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  • DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2011

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 30th, 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
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    Hello Debito.org Newsletter Readers. Before I start, a word about my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column, out November 1, 2011.

    I’ll be talking about the well-established culture of lying in Japanese society, and how it ultimately led to the Fukushima disaster. Opening paragraphs:

    =========================================
    THE FALLOUT FROM SOCIALLY-ACCEPTED LYING (tentative title for now)
    By ARUDOU Debito
    JUST BE CAUSE Column 45 for the Japan Times Community Page
    To be published November 1, 2011

    There is an axiom in Japanese: uso mo houben — “lying is also a means to an end.” It sums up the general attitude in Japan of tolerance of — and even justification for — not telling the truth.

    First — defining “telling the truth” as divulging “the truth” (not a lie), “the whole truth” (full disclosure) and “nothing but the truth” (uncompounded with lies) — consider how lies are deployed in everyday personal interactions.

    Let’s start with good old tatemae (charitably translated as “pretense”).

    By basically saying something you think the listener wants to hear, tatemae is, essentially, lying.

    That becomes clearer when the term is contrasted with its antonym, honne, one’s “true feelings and intentions.”…
    =========================================

    That comes out in the Japan Times, November 1, 2011. Get a copy! Now for:

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2011

    Table of Contents:

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    CRIMINALITY DEFENDED AS CULTURAL DIFFERENCE

    1) Reuters on Olympus Japan corruption issue: It takes a NJ whistleblowing CEO to uncover it, yet he gets sacked for “cultural reasons”
    2) Mainichi & Yomiuri: Japanese ex-wife arrested in Hawaii on suspicion of abducting child from custodial father
    3) GOJ wants seat on the UN Human Rights Council for 2013-2015. Here’s MOFA’s formal pledge of Japan’s commitments to human rights. Note what’s missing.
    4) History: Witness the GOJ’s negotiating tactics during WWII with its allies, according to W.L. Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of The Third Reich”. Not much different today.

    POST-FUKUSHIMA INDEFENSIBLES

    5) GOJ Ministry of Environment is dispersing Tohoku debris, including Fukushima nuclear debris, around Japan despite objections of prefectural govts
    6) Health and Education Ministries issue directive to place controls on research going on in Tohoku tsunami disaster zones
    7) From Yokoso Japan to Kawaisou Japan: GOJ to offer free roundtrip flights to NJ tourists to offset fallout fears
    8 ) More GOJ greenmailing: JET Alumni Assocs call on 20 ex-JETs for all-expenses paid trip to tsunami areas, to “let people know what they experienced when they return to their home countries”

    PLUS CA CHANGE AND MISCELLANY

    9) Korea Times: Naturalized Korean decries refusal of entry to sauna, parallels with Otaru Onsens Case
    10) Japan Times: Ichihashi trial bares translation woes: Courts refuse to admit that interpreters often lack the necessary skills
    11) BLOG BIZ: Welcome to the future of blog wars: Debito.org temporarily felled by DMCA notice against this site’s critique of Lance Braman’s Japan Times Letters to the Editor
    12) Weekend Tangent: Saturday Night Live skit on Japan-obsessed American youth; scarily accurate?

    … and finally …

    13) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column of October 4, 2011: “Japan needs less ganbatte, more genuine action”

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    By ARUDOU Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)
    Freely Forwardable
    Get Debito’s latest novel, “IN APPROPRIATE”, on the child abduction issue in Japan, at http://www.debito.org/inappropriate.html

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    CRIMINALITY DEFENDED AS CULTURAL DIFFERENCE

    1) Reuters on Olympus Japan corruption issue: It takes a NJ whistleblowing CEO to uncover it, yet he gets sacked for “cultural reasons”

    This is still a growing issue, and there’s an excellent Reuters article below to hang this blog post on. Consider the case of Michael Woodford, a Brit hired more than thirty years ago by Japanese firm Olympus, with the superhuman tenacity to work his way up to the post of CEO (not hired, as are many of the famous NJ executives in Japanese companies, as an international prestige appointment).

    The presumption is that his appointment was because Mr Woodford would be different — there are plenty of Japanese corporate drones who would have gladly not rocked the boat for a quiet life and comfortable salary. But when he actually does something different, such as uncover and question possible corporate malfeasance, he gets fired because “his style of management was incompatible with traditional Japanese practices”.

    This of course, as further investigations finally gather traction, calls into practice the cleanliness of those traditional Japanese corporate practices. And it looks like the only way to get them investigated properly in Japan is to take the issue to overseas regulators (this is, after all, an international company, if only in the sense that it has international holdings, but now beholden to international standards).

    Not to mention the Japanese media (which, as the article alludes to below, is once again asleep at its watchdog position). None of this is surprising to the Old Japan Hands, especially those let anywhere close to Japanese corporate boardrooms, who see this nest feathering as a normal, nay, an obvious part of Japanese corporate culture the higher and richer you go.

    But woe betide the NJ whistleblower — perpetually in a vulnerable position for being of the wrong race and for not doing what he’s told like a good little gaijin. After all, there’s peer pressure behind membership in “Team Japan”, and as soon as it’s convenient, the race/culture card gets pulled by the crooks to excuse themselves. I’m just glad Mr. Woodford had the guts to do what he did. I doubt it’ll result in a system-wide cleanup (the rot is too systemic and entrenched, and few watch the watchers in corporatist Japan). But you gotta start somewhere, since exposure of corruption must be seen to be becoming commonplace in post-Fukushima Japan. Bravo Mr. Woodford, and expose away.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9576

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    2) Mainichi & Yomiuri: Japanese ex-wife arrested in Hawaii on suspicion of abducting child from custodial father

    Here’s some good news for Left-Behind Parents. The Americans are (unusually, according to the Mainichi and Yomiuri below) enforcing their arrest warrants against Japanese child abductors. In this case, against a Japanese woman who reportedly absconded with the kid off to Japan and, despite a US court awarding the father custody, then used the time-honored tactic of abducting the kid anyway and getting a Japanese court to award her the kid instead regardless (with a gracious 30-day per year visitation allowed; thanks a heap). Then she carelessly decided to have her cake and eat it too, by coming back to the US to renew her Green Card, whereupon the authorities honored the arrest warrant against her, leaving the kid in limbo with the grandparents in Japan.

    Not an unusual story (especially since the Japanese media once again refuses to use the word “abduction” in conjunction with any of this — just “taking without permission”; sounds much better), except that the Americans are now finally taking action regarding child abductions to Japan, honoring court decisions despite Japan’s vehemently guarding its safe-haven status for international child abduction.

    Let’s see how the Japanese media further spins this; I doubt it’ll run against Team-Japanism. But already the editorial slant in the articles below is that signing the Hague Treaty will (somehow) prevent this, in defiance of all the Japanese safe-haveners that want to either not sign it, or caveat it with DV provisions into meaninglessness. Anyway, throw the book at her. This sort of thing has gone on long enough.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9584

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    3) GOJ wants seat on the UN Human Rights Council for 2013-2015. Here’s MOFA’s formal pledge of Japan’s commitments to human rights. Note what’s missing.

    Here we have Japan wanting a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, to help control the agenda and process of review (like any any applicant, especially the venal ones, which is why the HRC was revamped in 2006 after being occupied by some of the world’s most egregious human rights offenders). Applicant Japan promises to treat countries with mutual respect for their history and traditions (read: “I’m okay, you’re okay, so let’s just all get along and not worry about universal standards of human rights — especially as they would be applied to Japan”; there is a long history behind this attitude in the GOJ, see Peek, J. M. 1991. “Japan and the International Bill of Rights.” Journal of Northeast Asian Studies, Fall 1991 10(3): 3-16; and Peek, J. M. 1992, “Japan, The United Nations, and Human Rights.” Asian Survey 32(3): 217-229, read my writeup on Dr. Peek’s findings here).

    Note that the GOJ promises to follow the UN’s recommendations for improving domestic human rights (see some of those most recent recommendations here, and decide for yourself how well the GOJ is doing, then read on here to see the plus ca change. Also note what’s missing in their promises: Anything about the Hague Convention on Child Abductions (what with all the abductions after divorce), and of course, anything about passing a law or taking any measures against racial discrimination (despite saying in 2008 that Japan was making “every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination”) But that’s tough, you see: We don’t have any other races in Japan that would fall under the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination’s protection, remember; that standpoint remains fundamentally unchanged closing in on 20 years after signing the CERD. Here’s the transcript of how the UN review of Japan’s human rights record went back in February 2010, and what the UN subsequently recommended Japan do back in March 2010 regarding the CERD. Read on to see how they are being studiously ignored in Japan’s pledges below, as usual.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9534

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    4) History: Witness the GOJ’s negotiating tactics during WWII with its allies, according to W.L. Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of The Third Reich”. Not much different today.

    I have just spent the past six months getting through one of perhaps the more weighty tomes in the English language: William L. Shirer’s THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH — about Nazi Germany and Hitler’s campaigns before and during WWII. This 1150-page tombstone/doorstop of a book will sit proudly on my shelf as something read cover-to-cover with as much information absorbed from it as possible. I of course wrote a book review in the back cover (if you’re interested in hearing it, readers, let me know, and I’ll append it to the Comments Section), but the thing that I’d like to focus this blog entry upon today is Japan’s historical actions and negotiating tactics (including the Japanese government’s penchant for vagueness, obfuscation, and completely masked intentions) mentioned within the book, and how remarkably similar they remain today.

    Conclusion: I’ve dealt with and witnessed the actions of the GOJ for decades now. Although now more than seventy years later, none of this seems out of sync with the way Japanese bureaucrats or politicians talk or act today. And once anyone overseas thinks they have a handle on and an avenue into the political situation, the cabinet changes and then you have to start again. Someday people are going to have to learn how the GOJ works internationally.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9525

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    POST-FUKUSHIMA INDEFENSIBLES AND MISCELLANY

    5) GOJ Ministry of Environment is dispersing Tohoku debris, including Fukushima nuclear debris, around Japan despite objections of prefectural govts

    Here we have some more GOJ mischief in the works regarding the Fukushima debacle. What follows is a primary-source document from the Minister of the Environment, Division of Waste and Recycle Policy, dated October 7, 2011, addressed to all prefectural waste management department heads.

    It concerns disposing of debris from the Tohoku disaster areas in other prefectures, as a follow-up to their communication/”survey” of April 8, 2011, where they asked regional governments to pitch in in dispersing the rubble nationwide. The Education Ministry acknowledges that several prefectures expressed trepidation at spreading radioactive refuse all over the country. Nevertheless, as Tokyo has started undertaking the disposal of the debris, it’s clear the GOJ considers it high time that others did their part (as per the “close cooperation” (genmitsu ni rentai shi) between the Minstry and the regional environmental agencies) to match that effort. It is clear that by the fourth paragraph of the directive below, the Ministry will be moving forward with this policy full steam regardless of regional objections.

    The results of the abovementioned April communication/”survey” where local governments balked will not be made public. That is to say, those prefectures who balked at taking radiation into their area will not be named [after all, we don't want NIMBY citizens rallying behind their local representatives that are clearly antipathetic towards GOJ policy].

    COMMENT: I had heard about this months ago (a rumor that toxic waste from Fukushima was being delivered to my nearby garbage incinerator in Hassamu, Sapporo), but lacked enough evidence to say much at the time. Now we have documented proof that the Japanese government (the Environment Ministry, no less) is taking steps to pressure local governments nationwide into swallowing their fair share of the radiation. Why does this debris have to be carted around the country? Not only could it contaminate the entire nation, it will also shield the nuclear power industry from criticism and responsibility — as it will make it harder to link radiation to the cause of any future sickness or death if casualties are not limited to the Fukushima area. Having the national government shove this down the local governments’ throats is one thing, but the sheer venality, nay, flat-out evil of this kind of policy is staggering.

    Just in case you think this may be a hoax, see the Chunichi Shinbun of October 15, 2011 (reprinted below) acknowledging this dispersal is exactly what’s happening, with the local governments (in this case, Aichi-ken) refusing to make public how much debris they’re disposing of.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9547

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    6) Health and Education Ministries issue directive to place controls on research going on in Tohoku tsunami disaster zones

    The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare Ministry has issued a directive, written by the Education Ministry’s Department of Life Sciences, Bureau for the Promotion of Research, to all related research industries, universities, and tertiary-education associations regarding health surveys and research conducted within the Tohoku disaster area.

    Dated May 15, 2011, a little more than two months after the tsunami, the directive (full Japanese text below) essentially tells academic researchers 1) there are “ethical guidelines” (rinri shishin) for epidemiologists to follow, and that research guidelines must be passed by ethics committees and approved by their research institution’s head; 2) these health surveys and research must also sufficiently (juubun) be run by the local governments (jichitai) in the disaster areas beforehand, and afterwards the results of the research (if I’m reading this odd and rather vague sentence right) must “take into due consideration” (hairyo) the disaster victims and the appropriate systems providing them health and welfare (better translations welcome); 3) in order to not to cause any undue stress to the disaster victims, health surveys and research must avoid repetition by “not surveying and researching in more detail than necessary”, and with sufficient understanding of the situation on the ground.

    Well, it might sound sensible at first read. But given the history of lack of accurate and timely information being issued by the Japanese authorities concerning the whole Fukushima debacle, there is another way to read this ministerial directive: 1) All research must be tracked and approved by somebody above you in the research workplace, 2) All research must be tracked by the local governments and health departments before and after, and 3) All research must not ask too many questions.

    The point is, in the name of “ethics”, the government is inserting veto gates into what might become research independent of the GOJ, and making sure that information tracked before and afterwards stays under central control. Which means, in practice, that if there are research lines or inquiries or results unpalatable to the GOJ, they might not be seen by the public.

    My read of this document is that this is primary-source evidence of GOJ central control over the scientific method regarding a politically-sensitive issue. And this will control the information flow out to the world regarding the effects and aftermath of Fukushima.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9542

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    7) From Yokoso Japan to Kawaisou Japan: GOJ to offer free roundtrip flights to NJ tourists to offset fallout fears

    In one of the more hare-brained schemes I’ve seen devised to stimulate Japan’s economy (it ranks among the bigger boondoggles spun together when you give a political elite too much power over public money, including the LDP’s public bribe/tax kickback coupon campaigns in 1999 and 2008, PM Obuchi’s creation of the 2000 yen note, and the many, many construction projects that take a generation or so to complete, examples here and here), we have the Tourism Agency bribing, excuse me, offering to pay the round-trip airfares of 10,000 NJ tourists to visit Japan — as long as they do a homework assignment presumably saying how nice a time they had here, and that the world should stop worrying and love Japan’s increasingly irradiated food chain.

    It takes about ten seconds before the obvious begins to sink in: Shouldn’t this money be going instead towards helping Japanese who are suffering from these disasters?

    Naw, that would be too selfish — (SARCASM ALERT!:) the whole country is suffering due to Fukushima, so everyone worldwide should realize that the troubles are confined to that one area and just come here and stay away from there.

    Yeah, that’ll fix things! Hope they don’t get turned away from too many xenophobic Japanese hotels (the costs of which are not covered under the bribe, of course), or if they do, they have the ‘nads to mention to the GOJ in their homework that inviting them over here, without protecting their rights as consumers and humans, puts a damper on the feelings of hospitality. But I digress.

    JT: The Japan Tourism Agency said Tuesday that 10,000 foreigners will be given free round-trip tickets to the country in the next fiscal year as part of a campaign to reverse the plunge in tourists since the March 11 disasters and amid a prohibitively high yen… The successful applicants will receive return air tickets but will have to pay for their accommodations and other expenses, said Shuichi Kameyama, head of the agency’s international tourism promotion division. The agency has requested JPY1.1 billion in the fiscal 2012 budget to cover the campaign, he said…

    “First and foremost, we will need to show (the world) that Japan is a good place to visit,” Kameyama said.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9504

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    8 ) More GOJ greenmailing: JET Alumni Assocs call on 20 ex-JETs for all-expenses paid trip to tsunami areas, to “let people know what they experienced when they return to their home countries”

    In a continuation of yesterday’s theme of the GOJ greenmailing away Japan’s negative images, here we have a more overt use of public funds to turn a frown upside down over a disaster: The JET Programme calling on ex-JETs to come back and reprise their role as de facto cultural lobbyists overseas. Except this time there’s an update — the clear aim of sexing up Japan’s image abroad in the wake of the March 11 disasters by dangling an all-expenses-paid trip to the stricken areas.

    I have done research on the JET Programme’s role of producing cultural ambassadors before (and its role as a domestic educational force, which I came out in support of in this Japan Times column). But this is the most overt (and in my view, cynical) demonstration I’ve seen yet unmasking the JET Programme’s fundamental intention of burnishing Japan’s image abroad at all costs. As if this is a kind of aid package for the stricken areas: Let them eat good publicity. Kinda takes the air out of the argument of JET as a program first and foremost promoting domestic education.

    JET Alumni Assoc: The Japan Tourism Agency, MOFA, and other local governments in Japan want to sponsor 20 ex-JETs — who were placed in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima or Sendai — to go back to Japan for one week in order to see the damages in the afflicted areas, so that when they return to their home countries, they can let people know what they experienced there. All expenses are paid (food, travel, insurance, etc.), except personal expenses.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9512

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    PLUS CA CHANGE

    9) Korea Times: Naturalized Korean decries refusal of entry to sauna, parallels with Otaru Onsens Case

    According to the Korea Times article below, we have a naturalized citizen getting turned away from a bathhouse. The management justifies it by saying that she, as a foreigner by appearance, is dirty or contagious. She calls the police, but it turns out there is no domestic law to prevent this from happening. The excluded person then claims racial discrimination, takes it up with the authorities, and we currently are at the point of seeing whether anything official will happen to stop this.

    Reminds me, of course, of the Otaru Onsens Case (1993-2005, my friends and I getting involved from 1999) in Japan. There we had exclusionary onsens in Otaru with signs up refusing all foreigners, refusing entry to not only foreign-looking people, but ultimately foreign-looking Japanese. We also take it up with the authorities, only to have them tell us there’s nothing they can do — Japan has no domestic law against racial discrimination. In Japan’s case, however, their MOJ’s Bureau of Human Rights not only tells us they have no enforcement power to stop this, but also interferes with the advancement of human rights — to the point of advising the Otaru City Government in writing (see my book JAPANESE ONLY, English version, pg. 347) that Otaru authorities legally need to do nothing to resolve the situation. Whether or not the Korean bureaucracy will be this negligent remains to be seen, so let’s keep an eye on this case. The parallels are that striking.

    Korea Times: An ethnic Uzbekistan woman has filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission after she was denied entrance to a sauna here. A sauna employee refused to admit to the woman, a naturalized Korean, saying she was still a “foreigner” by appearance and foreign users may “make water in bathtub dirty” and “pass on AIDS.” Such an action was possible because there is no law on discrimination by race, according to a support center for immigrants…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9529

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    10) Japan Times: Ichihashi trial bares translation woes: Courts refuse to admit that interpreters often lack the necessary skills

    Here’s an older article on how people who are not native speakers of Japanese are at a disadvantage in the Japanese judiciary due to things lost in translation. Yes, the killer of Lindsay Ann Hawker got his, thank goodness, but not without a degree of unprofessionality unbecoming a purportedly modern justice system, as the JT gets into below. This is not the first time this has been pointed out, yet we still hear of no particular movement to standardize training and certify translators. This lack of prioritization couldn’t be due to allegations that the Japanese judiciary thinks “foreigners”, like yakuza, “have no human rights” (despite, as I have argued, Japan’s clear double standard in criminal jurisprudence depending on nationality). Surely not.

    JT: The lay judge trial of accused rapist and murderer Tatsuya Ichihashi, whose verdict is expected Thursday, has captured a lot of media attention since it started July 4, but one element that has escaped notice is the quality of the language translation.

    Many errors by a court interpreter, from slight differences in nuance to the loss of a few details, have so far been observed during the high-profile case.

    This has prompted concerned legal professionals and linguistic experts to call on the courts to face up to the quality of interpretations when foreign nationals are involved in court cases and to improve the training and status of interpreters…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9269

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    11) BLOG BIZ: Welcome to the future of blog wars: Debito.org temporarily felled by DMCA notice against this site’s critique of Lance Braman’s Japan Times Letters to the Editor

    Dateline October 7: Sorry Debito.org was offline for about a day and a half. Welcome to the future of cyberwarfare, not through spam guns or DNS attacks, but now through a pseudo-legal apparatus.

    On October 5, Lance Braman (see below), one the small but very vocal members of Tepido, a cyberstalking blog that obsesses over Debito.org, according to my ISP (i.e., server) filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement claim against this blog (see email from ISP below).

    This was regarding two of Braman’s short Letters to the Editor published at the Japan Times all the way back in 2008. I cited them in full on Debito.org for critique (as they mentioned me and my actions specifically by name). You can see how those allegedly problematic Debito.org sites looked via the Wayback Machine, click here and here.

    SUMMARY: WHAT THIS MEANS

    The issue here is that procedures against making frivolous and nuisance DMCA claims about online materials will have to be tightened up, or else DMCA will be utilized for blog wars and cyber attacks. People who are not necessarily the actual copyright holder of cited works (masquerading as the copyright holder and filing the DMCA claim on their behalf) are claiming violations that aren’t there (because under the Fair Use Doctrine, things may be in fact cited, excerpted, and quoted without permission in many circumstances for the purposes of review, critique, etc.).

    ISPs, however, often get spooked by a simple email DMCA notice and, without further investigation of the veracity of the claims, unilaterally take the material offline. Although a quick-fix measure for the ISPs, this is in fact counterproductive, because it will encourage more frivolous DMCA claims and ultimately make the ISPs work harder (or just encourage further cybercensorship). All evidence for these claims follow below.

    Ironic, that. Cyberstalking site Tepido’s main minions (there are but a dozen or so) complain the most about allegations of “censorship” at Debito.org, i.e., that they can’t be heard on Debito.org because I delete their comments (now you can see why; they’re fundamentally unscrupulous people, and they have an odd and unhealthy fixation about this small, insignificant blog). So, in retaliation, the Tepidos themselves hypocritically try to censor — by deleting primary source materials on Debito.org, or by just trying to interfere with the operations of or take down the site altogether. Unvetted DMCA claims just further encourage and enable those people. It’s not going to stop here, so let’s get thinking about how this Act is being abused and plug the loopholes.

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9480

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    12) Weekend Tangent: Saturday Night Live skit on Japan-obsessed American youth; scarily accurate?

    As a Weekend Tangent, here’s Saturday Night Live poking fun at American kids obsessed with J-pop culture. I found it very funny, and from what I’ve heard it’s scarily accurate (although I wouldn’t know — been out of the US for too long). What do you think?

    Commentary at http://www.debito.org/?p=9555

    Found a Russian server playing the skit outside of the U.S. without proxies. Try here:

    http://rutube.ru/tracks/4914046.html?v=f07fb33ba9c6603f51cef4ffd7c1e09d

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    … and finally …

    13) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column of October 4, 2011: “Japan needs less ganbatte, more genuine action”

    JT JBC: Ganbatte kudasai!

    You hear this expression every day in Japan. “Do your best!” “Try harder!” “Stick to it!” “Don’t give up!” are but a few of the positive messages conveyed. It offered succor 25 years ago when I was in university bushwhacking through the Japanese language: One “ganbatte!” from Sensei emboldened me for the rest of the week.

    However, recent events have exposed a problem with ganbatte.

    It’s gone beyond being a harmless old saw, platitude or banality. It’s become at best a sop, at worst a destructive mantra or shibboleth. It creates a downward cycle into apathy in the speaker, indifference in the afflicted…

    http://www.debito.org/?p=9462

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    That’s all for this month! I’ve been going on a diet of one post every two to three days, not daily, so these Newsletters will probably be monthly affairs from now on. Thanks for reading!
    Arudou Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org)

    Get Debito’s latest novel, “IN APPROPRIATE”, on the child abduction issue in Japan, at http://www.debito.org/inappropriate.html

    DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2011 ENDS

    7 Responses to “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2011”

    1. Rachel Says:

      Your Nov 1st column starts very interesting, I can’t wait to read it. On the subject of ‘tatemae’ though, I’ve heard it translated as ‘[good] manners’ on a few occasions, by a Japanese speaker with English as a second language. Would you say that’s accurate?

      – Not really. “Good manners” would be more “reigi tadashii / reigi ga ii”. Closer in the vein you are mentioning would be “polite fictions”.

    2. Becky Says:

      I think there’s a certain amount of crossover with PC (political correctness), too.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kotobagari

    3. John (Yokohama) Says:

      In the once a foreigner always a foreigner department:

      ““We talked about how our scrum went or how our breakdown went. We also talked about our mental side,” Yabe said. “Some argued that we had too many foreigners.”

      Kirwan picked a record 10 foreign-born players, half of whom have obtained Japanese nationality, for his World Cup squad.”

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/sports/view/kirwan-under-fire-for-using-too-many-foreign-born-players

    4. John (Yokohama) Says:

      Interesting news:

      “Ainu people to set up political group, seek upper house seats in 2013″

      “The second son of the late former House of Councillors member Shigeru Kayano criticized government policy toward Ainu as invisible, and said the new group will try to field about 10 candidates with a policy agenda of recovering the rights of Ainu and realizing a multicultural and multiethnic society.”

      http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/10/123245.html

    5. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @John (Yokohama)
      Great comment about the rugby!
      Japan breaks it’s 20 year losing streak with a (hold the gasp) draw against Canada, using a rugby team that consists of 10 players born overseas (5 of whom hold Japanese nationality), and the Japanese rugby governing body has knives out for the NJ coach saying ‘some say there are too many gaijin on the team’. It’s just like the Napoleon syndrome over Mongolian born passport holding Japanese sumo champs.

      – I’ll have this article up for comment shortly as a separate blog entry.

    6. John (Yokohama) Says:

      @Jim Di Griz

      I use to go to sumo matches with my wife but I have stopped now that they have established that racist foreign born policy vis a vis the stables.

    7. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @John (Yokohama)
      Yeah, me too John. I get free tickets for a box at the Osaka basho every time, but I give them away now. I feel dirty, like I’m complicit in the discrimination, if I use them.
      The Japanese national kendo team hasn’t won any world championships for a while. America and Korea are much stronger. As a member of the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei, I can tell you that the whispered opinion is that gaijin aren’t really playing kendo. It looks like kendo, but can’t be the same, because gaijin aren’t Japanese, so they can never really understand kendo the way a Japanese person can (for the record, kendo is a fake ‘tradition’ with a history that only dates back to 1953).
      I would like to see what would happen if the Japanese were told that they can never be good at rugby because they can’t understand it as they are Japanese.

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