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  • Hate crimes in Fukui: Car burned, “Gaijin GET OUT” message left at local mosque; flagburning at Indian restaurant

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 25th, 2010

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    Hi Blog. Here are some sketchy details from the media about hate crimes in Fukui. For the record. People who know more about this case on the ground, please feel free to comment.  A few days have passed since these events hit the news, and so far no visible police follow-up.  Arudou Debito

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

    Car burns in front of Fukui mosque
    The Japan Times, Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101022b1.html

    FUKUI (Kyodo) A car in front of a mosque in the city of Fukui was found on fire early Wednesday and sign saying “Foreign people [gaijin] GET OUT” written in a mix of Japanese characters and English letters was found posted at the two-story building, police said Thursday.

    The possible arson case follows an incident at an Indian restaurant 1.5 km away last month, when a flag was burned and a similar sign posted, they said.

    The burning station wagon, owned by a Malaysian student, was discovered at around 1:15 a.m. in the parking lot of the mosque, according to police. There were no injuries.

    ENDS

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

    Also by Kyodo:

    ‘Foreign people GET OUT’ sign on mosque as car torched in parking lot
    Japan Today, Thursday 21st October, 2010

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/foreign-people-get-out-sign-on-mosque-as-car-torched-in-parking-lot#show_all_comments

    FUKUI — A car parked in front of a mosque in Fukui City was torched early Wednesday in what police believe is an arson case, and a sign saying, ‘‘Foreign people GET OUT’’ was posted at the two-story building, police said Thursday.

    Police also said that a flag at an Indian restaurant about 1.5 kilometers from the building was set on fire and a similar sign posted in September, they said.

    The car, a Malaysian student’s station wagon, was set on fire at around 1:15 a.m. in the mosque’s parking lot, but no one was injured, according to police.

    The mosque in the capital of Fukui Prefecture can accommodate up to 80 people to attend services, according to its website.
    ENDS
    /////////////////////////////////////

    モスクの駐車場で車両火災 外国人中傷の張り紙も 福井
    朝日新聞 2010年10月22日
    http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/fukui/OSK201010210137.html

    ボンネット付近が燃えたワゴン車と、福井モスクの建物=福井市文京3丁目

    福井市文京3丁目のイスラム教礼拝所「福井モスク」駐車場で20日未明、ワゴン車の一部が焼ける火事があった。モスクには外国人を中傷するような張り紙があったといい、福井署が放火事件とみて調べている。

    同署などによると、20日午前1時15分ごろ、駐車場に止めてあったマレーシア人留学生のワゴン車のエンジン下部付近から出火。エンジンルームや車内の一部が焼けたが、けが人はなかった。

    モスクの利用者によると、建物に「外人 get out」(出て行け)と書かれた張り紙があったという。現場から南東に約1.3キロの同市学園2丁目のインド料理店では9月10日、店頭にあったインド国旗が燃やされ、同じ時間帯に近くの駐車場で普通乗用車のフロント部分が焼ける不審火があった。同署が関連を調べている。

    モスクは2009年5月設立で、70〜80人が利用できる施設。利用者のほとんどが福井大学の留学生で、多い時は40人ほどが礼拝に集まるという。マレーシア人の留学生の男性(26)は「これまでトラブルはなかったからショックだ。心の狭い人がいるのかもしれないけれど、僕たちはずっと周りの人と仲良くやってきたし、日本人全体に怒りはない」と話した。(笹川翔平)
    ENDS

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

    イスラム排斥? モスク駐車場やインド店で不審火 福井
    産經新聞 2010.10.21 12:18
    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/101021/crm1010211223010-n1.htm

    「福井モスク」前の駐車場で、エンジン付近が燃えたワゴン車=21日午前11時、福井市
    福井市のイスラム教礼拝堂の駐車場で20日未明、ワゴン車が出火していたことが21日、分かった。モスク1階には「外国人出て行け」と英字交じりの張り紙があり、福井署は放火の可能性があるとみて調べている。
    約1.5キロ離れたインド料理店でも9月、のぼりが燃え同様の張り紙がされ、福井署が関連を調べている。
    同署によると、福井市文京3丁目の「福井モスク」で20日午前1時15分ごろ、駐車したワゴン車のエンジン付近が激しく燃える不審火があった。けが人はなかった。
    現場はJR福井駅北西約2キロの福井大そばで、マレーシア人留学生が止めた車だったという。モスクは平成21年5月に建立され、70~80人が礼拝できる2階建て。
    バングラデシュ人の留学生は「非常に残念。モスクが燃やされると思うと怖い」と話していた。

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

    福井のモスク駐車場で車放火か インド料理店でも
    西日本新聞 2010年10月21日 12:26 カテゴリー:社会
    http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/item/204862

    「福井モスク」前の駐車場で、エンジン付近が燃えたワゴン車=21日午前11時、福井市
    福井市のイスラム教礼拝堂の駐車場で20日未明、ワゴン車が出火していたことが21日、分かった。モスク1階には「外国人GET OUT(出て行け)」と記した張り紙があり、福井署は放火の可能性があるとみて調べている。

    約1・5キロ離れたインド料理店でも9月、のぼりが燃え同様の張り紙がされ、福井署が関連を調べている。

    同署によると、福井市文京3丁目の「福井モスク」で20日午前1時15分ごろ、駐車したワゴン車のエンジン付近が激しく燃える不審火があった。けが人はなかった。

    現場はJR福井駅北西約2キロの福井大そばで、マレーシア人留学生が止めた車だったという。モスクは2009年5月に建立され、70~80人が礼拝できる2階建て。

    バングラデシュ人の留学生は「非常に残念。モスクが燃やされると思うと怖い」と話していた。

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

    ENDS

    29 Responses to “Hate crimes in Fukui: Car burned, “Gaijin GET OUT” message left at local mosque; flagburning at Indian restaurant”

    1. Nevin Says:

      Having lived in Fukui for more than ten years in the years since 1994, I would have to say this is very surprising and very out of character for the prefecture. It’s a small prefecture (around 800,000 people), so the Malasian students at the Engineering school certainly stand out. There are a lot of Chinese “interns” at a variety of chip manufacturers in the prefecture, and there is also a large Brazilian community, who tend to work construction and on roads.

      I’d like to think that the harassment of the mosque, and the burning of the car were done by a crazy person. While Fukui is a very conservative place, people are friendly – it’s one of the better prefectures to work as an ALT. I’ve never seen Rightists and their black sound trucks in the prefecture, and I’ve never experienced any issues as a foreigner. It’s a nice prosperous place, which is why I lived there for so long. Like I said, whoever did this is probably an outlier, and does not represent Fukui citizens.

    2. Derek Blais Says:

      I agree with Nevin. It seems very out of character for the prefecture. I’ve visited Fukui several times and it was always a very welcoming place. I’m assume it was just an isolated incident by one individual (most likely a nutcase).

      – Well, that’s two “isolated incidents” within a short radius of each other within a month. Seemingly out of character or not, I think people want to see what the authorities are going to do about this harassment of local NJ.

    3. Nevin Says:

      Well, the Indian restaurant that is referred in the news clips is “Ganga”, a fixture in Fukui, and, besides Korean BBQ and Chinese restaurants (neither of which hardly count in this instance), is the *only* foreign-owned restaurant in Fukui City (this may be a little hard for some readers to comprehend, although I’m sure Debito, living in Sapporo as he does, understands that foreign-owned restaurants are few and far between in the sticks).

      Ganga, a local favourite, sticks out. It’s also near the mosque. So, I would treat both incidents (or all three, if you consider the car to be a separate incident), as being done by the same person. It’s a little creepy, and I’m pretty sure the Fukui police will do their best to at least find the arsonist. I myself relied on the Tsuruga police when our home was broken into (not two blocks from the police station). The staff were friendly, polite, and provincial. It may seem strange, but all the nastiness that occurs to NJs in other parts of Japan has never happened to me in Fukui. Not once since 1994 have I been asked to hand over my passport or identity papers.

      Of course, I’m not from Korea or Malaysia or China (and I’m pretty sure bar girls have a different experience that me), but it’s that kind of place.

      The arson and harassment is creepy, but it’s probably the same weirdo.

    4. Dan Kirk Says:

      Probably someone who saw all the Chinese having all the fun burning Japanese flags and turning their pent up rage against the state, the economy and their inability to get jobs against a foreign entity. Since Fukui sounds like a relatively friendly place, this joker probably couldn’t get anything like a mob to join him, and went out on his own.

      I witnessed many more people accosting my Japanese friends in West Virginia in the US with anti-foreign sentiments than I have ever seen in all my years here in Japan. There is absolutely no evidence that this person or people is/are really targeting foreigners, aside from signs that may or may not be related and a burned flag, and even less evidence to assume that this is some kind of trend.

    5. Janet Says:

      It only takes ONE to start the ball rolling and quite frankly I find it rather disturbing.
      I would like to see what the authorities are going to do about this kind of harrassment before it escalates into something more serious.

    6. Jeff Says:

      “I’m assume it was just an isolated incident by one individual (most likely a nutcase).”

      Oh, then since everyone in Fukui is concerned and nervous because a nutcase will tend to make random attacks, everyone has been directing the Cops to make it priority one right? Right?

    7. John Says:

      “I witnessed many more people accosting my Japanese friends in West Virginia in the US with anti-foreign sentiments than I have ever seen in all my years here in Japan.”

      Your Japanese friends were “accosted” in W. Virginia? As a curiosity? Looks? Stares? Pleeease. I get that the minute I walk out the door here in Japan.

      But in general, I find people in the countryside anywhere on this planet to be generally friendly – even in W. Virginia. I know it’s politically acceptable to bash the US – but please.

      Were your Japanese friends ever stopped by the police and asked for their papers because they “look foreign.” Probably not. Why? Because it is illegal in the US to do that – the Arizona law notwithstanding. I have been stopped in Japan and asked for my “foreigner card” too many times to count.

      Have your Japanese friends ever been refused an apartment for being a “foreigner”!? Seriously doubt it. Again, that’s illegal in the US. Not so here in Japan. I have been rejected for an apartment before the owner even accepted my application or references! So let’s stop the conceipt that the US is a horrible racist place and Japan is a racism-free heaven. The US does a pretty good job considering the enormous mish-mash of races that live there. The greater the mix the more incidents of racism you can point to. But again, context!

      The US is the most racially diverse country on the planet. How about Japan’s track record of races getting along? The only answer can be “as yet unknown.” When the population is 99% Japanese and 1% non-Japanese, how much racism can you have??? We’ll never know until these percentages shift, and they probably won’t because Japanese politicians won’t even mention the word “immigration.” I think they know that Japan, like any other country, would begin to see an increase in racist incidents in proportion to the rising mix of its population.

      “There is absolutely no evidence that this person or people is/are really targeting foreigners, aside from signs that may or may not be related and a burned flag…”

      Do you jest? A car was burned in front of a mosque and a sign left that says “Get out foreigner” and you say there is no evidence they are really targeting foreigners?? Come again?

      So if a car were burned in front of a predominantly African-American church in W. Virginia and a sign was left that says “Get out blacks!” you would seriously argue “there is absolutely no evidence that this person or people is/are really targeting [blacks], aside from signs that may or may not be related and a burned flag..” Do you see your double-standard?

      “…and even less evidence to assume that this is some kind of trend.”

      Even in the US these types of incidents are relatively rare when you look at things in context – that is, the huge mix of races. But they are treated seriously because just one is enough to stir fear in minority communities. As our numbers increase here in Japan, I believe we’ll see more of these incidents.

      I think many Westerners like Dan Kirk have this notion that racism does not exist in Japan. In a sense they’re right. But like I said, how much racism can you have when the numbers of foreigners in Japan – of any race – are infinitesimally small. As Japan’s growing racial diversity brings racists out of the closet, I’m afraid the illusion of Japan as a racism-free land will be shattered.

    8. Joe Says:

      “Oh, then since everyone in Fukui is concerned and nervous because a nutcase will tend to make random attacks, everyone has been directing the Cops to make it priority one right? Right?”

      As a taxpayer, I’d seriously hope that the Fukui police (indeed, the police in any prefecture) would have higher priorities than a burnt flag and a burnt car accompanied by idiot messages.

      – I see. So I guess destroyed property and racially-motivated harassment don’t rank high on your radar. Glad you’re not in charge of the police. I guess you would hope the NPA will similarly ignore you if this sort of thing ever happened to you.

      It gets pretty hard to counteract hate speech if the people being targeted don’t even think they themselves are worthy of protection.

    9. Nevin Says:

      Jeff, the response of people in Fukui is probably just about the same as the majority in any other place where these sorts of things happen to a minority. Please let us know where you live, and how your community has done such a great job combating racist attacks by weirdo nutjobs.

    10. Allen Says:

      It very well may just be one guy doing all of this, but I worry that it ISN’T and that it may just be someone finally revealing the town’s Honne. What if the town’s Tatemae is nice and everything, but deep down people are getting upset and its starting to boil over? It may not be the case, but I sure do hope that this doesn’t spark a string of protests within what seems to be a nice town.

    11. Mike Says:

      Frustrated people do crazy things.
      I also think this is an isolated event.
      My in-laws are living in Fukui and every time we visit them and anywhere else around, being a Foreigner has never been any problem. Not at the beaches, skiing, Onsen or elsewhere.
      I’m living in Japan since 1992 and same as Nevin, have never once been asked to hand over my passport or identity papers to police. Except when my (then very little) son found 100Yen on the street and insisted to bring it to the Koban….. ;-)

    12. Nevin Says:

      As Japan’s growing racial diversity brings racists out of the closet, I’m afraid the illusion of Japan as a racism-free land will be shattered.

      So you’re condemning the country for something that hasn’t even happened yet? Look, I know that the US is (one of the most) racially diverse countries, and that in principle discrimination is illegal, but there is no comparison between the degree of racism that exists in the US and that what exists in Japan.

      – We’re getting off topic.

    13. Jeff Says:

      “Jeff… Please let us know where you live, and how your community has done such a great job combating racist attacks by weirdo nutjobs.”

      Um, you’ve got me wrong. I still get woken up on Saturday by the black sound trucks and hear slurs against me on the JR at rush hour, and get carded at Narita as I go in and out to do my business. But I still do my Asia business from here…

    14. Dan Kirk Says:

      John,
      Didn’t say a whole bunch of -isms don’t exist in Japan. Some of them potentially destructive. I want to focus my attention on, and hope the police focus on, the ones that are really threats to the foreign population here, and don’t get sidetracked by what will probably end up to be a teenager in Fukui who watches too much of the media’s fear mongering about China and decides he wants to burn something and say bad things about foreigners, too.

      My guess is also that in the US a burned car and a burned church would be viewed differently by a judge, so don’t expect me to get as worked up about the car.

      And as for what’s legal or not, been here 24 years, and never been asked to show my gaijin card except for when I broke the law. (ran a stop sign)

      [irrelevant link deleted, sorry Dan]

      – Alright, let’s have a moratorium on the “Well, it hasn’t happened to me, therefore it either is exaggerated or else not indicative of how I see the way things are in Japan” arguments.

      The facts of the case are: 1) A car was burned, 2) in front of an important symbol of faith for some NJ, 3) with a note targeting NJ.

      The point of this blog post should be from now on: What should be done about this, particularly as far as the authorities are concerned?

    15. John Says:

      Let me explain myself by analogy and then tie everything back into topic. Please stick with me – I do have a point!

      Clearly it would be silly for the parents of an only child to brag “our kids never fight.” After all, how could an only child fight with non-existent siblings? It is a non-statement. And yet many Japanese (and naive Westerners) fall into this logical trap when discussing racism in Japan. Of course a country that is 99% racially Japanese will have few racist incidents!

      Furthermore, it would be extremely naive for the parents of an only child to attribute their kid[s]’ lack of fighting to “good parenting” or the “inherent goodness” of their child. The lack of fighting is due to circumstance – the kid has no other siblings to fight with!

      The corollary to this is that parents with many children will see plenty of fighting. But does this mean that they are bad parents? Not necessarily. Does this mean that their children are bad chilren compared with the only child? Not necessarily. It simply means that some amount of fighting is assured when you have more than one kid.

      I’m getting to my point – stay with me!

      I believe people are generally good, but I also believe that the seeds of racism lurk in the hearts and minds of people. When a country has little racial diversity – the demons basically stay quiet. But as racial diversity increases, the demons get restless and a few nutcases act out their racism – leading to racist incidents like the car burning in front of the Mosque in Fukui.

      This means that we need to brace ourselves for an increase in racist incidents as Japan’s racial diversity increases. Of course Japan’s racial diversity is increasing at a snail’s pace, so we’ll probably be fine for some time.

      But it is important to be realistic and understand that Japan currently has few racist incidents simply because it lacks racial diversity – circumstance. It is not due to “good parenting” (the equivalent of this would be, for example, the Japanese government educating the populace against racism) or the “inherent goodness” of the Japanese compared with people anywhere else. Like I said, I believe people are basically good everywhere.

      But we need to be vigilant because Japan’s growing racial diversity will undoubtedly encourage more nutcases to act out their racism.

    16. betty boop Says:

      well said john.

    17. PKU Says:

      As well as bracing ourselves, how about some laws that outlaw racism and hateful acts of violence too. Surely that’s a critical point about all this, isn’t it.

      I’d feel a lot better about “bracing myself” if I felt I could trust the law to protect me against other people’s racist acts, let alone weirdo violent bigotry, property destruction and menacing threats.

      “Bracing ourselves” not only isn’t good enough, it’s this sort of attitude is the opposite of what we need to build a fair, just and open society for all the people who live in Japan.

      “Brace myself.”
      “Brace myself?” Brace myself to hell. Shucks. This is not some sort of indiscriminate act of nature that needs to be braced against. It’s willful, menacing, bigoted, violent behavior. Behavior against which there needs to be clear, logical, and explicit legislation. Then it needs a trained and aware police force and community to support it.

      If that sounds absurd, then I guess a good look in the mirror about why you are happy to accept yourself as third class seems like a good idea right now.

    18. Dan Kirk Says:

      As far as “the authorities” are concerned? They should be concerned about public safety if this actually turns out to be more than a fire bug drunk teenager who got his knickers in a bunch after he saw some reports in the media that showed other people burning a Japanese flag and saying bad things about others.

      This is total over reaction based on some relatively minor events in Fukui, an article lacking enough information on which to base rational conclusions, and appeals to emotion and fear from readers. Vague calls to brace, legislate, be vigilant, beg mommy and daddy government to do what? Put up more cameras on street corners? That can also be used to watch innocent people? If the men in the blue suits do happen to arrest the guy who did it, he should be punished for it, and the victims reimbursed for their losses. If there is a larger threat, then I hope we find out about it. Otherwise it’s exercising the imagination.

    19. Eido Inoue Says:

      Jeff: “Um, you’ve got me wrong. I still get woken up on Saturday by the black sound trucks and hear slurs against me on the JR at rush hour, and get carded at Narita as I go in and out to do my business. But I still do my Asia business from here…”

      I call shenanigans on this one. “[B]eing woken up on Saturday by black sound trucks” and “[hearing] slurs against [you] on the JR at rush hour” is very difficult to believe happening to everyday people all the time. Even infrequently to a few people.

      You set off my internal “exaggeration flag” with your sound truck anecdote and the lack of confirmable details. Right-wing sound trucks behave in a fairly predictable manner: they know they have freedom of speech / protest / assembly, but they know there are limits… one of them being they can’t annoy the residential areas on a Saturday morning. Japanese enjoy their lazy Saturday/Sunday mornings as much as everybody else, and the police will be urged to clamp down once a line is crossed — one of those lines being the peace and quiet of early weekend morning. The “slur” thing also set off my exaggeration flag too. People avoid conflict by nature, even if they’re nasty, so provoking an incident in an area where there is no escape (ie. a rush hour train) is really hard to believe.

      In this era of mobile phones where everyone should have a portable video and sound recorders on them at all times, it shouldn’t be hard to physically record these incidents even if you can’t remember the details (time/place of the sound truck? What was the sound truck saying (in the original Japanese, no paraphrasing/translations please)? What organization was responsible for the sound truck? JR line/car?

      Get it recorded in such as way as to be verifiable (A/V preferred over photos, which are too easily manipulatable). With 21st century technology (ex. mobile phones that not only do video/sound, but geotagging and timestamping as well), that’s not too much to ask.

      Sorry for my skepticism, but I’ve seen too many allegations later proven bogus to take people’s word, with so few verifiable details, regarding things that are this incredible.

    20. Jeff Says:

      Eido Inoue : What you mean is “Ah, it’s not that bad, at least not for me. So, You lie!!!
      …and besides you’re a complainer”.

      I see, you’re an expert on my part of Tokyo :-) You can say anything, it’s the internet after all.

      The very best way to make sure nothing changes is to make sure the people who would
      benefit bicker among themselves and therefore don’t actually do anything except that. This
      whole thread shows how effective that is, and it’s really quite shocking (given the gravity).

    21. Meat67 Says:

      Let me add to the off topic bickering.

      Eido Inoue,
      Seriously? I guess it must have been my imagination when I got woken up by some dumb ass beating their futons at 6:30 in the morning a month or two ago. I guess the guys who were building the house across the way didn’t unload their tools and slam their truck doors some time between 7:15 and 7:45 six days a week for a month and a half this summer. And I guess I’ve never been woken up during an election either because I’m always up before 8am on a Saturday morning. Why would I want to do something stupid like sleep in until 9 or 10? (and don’t get me started on how many times I’ve been woken up at 5 or 6 in the morning at a Japanese campsite despite the fact that I started wearing earplugs).

      As for the slurs, again, seriously? You’ve NEVER had this happen to you? I had this my very first day in Japan. My first day! People try to avoid confrontation? Then why did I have to console my crying girlfriend after some drunken oyaji harassed her because she was dating a damn gaijin while we were taking the train home from Shibuya this spring (to her credit she shoved him away and started screaming at him and waited until we got home before the tears started)?

      As to incredible, when my girlfriend asked me after the train incident why I was so calm after this horrible thing happened, my response was, “I guess I’ve gotten used to it.”

      Take pictures? Get a recording? Firstly, when I tried to record a fight in Akihabara a few weeks ago it was already over by the time I realized what was going on, quit out of the web browser and finally got the camera turned on. Secondly, you seem like the kind of person who would just turn around and say, “Well, yeah, but what happened before you started recording?”

      I’m sorry if this seems a bit harsh, but I think calling another person a liar does open you up to some criticism.

      Other posters,
      “Gaijin get out” and burning cars isn’t serious enough for you? Really? I wonder what would be. Something that happened to you or someone you know?

      Now let me get back on topic.

      What should be done about this? That’s a good question. Since I’m not a big fan of the police I would suggest something like a public meeting. If handled properly it could introduce civic minded Japanese people to the immigrants who live and work/study in their community, and teach them about the problems that they face. If these people could then work together to try and keep their neighbourhood safe from crazy xenophobes, that would be great. Unfortunately another outcome could be people at the meeting blaming the immigrants because they’re different, don’t know how to sort their trash and don’t enter the onsen properly so they brought it on themselves or calling on more police to patrol and harass people, but perhaps I’m being a bit too cynical tonight.

    22. Eido Inoue Says:

      Jeff: so prove me wrong. If in fact you receive a regular visitation from the black truck on the morning weekend, it should be a simple matter of prepping your device to record it. I’D LOVE FOR YOU TO SMASH MY SUSPICIONS WITH HARD EVIDENCE. I’D LOVE TO APOLOGIZE TO YOU FOR DOUBTING YOU. Why? Because then the quality of these posts and comments will go way, way, up. Allegations backed up by something close to proof.

      Tell you what: you’re right, I probably don’t know anything about your area of Tokyo. Tell me the vicinity of where you live (down to the generic 丁目 {chōme} (district) level — which should be a good enough resolution to hear/see a sound truck) or give me advice as to the section of road I should be aiming at, and give me a weekend† day and a two hour time range when most reasonable people would be sleeping, and I’ll video tape / audio record that entire segment and give the raw audio / video to Debito.org as a proxy. I’ll make sure I record a time/date reference (a clock on a building perhaps?) and a postal landmark to prove the authenticity of the recording.

      This is a one time offer (because I have a life), that I’m doing for you because you made a point about me not knowing your neighborhood. And you made a good point about not “doing anything.” So let’s DO something. If I don’t record anything of value, well, you’ll have to record weekends #2 to #n. Or get someone else to do it. I think that’s fair. And if I do record something of substance, I’ll, in addition to giving the video to Debito for distribution, file a sound/etc complaint to the police, along with license plates and organization, if possible.

      † Give me a choice of three different weekend days so I can fit it in my schedule. And it’s gotta be in Tokyo proper. I’m not going to Saitama or Kanagawa or anywhere else because that’s too far for my morning jog.

      Meat67: Beating futons, construction, etc, isn’t the same thing as a right-wing sound truck, now, is it? At least you admit that the election trucks do not run at unreasonable hours.

      And ya, seriously, since 1992, with seven years in Osaka and the rest in Tokyo, I have not had a “slur”‡ directed towards me or my past JP GFs or present wife of 11 years. I guess I’m just lucky. Or you’re very unlucky. Seriously.

      ‡ If by “slur” you mean people suddenly wanting to talk about learning English, going overseas, or their foreign friends, when my (obviously of-foreign-origin) presence is noticed and occasionally using the term “gaijin” to refer generically/innocently to non-Japanese, then yes, I’ll give you that I’ve heard this. But I don’t count that as a “slur.” Now, a REAL slur (any word/phrase used intentionally as a taunt, threat, or in a derogatory manner etc) directed towards me alone and/or the group/person (male/female/J/NJ) I’m with? Never.

      And I may have, in my years, stepped on somebody’s foot or bumped/fell into them due to not holding on properly, stumbling, or tripping, which may have elicited a harsh phrase and/or other colorful (non racial) language, but I don’t count that as a slur either.

    23. Jeff Says:

      Eido Inoue:

      You caught me…
      Oh wait, not really… Debito has the server logs that track my location over the past 4 years, both here in Japan and all over the world.

      Amazing (now I will ignore you).

      – If the discourse has dropped to this level, it’s time to draw this thread to an end.

    24. Marius Says:

      “And ya, seriously, since 1992, with seven years in Osaka and the rest in Tokyo, I have not had a “slur”‡ directed towards me or my past JP GFs or present wife of 11 years. I guess I’m just lucky. Or you’re very unlucky. Seriously.”

      Eido,

      Something to note: just because you don’t have the experience doesn’t mean other haven’t got it.

      While I myself is just up to 10 years in Tokyo, compared to your 11, I had slurs yelled at me and my SO for no apparent reason (unless you consider quietly sitting still on the subway one) within just a couple of years since arriving here.

      Not so coincidentally: it was the same time I had graduated from my Japanese language school and had no problem understanding what people were saying to each other/about me/to me.

      Perhaps that is just it? I doubt it is all coincidence, as you wrote, since (as an example) none of the long-term stayers I know of here (who speak adequate Japanese) has escaped slurs or general buffoonery thrown at them without cause.

      If that does nothing to convince you then perhaps you can gauge common conceptions towards foreigners by, say, listening to the mayor of Tokyo. Now imagine what people say once they muster up some courage to tell you something (think late Friday night) or believe they can’t be understood because they are speaking to each other in Japanese.

      Anywho, BOT

      while that car burning is a serious incident I doubt it is cause for some widespread panic or paranoia just yet. At least in the bigger cities, and at least for now. Seems like a very isolated event.

      Although…we’re still in a recession. Who knows, more outbursts of (let’s say) blame might surface?

      So what should law enforcement do? There’s lots that can be done, and much suggested here.

      But I think we all know just how much will be done.

      Instead I’d like suggest that we try to surface videos and reports of these events ourselves. Mostly to offset the prominent mindset in Japan that “this does not happen in Japan [we are peaceful], only in gaikoku). It’s a shame culture after all.

    25. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Come on, Eido, give the guy a break. It’s human nature that negative impressions stick in the mind more than positive ones. Of course he’s going to remember the mornings when noisy idiots are making a racket over the many more mornings when things were quiet. Of course people are going to remember the one or two rude people on the train and not the thousands and thousands of ordinary folks who have sat next to them over the years.

      Making an offer to film his neighborhood on a single weekend isn’t much of an offer as the odds are very much against anything happening on that day. I myself have complained about cops hassling bicyclists such as myself repeatedly, and for me it works out to about once a month on average, so someone who doubted my claims might have to tag along for an entire month or more before seeing anything of interest.

      Asking him to be ready with a camera next time is a lot more reasonable than asking for him to reveal where he lives so that you can go on a very-low-odds hunt for the noisemaker!

    26. Eido Inoue Says:

      Marius: Regarding your final paragraph about surfacing videos, etc, I agree 100%. However, regarding your admonition:

      “… just because you don’t have the experience doesn’t mean other haven’t got it.”

      I never claimed otherwise. I was simply answering another commenters direct question.

      Are there black trucks with anti-foreigner platforms? Of course there are. Japan, like the U.S., has constitutionally protected freedom of (unpopular) expression/speech/assembly. Do people occasionally get called hateful names, and possibly even verbally (or worse) threatened, in a metropolis of 20M? Of course they do. Especially, as you suggested, during “late Friday night” (which I’m assuming you mean people who are heavily under the influence of alcohol). That’s very plausible — not just in Tokyo, but in any mega-city in the world.

      My objection to that commenter was that he took all these individually plausible elements and, I claim, exaggerated them. Paint me a picture of a reoccurring hostile morning environment — both weekdays (on a 150%+ overcrowded rush hour commuter Tokyo train) AND weekends (before waking hours black sound trucks, apparently getting demonstration permits from the city to operate at 7am and are in a mad rush to catch the huge 8am Saturday/Sunday before-stores-open Shibuya Crossing crowd)? Give me a break.

      For a claim that amazing, I want video or some other proof or I’m going to be skeptical. Sorry.

      I’m willing to have an open mind on this and have the world-as-I-know-it blown away and admit to not understanding the plight of the average non-Japanese. I even offered to help dispel my own skepticism, and fight it using the law. Unfortunately, the commenter declined my invitation with some non sequitur about webserver logs. I suspect I know why: attempting to capture the earliest working right wing protestors in Japan on video is probably going to end up being nothing more than hours of early morning traffic.

      Now, why do I care? Why didn’t I just ignore him and leave him alone? Because for activism to succeed, I believe that credibility — not just for the blog author, but the contributers too — counts. When you have a forum that allows for unverified names and combine that with the pressure to discover events that are worthy enough to get people to care, you have an environment that’s highly susceptible to embellishment. Or worse.

      I know that not everyone will agree with me about the importance of Credibility First; there is another school that says let it all get thrown against the wall and see what sticks, because you never want to discourage somebody from coming forward who’s scared of being examined.

    27. Nevin Says:

      What I would like Debito to do is to actually contact the people in Fukui who had this happen to them. I think that one problem with the “NJ rights” movement is that the conversation is dominated by white North Americans and Europeans, and we rarely hear about the experiences and about the perspective of people who may not originally come from the US, Canada, the UK or similar countries.

      In this case, I myself have downplayed the problem about racism in Fukui based on my own experience as a Canadian-born Caucasian man. However, I would love to hear what the owner of the car would have to say, or the members of the mosque, or the folks who worked at the Indian restaurant.

      I wonder if they have the same fond sentiments about Fukui that I do. I suspect they do, but it’s up to them to say.

      – It is indeed. One of them has been in touch with me, the day before I put this blog entry up, to express extreme displeasure that I apparently paid no attention to what happens to people of his faith (I was going to anyway, since I try to reserve Mondays for the more momentous stories). Now that I have put this up, I have yet to hear anything. People on the ground or in the know (obviously some of them are reading this blog) are welcome to comment on what’s going on, as I initially invited. Pity they haven’t yet. Would be nice.

      One more thing: The conversation on NJ rights is hardly dominated by the North Americans and Europeans. This blog might be, but not by design (English tends to attract native English speakers). But get out there and you’ll find conversations on these issues in languages including Japanese (in the Zainichi communities), Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, and Tagalog. Look around.

    28. cstaylor Says:

      Just to weigh in: I’ve had ignorant people make ridiculous comments from time to time, but never when my wife is around. At a local snack that I frequent, I got placed at the bar since I had come in alone. The drunk oyaji slouched over next to me starts asking me some questions in Japanese, then tells the owner, “Hey, don’t let foreigners in here!” Half of it is probably the booze, but she got his sorry butt over to a different seat. At the same bar, I’ve gotten static from younger customers (never alone: always in packs, the cowards) when I sing foreign songs, but the regulars back me up.

      Nothing to do with civil rights, but I thought it might be relevant.

    29. Nevin Says:

      Hi there,

      It turns out the arson was the work of a NJ person, so I stand by my previous comments about Fukui being a friendly, welcoming, laid-back place:

      “Foreigners Out” arson attack in Fukui City was the work of a Brazilian man, police say, announcing his arrest: http://is.gd/nD23wh
      =================================

      現場に外国人排斥の紙、ブラジル人放火容疑
      http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20111010-OYT1T00006.htm
      (2011年10月10日11時12分 読売新聞)

      送検されるカンポス容疑者(9日午後1時29分、福井署で)
       昨年11月に福井市日光の駐車場で外国人男性の乗用車が燃えた不審火で、福井署などの捜査本部は9日、ブラジル国籍の同市冬野町、派遣社員カンポス・ネット・テオフィロ・デ容疑者(53)を建造物等以外放火の疑いで逮捕した。

       現場には外国人を排斥する内容の紙が残されており、捜査本部は、カンポス容疑者が外国人の自分が疑われないようにカムフラージュしたとみている。同年9~10月に周辺であった不審火3件についても、ガソリンで火をつける手口や時間帯などに共通点があることから、連続放火事件の可能性があるとみて関連を調べる。

       発表によると、カンポス容疑者は昨年11月14日午前1時40分頃、外国人が多く住む同市日光のアパートの駐車場に駐車していたブラジル人男性(50)所有の車に火を付けた疑い。車のフロント部分が焼け、後部には「外人 GET OUT(出て行け)」と書かれた紙が貼られていたという。捜査本部は9日、同容疑者を送検した。

       カンポス容疑者は十数年前から日本に滞在。日本人女性と結婚して福井市内で生活し、連続放火事件があった当時は現場近くの遊技場を経営していたという。

       被害者のブラジル人男性の家族は「車だけではなく、住宅や家族に危害が加えられたらと思うと不安だったので、ひとまず安心です。容疑者とはほとんど関わりがなく、なぜ同じブラジル人がこんなことを……」と戸惑いを見せた。

       近所のブラジル人男性(29)は「もし容疑者が犯人だったら、外国人は悪さをするという偏見を生みかねない。残念だ」と嘆いた。

                ◇

       不審火計4件は、いずれも半径800メートル圏内で発生した。9月10日午前1時40分頃、同市光陽の駐車場でポルトガル人女性の普通乗用車が焼け、ほぼ同時間帯に同市学園のインド料理店の外壁に飾っていた旗などが燃えた。10月20日午前1時15分頃には同市文京のイスラム教礼拝施設の駐車場でマレーシア人留学生(当時24歳)のワゴン車の前部が焼けた。料理店と礼拝施設にも「外人 GET OUT」とのはり紙があった。(酒本友紀子、井上敬雄)

      ENDS

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