Tangent: Debito.org has citations in 37 books, according to Amazon


 Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar

Hi Blog.  I’m going to be on the road from tomorrow showing documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES across Japan, so indulge me this evening as I talk about something that impressed me today about the power of the Internet.

It started during a search on Amazon.com this evening, when I found an amazing avenue for researching insides of books for excerpts.  Check it out (click “Excerpt”).

I realized I could go through and see just how often Debito.org is being cited as a resource in respectable print publications.  I soon found myself busy:  37 books refer in some way to me by name or things archived here.  I cite them all below from most recent publication on down.

Amazing.  Debito.org as a domain has been going strong since 1997, and it’s taken some time to establish a degree of credibility.  But judging by the concentration of citations in recent years, the cred seems to be compounding.

So tonight I’m realizing the reach of the Internet into print media, and the power of an online archive.  Mukashi mukashi, you young whippersnappers, it was truly time-consuming to find stuff in places like microfiche and Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature.   Now we can find what we need in seconds online.  Likewise, damn those who destroy history by deleting online archives — as you can see in book citations below regarding “Issho Kikaku”).

The following is tonight’s update to part of Debito.org’s PUBLICATIONS PAGE.  Have a look at the other stuff up there if you’re interested.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo



  1. Haffner, John; Klett, Tomas Casas i; Lehmann, Jean-Pierre.  “JAPAN’S OPEN FUTURE:  An Agenda for Global Citizenship“. Anthem Press March 2009, pg 194, regarding Gaijin Hanzai Magazine. Also cited in bibliography is Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article of March 2008 on “Gaijin Hanzai Magazine and Hate Speech in Japan.”  ISBN 978-1-84331-311-3.
  2. Johnson, David T., and Zimring, Franklin E, “Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)” February 2009.  Bibiography page 456, citing Arudou Debito, “The Myopic State We’re In“, Japan Times December 18, 2007. ISBN 978-0195337402.
  3. Graf, Arndt, “Cities in Asia and Europe (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia)”, Routledge, January 2009.  Bibliography page 154, citing Otaru Onsens Case Sapporo District Court testimony.  ISBN 978-0710311832.
  4. Minear, Richard H., “THROUGH JAPANESE EYES“, junior high/high school textbook on Japanese society.  Apex Press, Fourth Edition, July 2008.  Pp 285-288 cites a rewrite of Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article 176.  ISBN: 0-938960-53-9.
  5. Winterdyk, John, and Georgios Antonopoulos, “Racist Victimization“.  Ashgate, July 2008. Citation of Debito.org as “helpful website” on page 183. ISBN 978-0754673200.
  6. Sorensen, André:  “Livable Communities in Japan?”  Japan Focus February 1, 2008.
  7. Chan, Jennifer, “Another Japan Is Possible: New Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education“.  Reference section page 289 (in chapter dealing with nonexistent “NGO” ISSHO Kikaku) and bibliographical references page 368 cite Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”.  ISBN 978-0804757829.
  8. Ertl, John, Tierney, R. Kenji, “Multiculturalism in the New Japan: Crossing the Boundaries Within (Asian Anthropologies)”. Berghahn Books, November, 2007.  Introduction page 25 cites Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” as reference. ISBN 978-1845452261.
  9. 単行本「グローバル時代の日本社会と国籍」、李洙任と田中宏 著。明石書店2007年5月10日発行、ISBN 978-4-7503-2531-6, pg 45-47.
  10. Willis, David Blake; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen, Eds., “Transcultural Japan (Asia’s Transformations)”  Routledge, January 2008.  Page 34 bibliography cites Arudou Debito’s Japan Focus article “Japan’s Coming Internationalization: Can Japan Assimilate its Immigrants?” (2006).  ISBN 978-0415368902.
  11. Chapman, David, “Korean Identity and Ethnicity (Routledge Contemporary Japan Series)”.  Routledge, November 2007.  Cites activities of The Community promoting multicultural awareness on page 121. ISBN 978-0415426374.
  12. Pence, Canon, “Japanese Only: Xenophobic Exclusion in Japan’s Private Sphere“. New York International Law Review, Summer, 2007, pages 1-73.
  13. Heyden, Carmen: “Gaijin!  Welcome to Japan…  Japan auf dem Weg in eine mulikulturelle Gesellschaft.” PRAXIS GEOGRAPHIE (German), Preisliste Nr. 30 vom 1. April 2007.  Bildungshaus Schulbuchverlage Westermann Schroedel Diesterweg Schoeningh Winklers GmbH, publishers.
  14. Burgess, Chris:  “Multicultural Japan? Discourse and the ‘Myth’ of Homogeneity“. Japan Focus March 2007.
  15. West, Mark D, “Sex, and Spectacle:  The Rules of Scandal in Japan and the United States“.  University of Chicago Press, January 2007.  Page 356 footnote 116, citing Arudou Debito book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan”. ISBN 978-0226894089
  16. 「英語の新しい役割:アジアを結ぶリングア・フランカ」李洙任(Lee, Soo im)著。龍谷大学経済学論集(民際学特集)2007年記載予定。
  17. 第6回移住労働者と連帯する全国のフォーラム・北海道 報告集 第6回北海道実行委員会2007年1月10日発行。42〜48ページ、「分科会報告:外国人の人権基本法、人種差別禁止法を制定しよう」はここでご覧下さい
  18. Caryl, Christian, and Kashiwagi, Akiko:  “This Is the New Japan: Immigrants are Transforming a Once Insular Society“. Japan Focus October 2006.
  19. Zielenziger, Michael, “Shutting Out the Sun:  How Japan Created its Own Lost Generation“. Nan A Talese, September 2006.  Page 316 footnote 16,on Otaru Onsens Case and Debito.org. ISBN 978-0385513036
  20. Talmadge, Eric, “Getting Wet: Adventures in the Japanese Bath“.  Kodansha International, August 2006.  Interview pp 149 – 155, regarding Otaru Onsens Case and racial discrimination in Japan. ISBN 978-4770030207.
  21. Milhaupt, Curtis J.; Ramseyer, J. Mark; and West, Mark D.: “The Japanese Legal System:  Cases, Codes, and Commentary”. Foundation Press, June 2006, ISBN 1-599-41017-6.  Citing Arudou Debito’s book “‘JAPANESE ONLY‘: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2006).
  22. Gottlieb, Nanett, “Linguistic Stereotyping and Minority Groups in Japan (Contemporary Japan)”.  Routledge, February 2006.  Page 96 talks about Kume Hiroshi Case and his use of the word “gaijin” during a 1996 live broadcast. Back references page 142 cite Debito.org on the Kume Case, and what remains of the deleted ISSHO archives on Debito.org on page 146.  ISBN 978-0415338035.
  23. Sloss, Colin; Kawahara, Toshiaki; Grassi, Richard: “Shift the Focus“, Lesson 4:  “Discrimination, or Being Japanese…?” pp 18-21, on the Otaru Onsens Case. Sanshusha Pubilshing Co., Ltd. February, 2006. ISBN: 4-384-33363-3.
  24. Lee, Soo im; Murphy-Shigematsu, Stephen; and Befu, Harumi, eds., “JAPAN’S DIVERSITY DILEMMAS“.  iUniverse Inc. 2006.  ISBN 0-595-36257-5.  Two citations, in Chapter 4 (Murphy-Shigematsu, “Diverse Forms of Minority National Identities in Japan’s Multicultural Society”, pp. 75-99) and Chapter 5 (Lee, “The Cultural Exclusiveness of Ethnocentrism:  Japan’s Treatment of Foreign Residents”, pp. 100-125).
  25. Hayes, Declan, “The Japanese Disease: Sex and Sleaze in Modern Japan“. iUniverse Inc., September 2005.  Page 54, citing the Otaru Onsens Case, and page 311 footnote 14, with thanks for assistance.  ISBN 978-0595370153.
  26. Spiri, John, “Japanese at Work–a look a the working lives of Japanese people”, interview pp. 35-37.  Japan Association for Language Teaching pubs, Special Interest Group for Materials Writers, 2005.  ISBN 4-931424-20-1. More information at http://www.globalstories.net.
  27. Philips, Cathy, Ed. “Time Out Guide to Tokyo“, 4th Edition, Time Out Publishing June 2005.  Page 301, regarding the usefulness of Debito.org. ISBN 978-1904978374.
  28. Anholt, Simon, “Brand New Justice, Second Edition: How Branding Places and Products Can Help the Developing World“.  Butterworth-Heinemann, January 2005.  Citing as footnote 18 on page 167 my very off-topic research paper from 1996,  “New Zealand’s Economic Reforms–Were They Worth It?”,  ISBN 978-0750666008.
  29. Close, Paul, and Askew, David, “Asia Pacific And Human Rights: A Global Political Economy Perspective (The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms)”. Ashgate Publishing, December 2004.  Debito.org cited as reference in bibliography.  ISBN 978-0754636298.
  30. Asakawa, Gil, “Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa . . . and Their Friends“.  Stone Bridge Press, June 2004. Citing Debito.org as a site of interest in resources, page 134. ISBN 978-1880656853.
  31. 聖学院大学 政治経済学部 政治経済学科 2004年度 推進入学審査 小論文問題として記載:有道 出人著の朝日新聞「私の視点」欄から「『外国人お断り』人種差別撤廃へ法整備を」(SARSによるホテルの恐怖感と一律外国人客お断りの方針)。2003年6月2日朝刊 pg14(聖学院大学の問題用紙はこちらです。引用された記 事へのリンクはこちらです)(学研(株)出版)
  32. Let’s Go Inc., “Let’s Go Japan 1st Ed“.  Let’s Go Publications, December 2003.  Page 690 on favorite restaurant Ebi-Ten, pp 696-697 sidebars, interview with Olaf Karthaus and Arudou Debito on Otaru Onsens Case.  ISBN 978-0312320072.
  33. Belson, Ken, and Bremner, Brian, “Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon”  Wiley, November 2003.  Citation page 136 of Kyodo News March 19, 2003 article translation by Arudou Debito, regarding “Tama-Chan” protests.  ISBN 978-0470820940.
  34. Arnould, Eric J; Price, Linda; Zinkhan, George M, “Consumers” McGraw-Hill/Irwin, March 2003.  Page 76 cites Otaru Onsens Case as “Cultural Category Confusion”. ISBN 978-0072537147.
  35. Mclelland, Mark, “Japanese Cybercultures (Asia’s Transformations)”, Routledge, February 2003. Page 171, citing Debito.org as an example of online activism. ISBN 978-0415279185.
  36. Fujimoto, Etsuko, “Japanese-ness, Whiteness, and the ‘Other’ in Japan’s Internationalization”.   Essay from book Transforming Communication About Culture (2002), edited by Mary Jane Collier.  Sage Publications, Inc; 1st edition (December 15, 2001), ISBN-13: 978-0761924883.
  37. Picardi, Richard P, “Skills of Workplace Communication: A Handbook for T&D Specialists and Their Organizations“.  Quorum Books, September 2001. Pp 29-30 cites Otaru Onsens Case and Ana Bortz Case, as part of New York Times November 15, 1999 article, as cases of battles against ethnocentrism in Japan.  ISBN 978-1567203622.
  38. ENDS

Start of Holiday Season: blog becomes less frequent and more festive


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Morning Blog.  With the holidays coming up (I bet many people are taking Monday off too and getting ready to travel), I’m sure you have better things to do than read socially-conscious stuff on a blog.  Eat, drink, and be merry, and I’ll do the same (in more moderation; I’m already fat).  I’ll try not to do daily updates, and will put up more amusing, off-topic, stuff between Xmas and New Years.  Enjoy yourselves and we’ll get back to business in January.  Happy holidays, everyone!  Arudou Debito (stuck in Sapporo; Hokkaido economics don’t help one get out for Xmas)

Rogues’ Gallery of “Japanese Only” Establishments updated: Tokyo Akihabara, Kabukicho, Minami-Azabu, Tsukiji, & Ishikawa added


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

The “Rogues’ Gallery”, an archive of “Japanese Only” exclusionary establishments spreading nationwide across Japan, has now been updated for the season.

Added have been Tokyo Akihabara (shop), Minami-Asabu (ballet school), Kabukichou (nightlife), Tsukiji (seafood restaurant), and Ishikawa (a newspaper subscription outlet for the Hokkoku Shinbun — yes, a Japanese newspaper outlet refusing NJ subscribers).  

This brings the tally to (places and types of establishment):

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), 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 KyotoEyeglass store in Daitou City (Osaka Pref), Apartments in Fukshima-ku (Osaka City), Bar in Kurashiki (Okayama Pref), Nightclub and Bar in Hiroshima(Hiroshima Pref),  Restaurant in Kokura, Kitakyushu City (Fukuoka Pref), Billiards hall in Uruma City Gushikawa (Okinawa Pref),  Miscellaneous exclusionary signs (Tokyo Ikebukuro, Kabukicho, Hiroshima).

Update details as follows:


Akihabara (Tokyo Chiyoda-ku)
Shop “Mad”
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.
Nevertheless, as of October 10, 2008, “MAD”s website still explicitly says their knives are not for sale to foreigners.

Rogues’ Gallery entry at https://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Akihabara


Mass-produced neighborhood signs for excluding all foreigners.  Note how sophisticated the English language level of exclusionism has gotten.  

These cellphone staps taken March 16, 2008 by Rogues’ Gallery monitor 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?

Full report at https://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#Shinjuku


Minami-Azabu (Tokyo Minato-ku)
Ballet School 
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

Full report here:  https://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html#minamiazabu


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 pign is now down as of February 2008, thanks to others contacting the restaurant and encouraging the management to reconsider.


Nonoichi City (Ishikawa Prefecture)
Dealer for Hokkoku Shinbun

販売所名: 野々市三馬(石川県)
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.


See whole Rogues’ Gallery up at https://www.debito.org/roguesgallery.html


BLOG BIZ: Blog becomes Debito.org’s main page, revamp



Hi Blog.  Some new things to report about the Blog:

Debito.org was first created in 1997 as an archive of my essays up to that point.  I never imagined back then that it would become a source of information on life and human rights in Japan.  And I never thought it would become a daily-updated project that would take up so much of my life.

Now with the Blog (created back in Summer 2006) becoming one of the most-accessed sites here, it’s time to make it the “main page” (i.e. the first thing people see when they click on www.debito.org), with links back to the traditional, hand-built text sites that have always been the mainstay.

The Blog has also been revamped to make updates easier, make the cover page easier to read in summary, and resolve some problems that over the past month made it inaccessible from time to time (causing Google to delist us for the time being; long story, but this was due to hidden text issues I was completely unaware of.  I’ve since reapplied for relisting, should be approved when Google gets through the mountain of sites in the same situation.)

I want to thank everyone for reading and contributing their thoughts to Debito.org, and I hope that the issues and information raised here help people make a better life for themselves in Japan.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

“HANDBOOK for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants”: info site on how to buy (Paypal OK)


Hi Blog. Just put up a new website on Debito.org with information on how you can buy our new book, HANDBOOK for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants, within Japan or internationally. Paypal possible.

Please see:

More on the book and upcoming national book tour at https://www.debito.org/?page_id=582

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Debito.org Updates: First JUST BE CAUSE Japan Times Column, Journal of Int’l Health, NY Int’l Law Review


Hello Blog. Some articles I added to the Debito.org Publications Page recently:

Very pleased with how this essay turned out–some good ground covered in 850 words. (And yes, that is THE onsen in the background of this picture). See “Director’s Cut” with links to sources at


I was invited to contribute a little something following my speech at the Japan Association for International Health last October 8 (see my Powerpoint presentation for it here). It’s a very brief summary of my talk, in simple English for non-native speakers.

“Medical Care for Non-Japanese Residents of Japan: Let’s look at Japanese Society’s General ‘Bedside Manner’ First”, Journal of International Health Vol.23, No.1, 2008, pgs 19-21.


This article was written not by me, but by researcher Canon Pence. He says it won an award (congrats!), which certainly helped his career. Glad Debito.org was of some assistance.

Pence, Canon, “Japanese Only: Xenophobic Exclusion in Japan’s Private Sphere”. New York International Law Review, Summer, 2007, pages 1-73.

Enjoy! Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Rogues’ Gallery: Kansai Kensetsu Inc., a “No Foreigners” realtor in Osaka–according to its catalog


Hi Blog. Martin Oickle was kind enough to send me one page of a housing/apartment catalog from “Heartful Fukushima Ten”–an Osaka realtor (Fukushima 7-5-1, Fukushima-ku, Osaka-shi, KK Kansai Kensetsu Fukushima Ten, Ph 06-6455-7101).

It has a system for refusing foreigners that is so clear it’s even got a special snappy logo:

very kindly abbreviated to “‘gaijin’ are allowed” for your handy-dandy reference. Cute.

Here’s the original page in its entirety, from page nine of its catalog:
(click on the image to see a very detailed 300 dpi scan close up)


You’ll 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”.

(click below to see whole image in your browser)

Thanks for making it so clear, I guess. Very Heartful. You’ll also notice that there is only one apartment of the twelve on this page which will deign to take “gaijin”:


And it’s nearly the cheapest and quite possibly the crappiest one on the entire page–only a one-room (1R). Now what a coincidence…


Now some quick counterarguments for the pedants, for what they’re worth:

Yes, there are restrictions on other things, such as pianos, but pianos and other material effects are not people. Same with pets, of course.

Yes, there are restrictions on students and children. But one does not remain a student or a child all their life, so it’s not the same as discrimination by nationality. (And for the record, I do not support “Women Only” apartments by the same logic. In any case, the default mode for apartments is accepting women, whereas the default for “gaijin” is rejection.)

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.

And 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. I have put this company on the “Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments”.

Suggest you take your business elsewhere if you’re looking for apartments in Fukushima-ku, Osaka. Someplace less tolerant of intolerance.

Like some of these places, mentioned in a Japan Times article of November 10, 2007, blogged here.

Pertinent references from the article:
The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry launched the Web site Anshin Chintai (safe rental housing) in June to provide rental housing information and lists of real estate agents and NPOs that can support foreign apartment-seekers. So far, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Miyagi prefectures and Kawasaki have joined the project. For example, 237 real estate agents in Tokyo are listed as supportive firms.

The site — www.anshin-chintai.jp — is available in Japanese only, but foreigners who have difficulties with the language can ask local governments to explain the information on the site to them, according to the ministry.

The Japan Property Management Association, involving about 1,000 real estate agencies, also launched the Web site Welcome Chintai — www.jpm.jp/welcome/ — in September to introduce rental properties in six languages — Chinese, English, Korean, Mongolian, Spanish and Russian.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Debito.org Update: Addition to “What to do if…” site: Evictions


Hi Blog. New update to the Debito.org site:

…you are being threatened with eviction from your apartment.

With the NOVA Inc. Eikaiwa Debacle, I’ve been getting quite a few questions from people who are finding out their employer isn’t paying their rent for corporate housing, much less their salary. It’s getting tough to answer each person individally (I get dozens of general questions every week), so let me add to the What to do if… artery site for one-stop shopping.

Here’s I’ve put up at

…you are being threatened with eviction from your apartment.

Tenants have extremely strong rights in this society, which means that if you signed a contract, you are entitled to stay, even if you haven’t paid your rent for a stretch of time. You can even sue (and win) if your landlord changes his or her mind after a contract is signed and money paid. Stand your ground. You cannot be evicted without a court order.

This situation has come up in the context of the NOVA Eikaiwa School Debacle, where the company has not paid rents on company-provided apartments and the poor employee has had to face eviction, but stand your ground. Advice from those in the know:

1) [With NOVA Inc.] deducting rent from your paycheck, but not forwarding it on to your landlord, Nova broke the law. They are in the wrong, not you. Your landlord can complain, but his contract is with Nova. Keep your pay stubs and any receipts you have. Legally, you’ve been paying rent. If the landlord changes your locks, removes anything from your apartment, or harrasses you without going to court and getting a court order for your eviction, he is in the wrong. He can give you all the letters he wants, but he needs a judge to evict you. Grounds for eviction are normally illegal activity in the apartment or non-payment of agreed rent obligations. This is why you should hang on to your pay stubs – just in case things get ugly and you have to fight your eviction.

2) Accommodation: “Even if the owner/the landlord/the agency is screaming at you to get out, you don’t have to leave– just keep paying your rent. If the company was supposed to be paying the rent and they haven’t, sue the company for fraud or tell the agency: ‘Look, the company’s supposed to be paying, and I’ve already paid the company.’ You have a right of residency, and anyone who wanted to get you out is going to have to get a court order to do it.” (Bob Tench, Nova union vice president)


As ‘eikaiwa’ giant plans school closures amid credit crunch, some fear the worst
The Japan Times, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007
(Referential information at the bottom of the article)

Korean Woman Wins Discrimination Damages in Japan
Chosun Ilbo, South Korea, October 5, 2007

Plus, various extraneous bits of advice from people in the know courtesy of the Japan Times, September 25, 2007, regarding union support, unpaid wages, Immigration/Visas and employment, redundancies, and unemployment insurance.


Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Japan Times on Asashoryu and the National NJ Blame Game (UPDATED)


Hi Blog. I’ve just webbed two recent Japan Times Community Page articles, summarized as follows:

The scapegoating of Asashoryu
Champion’s antics are least of sumo’s worries

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007
Special to The Japan Times, Column 39 for the Japan Times Community Page
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070904zg.html
Based upon an Internet essay at https://www.debito.org/?p=542

…Some might say Asa has long had it coming. He’s known as the bad boy of sumo, reputedly showing violent tendencies toward junior wrestlers and, according to the weeklies and wide shows, even his wife.

Therefore his record, in a sport where winning is everything, was the only thing keeping the hounds at bay.

But it’s not as if he stopped winning. What’s changed is that as of May we finally have another yokozuna, Hakuho. It seems Asashoryu is now expendable.

The point is, the whole soccer-sumo scandal is a smoke-screen. Sumo is in a panic and needs a scapegoat…
Whole article at https://www.debito.org/japantimes090407.html



The blame game
Convenience, creativity seen in efforts
to scapegoat Japan’s foreign community

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007
Special to The Japan Times, Column 38 for the Japan Times Community Page
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20070828zg.html

“Director’s Cut”, with information included that did not appear in print or online at the Japan Times, available at https://www.debito.org/japantimes082807.html

We live in interesting times, where Japan’s economy and society have been at a crossroads–for nearly two decades.

With the shortage and high cost of domestic labor, the Japanese government has imported record numbers of cheap foreign workers. Even though whole industrial sectors now depend on foreign labor, few publicly accept the symbiosis as permanent. Instead, foreigners are being blamed for Japan’s problems.

Scapegoating the alien happens worldwide, but Japan’s version is particularly amusing. It’s not just the garden-variety focus on crime anymore: Non-Japanese are being blamed for problems in miltary security, sports, education — even shipping. Less amusing is how authorities are tackling these “problems” — by thwarting any chances of assimilation…
Rest of the article at https://www.debito.org/japantimes082807.html

Enjoy. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


UPDATE: Doreen Simmons, Grand Dame of Sumo, comments in the Kansai Time Out (September 2007) on the Asa controversy. Courtesy of Steve. In PDF format, download from Debito.org here:


COMMENT: I don’t claim to know anywhere even near what Doreen knows, but my reaction is one of general disappointment with her essay. It’s not all that well written (it goes kerplunk at the end, with no conclusion), indicating to me that like movie director Kurosawa Akira, she’s gotten too senior in society to take an edit.

James thought there was no new ground covered, just rehash plus history. I would agree–there’s nothing covered in depth, such as examining the possible motives re WHY Asa is being carpeted this much now. The media has jumped on Asa in the past, but this time all things seem to be in confluence–so well that one could make an argument that the JSA is trying to force Asa out by making things too uncomfortable for him to stay. He could thus quit without tarnishing Sumo’s Mongolian connection. Bit of a stretch, yes. But let’s allude to it even if only to eliminate it.

Even though historically, as Doreen noted in her article, Asa is getting plenty more rope compared to other defrocked wrestlers, James and I see the JSA even going so far as fanning the flames around Asa themselves, in order to take the heat off their own excesses. It’s not as if Asa has all the same tools at his disposal (such as they are in the Sumo world) as a regular J rikishi to defend himself. He’s not even a native speaker.

In sum, Doreen is not at all questioning the very fabric of Sumo, which helps create these uncontrollable sumo “frankensteins” that the JSA have to reel in from time to time. My feeling after reading is that Doreen was just informing us how much she knows about the sport, and indirectly chiding anyone for commenting on Sumo at all without her level of knowledge (which she’ll impart at her convenience, thank you very much).

That was certainly the feeling I got when I asked Doreen for comment before I submitted the above essay to the Japan Times (she had very kindly corrected a point raised in the COUNTERPOINT essay we wrote last week, thanks).

Her response (excerpt):
“There is so much to take issue with, and it would take a couple of hours at least. Although I was extremely busy before, I found time to point out just one glaring error, in the Onaruto story — but why should I clean up somebody else’s article free of charge? If invited, I will be happy to write a rebuttal — for a fee.”

Sorry to have bothered her. Also glad she was paid for her opinions (such as they are) by the KTO, not me. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Japan Times Aug 14 on Valentine Case, plus new JT column Aug 28


Hi Blog. About to jump on my bicycle again for a few days and catch the tail-end of the Hokkaido summer, but here’s a link to a Japan Times article on the Valentine Case, which came out shortly before my last cycle trip.

Japan Times column: “ABUSE, RACISM, LOST EVIDENCE DENY JUSTICE IN VALENTINE CASE: Nigerian’s ordeal shows that different standards apply for foreigners in court” (August 14, 2007).

Column 37 for the Japan Times Community Page
Courtesy http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070814zg.html
More information and documentation on this case at https://www.debito.org/valentinelawsuit.html

In 1999, a Brazilian resident of Japan named Milton Higaki was involved in an accident that killed a schoolgirl. Rather than face justice in Japan, he fled to Brazil fearing “discrimination as a foreigner in Japanese courts.”

Although the domestic media quickly saw this as a case of crooked-foreigner-as-flight-risk, human rights attorney Yasuko Morioka took a more nuanced view, criticizing Japan’s “lack of legal hearings that consider the rights of foreign(ers).”

While fleeing from justice is not to be condoned, cases like Higaki’s are more understandable considering the increasing awareness of the scarier aspects of Japan’s judicial system.

Not only is the United Nations aware of the potential for torture in Japan’s prisons (more below), but courts here also tend to use different judicial standards when coming to decisions in cases involving non-Japanese.

Consider the Valentine case…

Webbed with links to original sources on Debito.org at https://www.debito.org/japantimes081407.html Original blog report on this case at https://www.debito.org/?p=497

Meanwhile, next Tuesday, August 28 (Wednesday in the provinces) will see my next column coming out in the Japan Times Community Page, on how NJ are being blamed for just about anything these days, and how that adversely affects any possible assimilation.

Enjoy. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Blacklist: Kansai Gaidai, Shokei Gakuin, Kyushu U; Greenlist: Nagoya, Aichi U of E


The Blacklist of Japanese Universities (https://www.debito.org/blacklist.html), where listed institutions have a history of offering unequal contracted work (not permanent “academic tenure”) to its full-time faculty (usually foreign faculty), has just been updated.

Joining the 102 universities blacklisted are three new entrants, as follows:


NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Kansai Gaidai University (Gaikokugo Daigaku) (Private)
LOCATION: 16-1 Nakamiyahigashino-cho, Hirakata City, Osaka 573-1001

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Has a remarkable job advertisement where not only are the “ESL Instructor Positions” non-tenure track, with one-year contracts capped at five years, but also entail a heavy weekly workload of “ten 90-minute classes, fifteen 60-minute classes, or a combination thereof” (while tenured J professors rarely have more than 5-7 class periods a week). Duties also include “student counseling, training for speech contests, and other duties as directed by the school” (whatever that means). And what professional with an MA in “TEFL, applied linguistics, or education with a TESOL focus”, with international teaching/living experience elsewhere, and fluency in two languages, would settle for a piffling salary starting at “approx. 4 million yen per year”? (which, believe me, is peanuts!!) Finally KGU states, “The university is interested in midcareer professional ESL faculty who will make a serious commitment to its programs,” without making a serious commitment to the job security of the professional bilingual educator. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: 2007 advertisement from KGU on TESOL, available at http://careers.tesol.org/jobdetail.cfm?job=2619083

Webarchive in case of a dead link: https://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#kansaigaidai

NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Kyushu University (National)
LOCATION: 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Institutes Gaikokujin Kyouin/Kyoushi system, meaning contracts for 2 years for full-time foreigners.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job announcement (August 2007) for a native lecturer for German, published on the homepage of the Japanese Society for German Studies (Nihon Dokubun Gakkai). Contract to start in April 2008, limited to 2 years. http://www.jgg.jp/modules/news/article.php?storyid=320 (German text), full translation and webarchive in case of a dead link: https://www.debito.org/blacklist.html#kyuudai


NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Shokei Gakuin College (Private)
LOCATION: 4-10-1 Yurigaoka, Natori-shi, Miyagi-ken (near Sendai)

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: “This was formerly Shokei Women’s Junior College, which added the 4-year college 4 years ago. We 3 fulltime teachers, each of whom has had over 10 years’ employment at the college, were unexpectedly given notice of our termination. This happened when we went to sign our yearly contract. Our termination was in the contract, so we had the choice either of agreeing to being fired within two years’ time or losing our jobs immediately if we did not sign. There was no opportunity to discuss this. We were not told about this beforehand and we were not given any reasons. A few days later one of us asked why this decision had been made. The reasons were given reluctantly: they did not like the way we taught (not one person came to observe any of our classes), we had not published (when in fact some of us had), we had not attended meetings or done committee work (even though that was part of our agreement when we were initially hired; we were given extra classes instead) and we were not fluent in Japanese – meaning full literacy skills – despite the fact that we were initially hired with the understanding that Japanese reading and writing skills were not necessary for the job.
“The situation at the college is such that a new administrator came from a state university to help this college survive financially. But this college is a private institution and is designed differently than he was accustomed to. However, he has made sweeping changes that are not in keeping with the tradition of this college. That is, he has put a stop to faculty involvement in decision making, which was an integral part of this institution. Instead, he and his friends from the state institution have meetings off campus and then announce to the faculty what will be done. In other words, no one has a voice here any longer except him and his friends.
“Even when the original teachers from this college tried to persuade him to keep the foreign teachers, he refused to even listen to them. To make matters worse, no one explained to us foreign teachers about the tax situation in this city. So, suddenly, we were told that we would be responsible for paying a full year of taxes. In other words, we have to pay to leave the school. We could live for about 3 months on the tax we have to pay. So, this is very serious for those of us who do not have another job and are too old to get full time work. All of this is a tremendous shock because, in addition to having to pay taxes, the school is refusing to give us severance pay.”

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Chris Cuadra (schri AT mac DOT com), Shokei ex-employee Anne Thomas, Shokei teacher through March 2008

There are also some updates to the Blacklist–new job ads showing that certain universities just won’t change their ways:




Meanwhile, some universities are seeing the light, and improving job stability for NJ academics:



NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Aichi University of Education (Kyouiku Daigaku) (National)
LOCATION: Igayacho Hirosawa 1, Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture

GOOD EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE: Currently (2007) six out of seven non-Japanese staff are tenured (without tenure review) with exactly the same duties and salary as Japanese. Five out of the six tenured non-Japanese have had tenure from the first day of their contract.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Oliver Mayer, Associate Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages at Aichi University of Education
NOTE FROM LIST MONITOR: CAUTION: Aichi University of Education is also on the University Blacklist, as it still offers full-time contracted employment to NJ academics.



UNIVERSITY: Nagoya University (National)

GOOD EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE: Has non-contracted permanently tenured employment for 36 non-Japanese faculty.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Professor Takamatsu Michio of Nagoya University, met July 31, 2007 at Tokyo University speech regarding the Blacklist, who presented me with evidence scanned here (Japanese):
NOTE FROM LIST MONITOR: CAUTION. Nagoya University also contracts non-Japanese faculty with no clear tenure review system, so it also remains on the Blacklist.

All for now. I’m sure there’ll be more soon. The Blacklist and Greenlist have received a spike of attention in recent months. Glad they are being taken seriously at last. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Quick update from Debito in Tokyo: Blacklist, Sanya, JT


Hi Blog. Quick update on what’s going on.

Had a great speech last night regarding the BLACKLIST OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIESat Tokyo University. Attended by several universities (Todai, Hitotsubashidai, Tohokudai, Nagoya, Aizu, some of whom wanted to know why they had been Blacklisted), and some educational institutions. Even the Ministry of Education was to show (informally–that spooked me; I was told to put my Powerpoint presentation in English, but as soon as I heard the MOE would attend, I put it all into Japanese. Wanted it to be taken seriously, after all.) You can download the Powerpoints here:


Anyway, I’ve extended my Tokyo trip one more day. A friend who is doing research on homeless in Japan and the US has invited me to spend a day in Sanya, where the unfortunates in society lead hand-to-mouth existences. Should be an eye-opener.

I’ll have my thoughts on the election (yes, Abe proved me wrong–the gall!! 🙂 ) after I get home to Sapporo tomorrow. Have to get to work on another Japan Times article next week as well. Hope you enjoyed hearing my voice on the podcasts!

Arudou Debito
FCCJ, Yurakucho, Tokyo
July 31, 2007

University Blacklist adds Hokkai Gakuen and Chugoku Univ, Greenlist gets ICU


The Blacklist of Japanese Universities (https://www.debito.org/blacklist.html), where listed institutions have a history of offering unequal contracted work (not permanent “academic tenure”) to its full-time faculty (usually foreign faculty), has just been updated for the season.

Joining the 100 universities blacklisted are two new entrants, as follows:

NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Chugoku Gakuen University and Junior College (Private)
LOCATION: Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture, west of Osaka.

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: “Chugoku Gakuen has discriminated against its native speaking English teachers for many years and thus deserves to be placed on the blacklist. Although racial discrimination is not a crime in Japan, it is still intolerable. Neither myself nor my two immediate predecessors were able to attain working conditions on a par with the Japanese faculty. Academic credentials, publications, experience, and student evaluations have had no bearing on our position. I feel that have been discriminated against for years, and now, after seven one-year contracts, have been presented with a terminal contract. To date no one has been able to provide me with a reasonable explanation as to why I am treated differently. I have been refused promotion from lecturer to assistant professor although most other faculty are promoted after three years and generally become associate professor after five. The most recent reason is that since my Japanese is weak I cannot be on committees. Strangely enough I have been on one committee for the past seven years. I was also told repeatedly that my Japanese skills or lack thereof was not a problem, and when I offered to attend classes if that would help my situation I was told directly by the president at the time that I would never change salary or position no matter what level Japanese proficiency I attained. This year I did receive a salary increase (roughly 2% per annum if factored over my period of employment), but this came with the terminal contract. It is worth statiing that my two predecessors were capable Japanese speakers and faced the same barriers as myself. The school is now involved in an ongoing labor dispute with me and my union (EWA). The school has become a hotbed of cronyism since a new president entered the picture last year. To the disgruntlement and amazement of many faculty members, he has appointed a friend with almost no teaching experience and publications as a full professor. This is only one of the many positions filled without open competition or public posting of open positions. Please add this facility with its opaque policy making and discriminatory hiring practices to your blacklist.”

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Richard “Cabby” Lemmer, faculty member at that institution.


NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Hokkai Gakuen University (Private)
LOCATION: 4-1-40 Asahimachi, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo 062-8605 JAPAN

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Nonrenewable 3 year contract for “position for a full-time native speaker of instructor of EFL”. Required to teach 10 lessons per week Monday to Saturday 9am – 9pm. Classes may include content-based EFL as well as all levels of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Materials development and other program-related activities will also be included in the duties. (Basically, you are required to do everything they ask). They expect a MA or PhD and in return offer a dead-end position offering a mere 4.4 million yen salary per year. Yet they also offer a similar position in the same department in Japanese with permanent non-contracted tenure and without any requirement of a PhD, which means they keep qualified foreigners disposable and tenure less-qualified Japanese. Sounds like a truly egalitarian place to work. Contact point for the throwaway English position: tkuri@jin.hokkai-s-u.ac.jp (Takehiko Kurihara)

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: JREC-IN website job advertisement ( http://jrecin.jst.go.jp/seek/SeekTop?fn=1&ln=1, DATA NUMBER : D107070218). Human Science Jobs – Advertised on July 7th 2007. (See entire advertisement archived here)

But there is also some good news. For the first time in the ten-year history of the Blacklist of Japanese Universities, the following has happened:

NAME OF UNIVERSITY: International Christian University (Kokusai Kirisuto Kyou Daigaku) (Private)
LOCATION: Mitaka, near Tokyo

GOOD EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE: Has many tenured Non-Japanese faculty, and also a functional tenure review process for those full-timers on contracts to eventually become tenured faculty.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: A personal on-site investigation by the Blacklist Moderator, Arudou Debito, who met with several ICU faculty and Dean William Steele in April 2007, who substantiated the above. NOTE: ICU was for many years on the Blacklist, but has become the first university in the decade-long history of the Blacklist to not only be Greenlisted, but be permanently removed from the Blacklist as well. Congratulations, and thanks for your cooperation.

Thanks ICU.

If you would like to make a submission to the Blacklist or the Greenlist are welcome. Application is at https://www.debito.org/blackgreenlistapp.html. I welcome input. For example, if you find some job advertisement which proves a university qualifies for either list, please send me the text, save me some time by rewriting the pertinent data as per the Blacklist entry format sbelow, and a link. Please try to keep sources as close to primary as possible. Thanks.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Traffic Accident: Good experience with police (UPDATED)


Hi Blog. I use this space enough to heap scorn on the Japanese police (deservedly, mind you). But I thought I’d balance things out a bit with praise where it’s due:

JUNE 13 TO 15, 2007

I have had a pretty rotten June so far (see what I mean when I spent the past two weeks in Upstate New York battling my demons of the past, and trying to see my abducted daughter), and it was only made worse by the events of June 13.

At 1PM, I was doing my bicycle commute to school from downtown Sapporo (60 kms round trip), cycling on a sidewalk designated for cyclists, when a middle-aged gentleman working for a construction company left the parking lot of Homac department store in Atsubetsu, Sapporo, without looking both ways.

He ploughed into the front tyre of my bicycle (the one I have used for all of my cycletreks these past few years), dragging me and my bicycle for about a meter. My body weight was thrown upon the hood of his car, but my right leg took a sizeable impact below the knee.

He came out of his car immediately to check on me and to apologize. Sliding off his car and standing on my good left leg, I said, okay, let’s get the police involved. I dialed 110 on my keitai, got the Atsubetsu Police, and explained to them the situation. Location, details of the impact, make and license plate of the car, and names.

Some hints, in case you find yourself in this situation:




We waited about ten minutes before the traffic police came by, and they talked to me first and got my side of the story. Not once did they ask my nationality (the driver, making conversation, did, not that it bothered me), and once I showed them my driver license and meishi from my university, they were pleasant, even deferential. They treated me like a victim.

Even more luckily, the driver of the car was a decent sort, and claimed full responsibility and fault. The driver and I were cordial, cross-checking our stories, while the police took our stories separately. Our memories jibed, so the investigation was completed in about ten minutes. The police took their pictures, chalked the positions of the vehicles and had them moved, and confirmed their interpretations of the events (based upon the evidence at hand) with our recollections (police in Japan try to find fault with both parties, so they asked if I was cycling fast or recklessly, which I wasn’t; the driver concurred, and reiterated that he was completely to blame).

The police advised me to go to a hospital immediately for some X-rays (I had class, had to wait until today), then said we could go.

I locked my ruined bike (the front tyre was completely collapsed and bowed inward, the front fork bent, and even the back tyre was askew–I have the feeling the driver confused his accelerator with his brake) to a nearby fence, limped to the driver’s car, and got a lift to school. He even said if my bike was irreparable (which it probably is), I should not hesitate to get a new one.


The driver’s insurance company was on the phone to me within hours, getting my particulars and side of the story. (The agent did ask about my nationality, and I said Japanese. When he asked my previous nationality, I told him it was irrelevant. He dropped the subject.) He was trying to get an estimate of my bike’s worth, which I said I could not assess. I told him that I wanted my bike the same as it was before, at no cost to me. I would retreive the bike later that evening and deliver it to my favorite bike shop in Makomanai for a repairs estimate, I said. He said keep track of my auto mileage for compensation for my fuel costs. I gave him the bike shop’s number and let them negotiate things out.

I went to the hospital today (one I chose; the insurance agent called ahead and made an appointment for me; they would cover all my bills) for several X-rays of my right leg. They turned up negative for any severe damage (some possible bleeding in the bone, but no edema). Should be healed in a couple of weeks, but it’s difficult for me to walk normally and climb stairs at the moment. The hospital would be sending the insurance agency news on the doctor’s findings.

I then took the doctor’s diagnosis to the Atsubetsu Police Station, who treated me again with deference and some respect for having Japanese citizenship. They confirmed the written-up report with me, asked me if I wished to press charges against the driver (I didn’t), and read it all back. I had not brought my inkan, but they allowed me to sign the form when I indicated I was unwilling to fingerprint it. At all times they were on the ball (I saw the drawing of the accident scene–it was clear and accurate) and after thirty minutes I was out the door.

The bike shop called later with a repairs estimate, which will be looked over when the insurance agency visits them for photos and assessments.

So far, so good. I anticipate some haggling over the repairs estimates by the insurance company, but that’s nothing to do with the cops. So just let me say in this interim report that I found the police to be fair, thorough, and in no way biased against me for my non-Japanese roots. Good.

Conclusion: Crucial is learning how to take charge linguistically, so those who find themselves in a similar situation had better understand the value of understanding Japanese, and having all their ducks in a row to establish credibility. Those who believe that NJ should not learn Japanese because they can get along just fine in English etc. (or mysteriously believe that they can get away with more due to some kind of “guest status”), wise up.

Thank heavens I had a responsible driver, as well. This went as smoothly as I think it possibly could have. More later if there’s anything to report.

Arudou Debito, limping along in Sapporo

UPDATE JULY 10, 2007

Now that the smoke has cleared and the case is closed, final words on the outcome:

1) I got my bike fixed. It’s good as new and I’m cycling as before.

2) The injuries I suffered are no longer part of my life. Looks as though I just had a really bad Charley Horse on my lower leg for about two weeks. Shortly after that (and after some holistic treatment from a friend), my leg seems back to normal. No pain whatsoever.

3) The driver’s insurance company did what you’d expect from an insurance company (a la Michael Moore’s SICKO)–haggle. The agent tried to force me to pay ten percent of my bike’s repairs. I said that the police (and the driver) had acknowledged 100% fault on the driver, so I was not going to pay anything. When the agent tried to say that it’s customary for the victim to pay ten percent, I said: “Look, I’m not asking for any compensation or damages. Just to have all my repairs and medical bills paid–my costs out of pocket set to zero. I could ask for compensation (baishoukin, or isharyou) money on top, but the driver’s been such a nice chap that I didn’t have the heart. My mind could change, however, with the tone of this negotiation, and cost your company even more money. So let’s not haggle here over 8000 yen.”

An hour later, the insurance company called me back and said that the driver agreed to pay the last ten percent out of his pocket. Case closed.

And that’s that. In the end, it was probably the nicest experience I had this rotten June, and that’s saying something, I guess. Debito

Debito.org updates: Naturalization, kara kikan, foreign penises, and JT/Japan Focus to conclude GAIJIN HANZAI issue


Hi Blog. Been beavering away this evening getting some updates to Debito.org out of the way. To wit:



To ground things in more context, I’ve taken the liberty to start archiving articles dealing with how other countries (not just the US and Japan) deal with the aspect of citizenship and naturalization.

Just included some articles on issues cropping up in Canada and Holland (where people are deprived of their citizenship due to technicalities), Austria and the Caribbean (where citizenship is for sale), and Moldova and Rumania (where history has created historical entitlement to emigration and citizenship in the latter).


Will web more as I find them. Others are welcome to notify me at debito@debito.org


Also added is an important essay (which unfortunately winked out of existence when the Issho Kikaku website was rendered defunct) resurrected by the authors on Debito.org:

How your employment experience (in Japan or abroad) counts towards pensions in Japan (kara kikan), by Steve van Dresser and Stephanie Houghton (written 2002, but still applicable).



Okay, thought that title would get you reading this post…


(“Manual for Women Students Regarding Depravity”)

Published by Hikou Mondai Kenkyuukai (“Research Institute on the Delinquency Problem”) December 1995, particularly pages 72-75. Available at Amazon Japan. Information courtesy of Michael H. Fox (thanks).

Still in print, this manual compares not only compares foreign penis sizes, it warns its intended Japanese female audience that having relations with foreigners is problematic because inter alia “they don’t have money”, “their temperament is too strong”, “they want a lot of sex”, and “there are a lot of junkies”.

See all the scanned pages (Arabs are apparently the most well-endowed) at

Courtesy of your unfettered guarantee of freedom of speech in Japan (and the lack of any constraints generally associated with social science, or the Scientific Method). More to come…


One more for now…


The first is a journalistic take on the issue, wrapping it up for posterity at 1500 words (full of images and links too), the second an academic overview for those who came in late at 6000 words.

Anyway, readers of this blog will want the Cliff’s Notes version no doubt, so here it is:

Gaijin Hanzai’s withdrawal from the market showed real power of ‘newcomers’ for the first time”

By Arudou Debito
Column 35 for the Japan Times Community Page
Published March 20, 2007

“DIRECTOR’S CUT”, annotated, with links to sources at

Quick-and-dirty Japan Times version at

The deluxe academic version:
“GAIJIN HANZAI MAGAZINE AND HATE SPEECH IN JAPAN: The newfound power of Japan’s international residents” (March 20, 2007) is available at Japan Focus

That should do for now. I’m pretty much all written out for one day.
G’night. Debito in Sapporo

Blacklist: IUHW and U of Hyogo added


Hi Blog. The Blacklist of Japanese Universities (click here to see what that is) has just been updated for the season.

Breaking the 100 mark with two more universities are:

NAME OF UNIVERSITY: International University of Health and Welfare (Kokusai Iryou Fukushi Daigaku) (Private)
LOCATION: Kita Kanamaru 2600-1, Odawara City, Tochigi Prefecture http://www.iuhw.ac.jp/
EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: “From its inception in 1995, International University of Health and Welfare, Tochigi Prefecture, has discriminated against its foreign teachers, and often its few foreign students. Foreign teachers, many of whom have been far more qualified than their Japanese counterparts, have suffered extreme marginalization born of . . . garden variety racism…”
SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Brave testimonial from Kevin Dobbs, Associate Professor, IUHW, available here.

NAME OF UNIVERSITY: University of Hyogo (Hyogo Kenritsu Daigaku, or literally Hyogo Prefectural University) (Public) School of Human and Environmental Studies
LOCATION: 670-0092 Hyogo-ken, Himeji-shi, Shinzaike-Honmachi 1-1-12
EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Hiring gaikokujin kyoushi or “Foreign Lecturer” on a one-year contract (According to my source, the university already has three other people with this title.)–even though the Ministry of Education has told universities to phase out this position.
SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job advertisement at JREC-IN at http://jrecin.jst.go.jp/html/kyujin/main/D106101920.html (archived here) and http://jrecin.jst.go.jp/html/kyujin/main/D106101920_E.html (archived here)

Also added is an important essay (which unfortunately winked out of existence when the Issho Kikaku website was rendered defunct) resurrected by the author on Debito.org:

If you have been on a contract, renewed several times, then are suddenly facing dismissal, you can find out more about your rights in this essay by Steve van Dresser, “The Employment Rights of Repeatedly Renewed Private Sector Contract Workers” here:

Debito in Sapporo

New batch of “JAPANESE ONLY” T-shirts on sale



Hi Blog. Thanks to the quick sell-out of the first salvo (thanks everyone!), I just got a new batch of “JAPANESE ONLY” T-shirts in yesterday (thanks Todd):


They come in the following colors and sizes:

BLUE: American sizes (i.e. larger than corresponding Japanese sizes) M, L, XL, and XXL

BLACK: American sizes S, M, L, XL, and XXL

(NB: These are adult sizes. As an approximate guide, S and M will fit an average-build Japanese woman.)

2500 yen
including postage anywhere in the world.
2000 yen if you buy one from me face-to-face (won’t need postage that way) during one of my speech tours etc.


(For those in the Tokyo area: Got a friend who’s selling them from his office opposite JR Tokyo. Contact me at debito@debito.org for more details.)

Failing that, visit my website to order by Paypal or bank transfer at:

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!

–Debito in Sapporo

PS: One satisfied customer!

Rogues’ Gallery: 3 new exclusionary signs: Hiroshima & Koshigaya: “Pure-Blooded Japanese Only–No War Orphans”


Hello Blog. The Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments in Japan, with signs and policies restricting or forbidding “foreigners” entry, has just been updated on Debito.org.


Three new additions within the 13 cities and towns nationwide in Japan, in Hiroshima and Koshigaya, Saitama.

HIROSHIMA (two new signs):
Hiroshima-Shi Naka Tenchi 1-2, Hiroshima Dai Bldg 3F Ph: 082−246−2320


The sign is hard to see, but translating:


REPORT FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER (A Southeast Asian naturalized Japanese citizen. Japanese original, translated by Arudou Debito):

“… I met with a guy friend (Japanese by birth), and went for dinner, then a night out on the town… 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.”


Hiroshima-shi, Naka-ku, Yagenbori 7-9. Sanwa Bld 2F

Click on thumbnail for larger image

Adjacent to local Hiroshima International Bar “El Barco”, this place restricts all US military personnel without Japanese or Foreign civilian friends. Report from the submitter:

“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 THE ROGUES’ 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?

Full details on both places at:


But here’s the worst sign I’ve ever seen:

2-3 Koshigaya, Koshigaya, Saitama
Phone: 048-964-8852


Click on photo for link to complete image

No joke.

Only pure-breeds? They’ve really thought this policy out to be as exclusive as possible.

Not even naturalized citizens? That deals me out too.

Now we’re separating customers specifically by blood? The signs are getting worse…

Full details at:

No doubt more to come. Thanks for the submissions, everyone. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Updating “What To Do If…” Site: Getting your “shikikin” rental deposit returned


Hi Blog. Updated a section of my “What do do if…” artery site, where people can troubleshoot for some problems which may arise for them while living in Japan.

The most recent addition as follows: Debito



…you want to get your deposit (shikikin) back from your landlord when moving out.

Adapted from mails by Kirk Masden and Joe Tomei:

Tokyo to clean act of dirty landlords
The Asahi Shimbun

For tenants tired of kissing their maintenance deposits goodbye, the Tokyo metropolitan government plans sweeping changes to the shabby system exploited by greedy landlords. There are no clear rules on how much of the costs to clean or repair apartments should be covered by tenants’ deposits.

“Actually, the last sentence is not exactly right. The government has published guidelines:

but the pdf file is 118 pages long. Here’s a couple more in Japanese, from a quick google
http://www.zentaku.or.jp/223/index.htm (issues 12-14, I think)

“The guidelines (in Japanese) focus on the concept of “genjo kaifuku” (restoration to original condition). According to the guidelines, you are NOT responsible for normal wear and tear. You are only responsible for damage that you did to the apartment beyond normal wear and tear. The guidelines help you figure out what should be considered to be normal wear and tear.

“When our family left our apartment a few years ago we were asked to pay a lot of money to, among other things, replace all the wallpaper in the apartment to make it as nice as it was when we first moved in (restoration to original condition) — even though we had been in the same apartment for 10 years! After I did a little research, the government guidelines enabled me to get a more reasonable agreement from the landlord. We had been asked to pay a significant amount of money in addition to the deposit (shikikin) we had paid. Instead, we received a good chunk of the deposit back.

“Sometimes you have to be firm with landlords, who are used to intimidating people and taking more than they deserve. I told the landlord that if we could not work this out between ourselves that I was prepared to have the matter settled in small claims court (kan’i saibansho–see section below). In this respect, the goverment guidelines were a big plus. I also sent explanations about the guidelines and the reasons why we found the landlords claims to be unreasonable by certified mail so there could not be any dispute about what we had or had not told the landlord.

“In the end, we accepted an agreement that was not perfect (we had to pay to replace the tatami — even though this should not be our responsibility according to the guidelines), but much, much better than what were almost forced to accept. What we did required a lot of Japanese. Still, even if your Japanese is not good enough for you to fight on your own, it may be worth your while to get someone to help you so that you can know your rights and tell the landlord about the government guidelines.

“Here’s another related site (in Japanese):

“The idea of taking the landlord to small claims court, especially with the backing of goverment guidelines, is a good one. Take digital pics of everything, making sure the camera’s date function is on. You can also take a picture of the ‘problem points’ with a newspaper to verify the date. Retain everything and keep records of when you spoke to people, who you spoke to and what they said. I have found that when bullying from the landlord occurs (and this is clearly what it is), the bully is generally strong on the standard fronts, but with something like this, especially when it comes to documenting in meticulous detail in your favor, they never see it coming. Don’t look for the knockout punch–just calmly get all your ducks in a row and be ready to use official channels.”



Japan Times column on govt and media-generated foreign crime myth webbed


Hi Blog. I just put up my 34th column for the Japan Times on debito.org, as I mentioned I would in my last newsletter.

Japan Times Community Page Column:

“UPPING THE FEAR FACTOR: There is a disturbing gap between actual crime in Japan and public worry over it”
published February 20, 2007

and available at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070220zg.html

However, here is a link to the “Director’s Cut”, the essay as originally submitted to the editor, with links to sources for claims made within the article:

Public perceptions of crime and reality do not match
By Arudou Debito


Didn’t want to post the same article twice on debito.org. Have a read! Debito



Don’t want this to be buried at the end of a newsletter, so…


Back by popular demand…


T-shirts with an authentic “JAPANESE ONLY” sign emblazoned on their chest.

Perfect for night wear, street wear, underjacket wear, and bar conversation starters!

Shirt is high-quality heavy cotton and comes in American sizes L and XL, in Blue and Black.

See photos of the shirt (guess who’s modelling it?), prices, and ordering details (bank transfer or Paypal) at

Why am I doing this? Because many people would rather pretend these JAPANESE ONLY signs do not exist. Too bad. They do.

Show your support. Help spread awareness of the problem in the best of satirical traditions, by wearing your heart on your sleeve, and the issue on your chest!

Price: 2500 yen including postage anywhere.
Buy one from me directly at one of my upcoming speeches and it’s 2000 yen (i.e. sans the price of postage).

Thanks! Debito on the road in Tokyo

Asia Pacific University Blacklisted


Hi Blog. Have just updated the Blacklist of Japanese Universities, a website which warns the public about limited employment opportunities in Japanese academia. Joining the 99 universities up there is the following entry:

NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Asia Pacific University (a division of Ritsumeikan University, also blacklisted) (Private)
LOCATION: 1-1 Jumonjibaru, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, 874-8755
EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Contract employment with caps. And they will enforce them in court. Let’s quote the university:

“In relation to the demand for a preliminary injunction in order to preserve the position outlined in the employment contracts of former full-time Japanese language lecturers originally hired in April of 2002 and who had fulfilled their 4 year period of employment, the Oita District Court (presiding judge: KAMINO Taiichi) handed down its verdict on November 30th, unequivocally dismissing the suit launched by the former lecturers.

The Court in its ruling confirmed that Ritsumeikan, in its efforts to improve language education at APU, was both reasonable and had cause in abolishing the positions within the lecturer system in order to plan for the creation of a new lecturer organization. As to whether the decision to halt the employment of the lecturers was fair and just, the Court ruled that:

1. There was no truth to the allegation that Ritsumeikan, at a Japanese language workshop held in 1999, had indicated that it would endeavor to allow full-time Japanese language lecturers to extend their period of employment should they wish to do so.
2. That it was possible to infer that expectations for a continuation of employment stemmed from the 1999 Japanese language workshop, yet there was no reason for such expectations.
3. That the employment contracts in question (for full-time lecturers) outlined an employment period of 4 years (the period of guaranteed employment), that the contracts provided a period of employment of 1 year, and that although this touched upon Article 14 of the former labor standards law, it was appropriate in this case.
4. That in accordance with the completion of the period of employment, the decision to halt the employment of the former lecturers did not constitute abuse of the right to dismissal.

The Court acknowledged that the response of Ritsumeikan was fair, and thus summarily rejected the former lecturers’ demand.”

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Gloating announcement from the university Vice President on the APU website, dated December 25, 2006, indicating that they had vanquished the “former full-time” employees in court. Merry Christmas to you, too. Original link here. In case that disappears, downloadable webarchive here.


SPECIAL REPORT: Issho Kikaku Deletion of the Historical Record



By Arudou Debito
December 23, 2006

(NB: The title is not meant to be sensational–merely a pun on the 1978 movie title, “Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?” The movie was a comedy. This report is, unfortunately, deadly serious. It is an update of a Dec 7 report, archived at https://www.debito.org/?p=108, because yet another mailing list has since been deleted.)




We open this report with a newspaper article:

========= ARTICLE BEGINS ================
Newscaster regrets anti-foreigner quip


Atonement, it seems, can never come too late. Newscaster Hiroshi Kume has apologized for a disparaging remark he made 10 years ago about foreigners speaking Japanese.

The comment offended a number of foreign residents in Japan, prompting some people to formally complain to TV Asahi Corp. that aired the remark. At the time, Kume was a presenter on TV Asahi’s evening news program, then called News Station.

The program aired in October 1996 and featured a report on India in which an Indian spoke fluent Japanese, according to Debito Arudou, 41. Arudou, who was born in the United States as Dave Aldwinckle and is now a naturalized Japanese, is active in efforts to protect the rights of foreigners.

Kume blurted out on the program, “Isn’t it better to see a foreigner speaking in broken Japanese?”

Arudou and others complained to the TV station that many foreign nationals are studying Japanese and trying to integrate into society.

He posted details of the protest on his Web site. Kume did not respond at the time, according to Arudou.

But on Dec. 1, Kume sent an e-mail message to Arudou, saying, “Thinking deeply, I realize this was quite a rude remark and I regret this as being narrow-minded.”

Kume told The Asahi Shimbun: “I recently learned on the Internet about the protest. I didn’t know 10 years ago.”

Arudou, in turn, said, “I was surprised but happy that an influential individual such as Kume did not neglect what he said in the past and tried to make things right.”

========= ARTICLE ENDS ================
(See what Kume saw at https://www.debito.org/activistspage.html#kume)

Very happy to see this happening. As I said above, I’m elated when somebody in authority displays a conscience. And I’m also glad the media has taken this up to show that amends can be made.

But what this brings to light is the power of Internet archives. If I had not archived this on debito.org, Kume would never have seen it…. Which is why maintaining a record of the past is a serious matter.



Information about the Kume Hiroshi Gaffe was also archived elsewhere–on a site called Issho Kikaku (http://www.issho.org). This domain is run and webmastered by Tony Laszlo, currently well-known as the star of the best-selling manga series “MY DARLING IS A FOREIGNER” (Daarin Wa Gaikokujin), created and rendered by wife Oguri Saori.

However, the Issho Kikaku archives, once open to the public, have been closed to the public since December 4, 2005, more than a year ago.

This is tragic. These archives contained the volunteer efforts of and reports from hundreds of researchers, essayists, and activists. These archives also had great historical value, as they charted the change in awareness in the mid-1990’s of the English-speaking foreign community in Japan. With the development of Japan’s Internet, foreigners went online, mobilized, and worked to change their status in Japan from “mere misunderstood guest who should shut up and behave” to “taxpaying resident with enforceable rights”.

Portions of this record can also be found in the archives of the seminal but now dead “Dead Fukuzawa Society”. (http://www.mail-archive.com/fukuzawa@ucsd.edu) Good thing these archives still exist.

However, the Issho Kikaku Mailing List archives, once a part of yahoogroups, were deleted several years ago. Information on and evidence of the list’s existence at https://www.debito.org/enoughisenough.html

When asked about moribund Issho.org in December of this year, Tony Laszlo said, in his final mail to the Shakai Mailing List (also an Issho Kikaku project), quote: “ISSHO Kikaku’s website is still in renewal… Tending to a new baby boy is keeping the webmaster busier than he had expected.” (December 10, 2006)

(That email–courtesy of a former Shakai member deeply troubled by these developments–is archived here:
I archive it on debito.org because, since then, the Shakai Mailing List archive has also been deleted.)

Congratulations on the birth. But this is an unsatisfactory excuse. The average gestation period of a human being is a little over nine months, not a full year. And as a poster to the NBR mailing list pointed out:

“…Tony can take months, years, decades, whatever to work on a “revamp” of ISSHO.org if he wants to. But there is no reason to REMOVE ALL THE CONTENT that was previously there while doing this work. Keep the old site running until the work is done, and then make the switch by simply changing the URL of the top page. It’s a simple task, and something that just about any website does while working on improvements.”

What’s more, despite all the busyness (and a millionaire’s income from the manga, meaning financially he can devote all his time to househusbandry, if not webmastering), Tony Laszlo is finding time to write articles again for the Shukan ST, not to mention appear in public as “Representative, Issho Kikaku” at a November 26, 2006, meeting of new NGO “No-Borders”: (See http://www.zainichi.net Click under the left-hand heading “nettowaaku ni sanka suru soshiki, kojin” . If that archive has also mysteriously disappeared, refer to https://www.debito.org/noborders120706.webarchive)

So that means there have been three archives done away with: Shakai, Yahoogroups Issho, and Issho.org–all under the aegis of Issho Kikaku. What’s next–the older yahoogroups archive for Shakai (May 2000 to Oct 2003)? Go visit it while it’s still there:

What’s going on?



I worked in tandem for years with Tony Laszlo and Issho.org, particularly in a Issho subgroup called BENCI (I’d send you more information on it, but, again, the Issho.org files have disappeared). I created, wrote, and maintained the BENCI webarchive. We had a falling out. I left the group.

Meanwhile, I had long since been archiving the Otaru Onsens Lawsuit website on debito.org. (https://www.debito.org/otarulawsuit.html) To this day it is still up there, along with its Japanese equivalent, serving as a citeable record for academics, lawyers, media, activists, and other interested parties as consistently one of the top twenty (of thousands) of accessed sites on debito.org.

Laszlo then told me to take related materials on debito.org down due to “violation of copyright”. Even though I never signed a waiver of my copyright, nor agreed in any way to waive it, nor received any remuneration for my writings. Yet according to Issho Kikaku former Co-Moderator Bern Mulvey, an eyewitness to this case, Laszlo was considering a lawsuit against me for “appropriation and misuse of Issho documents”:

December 13, 2006:

I was a member of ISSHO from the late 90s. Like Debito
and several other people, I was a also a member of the
Benci Project–the action group within ISSHO Kikaku which
took action against businesses with discriminatory
practices. Finally, I was co-moderator of the ISSHO
KIKAKU forum until June of 2001; hence, I have a pretty
good grasp of the details regarding Tony’s threatened
lawsuit (and other actions) against Debito.

Tony’s “issues” with Debito came out long before JAPANESE
ONLY was published first in Japanese (2003). Even when I
was co-moderator, there was a push from Tony to have
Debito removed from the ISSHO list because of his
“redundant” website and “misuse” of ISSHO documents. The
talk of suing Debito began then as well–ostensibly to
protect the accessibility and sanctity of the archived
materials, ironic given that said materials have
apparently been erased completely and permanently.

Much of the criticism directed at Debito from ISSHO and
Benci members was over how the collected documents and
other evidence–the fruits of a number of people’s
efforts–were being “appropriated” by Debito for his
supposedly “selfish” ends. The book was ostensibly just
another example of this–e.g., how dare Debito even
reference the ISSHO/Benci information?! (Note that there
was also a more legitimate anger over Debito’s use of
internal correspondence in the book.)

Of course, what Tony and others conveniently overlooked
was that much (80%?) of the archival information had been
gathered by Debito himself. I was one of Debito’s few
defenders when all this came down, and helped scuttle
Tony’s lawsuit (supposedly “on behalf of” BENCI members,
of which I was one). Indeed, I wonder, now that Tony has
taken down all documentation of 6 years of often
successful activism–almost all of it the results of
INTENSE effort he “ordered” but did not assist in–how his
former defenders live with themselves. Two of the most
vicious, at least, owe Debito a public apology.

For a long time, Tony justified his attacks on Debito
partly by asserting the need to ensure the archival
resources we created would remain open to everyone. Now,
they are gone, and I do not understand why. I am glad,
however, that Debito stood his ground and kept whatever
archives he could up at debito.org.
Bern Mulvey

We (Bern, Olaf Karthaus, Ken Sutherland, and myself) dispute the claims Laszlo made. Please see this historical website, written in 2001, and released for the first time today with updates for this report at:

It contains the remaining record of what went on in the Issho Kikaku Mailing list. It may also offer some insights on why these archives might want to disappear.

Then in 2004, my publisher was contacted by Laszlo’s lawyer. According to a letter dated August 13, 2004:

Laszlo, through a very famous TV lawyer named Kitamura Yukio, was formally threatening me with a lawsuit, claiming, quote, “violation of copyright, invasion of privacy, and libel” for the publication of my book “JAPANESE ONLY”.

In a face-to-face meeting we had at Kitamura’s offices in late August, he demanded that sales of the book cease.

What’s ironic, given Laszlo’s claims, is that Tony Laszlo, a journalist by byline, has himself taken materials verbatim from an Internet mailing list (Issho’s), without permission from or notification of the source. Then used them for personal remuneration in a Nihongo Journal article, dated December 1999. Archive at:

He was also not above using his journalist byline in a published journal (Shuukan Kin’youbi, April 18, 2003) to put out a clarion call for help to deal with “a recent publication using copyrighted materials without permission”.

Anyway, the lawsuit came to naught. And we got on with our lives. Until now.



Note that I wrote the above “enoughisenough” website above more than five years ago. Why didn’t I release it then?

Because I was worried that this would just be construed as a personal squabble. Seen as a petty dispute between two alpha males who just can’t get along, or who are somehow jousting for the pole position of “Mr Kokusaika” etc. Or, as time went on and the DAARIN WA GAIKOKUJIN turned him into a media superstar, seen as sour grapes for him getting rich and famous on his wife’s talents.

So I let things go. I just thought that he could do his thing, I could do mine. Even after he threatened me with a lawsuit for me doing my thing and writing books. Let it go, life’s too short, I thought.

Unfortunately, once the above decisions were made to delete whole archives and begin a process of whitewashing over history, I realized that this was going too far.

The destruction of public records is verifiable public damage. First he threatens to sue people over information he claims is copyright Issho.org. Then that information becomes unavailable to the public anyway.

The sad thing is that, even if Webmaster Laszlo eventually decides to let the Issho.org archives come back to life, the yahoogroups Issho and Shakai mailing list archives are gone forever.

This is irreversible. It is unforgivable. And should be known about.

Arudou Debito
Sapporo, Japan
December 23, 2006

Previous report of this matter (Dec 7, 2006) available on this blog at

“Japanese Only” sign on Okazaki Internet Cafe


Hello Blog. Just made a revision to the “Rogues’ Gallery” of Exclusionary Establishments–places nationwide in Japan which explicitly restrict or forbid foreign customers entry.


Newest entry (the 22nd municipality found yet so far) is from Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. An Internet cafe, of all things:

Okazaki City (Aichi Prefecture)
Internet Cafe “Dragon BOZ”
Aichi-shi Kakemachi Amigasa 5-1
444-0011 岡崎市欠町網笠5-1(かけまちあみがさ)
Ph 0564-22-2051 or 0564-66-1156
http://www.dragonboz.com/main.html info@dragonboz.com

Sign up in English and Portuguese:


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.”

COMMENT: As it should. Pity the feeling didn’t stretch across the divide enough to convince the management that this sort of policy shouldn’t exist.

Hm. Should probably give these people a call and find out what’s on their little minds… Debito in Sapporo

Revision to “What to do if…” advice site on debito.org: how to act against discrim


Hi Blog. After receiving a request from cyberspace about what to do regarding some of the “culturally-insensitive”, shall we say, articles and programs occasionally appearing in Japan’s print and broadcast media, I made a revision tonight to my “What to do if…” site on debito.org.

This site is an artery site with links to several ways to protect yourself in Japanese society. Advice on what to do if… you are stopped by the police, you are arrested, you have a labor dispute, you need a lawyer, you overstay, etc… are all up at


Here’s the revision:


…you want to protest something you see as discriminatory.

You’d better have some willpower, because domestic laws will not back you up. Racial discrimination is not illegal in Japan (it is unconstitutional, but not illegal–due to the fact that there no laws exist to ban it). So going to the cops or City Hall to complain will result in nothing but bent necks and advice to take your business elsewhere.

If your dander is really up, consider the steps outlined in the following Japan Times article (November 30, 2004):

You can also visit the local Bureau of Human Rights (Jinken Yougo Bu) in the Ministry of Justice (Houmushou). If the bureaucrats think you have a reasonable complaint, they will send a functionary to “enlighten” the discriminator. However, the BOHR is limited in its ability to actually force the discriminator to cease and desist, as witnessed in these cases recorded in the Japan Times (July 8, 2003):
and catalogued here:

However, a call from the BOHR has scared some discriminators into taking down their “JAPANESE ONLY” signs, so it’s worth at least contact them. Make them work a bit for your tax money. See:

If you see something discriminatory or culturally insensitive in the broadcast or print media, you can call (or write) the complaints department within the network. For television, that would be called the shichou sentaa, and by calling any network and asking for it you will be connected. For newspapers, call any department and ask to be connected to the reporters section (houdoubu) and say that you have a claim against an article (saikin notta kiji ni tsuite chotto kureim (claim) ga arimasu ga). Email protests (even large numbers of form letters) have also been effective (you can usually find the network’s email easily after a Google search). See a case which elicited an apology from a news anchor (Kume Hiroshi) over a decade after we protested his anti-“gaijin” comments at

Make your case to the media slowly and calmly, and you will probably at least get listened too. Don’t expect anything more, but apologies and changes in programming have been known to happen. For example:

If it’s something on the Internet (such as a blog), there’s probably not a goddamn thing you can do, except ask the administrator to have it taken down. Even if that doesn’t happen, AND you take them to court, AND you win, the courts will not enforce their decision. Example (of a case of Internet libel, not specifically discrimination, but the result is the same) available at
Internet libel and hate speech is a problem slowly garnering attention in Japan, but not enough for Dietmembers to pass a law against it yet. Grit your teeth.

In any case, don’t expect your embassy or consulate to assist you in your protest against discrimination (tell them if you like, but don’t expect to get anything more out of it than a polite blow-off). They will only intervene in the case of an arrest, not to help you claim your rights protected (or not) by domestic laws.

You can see a whole case of social protest (negotiations, media campaigns, political lobbying, even a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court) recorded in my book “JAPANESE ONLY” (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2004) More information on the book at https://www.debito.org/japaneseonly.html