Dr. ARUDOU, Debito's Home Page

From Debito's doctoral research:

Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

  • Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination
  • (Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield HB 2015, PB 2016)

    Click on book cover for reviews, previews, and 30% discount direct from publisher. Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle eBook on

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • More on Ibuki “butter” Bunmei from Matt Dioguardi

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on March 14th, 2007


    On Feb 28, 2007, at 1:12 PM, Kirk Masden wrote:

    I don’t know if Abe will be made to regret it but he should be.

    Abe’s defense strikes me as more problematic than the original

    gaff. Abe is equating homogeneity with getting along well. By this

    logic, diversity (more foreigners in Japan, etc) leads to acrimony.

    It also implies that whatever peace and good human relations have

    characterized Japan thus far have been in spite of minorities such as

    Ainu, Okinawans, Koreans, etc. This is a very problematic way for

    Japan’s leader to defend a remark.

    [Education Minister] Bunmei Ibuki’s comments continue to trouble me.

    Some things to think about:

    1. I’ve found at least two places where Ibuki specifically basically

    says, “though there are exceptions such as the Ainu and the Zainichi

    people, Japan is fundamentally, one ethnos, one culture, one ethnic

    rulership, one language, one belief system” (As Kirk says above, this

    is a very exclusivist attitude. He’s basically *excluding* the Ainu

    and the Zainichi from participation in the successes of Japanese

    rulership, culture, language, and beliefs.)

    2. Ibuki also states in more than one place, practically like a

    refrain, that because of the post-war constitution and Fundamental

    Law of Education are western they emphasize rights over duty, private

    over public. This is one reason why Japanese society is falling into

    decadence. The examples given again and again are Livedoor and

    Murakami funds. Ibuki will say, of course, rights and privacy are

    very important, *but* … then he launchs into the problems they cause.

    3. The solution suggested is to revise the constitution and the

    Fundamental Law of Education to include more values of the Japanese


    Has this not already happened somewhat? Article 2 of the Fundamental

    Law of Education has been revised from what was previously an

    emphasis on individuality and personal development, to a list of

    values that perhaps are intended to reflect the values of the

    Japanese ethnos.

    So because there is a *perceived* majority, and the *perception* that

    the *perceived* majority have certain supposedly *shared* values,

    those values must now be imposed on *everyone*?

    Good grief!

    The one positive element here, is that I am gradually finding very

    active and vocal Japanese citizens on the net who see through all

    this nonsense. But so far not enough to stop the steamroller …

    This is a really terrible price to have to pay for Koizumi’s economic


    As far as Ibuki’s statements I’ve been blogging some of them here:


    Matt Dioguardi


    One Response to “More on Ibuki “butter” Bunmei from Matt Dioguardi”

    1. debito Says:



      I enjoyed reading Matt’s March 14 post

      and thinking about Ibuki’s statement that America is an
      “artificial” (_jinkouteki_) nation. This is interesting to think
      about because of the values and thought processes that it implies.
      I’d like to point out, though, that it is not new. I believe I ran
      across it in the old Japanese version of the Fukuzawa list. So, it’s
      my impression that it is a common notion in conservative circles in
      Japan and not unique to Ibuki.

      First, the objective reality that the statement refers to is the
      extent to which the US is (and Japan is not) a “nation of
      immigrants.” But, of course, calling the the U.S. an “artificial”
      nation is not an objective statement. It is a normative one that
      implies that there is something “unnatural” and hence undesirable
      about the way the U.S. is put together.

      “Artificial” in Japanese is made up of two characters: one meaning
      “human being” and the other meaning “constructed.” Thus,
      “artificial” is literally “man-made.” Now, if Japanese society is
      not “man-made” then perhaps we should think about who made it. Does
      the assertion that Japan is not a “man-made” nation imply that it is

      Historical research points to the “man-made” nature of nation states
      all over the world. The notion that Japan is not “man-made” may be
      evidence that reverence for the mythical origins of this country is
      still alive, at least at a sub- or semi-conscious level.

      Another issue to ponder is the sense in which homogeneity is
      “natural” and diversity is “artificial” or “unnatural.” Does
      “natural” (the state why may assume to be the antithesis of
      “jinkoteki” or “artificial”) mean leaving human beings to behave as
      they see fit? If so, it would seem fairly easy to point to
      situations in which human beings “naturally” elected to form diverse
      societies or cross ethnic boundaries. Conversely, “man-made” means
      are often required to prevent ethnic groups from co-mingling. In the
      Edo period “sakoku” was an “artificial” means employed to control the
      natural impulse of human beings to travel. In modern times, how can
      one argue implementing laws preventing immigration and thus
      preserving relative homogeneity is more “natural” than allowing human
      beings to move freely?

      Perhaps it is thought that laws are needed to prevent “unnatural”
      acts. The U.S. has a history of anti-miscegenation laws. It was
      thought that it was “unnatural” for persons of different “races” to
      marry. Is the U.S. an “artifical” nation in the sense that it has
      not followed the “natural” path of segregation by race?

      The more one thinks about it, the more problematic the notion that
      diversity is “artificial” and homogeneity is “natural” becomes. I
      doubt, however, that many conservative Japanese have even considered
      the implications of this “artificial” vs. “natural” creed; to most of
      them, I think that the validity of the “US is artificial” statement
      is too obvious to even warrant consideration.

      Finally, I think there are important connections between the “US =
      artificial” thought process and other statements Ibuki and has made
      but I’ll save comments on those connections for later.

      Kirk Masden

    Leave a Reply


    Not Found

    Not Found

    The requested URL /sites/debito.txt was not found on this server.

    The requested URL /sites/debito.txt was not found on this server.

    The requested URL /sites/debito.txt was not found on this server.