Posted by debito on November 14th, 2007
Hi Blog. Martin Oickle was kind enough to send me one page of a housing/apartment catalog from “Heartful Fukushima Ten”–an Osaka realtor (Fukushima 7-5-1, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi, KK Kansai Kensetsu Fukushima Ten, Ph 06-6455-7101).
It has a system for refusing foreigners that is so clear it’s even got a special snappy logo:
Here’s the original page in its entirety, from page nine of its catalog:
(click on the image to see a very detailed 300 dpi scan close up)
You’ll notice the very clever logos at the bottom, for “Auto Lock”, “Satellite TV”, “Students Allowed”, “Pianos Allowed”, “Children Allowed”, “Sink for Shampooing”, “Pets Allowed”, “Toilet and Bath Unit Separate”, “Shower Included”, “Flooring”, “Piped in Radio”, “Specially for Women”, “Hot Water Pot Included”, “Staff Constantly On Duty”, “Cable TV”, “Parking Allowed”, “Handicapped Access”, “Contract with Legal Entity”, “Air Conditioning”, “Elevator”, “Rentable in Portions”, “Furnished”, “Phone Included”, “Refrigerator Included”, and finally… “Foreigners Allowed”.
Thanks for making it so clear, I guess. Very Heartful. You’ll also notice that there is only one apartment of the twelve on this page which will deign to take “gaijin”:
And it’s nearly the cheapest and quite possibly the crappiest one on the entire page–only a one-room (1R). Now what a coincidence…
Now some quick counterarguments for the pedants, for what they’re worth:
Yes, there are restrictions on other things, such as pianos, but pianos and other material effects are not people. Same with pets, of course.
Yes, there are restrictions on students and children. But one does not remain a student or a child all their life, so it’s not the same as discrimination by nationality. (And for the record, I do not support “Women Only” apartments by the same logic. In any case, the default mode for apartments is accepting women, whereas the default for “gaijin” is rejection.)
What a lovely way to welcome newcomers who have enough hurdles to jump over in this society, without having the most fundamental thing they need in their life–a place to rest their head every day–denied them when they first arrive or need to move. Moreover relegate them to lousy housing regardless of income.
And the fact that this company is bold enough to make exclusionism so explicit (the realtor will no doubt counterargue that this is done by the landlord’s wishes; they’re just following orders) makes them an accessory to the discrimination in black and white.
Debito.org wishes to discourage this type of systematic discrimination in any way possible. I have put this company on the “Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments”.
Suggest you take your business elsewhere if you’re looking for apartments in Fukushima-ku, Osaka. Someplace less tolerant of intolerance.
Like some of these places, mentioned in a Japan Times article of November 10, 2007, blogged here.
Pertinent references from the article:
The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry launched the Web site Anshin Chintai (safe rental housing) in June to provide rental housing information and lists of real estate agents and NPOs that can support foreign apartment-seekers. So far, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Miyagi prefectures and Kawasaki have joined the project. For example, 237 real estate agents in Tokyo are listed as supportive firms.
The site — www.anshin-chintai.jp — is available in Japanese only, but foreigners who have difficulties with the language can ask local governments to explain the information on the site to them, according to the ministry.
The Japan Property Management Association, involving about 1,000 real estate agencies, also launched the Web site Welcome Chintai — www.jpm.jp/welcome/ — in September to introduce rental properties in six languages — Chinese, English, Korean, Mongolian, Spanish and Russian.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo