SUSUKINO, SAPPORO "MEMBERS ONLY" SIGNS
Mass-produced by a Susukino restaurateur's association
(all of whom contacted--details in Japanese below--deny any knowledge or connection)
Received from a ramen shop June 3, 2002
Translated by Xene Ltd (http://www.xene.net) of Sapporo
LINKS IN ENGLISH:
On-Site Reports, News Reports (NY Times and IHT/Asahi), Formal Statement from Xene Ltd, and Formal Apology in its Oct 2002 Issue
１）北海道社交飲食環境衛生同業組合 札幌中央区南４西６晴ればれビル、ph (011) 221-3393（小山事務局長（おやま））
２）北海道料理飲食業環境衛生同業組合 札幌中央区南９西３マジソンハイツ、ph (011) 551-8013（川畑事務局長）
３）すすきの社交料飲組合 札幌中央区南４西６晴ればれビル、ph (011) 210-9702（佐光事務局長（さこう）
１）有道 出人のレポート、２）XENEからの「公的な回答」と英訳３）有道 出人の英字レポート、４）ニューヨークタイムズの記事（英字）、５）インターナショナル・ヘラルド・トリビューン／朝日の記事（英字） ６）XENEよりお詫び状（０２年１０月版より）
PACHINKO DONKEY HALL EKIMAE-TEN EXCLUSIONARY
Sapporo Ekimae Doori, Kita 4 Nishi 4, ph (011) 219-4141
（札幌北４西４駅前通、ph (011) 219-4141）
Please present your member's card.
１）北海道社交飲食環境衛生同業組合 札幌中央区南４西６晴ればれビル、ph (011)
２）北海道料理飲食業環境衛生同業組合 札幌中央区南９西３マジソンハイツ、ph (011) 551-8013（川畑事務局長）
３）すすきの社交料飲組合 札幌中央区南４西６晴ればれビル、ph (011) 210-9702（佐光事務局長（さこう）
（札幌北４西４駅前通、ph (011) 219-4141）
Entering in the foreigner will hold back while holding the WORLD CUP for the
*In the hall because there is no staff who understands English.
*The card, the traveler's check, and the foreign currency: because it
CANNOT USE it at all.
TAKING A PICTURE IN THE HALL
outside the building are prohibited.
しかも、宮城県議会五十一番の政治家、今野 隆吉氏 は平成１２年６月定例会（第２８３回）-06月29日−05号 で、
( http://www.2002rifu.net/problem/prb-hooligan2.html ）
この間、「Members Only」看板 (http://www.debito.org/susukinosign.html) がすすきので現れたと広告しました。びっくりしたのは、５ヶ国語（英・伊・独・露・西ーー日本語なし）で言語的に完璧に出ました。プロが作った看板に違いないと思いました。2002年6月4日にその通りに報告しました。(経緯は http://www.debito.org/susukinosign.html#nihongo
報告しなかったのは、2002年6月5日、プロの翻訳会社と無料ビリングアル雑誌を出版する会社（有）XENE (http://www.xene.net) はこの看板翻訳を仕事として受けた、と述べたメールをXENE の日色 無人 氏（Hiiro Mujin）からいただきました。
そして、2002年6月7日、XENE の日色 無人 氏からの「公的な回答」をいただきましたので、頼まれた通り公開します。私からのコメントはこの回答の後です。
From: 日色 無人 <email@example.com>
To: "Arudou Debito" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 14:40:03 +0900
おそらく、New York Timesなどの大新聞が取り上げてもおかしくない、
Xene 代表 日色無人拝
(有) Xene ジーン 日 色 無 人 Hiiro Mujin
e-mail : email@example.com
Tel : 011-272-0757 / Fax : 011-272-0758
Mobile : 090-5227-4001
Url : http://www.xene.net
３）しかも、このようなことを起したのはXENEが初めてではありません。小樽の温泉問題の件ですが、２０００年4月版のXENE誌ですが、Street Level Special、「We Love Otaru」という記事の中、日本人じゃない方６名の小樽に対する感想があり、一人Aさんは「外国人入浴お断りの貼紙があっても、受付に『私は日本の入浴習慣をちゃんと心得している』と告げば、大丈夫だよ」と述べた。(http://www.debito.org/xeneonotaru4500.jpg) 私は小樽訴訟の排斥された原告１人として、これは不真実だったと証言できます。
私は不服を唱えた後、XENEは私の和英抗議文 (http://www.debito.org/toxeneononsens92000.html) をノーカットで２０００年９月号に記載して下さいました。これで気が済みました。でも、本年の「Members Only」の看板の事件で、どれくらいXENEは国際的な問題を認識しているのかは改めて疑問になってしまいました。
４）特に、看板は「Members Only」の言葉遣いに変えればOKだとの考え方は腑に落ちません。これは差別と差別の交替だと感じます。実際にメンバーズ制度がないラーメン屋さんは「仲間強制」でこの看板をかけられなければなりませんでした。この言い方しかなかったのかとは考えられません。例えば、"This store under police surveillance." "This store under 24 hour camera surveillance" (この店は警察・防犯カメラで観察中）。事前に人を排斥せず、人は任意で入店して「問題を起すと捕まるよ」ならフーリガン行為を抑止する力になると思います。
JAPAN'S WORLD CUP FIASCO
FOREIGNERS BARRED ENTRY IN SAPPORO
"MEMBERS ONLY" SIGNS IN SUSUKINO
JUNE 4, 2002
By Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Sapporo is the venue of three World Cup games, including the very noticable (for its alleged volatility) England-Argentina match on Friday, June 7. World Cup Fever has not, however, moved people the way it should.
Late last week, I heard from the Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA) mailing list that a ramen shop in Susukino, Sapporo's party district, displays a multilingual "MEMBERS ONLY" sign, effectively excluding entry to foreigners.
Investigating on June 3, 2002, with two other friends (Shawn Clankie and Gavin Anderson), we discovered that:
1) The sign is a three-color photocopy saying: "MEMBERS ONLY, Please present your members card" in five languages (English, Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian. But not Japanese). It is professionally made, linguistically perfect down to the last umlaut.
2) Some organization (kumiai) issued this to shops in Susukino as, the ramen owners were told, a measure to "thwart hooligan crime" (fuurigan bouhan)
3) As the proprietors could not read it, they were relatively unaware what the sign meant when they put it up. Moreover, they put it up only because they felt pressured (nakama kyousei) to do so by the issuing organization. This is probably why there was no hesitation by the matron who, seeing us three standing outside, actually came out and invited us inside for a good meal.
Over beers and bowls of ramen, we explained what the sign represented to people like us (residents and visitors, native speakers of other languages, looking at a sign clearly not directed towards Japanese, which indicated that we could not enter without some fictional members' card): a clear exclusionism of foreigners. The proprietors were very sorry indeed. They immediately took down the signs, giving me one as future substantiation.
(This is why the ramen shop's name is not disclosed for this report--the proprietors were to some degree duped into discriminating, and they took it down immediately after they realized what they were doing. No need for friendly shopkeeps to get in trouble with their neighbors.)
I then phoned the all the Restaurateur Associations that the Susukino Police Box told me might be involved in a movement like this:
1) Hokkaido Shakou Inshoku Kankyou Eisei Dougyou Kumiai
(Minami 4 Nishi 6, Harebare Biru), ph 011-221-3993 (Mr Oyama)
2) Hokkaido Ryouri Inshokugyou Kankyou Eisei Dougyou Kumiai
(Minami 9 Nishi 3, Majison Haitsu), ph 011-511-8013 (Mr Kawabata)
3) Susukino Shakou Ryou'in Kumiai
(Minami 4 Nishi 6, Harebare Biru), ph 011-210-9702 (Mr Sakou)
All denied having any connection with the sign. Who produced it still remains a mystery.
Two more niggling details about Japan's way of holding the World Cup that bear additional reporting:
1) 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
This pachinko parlor has a two-color laminated sign saying:
Entering in the foreigner will hold back while holding the WORLD CUP for the following reasons.
*In the hall because there is no staff who understands English.
*The card, the traveler's check, and the foreign currency: because it CANNOT USE it at all.
TAKING A PICTURE IN THE HALL
outside the building are prohibited.
(emphases in original)
Shawn and I talked to the manager on duty, a Mr Yoshioka. He said that because the sign was only in English that he had not understood what it meant. After I translated it, he said that it must be an anti-hooligan measure, and that his boss had ordered him to put it up. I told him that this sign makes Sapporo look like a very bad host, not to mention makes us residents feel bad, and asked him to take it down. He said he would take it under advisement.
2) STOPPED BY THE POLICE WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE
June 3, 2002, 4PM
On our way to the ramen shop that day, we three (male, middle-aged caucasian) were stopped by three policemen in front of Kentucky Fried Chicken 4-Ban Gai Shiten (Minami 4 Nishi 3 9-Ban, by the main Susukino intersection). Asked in English, then Japanese (once the cops found out we could speak it) where we were going and if we were down here on business, I asked them back if we were "suspicious people" (fushinsha). When they said we were not, I told them that under the Police Execution of Duties Law (Keisatsukan Shokumu Shikkou Hou, letter of the law at http://www.debito.org/instantcheckpoints2.html) they could not legally ask us questions without "a suitable reason for doubt" (utagau ni tariru soutou na riyuu). I asked if we may continue on our way. They said yes and stepped back. As a parting word, I asked them not to abuse (ranyou) their power from now on by stopping people just because they looked foreign. They nodded and went back to work.
This is already a bit much, and it's probably only the tip of the iceberg. With all the police and mass-media generated hysteria associated with foreigners coming here (with one local politician, a Mr Konno Takayoshi, stating for the record, "Given the exceptional atmosphere of the event, we must face the possibility of unwanted babies fathered by foreigners who rape our women." TIME Magazine Asia, http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501020513-235495,00.html), I think it was far too early for Japan, let alone Sapporo, to be holding something as international as the World Cup.
JUNE 6, 2002
Hello Friends and some mailing lists. An update is already overdue on how things are going up here in Sapporo (with the famous England-Argentina game tomorrow, Friday night). Three topics:
1) "MEMBERS ONLY" / EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS: WHAT HAPPENED?
2) "FOREIGNER CRIME IN HOKKAIDO": THE STATS SO FAR
3) "UNWANTED PREGNANCIES FROM RAPE" EXACT QUOTE
1) MEMBERS ONLY / EXCLUSIONARY SIGNS: WHAT HAPPENED?
Two days ago, I mentioned two + places that displayed exclusionary signs (as of June 3, and I did not mention the multitude of other storefront signs around Sapporo which explain shop rules in English but do not exclude, nor mention the shops closing their doors to everybody during World Cup week): the ramen shop and the pachinko parlor. The ramen shop took their sign down immediately, as I reported.
NEWS: As of the evening of June 4, 2002, The "Donkey" Pachinko center has taken their sign down too. I dropped by inside to say thanks to the manager.
MORE IMPORTANT NEWS:
As I said, It was a mystery who produced the very professional multilingual "MEMBERS ONLY" sign (http://www.debito.org/susukinosign.html) for mass consumption around Susukino. Especially since the five non-Japanese languages were flawless in their interpretation.
I found out. The producer was Xene (http://www.xene.net), a professional translation company in Sapporo which produces a free eponymous bilingual magazine on events going on around town.
The good news is that Xene admitted their responsibility without being asked. Mr Hiiro Mujin (a very nice guy with a big heart) emailed me so yesterday, June 5. Confidentiality requirements (shuhi gimu) understandibly requires him to keep his client anonymous.
The bad news is the reasoning Mr Hiiro gave behind Xene's decision to produce the sign. Although he told his client that any exclusionary language (the customer apparently wanted "gaikokujin okotowari") would not be a good idea, Xene still went ahead with "Members Only" because:
a) somebody else would have produced the sign if Xene didn't.
b) this type of business (fuuzoku--Soaplands and other prurient outlets, and I have seen signs up, ahem, around the naughties district) has been excluding foreigners from long ago.
c) he considers this to involve more problems than just a simple matter of "foreigner discrimination".
Now, as much as I don't like to bad-mouth friends or companies I consider earnest and working towards similar goals of multiculturalization, I am wondering when Xene is going to learn its lesson. This is not the first time they have misrepresented multicultural issues in Hokkaido.
In its April-May 2000 issue, Xene ran what looked like a survey (it was actually an advertisement paid for by the Otaru City government) which lied about foreigners' ability to access Otaru exclusionary bathhouses (http://www.debito.org/xeneonotaru4500.jpg). To Xene's credit again, they later printed without edits two protest letters I wrote in English in Japanese (http://www.debito.org/toxeneononsens92000.html). But when will Xene understand that they must have consistency in their policies when taking on international issues?
2) "FOREIGNER CRIME IN HOKKAIDO"--THE STATS SO FAR
After hearing that Customs and Immigration (Nyuukoku Kanrikyoku) had chartered Hokkaido ferries (confirmed by the police) to cart captured hooligans 100 people a time back down to Honshu, I stopped by the Central Hokkaido Police Agency (Hokkaido Keisatsu Honbu) with a reporter from the New York Times, and talked to Messrs Obara and his boss Mr Sumiyoshi Tatsumi (phone 011-251-0110 x 2173) about their exact catch. Results:
ARRESTS (taiho) AND DETENTIONS (ryuuchi) PERIOD JUNE 1 TO 2PM JUNE 5
(the official World Cup time period thus far)
BY POLICE ENTRUSTED WITH WORLD CUP SECURITY
(all 7300 of them, some I saw imported from Hiroshima and Kyushu)
1) June 1: One German man and one Japanese woman, accomplices (kyouzai)
Arrested in violation of the "Hokkaido Ordinance to Prevent Public Nuisances" (Dou Meiwaku Boshi Jourei) for scalping World Cup tickets.
2) Date unrecorded: One Japanese man arrested for punching a Japanese woman in the local underground shopping district (police admit this crime is not related to the World Cup per se).
3) Date unrecorded: Two Japanese men from outside Hokkaido arrested for driving a "Suspicious Vehicle" (fushin sharyou) and for "Interference in a Public Official's Duties" (koumu shikkou bougai). Perps had blocked traffic near the Dome, tried to escape by car and then on foot, and then resisted arrest.
Total: Three cases (kenkyo), five people, one foreigner.
I might add that the IHT/Asahi reported on May 31, 2002, pg 27 (http://www.asahi.com/english/sports/K2002053100276.html) that a senior Hokkaido security police official, Mr Oi Masatsugu, was quoted as saying, "There is no such thing as being too careful."
When asked for confirmation by the NY Times reporter, the statement was adjusted by Mr Sumiyoshi to "We are setting up a security system which can address all situations." (arayuru jitai ni taiou dekiru keibi taisei o totteiru)
3) "UNWANTED PREGNANCIES FROM RAPE" EXACT QUOTE
I heard from a friend that Time Magazine Asia's quote of Miyagi Prefectural Assemblyman Konno Takayoshi, as:
"Given the exceptional atmosphere of the event, we must face the possibility of unwanted babies fathered by foreigners who rape our women."
was a mistranslation.
However, the exact quote in the original Japanese is, in Romaji:
"Ijou na fun'iki ni tsutsumarete naigaijin reipu ni yoru fuhon'i na akachan
shussan made ga
mondai ni natte orimasu"
Or, my literal translation:
"Wrapped up in this abnormal atmosphere, there will be problems up to babies born against one's will (fuhon'i) due to foreign-Japanese (naigaijin) rapes."
(See the quote in context in original Japanese transcript at http://www.2002rifu.net/problem/prb-hooligan2.html)
Anyway, if nothing like this happens, I will contact Mr Konno's office and ask for a public retraction.
Looking forward to Friday night in Sapporo
For the record:
FOLLOWUP FROM XENE MAGAZINE
FORMAL STATEMENT DATED FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2002
ON ITS "MEMBERS ONLY" SIGN TRANSLATION WORK
Via Arudou Debito
As I reported last week, with the World Cup bringing games like England v Argentina etc.to Sapporo, a very professional sign saying "MEMBERS ONLY" in five languages other than Japanese (http://www.debito.org/susukinosign.html) appeared in front of businesses (without actual membership systems) in Susukino as a means to exclude undesirable clientele. After some media and cyberspace fanfare, a prominent translation agency and publisher of a citywide bilingual magazine, "Xene" (http://www.xene.net) told me they had created it, as per an order from a client. I let that information be known through a number of internet mailing lists.
Xene's Representative Mr HIIRO Mujin has asked me to release a followup statement clarifying their position on this issue for the record. I hereby translate from the original Japanese (click here) and send it off to the mailing lists. I will let the arguments speak for themselves without comment. All translation errors are my own.
Dated: Friday, June 7, 2002
To Mr Arudou from Hiiro:
The following mail is not private, so please make it public.
Or rather I should say:
As you did not confirm with me about this private email, and you sent it off to public mailing lists, I think it is your responsibility to communicate the correct facts to everyone as per our "Public Response" (kouteki na kaitou) below.
Your cooperation is appreciated.
1) I find it extremely regrettable that you sent your mail off to the HIBA (http://www.hiba-hokkaido.org) Mailing List, among others.
REASON FOR THE REGRET:
I sent that email as a private message to you. Sending its contents to a public mailing list without any confirmation from me is a breach of netiquette. It is especially so given the sensitive native of the problem.
2) XENE'S BASIC STANCE (kihon shisei) ON THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE
As far as Xene goes, we are not able to make the name of the client, who asked us to make this sign, public due to the confidentiality requirements (shuhi gimu) of our business. Personally, I believe that this problem should have been debated more fully beforehand this time (tettei teki ni ronjirareta hou ga yoi to omotteimasu). We anticipate that it is entirely possible that this issue could be taken up by a newspaper as big as the New York Times.
One of Xene's fundamental concepts (kihon rinen) is "coexistence of a variety of values" (tayou na kachi no kyousei). This is why we are of course utterly opposed (daihantai) to discriminatory behavior such as putting up signs like "we refuse foreigners".
Therefore, if this kind of sign would not have appeared around town if we had refused this job, we would of course have refused to do this job entirely.
3) SO WHY DID WE UNDERTAKE THIS JOB?
Because we wanted to stop the problem from becoming a bigger one (mondai ga okikunaru koto o fusegu tame).
If Xene had not undertaken this job, somebody else, another company, probably would have.
If another company had done the translation, it might have been expressed as the client had wanted it, as "we refuse foreigners" (gaikokujin okotowari). If that had happened, it would have developed into a much bigger problem. Perhaps those shops in that industry would have had their signs broken or suffered economic damages.
So as much as possible to keep the problem from turning into a big one, we took the job.
In actual fact, I had negotiated with the client as follows:
1) HIIRO: "Wouldn't you consider taking foreigners into your store?"
CLIENT: "As far as the businesses go, they would be happy to let them in, but the actual people who are in charge of manning and servicing the enterprise don't want foreigners, so there's nothing we can do."
2) HIIRO: "Even then, if you have signs saying 'We Refuse Foreigners", it will cause a big uproar. The world press will gladly (yorokonde) take up the issue. The signs might be broken. As a bare minimum, you must change the wording" (kono hyougen wa kaenai to mazui to omoimasu).
Given this background, the wording became "Members Only". Of course, this is (my much disliked) "wool-pulling-over-eyes" (gomakashi), a hallmark practice (tokui) of the Japanese people (mochiron, kore wa nihonjin no tokui na (boku no daikirai na) "gomakashi" desu).
I personally believe that it would have been best if I had been able to persuade the customer to let foreigners in, but in this particular "business sector" there is the tendency nationwide to refuse foreigners, so I personally was not in a strong position to change that.
That is the background and events that happened in this case.
I would also like to inform you that because you sent that information out to HIBA and other mailing lists, one of our advertisers has already pulled their advertisement from us.
Please let all of the above be made public.
Of course, there is nothing else left but to leave this up to the reader to read and decide.
However, at the very least, we do not want everyone to have the mistaken image that "Xene supports discrimination against foreigners".
Thank you very much.
Address: Danke Bldg 6F, Odori Nishi 11, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-0042
Tel: 011-272-0757, FAX 0758
ORIGINAL JAPANESE: (click here)
ARUDOU DEBITO ON
WHY XENE IS IN FACT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SIGNS:
XENE'S EDITORIAL CONTROL
Hello Friends List. Just for a sense of closure, an update on the Xene (http://www.xene.net)
"MEMBERS ONLY" sign translation) issue.
The Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA http://www.hiba-hokkaido.org) will be meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, June 19, to discuss HIBA's stance on general business ethics, including what to do about one of its board members running a translation company which translated exclusionary signs into five languages.
Lots of opinions have appeared on the HIBA Members mailing list, mostly critical of my stance (and even of me as a person, and my ability to call Japan "home", alas). For what it's worth, here is my final opinion on the issue of translator ethics. Since I can't attend the meeting due to a business trip, hopefully somebody with a similar opinion will make a similar case.
Bests, Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Hello HIBA. Thanks for holding a meeting this Wednesday to discuss the Xene translation issue (http://www.debito.org/susukinosign.html). Since I will be going down to Tokyo on business that day and won't be able to attend, let me interject a few points I think ought to be considered in the discussion:
1) DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER?
said some to the HIBA Mailing List. Sorry, folks, but Xene is not simply the messenger here. Xene not only advised the client to water down the "No Foreigners" content that the client demanded in the sign, but even chose the "Members Only" wording that ended up in the final product. It thus demonstrated some editorial control. So Xene was not merely acting as a conduit for the client to communicate with society at large.
Moreover, the fact that Xene chose to compound a lie (a non-existent membership system) with another method of exclusionism (in languages other than Japanese, no less, so that Japanese could remain oblivious and unaffected) does not exonerate Xene, in my opinion, from having any responsibility in this case. It does have responsibility because:
2) XENE PARTICIPATED IN CREATING SOCIAL DAMAGE.
This is not a simple matter of an on-the-spot vocal interpretation, where the interpreter merely says what the person next to him tells him to and the original speaker still remains culpable. These are a bunch of written signs here, and the written word is far more potent than the spoken because it is transferrable. Don't forget that the damage seeped out from the original business sector (Japanese-style red-lights) into more innocuous businesses that even families could go to (a ramen shop, remember). The point is that because the action involves the written word (and thus editorial conflicts of interest come into play), and did not take place in a self-contained environment (such as, say, an interrogation room) that would have reduced the social impact, Xene has helped create Frankenstein's monster. I.e. Xene has added to a body of knowledge (of a xenophobic sector, found in any society) which can now get out of hand whenever excluders want to exclude.
Am I exaggerating? No: Two exclusionary bars down in Misawa (http://www.debito.org/misawaexclusions.html) had exact replicas (down to the font) of the "Japanese Only" signs found in Otaru (http://www.debito.org/photosubstantiation.html). And now Xene has essentially added four more languages to their toolbox.
There could be some mitigation if Xene was small-scale kitchen sink enterprise, not an international communcative focal point of Sapporo (as it not only vocally purports itself to be, but also has a well-received publication to back it up). However:
3) REMEMBER, IT IS NOT THE FIRST TIME XENE HAS DONE THIS SORT OF THING.
I mentioned before about the Xene advertisement (paid for by the Otaru City government) in its April-May 2000 issue which lied about the accessibility of exclusionary onsens (http://www.debito.org/xeneonotaru4500.jpg). Xene could have claimed ignorance of this situation (although the onsen cases were splashed all over the print and broadcast media for the better part of a year). They did not in fact do so when I contacted them. Truth be told, the interviewer of the five foreigners interviewed (one of whom lied about the situation) was Hiiro Mujin himself. Again, as Hiiro chose to publish that, there is editorial responsibility here (and nobody would argue that the editor of a newspaper is not responsible for the contents of the newspaper, now, would they?). His claim when I called him on it? "I wanted Xene to become a forum for discussing this issue." Sounds awfully familiar a response by now.
When is Xene going to learn its lesson and stop trying to translate, even obfuscate, what is clearly discrimination? Is it that unable to say no to a lie, or to a paycheck?
Other claims one could make, like that Xene is merely a business and as a translator they have a duty to do as their client wants, break down when even Mr Hiiro will readily admit that Xene is more than a mouthpiece--it is an organ for international communication. Well then, on that tack:
4) XENE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER THAN THIS.
We even discussed this topic some weeks ago on the HIBA list, remember--when Simon J brought up the issue that a client wanted a sign to keep out undesirables. After a few jokes, we came up with things such as, "Under 24-hour camera surveillance", or "Patrolled by police", what have you. Even if not, the bluff is still there--the option to enter is still preserved and miscreants will be held accountable. Not a perfect solution, but one in which Xene helps cause far less social damage than recommitting the same old false pretenses as before.
I'm sure Xene's Sonoyo reads the HIBA list, as she is a HIBA Board Member. I guess our advice about better signs wasn't to Xene's liking. Pity. It should have been Xene's job to know, or at least to consult with people like us, if they are truly internationally sensitive. I believe the truly sensitive company would not only have been cognizant of the potential impact of their work, but also, if the client would not play ball, would have refused to become a party to it. Because becoming a party to it is indubitably what Xene ended up doing.
This is my opinion only, of course, and I thought it worth throwing onto the debate bonfire. Keep in mind that by now a lot of people have a lot of visceral reactions ("Oh, it's that Aldwinckle chap gong on again, on his soapbox. Why doesn't he just go home since Japan isn't really his home, after all." sort of thing.), maybe it is just as well I cannot attend Wednesday's meeting. My presence seems to blur the focus. Spade a spade: That is in fact more shooting the messinger, since the ideas are discounted merely due to the source.
Take the ideas above into consideration during Wednesday's meeting, that's all I ask. If HIBA once again remains in character and decides to sit on the same old fences (as it did during the blatant racial discrimination of the Otaru Onsens Case, where HIBA would issue no clear statement of support for the lawsuit or any of the months of activities leading up to it), I will understand (we are, after all, a fractious bunch of people, compounded by the common tendency amongst businesspeople anywhere to reduce ethics down to the profit motive; pity that it leaves us all weaker socially).
I have no vested interest in hurting Xene, as I think it is a worthy organization. Just when will it learn that it cannot have it both ways--pandering to nasty clientele and then assuming a victim's stance even though its editorial policies help create social damage?
(NB: RESULT OF THE HIBA MEETING ON THIS ISSUE: Nothing. HIBA remained in character and sat on its hands. Xene's Boss Ishikawa Sonoyo still sits on the HIBA Board.)
NEW YORK TIMES ON WORLD CUP IN SAPPORO:
Sapporo Braces Itself for Match
June 6, 2002
By KEN BELSON
SAPPORO, Japan, June 5 - Ichiro Sato looks more like an elder statesman than a potential vigilante. In a blue suit and yellow tie, Sato, a 70-year-old businessman, appears the pillar of the community, a proud member of the local Lions Club. But when it comes to Susukino, this city's entertainment district, he is downright defensive.
The 30-block neighborhood, teeming with bars, cabarets and restaurants, will be ground zero on Friday when Sapporo is host to the most eagerly awaited - and feared - match of this World Cup: England versus Argentina.
The game, and the fans here to see it, has been billed as the battle to top all
others, two old rivals out for blood and revenge. The teams have figured prominently
in each other's World Cup championship runs in 1966 and 1986, and English fans say
Argentina robbed their team in the 1986
World Cup finals in Mexico City and in the 1998 World Cup in Paris. For additional drama, the countries fought each other in the Falkland Islands 20 years ago.
The game Friday has its own high stakes. Argentina, having won its opening match in Group F against Nigeria, can secure a place in the second round with a victory. England, which tied Sweden in its first game, must at least earn a draw to have a realistic chance of advancing.
With so much history and tension between them, and with English fans having been painted locally as instigators of hooliganism, many Sapporo residents feel cursed that their city was chosen as the host for this match. To counter the thousands of rabid supporters who will accompany their teams here on the northern island of Hokkaido, Sapporo has trucked in thousands of extra police.
The fear of trouble, stoked by the Japanese news media and the local government, also led Sato to mobilize his largely dormant group, Sapporo Hosui, an association of 14 civilians. It patrols casually and keeps an eye on merrymakers in Susukino most nights. Armed with walkie-talkies, small bands of businessmen and residents circle the neighborhood looking out for the occasional drunk or a love spat turned ugly.
Friday, however, will be different. Sato will stay up all night keeping track of the groups by radio. He will also stand guard over his own seven-story building, which is home to 36 bars and nightclubs. Although one-third of the shops will be shut for the night, the most lucrative of the week, Sato plans to help hostesses that are working there get home safely.
Sato's anxiety was raised on Tuesday when drunkards smashed a restaurant window in his building, leading him to board up the remaining glass and brace for more trouble after the England-Argentina match.
"This is our town and we have to protect it," said Sato, a lifelong resident of the neighborhood who wears his Lions Club pin on his lapel. "We want to welcome visitors, but after hearing about the potential trouble, it's hard to get excited about the World Cup. In our hearts, we don't want to have to think this way."
The police, however, must think this way. Groups of four or more officers, many wearing flak jackets and helmets, have circled the busiest neighborhoods the past week on foot and in patrol cars with red lights spinning. The city's boulevards have been wiped clean of potential projectiles, including garbage cans, stray bicycles and vending machines. The city government has reportedly urged barbers to lock up their scissors for fear that thugs will break into shops in search of weapons.
The Home Affairs Ministry also ordered three boats to stand ready in case large numbers of foreigners are arrested and need to be shipped to Tokyo.
"We are taking security measures that can cope with every possible situation," Katsumi Sumiyoshi, a Hokkaido police spokesman, said.
"Deterrence is one thing, but this is harassment," said Arudou Debito, a longtime resident and naturalized citizen who was stopped by the police Monday. "If they are going to be so afraid, why hold the event?"
In fact, the Sapporo police have made only five arrests since the Germany-Saudi Arabia game on June 1, and only one was of a foreigner, who was accused of attempting to scalp tickets.
Traffic in Susukino has been subdued most nights, and contingents of English fans have been boisterous, but little more. Many of the worst potential offenders were not allowed to leave Britain, where the government confiscated the passports of more than 1,000 known hooligans. Another 16 Britons were denied entry at Tokyo's main international airport at Narita.
Sato, however, is not taking any chances. "We have to stand guard so there won't be any trouble," he said.
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE/ASAHI
ON WORLD CUP IN SAPPORO
June 6, 2002, page 27
World Cup: Few hassles for foreign fans
By PAUL MURPHY, Asahi Shimbun News Service
While some bar and restaurant owners are hanging out the "No Foreigner" signs, most Japanese are rolling out the welcome mats to visiting football supporters.
It's unbelievable," said Paul Lawton, an England supporter. "You just feel a better person being here. People are so nice and friendly."
Though some visitors said they were shocked that bars are not prosecuted for refusing people on the basis of their nationality, the impression of a "polite and friendly Japan" dominated in interviews with about 40 supporters conducted in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Some fans even reckoned that local civility has had a knock-on effect on fans, discouraging them from truculent behavior. "I think (fans have) blended in with the Japanese mentality and culture by being polite and orderly," said Irish supporter Kevin O' Malley.
Though fans professed surprise at the low level of English skills among locals, they were nonetheless enthused about Japanese willingness to help out with directions.
"We asked a couple where the nearest pub was on our first night. They walked with us for 20 minutes showed us a pub and even joined us for a drink," said Swede Mattias Falt. "Really polite."
But it is not all smooth sailing. Fans say some restaurants falsely claim they are full when soccer fans enter, while, according to Kenny Findlay, an England-supporting American, "seedy bars" and red-light establishments refuse foreigners point blank.
"I can't stand that. That is completely racist, I can't believe (the laws) allow that," said the Georgetown University student.
Although red-light establishments are typically off-limits to foreigners-soccer supporters or otherwise-unless accompanied by Japanese, some have produced special exclusionary signs for the World Cup.
One sign, neatly translated in five languages, but not Japanese, which asks customers to present a membership card, even found its way onto the front of a lowly ramen shop in Sapporo's Susukino district, which is famous both as a noodle and an entertainment district.
The owner has since removed the sign, thereby losing its status as presumably the sole members-only noodle shop in the world. But the sign remains at sex-related establishments in the area.
Hokkaido-based rights activist Debito Arudou said another sign, which barred foreigners from a Sapporo pachinko parlor during the World Cup, was taken down after he and others complained.
Arudou said the signs stem from a misplaced hooligan "hysteria" in Sapporo. Residents are particularly fearful of Friday's flashpoint tie between old enemies England and Argentina. It comes from "people not understanding the game or the people who support it," he said.
In Tokyo, Estefan Nofal, 35, an Argentine financial consultant, took an insouciant view of "Japanese only" signage. "Some bars say `Japanese only,' but it is a very closed culture and we knew that before we came. We are having fun, we can't complain."
(IHT/Asahi: June 6, 2002, courtesy http://www.asahi.com/english/sports/K2002060600377.html)
(return to www.debito.org World Cup 2002 Index Page)