NOTE: This page is no longer being updated. It
archives signs from 1992-2014. More recent updates (and
there are plenty) can be found at the Debito.org Blog at http://www.debito.org/?cat=75.
Spot a "Japanese Only" sign? Send it to Debito at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't let anyone convince you that the problem
isn't spreading nationwide in Japan...
"THE ROGUES' GALLERY"
PHOTOS OF PLACES IN JAPAN WHICH EXCLUDE OR RESTRICT NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS
(Last revised April 2014)
Page down to English explanation of this site's goals and modus operandi
Page down immediately to index of places with exclusionary signs
（北海道稚 内市（温泉、スポーツ店舗、理髪店）、紋 別市（レストラン、カラオケ店、温泉、バー）、小 樽市（温泉）、札 幌市（ラーメン屋、バー）青 森県三沢市（バー）、秋 田県秋田市（ディスコ）、東 京都新宿区と歌舞伎町（ホテル、バー）、東京都台東区浅草（レ ストラン）、東 京都港区青山通り（女性専用エステサロン）、東 京都荻窪（ホテル、バー）、 東京都南麻布（バレースクール）、東京都秋葉原（雑貨 店）、埼 玉県 越谷市（バーなど）、埼 玉県戸田市（バーなど）、山 梨県甲府市 （温泉）、群 馬県伊勢崎市（バーなど）、群馬県太田市（バー）、静 岡県浜松市（雑貨店、宝石屋、バーなど）、名 古屋市（ディスコ）、岡崎市（インタネットカフェー）、北 國新聞石川県野々市（北國新聞のセールズ）、京 都府（ホテル）、大阪府大東市（眼鏡屋）、大阪市福島区（不動産屋）、神戸市西宮（バー）、岡 山県倉敷市（バー）、広島県広島市（バーなど）、北九州市小倉（レストラン）、沖縄県沖縄市諸見里とうるま市具志川（カラオケて店とビリヤード店）、その他、場所（東京都池袋、東京都築地、広島）・年月日が不明の看板）
What this page is for:
Despite being a signatory (since 1995) to the UN Convention on
Racial Discrimination, Japan has taken no legislative
action to bar businesses and other public places from refusing
entry to customers based on nationality and race. Starting from
1993 in Otaru,
Hokkaido, and now running unchecked throughout
Japan, signs saying "JAPANESE ONLY" etc have gone up,
making an unspoken undercurrent of fear of the outsider into
clear, present, and brazen exclusionism--following the best
traditions of segregation and apartheid. The Japanese
government's steadfast refusal to
outlaw this form of discrimination by nationality and race has
only made the situation worse, so the time has come for the
grassroots to take matters to the street. Or to the internet, as
This page will call for the sanction of public shame by putting up photos of those exclusionary enterprises, including name, address, phone number, etc. The photos have dates for when they were taken. Some signs depicted may (thankfully) no longer be up; however, the photos will stay up in perpetuity, as a record of past misdeeds that should not be allowed to fade into anecdotery (criminal records, after all, linger for individual miscreants). Contact the business in question to see if an exclusionary policy is still in effect.
Submissions to The Rogues' Gallery are welcome.
I ask the submitter to please send
reasonable-quality photo of 1) the storefront (if possible with name of
the establishment clear and the sign displayed) and 2) a closeup of the exclusionary sign, dated,
with the name and approximate address of the place. (Sorry, we cannot "just take your word for it" that
some place excluded you--we need a sign of some sort or else
there will be libel lawsuits). I would prefer that these places be open to
anyone (i.e. that these
places not be sex shops or enterprises specifically catering
to the prurient interest--because in these cases the issue
gets blurry. However, bars, discos, etc are acceptible.). Particularly those which are
essential for daily life (hotels, stores, restaurants,
public baths, housing etc.). Your anonymity will be respected. That's what the
photos are for--incontrovertible evidence.
I recommend that readers tell their friends, particularly their Japanese friends, to stay away from the following establishments, even register a complaint with the owner or manager for an unreasonable policy. Japanese yen coming from foreigners has the same value as if it came from a Japanese. There is no justifiable reason whatsoever, regardless of the business' past experience with some foreign custom, to apply a blanket exclusion to everyone who looks foreign. That is why there is an international treaty against it.
And why, if Japan would keep treaty promises made all the way back in 1996, there should be a law against it.
-- Arudou Debito (formerly Dave Aldwinckle), Moderator, The Rogues' Gallery
LOCATIONS REFUSING OR RESTRICTING NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS
(click to page down)
Onsens in Otaru (Hokkaido), Bars, baths, karaoke, and restaurant in Monbetsu City (Hokkaido), Public bath and sports store in Wakkanai (Hokkaido), Pachinko parlor, restaurant, and nightlife in Sapporo (Hokkaido), Bars in Misawa (Aomori Pref), Disco in Akita City (Akita Pref), Hotels and Bar in Shinjuku and Kabukicho (Tokyo Shinjuku-ku), Restaurant in Asakusa, Tokyo (Tokyo Taito-ku), Ballet School in Minami-Azabu (Tokyo Minato-ku), Seafood restaurant in Tsukiji (Tokyo Minato-ku), Weapons etc. store in Akihabara (Tokyo Chiyoda-ku), Women's (i.e for women customers) Relaxation Boutique in Aoyama Doori (Tokyo Minato-ku), Bar in Ogikubo (Tokyo Suginami-ku), Bars in Koshigaya (Saitama Pref), Bar in Toda-Shi (Saitama Pref), Stores and nightclubs in Hamamatsu (Shizuoka Pref), Onsen in Kofu City (Yamanashi Pref), Nightlife in Isesaki City (Gunma Pref), Nightlife in Ota City (Gunma Pref), Bars in Nagoya City (Aichi Pref), Internet Cafe in Okazaki City (Aichi Pref), Hokkoku Shinbun Newspaper in Nonochi, Ishikawa Pref. (yes, you read that right), Onsen Hotel in Kyoto, Eyeglass store in Daitou City (Osaka Pref), Apartments in Fukshima-ku (Osaka City), Bar in Kobe Nishinomiya (Hyogo Pref), Bar in Kurashiki (Okayama Pref), Nightclub and Bar in Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref), Restaurant in Kokura, Kitakyushu City (Fukuoka Pref), Billiards hall and Karaoke hall in Uruma City Gushikawa and Moromizato (Okinawa Pref), Miscellaneous exclusionary signs (Tokyo Ikebukuro, Kabukicho, Hiroshima).
LOCATIONS WITH OPEN-DOOR POLICIES FOR NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS
Yes, there are places which publicly recognize
that refusing customers on the basis of color of skin or
passport is not cricket. They should be known about here as well
to provide balance. The
Nago Bar and Restaurant Association in Nago, Okinawa, is bucking the trend with open-door
signs (since Okinawan refusals of American soldiers--therefore
all foreigners--are Legion). As are realtors in Saitama Prefecture with stickers
saying they'll rent to anyone regardless of nationality. Well and good. May these businesses prosper.
Want to do something about this rising exclusionism in Japan? See my WHAT TO DO IF site and click on the relevant links! Or, if you have a store of your own:
"WELCOME NON-JAPANESE CUSTOMERS"
DEBITO.ORG STICKERS FOR BUSINESSES WITH OPEN-DOOR POLICIES
THE ISSUE ON YOUR CHEST
GET YOURSELF A GENUINE "JAPANESE ONLY" T-SHIRT! DETAILS HERE
(Address: Otaru-Shi Temiya 1-5-20, Phone (0134) 31-4444) EXCLUDES FOREIGNERS FROM ITS OPENING DAY, JULY 1998.
The tall photo on the left was taken on Sept 19,
1999 in front of Yunohana "Onsen" super-sento, the largest
family-oriented bathhouse in Otaru.
Note the red arrow. It points to a doorside placard exclaiming in red orthography "JAPANESE ONLY" in English, Japanese, and Russian. Closeup of this sign is directly below this text. (Photo Credits: Olaf Karthaus and Dave Aldwinckle)
However, as the red sign in English proved highly photogenic in the international media, it would be replaced (see Olaf in the yellow coat substantiating the date, January 3, 2000).
The new sign by Olaf still refuses foreigners by
saying, in translation by Arudou Debito, "Due
to various circumstances, we are refusing entry to foreigners.
Furthermore, we will be deliberating on this policy from now
on." This "deliberation period
would stretch stretch out for over a year--even for two and a
half months after Arudou Debito went to the onsen on Oct 31,
2000 to be refused
as a Japanese citizen. It ended suddenly when a lawsuit
against them for racial discrimination was made public on Jan
16, 2001; within 24 hours, within the wee hours of Jan 17, 2001,
the sign was down and replaced by two photocopies--outlining
bathing rules provided by the city, and four
conditions for entry for foreigners only. But only, of
course, after sixteen months (Sept 1999 to Jan 2001) of
fruitless negotiations with Yunohana and hand-wringing by the
Otaru City authorities.
STATUS REPORT: In April 2006, the Otaru Lawsuit finished--the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, claiming it is "not a constitutional issue". Read more about the Otaru Onsens Case in book form here in two languages. Yunohana still refuses all foreigners "who do not speak Japanese" at all (now three) of their bathhouses--in Otaru Temiya, Otaru Asari, and Sapporo Minami-ku Jozankei, one of Hokkaido's biggest onsen resort areas.
As of 2012, word has reached the Rogues' Gallery moderator that Yunohana no longer has exclusionary policies.
(click on pictures to see larger image)
Photos taken November 15, 2003, by Arudou Debito
LOCATION: "Yukemuri Monbetsu Tokkari no Yu"
bathhouse (Monbetsu-shi Saiwai-chou
4-1-1, Ph. 01582-4-1726), opened April 2003 as a public-private
sector hybrid (dai-san sector). Photo taken Sept 16, 2003.
The Japanese version of the sign translates as: "Because manners are not observed, for the time being, we refuse entry to all sailors of foreign ships." The Russian version is much more direct: "Where is, dear sirs, your respect for our rules? In the bath the entrance of STAFF OF FOREIGN SHIPS is temporarily PROHIBITED."
ロシア語で この看板はもっと率直です（ロシア語が読める友人が出典、●●の間は強調のために 原文が大文字）。
「船員様よ、我々の ●ルール● に対する尊 敬はどうなりましたか？当分の間、我々の風呂には ●外国船乗り組み員● の入浴が ●禁じられています●」。
According to the Japanese press, the bathhouse claims Russian sailors have been making a mess and decided to ban their entry. It joins the ranks of Hamanasu Shoutengai and Monbetsu Onsen (behind Monbetsu Prince Hotel), which have been refusing all foreigners with "Japanese Only Store" signs ("nihonjin senyou ten", in Russian, see below) and policies unabated since 2000 (http:// www.debito.org/lawsuitbackground.html#end-year), despite government warnings and negative publicity.
FURTHER SUBSTANTIATION: See Sept 8, 2003 Hokkaido Shinbun and Mainichi Shinbun articles in Japanese.
STATUS REPORT: SUCCESS! Thanks to all the press coverage, as of January 23, 2004, "Yukemuri Monbetsu Tokkari no Yu" has taken its signs down (see photo above) and opened its doors to customers of all nationalities (However, they do explain the rules using multilingual notices at the counter to foreign-looking customers; so if you find that belittling, sorry. Politely express your discontent to the management. This is still progress.) (Photo taken by Arudou Debito on February 5, 2004. Click on photo to see larger image.) And as of January 4, 2005, a visit Tokkari no Yu revealed a sign that says, in Russian and Japanese, that rules must be followed or the police will be contacted. We were given no hassles at the counter, either. Three Russians we met inside were rule-abiding, of course.
(click on pictures to see larger image)
LOCATION: "JOY" Restaurant (a buffet all-you-can-eat style family restaurant inside the abovementioned "Yukemuri Monbetsu Tokkari no Yu" bathhouse)
Sign outside the premises (in Russian only) says:
English: "Please. If you are not accompanied by a Japanese or by a Japanese speaker, you are not allowed to enter the premises."
Japanese: 「お願い。日本人あるいは 日本語をしゃ べれる人と一緒じゃないと入れません」
Photos taken November 15, 2003, by Arudou Debito
UPDATE: Joy took their sign down in February 2004, and as of Jan 3, 2005, has menus in Russian, including a notice in Russian that they now serve vodka. Bravo! ジョイは０４年２月に 看板を外し、０５年１月現在、ロシア語のメニューを提示しています。ありがとうご ざいました！）(click here to see photo)
LOCATION: One of many eating and drinking establishments in Hamanasu Doori, Monbetsu, Hokkaido. Photo taken July 2000 by Hokkaido Shinbun. NHK reported on July 4, 2000, that the Ministry of Justice Division of Human Rights, Asahikawa Branch, issued a letter of warning (Japanese here) to a restaurateur's union (inshokuten kumiai) in Hamanasu Doori, a nightlife district in Monbetsu City, Hokkaido. This union, it is revealed, has since 1995 actively solicited, made, and sold signs which said, in Cyrillic, "Japanese-Only Store" (see photo at left)--ostensibly to shut out all Russian sailors visiting this seaport town. By year-end and despite the Ministry Justice, a February 28, 2001 broadcast of TBS TV Program "Koko ga Hen da yo, Nihonjin", about 50 establishments still have the exclusionary signs up. Examples (click on pictures to see larger image):
(Sunakku "Don", Monbetsu Hamanasu Doori) ２００５年１月４日 現在、看板は未だに掲げています。
(Karaoke Parlor "O-edo", Monbetsu-shi Honmachi 5-chome, Tel 01582-3-1010. Click on picture to see larger image)
(２００５年１月４日 現在、看板は外されています。ここをク リックして ご覧下さい。）
Monbetsu Onsen "Bijin no Yu", Monbetsu-shi Minato-chou 7, Ph 01582-3-7909
All Photos taken November 15, 2003, by Arudou Debito
Signs still up as of January 5, 2006.
Oden, Yakitori, and Ramen
Restaurant "Torichiyo" (Monbetsu-shi Honmachi 6-chome 4-26)
Signs are still up at these and fifteen other establishments in Monbetsu Hamanasu Doori as of January 5, 2008
(２００８年１月５日現在、この店舗とその他の１５ヶ所に看 板は未だに 掲げています)
Note that this is not a bar, with inebriation part of the patronage, or a public bath which can claim contagion or problems with public health. This is a restaurant. What's next? Supermarkets? Hospitals? We already have instances of refusals at a sports store and a barber in Wakkanai...
（注意 ：これはレストランです。飲屋ではなく、公衆浴場ではありません。次ぎはスー パーや病院ですか。稚 内市で のスポーツ店や理髪店の ケー スは既にありましたが・・・）
Nov 15, 2003 Monbetsu Report available here.
STATUS REPORT: Sept 2003 newspaper articles indicate the problem is spreading, and a phone call to a Monbetsu journalist shortly afterwards by Arudou Debito reveals the signs are still up in some places, unabated, after nearly a decade. A November 15, 2003 Monbetsu visit report by Olaf Karthaus and Arudou Debito reveals that signs are up in bars, baths, restaurants, and even a karaoke parlor.
NEWS FLASH: International Herald Tribune (April 23, 2004), from New York Times (May 12, 2004) on discrimination in Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Japan: "Unwelcome Mat: Bars in a Japanese port keep Russians outside".
NEWS FLASH: (Feb 6, 2004) OLAF KARTHAUS AND ARUDOU DEBITO SUBMIT PETITIONS TO MONBETSU CITY HALL CALLING FOR DRAFT ORDINANCES (jourei) FORBIDDING RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THEIR MUNICIPALITY (see text of petition and ordinance here).
IN RESPONSE, NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FROM OKHOTSK SHINBUN (Jan 10, 2004) AND HOKKAIDO SHINBUN (Jan 30, 2004) ANNOUNCE IMPENDING SUBMISSIONS, AND THE ABOVEMENTIONED "Yukemuri Monbetsu Tokkari no Yu" BATHHOUSE'S INTENTION TO TAKE DOWN ITS SIGNS.
「ロシア人入浴どうぞ 『お断り』撤去 受け入れ再開」へ のリンク：
オホーツク新聞（１月１０日付）の一覧表「人種差別撤 廃条例 陳情へ」へのリンク：
２００４年２月５～６ 日に稚内紋別両市議会への人種差別撤廃陳情 提出に関する新聞記事はここです。陳 情書と条例案 はここです。
NEW STATUS REPORT: (February 9, 2004) SUCCESS! Thanks to all the press coverage and repeated entreaties to the management by Olaf Karthaus and Arudou Debito to take the signs down, both Karaoke Parlor O-edo and Restaurant "Joy" have taken their signs down (see photos below) and opened its doors to customers of all nationalities. (Photos taken by Arudou Debito and friends on February 6 and 7, 2004. Click on photos to see larger image.).
Restaurant "Joy" after removing its
"Japanese Speakers Only" sign from its menu stand.
Karaoke Parlor "O-edo" has its
"Japanese Only" sign in Russian taken down by Olaf
Karthaus (left) and Arudou Debito.
However, the signs still remain up at Sunakku "Don" and Monbetsu Onsen, as well as 26 other places around Monbetsu, according to local sources which went from bar to bar on a sign hunt on January 30, 2004. A cursory search by Rogues' Gallery Monitor on January 3-5, 2005 still found at least five in plain sight.
Other Reference Materials:
Aug 22, 2000 Doshin, Yomiuri, and Mainichi Articles (Japanese)
Photo Substantiation of discrimination in Wakkanai and Monbetsu, and a April 2000 Report by Dave Aldwinckle.
A May 2001 on-site preliminary report of a follow-up visit by Arudou Debito, Olaf Karthaus, and Ken Sutherland is also available.
Nov 17, 2003 Hokkaido Shinbun Okhotsk Version article (Japanese) 「『外 国人お断 り』の 入浴施設問題 外国人船員受け入れて 拒否訴訟の大学高師訴え」北海道新聞オ ホーツク海版２００３年１１月１７日（朝）
UPDATE AUGUST 2006:
Another sign bites the dust:
(Click on photo for larger image. Photo taken August 28, 2006 by Chris Gunson.)
Location: Yakiniku Restaurant Mitsuen (Monbetsu Ph 01582-4-3656), just off Hamanasu Doori. Hear a sound file of how Rogues' Gallery Monitor Arudou Debito (pictured above in tip-top condition, having cycled 800 kms to get there negotiated to get the sign down (with Debito stuttering in surprise at how easy it was, and Chris giggling at the end)! Note the recording device on Debito's collar, and the cat to the back left. That cat was fed shortly before by the owners. Cats welcome, foreigners not. Luckily, when we asked them to take the sign down, they quickly complied! Pity it only took six years and a coaxing from us.
(２００１ 年４月和英ルポはこちらです。2001 Eyewitness report in English and Japanese here.）
Location: YURANSEN ONSEN
(Wakkanai-Shi Suehiro 3-6, Ph (0162) 24-2619--see
sign at right), which actually provides separate
entrances for foreigners. There are
three segregated facilities--the REGULAR
BATHS, which as offically-recognized
Public Baths (Koushuu Yokujou) cost 360 yen to get into (460 additional for sauna
entry), and FAMILY BATHS, which cost 800 yen; both of these facilities are
forbidden to foreigners.
The third facility is the SAUNA FOR FOREIGN GUESTS (see pictures below), where foreigners pay a flat fee of 2500 yen (including rental of towel, trunks, and bathrobe). This is in violation of Section Two, Clause 1 of the Hokkaido Public Bath Ordinance (Koushuu Yokujou Hou Shikou Jourei, Hokkaido Jourei No 3), which establishes that Public Baths are "necessary and essential" (hitsuyou fukaketsu) enterprises for the public health of "regional residents" (chiiki juumin)--which of course includes taxpaying foreigners. It is also unisex (not divided between male and female sections), which is illegal.
Governmental awareness of this activity has been confirmed by Mr Kouno, Wakkanai Hokensho Seikatsu Eiseika Kankyou Eisei Kakari (ph. 0162-23-6161), who acknowledges this exclusion of foreigners but claims they are powerless to stop it. Moreover, this flaunting of the law has an important impact on the atmosphere of enforcement. Mr Ohshima, owner of the Wakkanai franchise of the Yuransen chain, told Dave Aldwinckle on April 9, 2000, "Everyone know's I'm doing this, and nobody has stopped me. So it is not illegal." Moreover, Mr Ohshima told Olaf Karthaus, fellow coordinator of this project, who was turned away at the door on August 10, 1998, after cycling 141 kms: "Well, Otaru is doing it, so so can we."
Photo proof follows (all photos in this section courtesy of Olaf Karthaus and Dave Aldwinckle, taken April 9, 2000):
Yuransen is a big place (the biggest in Wakkanai proper), and it opened on January 23, 1997 with segregated facilities, according to Mr Ohshima. Here is a picture of the front, showing a sign for all three facilities:
Understandibly this is a little hard to see, so let me guide you. The Blue Arrow points to the words "Kazoku Buro Iriguchi", or "Family Bath Entrance". The Yellow Arrow points to "Koushuu Yokujou Iriguchi", or "Public Bath Entrance". The Red Arrows point to the signs, at both the Family and Public Bath entranceways (in English and more detailed Russian only, not Japanese), which say "Sauna For Foreign Guests", with a separate entranceway around the corner. Here is a closeup of the signs by the Public Bath entrance in front for a better view:
Again, note the price difference. 360 yen for Japanese entering the front door, but for those deemed "foreign", their designated side door has a sign saying:
Yes, that's 2500 yen, over six times as much. Of course, it does say underneath (sorry it is so hard to read), "Including the fee for renting a bath towel, a bathrobe, and a pair of bathing trunks", which might sound closer to value for money. But foreigners don't get the choice--many certainly don't need to "rent" bathing trunks. Plaintiff Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle went inside the Gaijin Baths with Mr Ohshima on April 9, 2000, and attests that the tubs and sauna are significantly smaller than the Japanese-only side (this was also confirmed by the manager, Mr Ohshima).
(２００１ 年４月和英ルポはこちらです。2001 Eyewitness report in English and Japanese here.）
Most tellingly, the definition
of "foreignness" for these exclusionary onsen starts from
puberty. This was seen at
Yuransen on July 30, 2000, 1pm, when Hokkaido International
School's basketball coach Adam Fraser cycled from Teshio to
Wakkanai (a distance of 110 kms) accompanied by four of his male
international students. One Japanese/American student was 14
years old and living in Japan eight years, another
Japanese/American was 16 years old living in Japan five years,
one American had lived in Japan twelve of his 16 years, and one
South African boy was born in Japan and lived here all his life.
All students spoke fluent Japanese and knew Japanese bathing
customs from a very young age, yet all were refused at
Yuransen's door and told to go the Gaijin Bath. The two
Japanese-American students eventually mentioned their dual
nationality and were let in, but the Caucasian coach and his two
other Caucasian students were left standing outside until they
finished. There is no other onsen within 15 kms (i.e. a long
bikeride) of Yuransen (NB: there are bathing facilities at
downtown hotel, but it is not an official public bathhouse), the
stranded three eventually got the sweat off their bodies by
bathing in the salty sea.
This silliness must stop as it is thusly affecting our children, the ultimate innocents under these policies.
NEWS FLASH: International Herald Tribune (April 23, 2004), from New York Times (May 12, 2004) on discrimination in Wakkanai and Monbetsu, Japan: "Unwelcome Mat: Bars in a Japanese port keep Russians outside".
STATUS REPORT (August 2006): Public Bathhouse Yuransen went bankrupt in March 2006, maintaining its exclusionary rules all the way to the bitter end.
(Photo taken by Arudou Debito August 26, 2006. Click on photo to see larger image.)
公衆浴場「湯らん銭」０６年３月倒産。「外人お断りをしないと我 らは潰れる」という主張はどうなりましたか。ライバル最北の温泉「どーむ」は外国人をお断りしなくても繁盛しています。教訓 は何でしょう。
The front door bearing all the signs above is behind the pillar and boarded up. The "Gaijin Bath" segregated entranceway is along the wall to the right, between the boarded-up windows. So much for its claim that foreigners, if let in, would drive them out of business.
It's rival onsen, "Doumu" (the northernmost onsen in Japan), is no doubt taking up the slack. And it does not refuse foreigners entry. Anybody hearing any lessons here? Ii kimi da.
LOCATION: SHIDOU SPORTS SHOP (Wakkanai Shiomi 2-6-28)
Here is a photo of the storefront.
It has a sign on the front door, in Russian, which we could not read because we are not Russian speakers (see Red Arrow). A Russian friend sent us a translation later. The sign reads: "They ask Russians no enter" (sic)
Karthaus and Aldwinckle entered Shidou Sports in
April 2000 and asked about what the sign meant, and if we as
foreigners were permitted to be in here. The staff said, "It
means no Russians may enter," and then went on to indicate that
we should not be in here. When we asked about our friends in
Wakkanai who said they were excluded from this store, yet were
not Russian and spoke Japanese, the staff said that foreigners
should be accompanied by Japanese who will take responsibility
for them. Why? "Russians shoplift, throw cigarette butts on the
linoleum floor, try on clothes and leave their body smell (taishuu) on them, and
generally scare the Japanese customers." That may indeed be a
problem, but store's anti-Russian policy is also applied to all
unescorted white foreigners.
STATUS REPORT: (As of April 2000) Shidou Sports took their sign down.
NEWS FLASH: (Feb 5, 2004) OLAF KARTHAUS AND ARUDOU DEBITO SUBMIT PETITION TO WAKKANAI CITY HALL CALLING FOR DRAFT ORDINANCES (jourei) FORBIDDING RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THEIR MUNICIPALITY (see text of petition and ordinance here).
IN RESPONSE, NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FROM OKHOTSK SHINBUN (Jan 10, 2004) AND HOKKAIDO SHINBUN (Jan 30, 2004) ANNOUNCE IMPENDING SUBMISSIONS, AND THE ABOVEMENTIONED MONBETSU DAI-SAN SECTOR ONSEN "Yukemuri Monbetsu Tokkari no Yu" BATHHOUSE'S INTENTION TO TAKE DOWN ITS SIGNS.
道新（１月３０日付）オホーツク版「ロシア人入浴どうぞ 『 お断り』撤去 受け入れ再開」へのリンク：
オホーツク新聞（１月１０日付）の一覧表「人種差別撤 廃条例 陳情へ」へのリンク：
In response to both police-stoked fears of foreign
hooliganism and the profit motive (with the publisher of
Sapporo's bilingual information magazine, XENE, offering
translation services to xenophobes), "Members Only" signs
(Japanese are automatically "members", naturally--especially
since the signs are not even in Japanese) proliferated around
Susukino and downtown Sapporo during the 2002 World Cup.
SUSUKINO EXCLUSIONARY SIGN
(displayed in various bars, nightlife establishments, and even a ramen shop)
EXCLUSIONARY SIGN IN FRONT OF SAPPORO STATION
Pachinko Donkey Ekimaeten Hall
Sapporo Ekimae Doori, Kita 4 Nishi 4 PH (011) 219-4141
June 3, 2002, 8:30 PM
STATUS REPORT: (As of November 2002) The signs soon disappeared after complaints, some press coverage, and the end of the World Cup. Some "soaplands", however (as of January 26, 2004), still have them up--which means this "Members Only" policy has nothing to do with "hooligans". For causing replicable social damage by giving discriminators the tools to ply their trade, Xene issued the following apology:
On the signpostings in Susukino, Sapporo
On the 2002 World Cup and Japan's unfounded fears of hooliganism
Misawa (Aomori Prefecture)
LOCATION: Sunakku "Globe", Misawa-shi Chuo-chou 1-Chome 5-28, Miyabe Bldg 3F, ph 0176-52-2416.
Photo taken March 28, 2002.
Seven cheap hostess bars which hire foreign
hostesses kick out any other foreigner (including naturalized
Japanese citizens) which darken their doorstep. There is too
much information for this site, so CLICK ON THIS LINK to
go to a special reference page in English and Japanese.
STATUS REPORT: (As of December 2003) Three of the seven stores still have their signs up, and have refused this (caucasian) website author on three separate occasions despite his displaying a Japanese passport. CLICK HERE FOR DECEMBER 5, 2003 UPDATE
「秋田市に てディスコの啓発が成 功、三沢市にて排他的ポリ シー撤廃失敗」特定非営利活動法人 多民族共生 人権教育センター（MEHREC-PE ）出版 メ−レック通信 Vol. 33, ２００３年１２月３１日（朝刊 pg1）有道 出 人著
Akita-ken Akita-shi Sanno 3-5-15
(click on pictures to see larger images)
Photos taken April 2003
STATUS REPORT (as of November 28, 2003): Rogues' Gallery Coordinator Arudou Debito convinced the proprietors to take town their sign. Here is a picture of that momentus event. FULL REPORT DATED DECEMBER 5, 2003, HERE.
(Photo taken November 28, 2003)
「秋 田市にてディスコの啓発が成功、三沢市にて排他的ポリ シー撤廃失敗」特定非営利活動法人 多民族 共生人権教育センター （MEHREC-PE ）出版 メ−レック通信 Vol. 33, ２００３年１２月３１日（朝刊 pg1）有道 出 人著
「外 国人お断りはダ メです 門前払いよりルール マスター納得 はり紙消える」（秋田さきがけ新聞 ２００３年１２月７日記載 ）
Shinjuku (Tokyo Shinjuku-ku)
Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Hyakuninchou 1-15-33
Hotel Tsubakuro website here
If this has been removed, click here for a scanned print of this page on the debito.org site.
Where it says
i.e. people younger than Jr High school and foreigners are not
permitted lodging (although foreigners who live in Japan are OK).
一 宿泊しようとする者が伝染性の疾病にか かつていると明らかに認められるとき。
二 宿泊しようとする者がとばく、 その他の違法行為又は風紀を乱す行為をする虞があると認められるとき。
This is against the law, i.e. the Ryokan Management Law (Ryokan Gyouhou, Article 5, see above link in Japanese). As it says above: an establishment cannot turn away lodgers unless there is a health issue involving contagious disease, a clear and present endangerment of public morals, or because all rooms are full. It even has signs up to this effect:
"For the present, Foreigr [sic] use cannot be performed. Very sorry for this. HOTEL TSUBAKURO"
「大変申し訳ありません 当分の間 外国人の方の利用は出来ません。ビジネスホテル つばくろ」
(Photo Credit: Declan Murphy, July 21, 2003)
NB from the Rogues' Gallery site manager:
I called them on Feb 24, 2005 to confirm that yes,
their signs are still up and the policy is still in place. "We
refuse people who cannot speak Japanese." When I told them that
this was not sufficient grounds for refusal, as per Hotel
Management Law, Article 5 (I even read it to them over the
phone), the clerk begged off, said the policy is in place and
that's that, and the manager is not in, etc.
This is a pretty egregious case, since for once there is a clear law against this. It's all a matter of enforcement. So, print up the law in Japanese from this link and show Article Five to the hotel management. If they still flaunt the law, try going to the cops, law in hand, and see what happens. Good luck.
Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Hyakuninchou 1-3-5 (新宿区百人町１-３-５) Phone 03-3200-9711.
Photo date unclear, but the Gallery monitor visited the premises in March 2005 and confirmed the sign's existence. It's a love hotel, and as such also subject to laws governing hotels. As for the meaning of the English, enjoy the puzzle. In Japanese, it warns guests not to bring in foreign lady touts (i.e. "waiting on the road"). I guess Japanese prostitutes are okay, then.
BAR "WORD UP"
Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Shinjuku 2-chome
Photo credited to Vince Ting,
courtesy of Mainichi Daily News Website
"My Japan Photo Contest--May 22 to May 28" 2006
Mass-produced neighborhood signs for excluding all foreigners. Note how sophisticated the English language level of exclusionism has gotten.
These cellphone snaps taken March 16, 2008 by Rogues' Gallery Moderator Arudou Debito at the address above (look down the stairwell to see the sign just to the left of the black stand).
But there are many other businesses now displaying the same sign in Kabukichou. Ironic, given that Kabukichou has the highest concentration of businesses run and staffed by foreigners in Japan. How do they go to work? I guess they're not "guests". See what I mean about the increasing sophistication of the exclusionary language?
Tenpura Restaurant "Ten-take"
住所 〒111-0032 東京都台東区浅草2-4-1
Tokyo-to Taitou-ku Asakusa 2-4-1, Phone 03-3841-5519
(All photos taken April
4, 2014, courtesy of Yoshio Tanaka)
(NB: The Japanese below the JAPANESE ONLY text on the sign reads, “The inside of this restaurant is very small. In order to avoid accidents, we are sorry, but we refuse entry to all children below the age of 5. We ask for our customers understanding and cooperation.”)
Information on and reviews of the restaurant in Japanese: http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131102/13010522/, last updated January 2014, with no mention of its “Japanese Only” rules. (It does mention the no children under five rule: 店内が非常に狭いため、事故防止の観点から5歳未満の子連れ不可の張り紙あり」. Interesting how a “no foreigners” rule somehow escapes mention.)
Aoyama Doori (Tokyo Minato-ku)
Este "Hawaiian Style" relaxation parlor for women customers
東京都港区青山 3-10-41 ジュエル青山903
By Appointment (03) 5771-0323
NB from the submitter of the photographs:
"Last weekend, I saw a sign on Aoyama Dori advertising an
"estee" salon for women. The sign and the salon are located next
to the temporary Kinokuniya supermaket building. What made the
advertisement unique was that it explicitly stated in English
that the services provided by the salon are for "Japanese Women Only" (attached
for your reference is a copy of the store's pamphlet advertising
the subject services). I found the advertising offensive and
called the store owner to ask for an explanation of the
exclusionary statement. The owner explained that the salon would
not provide services to foreigners, including Koreans living in
Japan. I think that you may find it interesting that a store
located in the center of Aoyama is openly and blatantly engaging
in discriminatory advertising and practices."
NB from the Rogues' Gallery Manager: I called Princess Plumeria to confirm the reasons for exclusionism on Feb 24, 2005. The manager told me that yes, all "gaijin-sans" are refused because their facilities are "too small" (How big do they think feet can get?). And they want to avoid a language barrier should anyone feel unwell during the footbaths. When I asked about the Zainichis (Japan-born ethnicities, such as ethnic Koreans or Chinese), she said that they would be refused too. Even though Zainichis have no language barrier? That was where she said she was now too busy to talk...
(click on photos to see larger images)
(Photos taken February 2005)
What's even more ironic? That this is done in a Hawaiian motif. Hawaiians are one of the more mixed-race peoples in the world! Alas, Hawaiians are forbidden entry too, naturally. Aloha yourself.
Minami-Azabu (Tokyo Minato-ku)
東京都港区麻布5丁目5-9 後藤ハウスB1F MGホール
MG International Arts of Ballet, MG Hall, B1F GOTO House 5-5-9
Minami-Azabu Minato-ku, Tokyo
(Click on images to expand in your browser)
school apologized, the aggreived parents are satisfied with the
Full report here
Akihabara (Tokyo Chiyoda-ku)
東京都 千代田区 外神田 ３丁目１６番１５号
電話 東京０３−３２５１−５２４１ FAX: 03 3255 0012
(their website says they will only take phone calls between two and three pm on weekdays)
After the famous stabbings in Akihabara in June 2008 (by a Japanese), a shop which sells weapons and knives in Akihabara had the temerity to maintain a sign up on their shop refusing foreigners entry. Photos received May 24, 2008.
(Click on images to expand in browser)
UPDATE: After calls (June 9 and 16, 2008) and meeting with the owner of the shop (June 17, he was very friendly and cooperative), the store agreed to take down their sign and replace it with a new one written by Rogues' Gallery monitor Arudou Debito (photo by same taken June 17).
Now while I'm not a fan of making weapons obtainable by anyone, there are more things in the store than just knives etc. The misleading sign has at least been made nondiscriminatory.
FULL REPORT HERE.
Nevertheless, as of October 10, 2008, "MAD"s website still explicitly says their knives are not for sale to foreigners.
Ogikubo (Tokyo Suginami-ku)
Tokyo Suginami-ku Ogikubo 5-30-6
杉並区荻窪 ５ー３０ー６Phone: 03-3220-4761
(Photos taken January and March 2004)
STATUS REPORT: (MARCH 2004): Arudou Debito and friend Ben visited Rizal on March 27, 2004. Ben was refused entry, until he pointed to me and said that he was with me (a Japanese citizen). The person on duty confirmed my Japanese ability with two questions of "Hontou ni nihonjin desu ka?" (Are you really a Japanese?), which I answered in the affirmative. Without even asking for further ID, he let us in, where we dropped about 17,000 yen on pleasant chat, beers with two very friendly Filipina staff, and a rousing round of karaoke on the stage (Ben sang Bowie's "Let's Dance", I sang Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" extremely nasally). I asked them to remove the sign. They said they would take my suggestion under advisement. A degree of progress.
Koshigaya City (Saitama Prefecture)
2-3 Koshigaya, Koshigaya, Saitama
Yes, you are reading that sign correctly:
"Entry absolutely forbidden to Chinese and Naturalized Citizens, Chinese War Orphans (zanryuu koji), and people with Chinese blood mixed in. ONLY PURE-BLOODED JAPANESE MALES PERMITTED."
Only pure-breeds? They've really thought this policy out to be as exclusive as possible.
Not even naturalized citizens? That deals the moderator of the Rogues' Gallery out too.
Now we're separating customers specifically by blood? The signs are getting worse...
(Click on photo for larger image)
(Photos taken 6pm, March 6, 2007)
(West exit of Shinkoshigaya Station. No phone listing.)
(photos taken March 2004)
(East exit of Koshigaya Station, Unlisted in directory assistance, but phone 048-960-3500)
(photos taken March 2004)
Progress Report: As confirmed by a friend in March 2007, Pub Audition no longer has their exclusionary sign up.
(West exit of Shinkoshigaya Station, unlisted in phone directory, but phone 048-987-0432)
(Note to those who cannot read Japanese:) The English and the Japanese versions of the above sign differ, in that the English requires an escort, but the Japanese says "Gaikokujin no nyuuten, okotowari itashimasu", or "We refuse foreigners entry to this establishment."
Which version is to be believed? The Japanese, as a blanket refusal was enforced upon the source of these photographs.
(photos taken March 2004)
REPORT (April 2004): The
person refused at these places has sought redress at the local
Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Human Rights, which apparently
will inquire about having the signs removed, but have stated
quite clearly that they consider these refusals to be a
managerial decision, not an issue of human rights. Great
sentiment from the agency entrusted with protecting people from
discrimination... The person refused is currently considering
The Japan Times released an article on the issue and discriminations in Koshigaya (March 25, 2004), entitled "DOWNSIDE OF BEING FOREIGN: Discrimination's blatant signs, not roots, easy target". The text can be seen here, and the original website link to the Japan Times site at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20040325b1.htm
Hostess Bar "Kurabu Sepia"
Saitama-ken Toda-shi Bijogi 8-2-5
Ph (048) 422-9333
(West side of the Omiya Bypass, Highway 17)
(Photo Courtesy Michael Cash, March 4, 2005)
Click on photo to see larger image.
Hamamatsu City (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Nightclub "Abend", et al
LOCATION: Music Lounge Abend ("Aabendo"--a nightclub) Shizuoka ken, Hamamatsu Shi, Sunayama Cho 330-6, tel : 053 451 3361)
(Photos Taken 1998)
REPORT: (As of May 2003)
Signs are down, thanks to Ana Bortz winning her
anti-discrimination lawsuit against Jewelry Store Seibidou in
More information on the Bortz Case here in Japanese, and a 1999 report on the situation in English here.
Isawa Kenko Land (Yamanashi-ken Higashi Yatsushiro-gun
Isawa-chou Matsumoto 868, ph 055-263-7111)
IKL is a large private-sector bath and hotel complex, the flagship business of a local chain of "super sentos" (information from back of IKL Assistant Manager Mr Onodera's business card):
You can find out more about IKL in English at http:// www.bornplaydie.com/japan/kofuguide/onsen/onsen.htm or in Japanese at http://www.kur-hotel.co.jp/ frameisa.htm
Neither site mentions the fact they bar entry to all foreigners who are illegal, or who do not speak Japanese.
(All photos taken June 7, 2004, courtesy of an accompanying Yamanashi Nichi Nichi Shinbun reporter.)
Practice of this policy in fact
violates the Foreign Registry Law and the Ryokan Management Law
The particularly disappointing thing about this case is that it is a repeat of a foreigner exclusion campaign, due to panic about AIDS transmission from foreigner-tainted bathwater, which occurred around Kofu in 1992. Local public baths put up exclusionary signs, encouraging others in Nagano and Saitama to follow suit, until one lone local sento defied pressure from its Japanese clientele, got the facts about AIDS from the Kofu Department of Public Health, and stayed open to foreigners, turning back the tide--until bathhouses in Otaru took up the slack from 1993 to 2001. Full report with photos, newspaper articles, and legal documentation HERE.
Isesaki City (Gunma Pref)
Este Club "Po Po"
戸田市美女木８ー２ー５ Ph. 0270-70-5691
(NB: Submitted May 2004 by anonymous poster. This is a shady establishment, yes, but signs like these encourage copycatting by more innocuous establishments, and is discrimination nonetheless.)
Ohta City (Gunma Pref)
Ohta-shi Iida-chou. Three blocks from JR Ohta Station.
This in a town full of Japanese-Brazilians, and a Filipina pub to boot (looking for foreign arubaito, by the looks of the sign on the lower part of the door--in English!). No foreigners allowed--unless they work here!
Nice lettering on the exclusionary sign, though. Nothing like being told "Get lost Gaijin!" in a nice font.
〒460-0003 名古屋市中区錦3-23-6 宝塚ビルB1F
(Photo Courtesy Ian Brown, Taken February 12, 2005)
Person refused entry to the nightclub comments:
"Myself and four of my friends were refused access to two different clubs in Nagoya consectutively on Saturday night [Feb 12, 2005]. The first, 'Club Ozone' in Sakae did not have a sign, they just told us 'No Gaijin on Saturday Nights'. The second, 'Club Abime', had a sign and we took a picture... I find this particulary unfortunate due to the fact that this is the city that is hosting the 2005 World Expo [starting March 25, 2005, and running on until September]. We spoke to the manager of Abime and point out the large billboard across the street reading 'Harmony Between Nations'. He didn't seem to care. We questioned the bouncer at Club Ozone and he claimed that there was an incident involving a foreigner a few weeks prior. I mentioned the Expo and he claimed that it was another reason they would not be allowing foreigners on Saturday nights. When asked how long this policy would continue, he said 'forever'... Publicity of this nature does not reflect well in the host city of an international event, paticularly an event poised at fostering 'Harmony Between Nations'"--Ian Brown, Nagoya
City (Ishikawa Prefecture)
Dealer for Hokkoku Shinbun
電話： ０７６−２４７−２１２０ (changed to 076-243-1810)
〒920-8588 石川県金沢市香林坊2丁目5番1号 TEL.076-263-2111
As was reported on the Debito.org blog on January 8, 2008, in November 2007 a NJ resident of Ishikawa Prefecture was offered a subscription, by a sales manager of an independent company selling magazine subscriptions, to the Hokkoku Shinbun, a regional Ishikawa Japanese newspaper. Receipts dated November 13, 2007 as follows: (click here to see larger scans and a fuller report):
The subscription was abruptly cancelled the next
day, with a postcard from the salesman, a Mr Matsuda, confirming
that the company will not sell subscriptions to foreigners
(click on images for larger scans and a fuller report). The company's standpoint
as revealed in telephone interviews here. (The Hokkoku Shinbun itself has disavowed any
connection with this company.)
This outcome is confounding. As can be seen in other entries on this Rogues' Gallery, we have managers worried that letting NJ into their facilities might cause, they claim, problems with manners, sanitation, violence, or just plain discomfort to the owners for their own langauge insecurities or xenophobic tendencies. It's confusing why a newspaper outlet (in these days when print journalism is scrambling for paying customers) would unilaterally void a subscription contract. Are they worried the foreigner might be able to read their paper?
UPDATE (February 2008): After investigation by reporters from Kyodo News, the Mainichi Shinbun, and a shuukanshi weekly, reporters on the case told me that their editors said this was a non-story, and no article on this issue appeared in any publication. The Rogues' Gallery moderator's interpretation of this outcome is that newspapers are not happy to investigate other newspapers when there are financial interests involved. This is how uncritical our media gets.
Anyway, as newspapers themselves advise, avoid subscription outlets that are not official newspaper sales offices.
Okazaki City (Aichi Prefecture)
Internet Cafe "Dragon BOZ"
Aichi-shi Kakemachi Amigasa 5-1
Ph 0564-22-2051 or 0564-66-1156
(Photos taken December 10, 2006, Courtesy of Jonas Svensson)
COMMENT FROM THE SUBMITTER: "This Sunday (December 10th, 2006) I went to an internet café relatively close to where I live, since I have no access to the internet during Sundays and I had an urgent mail to send. I translate Japanese children's books into Swedish in my spare time, and I had a deadline. Lo and behold, a true "foreigners only" at the desk. I was there with a japanese friend, so they said it would be OK for me to enter anyway: they had had some problem with a foreigner who didn't speak Japanese two months ago, and felt that the sign was in good order to avoid further problems.
"Being a social anthropologist, I chose not to make a fuss over it in their face and instead came back with at tape recorder and actually got an interview with some middle-management boss about the reason for the rule, the café's view on it and his personal (at least he said so) view. Surprisingly enough he even managed to come up with the "I realize that I would feel bad if I saw a 'no japanese' sign abroad" argument himself, but whether or not he was just being polite or not, I don't know.
"Talking about it with a friend, I got the link to your homepage. It was quite a shock for me to see such a sign for the first time, and it made me feel much worse that I would have guessed."
UPDATE DECEMBER 23, 2006:
The Internet cafe manager realized that what they were doing was not very nice, and took the sign down shortly after Jonas reported the situation. They have since instituted an ID membership system for all customers regardless of nationality (which is what they should have been doing all along, of course). More information and updates on my blog at http://www.debito.org/index.php/?p=117. Anyway, the sign is down and the rules are changed. Good.
Kyoto City (Kyoto Prefecture)
Onsen Hotel Yamazaki Ryokan
Address: Kyoto-shi Sakyou-ku
Ｔ Ｅ Ｌ（０７５）８８１−２３０３
Ｆ Ａ Ｘ（０７５）８６２−６１８７
(Original notification, dated November 28,
"Hello Debito-san, I thought you might appreciate pictures of a ryokan I stayed at on the night of Saturday, November 26, 2005. The establishment in question is called "Yamazaki Ryokan"( http://www.ryokan-yamazaki.co.jp/index.html ), and is located in north-west Kyoto, on the number 8 bus line, just south of the Takahana-cho bus stop.
"Upon arrival, I noticed two doors near the entrance, one marked for Japanese and the other for Foreigners. Upon inspection, I saw that it was a segregated bathing area. This was not a problem for me and my girlfriend, since we had a bath in our room. It did, however, taint my image of the elderly woman who seemed to run the place, who otherwise provided us with reasonable service. Interestingly, this ryokan is a member of the "Japanese Inn Group Kyoto". I wonder if they endorse this type of segregation.
"In my three and half years of living in Japan, this was my first time to see such a sign. I was particularly surprised to see it in Kyoto, a major city which tourists visit, and home to many non-ethnic Japanese. While this incident did not diminish my esteem for Kyoto as a wonderful, culturally rich place to visit, it certainly made me qustion the motives of the ryokan owners.
"Find attached two pictures of said ryokan. The first is of the bathhouse doors showing the attached signs, and the second includes one of the doors and the ryokan's signboard. Keep up the good fight, David Woods, Mie-Ken, Japan."
(Click on photos to see larger image)
Update from list monitor: Calling the ryokan on November 28th, 2005, 2PM, and talking to an elderly Mr Yamazaki, the manager, he confirmed that there were signs up "because of the large number of foreigners attending". When I asked if women and men, separated by nationality, were now forced to bathed together, he said, "no, women get their own baths in individual rooms". I asked him why he was segregating people by nationality, and he repeated the large rush of foreigners and their big bodies somehow justified separate baths. I told him that he should take the signs down, and he said he would take my request under advisement.--Arudou Debito
Daitou City (Osaka Pref)
Eyeglass Store "G-Style"
Ph: 072-878-1168, FAX 072-803-4555
(Osaka-fu Daitou-Shi, Nozaki 1-6-22, mail: email@example.com)
Photo courtesy of http://gs-gstyle.jp
On September 4, 2004, Steve McGowan, an African American and resident of Kyoto Prefecture, was recommending "G-style", an eyeglass store he had frequented before to a black South African friend. They were standing outside the shop when the owner, a Mr Narita Takashi, came outside and told McGowan and his friend to leave: "I don't like black people! Don't touch the door! Don't touch the shop window! Get over there!" [shooing them away and pointing across the street]. These statements are part of the court record in a lawsuit for racial discrimination filed in 2005. So is Narita's claim that shooed them because a neighbor phoned his store to warn him about two scary blacks outside his premises. Subsequent visits to the G-Style by both McGowan's wife (as well as Arudou Debito and other human rights activists; the conversation was tape-recorded) got Narita on record saying that he doesn't like black people, as he'd had a bad experience in Germany (involving a stolen bag and a prurient proposition) many years ago. When the owner refused to apologize (instead justifying this behavior to the press (Tokyo Shinbun Nov 4 2005, see website) as merely part of his personality), McGowan took Narita to Osaka District Court for 5.5 million yen damages. McGowan lost in Osaka District Court in January 2006 due to "insufficient language ability" on his part and for suing for the wrong thing--"racial discrimination" instead of "foreigner discrimination". The decision was overturned on appeal in McGowan's favor in October 2006 by the Osaka High Court, but with a nominal severance and no acknowledgement of racial discrimination being the specific cause of the refusal. Full details in English and Japanese at http://www.debito.org/mcgowanhanketsu.html. This case is included on the Rogues' Gallery as it has been confirmed both officially in court and by Arudou Debito in person that a refusal took place, and it was on the grounds of a customer being "a black person" and thus objectionable. --Arudou Debito
Realtor "Heartful" Fukushima, part of Kansai Kensetsu KK
Osaka-shi Fukushima Ku Fukushima 7 chome 5-1 Ph 06-6455-7101
大阪市福島区福島７丁目５番1号 株式会社 関西建設福 島店 Ph 06-6455-7101
(More detailed scan in 300 dpi here)
Entry dated November 14, 2007. Notice the very clever logos at the bottom, for "Auto Lock", "Satellite TV", "Students Allowed", "Pianos Allowed", "Children Allowed", "Sink for Shampooing", "Pets Allowed", "Toilet and Bath Unit Separate", "Shower Included", "Flooring", "Piped in Radio", "Specially for Women", "Hot Water Pot Included", "Staff Constantly On Duty", "Cable TV", "Parking Allowed", "Handicapped Access", "Contract with Legal Entity", "Air Conditioning", "Elevator", "Rentable in Portions", "Furnished", "Phone Included", "Refrigerator Included", and finally... "Foreigners Allowed".
is even abbreviated in the visual to "'Gaijin' allowed" for your
convenience. Thanks for making it so clear, I guess. Very
You'll also notice that there is only one apartment of the twelve on this page which will deign to take "gaijin" (the very first one in the top left hand corner). And it's nearly the cheapest and quite possibly the crappiest one on the entire page–only a one-room (1R). What a coincidence.
What a lovely way to welcome newcomers who have enough hurdles to jump over in this society, without having the most fundamental thing they need in their life–a place to rest their head every day–denied them when they first arrive or need to move. Moreover relegate them to lousy housing regardless of income.
The fact that this company is bold enough to make exclusionism so explicit (the realtor will no doubt counterargue that this is done by the landlord's wishes; they're just following orders) makes them an accessory to the discrimination in black and white. Debito.org wishes to discourage this type of systematic discrimination in any way possible, so the realtor gets put up on the "Rogues Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments".
If you're looking for apartments in Fukushima-ku, Osaka, I suggest someplace less tolerant of intolerance.
(More discussion of this entry on the Debito.org Blog, including answers to potential critics, at http://www.debito.org/index.php/?p=723)
Kurashiki (Okayama Pref)
Bar Santa Monica
(岡山県倉 敷市阿智３ー４ー１６、Ph. 086-434-8551）
(Rogues' Gallery Monitor Arudou Debito displaying his proof of citizenship after being refused entry, in front of Santa Monica Bar, Kurashiki, July 11, 2004) (Report and photos courtesy Chad Edwards, revised by Arudou Debito)
The author, a long-term Kurashiki
resident, and Rogues' Gallery monitor Arudou Debito, visited
nearby port town Mizushima during the afternoon of July 16,
2003. During that trip, the ailing industrial/port town of
Mizushima had drinking/entertainment establishments with
vaguely-worded exclusionary signs posted outside. When Arudou
Debito asked about possible entrance, even with proof of
Japanese citizenship, the establishments made clear that all
foreign-looking customers were in fact not welcome.
On July 12, 2004, at around 1:30 AM, I accompanied Arudou Debito to hankagai Achi in Kurashiki City (a 2-minute walk from the station). This is an international tourist destination, featuring the famed Bikan-Chiku and the new Tivoli Park (a copy of its European sibling). '...some 7 million people from all over Japan and abroad visit Kurashiki every year--with good reason"- according to the Kurashiki City website.
The author was refused from entering a drinking establishment about eight months before, but when we returned to the scene the shop was closed. So we went to adjacent "Santa Monica", which had been until now known for being open to foreigners. I entered alone and waited at the admission desk, but the manager didn't even acknowledge my presence. He had a Filipina hostess tell me in English, "Sorry but this establishment is for Japanese only". After returning outside, both Arudou Debito and I decided to re-enter Santa Monica together with Debito's Japanese passport in hand (see photo below). After acknowledging that only Japanese may enter, the manager then inspected Debito's Japanese passport, acknowledged that he was a Japanese, then told him that there was neither enough staff nor space to accomodate us (on a slow Sunday night, no less). In reality, two large booths were open and most of the staff were assembled at a nearby table--apparently waiting for customers. In any case, entrance was denied us.
(Arudou Debito having his Japanese passport inspected by Santa Monica manager, who refused to give his name, shortly before being refused entry. Monday, July 12, 2004, 1:30 AM)
(NB from website
monitor Arudou Debito: This is not signposted
discrimination per se, but as we have photos of us on the
premises, and we can attest with photo evidence and as primary
sources that this exclusion happened, I have included this
case on the Rogues' Gallery.)
STATUS REPORT: Confirmed by Chad Edwards in December 2004, Santa Monica no longer refuses foreign customers. Well, good. After all that.
Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref)
CLUB "SAMA SAMA"
Hiroshima-Shi Naka Tenchi 1-2, Hiroshima Dai Bldg 3F
ＣＬＵＢ サマ サマ 住所 広島市中天地１−２ 広島代ビル３Ｆ ０８２−２４６− ２３２０
(The sign is hard to see, but translating:
"NOTICE: WE STRICTLY REFUSE ENTRY TO ORGANIZED CRIME AND THEIR AFFICIATES, PEOPLE IN THE WATER TRADES, OVERLY INTOXICATED PEOPLE, MINORS UNDER THE AGE OF 18, PEOPLE WHO HAVE CAUSED TROUBLE ON THE PREMISES, FOREIGNERS, AND 'PROMOTERS' (SCOUTS FOR FEMALE TALENT). IF WE FIND YOU ON THE PREMISES, WE WILL ASK YOU TO LEAVE. YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A REFUND.
WE ALSO RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ANYONE WE CHOOSE. --CLUB SAMA SAMA)
(Photos taken March 7, 2007, with a manager interfering with the photo quality. Better res photos on their way.)
（入店拒否された東南アジア系帰化した日 本人よ り本文：）
「ご無沙汰しております。昨日、広島で人権講演の仕事があって(２００７年３月 8日）、その前の日（7日）から入っていました。男性友人（いわゆる日本人）二人と食事をしてその次に広島の繁華街に あった紹介所を訪れました。紹介所で は「インドネシアの女性がいる店でも良いか」と聞かれて「良い」と返事をしました。しばらくすると、そのインドネシアの女性 などがいる店【サマ サマ】の 従業員が来て私たちを案内してくれた。そしてお店の中に入りました。
「入って座るやいなや奥の方から男性が走って来て「すみなせん、外人は駄目なん です」って言いました。私はたまたまパスポートを持っていたので「国籍は日本人なんですよ」って言いました。でも「見た目が 外国人なので退室してくださ い」って言われました。そして店の外に出された後に、店の外に書いてあった看板を見せられました。そこには、外国人が断りと 書いてあった。写真を取ろうと したときに邪魔されましたで少しぶれていますが、その写真も添付いたしました。いかがいたしましょう。」
FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER (A Southeast
Asian naturalized Japanese citizen. Japanese original,
translated by Arudou Debito):
"Long time no see. Yesterday I had a speech in Hiroshima on March 8, 2007, but I arrived in Hiroshima the night before . I met with a guy friend (Japanese by birth), and went for dinner, then a night out on the town. The place he introduced me to would have Indonesian hostesses, and he asked me if that would be okay. Yes. We went inside SAMA SAMA and were shown to a table by the management.
"As soon as we had sat down, one of the male staff came up to us and said, 'Excuse me, Gaijin are not allowed in here.' I just happened to have my passport on me and explained that I am in fact a Japanese. However, he replied, 'You look foreign, so kindly leave.' After he kicked me out, he pointed to the sign outside with said exclusionary policy. When I tried to take a picture, the manager got in the way, so they're a little shaky. Enclosed. What should I do now?" [NB: I recommended a lawyer. Probably more news to come.]
BAR SUMATRA TIGER
Hiroshima-shi, Naka-ku, Yagenbori 7-9. Sanwa Bld 2F
Storefront photo: http://flickr.com/photos/39096278@N00/391050530/in/photostream/
(Photo taken around March 3 2007)
FROM THE SUBMITTER (edited): "I
don't know if this is a new one for your wall, but I couldn't
find any mention of it online. First, some background:
"Hiroshima has seen its share of suspicious behavior from the police in recent months; dance clubs were shut down in violation of a never-enforced dancing permit. Almost all clubs in Hiroshima allow dancing, but only one club holds such a permit.
"When these raids were conducted,
"gaijin bars" and clubs were a particular target. The
police often sorted the club patrons into three groups:
Japanese, military, and foreigner. The Japanese were
"released" immediately, the others often required to stay for
"Being so close to Hiroshima, US military soldiers often come into the city on Fridays and Saturdays to the less reputable parts of town. I will be the first to admit I find their presence a little intimidating at times: - they don't speak Japanese or bother to learn the customs - often they only come to have one-night stands with whatever Japanese girls they can find - many are agressive when drunk - a foreigner was assaulted last night by a member of the military while talking on his keitai to his mother (just standing on the side of the street).
"El Barco, an advertised "international bar", was probably most affected by these raids. Its clientele consisting mostly of eastern European girls and US military forces, it was an easily identifiable target for the koban in these raids. I will be the first to admit I find this area a little seedy, and the military personnel a little scary at times.
"I don't know when it was posted, but I discovered this sign (picture attached) on a club, Sumatra Tiger, adjacent to El Barco. Wouldn't such a sign demand that all foreigners (at least, "American-looking" foreigners) present their gaijin cards as proof that they are civilians working in Japan, and not affiliated with the US military? And of course, I assume no private club has the right to make such a demand, only the koban or government officials."
COMMENT FROM GALLERY MODERATOR: I rather agree that a bar is not the best place to face drunk young military types, and can understand a certain degree of trepidation both from bar owner and client. However, this is a place which is restricting entry to non-Japanese, which falls under the purview of the Rogues' Gallery. It is also important, as the submitter says, to see how this policy is actually enforced--and if all "foreigners" will be treated as "military" on appearance alone. Anyone want to drop by this place and find out?--Arudou Debito
Kitakyushu City (Fukuoka Pref)
Kitakyushu-shi Kokura Kita-ku Kajimachi 1-7-4, Kajimachi Kaikan 3F
Ph: 093-512-7123, FAX 093-512-7124
(Photo taken by Arudou Debito November 5, 2006)
On November 3, 2006, during the JALT National Conference at Kitakyushu, a JALT member was refused entry to the above restaurant. Reason given was that the establishment was full, even though to the refusee it visibly had open tables. The person who was refused informed Rogues' Gallery moderator Arudou Debito at the conference after one of his presentations, and volunteer Jessica tracked down the site.
On November 4, at around 9PM, Arudou Debito, Jessica, and four other friends (including Ivan Hall, author of CARTELS OF THE MIND) went to the restauant in question. Arudou first went in alone and the manager, a Mr Matsubara Tatsuya, indeed tried to refuse him entry by claiming the restaurant was full. A quick walk around the restaurant confirmed that the establishment, with at least eight large tables plus counter space, was in fact almost completely empty. When it was clear that Arudou and Matsubara could communicate in Japanese, Matsubara then switched tacks and offered him counter space. Arudou then brought in his friends and confirmed that they could have a table.
Arudou and friends then confirmed (after being seated and ordering drinks) that a) Matsubara did refuse foreigners entry, b) because he cannot communicate in English--he finds it his "nemesis" (nigate), c) and because he finds foreigners frightening (kowai). When asked if he had ever had any bad experiences or altercations with non-Japanese customers, Matsubara said no. He just (for reasons never made very clear) did not want to have to deal with them. When Arudou and friends softly and calmly pointed out that a) non-Japanese are customers too, with money, not to mention language abilities (or at least forefingers to point to items on the menu), b) refusing them entry hurts their feelings, as it did the person refused the previous evening,c) that welcoming customers was part of the job description of his line of work (kyaku shoubai), he apologized and said he would try harder not to refuse non-Japanese customers in future. The irony of the situation was that at the end of our drinks, one of the waiters who attended us (a student at the local technical college) talked to us in very good English. Why couldn't Matsubara just have passed any customer with whom he was unable to communicate on to his staff?
We look forward to future reports from readers of this website who might wish to investigate this restaurant in future to see if Matsubara keeps his promise.
(NB from website monitor Arudou Debito: This is not signposted discrimination per se, but Rogues' Gallery monitor Arudou Debito personally confirmed the exclusionism (and was witnessed by third parties), I have included this case on the Rogues' Gallery.)
Status: On hold. The Fukuoka Bureau of Human Rights (jinken yougobu) is giving me the runaround. Nearly two months later, they have still not called JUNGLE to confirm whether or not they refused us. He wants to hear the story directly from the person originally refused before proceeding further... Useless organization! The Kitakyushu City Tourist Board, however, has since phoned the place and told them to stoppit. Fine.
UPDATE JANUARY 2007: The person who was refused has talked to the BOHR directly about what happened to him. But we have heard nothing from them since.
More on my blog at: http://www.debito.org/index.php/?p=81
Gushikawa (Okinawa Pref)
B-BALL Billiards Hall
(うるま市具志川緑町４-８-１０ Ph (098) 975-0205、ビリヤードの店舗）
(Photos taken May 13, 2006, courtesy Jeff Norman)
Jeff Norman reports: "I ran into the manager of this store and asked him about this policy... He stated that it wasn't discrimination just that no one was able to speak English there. When I asked him if there were a large number of foreign pool players, he said no and that there had never been a problem with any foreign patrons. He went on to add that he had spoken with an American relative by marriage and that relative had suggested to him that he do this to avoid any trouble. He claimed that he would consider my opinion on the matter. The amazing thing here is that there really doesn't appear to be any need for this sign or discriminatory policy at all, but yet it exists. Lastly, the question that is always left in my mind is how can a 'Japanese Only' sign not be considered discriminatory?"
Moromizato (Okinawa Pref)
Karaoke Hall Maimu
（沖縄市諸見里１−１−２ Ph (098) 931-9114、カラオケの店舗）
(Courtesy Maimu Website)
(Note exclusionary sign on left wall before the staircase.)
(Photos taken July 14, 2013, courtesy of Justin. Click on photo with sign to expand in browser)
Submitter Justin notes: “Shop is located near Kadena US Air Force base. While these signs are a step up from completely discriminating against all NJ, it is ridiculous that they can get a sign saying people who can't speak Japanese are not admitted, but can't have someone translate a paper listing the 'rules and regulations of the shop' in English.” Quite. And the English translation is quite good too, so this “language barrier” feels more like an excuse just to exclude like the ones proffered by Onsen Yunohana back in 2001. The Moderator also wonders how Maimu will be testing customers' language ability, what the sufficient linguistic thresholds are to “pass”, and if it will be only be enforced on people who “look foreign”.
MISCELLANEOUS EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS
Photos of these signs were taken by well-meaning people, some with hazy memories of time and place, or difficulty in reconfirming. I still include them in the Rogues' Gallery to show that the problem is more widespread than many people (some of whom claim that this discrimination is a non-issue, because these are isolated incidents or the sample size is too small) might think. How bad do things have to get, how many places have to put signs up and refuse customers by race and appearance alone, before people admit there is a problem of racial discrimination in modern Japan?
TSUKIJI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Address and phone number unknown (was not able to check for myself from Sapporo), photo taken February 2008, courtesy CG. Sign describes complicated rules, and indicates that even Japanese who cannot follow them will be refused entry. However, the assumption still remains that non-Japanese will be unable to understand the rules of the establishment, so it blanket refuses them.
Full report here.
UPDATE: Exclusionary sign is now down as of February 2008, thanks to others contacting the restaurant and encouraging the management to reconsider.
Above: Hotel sign, location unclear (probably Tokyo)
Sign refuses all foreigners, drunks, and organized crime members--in that order. Pity that being drunk or a hitman are a matter of personal volition.
In any case, keep in mind that refusals at hotels in Japan are violations of Article 5 the Hotel Management Law (ryokan gyouhou), which clearly states that people can only be refused on the grounds of all rooms being full, a clear threat of contagious disease, or a threat to "public morals" (fuuki). Visa status or language ability are not adequate grounds. Thus refusing people accommodation (unlike refusing them, say, a bath or a meal) only because they are foreign is clearly illegal in Japan. Download the letter of the law in Japanese here and present it at any exclusionary hotel in Japan. If even then they flout the law, try going to the police if you like, law in hand, and see what happens. Good luck.
Above: Nightlife in Tokyo
Ikebukuro (Toshima-ku Ikebukuro 1-3).
The website monitor tracked down the organization listed in subtext as sponsoring this sign, the Tokyo Bouhan Kenzen Kyouryoku Kai (Tokyo Crime Prevention and Health Association), because it sounds like a government organization (and the Japanese government had better not be using taxpayer money on something like this!). After a Google search, calls to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the National Police Agency, and the organization itself revealed that it is a private organization without public funding.
When asked to take the signs they sponsored down, the group refused, claiming "Gaijin don't obey our rules. They cause trouble."
This photo has been relegated to the "Miscellaneous" section because it was found in front of a business not quite catering to the general public, something we generally don't like to touch because it blurs the issue. Nevertheless, it is still an exclusionary sign, displayed in violation of international treaty, which will, as history has shown, encourage copycatting in other, more everyday industries if left unchallenged.
(Photo taken April 30, 2006, courtesy of Mr Perkins)
Above: Sign in unconfirmed place, allegedly a bar in Hiroshima.
Until the Rogues' Gallery monitor can confirm the exact location (bar's name and address) of this sign, it will remain in the "Miscellaneous" section, alas.
(Photo taken March 23, 2006, courtesy of KD)
LOCATIONS WITH OPEN-DOOR POLICIES FOR
Yes, there are places out there which publicly recognize that refusing customers due to the color of skin or passport is not cricket, and they should be known about here to provide balance. The Nago Bar and Restaurant Association in Nago, Okinawa, is bucking the trend with open-door signs (since Okinawan refusals of American soldiers--therefore all foreigners--are Legion). Well and good. May these businesses prosper.
Nago (Okinawa Prefecture)
(click on picture above for enlarged image)
Photos taken October 2003. The business displaying it:
The "77 Cafe Bar" has the open-door policy sign in the top left-hand corner of the front door. Bravo!
Thanks very much! Wishing you great prosperity.
Open-door realtor signs sponsored by the prefecture. Bravo!
Courtesy of the LetsJapan Blog,
Want to do something about this rising
exclusionism in Japan? See
TO DO IF site and click on
the relevant links!
Are you tired of "JAPANESE ONLY" signs appearing on businesses nationwide?
GO TO INFORMATION SITE FOR ORDERING
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Show how internationally-minded some
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NOTE: This offer is completely independent of my book "JAPANESE ONLY" (Akashi Shoten 2006), but it is a good way to raise awareness of the issue. Most people would rather pretend these signs don't exist. Too bad. They do. Keep the issue alive in the public eye in the best of satirical traditions by wearing your heart on your sleeve, and the sign on your chest!
And while I'm at it: If you want to read more about one of the cases mentioned abovementioned above:
"Japanese Only--The Otaru Onsen Refusals and Racial Discrimination in Japan"
By Arudou Debito
(Click here-- or on the Book Cover above --to visit a special site with news, book reviews, and more!)
"A reasoned and spirited denunciation of national prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry. It's not that the Japanese have all that much more of it than anyone else, but that they lack an interface to fight it. This lively accounting will help them find it." ---Donald Richie
"An important, trailblazing work that will go down in the annals of civil activist journals... Will be the book of reference on the subject for decades to come and should be required reading for anyone studying social protest." --Robert Whiting, author, The Meaning of Ichiro, You've Gotta have Wa, and Tokyo Underworld.
"A powerful, poignant, and path-breaking docu-narrative." ---Ivan Hall, author, Cartels of the Mind and Bamboozled.
(More reviews and ordering details at http://www.debito.org/ japaneseonly.html)
HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS,
MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS TO JAPAN SECOND EDITION
(incorporating the 2012 changes to the Immigration Law)
(ARUDOU Debito and HIGUCHI Akira,
Akashi Shoten Inc, English and furigana
Japanese, March 2008)
Table of Contents, reviews, ordering procedures, and book excerpt here.
ISBN 978-4-7503-2741-9, 372 pages, price 2300 yen plus tax
TWO OF SEVERAL REVIEWS (more at link immediately above):
"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... 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." (Read full review)
--Donald Richie, The Japan Times Asian Bookshelf column, April 20, 2008.
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
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Japan but also to a more humane society in Japan."
--Dr John Lie, Dean of International and Area Studies, University of California at Berkeley, and author of MULTIETHNIC JAPAN. More reviews here....
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