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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 30, 2009

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on September 30th, 2009

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar
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    Hi All. Arudou Debito here. Welcome to the first automated online Newsletter.  If you’d like to get this sooner and by email in your inbox (so you don’t have to come back to this site every day), please subscribe via the box in the top left-hand column on any page of this blog!

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 30, 2009
    SPECIAL ON THE OTARU ONSENS LAWSUIT, TEN YEARS ON:

    Yes, September 19 marked the tenth anniversary since a group of friends and I went to Otaru Onsen Yunohana and tried to take a bath. Time for a retrospective of what has and has not changed:

    Table of Contents:
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    1) INTRO ESSAY: What the case means even today, Article for Japonesia Review
    2) Index of online study aids of media on the event
    3) YouTubed: News Station Oct 12, 1999 on Ana Bortz Verdict YouTubed
    4) YouTubed: HBC award-winning broadcast Mar 27, 2001 creates contentious dichotomies
    5) YouTubed: “KokoGaHen” Feb 28 2001 and their critique of us plaintiffs
    6) YouTubed: J Media reportage of the Feb 1, 2001 Lawsuit Filing in Sapporo District Court
    7) YouTubed: How the J media whipped up fear of foreign crime from 2000 and linked it with lawsuit
    8 ) CONCLUDING ESSAY: How the debate still rages on, article by TransPacific Radio

    … and finally …
    9) Sunday Tangent: SAPPORO SOURCE DEBITO Column on Zombie Movies

    PS: See my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column October 6, 2009 on Tokyo’s Olympic Bid
    (we’ll know Oct. 2 whether or not they get it).

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    By Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
    Invite others to subscribe by going to any blog page at debito.org
    Back issues of the NEWSLETTER archived at http://www.debito.org/?cat=3

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    1) INTRO ESSAY: What the case means even today, Article for Japonesia Review

    Today is the tenth anniversary of our visit, on September 19, 1999, to “Japanese Only” Yunohana Onsen et al in Otaru, a life-changing event that to this day has not been fully resolved mainly because we still don’t have a law against racial discrimination in Japan. This situation remains more than 13 years after Japan effecting of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, where it promised to take “all measures, including legislation” to effectively eliminate all forms of RD. And it deserves comment and reflection after years of protests, two books, countless articles, and successful lawsuits against the onsen (albeit not against the negligent City of Otaru).

    My thoughts on this day are bittersweet. I know we did the right thing (as Olaf noted, when I called him today, people are still talking about the case), and we had a good outcome in court. But I judge things like this based upon whether or not they could ever happen again. The answer is, unfortunately, yes. After all, all Yunohana Onsen has to do is put up another “Japanese Only” sign and we’d have to take them to court all over again just to get it down. There is no law to stop it, nothing for authorities to enforce. Ten years later, it feels more overdue now than in 1999.

    TITLE: THE OTARU ONSENS LAWSUIT: TEN YEARS ON

    What has and has not changed regarding human rights for Non-Japanese in Japan…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4428

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    2) Index of online study aids of media on the event

    This week I will continue a retrospective on the Otaru Onsens Case, with links to media I collected nearly a decade ago, charting the course of the debate, and how it went down a path that in fact ultimately encouraged people to discriminate. The full arc in my book JAPANESE ONLY, but here is a list of primary sources for your viewing pleasure.

    If possible (my friend KM is also supposed to be on holiday, but he’s the one who has kindly converted my analog recordings into digital and YouTubed it), I will put up a link to each media every day, the first one this evening. There is also a DVD I can burn for those who wish to use this for an educational purpose (contact me at debito@debito.org).

    Here’s an outline of the media I have when I first offered this as a study aid three years ago:

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4462

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    3) YouTubed: News Station Oct 12, 1999 on Ana Bortz Verdict YouTubed

    OTARU ONSENS TAPE (1999-2003) PART ONE
    CONTENTS WITH TEACHING NOTES
    1) TV ASAHI NEWS STATION on ANA BORTZ DECISION
    (Nationally broadcast October 12, 1999) (10 minutes). National broadcast. Describes the first court decision regarding racial discrimination in Japan, citing the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the fact that Japan has no law against racial discrimination. Imbedded video and mp4 format for viewing on iPods available.

    COMMENT: What’s remarkable about this broadcast is how thoroughly it describes the Bortz Case and the UN CERD. Also the videotape, from Sebido Jewelry Store security cameras in Hamamatsu, showing the owner refusing Ana quite forcefully. It is the most sympathetic broadcast to come out during the Otaru Onsens Case, and unfortunately it would come at the very beginning, before the media really lost the point.

    The Ana Bortz Lawsuit would inject new energy into the Otaru Onsens Case (which first started in earnest on September 19, 1999, about a month before), offering positive legal precedent for the onsens to take their signs down. Shortly afterwards, one did (Onsen Panorama). The other two, Onsen Osupa, would take until March 2000 and a lot of beers and making friends with the owner. The last one (in Otaru, at least), Onsen Yunohana would take until January 2001, nearly fifteen months and a lot of events later, on the day that we announced that we would be suing them. Then, and only then, and Yunohana only replaced it with a new set of exclusionary rules. It would take several years to prove this, but these moves would be a losing formula for them in court. More in my book JAPANESE ONLY.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4460

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    4) YouTubed: HBC award-winning broadcast Mar 27, 2001 creates contentious dichotomies

    OTARU ONSENS TAPE (1999-2003) PART TWO
    2) HBC TV award-winning documentary on OTARU ONSENS CASE
    (Locally broadcast March 27, 2001). Gives the most thorough rundown of the issue and expresses the issue from a more “Japanese point of view” (i.e. the issue less in terms of racism, more in terms of cultural differences). 50 minutes, six parts on embedded YouTube or download one mp4 file from Debito.org to play on your iPod.

    COMMENT: We have a decent establishment of the issue in part one, then in subsequent parts we have a whole bunch of pundits claiming this is a “cultural issue” (meaning misunderstandings of our unique J culture make refusals of NJ inevitable to some). Or that it’s a Hobson’s Choice between “human rights of the NJ” and “the survival rights of the business” (which was always a false dichotomy borne out in retrospect that none of the onsens have gone bankrupt since taking their signs down; quite the opposite in the case of Defendant Yunohana).

    What happens is that the show becomes a”Japanese vs Non-Japanese” thing, where we get lots of old J men and women etc. saying how much they dislike NJ, vs NJ bleating about their rights despite having allegedly different and disruptive bathing rules. We even have Tarento Daniel Carr coming off all sycophantic blaming NJ for their plight and pointing out their foibles. Teeth begin to itch before long.

    Nowhere in the show is there anyone J saying, “Look, all you have to do is kick out those who don’t follow the rules. It’s not a matter of nationality at all. Just a matter of ill-mannered people, which is an individual matter, not a cultural matter.” But no. That would remove the drama that TV news reports are such suckers for, alas.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4480

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    5) YouTubed: “KokoGaHen” Feb 28 2001 and their critique of us plaintiffs

    OTARU ONSENS TAPE (1999-2003) PART THREE
    3) TV ASAHI tabloid show “KOKO GA HEN DA YO NIHONJIN”, on exclusionism in Wakkanai, Monbetsu, and Otaru
    (Nationally broadcast Feb 28, 2001) (16 minutes). Complete with brickbats for the Plaintiffs for filing suit from the screaming foreign panelists.

    If you would like to download and watch this broadcast in mp4 format on your iPod in one part, click here: There is also a complete transcript and English translation here:

    COMMENT: I remember clearly three things about that evening:

    1) That ALL the panelists (the half-baked comment from Terii Itoh notwithstanding) on the Japanese side of the fence were very supportive in fact, they wished us luck and success in the lawsuit.

    2) That ALMOST ALL of the panelists on the NJ side did the same. In fact, it looked in danger of becoming a boring debate because it seemed so cut and dried. It was a tiny minority who stood up to offer brickbats.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4508

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    6) YouTubed: J Media reportage of the Feb 1, 2001 Lawsuit Filing in Sapporo District Court

    In Part Four of this retrospective on the Otaru Onsens Case a decade on, I talk about how the J media received and reported on our filing of the lawsuit against Otaru Onsen Yunohana on February 1, 2001. The answer: Not well. Comment from me follows embedded videos about the disingenuousness of Otaru Onsen Yunohana, the City of Otaru, and the very media itself.

    4) HBC NEWS (Locally broadcast March 27, 2001) on the OTARU ONSENS LAWSUIT FIRST HEARING (3 minutes). Otaru City claims impunity from CERD responsibilities due to local govt. status, while Yunohana Onsen tries to claim it was the victim in this case.

    5) VARIOUS NEWS AGENCIES (Dosanko Wide, Hokkaido News, STV, and HBC) with various angles on OTARU ONSENS LAWSUIT FILING (Locally broadcast February 1, 2001) (15 minutes total). NB: HBC contains the only public interview given by Defendant Yunohana Onsen owner Hashimoto Hiromitsu. This interview was given live (the only way Hashimoto would agree to be interviewed, so that his comments would not be edited, according to reporter sources), where he states that he has never met us (of course; he always refused to meet us; the only time we would ever cross paths would be November 11, 2002, in the courtroom, when the Sapporo District Court came down in Plaintiffs’ favor).

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4516

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    7) YouTubed: How the J media whipped up fear of foreign crime from 2000 and linked it with lawsuit

    In Part Five of this retrospective on the Otaru Onsens Case a decade on, I talk about how the J media misinterpreted the issues revolving around the “JAPANESE ONLY” signs up at Otaru Onsen Yunohana et al., and how they wound up fanning the fires of exclusionism by spreading fear of foreigners (particularly vis-a-vis foreign crime).

    As I chart in book “JAPANESE ONLY”, when we first started this case in September 1999, NJ were seen as “misunderstood outsiders”, impaired by “culture” as their monkey on their back. But following GOJ policy putsches by politicians like then-PM Koizumi and Tokyo Gov Ishihara (who in April 2000 famously called upon the Nerima SDF to prepare for “foreigner roundups” to prevent riots in the case of a natural disaster), NJ became a public threat to Japan’s safety and internal security (even though NJ crime was always less than J crime both as a proportion and of course in terms of absolute numbers). Then more doors slammed shut and more signs barring NJ from entry went up some of them direct copies of the signs in Otaru. Hey, as those onsens indicated, exclusionary signs are not illegal.

    Thus, although we made progress in the first six months of the Otaru Onsens Case, getting signs down in two of Otaru’s three exclusionary onsen, we could not compete with the national government and media saturation, and lost all the ground we gained and then some. The media’s overfocus on NJ crime to this day affects the debate regarding assimilation.

    Embedded videos of how the media could not escape linking NJ rights with foreign crime follow.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4539

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    8 ) CONCLUDING ESSAY: How the debate still rages on, article by TransPacific Radio

    TPR: In the ten years since the case, much has changed and debate over Arudou’s goal and tactics continues apace. As with any heated issue (and human rights issues are always heated), the disagreements range from perfectly legitimate concerns to objections that are, to put it nicely, based on misinformation or incorrect assumptions.

    It is no secret that Arudou has many critics (in the interest of disclosure, it is worth it to point out that while we here at TPR pull no punches with the man and feel it necessary to play Devil’s Advocate at the least, we do know him sociably and will say that, politics aside, he’s a likable guy just exercise caution before bringing up the topic of Duran Duran.) It is also no secret that, for a variety of reasons, his most vocal critics are almost entirely non-Japanese.

    Among the most high profile of those critics is Gregory Clark, whose column in the Japan Times gives him perhaps a wider audience than most other writers on the topic. On January 15th of this year, Clark wrote a risible and deeply disingenuous column for the paper headlined “Antiforeigner discrimination is a right for Japanese people”.

    In the column, Clark tries to paint a picture of a contemptible rabble-rousing jerk that he very clearly hints is Arudou (it’s not. As far as we can tell, there is no such person as the one Clark is writing about.) Wondering at Clark’s vitriol and some of his more outlandish statements, this observer settled on the following paragraph: (…)

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4535

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    … and finally …

    9) Sunday Tangent: SAPPORO SOURCE DEBITO Column on Zombie Movies

    After a week of the Otaru Onsens Case (thanks to KMCheese for YouTubing all the videos on his channel), it’s time for something lighter. My most recent column for freepaper SAPPORO SOURCE.

    On Zombie Movies. Yes, I’m a big fan. See why below. Download the entire issue of SAPPORO SOURCE here in pdf format. Cover, scanned page, and text of the article follows.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=4545

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    PS: See my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE Column October 6, 2009 on Tokyo’s Olympic Bid
    (we’ll know Oct. 2 whether or not they get it).

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    All for this Newsletter. Thanks for reading and resubscribing!
    Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan
    debito@debito.org, www.debito.org
    Invite others to subscribe by going to any blog page at debito.org
    Back issues of the NEWSLETTER archived at http://www.debito.org/?cat=3
    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 30, 2009 ENDS

    One Response to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 30, 2009”

    1. Icarus Says:

      Off topic, but I thought you might like this. I wonder if this had anything to do with Tokyo’s loss:

      Chicago’s Loss: Is Passport Control to Blame?

      Did Chicago lose the chance to host the 2016 Olympics because of airport security issues?

      Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.”

      Please click on link for the rest of the article.

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