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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

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on September 7th, 2011

    IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

    New novel IN APPROPRIATE by ARUDOU Debito

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\" width=「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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb


    Hi Newsletter Subscribers. Let me start off with a heads-up about my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column out tomorrow, Tuesday, September 6, 2011, on Japan’s Worst-Kept Secret: Sex Lives! Here’s the opening:

    In its cover story last month, The Economist newsmagazine looked at the issue of “Asia’s lonely hearts: Why Asian women are rejecting marriage and what that means.” It offered many reasons — including economics, education level, changes in family structures and gender roles, divorce difficulties, and demographics — for why many Asian women (and of course, by extension, Asian men) are marrying later or not at all.

    I commend The Economist’s well-intentioned attempt at dealing with an important social issue. But its discussion left one major stone unturned: sex.

    At the risk of turning this month’s scribbling into a Hugh Hefner column, I think it incumbent upon those of us planning a life in Japan to consider a fundamentally unhealthy social phenomenon: how sexuality in Japan is downplayed, if not encouraged to be omitted completely, from many married lives…

    Read the rest of the column here and now!  It will be up for commentary tomorrow.

    Now for the Newsletter. It’s a short one, since I have been taking time out this summer to detox myself from the Internet:

    Table of Contents:

    1) BAChome: US Consulate Osaka refuses to aid American citizen child abducted in Japan who came to them for help
    2) Sendaiben on MOJ interview for his naturalization, went badly: GOJ now requires applicants become STATELESS?
    3) It’s time for the naysayers to capitulate regarding the Fukushima Crisis; referential articles
    4) Excellent Japan Times article on GOJ reforms (and probable non-reforms) of child custody system post-divorce
    5) Association for Psychological Science paper: “Ironic effects of anti-prejudice messages”; claims programs to decrease prejudices may actually increase if the prejudiced people feel they are having negative ideology forced upon them.

    …and finally…

    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column, August 2, 2011, “The loneliness of the long-distance foreigner”, about the difficulty for NJ to make long-term J friends

    By Arudou Debito (
    Archives, Comments, RSS, and more at Twitter arudoudebito
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    1) BAChome: US Consulate Osaka refuses to aid American citizen child abducted in Japan who came to them for help

    BAChome: On August 24, 2011, 14 year-old Mary Victoria Lake, a U.S. citizen, who was kidnapped by her mother and taken to Japan in 2005, in one of the most high-profile international kidnapping cases in the United States, walked into the U.S. consulate in Osaka, Japan. She asked to be rescued from her kidnapper, an act of enormous bravery by a teenager who has been cut off from her father and held captive overseas for the past six years. Indifferent and incompetent U.S. Consular officials refused to aid or rescue her and instead sent her back to her kidnapper…

    This is third and latest episode of gross negligence by the Department of State toward Mr. Lake and his daughter. Twice previously, they illegally issued passports for his daughter without obtaining the father’s signature, even after it had been established that her father was the lawful parent and the mother was a wanted kidnapper.

    Almost all of the existing cases involve at least one parent who is Japanese. This case however is a clear exception. Neither one of the victims nor the kidnapping mother are of Japanese ancestry. There is simply no reason for Mary to be held in Japan. However, no one from the White House or The State Department is publicly demanding the return of Mary Victoria Lake or any of the other 374, and more realistically, thousands of American children held captive there.

    It has become starkly apparent to the parents victimized by the crime of parental child abduction that the Department of State clearly values the relations with foreign nations over the safety, well-being and lives of U.S. citizen children being held captive in Japan.


    2) Sendaiben on MOJ interview for his naturalization, went badly: GOJ now requires applicants become STATELESS?

    Here is a report from Sendaiben about his experiences going through the rigmarole (found in every country) for naturalization. His most recent experience, however, was for him very negative and even off-putting, ultimately being told that he would have to render himself STATELESS in order to obtain Japanese citizenship.

    Quite a different experience from what I went through more than a decade ago. And this is the country that encourages people to naturalize if they want rights? What a crock.

    Sendaiben:I had a new case officer, a youngish guy in his mid-30s. He was brusque to the point of rudeness throughout our interactions, neglecting to use polite Japanese and ignoring me for extended periods several times. Not in the slightest bit friendly or encouraging, our interview went more or less as follows:…

    4. He went on to explain how the system had changed from the last time I had it explained to me. For UK nationals, towards the end of the application process, there is a requirement that they formally renounce their UK citizenship, and obtain written proof of this from the UK government. At this point they become stateless, and are given special permission to remain in Japan until the naturalization process is complete. If the application is successful, they then receive Japanese citizenship. If unsuccessful, the UK will return citizenship upon request once…

    I was actually very discouraged by this. Now, I am fairly sure that if I went ahead and applied, I would probably be successful. I have a good job, a Japanese family, I have been living here for eleven years, and am fairly well-integrated into society. I like Sendai, and plan to live here for a while, if not for good. However, I don’t need to naturalize, and probably won’t bother for at least another couple of years (when I will probably call up the Sendai Houmukyoku and hope that I get a more pleasant case officer).


    3) It’s time for the naysayers to capitulate regarding the Fukushima Crisis; referential articles

    Fukushima is a mess, just like we suspected it would be. More than five months later, the Japanese public still has insufficient information about what’s going on down there, and people are being slowly poisoned as radiation percolates through the food chain and begins to be picked up overseas. As I’ve said before, this is Japan’s long-burning tyreyard fire, and there is still no end to the crisis in sight.

    But one other thing also has to be said. Back in March, when merely had the audacity to raise some questions about the situation and the information we were getting, we were roundly criticized for being “alarmist”, “ignorant”, “wrong”, “reputation-damaging”, and even “racist”. One even said, “The greatest health effects of all nuclear incidents have been due to the anxiety that people like you are doing their best to ramp up. Thanks a lot for contributing to the problem.” That’s pretty bold — as if we were trying to instigate a panic and damage people’s health just because we wanted to know more information (which the nuclear industry worldwide keeps a lid on, down to the very science, to keep the public in the dark about their shenanigans and corruption).

    Well, guess what critics — five months later, clearly YOU were wrong.

    The Fukushima Crisis has exposed the inability of the GOJ (whether you mean politician or bureaucrat) to respond in a timely or safe manner, to follow the rules and safety standards (even changing safe radiation levels to suit political exigency), to show proper leadership or even adequate concern for its citizens in harm’s way, to release facts of the case so that people could make an informed decision, or to acknowledge there had even been a meltdown (something other observers knew based upon reasoned analysis of reactors’ output, but the GOJ would not admit), for months! The political culture which enables people in power in Japan to evade responsibility is now slowly poisoning Japanese society, if not eventually parts of the world, and that has to be addressed in the arena of public opinion.

    Back in March, we at did try to err on the side of caution and give some benefiting of the doubt (even shutting ourselves up when we had insufficient information). We wanted to wait and see how the cards fell. They clearly fell in favor of our original assertions that we were not being told the full story, and that things were far worse than was being let on. Now, critics, let’s have some honest capitulation on your part. You know who you are. It’s so easy to be a critic, but much harder to admit you’re wrong. Have the cojones to do that, especially about something as serious and society-changing as this.

    Some referential articles follow, showing 1) the slow poisoning of children by Fukushima (NHK World), 2) how deep the institutional rot runs (NY Times), 3) more on the science of radioactivity and how seriously matters are not being taken (Japan Focus), and 4) the new attempts at spin-doctoring the situation, for starters.


    4) Excellent Japan Times article on GOJ reforms (and probable non-reforms) of child custody system post-divorce

    Colin Jones: Those focused on the government’s stumbling efforts to protect the children of Fukushima from radioactive contamination may find this hard to believe, but Japanese family law just got more child-friendly — maybe. If Japan finally signs the Hague Convention on child abduction, as it appears it will, it could become even more so. There is a big “maybe” here too, so it remains to be seen whether these two steps taken by the Diet will steer the country away from its status as a black hole for parental abduction or leave it treading the same sorry path.

    On May 27 a law was passed amending a number of provisions in the Civil Code relating to children and their parents. First, Article 766 of the code was revised to require parents seeking a cooperative (i.e., nonlitigated) divorce to decide upon visitation, child support payments and other matters relevant to their children’s upbringing after divorce. Furthermore, the new provision says that the welfare of the children must be the primary consideration when these matters are decided…

    Meanwhile, on the Hague Convention front, a legislative committee appears to be considering domestic legislation that will ensure no abducted child ever has to be returned after Japan signs it. A basic premise of the convention is that judicial determinations about children after their parents separate should be made in the country where the children have been living. Children who are unilaterally removed to another country should thus promptly be located and returned to their country of habitual residence…

    Based on current proposals that I have seen, Japanese authorities may be allowed to refuse to return a child if (a) either the child or taking parent have been subject to abuse (including “violent words”), (b) the taking parent cannot return to the child’s home country because of fear of criminal prosecution upon return, (c) the taking parent is the primary caregiver but cannot raise the child in the home country for financial or other reasons, or (d) the helpfully vague “there are other circumstances” making return potentially harmful to the child.


    5) Association for Psychological Science paper: “Ironic effects of anti-prejudice messages”; claims programs to decrease prejudices may actually increase if the prejudiced people feel they are having negative ideology forced upon them.

    Paper: Organizations and programs have been set up all over the globe in the hopes of urging people to end prejudice. According to a research article, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, such programs may actually increase prejudices.

    Lisa Legault, Jennifer Gutsell and Michael Inzlicht, from the University of Toronto Scarborough, were interested in exploring how one’s everyday environment influences people’s motivation toward prejudice reduction…

    The authors suggest that when interventions eliminate people’s freedom to value diversity on their own terms, they may actually be creating hostility toward the targets of prejudice.

    According to Dr. Legault, “Controlling prejudice reduction practices are tempting because they are quick and easy to implement. They tell people how they should think and behave and stress the negative consequences of failing to think and behave in desirable ways.” Legault continues, “But people need to feel that they are freely choosing to be nonprejudiced, rather than having it forced upon them.”


    …and finally…

    6) Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column, August 2, 2011, “The loneliness of the long-distance foreigner”, about the difficulty for NJ to make long-term J friends

    The Japan Times Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011
    The loneliness of the long-distance foreigner
    Blog entry with copious comments at


    All for now. Thanks for reading! Have another read again tomorrow at the Japan Times!
    Arudou Debito (
    Archives, Comments, RSS, and more at Twitter arudoudebito


    5 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 5, 2011”

    1. adamu Says:

      dont know if youve seen ,but there is some disgusting stalking going on of you at the haters site-they have shown their true colours and you were right about them all along.the blog has now been moatly redacted ,but their obsession with you is very creepy.

    2. Scuzzy Says:

      While I dont agree with all things Debito, I got to salute him for keeping up the good fight. I cant throw stones as I dont have a blog, well not anymore. He weathers the hate very well, something Im incapable of. Just my own opinion, but I think this all started because things are a bit polarized. Debito can be touchy, but the haters offer no rebuttal worth reading. perhaps if the D-man posted more arguments than the usual agreements, some of the haters might shut up.

      — No they won’t. I’ve tried that in the past and it doesn’t work: “haters gotta hate”. It’s not a matter of agreement (plenty of posts here disagree), it’s a matter of offering decent counterarguments instead of hate-filled ad-hominem. You’re seen what they have to offer elsewhere, and I don’t want it here. You said it yourself above — they offer no rebuttal worth reading. So don’t blame me for filtering for quality. Maybe that’s why this blog is still here and yours isn’t.

    3. Scuzzy Says:


    4. Loverilakkuma Says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Debito. Haters don’t care the content or persuasiveness of arguments at all because maintaining their identity as ‘theory Nazist’ is their main concern. Trust me, you are not alone who is at the risk of being harassed or stalked by the creepy trollers. The main reason you become the target of theory Nazists is, perhaps, because of your unprecedented accomplishments in both academic research and ‘citizenship’ driven by the notion of civil liberties.

      Whether in Japan, the US or elsewhere, it’s getting much more challenging for people today to engage in a civil society due to an increasing unemployment rate and uncertainty about job security globally. In the US, college professors and academics– especially in humanity and liberal arts program—are scathingly criticized by educational conservatives and rightists. Why? That’s because these detractors consider the academics as anti-capitalist/national crusaders who are trying to infuse the liberal/progressive ideology into the students in an attempt to destroy the conventional wisdom or dismantle the social order. Many of those think academic liberals are the problem to society—not the solution, and reason that humanity program does little to make students competitive in the job market in contrast to business or engineering majors. Hence, anyone who successfully gets the tenure in humanity/liberal arts program is being attacked and humiliated in the first place. A conservative academic/social activist David Horowitz is a good example of this. He’s notorious for viciously attacking his enemies to destroy their careers. He has a list of ‘100 Most Dangerous Scholars in the US’, and preaches his own gospel of academic witch-hunting nationwide on a daily basis. It’s just like you who are standing on an entirely opposite side from where you are! I don’t want to imagine that. Thank God I don’t see anyone like him in Japan.

      Anyway, that’s all I have found from my experience in reading several blogs written by liberal arts scholars in the US academic institutions for a few years. Yes, some of them have been attacked in the past and are still under attack by disgruntled posters and trollers today. It’s eerily to have the eyes of those net stalkers on the back, while I believe many academic scholars–including you– are very smart enough to deal with them.

      — Thanks. Assuming that it really is the oily pseudopod of a larger conservative movement against intellectuals. Me, I don’t think our trolls are that smart. I just think they are bored people with Internet savvy and battered keyboards, who have nothing better to do with their time than stalk people, cloaking it in the guise of promoting and protecting their image of the “world according to Japan” (if their loathing even has a cognitive basis at all).

    5. adamu Says:

      youve nailed it big D
      the issue is they having nothing constructive to add at all so the only thing they can do is just attack others who are trying to make things better for all.its really pathetic

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