From: Olaf Karthaus <> (by way of Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle)
Date: Mon Jan 8, 2001 2:11pm
Subject: kanji textbook (reforwarding)

Dear all,

whatever the new millenium has for us, one thing will not change in the near future: the image of foreigners in the japanese society. Schools - and education in general - plays a very important role in (in)forming the human mind, especially children. Publishers have a share in the correct and unbiased education of children.

Recently I found yet another example in which foreigners are depicted in a stereotyped way. This time in a kanji learn-book for second graders. Have a look at

The address and contact information of the publisher is given. Requests for information/clarification/correction should be directed to the publisher. I suggest that this material should be added to the community web-site and that The Community and/or Issho Kikaku should monitor the situation. You might think that this is an effort in vain, because of the sheer number of similar cases, but we have to start somewhere.

This kind of stereotyping HAS definitely an effect on children. Just this week, during skiing, I had the best example: a boy fell down on the slope, and I wanted to help him. He did not understand me, even though I spoke Japanese. Just by seeing me he switched to a 'I do not understand English' mode. His own mistake, because then he tried to reach his ski - which fell off WITH the boot - by himself. Lesson to learn: if a foreigner is there you get wet socks?



Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 22:19:06 +0900
From: "Tim Greer" <>
Subject: Carrot Nosed Foreigners and Kanji Textbooks

Olaf identified the following problem:

>Recently I found yet another example in which foreigners are depicted in
>a stereotyped way. This time in a kanji learn-book for second graders.
>Have a look at

Personally I was pretty put out that this kind of picture could appear in a textbook so I wrote the following letter to the email address I found at the homepage above.


埒竦香酣音音飛沿酋郎香倨音倫逅歧迷舢剛髒 治厝面陋兼悝滵音服焨誖革陋猦迫音飛朋值厝襱匪苛茄釜歧訖倚凍(訌酒歧箘繑沫朋個峖滵厝睮服值面沿治陋迫倫藀絎厝蚓剪訏迷陋音与棈纜陋驄厝猱陋厝朾厝鸑香穟迫迫凍朋噌剝蒚郎厝倌倫剝璸厝与棈纜匪兼廳剝香服倣俺酋俺值倫剝礒兼凍猱稦鸑音迫凍朋






And then today, what do you know, I get a suitably sincere apology and a promise that the offending picture will not appear in any future editions of the textbook. Here is the apology.








What do you think?

I am fairly convinced that they had no bad intentions behind the picture, and that they will be more careful next time.

It made me think that such simple protests can be quitely informative for the publisher, without having to make a public issue out of it.

I'd be interested in knowing if Olaf or anyone else wrote a similar letter to Mr Yonokawa in this case?