terms of debate?

    Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

    Cue the possession complex again. “Our country” belongs to us too. We live here, and pay taxes and contribute to Japanese society the same as everyone else. Only by honestly dealing with the fact that Japanese social problems are not so easily blamed on foreigners, or on an internationalizing society, can we prepare “our culture” for the challenges of Japan’s future.

    The operative word here is “honestly”. But thanks to books like GAIJIN HANZAI, which conflates criminality with nationality, I think that is beyond the likes of Mr Saka, Eichi Shuppan, or their anonymous patrons.

    Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

    So why isn’t the book entitled “NINGEN HANZAI”? Because it’s not about talking about violent and illegal behavior “as human beings”. Nor about our “own problems”, but rather about “gaijin” and the evils that they do because they are gaijin. And how in some places in the book they should not be here in the first place and how we must defend ourselves from them. The problem being pointed at is not “ourselves”. It is about “them” and how they hurt “us”.

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

    In conclusion, the reason why the mook should not go back on the shelves:

    In my view, when one publishes something, there are of course limits to freedom of speech. Although Japanese laws are grey on this, the rules of thumb for most societies are you must not libel individuals with lies, maliciously promote hate and spread innuendo and fear against a people, and not wilfully incite people to panic and violence. The classic example is thou must not lie and shout “fire” in a crowded theater. But my general rule is that you must not make the debate arena inconducive to free and calm, reasoned debate.

    GAIJIN HANZAI fails the test because it a) wilfully spreads hate, fear, and innuendo against a segment of the population, b) fortifies that by lacking any sort of balance in data or presentation, and c) offers sensationalized propaganda in the name of “constructive debate” (when I don’t think Mr Saka has any intention of doing anything more than selling magazines; he is on no search for the truth–only wishes to hawk wares for wareware nipponjin). Dialog is not promoted by fearmongering.

    Even then, we as demonstrators never asked for the law, such as it is, to get involved. We just notified distributors of the qualms we had with this book, and they agreed that this was inappropriate material for their sales outlets. We backed that up by proposing a boycott, which is our inviolable right (probably the non-Japanese residents’ only inviolable right) to choose where to spend our money as consumers. We proposed no violence. Only the strength of our argument and conviction.

    It’s not like this is a fair fight here–we do not have an entire publishing house at our disposal, with access to every convenience store in Japan, so we can publish a rebuttal side by side.  And the fact that the Japanese press has completely ignored this issue is indicative of how stacked the domestic debate arena is against us. You think the domestic press is going to go to bat for us and naturally restore balance to the national debate on foreign crime?

    We did what we could, and it worked.  Especially since the tone of GAIJIN HANZAI did our work for us. You should be kicking yourself for making our job so easy.

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

    Again, I thank Mr Saka for making his ideology so plain. Ultimately, he comes off as a crybaby who sees other people going about their business, gets angry because the people there remind him of someone who teased him in grade school, then puts up posters accusing those people of ruining his neighborhood. Then wonders why people get angry at him, and accuse them of violating his freedom of expression when they pull those posters down. If this is the best argument the bigots in Japan can muster, then Japan’s imminent transition to an international, multicultural society will go smoother than expected.

    Arudou Debito
    Japanese citizen and full member of “our society”
    Miyazaki, Kyushu
    February 16, 2007
    ENDS

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

    ADDENDUM FEB 20, 2007

    Just got this from a friend. Seems like migration of labor is causing some problems with “foreign crime” in China too. So much for GAIJIN HANZAI’S speculation that Chinese somehow have more criminal tendencies. Anyway, FYI. Debito in Sapporo

    South China Morning Post
    Thursday, February 15, 2007
    Crime-plagued Guangzhou considers foreigner database
    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Beijing

    Updated at 11.47am:
    Legislators in crime-ridden Guangzhou wanted to set up an information
    database to track the activities of foreigners blamed for some of the
    lawlessness, state media said on Thursday.

    The proposal by 13 legislators was based on data showing a 40 per cent
    increase in illegal activities by foreigners in the southern city in
    2001-05, the China Daily reported.

    “[Foreigners] without legal permission to live and do business in
    Guangdong, and especially those who commit crimes, pose a great threat
    to the province’s social security,” Yan Xiangrong, a deputy in the
    Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress, told the paper.

    The scheme would involve “all related governmental organisations,
    including departments of foreign affairs, public security, health,
    labour and social security, industry and commercial and civil affairs”,
    Mr Yan said.

    No other details on the plan, which was put to the Congress last week,
    were given.

    Guangzhou is plagued by purse-snatching motorcycle gangs and other crime
    linked to its spectacular export-fuelled boom.

    The crime is typically blamed on the more than three million migrant
    workers drawn to the booming city but a rising number of foreigners also
    have set up residence or businesses in the province.

    There were 40,000 foreigners living in the province, most of them in
    Guangzhou, the paper said.

    Recent cases involving foreigners have included smuggling and
    drug-trafficking offences, it added.

    Last month, Guangzhou announced it would more than triple the number of
    surveillance cameras around the city to 340,000 to help stem the crime.
    ENDS

    13 Responses to “GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka responds on Japan Today, with my rebuttal”

    1. beibanjin Says:

      I haven’t seen this book beyond the sections that were posted at this site, but based on those, the part where the whole project really shows its true colors is the foreign-guys-mashing-with-their-Japanese-girlfriends section. You touched on this in your response, but to me it’s the crack in the whole edifice: since making out is not against the law, there’s no reason for it to be in the book–unless this is not a book about crime at all, but a book about reasons to hate and be resentful of foreigners.

    2. Tom Says:

      Well done, Debito. I hope that Japan Today will allow you to respond to Saka’s words in public—if he is truly interested in that public debate, then why not give him what he wants? I’m sure the Japan Today people would be interested in the foreign-born reaction to his words…

      Would be nice to see your words on this subject appear in some Japanese national press as well, but I suppose I won’t hold my breath waiting for that…

      Still, I think Newsweek Japan would consider printing something on this if you asked—Maybe it’s just me, but I feel the content in this publication seems to feature a wider variety of subject matter than most mainstream Japanese media…

      Let’s keep up the pressure on this issue—it’s a good opportunity for us to show people what’s really going on in Japan, and it’s a good chance for us to promote a healthy alternative—a multicultural, multi-ethnic Japan.

      Like it or not, this Japan is the Japan of the future. It’s inevitable, folks. Let’s make the transition a smooth one.

      OK–enough. Keep up the good work.

      T

    3. Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Japan: foreign crime book editor’s comment Says:

      […] Debito posts GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka’s comment in his blog and reply to him point by point. In his conclusion, he said: Again, I thank Mr Saka for making his ideology so plain. He comes off as a crybaby who sees other people going about their business, gets angry because the people there remind him of someone who stole his girlfriend in grade school, then puts up posters accusing the people there of ruining his neighborhood. Then wonders why people get angry at him, and accuse them of violating his freedom of expression when they pull those posters down. Oiwan Lam […]

    4. debito Says:

      DEBITO HERE. JUST CHECKED AMAZON.CO.JP. GUESS WHAT. THE MOOK IS NO LONGER ON OFFER. THERE IS A USED COPY GOING FOR 20,000 YEN, FOR THE COLLECTORS OUT THERE…

    5. A response to the Gaijin Ura Crime File publisher’s editorial on why he published it » Japan Probe Says:

      […] Debito’s Blog […]

    6. Scott Says:

      Kudos, Debito, on a job well-done in responding to Mr. Saka’s twisted logic reeking of the victim mentality. The complete lack of a comparative perspective to Japanese crime statistics makes GAIJIN HANZAI FILES just another racist rant devoid of value in a civilized society.

      Granted, Mr. Saka’s exercise of his “free speech” does not rise to the level of non-protected speech immediately inciting violence, yet Saka-san is clearly engaged in hate speech which violates international human rights norms (see post on Japan Today listing Universal Declaration of Human Rights provisions in violation here). Of course, we know how effectively the Japanese government upholds its human rights obligations!

      The fact that Mr. Saka continues to defend his diatribe is even more telling of his mental state. Racism per se is not a mental disorder (we’d need as many mental hospital beds as prison beds!) Dare I make a diagnosis of Mr. Saka’s condition and feel the wrath of his suit for invasion of privacy? Haha. No thanks– that would only further his victim mentality!

      We might only hope that Mr. Saka may in time come around like some of the onsen owners did in the Otaru Onsens case. I hope Debito that you get the chance to debate him before the Japanese public, for you will surely prevail. Just think– your Nippon Ham Fighters versus the inaka elementary school yakkyu club. :)

    7. Turner Says:

      I think we can safely say we won’t be seeing it on shelves anytime soon.

      More than defending his racially charged statements or incomplete statistics, I just found his logic in here absolutely ludicrous:

      Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

      This is precisely why I might hate English people because a feudal lord wasn’t pleased by my peasant ancestor’s yearly crop.

      I’m sure if you go far back enough into history, you can make any argument. People change, Saka-san.

    8. Jeremy Says:

      This is the crazy rhetoric that we as foreigners face every day. It is not only this Nazi magazine that is causing us harm. It is the everyday discriminiation that we face. In our work and in our everyday lives.

      We need to form a group that has politcal power. Not extremist like the jack asses in the black vans but a group that will protect us from discrimination. You can see what we can achieve by peaceful protest in numbers. We need to have a place or a group that we can rely on when these types of issues arise.

      We need an advocate that can request peacefully that we as a minority recieve equal rights and equal protection. There are anti-discrimination laws in Japan but they are over looked and ignored. I feel that it is time that we make a voice for ourselves.

      Any ideas out there on what we can do to organize?

    9. redracer Says:

      Good work David !!!

      1. Was the letter in Japan Today already written in English, or did you translate it ?

      2. Will your reply as above also be published in Japan Today ?

      thanks again :-)

       

      THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENTS, EVERYONE.  THE LETTER WAS ALREADY WRITTEN IN ENGLISH.  ACCORDING TO SOURCES AT JT, THIS ARTICLE WAS THE PRODUCT OF A RECORDED INTERVIEW IN JAPANESE.  I HAVE NOT OF COURSE SEEN THE ORIGINAL JAPANESE, WHICH IS A PITY, BECAUSE IN JAPANESE IS WHERE THIS ALSO MUST BE DEBATED.

      I DON’T KNOW IF THIS WILL ALSO BE PUBLISHED ON JAPAN TODAY.  IF PEOPLE WANT TO CUT AND PASTE MY REBUTTAL ONTO THE COMMENTS SECTION, GO AHEAD, OF COURSE.  I AM IN TRANSIT BACK TO SAPPORO TODAY FROM MIYAZAKI AND WILL BE PUTTING THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON MY NEXT NEWSPAPER ARTICLE (WHICH WILL MENTION THE GH MOOK IN PASSING…  DEBITO

    10. Xenomorph42 Says:

      David, what can I say?

      You are the O’Reilly of Japan, I cannot express enough of what a true and honest crusader you are for fighting for foreigners rights. Many of us are married and have children here. While the reasons vary as to why many of us live here, one thing can be said with certainty-we pay taxes, the majority of us are law abiding citizens and overall…loyal.

      Mr. Saka’s publication was vile, rude and repugnant! When we come together on issues like these in a logical, peaceful manner, we can move mountains!

      The ideology and the constant attempt at trying to exclude foreigners or to diminish their legal social and human rights status as much as possible is ultimately futile. The world is coming more so together then any other time in history and like it or not Japanese cannot do anything about it.
      Multiculturalism will and is happening and growing.

      I too, hope that words will appear in some of the Japanese media print press. Or if you could have a one on one interview with Mr. Saka.

      Keep up the good work!

      ——————————-

      –NOT SURE I LIKE BEING COMPARED TO BILL O’REILLY (I HAVE BEEN MORE COMFORTABLY COMPARED TO MICHAEL MOORE) :) , BUT I THANK YOU FOR THE COMPLIMENTS JUST THE SAME! AND OF COURSE I AGREE THAT BY WORKING TOGETHER WE CERTAINLY CAN ACCOMPLISH A LOT! DEBITO IN FUKUOKA AIRPORT

    11. I'm not foreigner Says:

      Hi,Debito,let me show how I felt.
      My sequence of impression:
      1) Eye goes straight to cover design.
      Impression:Gosh!Zombi!Ozomashii!
      2)Eye goes to title:外人犯罪…
      Impression:It’s about foreigner’s crime.Together with above:discrimination.
      Impression up to here:What an offensive book!These ultra-nationalists(few) came up to this stage?Why they want conduct people in this way?
      3)Eye goes to subtitle at bottom.外人どもに日本を??させていいのか!!
      What an offensive phrase!
      The letter どもに together with 外人(foreigner)becomes light meaning of “you busters”,according to the sequence of impression.
      If the design had written comically,the meaning also becomes comical(I think it’s same all over the world).
      So,in this case,the ども becomes a booster for discrimination. 
      Now,how can I read these 2 kanjis?I don’t know(I’m japanese).What difficult kanji!Sequentially it is another offensive word,maybe.It’s using 足(foot) at left side.So,the meaning maybe “invasion with foot”.
      These people,making proper japaneses become ashamed of not able to read(99% of japaneses or even more can’t read this,idiot.Only studious foreigner can read).
      Using 達(tachi) instead of ども becomes soft.
      Using たちin hiragana becomes more soft.
      But,since it is not putting 犯罪者(criminator) after 外人,the meaning is “all foreigners”.
      Therefore,only up to here already concreted me that this is discrimination magazine.
      3)The medium style phrase at medium place doesn’t give impact.But helps come to the mind that it’s necessary wipe up foreigners.
      4)Kita- what?Oh,maybe that guy who appears on TV?
      So,is he author of this mag?…I didn’t think that he was so ultra-nationalist(my impression).
      (But,reading some citations after, the author is not him.It seems he was used).

      Concerning only on cover,there is no expression of racism.

      Will I buy?
      I’ll take a look inside,but not buy.Because the price is too high!
      It’s astonished price(¥690) in the era of zero yenes cartoon.What are these idiot guys of publisher are thinking?I don’t understand.Are they thinking ordinary japaneses are same idiots?

      To spread discussion? WRONG!In my view,the objective is only MONEY!This publisher originated from somehow soft porno book.Nothing in mind to make the society good.Only MONEY! Thinking that many japaneses will buy it.Of course the atmosphere is somehow nationalistic,but not at this stage.
      IF it is for people to have serious discussion and make good society,then,why stopped?
      I think they stopped because noticed that there is no support from proper japaneses.Instead,I think they received offensive mail from proper ultra-nationalists.Because,the photos and phrases nothing concerned on crimes are very ashamed matters for proper japaneses. For foreigners are very offensive,but for japaneses are very ashaming.

      N***** is not discriminatory word?Get enquete.Many japanese knows that it is.In Japan use kokujin for blacks.
      But,these hakujin,kokujin,white,black,yellow also sounds somehow discriminatory,isn’t it?

      Is Saka-san,the key-person?Because he is digging his grave by himself.

      YOU ARE COURAGEOUS,DEBIT.

      Oh,it seems appeared another sensitive book.This time,it’s not gaijin.
      I’m sorry,I don’t have courage to stop it.
      The government will do,in a pieceful way.

    12. angered gaijin Says:

      Hi Debito,
      Just to let you know that the mook seems to be in many bookstores as I saw it in a bookstore called Book Joy (ブックジョイ), a bookstore specialiced in manga, hobbie and “ura” magazines, and porno. It seems to be a chain of bookstores, this is in Komoro-shi (小諸市), Nagano-ken.
      While this is still happening, the editor cries in an interview in International Press (spanish version, http://www.ipcdigital.com/es ) that it was made for the combini marked, and that the combini won’t let him to prepare another one after all this fuss. Contradictory as it seems to be in any bookstore, not only in the combini which removed it.
      Also he says ” I learnt with this that now we have much more foreigners than before, who wants to know about japanese culture, go to the combini and read the magazines” (?!). Also he admits to had used a discriminatory expression: nigger.

    13. not_born_in_sino Says:

      Hello,

      Came across your website, interesting discussion.

      Went to Japan sometime in around 1985…Tokyo and another city name I forgot…..anyway, very good impression on Japanese people indeed.

      It’s the people that make the country strong, and you have every reason as citizen of that nation to uphold that. No foreigners should take that away.

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