Dr. ARUDOU, Debito's Home Page

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

    Books etc. by ARUDOU Debito (click on icon):
    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




    As of December 2012, Japan’s biggest human rights publisher Akashi Shoten Inc. has published the Second Edition of the long-selling “HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN”, coauthored with legal scrivener Akira Higuchi. Table of contents follows after book reviews, cover image, and preface below.

    If you would like to read an excerpt of HANDBOOK, see academic website JAPAN FOCUS, published March 2008 (after the First Edition came out).

    Bookstores confirmed selling HANDBOOK are at the very bottom of this blog entry. If you would like to order from within Japan, you can download one of the following thumbnails in English or Japanese, print it up, fill it out, and FAX it to publisher Akashi Shoten. Or take the printed flyer to your local bookstore and let them handle the order.


    Or you can try Amazon Japan. entry for HANDBOOK here.

    If you’d like to order from outside Japan, please go to this page:

    If you’d like to leave feedback or advice for future editions of HANDBOOK, please click here.

    Reviews (if you’ve gotten a copy of your own and would like to comment, please see Comments Section at very bottom):


    “In this important and necessary book the authors address migrants and immigrants to Japan in saying that “we believe that your life in Japan should be under as much of your control as legally possible.” That it sometimes seems not to be, is the reason for their having written this handbook…  This is not the first such handbook…  Not the first, but this new handbook is much the fullest and consequently the best.The wise newcomer, be he or she nascent migrant or not, is hereby counseled to acquire this valuable volume and render life in Japan not only possible but practical and pleasurable as well.”–Donald Richie, The Japan Times Asian Bookshelf column, April 20, 2008. (click here to read entire review)

    “Higuchi and Arudou’s HANDBOOK promises to be the second passport for foreigners in Japan. It provides a map to navigate the legal, economic, and social mazes of contemporary Japanese life. Practical and affordable, clear and concise, the Handbook should contribute not only to a better life for newcomers to Japan but also to a more humane society in Japan.”Dr John Lie, Dean of International and Area Studies, University of California Berkeley, and author of MULTIETHNIC JAPAN.

    “Finally, the book I always wished I had, explaining in clear and precise language the legal labyrinths that make life interesting and sometimes treacherous for non-Japanese trying to find their way in Japan. This is the A-Z what to watch out for and how to do it guide that will help all non-Japanese living in Japan. Whether it is visas, workers’ rights, starting a business, pensions, naturalizing, divorcing, etc. this is essential reading. For non-Japanese this is truly a godsend, but even better the entire text is bilingual so Japanese who have extensive dealings with non-Japanese can also better understand the rules of the game and avoid mishandling what can be difficult situations. I can think of no other book that comes close in promoting mutual understanding, one that is grounded in the law and brimming with practical advice.”–Dr Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan, and author of JAPAN’S QUIET TRANSFORMATION

    “Whether you’re a new ‘newcomer’ or an old ‘newcomer,’ the Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan is invaluable. The headaches and frustration saved by having accurate information on everything from establishing residency to setting up a business all in one handy volume are incalculable. Best of all, Higuchi and Arudou tackle sticky situations with sound advice that just isn’t available but through experience. Whether you’re new to Japan or looking for guidance on a newfound difficult situation, this book will help cut through the red tape and noise, ultimately helping to get one on a path to productive problem solving. A must-own book for anyone intending to call Japan ‘home’.”–Ken Worsley and Garrett DeOrio, Trans-Pacific Radio

    “If there weren’t an Arudou Debito, we would have had to invent one. Until recently, if you wondered about your visa, or you wanted to start a company, or you got into trouble with the police, it was very difficult to get clear advice. Now, with this Handbook, we know what to do. Starting as an activist fighting discrimination against foreigners, Arudou Debito has expanded his scope to codify and organize information about every aspect of life as a foreigner here. The results are collected in this Handbook, written in collaboration with legal expert Higuchi Akira. In addition to detailed sections on inheritance, marriage, children, divorce, etc, one of the most unusual and enlightening chapters comes at the end: “Giving Something Back,” a guide to involvement in civil society — clubs, non-profits, and social activism. Arudou and Higuchi’s Handbook is an indispensable reference for all outsiders who live here for any length of time.”–Alex Kerr, author, DOGS AND DEMONS and LOST JAPAN.

    “…Indeed, this is one of the outcomes of reading the Handbook – it prompts you to want to find out more. Although the book has 376 pages, half of it is written in Japanese so that someone who you might be seeking advice from (a lawyer or Japanese friend or “senpai”) can quickly grasp the nature of what you are asking, and give you a more specific answer. This means that the Handbook is not only a quick read, but also is intended to be a framework rather than an exhaustive reference manual. Arudou addresses this fact by providing copious notes on where to go to get follow up help. …The retail price is JPY2,415, and my personal opinion is that it is worth every yen. A necessary read for newcomers, and useful “gap filling” information for longer-term residents.”–Terrie Lloyd, owner of CrissCross (Metropolis Magazine), author of Terrie’s Take, reviewing for (click here to read entire review)

    “…Because the Handbook covers so many issues, it generally gives a bird’s-eye view of each one. Details of your situation may vary, but this little volume should get you off to a good start by recommending what forms to fill out, what government offices to visit and what authorities to consult for specific guidance.  Asked to characterize the reader feedback he has received so far, Arudou summed it up as: “Where has this book been all my life? It’s about bloody time.” –-Tom Baker, The Daily Yomiuri, May 30, 2008 (click here to read entire review)

    “…So, it was with my [mental] fingers tightly crossed that I first opened Arudou and Higuchi’s book. I have interacted with Arudou off and on over the years as his editor and as someone who paid passing attention to his activities as a Japan-based activist for foreigners’ rights. Arudou had taken the challenging path of adopting Japanese nationality (he was an American citizen) and creating a life for himself in Hokkaido, itself a frontier-esque northern island in Japan. Knowing Arudou knew his subject had raised my hopes. But, he and his writing partner pulled it off? Indeed they had… The two of them (Higuchi is a Hokkaido-based lawyer) had summarised the nuts and bolts of life for people whose Japan stay is extended. Whether it is maintaining a funeral plot in Japan, buying a car, joining a union or tips on divorcing a troublesome partner — life’s essential tips and tricks are covered… Yes, living in Japan is just like living in most other places (pretty much) — but there is a twist. This Handbook is an excellent guide to set you on the way to learning all those twists (and a few turns). In brief, Arudou and Higuchi have put together an essential handbook covering the key topics and questions anyone living in Japan (or intending to) needs to address.” — Tanya Clark, September 24, 2008 (click here to read entire review)

    “The bilingual guidebook entitled HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN is a “must have” for anyone planning to live or stay for any length of time in this seemingly complex country…  The handbook is not only a good source of information about Japan for foreigners, but it makes for a very interesting read.” — Yusuke Tanaka, Nikkei Voice (a newspaper for Japanese Canadians), July-August 2008, page 16 (click here to read entire review.)


    Book synopsis follows:




    ISBN: 978-4-7503-2741-9

    Authors: HIGUCHI Akira and ARUDOU Debito

    Languages: English and Japanese

    Publisher: Akashi Shoten Inc., Tokyo

    On sale from December 2012

    389 Pages. Price: 2300 yen (2415 yen after tax)

    Goal: To help non-Japanese entrants become residents and immigrants

    Topics: Securing stable visas, Establishing businesses and secure jobs, Resolving legal problems, Planning for the future through to death…


    To give you an idea of what this book is trying to achieve, let me enclose a draft English Introduction and Table of Contents from the manuscript:




    Setting Down Roots in Japan

    Migration of labor is an unignorable reality in this globalizing world. Japan is no exception. In recent years, Japan has had record numbers of registered foreigners, international marriages, and people receiving permanent residency. This guidebook is designed to help non-Japanese settle in Japan, and become more secure residents and contributors to Japanese society.

    Japan is one of the richest societies in the world, with an extremely high standard of living. People will want to come here. They are doing so. Japan, by the way, wants foreigners too. Prime Ministerial cabinet reports, business federations, and the United Nations have advised more immigration to Japan to offset its aging society, low birthrate, labor shortages, and shrinking tax base. Unfortunately, the attitude of the Japanese government towards immigration has generally been one of neglect. Newcomers are not given sufficient guidance to help them settle down in Japan as residents with stable jobs and lifestyles. HANDBOOK wishes to fill that gap.

    Divided into seven chapters closely reflecting the stages of assimilation into any society, HANDBOOK takes the reader through 1) entry procedures, 2) securing employment, 3) establishing one’s own business, 4) addressing possible problems, 5) planning for the future and retirement, and 6) participating in the development of civil society. We offer the information in easy grammatical English (for readers of English as a second language) and furigana Japanese on opposing pages. We hope this will serve a wide readership.

    HANDBOOK is not an exhaustive fount of information. It is meant to be a concise and affordable reference book to help people find information efficiently. If there is more thorough data in other “Survival Manuals” or websites (such as lists of government phone numbers), we point you to them instead of duplicating the information here. We also assume that readers are not breaking any Japanese laws (if you are, then sorry, we cannot help you). We wish to provide everyone concise advice as veterans of the system, to save readers time and trouble, and help them find out their options for living in Japan.

    The 2013 edition is the second edition of HANDBOOK. It includes important changes to immigration and registration law that took place in July 2012, along with other updates.  All advice within it is based on the opinions of the authors. We doubt we got everything right the first time, so we hope to have your input on how to make future editions more attuned to your needs. We welcome feedback, and hope that readers can assist us in creating future editions in other languages, including Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, and Urdu.

    May you make a good life for yourself in this fine country.

    HIGUCHI Akira, Administrative Solicitor

    ARUDOU Debito, author, JAPANESE ONLY



    Chapter One: ARRIVING IN JAPAN

    1 – Understanding the structure of the Japanese Visa System (the difference between “Visa”, “Status of Residence” (SOR) and “Certificate of Eligibility” (COE))

    2 – Procedures for coming to Japan

    – Acquiring SOR from outside Japan

    – Changing or acquiring SOR from inside Japan

    – Chart summarizing Visa, COE, and SOR

    3 – Procedures after you came to Japan

    – Bringing your family over to Japan

    – Leaving Japan temporarily

    – Extending your stay in Japan

    – Changing jobs in Japan

    – Changing SOR so you can work

    – Chart summarizing Immigration procedures

    4 – What kinds of Status of Residence are there?

    – Chart outlining all 27 possible SOR

    – Recommendations for specific jobs

    – Requirements for select Statuses of Residence

    – Points System

    – Resident Card (Zairyuu Card)

    5 – What if you overstay or work without proper status?

    – Recent changes to Immigration law

    – Examples of unintended violations

    – Our advice if you overstay your SOR

    6 – Getting Permanent Residency and Japanese Nationality

    – Chart summarizing the requirements and differences between the two

    7 – Conclusions and final advice on how to make your SOR stable


    1 – Characteristics of Japanese labor environment

    2 – Labor law

    3 – Labor contract

    4 – Salary system

    5 – Deduction and Taxes

    6 – Labor insurance and Social Insurance for workers

    7 – Summary

    Chapter Three: STARTING A BUSINESS

    1 – Why start a business?

    2 — Sole Proprietorship (kojin jigyou) or Corporation (houjin jigyou)?

    3 – Type of corporations

    4 – Other forms of business (NPO, LLP)

    5 – Procedures for starting a business by setting up a kabushiki gaisha

    6 – Business license

    7 – Periodical procedures to keep your business going

    8 – Advice for a successful business

    9 – Terminology



    (These are frequently asked questions about overcoming obstacles and improving your lifestyle in Japan.)

    …if you want to study Japanese

    …if you want to open a bank account (and get an inkan seal)

    …if you want a credit card

    …if you want insurance (auto, life, property)

    …if you want a driver license

    …if you want to buy a car

    …if you are involved in a traffic accident

    …if you want Permanent Residency (eijuuken)

    …if you want to buy property

    …if you want to sell your property, apartment or house

    …if you want to start your own business (see Ch 3 pg ##)

    …if you need counseling or psychiatric help

    …if you want to take Japanese citizenship (kika)

    …if you want to run for public office (see Ch 7 pg ##)


    (For visa overstay and other Immigration issues, see Ch 1. pg ##)

    …if you are asked for a passport or ID (“Gaijin Card”) check by police

    …if you are asked for a passport or Gaijin Card check by anyone else

    …if you are arrested or taken into custody by the police

    …if you are a victim of a crime


    (What we mean by “discrimination”, pg ##)

    …if you are refused entry to a business

    …if you are refused entry to a hotel

    …if you are refused an apartment

    …if you have a problem with your landlord, or are threatened with eviction

    …if you are refused a loan

    …if you want to protest something you feel is discriminatory


    (Types of courts in Japan, pg ##)

    …if you want legal advice, or need to find a lawyer

    …if you want to go to court

    …if you want to go to small-claims court (for fraud, broken business contracts, etc.)


    (For labor laws, legal working conditions, and other workplace issues that are not specifically problems, see Ch 1 pg ##)

    …if you want government support for labor dispute negotiations

    …if you want to join or form a labor union

    …if you want to find another job


    …if you want to get married

    …if you want to register your children in Japanese schools

    …if you want to register your newborn Japanese children with non-Japanese names

    …if you have a problem (such as ijime bullying) in your children’s schools

    …if you want to change your children’s schools

    …if you suffer from Domestic Violence

    …if you want to get divorced

    …if you are having visitation, child custody, or child support problems

    …if you are a pregnant out of wedlock by a Japanese man



    – Corporate Retirement Benefits (taishokukin)

    – Pension (nenkin)

    – Private annuity (kojin nenkin)

    – Long-term investment


    – Elderly care and Nursing Care Insurance (kaigo hoken)

    – Medical care and Medical services for the aged (roujin hoken)

    – Guardian for adults (seinen kouken)


    – Inheritance (souzoku) and taxes

    – Last Will and Testament (yuigon, igon)

    – Japanese rules regarding family inheritance


    – Culturally-sensitive funerals (osoushiki)

    – Japanese cremation rules

    – Repatriating a body for ceremonies overseas

    – Maintaining a funeral plot in Japan


    1. How to find a group

    2. Starting your own group

    3. Formalizing your group (NGOs etc.)

    4. Making activism more than just a hobby.

    5. Running for elected office

    6. Staying positive when people claim “Japan will never change”

    7. Conclusions


    INDEX (Japanese and English)



    I hope you will consider getting a copy of this book. If you have already, and would like to leave feedback or advice for future editions of HANDBOOK, please click here!


    BOOKSTORES CONFIRMED SELLING “HANDBOOK” (Because Arudou Debito went there personally and asked them to stock it):

    Amazon Japan, see entry for HANDBOOK here.

    TOKYO: Good Day Books Ebisu, Tower Records Shibuya 7F, Aoyama Book Center near Roppongi Station, Aoi Bookstore near Roppongi Station, Aoyama Book Center Roppongi Hills, Tsutaya Roppongi Hills (gave me my biggest order–30 books!), Tokyo University Bookstore, Maruzen Honten Marunouchi, Yaesu Book Center 8F near Tokyo Station East Exit, Dan Books Hamamatsu-Cho, Kinokuniya Shinjuku Honten, Kinokuniya Shinjuku Minami-Ten, Junkudo Ikebukuro, Aoyama Book Center Honten Omotesando, Shibuya Book 1st, Blue Parrot Books Takadanobaba.

    OSAKA: Namba Book 1st, OCAT Maruzen 5F, Sanseido Shinsaibashi Sogo Dept 12F, Kinokuniya Umeda by BIG MAN, Asahiya Books Umeda 7F.

    KOBE: Foreign Buyers Club (FBC) Rokko Island

    OKAYAMA: Ekimae “Happy” (formely Daiei) Dept. Store 5F Hon no Mori no Seruba

    SENDAI: Maruzen, Junkudo (Loft 7F), Junkudo (I-Beans Bldg)

    SAPPORO:  Sanseido (Daimaru Department Store 8F), Kinokuniya Sapporo Eki, Coach and Four Shinkawa, Coach and Four Munich Bridge, Asahiya Shoten Sapporo Eki, Atene Shoten Eki Mae Doori.

    SHIN CHITOSE AIRPORT (the main Hokkaido airport): Bunkyodo 1F, Kinokuniya 2F

    FUKUOKA: Kinokuniya Hakata Eki


    Tokyo’s top investment bank has made HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS standard reading for all of its expatriate staff in or arriving in Japan, according to Ben Goodyear, former head of IT there.

    Thanks for your support! Arudou Debito and Higuchi Akira

    38 Responses to ““HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS & IMMIGRANTS” 2nd Edition”

    1. Sonia Says:


      i just found about your page the other day reading news about the new procedures of entry in japan ^_^

      i think your web is really great and when you release that book i’m going to get a copy for sure.

      Actually I’m studying a lot of japanese and sending CV’s in order to get a job in Japan ^_^

      Thank you very much for this web

    2. Goye Says:

      Hi, Debito (or should I say David):

      I’m married with a Japanese citizen, and now I’m filing my COE. I’m expecting Immigration Office’s answer, but they said that my processing would take between 1 month to 3. Anyways, I’m interested in your book, but since I live in Colombia, I was wondering if there’s a way to get it. I also have a mailing address in the USA, in case you find it better to send it there.

      You site is so enlighting for me.

      Despite my wife, I also have a couple of impressions and perceptions of how Japanese act outside of their country. So, if you want, I could share with you those impressions.

      Thank you so much for putting so much effort in standarizing relationships between Non-Japanese and Japanese.


    3. Goye Says:

      Hi Debito:

      is your book available yet? Can we think about buying it? It looks so interesting reading!

      Greetings !


    4. John k Says:

      Sounds like a good read.
      During my brief period of living here in Japan, so far, I could give endless current references to aid your book with examples, not all good ones either sadly.

      General comment. The layout of this part of the website is very similar to another I came across called Ampontan. However because i asked questions and asked questions based upon peoples reply (to ascertain if they actually knew what they were saying), which were contrary to what they expected, my posts are now blocked, hahaha. Some poeple are open and not affraid to state their beliefs or even allow someone else a voice even if it is anethema to their own. The more i read your blogs/website the more i realise your views, opinions and logic is very similar to mine!

      Keep up the good work…i’ll drop by your book signing too.

    5. jim Says:

      i would like to come to your speech at the franco? IN OSAKA, could you tell me more detatils about your visit there in march so that i can attend and get a copy of the book, thanks jim


    6. mappo Says:

      What’s the thinking behind writing a book for non-Japanese people in Japanese? Seems kinda pointless to me…

      –Most NJ in Japan are not from Anglophone countries. I have no concrete stats, but probably tens if not hundreds of thousands cannot read English. Many, however, can read Japanese, especially when you put furigana above it. That’s for them. And also native Japanese readers as well, who no doubt can use the information to help their NJ friends. That’s the point. Anyway, please consider buying the book for yourself as well? Debito

    7. Martin Says:

      How much should we expect to pay for the book ? If it is too expensive, I’ll buy it but will have to eat canned tuna and white rice for about 2 weeks… for the taste, I’ll get some wasabi.

      I don’t know the price of the book as yet. It’s not my decision, I’m afraid. Whatever the price is, I hope it will be worth it. Please do pick up a book of the stand (I’ll have information what stores carry it soon, probably Tower Records 7F Shibuya is your best bet), thumb through it, and see if it’s worth the wasabi. Debito

    8. debito Says:

      Hi Martin. The price is 2300 yen plus tax, 2415 yen after taxes. Buy the book from me directly at one of the venues above and pay no tax. Debito

    9. Martin Says:

      Pretty cheap. I’ll try to attend one of your conferences and get it from you. I’ll put my colorblind-style-green-pink-brown-ultraman-with-a-turquoise-moustache-outift so you can recognize me. Wasabimashita.

      –Excellent! Hope to see you ultrafast in ultraviolet. Sabisabi Debito

    10. Psiclopz Says:

      Hi Debito,

      Is it possible to get this book sent to the US?



      –Yes it is. Order from Akashi Shoten by faxing them the order form on my site, or else I’ll have details on my site on April 2 on how to order from me directly. Thanks for your interest!

    11. Trans-Pacific Radio » Podcast for February 26, 2008 :: Independent Podcasts from Tokyo, Japan - Japanese News, Politics, Business and Economy Says:

      […] HANDBOOK goes on sale from March 15. If you want to order a copy, see details at Debito’s website at And he closes out this podcast with a song by Duran Duran which has a distinct Japanese influence… Listen Now: […]

    12. Ben Says:


      So glad to see this book coming out, I know it will help 1000’s of people…



      –Thanks Ben! Here’s hoping people like the end product! Debito

    13. zassounotsukushi Says:

      I’m also in the U.S. and want to order the book, but I’m confused about the faxing process. All the form asks for is address and phone number! How does it actually get ordered??

      I want to buy it so bad, but I’m not sure how!

      Debito, you are awesome. And so is transpacificradio.

      –Thanks for the kind words! Send the FAX in (don’t forget the country code +81) and include your email address. I think they send a bill with the book. Anyway, if something is unclear, they’ll contact you by email.

      If all else fails, I’ll use the same method people order my book JAPANESE ONLY overseas–paypal me, and I’ll send it to you myself. However, I haven’t created a site and put up the paypal buttons yet, and won’t be able to do so until after the March 15-April 1 Book Tour. Can you wait until April? I promise you’ll get a copy somehow. Thanks very much for your interest. Debito in Sapporo

    14. Afro Eric Says:


      Contact me regarding selling your book in the USA. Maybe my company (located in California) can save the North/South American buyers some money and you some headache.

      Afro Eric

      –Thanks very much indeed for the kind offer, Eric. Yes please! I’ll be in touch directly. Debito

    15. KP Says:

      Hi Mr. Debito,

      I missed the chance to hear you speak at University of Michigan a couple years ago. I’d like to see you at Shiga University this month. Do you know where I could find more information (in English, hopefully) about the event schedule and location? Thank you!

      –Of course. I’ll be in touch with you directly. Debito

    16. James N Says:

      This book is MINE!!! I have been waiting for a year, and delayed applying for my eijuken. I will also pick up a copy for my friend’s wedding in Sapporo this May. Debito…let me know if you will be free May 16th (金). Let’s get a beer.

      James in Fukushima

      –Sorry to keep you waiting a year! Should be free! And also you can come to Sendai on March 15 (土)for the first leg of the book tour… Debito

    17. Trans-Pacific Radio » Interview with Debito Arudou on the Publication of the Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants :: Independent Podcasts from Tokyo, Japan - Japanese News, Politics, Business and Economy Says:

      […] In this edition of TPR spotlight, Debito Arudou joins TPR’s Garrett DeOrio and Ken Worsley to discuss the upcoming release of his new book, Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants, which is set to go on sale from March 15. […]

    18. Anon. Says:

      “BOOKSTORES CONFIRMED SELLING “HANDBOOK” (Because Arudou Debito went there personally and asked them to stock it):

      TOKYO: Tower Records Shibuya 7F”

      I just returned from the Shibuya Tower Records and as of 3/20 they still do not have any copies in stock. They told me that it is on order from the publisher, but unfortunately no shipments have arrived yet.

      –Sorry about that. Hopefully they have them stocked by now. Thanks for checking… Debito in Tokyo

    19. Chris Says:

      I just ordered a copy from by cutting and pasting the nihongo title into the book search. It was the last copy but more are on the way.

    20. Robert M Says:

      Thanks, I just ordered a copy from the link you provided to

    21. Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan | BLACK TOKYO Says:

      […] For detailed information on the book, the preface, and excerpts (see below) click here. […]

    22. Mark Cunningham Says:


      Could someone address this on your site? When a permanent resident does return to Japan within the specified time period, what exactly has to be done? I assume one has to get a new visa. Do you have to be living in Japan officially to get it? What else is needed in terms of paperwork? Is there a minimum stay?

      Your site looks better than ever. Great stuff all around.


    23. Chris B Says:

      I read the book cover to cover. The book is an excellent overview of how to survive living in Japan. I was surprised by just how comprehensive it was, of course it left me wanting to know even more detail, but the line had to be drawn somewhere and you get more detail than you could have hoped for (the book even goes into, for example, the different types of business you could set up!). You can tell it has been written by collating real life experience too, which is great. It is also brilliant that the book has the Japanese side by side with the English – so nice to have a book which my wife and I can both read properly, and such a key book, this is just great. It would also mean that new comers could probably get help from Japanese by showing them the relevant page (I bet plenty of Japanese don’t know half the information in the book).

      In summary this book is a must have for anyone who has not grown up in Japan and would probably find use with some who have, well worth the money. I only wish it had existed when I first lived in Japan.

    24. debito Says:


      Hi !

      A little while ago you kindly sent me (from Sapporo no less) a copy of your book (Handbook for Newcomers). I’ve taken time to read through it carefully and wanted to offer my praise at the work.

      For someone like myself (who plans to visit next year, and if all goes well return for an extended stay), the book contained invaluable information. While other titles I own touch on subjects like Visas, COE, SOR etc. and laws which one should be aware of, none do so to this extent. I was really pleased the book was bilingual as well. I liked the way your website tied into the book nicely, providing further reading and references.

      For future versions, my only personal suggestion perhaps is an extension on culture and habits perhaps – but maybe that could warrant an entirely separate book. Either way, well done, and thank you very much.

      Best regards

      Christopher HAGON

    25. Tadashi Ishida Says:

      I took the liberty of putting the information on the book onto my website mentioned above as the book seems to be very informative.

      — Thanks Tadashi!! Nice to see you last weekend.

    26. Phil Says:

      Hi, a very interesting and well overdue idea! I lived in Japan for quite a few years, and would love to help you put things in Portuguese if you need – Brazilians form one of Japan’s largest minorities (though the numbers are diminishing fast on account of the economic downturn!) and many make the decision to settle permanently. Your book could really help a great deal!

      — Thanks! It’s the small problem of finding a publisher. And I have tried.

    27. Vicki Says:

      Just picked up a copy of this in the Kinokuniya Shinjuku Honten yesterday and it’s great! Very informative and full of resources for further reading. As somebody who has married a Japanese, bought property and is now expecting a child here, I wish I’d known about this book a long time ago! I know I’ll be referring to it while I get ready to apply for PR and write my will.
      One thing: it was rather hard to find. I headed straight for the foreign books floor, and they were completely unable to find it. The sales staff ended up Googling the book in order to look it up- and finally found copies on the 3rd floor.
      Since I’m assuming the target audience for this book is foreigners, it will probably help sales if it’s moved up to the 7th floor foreign section. I know I would have picked it up years ago if I’d seen it while browsing.
      Anyway, thanks again for writing this handbook!

      — Thanks for letting me know about this, and sorry for the hassle!

    28. arin Says:

      Japan is changing everytime. Are you planning to release a new edition of HANDBOOK (maybe) next year? How about SOUR STRAWBERRIES part 2?

      I am quite sure that there are many other (important) stuffs the producer wanted in the video but couldn’t due to legal issues.

      There are many videos in youtube you can find regarding the dark-side of Japan but they are not very professional, instead it wants to send a message ” please hate Japan for this ” which I already find very disturbing. SOUR STRAWBERRIES however sends a ” please be aware ” message to the viewers who likes to see Japan as their 2nd home country. Thats the main reason why I visit almost everyday. It is great to have someone trying to make life easier but still staying on the neutral side.

    29. Jair Says:

      Hi Debito & everyone:

      Just wanted to let you know that neither of the 4 Roppongi bookstores of the list have the book in stock anymore, nor are they planning to backorder:

      Aoyama Book Center near Roppongi Station, Aoi Bookstore near Roppongi Station, Aoyama Book Center Roppongi Hills, Tsutaya Roppongi Hills (so they sold the 30 copies).

      Of course they did offer ordering the book from the publisher, so it’s not like I won’t get my copy.

      — Pity. My publisher is embroiled in a huge labor dispute at the moment, so maybe they’re chary. Thanks for letting me know. I guess all people can do is download the order flyer and take it to the bookstore. By book publishing standards, the book is already quite ancient at two years old, so they might put in two or three copies at the most anyway.

    30. mamoru Says:

      Hi Debito-san.

      I will be a few days in Sapporo at the beginning of May and I’m wondering if the book will be available at the local stores.
      Not a resident of Japan myself, but if thought it should be worth reading it and also it makes a good present for a friend, so I would like to buy two copies.

      Thank you.

      — Probably not on bookshelves. But you can order it from me or from the stores. See here.

    31. Danieru Says:


      I was just wondering if you were coming out with an updated second edition anytime in the near future?


      — Thanks for asking. We came out with our second printing with some revisions then.

    32. Nelson Says:

      This looks like an interesting book, would it be available as an iphone app? or a downloadable pdf file?


      — Not yet. Thinking about it!

    33. Jan Sival Says:


      I’ve been wanting to buy this book, but on Amazon I can only find the paperback version.
      Do you have any plans to release this on Kindle?


      — None as yet, sorry, Jan. My publisher is still behind the times.

    34. Nathalie Says: doesn’t offer the 2nd edition, have just found the 1st.

    35. Sara Says:

      Hi Debito!

      I have been reading your book and it is interesting and useful, thanks for sharing all this information. On the other hand, you recommend to readers to learn japanese, and I would like to ask you if you have some book, or if you know some other book or website for to learn japanese for dyslexic people.


      — Hi Sara. Thanks for the kind words. I’m not sure what can be done about that. I might be wrong, but I remember that dyslexia awareness seems to be low in Japan — my ex-wife, for one person, had never heard of the condition, even after I showed her an official translation of it. So not sure how that will work out. Good luck! Debito

    36. Sze Yao Tan Says:


      Just wanted to say thanks to you and Higuchi-san for writing this book. I’ve just finished reading the entire thing today, in both English and Japanese. It was not only useful and interesting, but also a great Japanese learning aid (with both English and furigana).

      Do you happen to know of other similar kinds of books with both English 対訳 and furigana? Most books have one or the other, but your book is the only one on the market with both. If you don’t know of any other books, have you ever considered filling this niche in the Japanese learning market?

      Sorry if I appear to be missing the main point of the book – but I think there has been sufficient (and completely justified) praise in that regard! :)

      Warmest regards,


      — Thanks Sze. We don’t know offhand, and that’s why we wrote it! Thanks for the kind words!

    37. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Sze, the Hiragana Times used to publish a whole series of them. The magazine, I think, does the same thing, though I haven’t read it in years.

      Have a look at their website; the article that appears in the graphic seems to be just what you want:

    38. Sze Says:

      Thanks Mark in Yayoi! I used to have a subscription to the Hiragana Times, but forgot to renew my subscription …. I was hoping for more sustained reading material, like a book. But thank you very much for reaching out and being so helpful!

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