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  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • Japan Times: My Dec 18 Zeit Gist column on premeditated xenophobia in Japan

    Posted by arudou debito on December 21st, 2007

    Hello Blog. Here’s the last Japan Times column I’ll do this year–and it’s a doozy. I’m very happy with how it came out, and judging by the feedback I’ve gotten others are too.

    It’s about how Japan’s xenophobia is in fact by public policy design, due to unchallenged policymakers and peerage politicians, and how it’s actually hurting our country. Have a read if you haven’t already.

    Best wishes for the holiday season, Arudou Debito in Sapporo, Japan

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

    “THE MYOPIC STATE WE’RE IN”

    Fingerprint scheme exposes xenophobic, short-sighted trend in government

    By ARUDOU DEBITO

    THE JAPAN TIMES COMMUNITY PAGE

    Column 42 for The Zeit Gist, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007

    “Director’s Cut” of the article with links to sources at

    http://www.debito.org/japantimes121807.html

    Excellent illustration by Chris MacKenzie at the Japan Times website at

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071218zg.html

    We all notice it eventually: how nice individual Japanese people are, yet how cold — even discriminatory — officialdom is toward non-Japanese (NJ). This dichotomy is often passed off as something “cultural” (a category people tend to assign anything they can’t understand), but recent events have demonstrated there is in fact a grand design. This design is visible in government policies and public rhetoric, hard-wiring the public into fearing and blaming foreigners.

    Start with the “us” and “them” binary language of official government pronouncements: how “our country” (“wagakuni”) must develop policy for the sake of our “citizens” (“kokumin”) toward foreign “visitors” (rarely “residents”); how foreigners bring discrimination upon themselves, what with their “different languages, religions, and lifestyle customs” an’ all; and how everyone has inalienable human rights in Japan — except the aliens.

    The atmosphere wasn’t always so hostile. During the bubble economy of the late ’80s and its aftermath, the official mantra was “kokusaika” (internationalization), where NJ were given leeway as misunderstood outsiders.

    But in 2000, kicked off by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara’s “sangokujin” speech — in which he called on the Self-Defense Forces to round up foreigners during natural disasters in case they riot — the general attitude shifted perceptibly from benign neglect to downright antipathy….

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

    REST AT

    http://www.debito.org/japantimes121807.html

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071218zg.html

    ENDS

    6 Responses to “Japan Times: My Dec 18 Zeit Gist column on premeditated xenophobia in Japan”

    1. meatleg Says:

      now, if only a japanese version would be published right? (^o^)

    2. Daniel J. Says:

      Great job. I can’t believe how much ground you covered in such a brief article. It’s so difficult to unify all the facets of the general gaijin issue. I hope the right people read it (that are in the ruling caste!).

    3. Kimpatsu Says:

      Let’s not be mealy-mouthed here; it’s not just xenophobia, it’s RACISM, pure and simple, and we should call it such. From now on, preface every reference to Ishhara, Hatoyama, and the others with “the racist”, as in, “the racist governor, Ishihara”, and “the racist minister Hatomaya”. Ram home the point that they are morally deficient people. And also respond to the phrase “waga kuni” with “It’s our country, too!” We pay taxes here. Our very presence enriches Japan. We need to ram home that point, too.
      Ironically, whilst the racist Japanese government keeps calling us permanent residents “visitors”, as if we’re only here as tourists, in Britain, there is a group of people who maintain, despite government pleas to the contrary, that they are NOT British, but merely “guests in a hotel”. They call themselves Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and they are Muslim extremists. Is creating antipathy and dividing our society what these racists really want? Remember: it’s our country, too!

    4. ralph Says:

      Debito, Is this article available somewhere in Japanese or will it be? I hope so!

    5. JOHN G Says:

      Ralph,
      I asked the same point to Debito a few days ago. But he said that he doesn’t do japanese articles on “spec”. I think it’s a brilliant, well written article. I also think it would be useful to have it printed in a japanese newspaper or magazine so that the natives can read and understand the various issues which are of concern to us.

      –THANKS VERY MUCH. THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALSO SAID THEY WANTED THIS IN JAPANESE. I ANSWERED SOMEBODY ELSE THIS MORNING THUSLY:
      ————————————–
      It would be nice if somebody would publish me in J
      (you’re about the fifth person who’s asked if a J version were
      ossible), but I don’t usually do J articles on spec. Too much time,
      trouble, and never any success. Not once. The only successful times
      have been when I’ve just reported as usual in J and somebody asked me
      to write more for their media. Which is why I can say with great
      confidence that minority views are routinely blackouted.

      Besides, I think the “truth octane” is too high in this article.
      This is too much truth for most J media to take. Seriously. Most J
      outlets in my experience like their truth octane at most at about 60%. The
      rest is just filler and personal disclaimer. Says a lot for the
      state of debate in J media.
      ————————————–

      DON’T WANT YOU TO THINK THAT WHEN I SAY “NOT ON SPEC” THAT THE ONLY THING I’M LOOKING FOR IS MONEY. HAH–I’M DEFINITELY NOT IN THIS WALK OF LIFE FOR MONEY. I’M JUST TRYING NOT TO INVEST TIME IN FUTILE PROJECTS. BUT THEN AGAIN, MAYBE I OUGHTA PUT IT IN J ANYWAY. I’M GETTING THE FEELING THAT THIS IS ONE OF THOSE “ONLY NIXON COULD HAVE GONE TO CHINA” MOMENTS… IN THAT IT MIGHT BE ONE OF THOSE “I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO IT” THINGS… WHAT DO OTHERS THINK? DEBITO

    6. David McIntosh Says:

      Great stuff. I have bookmarked your website for further reading.
      I was brought up in Osaka as a missionary’s kid, living among Koreans in Japan. As a white person I often experienced “positive prejudice” from those who expressed “negative prejudice” against my good friends Koreans. It is such racists who are the first to accuse others of racism toward Japanese, and the last to acknowledge their own prejudices. They justify their racism by saying “I’m simply stating the truth.”
      This is happenning in Canada now, too, in a full assault on “political correctness.” The federal Conservative government and provincial (BC) Liberal government are making no effort to enforce available legislation against hate speech. This is, I think, a deliberate campaign by the resurgent globalist/fascists in Canada, Japan and US to stoke interracial tension. (I even read an article a few months ago about young Nazis in Israel beating up on religious Jews!) Racism is an essential tool of fascism, to distract attention from what’s really happenning; concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the corporate/political elite. Mussolini said, “Fascism is more aptly called corporatism, because it is the merging of corporate and political power.”
      By all means, you should translate your article into Japanese, so people become aware of this, and so they don’t dance to the same tune the fascists played in the decades before and durung the Wars. This is how fascists justify increased spending on the “security” racket, which eventually turns against the domestic population. It has never not been the case.

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