(English and 日本語 mixed)

(originally released to Lawsuit Supporters, Friends, Japanese Friends, and several human rights lists on Thursday, May 10, 2001. More elaborate report to follow.)

Hello Lawsuit Supporters. This is a shorter report (longer one in English to follow when I have time) to tell you what happened last weekend during our survey of exclusionary establishments in Wakkanai and Monbetsu.

援助会の皆様、訴訟の支持者、こんにちは。有道 出人です。もう数日間がたったのですが、先週連休中の稚内と紋別への訪問の結果をお知らせしたいと思います。


On Thurs, May 3, Ken, Olaf, and I tried to get into Yuransen, the onsen with the separate facilities for foreigners at seven times the price (http://www.debito.org/photosubstantiation.html#WAKKANAI). After we bought a ticket and entered the genkan, we realized the owners knew who I was by face (they had even watched TV show Koko Ga Hen) and said that I may enter, now that I am a Japanese citizen. When I asked about my friends, we were referred again to Head Manager Mr Ohshima, who said, "Now that you are a Japanese, you can explain the rules to your friends. You can all go in." I questioned the logic of that judgement (Ken, Olaf, and I have all been living in Japan about the same amount of time, and Olaf is even a Permanent Resident; realistically, the only difference between them and me is my Japanese passport). When does only the dint of citizenship qualify somebody to explain bathing rules? I said that I was not willing to support a system this absurd with my money. So what about Ken and Olaf now? Ohshima: "I said they can go into the Japanese section, so they can go in." (I might add that the presence of HBC, a HTB TV camera and a Doshin reporter might have tipped the scales in our favor a bit.) Anyway, we were not refused entry, but the separate systems, Mr Ohshima said, will be maintained.

I also checked two other former excluders, Shidou Sports and barber Kitamura. Both made it clear that they were accepting foreigners as customers, and would only kick them out if they made trouble. Fine. This is a definite improvement over our last visit in April, 2000. We then got warmed up at Japan's northernmost onsen, "Doumu", which, being run by Wakkanai City, is open to everyone.




The next day, Friday, May 4, we headed southeast to Monbetsu. There are places there with "JAPANESE ONLY STORE" signs on their doors in Cyrillic who refuse all foreigners (see http://www.debito.org/photosubstantiation.html#MONBETSU and http://www.debito.org/KokoGaHen1.html), and we wanted to see if there had been any changes after over a year of media attention. After Ken and Olaf cycled into from Okoppe Town, they tried to enter the "Monbetsu Onsen, Bijin No Yu" annex of the Monbetsu Prince Hotel, which has displayed that sign since its opening in December, 2000. Ken and Olaf were initially refused entry by the crossed arms of the manager, a Mr Hayashi, but once Olaf spoke Japanese they were let in. After bathing, Olaf tried to talk to Mr Hayashi about the situation, but the latter refused (even repeatedly denying that he was the manager). Olaf left feeling very angry at his treatment. "What manager would refuse this? He doesn't even recognize me as a customer."

Afterwards, when I tried to enter Bijin no Yu by myself, er, with STV and HBC cameras waiting outside, and a Doshin reporter accompanying inside, I was allowed entry (by a different man at the counter, not Mr Hayashi)--but only if I was accompanied by a Japanese. I asked to be allowed in as a Japanese, and was then barred entry. When both the Doshin reporter and I tried to talk to Mr Hayashi, he refused. So after showing my passport and ten minutes wait by the counter, I went outside to deliver the sad news of my refusal due to my race to the cameras. At this point, Mr Hayashi came out, said he was sorry, and we talked for about two hours about both his side and our side of this issue. After Mr Hayashi admitted that it might be a little rude to look at a person's face and immediately refuse him or her entry, I felt that some progress was made. I asked again if I may bathe. He gave his permission, so I did. He expressed his intention to leave the exclusionary sign up, but would consider alternatives. Foreigners who speak Japanese, he stressed, would be let in.

そして、次の日、5月4日、紋別を調査しに行きました。この町ではロシア語で「日本人専用店」の看板を掲示して、全ての外国人を断る制度を実施しています。(http://www.debito.org/photosubstantiation.html#MONBETSU, http://www.debito.org/KokoGaHen1.html) カートハウスとサザランドは自転車で興部町から出て、運動してから紋別市の唯一の天然温泉、「もんべつ温泉 美人の湯」(紋別プリンスホテルの子会社、日帰り客の施設)。最初、支配人の林氏は腕で「バツマーク」をしましたが、カートハウスは「なぜ」と日本語で言って「あ、日本語が出来るの。じゃあどうぞ」。ところが、入浴後、カートハウスは林氏この待遇の改善について話そうとしたが、林氏は苦情受け付けを却下しました。自分が支配人ださえ否定しました。未だに「僕をお客さんとして見てはいません」とカートハウスは憤っています。


We went around the Monbetsu Hamanasu Bar District that evening with HBC, Doshin, and STV. We saw a number of those Cyrillic signs, and Olaf and Ken accompanied me into one of the signposted yakitoriya. It did not refuse us (nor made any initial negative gestures), and were most welcoming after they saw we spoke Japanese. We talked with the Mama there, who told us of some of the problems she'd had, and quite by happenstance we met the new spokesperson for the Restaurateur's Association, a Mr Nishioka, at the counter. After a friendly exchange of views (the Association considers the City irresponsible for not taking enough action to increase communication, such as issuing Russian pamphlets outlining bar rules and manners), the Association acknowledged the signs were not an especially great way to tackle the problem, and are waiting for (but will not force) its members to take down their signs. "Many have--less than 40 remain," they said. Compared to the hundred or so last July, this is an improvement, but the last fifty since the year started are taking their time.

I went to three more bars, but fortunately did not receive in any place the nasty reception seen in Koko Ga Hen. I even spent about three hours having beers at one, and we got a TV interview with one of the Mamas explaining the hows and whys of the situation. None of the bars surveyed, however, expressed an intention to remove its signs.



では、調査の結果は何でしょうか。共同通信にも毎日出来事のアップデートしましたが(道新の記事は http://www.debito.org/doshin050401.jpg )、記者にこう評価しました:



有道 出人

A more detailed report is to follow when I have time, but we did get at least one newspaper and TV report on this. (http://www.debito.org/doshin050401.jpg) I also kept Kyodo Tsushin updated daily. The assessment I gave the press:

I felt the situation has only somewhat improved. The blanket refusal system has been ameliorated, but the requirement for Japanese language, along with signs which explicitly exclude by nationality, creates the potential for confusion. Moreover, having the press along may have biased our sample somewhat--if we were average Joes (or JETs), the outcome might have been different. Still, the fact is that we were not refused anywhere, and that, hopefully, is a sign of progress.

That's all. Sorry this report is so rushed. I have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment.

Arudou Debito

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