Debito’s SECOND EDITION of “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Lexington Books, 2022), fully revised and updated, now on sale


Hi Blog. The new SECOND EDITION of “Embedded Racism” (Lexington Books, 2022), completely revised and updated with 100 extra pages of new material, is now on sale.

Information site outlining what’s new, with excerpts and reviews, and how to get your copy at a discount at

(Or you can download a flyer, take it to your library, have them order the book, and then borrow it for free at EmbeddedRacism2ndEdFlyer)

Read a sample of the book on Amazon here.

Front Cover:

Full cover with reviews:

Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

SAPIO Mag features special on Immigration to Japan: Note odd media narratives microaggressing NJ (particularly the Visible Minorities) into voiceless role


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Hi Blog. As noted in the Japan Today article cited below, SAPIO debate magazine (June 2014) devoted an issue specifically to the issue of immigration (imin) to Japan (what with the Abe Administration’s renewed plan to import 200,000 NJ per year).

Good. But then it fumbles the issue with all manner of narratives that microaggress the NJ immigrant back into a position of being powerless and voiceless.  First, let’s start with SAPIO’s cover, courtesy of MS:


COMMENT:  Notice anything funny?  Start with the sub-headline in yellow talking about having a vigorous debate from “each world” (kyaku kai).  Each?  Look at the debaters being featured in the bubbles.  See any Visible Minorities there?  Nope, they’re left out of the debate once again.  All we get are the typical powerful pundits (probably all Wajin, with “Papa Bear” Wajin Ishihara second in line). , Where is the voice of the immigrant?

And by “immigrant”, I mean people who have immigrated to Japan as NJ and made a life here as long-term resident if not actual Permanent-Residency holder.  The people who have indefinite leave to remain.  The “Newcomers“, who work in Japan and work for Japan.  As depicted in the picture of the labor-union demonstrators in the inset photo in the top right.

Now look at the larger photo.  It’s a xenophobic demo about issues between Japan and Korea (and no doubt China).  That’s not a debate about immigration.  It’s a hate rally airing historical grievances between Japan and it’s neighbors, gussied up as a jerry-rigged issue about “Zainichis having special privileges as NJ” (the very root complaint of the Zaitokukai group, which, even if those “special privileges” were meaningfully true, ought to happen anyway what with all the contributions the Zainichi have made to Japanese society both as prewar citizens of empire and postwar disenfranchised residents for generations; but I digress).  Anyway, the point is that the cover does not convey the issue of “immigration in Japan” accurately.  Zainichi issues dominate.

Finally, note how all the Wajin demonstrators have their faces blocked out in the photo.  Clearly Wajin have privacies to protect.  Not so the NJ protesting in the photo inset.  Hence NJ once again have fewer rights to privacy in the Japanese media.  Just like this photo from the racist Gaijin Hanzai Magazine of yore (remember that?  more information here). Comparative powerlessness in visual form.


Next up, check out the Japan Today writeup on the SAPIO special:


Consultant urges ‘one-of-a-kind’ immigration policy for Japan
JAPAN TODAY KUCHIKOMI MAY. 12, 2014 – TOKYO —, courtesy lots of people

In its cover story for June, Sapio devotes 14 articles—including a contribution by former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara—and 23 pages to wide-ranging discussions on the subject of immigration. It looks like substantial changes are coming, and coming soon. What form should immigration take? What are the merits and demerits?

Management consultant Kenichi Ohmae is, if anything, a pragmatic person. He also expresses his ideas logically and persuasively, and he has devoted a lot of thinking to the issue of immigration, which he suggests be adopted as a policy in three successive stages.

First of all, the demographics don’t lie: by 2050 the largest age segment in Japan’s population pyramid, both for males and females will be those in their late 70s, with fewer and fewer younger people. If this course is maintained, people in their productive ages will decline rapidly. Ohmae says he pointed this out more than 20 years ago. During his past four decades as a business consultant, he has observed that in general, introduction of foreign workers in Japanese businesses has been carried out in five-year increments, during which time problems and challenges are resolved through a trial-and-error basis.

When one looks back 25 to 30 years, to the economic “bubble,” Japan found itself with a labor shortage, particularly in construction and manufacturing. It began bringing in “Nikkeijin” (people of Japanese ancestry) from Latin America, along with Pakistanis, Iranians and others. Since there was no visa status for manual laborers, they entered on tourist or student visas, and the government feigned disinterest when they took blue-collar jobs.

Then the bubble collapsed, and these workers were summarily dismissed. The number of illegal foreign workers declined, and Japan was soundly criticized for its lack of interest in the workers’ welfare.

The current Abe government appears inclined to issue guidelines that will expand entry by foreign workers in such fields as construction, nursing care, agriculture and household domestics. On the other hand, it’s proceeding with measures to ensure that the entry of such foreigners not be mistakenly construed as “immigration policies.” In other words, time limits will be imposed on those workers’ stays. Inevitably, this will result in a repeat of the mistakes and troubles that happened after the collapse of the bubble.

Considering that the Japanese babies being born now will take from 15 to 30 years before they start contributing to Japan’s economy, it’s clear that immigration offers Japan’s only hope to preserve its economic vitality. And, Ohmae emphasizes, now is probably its last chance to take meaningful action.

The three stages Ohmae proposes are: First, Japan should emulate Silicon Valley in attracting 1,000 skilled people a year from such countries as Israel, India, Taiwan, Russia and East European countries. But these people should not be limited only to the field of Information Technology. They would be concentrated in six “clusters” around the country, mostly in large urban areas where they and their families would be made to feel at home with access to churches, schools and so on.

The second stage is to find a way to attract 100,000 professionals a year in the category of work titles with the “shi” suffix (such as “kangoshi” or nurse), trained care providers, attorneys, firemen, etc), all of which are currently in short supply.

The third stage is to accept blue-collar workers, of whom at least 300,000 per year will be needed to keep Japan’s economic engine purring. Ohmae suggests the Japanese government set up and fund preparatory schools in countries likely to supply labor, where students can learn the basics of the Japanese language, laws, customs, and so on before they arrive. And passing an examination will entitle them to a Japanese-style “green card,” permanent residence and the right to work. Such a system is likely to help avoid concentration of unskilled foreigners who would gravitate to the slums that have created social problems in other countries.

When considering the future of immigration, Ohmae also urges the importance of avoiding its politicization among Japanese, so that when people debate its pros and cons, this can be done dispassionately, without tarring one another with “right wing” or “left wing” labels.



COMMENT:  Although unusually well-intentioned (check out his paternalistic and misogynistic attitudes about Burmese and Aung San Suu Kyi in 1997’s SAPIO), Ohmae, despite his verbal distancing from Japan’s perpetual “Revolving Door” visa regimes, fundamentally recycles the same old ideas about bringing in brainy NJ (unscientifically linking job skills with thoroughbred nationalities/ethnicities and sequestering them in their own enclaves, once again), with no apparent suggestion about making these immigrants into Japanese citizens.  Well, we don’t want to give them too much power to actually have any say over their own lives here.  NJ can come here to work so that we Wajin can stay economically afloat, but that’s all.  They shouldn’t expect much more than the privilege to work and stay in our rich country for as long as they’re needed.

I’ll leave the readers to parse out all the unconscious “othering NJ” microaggressions for themselves, but, ultimately, the question remains:  Where is the specialist commenting on “immigration” (there are people well-studied in that science; try the United Nations) who will lend a specifically-trained viewpoint to the debate, instead of the same old, hoary Wajin pundits defending their ideologies?

Finally, consider the opening editorial article in SAPIO below, which explores the issue of discrimination in general in Japan.  Despite the title (which rightfully talks about hate speech towards Zainichi Koreans and Chinese as shameful for a first-world country), it opens with some soul-searching about the Urawa Reds fans’ “JAPANESE ONLY” banner in Saitama Stadium as an example of Japan’s discriminatory attitudes.  Fine.  But then the article is hijacked once again by the (very important, but not complete) issues of domestic discrimination towards the Zainichi.

Remember, this is an issue also devoted to IMMIGRATION.   The numbers of the Zainichi Koreans and Chinese (i.e., the “Oldcomers”) have been dropping for many years now.  They are not the immigrants of note.  The immigrants, as I defined above, are the NEWCOMERS.  And once again, their voice is not represented within the debate on discrimination or assimilation in Japan.  Those minorities, particularly the Visible Minorities, are silenced.

What’s particularly ironic in the citation of the Urawa Reds’ “Japanese Only” banner is that IT WOULD NOT HAVE AFFECTED THE ZAINICHIS.  “Japanese Only” as a narrative very specifically affects those who do not “look Japanese“.  Thus any Zainichi in Saitama Stadium that day would have “passed” as “Japanese” on sight identification, and could have chosen to sit in those exclusionary stands.  Thus SAPIO, like just about all Japanese media I’ve ever seen, once again crosses its analytical wires, and with these narratives riddled with blind spots and microaggressions, Japan’s “immigration” issue will not be resolved.

That said, I think PM Abe knows this.  That’s why his administration is going back to bribing Wajin to have more babies.  More on that here courtesy of JK.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

Sapio_June1 Sapio_June2




JT Editorial: Tokyo Metro Govt fuels “Flyjin” myth with flawed survey; yet other NJ who should know better buy into it


IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

Other works/publications by ARUDOU, Debito (click on icon):

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Hi Blog. The Japan Times came out with an editorial last Sunday, entitled “Flyjin rather few,” which talked about a recent Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey of NJ in Tokyo, carried out to ascertain how many stayed or left after the disasters of March 2011 and beyond. The survey was trying to see if the “Flyjin” phenomenon really happened, and in doing so, the JT notes, potentially resuscitated the invective of Japanese media and xenophobic pundits branding NJ as deserters.

The JT editorial is a doozy. Not only does it demonstrate that “the vast majority of foreigners in Tokyo stayed right where they were — in Tokyo“, it also castigates the whole thought process behind it:

The survey did little to focus on what can be done to ensure that all residents of Tokyo be given clear information about conditions and constructive advice about what to do in the event a similar disaster strikes in Tokyo in the near future.”

“The ‘flyjin’ issue, besides being a derogatory term, was always a tempest in a teapot. Surveys that find information to help improve communications are important, but it is the actions that follow that really count. The metropolitan government should prepare a means to give all residents of Tokyo, whatever nationality they are, trustworthy information during emergencies so safe, sensible decisions can be made.”

Thank you.  Read the full JT May 6, 2012 Editorial at

In other words, the JT was easily able to see through the stupid science (e.g., the singling out of NJ, the small sample size, limiting it to Tokyo residents, the lack of clear aim or rigor in methodology, and ultimately its lack of conclusion: “The survey did little to better understand all Tokyoites’ complicated reactions to the crisis.”)

Yet people who should know better, and who should be advocating for the needs of the NJ Communities in Japan, are already citing this survey as somehow indicative. Japan Probe, for example, states that this survey “confirms Post-3/11 “Flyjin” Phenomenon / 25 Percent of Tokyo’s Foreign Residents Fled“, and apparently “deals a major blow to certain bloggers who have claimed that the “flyjin” phenomenon was a myth.

One of those certain bloggers indeedy would be me.  And I gave much harder and rigorous numbers from all of Japan and from the central government and for the entire year, clearly exposing the “Flyjin” phenomenon as myth in my April Japan Times column.  Hence, there’s no clearer interpretation of Japan Probe’s conclusion than the will to live in obtuse denial.

But that’s what keeps hatenas hovering around my head.  Wouldn’t it be nicer if online resources like Japan Probe (which calls itself “The web’s no.1 source for Japan-related news and entertainment”) would work for the good of the NJ communities it purports to inform? It did do so once upon a time, for example, during the whole GAIJIN HANZAI mook debacle, where Japan Probe was instrumental in helping get the racist magazine on foreign crime off the shelves and the publisher bankrupted. But now, why try so hard, as the Japan Times Editorial above saliently notes, “to exaggerate the extent of foreigners leaving the country and impugn their motives for leaving“?

What’s gained out of any of this, James at Japan Probe? The smug satisfaction that you’re somehow right? (Even though you’re not?) Or that you’re somehow “more dedicated to Japan” because you didn’t leave? (Assuming you are in Japan.  Who cares?  Moreover, what if, as I argued in my May 2011 JT column, people did leave Japan anyway?  It’s their life and their decision.  Why should you care anyway?)

Why, in these days of seemingly-endless self-sacrifice in Japan, do people have to turn on themselves like this and just make things worse for everyone?  Especially themselves?  It’s a serious question.  So let me pose it.  Arudou Debito


Referential J media:

25 percent of foreigners living in Tokyo left Japan temporarily after March 11 quake
May 01, 2012 (Mainichi Japan)

Twenty five percent of foreigners living in Tokyo left the country temporarily following the March 11, 2011 disasters, according to a recent Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey.

The survey was conducted between October and November 2011 as part of the metropolitan government’s efforts to re-examine the way information is delivered to foreigners residing in the capital in case of a disaster. It obtained responses from a total of 169 Tokyo-based foreigners.

According to the survey, among those who had briefly returned to their home countries following the disasters, nearly half were foreigners who have lived in Japan for less than three years, hinting at the tendency that the shorter a foreigner had lived in Tokyo, the more likely they were to leave after the disasters.

Among the most common reasons for those who had briefly left Japan were, “Strongly urged by families abroad,” and “Following embassies or employers’ instructions to leave temporarily.”

Meanwhile, 56 percent of the respondents said they did not leave Tokyo following the disasters, while 5 percent had moved to the Kansai area in southern Japan or other places within the country.

In terms of the means foreigners used to collect information related to the disasters, 75 percent said they relied on TV broadcasts, 37 percent used the Internet, and only 7 percent read newspapers at the time.

Among the respondents, 44 percent said they used mobile phones and 28 percent used e-mail as a means to contact relatives and friends immediately after the disasters, though only 51 percent reported the attempt was successful.

Among the free answer section of the survey, some opinions stressed the need for more accurate and faster information services for foreigners, one explicitly pointing at the fact that “A panic was caused at the time due to a lack of accurate information provided to foreigners overseas.”

At the same time, the survey also hinted at the need for information provided in easy Japanese, based on the results that while 76 percent of the respondents said they could understand Japanese, when asked if they could understand the language if simple phrases are used, responses increased to 85 percent.

The survey also showed that 41 percent of the respondents had never experienced earthquakes prior to moving to Japan.
東日本大震災:都内外国人、25%が一時帰国 母国の家族ら心配−−都アンケ /東京
毎日新聞 2012年05月01日 地方版


UPDATE MAY 9, 2012:

‘Exodus’ of disaster-panicked foreigners from post-3.11 Japan doesn’t add up

Mainichi Daily News May 9, 2012, courtesy of MS

Where have all the foreigners gone?

One year ago — less than two months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and with the Fukushima nuclear crisis in flux — anyone walking the streets of Tokyo might very well have asked that question. With Japan in the teeth of disaster, it seemed as though the country’s foreign population had evaporated, an image reinforced by news footage of gargantuan queues at Narita International Airport check-in counters.

Some 531,000 foreigners left Japan in the four weeks after the March 11, 2011 disaster, according to a Ministry of Justice announcement of April 15 that year. It was mass panic, a rush for the last lifeboats on the Titanic. The expatriate community had left Japan for dead.

Or had they?

Of those 531,000 people who left in the first month, about 302,000 had obtained re-entry permits, suggesting most were at least considering coming back. Furthermore, a look at foreign resident numbers and the job market for foreign talent months after the disaster show that the exodus was in the end more a trickle than a flood, and perhaps only an acceleration of pre-existing trends.

Certainly in the days after the quake, with a nuclear crisis and all its potential horrors brewing at the Fukushima nuclear plant — about 225 kilometers from the heart of Tokyo — the first reaction of many was to get somewhere else in a hurry. Canadian Jason Yu, a senior IT manager at the Tokyo offices of a European investment bank, says more than half his predominantly foreign staff disappeared soon after the disaster.

“We had around 120 (workers), and I’d say about 70 left,” he says. “It was really something, because one day they were there, and then they weren’t.”

According to Yu, amid the hysteric coverage of the nuclear disaster in the Western media and a general sense that the government wasn’t telling the whole story, his firm allowed employees to leave if they didn’t feel safe and return when they were ready. Eventually, of the some 70 who had left — many with families — about 50 returned to their posts. However, “a lot of them moved on” to jobs outside Japan when their contracts ended that summer.

“That was typical,” says Christine Wright, managing director of Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan, a recruiting firm that also does broad research on employment trends. “There was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction,” where lots of people left, if not Japan, then the Kanto area, and then came back.

The rush for the exits was not, however, entirely illusory. Hays Japan saw a wave of openings in the “professional contractors” area, which includes IT and other positions where Japanese language proficiency is not necessarily a requirement. With so many foreigners in certain fields having absconded, Wright says some of Hays’ client firms expressed a preference for Japanese candidates with good English skills, as they were seen as more likely to stay long-term. Furthermore, “a lot of roles that can be (filled) by a non-Japanese speaker have been off-shored” to places like Hong Kong and Singapore, she adds.

So how great was the exodus?

“When you look at the statistics, the losses weren’t all that huge,” Nana Oishi, associate professor of sociology at Tokyo’s Sophia University, told the Mainichi. According to Oishi, the Ministry of Justice — which administers Japan’s immigration system — has not released how many of the half a million-plus foreigners who left Japan from March 12 to April 8, 2011 have returned. However, what the ministry will say is that the total foreign population in the country fell from 2,134,151 in December 2010, to 2,078,480 by December 2011 — a loss of 55,671 people, or just 2.6 percent.

Moreover, the loss was not disproportionately greater than those of preceding years. Japan’s foreign population peaked at 2,217,426 in 2008 — the year of the Lehman Shock — and has been in decline ever since, dropping by 31,305 from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009, and by 51,970 in the same period in 2009-2010.

A closer look at the foreign population by resident status furthermore shows that the decline was far from an across-the-board phenomenon, with some categories even posting significant gains. The number of technical trainees, for example, jumped to 141,994 in December 2011 from 100,008 at the same time the previous year — a 42 percent rise. Permanent residents went from 964,195 to 987,519, up 2.4 percent; investor and business manager visa holders from 10,908 to 11,778, an 8 percent climb; and teacher numbers inched up 0.9 percent, from 10,012 to 10,106.

Even in categories that saw declining numbers, the justice ministry statistics show a pattern of losses predating 3.11 by years. “Specialist in humanities and international services” visa holder numbers peaked in 2009, and have since been drifting downwards by several hundred annually. The number of foreign engineers, which dropped by 8.5 percent to 42,634 between December 2010 and December 2011, had already fallen from a high of 52,273 in 2008 to 46,592 by the end of 2010. Intra-company transferee numbers — those posted to Japan by their firms — have also been declining since 2008.

What’s more, according to justice ministry statistics, the inflow of foreign workers has also been in annual decline since a 2004 peak of about 158,900, dropping to some 52,500 by 2010.

In other words, not all the blame for even the modest drop in the foreign population can be put on disaster panic, as the overall numbers — and those in certain professional categories in particular — had been in decline for some time.

What the earthquake and the nuclear crisis have done, according to Oishi, is accelerate pre-existing trends. First of all, Oishi and Wright point out, off-shoring of back-office and non-Japanese speaking jobs was already in progress when the disaster hit. Furthermore, there was already employee attrition in some sectors for reasons completely divorced from the disaster. As Jason Yu points out, there were already staff cuts and transfers going on at the investment bank where he works before 3.11 because “it was not a good year” financially, “so you can’t say people left just because of the earthquake.”

Even the outflow of foreigners with children, which Yu says accounted for a significant portion of those who left his firm, was not all down to the disasters, according to Oishi.

“When the earthquake happened, that trend accelerated because of the radiation issue,” she says, but she points out that the departure of skilled foreign workers with kids, too, was a pre-existing trend. In a paper published on April 13 in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, Oishi points out that concerns over the quality of Japanese public education and the high cost of international schools — which do not receive government funding — was already pushing skilled foreigners with families out of the country.

The fear and the airport lines in the weeks after the earthquake and meltdowns were real. Over the long term, however, it can be said that there was no “exodus” of foreigners, but rather a smaller-scale reshuffle of certain types of foreign residents that was sped up by 3.11. “You can’t really say the quake chased away skilled workers,” says Oishi.

In fact, asked if the disasters had impacted firms’ drive to internationalize their workforces, Hays’ Christine Wright said, “One year on, no.”

According to Wright, Hays Japan’s business in foreign talent has jumped to “record levels. We’ve got record levels of vacancies, record levels of placements, so our business is performing at the best it’s performed” in the firm’s 11 years in Japan.

Furthermore, Wright says that the initial post-quake preference for Japanese candidates has weakened and “the market for foreign talent in the future … will continue to increase,” with fluent bilinguals and those capable of filling leadership positions particularly in demand.

The image of foreigners streaming out of Japan in March and April 2011 was a strong one. Wright says that she was thanked by Japanese associates for staying, and that her business relationships with some clients even improved when it became clear she would not be absconding.

More than a year on, however, government statistics and employment trends show that the exodus was if not entirely imaginary then at least ephemeral. The reality is, the foreign population remains in the millions, job openings for foreigners and foreigners hoping to fill them remain plentiful, and Japan remains a major destination among the globally mobile. (By Robert Sakai-Irvine, Staff Writer)

Mainichi: NHK Press publishes book about NJ “underground reality” (e.g., prostitution, fake marriages and citizenships, profiteering). Contrast with interview with freewheeling cannibal Sagawa Issei.


IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

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Hi Blog.  Speaking of Japanese media profiteering off NJ by peddling images of them to the public (after in some cases killing them first, e.g., Ichihashi Tatsuya, Sagawa Issei — more on him below), here we have a quick book review of some author depicting NJ adding to the undercurrent of Japan’s crimes and misdemeanors (N.B., in two articles that are quite different in English and Japanese, as the Mainichi is quite prone to doing).

While I haven’t read the book to see if there is any element of, “If these guys had better opportunities in Japan, they might not resort to these trades” (i.e., it’s not because NJ are intrinsically predisposed to criminality, despite what other Japanese media has nakedly asserted), it still panders to the latent NPA-promoted public prejudices of “foreigner as criminal”, sensationalizing the lives of NJ residents in Japan.

Pity.  There is significantly less media about the regular lawful contributions NJ make to Japanese society.  But I guess a book about someone who does his or her day job, brings home the paycheck to put food on the table, spends the weekends playing with the kids, pays taxes on time, and takes on neighborhood association duties, isn’t fodder for selling scads of sensationalism.  But I betcha that’s much closer to the “reality” for far more NJ in Japan.  Arudou Debito


Writer talks of ‘underground reality’ of Japan’s foreigners in new book
(Mainichi Japan) February 1, 2012, courtesy of JK

The myth that Japan is a homogenous society lost its veracity long ago. With the growth of globalization, the sight of foreigners living and working in Japan is certainly no longer a rare occurrence.

However, how much do we know about the real lives of Japan’s foreigners?

This is the question that Kota Ishii, a spirited non-fiction writer, raises in his new book, “Nippon ikoku kiko — zainichi gaikokujin no kane, seiai, shi” (Journey through foreign Japan: The money, love, sex and death of foreigners in Japan).

“What happens with the bodies of foreigners if they die in Japan?”; “A Mie Prefecture island: A haven for foreign prostitution?”; “A South Korean church helping Japanese homeless — what is its real aim?” These are just a few examples of what Ishii tackles in his latest work.

Ishii, who has published several books on prostitution, slums and underground businesses in Asia, sheds light this time on different foreign communities in Japan.

The book introduces a South Korean who has conquered the Japanese sex industry by undercutting prices; an Israeli man with an expired visa who pays a Japanese woman to marry him to obtain Japanese nationality; Chinese who flee from the country after obtaining citizenship, and many other examples that portray the reality of “underground” foreign communities in Japan.

Because there are so many fake marriages initiated by foreigners in Japan, some international matchmaking companies even provide compensation to victims, Ishii writes.

The writer further introduces readers to a recent phenomenon among foreigners in Japan: jumping occupations.

Pakistanis opening Indian restaurants is one example from this trend, Ishii writes. Many construction company or factory employees who have lost their jobs are pushed into alternative businesses, the writer explains.

Even while he cuts deeply into the lives of Japan’s foreigners, lending a critical eye to their doings, Ishii manages to portray the people who fight hard to survive in a foreign land with compassion.

“Nippon ikoku kiko — zainichi gaikokujin no kane, seiai, shi” went on sale in January.


“Original Japanese story” that was linked from this article:

読書日和:注目です アングラ在日外国人
毎日新聞 2012年1月31日 東京夕刊






PS:  For the purposes of contrast, here’s a creepy interview with cannibal Sagawa Issei; overlook the somewhat questionable journalism, see him speaking after 1:14, and just try not to go slack-jawed…

Yomiuri: ‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, NJ informants revealed


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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog.  This breaking news from the weekend compounds just how sinister the activities of the Japanese police can be.  First spying on people in the name of combating terrorism because they’re Muslims or connected to Muslims, then losing control of the information to the point where it becomes a book on sale to the public.  Shame on you, Metropolitan Police Department.  Imagine how big a scandal this would have been if Japanese people had been treated similarly.

Now, of course, since this is embarrassing to the police, the book (as per checks with and an in-person check at Kinokuniya Sapporo yesterday) is no longer being sold.  Good.  But that sure was quick, compared to how much comparative time and effort it took for the Gaijin Hanzai Ura Files Mook in 2007 (which I believe the police contributed information to) to go off-market.  Seems to me less the need to protect individual NJ than for the police to cover their collective ketsu.  Whatever.  The book is off the market.  The materials for it shouldn’t have been collected in the first place.  Arudou Debito


‘Leaked MPD data’ out as book / Documents published as is; names of police, informants revealed

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 28, 2010)

A Tokyo publishing house has released a book containing what are believed to be Metropolitan Police Department antiterrorism documents that were leaked onto the Internet last month.

Released by Dai-San Shokan Thursday, the book contains the personal information of Muslim residents in this country, such as their names and addresses.

Akira Kitagawa, president of the publisher, said he decided to put out the book “to raise questions about the laxity of the police’s information control system.”

The documents in question are thought to have been leaked via file-sharing software on Oct. 28. The book is printed in the same format as the documents.

One foreign resident whose name and address are listed in the book has called for it to be immediately recalled from bookstores. However, since the MPD has not officially admitted a leak took place, they cannot suspend publication or take other measures.

The 469-page book, titled “Ryushutsu ‘Koan Tero Joho’ Zen Deta” (Leaked police terrorism info: all data), is on sale at some bookstores, but several major publishing agents have refused to distribute it.

If the documents are authentic, the book contains the names and photos of foreign residents being monitored by the 3rd Foreign Affairs Division at the Public Security Bureau of the MPD, the names of people who have cooperated with the police, and the photos and addresses of police officers involved in terrorism investigations.

One African man whose name and those of his family are in the book told The Yomiuri Shimbun he was worried how this would affect his family, and that he wanted the police to halt the book’s publication. He said he had not yet seen the book.

The MPD maintains it is still investigating the case, and has not confirmed whether the information is authentic. A senior police official said, “At present, it’s difficult for the MPD to protest the publication or demand its suspension.”

Masao Horibe, professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University, said the publication of the data in book form could be called a human rights violation since it increases its distribution, even though the information was already available on the Internet.

“Some might argue people have the freedom to publish or know about the data. But this book is just raw unedited data, not like a newspaper would carry. I think it’s questionable whether the publication of this book is in the public interest,” he said.

Author Go Egami said the police should halt publication of the book and admit the leaked data was genuine, because its authenticity is obvious to anyone who has seen it.

“I think the government neglected the [terror information] leak because they were distracted by the coast guard’s trouble with the Chinese fishing boat,” he said.


‘MPD data’ book wreaks havoc / Foreign residents who had private info exposed express fear, anger
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 29, 2010), Courtesy of JK

People who saw their personal information published last week in a book containing what is believed to be police antiterrorism documents are expressing anger and fear over the fallout they could face.

Many foreign residents had their photos and family members’ names revealed in the book, which some bookstores have removed from their shelves. It also carries personal information about investigators of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Public Security Bureau, as well as data on police informants.

It has been about one month since the suspected leak came to light, but the MPD has yet to confirm the data belongs to the department, only saying it is still verifying the validity of the documents. The police have not taken any action, such as requiring the publisher to stop sales of the book.

Experts have called on the MPD to quickly admit the data is real and take action.

Published by Tokyo publishing house Dai-San Shokan, the 469-page book is titled “Ryushutsu ‘Koan Tero Joho’ Zen Deta” (Leaked police terrorism info: all data) and hit the shelves Thursday.

The book carries the names, photos and addresses of foreign residents who have apparently been subject to MPD investigations, as well as those of MPD bureau investigators in charge of international terrorism.

An African man living in the Kanto region whose photo and family members’ names were carried in the book said: “After the documents were leaked online, a disease I’ve had for a long time got worse because of the stress. I’m shocked the information became a book so soon. I was just trying to forget about it.”

Another foreign resident of Tokyo said his home telephone number was carried in the book. “The publishing company didn’t contact me in advance. Now that the information’s in a book–not just on the Internet–I wonder what’ll happen to me and my family?” he said.

The book is on sale in Tokyo bookstores and via other channels, but some retailers have voluntarily decided not to sell copies. The Shinjuku branch of Kinokuniya Co. put 60 copies on sale Saturday morning, only to take it off the shelves when it realized the contents were inappropriate, but not before several copies had been sold.

MPD making no progress

The MPD did not notice the leak until Oct. 29 when it received a tip from a private telecommunications firm. Since then, the MPD’s position has been that it is verifying whether the data found online were in fact internal documents.

The MPD is stuck, because if it admits internal information was leaked, it will likely lose the trust of foreign authorities, according to a senior MPD official. One document contains an apparent request by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for cooperation in investigations.

The entire MPD is involved in the investigation into the leak–not only the Public Security Bureau but also the Personnel and Training Bureau, which investigates scandals involving police officers, and the Administration Bureau, which is in charge of information control.

A former senior official of the Public Security Bureau said “the data is absolutely the bureau’s internal documents” and includes top secret items. The data was leaked onto the Internet through a server in Luxembourg, making it difficult for investigators to track where it originated. The MPD has asked the company operating the server for cooperation, but it has yet to be given any communications records.

The MPD maintains it is unable to take any action against the publisher because it has not officially confirmed the data came from the organization.

Police appear to be divided on how to handle the problem. Some say the MPD should never admit a leak occurred, but others believe they should admit at least part of the documents are internal and take necessary action as soon as possible.

The data has continued to spread online across the globe via file-sharing software. NetAgent Co., a Tokyo private information security firm, said as of Thursday, the data had been downloaded onto 10,285 computers in 21 countries and regions.

Rough draft text of my speech to UN Rep Bustamante Mar 23 in Tokyo


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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog. What follows is a rough draft of the text of the speech I’ll be giving on Tues, March 23, before a United Nations rep. I have twenty minutes tops. I read this at a normal pace aloud today and it came about sixteen minutes. Eight pages, 2500 words, written in a conversational style. FYI. Thanks for your support, and see you at the upcoming FRANCA meetings this Sunday and next Saturday. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Statements to Mr Bustamante, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, in Tokyo, March 23, 2010, by ARUDOU Debito, Chair, Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association (FRANCA,, regarding racial discrimination in Japan.

This document may be downloaded at

The powerpoint accompanying this presentation may be downloaded at

Table of contents for the belowmentioned “blue folder” with links to sources at

First, let me thank Mr. Bustamante and the United Nations for their attention to the situation of minorities and disenfranchised peoples in Japan.  There are very few effective forums in Japan for us to take our grievances, and we all very much appreciate the Special Rapporteur hearing as many sides of the story as possible.

I wish to focus on the situation of peoples of “foreign” origin and appearance, such as White and non-Asian peoples like me, and how we tend to be treated in Japanese society.  Put simply, we are not officially registered or even counted sometimes as genuine residents.  We are not treated as taxpayers, not protected as consumers, not seen as ethnicities even in the national census.  We not even regarded as deserving of the same human rights as Japanese, according to government-sponsored opinion polls and human rights surveys (blue folder items I-1, I-6 and III-6).  This view of “foreigner” as “only temporary in Japan” is a blind spot even the United Nations seems to share, but I’ll get that later.

Here is a blue 500-page information folder I will give you after my talk, with primary source materials, articles, reference papers, and testimonials from other people in Japan who would like their voice heard.  It will substantiate what I will be saying in summary below.

To start off, here is an overview of our presence in Japan.  According to official figures, the number of Non-Japanese on 3-month visas and up in Japan has grown since 1990 from about one million to over two million.  The number of Permanent Residents has reached record numbers, of over one million.  In other words, about half of all registered Non-Japanese in Japan can stay here permanently.  I would like to point out here how difficult it is to receive Permanent Residency in Japan.  It takes about five years if you are married to a Japanese, ten years if you are not.  The point is, a million Non-Japanese Permanent Residents are not a “temporary” segment of Japanese society.

Moreover, this does not count the estimated 300,000 to 500,000 naturalized Japanese citizens since the 1960’s.  I am one of those naturalized Japanese citizens.  Nor does this count the international families from Non-Japanese marrying Japanese.  We have about 40,000 international marriages every year, a significant increase from the 30,000 per year a decade ago.  If each couple has two children over their lifetime, which is not an unreasonable assumption, eventually that means 80,000 ethnically-diverse Japanese children.  Over ten years, that adds up to 800,000 – almost a million again.  However, not all of these children will “look Japanese”.

Sadly, we don’t know how many children, or people, of diverse backgrounds with Japanese citizenship are out there, because the Japanese Census does not survey for ethnicity.  The Japanese Census only surveys for nationality, despite our repeated requests for the census to reflect Japan’s diversity.  Meaning, when I fill out the Census, I write down “Japanese” for my nationality, but there is no way for me to indicate that I am a “Caucasian Japanese”, or an “Japanese of American extraction” (amerika kei nihonjin).  I believe this is by design, because the politics of identity in Japan are “monoculturality and monoethnicity”.  This is simply a fiction.  It wasn’t true in the past, and with modern Japan’s emerging immigration, assimilation, and ethnic diversity, it’s even less true now.  The official conflation of Japanese nationality and ethnicity is incorrect, and our government is willfully refusing to collect any data that would correct that.

The point is, the lines have blurred to the point where we cannot tell who is “Japanese” any more just by looking at them.  This means any time we have any distinctions made between “foreigner” and “Japanese”, be it police racial profiling or “Japanese Only” signs, it will also affect some Japanese citizens too.  This is why we need a law against racial discrimination in Japan – not only because it will help non-citizens assimilate into Japan, but also it will protect Japanese against xenophobia, bigotry, and exclusionism.  Discrimination that is “deep and profound”, and “practiced undisturbed in Japan”, according to UN Rapporteur Doudou Diene in 2005 and 2006[1].

At this point, I would like to show some differences in standpoint, between my esteemed colleagues and minorities being represented today, and the people I am trying to speak for.  The minorities in Japan as defined under the CERD, including the Ainu, the Ryūkyūans, the Zainichi Special Permanent Resident ethnic Koreans and Chinese, and the Burakumin, will be speaking to you this week and next as people who have been here for a long time, much longer than people like me, of course.  They make their claims based upon time-honored and genuine grievances that have never been properly redressed.  For ease of understanding, I will call some of them the “Oldcomers”.  I am here on behalf of what I will call the “Newcomers”, people who have come here from other countries relatively recently, to make a life in Japan.  Both “Oldcomers” and “Newcomers” contribute to Japanese society, including taxes, service, and culture.  But it is we “Newcomers” who really need the protections of a Japanese law against racial discrimination, because we, the people who are seen because of our skin color as “foreigners” in Japan, are often singled out and targeted for our own special variety of discriminatory treatment.

Here are examples I will talk briefly about now:

1) Discrimination in housing and accommodation

2) Racial Profiling by Japanese Police, through policies officially depicting Non-Japanese as criminals, terrorists, and carriers of infectious disease

3) Refusal to be registered or counted as residents by the Japanese Government

4) “Japanese Only” exclusions in businesses open to the public

5) Objects of unfettered hate speech

All of these examples are substantiated in the blue information folder, but again, words in brief about each item.

1) Discrimination in housing and accommodation

One of the first barriers many Newcomers face in Japan is the daunting prospect of finding an apartment.  According to the Mainichi Shimbun (Jan 8 2010[2]), on average in Tokyo it takes 15 visits to realtors for a Non-Japanese to find an apartment.   Common experience — and this is all we have because there is no government study of this problem — dictates that the agent generally phrases the issue to landlords as, “The renter is a foreigner, but is that okay?”  This overt discrimination happens with complete impunity in Japan.  One Osaka realtor[3] even advertises apartments as “gaijin allowed”, thus an option at odds with the status quo.  Again, there is no national government body collecting information on this problem, or hearing grievances.  The people who face discriminatory landlords can only take them to court.  This means years, money for lawyers and court fees, and an uncertain outcome, when all you need is a place to live, now.

Another issue is hotels.  They are expressly forbidden by the Hotel Management Law Article 5 to refuse customers unless rooms are full, there is a clear threat of contagious disease, or a clear threat to “public morals” (as in pornography).  However, government surveys, according to CNN, (Oct 9, 2008[4]), indicate that 27% of all Japanese hotels don’t want foreign guests.  Not to be outdone, the Fukushima Prefecture Tourist Information website until last January advertised, as per their own preset options, that 318 of their member hotels were all refusing Non-Japanese[5], even though this is clearly illegal.  Thus even when a law technically forbids exclusionism, it is not enforced.  Excluders even get promoted by the authorities.

2) Racial Profiling by Japanese Police

Another rude awakening happens when you walk down the street.  Japanese police will stop you in public, sometimes rudely demand your ID card (which all foreigners – only — must carry at all times or face incarceration and criminal prosecution), and record your personal details.  This can be for walking while White, cycling while foreign-looking, using public transportation while multiethnic, or standing waiting for arrivals at airports while colored.  In one person’s case, he has been “carded”, sometimes through physical force, more than 50 times in one year, as of today exactly 125 times over ten years (blue folder item I-2).

The police claim they are hunting for foreign criminals and visa overstayers, or there are special security measures or campaigns in place, etc.  However, you can see in the blue folder, this is an extension of the depiction of Non-Japanese in official government policies as “terrorists, criminals, and carriers of infectious diseases” (items II-9 through 11).  None of these things are contingent on nationality.  Consequently, after 2007 all non-citizens must be fingerprinted every time they re-enter Japan.  This includes the “Newcomer” Permanent Residents, which goes farther than its model, the US-VISIT program this, which does not refingerprint Green Card holders.  The epitome of bad physical and social science must be the National Research Institute of Police Science, which has received years of government grants to research “foreign DNA”, for more effective racial profiling at crime scenes (see blue folder item II-2).

In sum, thanks to national policy justifying racial profiling, the Japanese police are seeing non-Japanese as “foreign agents” in both senses of the word.  They are systematically taking measures to deal with them as a social problem, not a fellow resident or immigrant.  Furthermore, it goes without saying that enforcement depends upon personal appearance, as I too have been racially profiled on several occasions by police in public.

3) Refusal to be counted as residents by the Japanese Government

It is too complicated to talk about fully here (see blue folder, item III-1), but Japan’s registration system, meaning the current Koseki Family Registry and the Jūminhyō Residency Certificate systems, refuse to list Non-Japanese as “spouse” — or even “family member”.  Because they are not citizens.  In sum, officially Non-Japanese residents are not “residents” (jūmin), even though they pay Residency Taxes (jūminzei) like anyone else.  Worse, some local governments (such as Tokyo Nerima Ward[6]) do not even count Non-Japanese in their population tallies.  This is the ultimate in invisibility, and it is government-sanctioned.

4) “Japanese Only” exclusions in businesses open to the public

Since Japan has no law against racial discrimination, there have been signs up nationwide at places open to the general public, saying “Japanese Only”, “No Foreigners allowed”, etc. (blue folder item III-1).  Places enforcing exclusionary rules include stores, restaurants, hotels, family public bathhouses, bars, discos, an eyeglass outlet, a ballet school, an internet café, a billiards hall, a women’s boutique, and a newspaper subscription service.  Nevertheless, the government has said repeatedly to the UN that we don’t a racial discrimination law because we have an effective judicial system.  That is untrue.  In the Otaru Onsens Case (1999-2005, blue folder items III-1 and III-7), where two Non-Japanese and one naturalized Japanese were excluded from a public bathhouse, judges refused to rule that this activity was illegal due to racial discrimination.  They called it “unrational discrimination”.  Moreover, they refused to enforce the CERD as law, or sanction the negligent Otaru City government for not taking effective measures against racial discrimination.  The Supreme Court even refused to hear the case.  Furthermore, in 2006, an African-American was refused entry into an eyeglass store by an openly racist owner, yet the Osaka District Court ruled in favor of the owner!   We need a criminal law, with enforceable punishments, because the present judicial system will not fix this.

5) Objects of unfettered hate speech

The blue folder talks more about cyberbullying of minorities and prejudiced statements made by our politicians over the years.  Other NGOs will talk more about the anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech during the current debate about granting local suffrage rights to Permanent Residents.  I would instead like to briefly mention some media, such as magazine “Underground Files of Crimes by Gaijin [sic]” (Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (2007), blue folder item III-2), or “PR Suffrage will make Japan Disappear” (Gaikokujin Sanseiken de Nihon ga Nakunaru Hi) (2010[7]).  Both of these books stretch their case to talk about an innate criminality or deviousness in the foreign element, and “Underground Files of  Crimes” even includes things that are not crimes, such as dating Japanese women.  It even includes epithets like “nigger”, racist caricatures, and ponderings on whether Korean pudenda smell like kimchi.  This is hate speech.  And it is not illegal in Japan.


To summarize, the Japanese government’s stance towards the CERD is simple (blue folder item VI-1).  The Ainu, Ryūkūans, and Burakumin are citizens, therefore they don’t need CERD protection because they are protected by the Japanese Constitution.  However, the Zainichis and “Newcomers” are not citizens, therefore they don’t get protection from the CERD.  Therefore, our government effectively argues, the CERD does not cover anyone in Japan.

Yeah, well what about me?  Or our children?  Are there really no ethnic minorities with Japanese citizenship in Japan?

In conclusion, I would like to thank the United Nations and their Rapporteurs for investigating our cases.  The CERD Committee on March 16, 2010 (CERD/C/JPN/CO/3-6), issued some very welcome recommendations.  However, and I would like to go back to something I said in the beginning, that the UN has a blind spot in these negotiations.

In the CERD Committee’s discussions with the Japanese government in Geneva on February 24 and 25, 2010, very little mention was made of the CERD’s non-enforcement in Japan’s judiciary and criminal code.   Almost no mention was made of Japan’s “Japanese Only” signs.  These are the most indefensible violation of the CERD.

The problem is, both sides, both Japan and the UN, have a blind spot in how they perceive Japan’s “minorities”.  Non-Japanese were never couched as residents of or immigrants to Japan, but rather as “foreign migrants”.  The unconscious assumption seems to be that 1) “foreign migrants” have a “temporary status” in Japan (particularly when Japan’s reps portrayed ethnic schools for Non-Japanese as for “foreign children in Japan only for the short stay”), and 2) Japan has few “ethnically diverse Japanese citizens”.

Look, it’s time for an update.  Look at me.  I am a Japanese.  Like any other.  Because the government put me through a very rigorous and arbitrary test for naturalization and I passed it.  People like me are part of Japan’s future.  Please, when you make your recommendations, have them reflect how Japan has changed, and how Japan must face up to its multicultural society already in place.  Please, recognize us “Newcomers” as a permanent part of the debate.  The Japanese government still will not.  They say little that is positive about us.  And they allow very nasty things to be said by our politicians, policymakers, and police.

It’s about time we all recognized the good things that we “Newcomers” too are doing for our home, Japan.  Please help us.










Table of Contents of FRANCA information folder to UN Spec. Rapporteur Bustamante, Mar 23. Last call for submissions from Readers.


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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog.  What follows is the Table of Contents for an information packet I will be presenting Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Migrants Jorge A. Bustamante, who will be visiting Japan and holding hearings on the state of discrimination in Japan.  Presented on behalf of our NGO FRANCA (Sendai and Tokyo meetings on Sun Mar 21 and Sat Mar 27 respectively).

It’s a hefty packet of about 500 pages printed off or so, but I will keep a couple of pockets at the back for Readers who would like to submit something about discrimination in Japan they think the UN should hear.  It can be anonymous, but better would be people who provide contact details about themselves.

Last call for that.  Two pages A4 front and back, max (play with the fonts and margins if you like).  Please send to by NOON JST Thursday March 18, so I can print it on my laser printer and slip it in the back.

Here’s what I’ll be giving as part of an information pack.  I haven’t written my 20-minute presentation for March 23 yet, but thanks for all your feedback on that last week, everyone.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo



To Mr. Jorge Bustamante, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants:

Date: March 23, 2010  Tokyo, Japan

Thank you for coming to Japan and hearing our side of the story.  We have a lot to say and few domestic forums that will listen to us.  –ARUDOU Debito, Chair, FRANCA Japan (,


Referential documents and articles appear in the following order:

I. On Government-sponsored Xenophobia and Official-level Resistance to Immigration

This section will seek to demonstrate that discrimination is not just a societal issue.  It is something promoted by the Japanese government as part of official policy.

  1. OVERVIEW:  Japan Times article:  “THE MYOPIC STATE WE’RE IN:  Fingerprint scheme exposes xenophobic, short-sighted trend in government” (December 18, 2007).  Point:  How government policy is hard-wiring the Japanese public into fearing and blaming Non-Japanese for Japan’s social ills.
  2. Japan Times article, “Beware the Foreigner as Guinea Pig“, on how denying rights to one segment of the population (NJ) affects everyone badly, as policies that damage civil liberties, once tested on Non-Japanese residents, eventually get applied to citizens too (July 8, 2008).
  3. Japan Times article:  “THE BLAME GAME:  Convenience, creativity seen in efforts to scapegoat Japan’s foreign community” (August 28, 2007), depicting foreigners as criminal invaders, and thwarting their ability to assimilate properly.
  4. Japan Times article: “VISA VILLAINS: Japan’s new Immigration law overdoes enforcement and penalties” (June 29, 2004)
  5. Japan Times article, “Demography vs. Demagoguery“, on how politics has pervaded Japanese demographic science, making “immigration” a taboo for discussion as a possible solution to Japan’s aging society. (November 3, 2009)
  6. Japan Times article: “HUMAN RIGHTS SURVEY STINKS:  Government effort riddled with bias, bad science” (October 23, 2007), talking about how official government surveys render human rights “optional” for Non-Japanese, and downplays the discrimination against them.
  7. Japan Times article: “WATCHING THE DETECTIVES: Japan’s human rights bureau falls woefully short of meeting its own job specifications” (July 8, 2003), on how the oft-touted Ministry of Justice’s “Jinken Yōgobu” is in fact a Potemkin System, doing little to assist those with human rights issues in Japan.
  8. Japan Times article, “Unlike Humans, Swine Flu is Indiscriminate“, on the lessons to be learned from Japan’s public panic from the Swine Flu Pandemic, and how to avoid discrimination once again from arising (August 4, 2009).
  9. Japan Times article, “Golden parachutes for Nikkei only mark failure of race-based policy“, on the downfall of Japan’s labor visa policies, e.g., the “April 2009 repatriation bribe” for the Nikkei Brazilians and Peruvians, sending them “home” with a pittance instead of treating them like laborers who made investments and contributions to Japan’s welfare and pension systems.

II. On Abuses of Police Power and Racial Profiling vis-à-vis Non-Japanese

This section will seek to demonstrate that one arm of the government, the National Police Agency, has had a free hand in generating a fictitious “Foreign Crime Wave of the 2000s”, by characterizing Non-Japanese in the media as criminals, exaggerating or falsifying foreign crime reportage, bending laws to target them, engaging in flagrant racial profiling of minorities, and otherwise “making Japan the world’s safest country again” by portraying the foreign element as unsafe.

  1. Japan Times article: “DOWNLOADABLE DISCRIMINATION: The Immigration Bureau’s new “snitching” Web site is both short-sighted and wide open to all manner of abuses.” (March 30, 2004), on how online submission sites (which still exist) run by the government are open to the general public, for anonymous reporting of anyone who “looks foreign and suspicious” to the police.
  2. Japan Times article: “FORENSIC SCIENCE FICTION: Bad science and racism underpin police policy” (January 13, 2004), how the National Research Institute for Police Science has received government grants to study “foreign DNA” (somehow seen as genetically different from all Japanese DNA) for crime scene investigation.
  3. 3. Japan Times article:  “FOREIGN CRIME STATS COVER UP A REAL COP OUT:  Published figures are half the story” (Oct 4, 2002), indicating how the National Police Agency is falsifying and exaggerating foreign crime statistics to create the image of Non-Japanese residents as criminals.
  4. Japan Times article: “HERE COMES THE FEAR: Antiterrorist law creates legal conundrums for foreign residents” (May 24, 2005), showing nascent anti-terrorist policy introduced by the Koizumi Administration specifically targeting Non-Japanese as terrorists.
  5. Website:  “Ibaraki Prefectural Police put up new and improved public posters portraying Non-Japanese as coastal invaders” (November 20, 2008), and “Ibaraki Police’s third new NJ-scare poster” (July 29, 2009), showing how the Japanese police are putting up public posters portraying the issue as defending Japanese shores from foreign invasion, complete with images of beach storming, riot gear and machine guns. and
  6. Japan Times article: “UPPING THE FEAR FACTOR:  There is a disturbing gap between actual crime in Japan and public worry over it” (February 20, 2007), showing the Koizumi policy in full bloom, plus the media’s complicity in abetting the National Police Agency’s generation of a “foreign crime wave”.
  7. Japan Times article: “MINISTRY MISSIVE WRECKS RECEPTION: MHLW asks hotels to enforce nonexistent law” (October 18, 2005), and
  8. Japan Times article: “CREATING LAWS OUT OF THIN AIR: Revisions to hotel laws stretched by police to target foreigners” (March 8, 2005), both articles showing how the Japanese police use legal sleight-of-hand to convince hotels to target foreigners for visa and ID checks.
  9. Japan Times article: “‘GAIJIN CARD’ CHECKS SPREAD AS POLICE DEPUTIZE THE NATION” (November 13, 2007), showing how extralegal means are being used to expand the “visa dragnets” to people who are not Immigration Officers, or even police officers.
  10. Japan Times article, “IC You:  Bugging the Alien“, on the new IC Chip Gaijin Cards and national protests (May 19, 2009), how RFID-chipped ID cards (of which 24/7 carrying for Non-Japanese only is mandatory under criminal law) can be converted into remote tracking devices, for even better racial profiling as technology improves.
  11. Japan Times article, “Summit Wicked This Way Comes“, on the Japanese Government’s bad habits brought out by the Hokkaido Toyako 2008 G8 Summit (April 22, 2008) – namely, a clampdown on the peaceful activities of Japan’s civil society, with a focus on targeting people who “look foreign”.
  12. Japan Times article, “Forecast:  Rough with ID checks mainly to the north“, focusing on a protest against Hokkaido Police’s egregious racial profiling during the G8 Summit, and how the police dodged media scrutiny and public accountability (July 1, 2008).
  13. Japan Times article, “Cops Crack Down with ‘I Pee’ Checks“, on the Japanese police stretching their authority to demand urine samples from Non-Japanese on the street without warrants (July 7, 2009).
  14. Japan Times article, “PEDAL PUSHERS COP A LOAD ON YASUKUNI DORI: Japan’s low crime rate has many advantages, although harassment by bored cops certainly isn’t one of them” (June 20, 2002), demonstrating how arbitrarily Tokyo police will nab people at night ostensibly for “bicycle ownership checks”, but really for visa checks – if they are riding while “looking foreign”.

III. On Racism and Hate Speech in Japan

This section talks about other activities that are not state-sponsored or encouraged, but tolerated in society as “rational” or “reasonable” discrimination, or natural ascriptive social ordering.  These unfettered acts of discrimination towards minorities, decried by previous Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene as “deep and profound”, are examples of why we need a law against racial discrimination and hate speech in Japan.

1. OVERVIEWNGO Report Regarding the Rights of Non-Japanese Nationals, Minorities of Foreign Origins, and Refugees in Japan (33 pages).  Prepared for the 76th United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Japan, submitted to UNCERD February 2010.  Compiled by Solidarity with Migrants Japan.  Particularly germane to this information packet is Chapter 2 by Arudou Debito, entitled “Race and Nationality-Based Entrance Refusals at Private and Quasi-Public Establishments” (3 pages).

2. Japan Focus paper (14 pages):  “GAIJIN HANZAI MAGAZINE AND HATE SPEECH IN JAPAN:  The newfound power of Japan’s international residents” (March 20, 2007).  This academic paper talks about how a “Foreign Crime Magazine” deliberately distorted data (to the point of accusing Non-Japanese of criminal acts that were not actually crimes), and portrayed Chinese and other minorities as having criminality as part of their innate nature.

3. Japan Times article, “NJ Suffrage and the Racist Element” (February 2, 2010), on xenophobic Japan Dietmember Hiranuma’s racist statements towards fellow Dietmember Renho (who has Taiwanese roots), and how it lays bare the lie of the xenophobic Rightists demanding people take Japanese citizenship if they want the right to vote in local elections – when it clearly makes no difference to them if they do.

4. Japan Times article, “The Issue that dares not speak its name“, on the suppressed debate on racial discrimination in Japan (June 2, 2009), where the term “racial discrimination” itself is not part of the Japanese media’s vocabulary to describe even situations adjudged “racial discrimination” by Japanese courts.

5. Japan Times article:  “HOW TO KILL A BILL:  Tottori’s Human Rights Ordinance is a case study in alarmism” (May 2, 2006), on how Japan’s first prefectural-level ordinance against discrimination was actually unpassed months later, due to a hue and cry over the apparent dangers of giving foreigners too many rights.

6. Academic Paper (Linguapax Asia, forthcoming) (14 pages):  “Propaganda in Japan’s Media:  Manufacturing Consent for National Goals at the Expense of Non-Japanese Residents”, on how government policy, political opportunism, and the Japanese media fomented a fictitious “Foreign Crime Wave” in the 2000s, and how that caused quantifiable social damage to Non-Japanese residents.

7. Japan Focus paper (2 pages): “JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hotspring Case and Discrimination Against ‘Foreigners’ in Japan” (November 2005), a very brief summary explaining Japan’s first case of racial discrimination that made to the Supreme Court (where it was rejected for consideration), and what it means in terms of Japan’s blind-eying of discrimination.

8. Website:  “Tokyo Edogawa-ku Liberal Democratic Party flyer, likens granting Permanent Residents the right to vote in local elections to an alien invasion”.  (February 24, 2010)  Seventeen local politicians of the formerly-ruling LDP lend their names against the ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s liberalizing policy, illustrated with a UFO targeting the Japanese archipelago.

9. Website:  “More anti-foreigner scare posters and publications, linking Permanent Resident suffrage bill to foreign crime and Chinese invasion”. (March 15, 2010)  Anonymous internet billeters are putting propaganda in home post boxes in Nagoya and Narita, and bookstores are selling books capitalizing on the fear by saying that granting NJ the vote will make Japan “disappear” by turning into a foreign country.

10. Website:  Anti-foreign suffrage protests in Shibuya Nov 28 2009. The invective in flyers and banners: “Japan is in danger!” (December 4, 2009).  An overview and summary translation of the invective and arguments being put forth by the xenophobic Far-Right in public demonstrations.

IV. On the Disenfranchisement of the Non-Japanese communities in Japan

This section touches upon how Non-Japanese minorities are shut out of Japan’s debate arenas, public events, even court rooms, making them largely unable to stand up for themselves and assimilate on their own terms.

1. Trans Pacific Radio:  “RUMBLE AT THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS – A hearing on human rights is disrupted by right wingers” (September 10, 2007), demonstrating how the government will not stop hate speech from Right-wingers even when it willfully disrupts their official fact-finding meetings.

2. Japan Times article, McDonald’s Japan’s “Mr James” campaign:  Why these stereotyping advertisements should be discontinued. (September 1, 2009), showing how McDonald’s, an otherwise racially-tolerant multinational corporation overseas, is able thanks to lax attitudes in Japan to stoop to racial stereotyping to sell product, moreover not engage in constructive public debate about the issues.

3. Japan Times article: “ABUSE, RACISM, LOST EVIDENCE DENY JUSTICE IN VALENTINE CASE: Nigerian’s ordeal shows that different judicial standards apply for foreigners in court” (August 14, 2007), where even foreigners’ testimony is overtly dismissed in court expressly because it is foreign.

4. Japan Times article: “TWISTED LEGAL LOGIC DEALS RIGHTS BLOW TO FOREIGNERS:  McGowan ruling has set a very dangerous precedent” (February 7, 2006), in that a store manager who barred an African-American customer entry, expressly because he dislikes black people, was exonerated in court on a semantic technicality.

5. Japan Times article: “SCHOOLS SINGLE OUT FOREIGN ROOTS: International kids suffer under archaic rules” (July 17, 2007). An article about the “Hair Police” in Japan’s schools, who force Non-Japanese and ethnically-diverse Japanese to dye their natural hair color black.

6. Japan Times article: “A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD?: National Sports Festival bars gaijin, and amateur leagues follow suit” (Sept 30, 2003), on Japan’s National Sports Meets (kokutai), and how Japan’s amateur sports leagues refuse Non-Japanese residents’ participation:

7. Asahi Shimbun English-language POINT OF VIEW column, “IF CARTOON KIDS HAVE IT, WHY NOT FOREIGNERS?” (Dec 29, 2003).  A translation of my Nov 8 2003 Asahi Watashi no Shiten column, wondering why cartoon characters and wild sealions (see #9 below) are allowed to be registered as “residents” in Japan under the government’s jūminhyō Residency Certificate system, but not Non-Japanese.

8. Japan Times article, “FREEDOM OF SPEECH: ‘Tainted blood’ sees ‘foreign’ students barred from English contests” (Jan 6, 2004), with several odd, blood-based rules indicating a belief that foreign ancestry gives people an advantage in terms of language ability – even if the foreign ethnicity is not Anglophone!

9. Japan Times article on “SEALING THE DEAL ON PUBLIC MEETINGS: Outdoor gatherings are wrapped in red tape.” (March 4, 2003), on the sealion “Tama-chan” issue and demonstrations over the issue of family registry exclusionism (see #7 above).  Why is it so difficult to raise public awareness about minority issues in Japan?  Because police grant permission to public gatherings.

V. On What Japan should do to face its multicultural future

This section offers suggestions on what Japan ought to be doing:  Engaging immigration, instead of retreating further into a fortress mentality and defaming those who wish to emigrate here.

1. Japan Focus paper:  “JAPAN’S COMING INTERNATIONALIZATION:  Can Japan assimilate its immigrants?” (January 12, 2006)

2. Japan Times article, “A Level Playing Field for Immigrants” (December 1, 2009), offering policy proposals to the new DPJ ruling party on how to make Japan a more attractive place for immigration.

3. Japan Focus paper:  “JAPAN’S FUTURE AS AN INTERNATIONAL, MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY: From Migrants to Immigrants” (October 29, 2007)

4. “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.

VI. Japan and the United Nations

1. Academic paper (forthcoming, draft, 21 pages):  “Racial Discrimination in Japan:  Arguments made by the Japanese government to justify the status quo in defiance of United Nations Treaty”.  This paper points out the blind spot in both United Nations and the Japanese government, which continues to overlook the plight of immigrants (viewing them more as temporary migrant workers), and their ethnically-diverse Japanese children, even in their February 2010 UNCERD Review of Japan (please skip to pages 18-19 in the paper).

2. Japan Times article: “PULLING THE WOOL:  Japan’s pitch for the UN Human Rights Council was disingenuous at best” (November 7, 2006), talking about the disinformation the government was giving the UN in its successful bid to have a leadership post on the newfound HRC.

3. Japan Times article: “RIGHTING A WRONG: United Nations representative Doudou Diene’s trip to Japan has caused a stir” (June 27, 2006).


Topics:  Daycare center teaching “Little Black Sambo” to preschoolers despite requests from international parents to desist, Anonymous statement regarding professional working conditions in Japan for professional and expatriate women (issues of CEDAW), Discriminatory hiring practices at English-language schools (2 cases), Racial profiling at Narita Airport, Harassment of foreign customers by Japanese credit agencies, Hunger strikers at Ibaraki Detention Center, Politician scaremongering regarding a hypothetical  “foreign Arab prince with 50 kids claiming child tax allowance”


GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine becomes a “Taboo” topic in a 2007 magazine, victimizing J publisher


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 Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
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Hi Blog. Here’s something that’s been sitting on my server since September 2007 (!!) and I’ve finally decided to put up now. (Didn’t want to encourage sales of something like this by attracting attention to it until long after the fact.)

A magazine on “Taboos”, sent to me more than two years ago by MS, tells the story of the reactionary gaijin who took the “Gaijin Hanzai Ura File” mook to task for the lies and hate speech it was spreading on convenience store newsstands nationwide (substantiation of that all here).  And portrays that pitifully misunderstod publisher, Eichi Shuppan Inc., which went bankrupt within two months of releasing that mook, as victim.

It has quotes from me (even of me laughing) that it never garnered through any interviews (they apparently talked to Eichi, but I received no communication from this publication), and shows me as some sort of fearsome activist (thanks, I guess).  It of course offers no counterarguments to Eichi’s spurious published assertions, for example about the rise of NJ crime (I would have given those counterarguments if they’d only asked), accepting their assertions at face value.  And of course we have no real debate on whether or not the book was actually telling the truth or not (obviously, as I argued in many venues, it wasn’t).  For all the research they did pulling my written quotes out of context, they didn’t cite my questions of the veracity of the portrayals that assiduously at all.

In other words, it’s a debate that once again favors and victimizes Team Japan.  Those poor victimized convenience stores responding to public pressure (yeah, like that worked for “Mr James”; McDonald’s basically ignored us).  It couldn’t just be that the stores carrying the mook were convinced by our arguments about its exaggerated and errant claims and hateful tone now, could it?  Naw, Japanese lost to the foreigners, therefore the foreigners didn’t fight fair.  And now because of that, we have yet another “taboo” that hurts We Japaneses’ Freedom of Speech.

Hardly a “taboo” here.  You overdid it, and lost the debate.  That’s all.  And if you spread lies and hate speech in public again like this, you should be called on it again and debated against.  And if you lose the debate (moreover your company after your risky business decisions), don’t put it down to sour grapes and blame the other side for your losing.  Take responsibility for your actions like an adult, and put it down to publishing stupid things that were trying to defame and hurt people, particularly Japan’s NJ residents.  You lost.  Live with it.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

(Click on any image to expand in your browser)



Full four pages of Feb 17 2009 SPA! article on “Monster Gaikokujin” scanned


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
Hi Blog.  For your discussion are the full four pages of the SPA! magazine article on how NJ (rendered “monster gaikokujin”, abbreviated to “Monga” to save space) are coming to Japan and doing bad bad things.  Have a read.

A brief synopsis of the article starts (predictably) at Tsukiji, giving the reader a picture of the disruptive behavior of NJ fish-kissers and the like, flitting onwards to onsens (boy, that dead horse never gets tired), then on to “Monga” of monstrous sexual desire, propositioning Maiko as if they were prostitutes (and libidinous Chinese photographing their lap-dancers), drunk black people with video cameras terrifying a chaste Akiba Maid (who wasn’t too shy about posing maidly for the article), Koreans fouling hotel refrigerators with kimchee, etc.  Of course, the nationality or the race is always identified and linked with the behavior (we are, after all, talking about breeds of NJ).

Then you turn the page for more detailed case studies of NJ depravity:  An Australian who assaults a taxi driver (the latter just wants to tell the world that “it’s not only the evil-looking foreigners that are frightening — even the likes of White people who look like they work for world-class companies will do this”).  A Turk who uses his looks and language skills to become a sexual predator.  And a Filipina overstayer who plans to use her feminine wiles to land a life here.  

Two bonus sidebars blame Lonely Planet guidebooks of encouraging NJ “eccentricities” and give you a Binaca Blast of Benjamin Fulford.  Benjamin, safe behind sunglasses, asserts that 1) Caucasians let the natural “effeteness” of the Japanese people go to their head, and that 2) he’s being targeted by the yakuza and how Mossad is involved and… er, dunno what this point is doing here.  Holy cow, the shuukanshi got hijacked for Ben’s personal agenda!  (BTW, not mentioned is how Ben is now a Japanese citizen.  I guess now he feels qualified to pontificate from the other side of the mirror glasses how “Doing as the Romans do” is universal…)

See for yourself.  Here are scans of the pages (click to expand).  Comment from me follows:


QUICK ANALYSIS FROM DEBITO:  This article is far less “brick through the window” than the “GAIJIN HANZAI” magazine a couple of years back.  It acknowledges the need for NJ to be here, and how they’re contributing to the economy (not “laying waste” to Japan as the very cover of GH mag put it).  They even mozaic out the NJ faces.  From the very title, SPA! even mostly avoids the use of the racist word “gaijin” in favor of “gaikokuijn” even as it tries to mint a new epithet.  And it’s trying to get at least some voice of the “foreign community” involved (even if it’s Benjamin Fulford, who can find a conspiracy in a cup of coffee).  It’s an improvement of sorts.

That said, it still tries to sensationalize and decontextualize (where is any real admission that Japanese do these sorts of things too, both domestically and internationally?), and commits, as I keep saying, the unscientific sin of ascribing behavior to nationality, as if nationalities were breeds of dogs with thoroughbred behaviors.  Again, if you’re going to do a story on foreign crime (and it should be crime, not just simple faux pas or possible misunderstandings), talk about the act and the individual actor (yes, by name), and don’t make the action part of a group effort.  Doing so just foments prejudice.  

But I’m sure the editors of SPA! are plenty sophisticated to know that.  They’re just pandering to sell papers.  I’m just glad it’s not worse.  Perhaps after all these years I’m getting jaded.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Asahi: Skimming off NJ trainees results in murder


Hi Blog. Yet another tale about Japan’s hastily-instituted and poorly-regulated NJ guest-worker program. Procuring cheap foreign labor to keep J industry from relocating overseas or going backrupt, the Trainee and Researcher Visa program scams have resulted in various human and labor rights abuses, child labor, and now according to the article below even murder. Quick comment from me after the article:


Slain farm association official took fees from both Chinese trainees, farmers

05/28/2007 The Asahi Shimbun

CHIBA–A slain former executive of a farm association had forced Chinese trainees to pay sizable fees that had already been covered by the farmers who accepted the trainees, sources said.

The funds provided by the trainees remain largely unaccounted for, they added.

Most of about 150 Chinese workers on a farm training program offered by the Chiba Agriculture Association had paid between 40,000 yuan and 110,000 yuan (about 600,000 yen and 1.65 million yen) under the pretext of training fees and travel expenses, according to a survey conducted by the association.

“The system whose initial purpose is to transfer technologies to developing countries is being exploited as a juicy business,” Ippei Torii, general secretary of Zentoitsu Workers Union, which supports foreign workers, said of the foreign trainee-intern system.

“The government will have to tell businesses not to accept trainees from organizations that collect expensive fees from the trainees.”

The former executive was fatally stabbed in August last year in an attack that also injured two others.

A 26-year-old Chinese farm trainee, accused of murdering the executive and other charges, had been working about 50 hours a month overtime for token pay, even though the training program banned participants from taking on extra work.

After learning that the trainee told police he came to Japan after borrowing money in China, the farm association started the survey last autumn to determine how much and to whom the trainees paid such fees.

“We left everything to the former executive as far as the training program is concerned,” the association’s chairman said. “It was a lack of supervision.”

All of the Chinese trainees, except for about 10 who did not respond to the survey, said they paid money to a training center, which was established in or around 2002 in Heilongjiang province by the former executive.

The candidates for the training program took Japanese language lessons and other lectures for about four months before coming to Japan.

“I had to pay 69,600 yuan to an instructor and other officials under the name of the association,” one trainee was quoted as saying.

Another handed over documents on real estate, and the family of a third trainee made an additional payment, according to the survey.

Senior officials of the association said they had no knowledge on how the center had been operated or how the fees were collected because the late executive was solely in charge.

Since fiscal 1999, when the training program was initiated, the farm association had collected about 500,000 yen from farmers for each trainee accepted. The fees were for training and travel expenses.

“I thought I had shouldered all the expenses necessary for the trainees to come to Japan,” one farmer said. “I didn’t know they were paying fees.”

Part of the money from the trainees was transferred to an account held by a company whose board members included the late executive. Some of the funds went to another account under the name of a relative of a Chinese woman who had served as an interpreter for the former executive.

The woman, who was injured in the attack last August, told The Asahi Shimbun that trainees paid 40,000 yuan in training fees before leaving China.

In addition, 20,000 yuan in “guarantee money” was collected from their families in the second year after they came to Japan.

“But I did not know Japanese farmers were shouldering the training fees,” she said.

Japan International Training Cooperation Organization, an affiliate of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and four other ministries, is calling on organizers of training programs for foreign workers to ensure transparency in expenses involved. But there is no clear legal basis for such system. (IHT/Asahi: May 28,2007)


COMMENT FROM ARUDOU DEBITO: Even GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine, a horribly-biased screed against NJ workers, residents, and immigrants (so awful that it was removed from shelves within days of going on sale last January) had a manga about this case sympathetic to the plight of these workers. Scans below.

This is especially surprising, in light of the fact that a different manga in the same book portrays Chinese–as a people–as natural-born killers).

You know these GOJ-sponsored programs must be pretty bad when they even turn off the xenophobes! Arudou Debito in Sapporo






KTO on GAIJIN HANZAI and foreign crime


Hi Blog. Tonight’s entry (since I’m finding my Kyushu Cycletrek report harder going than I thought–a lot more to say than I anticipated) will be something I got from friend Steve this morning from the Kansai Time Out. Since KTO is not available everywhere in Japan, here are the pages scanned. All about GAIJIN HANZAI Mag and the media/GOJ’s approach to sexing up foreign crime. Hope you can stand run-on sentences…

Anyway, the article says what we’ve been saying all along for years now; glad to see other reporters agree. More on GAIJIN HANZAI blogged here at (page down to see previous articles. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

(Click on image to see full file.)

Foreign Crime -- KTO_Page_1-1.jpg

Foreign Crime -- KTO_Page_2-1.jpg

Gaijin Hanzai publisher Eichi Shuppan goes bankrupt


Hi Blog. Thanks to Trans-Pacific Radio for letting me know: Fukumimi blog reports (citing Japan Probe) that Eichi Shuppan, publisher of the infamous GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine, has gone bankrupt.  (And I don’t mean just morally bankrupt…)
Now, before anyone says we dood it, read the report from Fukumimi below. Not sure GAIJIN HANZAI magazine was entirely responsible (but the bath they took on it certainly didn’t help).

Then this begs the question: What was a publisher in such fragile condition trying to pull by taking on this high-risk (if they even saw it as that) controversial magazine? If it was merely trying to stir up debate, as the editor asserted throughout, then it should have had a bit more of a buffer cash flow in its safe. Naw. In the end, they were just trying to sell magazines through provocation, for they never expected it to be a flop (they obviously couldn’t afford one). No wonder they were on tenterhooks the whole time during this debate.

Okay, people are probably expecting me to crow a bit. Well… let’s just state the obvious: Darwin Awards for the publishing industry. Eichi Shuppan was just stupid. Glass houses and stones? Publishing houses and racist overtones? Reap and sow. Debito

Good Bye to Eichi Publishing April 5, 2007
Posted by fukumimi in Japan, Economy & Business. trackback
Good bye and good riddance to the publisher (link appears down) of racially inflammatory content.

Eichi Shuppan has closed its doors and is being liquidated. It had oustanding debts of JPY2.3B (about $20 million give or take).

I’m sure people like Debito and JapanProbe will be celebrating, although the failure of the business is unrelated to the recent fuss over racist publications, and is rather due to the fact that its parent company has closed its doors and Eichi was one of the subsidiaries which was already in trouble and could not stand on its own two feet. The publishing of smut had been transferred to a different company a long time ago (Eichi seems to have retained the sales rights in that reorganization, which was due to the company being busted on pornography charges), and that was the cash cow business anyway, although this line is no doubt also feeling the heat from internet sites (many of which apparently feature many scanned images from old magazines, including those of Eichi, so I’m told….)

Addendum: The news is courtesy of Teikoku DataBank via a Nikkei Telecon subscription (no link available to the actual data regarding Eichi, but see here for an article).



ブログの皆様、ヘイトスピーチと外国人に対する嫌悪感を助長する「外人犯罪裏ファイル」を本年1月末に出版した英知出版は先日倒産しました。これは外国人コミニュニティによる不買運動が要因ではないと思いますが、これくらい脆い会社はこの不祥事を起すべからず、ではないでしょうか。有道 出人

ZAKZAK 2007/04/05









ZAKZAK 2007/04/05
ENDS 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 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


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

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

GAIJIN HANZAI: Why I believe the police were behind its publication (UPDATED)


Hi Blog. I spent the weekend writing up a 6000-word essay for publication at an academic source on the GAIJIN HANZAI Case and what it means.

I believe it is an historical event–the first time we’ve seen the “Newcomer” immigrants band together and show their muscle as an economic bloc.

I also speculate on who the publisher, “Joey H. Washington”, is.

I believe it is the police.

Hear me out.

The arguments as I present them in my essay, FYI, follow below. This is still a rough draft (and footnotes are not included for the time being), and not necessarily how it will turn out in the final version. But I think my reasoning is pretty strong. See for yourself if you agree.

(And see the whole GAIJIN HANZAI mook scanned in full at

Arudou Debito in Sapporo



PS:  Just heard word last night–somebody found 15 GH mags on sale at bookstore Junkudo in Tenjin, Fukuoka March 2.  
He notified the shopkeeps of the issue and the books were taken off the shelves.  Eyes peeled, everyone. D

////////////// EXCERPT BEGINS  /////////////////////////


In the end, one mystery remains: Who produced this publication? The “publisher” (hakkousha) listed on the binding is a Mr “Joey H. Washington”, who does not exist. Despite repeated requests, Saka refuses to reveal his patron.

This matters, because it is clear that whoever funded this is rich and powerful. There are no advertisements whatsoever within GAIJIN HANZAI, yet, according to a source in the publishing world, it would cost at least a quarter of a million dollar US to print something of this quality and volume. Moreover, this patron is powerful enough to convince Saka, who initially agreed to appear at a luncheon press conference with the United Nations at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) on February 26, to avoid the event 23.

Allow me to speculate. I believe the National Police Agency, or some police branch, was behind it. Here are my arguments behind that belief:

For one, I mentioned deep pockets, and what deeper pockets are there than tax monies (which the NPA, and particularly the National Public Safety Commission (kokka kouan iinkai) with their secret budgets and a clear mandate to monitor foreigner activity24 , have ample access to)?

Another clue is the degree of information and access to the police. No fewer than three articles quote the NPA or ex-police, and the last pages have masterful summaries of foreign crimes (including names and ages) that would be most easily collated by the police databases. Even Saka admitted in his abovementioned ipcdigital interview that, “We have spoken with Japanese police in order to write each article. For them this issue is serious and they have provided the data.” [Emphasis mine]. It is remarkable that the police would cooperate to this degree with Eichi Shuppan, a mid-tier pornography publisher, given the borderline illegality and threat to “public morals” (fuuki) that the sex trades pose within Japan.

Finally, the photos are a giveaway. Either the photographer has the patience of Ansel Adams and the ability to be everywhere at once, or these are police photographs and camerawork. The police feature prominently in several photographs, and given how sensitive cops are to being photographed (I have received many reports from angry photographers, who have been told by police to delete their photos on site, wondering if the NPA even the right to demand that in a public place), the photographer must be wearing an invisibility cloak.

(Make your browser window as wide as possible to see these pages side by side)


Not to mention own a hang glider, since many of the shots are “eye in the sky”, at just the right angle to be from surveillance cameras.



These spy cameras, by the way, are proliferating throughout certain regions of Tokyo (such as Roppongi and Kabukicho) precisely because they have a high foreign population. However, in GAIJIN HANZAI, no other place in Japan is even included photographically with crowds of foreigners. Only places with police surveillance cameras. For a book cataloging foreign crime throughout Japan (and there are many other places, such as towns in Shizuoka and Gifu Prefectures, with higher percentages of foreigners), the visual focus on Tokyo is oddly convenient for the police.

Finally, there is data in this book that only the police have access to, such as a passport photo of a suspect (page 19).

If they are not financially behind the mook, then they are certainly supplying the data, and perhaps some of the analysis.

This would be within character of the NPA since 1999. As I have written in my book JAPANESE ONLY (Akashi Shoten Inc. 2006, pages 196-209), there was a sea change in police attitudes towards foreigners shortly after the founding of the “Policy Committee Against Internationalization (kokusaika taisaku iinkai) in May 1999. By the very title of the organization, and the policy writeup in JO pages 206-207, police would see foreigners and the internationalization they would cause as a source of crime, something to create taisaku policy against.

This policy shift was apparent less than a year later, with Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s famous “Sangokujin Speech” of April 9, 2000. Ishihara called upon the Self-Defense Forces to fill in the gaps in Japan’s police forces in the event of a natural disaster, since foreigners would unprecedentedly riot. Since then, the Tokyo Government (the current vice-governor is an ex-cop), the Koizumi Administration, the media, and local police agencies made concerted efforts to create and disperse public-service information on the threat to public safety and stability (such as “infectious diseases and terrorism “) which foreigners allegedly pose 26.

This has reached a degree where even an academic survey has reported: “[T]he Japanese public’s fear of crime is not in proportion to the likelihood of being victimized. What is different is the scale of this mismatch. While Japan has one of the lowest victimization rates, the International Crime Victim Surveys indicate that it has among the highest levels of fear of crime…”27 . The report goes on to say, “[T]he Japanese press… is presenting a partial and inaccurate picture of current crime trends.” Another academic concurs, to say that in media coverage, “crimes by foreigners were 4.87 times more likely to be covered than crimes by Japanese.”28

Given that the NPA gives regular biannual reports to the media appraising them specifically of the rise in foreign crime rates (and decline, although sometimes the Japanese media refuses to report it 29), the NPA supplying this publisher with this much information is in this author’s opinion neither unprecedented nor out of character. Not to mention that in this age of terrorism, whipping up public fear has proven a very effective measure for loosening public purse strings.30

/////////////////// EXCERPT ENDS /////////////////////////

Full essay to come…

Wash Times on UN Diene visit, Ibuki, Gaijin Hanzai etc


Hi Blog. Two nice articles on issues we’re covering on this blog: UN Rep Doudou Diene’s recent Japan visit and the forces working against Japan’s inevitable internationalization(including Ed Minister Ibuki’s comments, PM Abe’s support of Japan’s alleged homogeneity, and “Japanese Only” signs nationwide). Bravo. Thanks to the author for notifying me. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Insular power poses unique issues on bias
Published March 9, 2007 Washington Times
By Takehiko Kambayashi

Doudou Diene, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, who was in Tokyo last week, spoke with Takehiko Kambayashi of The Washington Times about racism and xenophobia in Japan. His report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission last year urged Japan to immediately adopt a law against racism, race discrimination and xenophobia.

Question: What made you investigate racism in Japan?

Answer: I was elected by the United Nations Human Rights Commission as a special rapporteur and given a mandate to investigate racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. I issue a yearly report on racism worldwide and investigate racism in different countries.

First, Japan is a global economic power, but the country is insular. This contradiction interested me, and I investigated racism in Japan. Japan’s population had been isolated for long [from the 1630s to the 1850s, under a national policy], but it is now becoming more multicultural and multiethnic. So I wanted to investigate how Japan is coping with this.

Second, I’ve come to Japan many times. I knew about the Burakumin, which made me interested. I visited Buraku communities. I spent a great amount of time with the people and looked at their situations and listened to them.

I also met the Ainu, [indigenous people living mostly on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island] and learned how they tried to save their identity and were facing different forms of discrimination. And finally, I realized the complexities among Japan, China and Korea. I also learned of the discrimination Koreans and Chinese suffered in Japan.

[Editor’s note: The Burakumin are not a racial minority but a castelike minority among the Japanese. They are recognized as descendents of an outcast population of the feudal days. According to the Buraku Liberation League, Japan has 6,000 Buraku communities with more than 3 million people.]

Q: Can you tell us how the issues of racism in Japan differ from those in other countries?

A: Each country has its own history, its own culture and dynamic population. It is difficult to compare.

In Japan, one of the deep roots of discrimination is history – not only the history of Japan but the history of the relationship between Japan and neighboring countries. It is in the context of this history that discrimination has been built up strongly. It is clear that the history of discrimination against the Burakumin and the Ainu has been profoundly related with the history of Japanese feudal society and Japan’s history.

It is also clear that discrimination against Koreans living in Japan is also the consequence of the history of Imperial Japan, the way Japan dominated their country with an ideology of cultural domination and contempt. History is a very important factor.

Q: So this is a challenge to Japan?

A: The challenge to Japan is the writing and teaching of history. The Ainu and the Burakumin are absent in national history. Their history, their culture, the process of the discrimination, the deep causes of the discrimination, all of these are absent in Japanese history.

Japanese history, as it’s taught in schools, is also silent about the way China and Korea profoundly influenced the construction of Japanese identity. China and Korea are considered to be the father and mother of Japan, in a way, in terms of language, culture and religion.

My recommendation is for Japan to agree with China, Korea and other countries in the region and start a joint drafting of the region’s history. I recommended that these countries call upon [the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] to coordinate.



Japanese confront differences
By Takehiko Kambayashi
THE WASHINGTON TIMES Published March 9, 2007

TOKYO–While Japan is becoming more multicultural and multiethnic, some say coping with it is still a daunting task. That is exemplified by recent comments by Japan’s Education Minister Bunmei Ibuki, critics say.

“Japan has been historically governed by the Yamato race [ethnic Japanese],” Mr. Ibuki told a convention of the Liberal Democratic Party’s chapter in Nagasaki late last month, adding that the country is “extremely homogeneous.”

However, international marriages in Japan increased from 27,727 in 1995 to 41,481 in 2005.

Mr. Ibuki, who describes himself on his Web site as an “internationally minded person acquainted with many foreign dignitaries,” shocked the Japanese with his comments and infuriated minorities like the Ainu indigenous people.

Yupo Abe, vice president of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido, said he was astonished to hear Mr. Ibuki’s comments, adding that the head of Japan’s Education Ministry “lacks an understanding of history.”

Mr. Abe said the Ainu people had long lived in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island, which makes up about 20 percent of the country’s land mass, but in 1869 Japan took away their land.

The stir created by Mr. Ibuki’s remarks coincided with a visit by Doudou Diene, the United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance who wrote a report on Japan.

“I am surprised that these comments were made by the minister of education, whose function is to educate children, enlighten them and transmit values to them,” said Mr. Diene. “There is no such thing as a homogeneous society.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, said there was nothing wrong with Mr. Ibuki’s remarks.

“I think he was referring to the fact that we [the Japanese] have gotten along with each other fairly well so far,” he said. “I don’t see any specific problem with that.”

“Such words will only fuel doubts about Mr. Abe’s integrity as a national leader,” countered the Japan Times, an English-language daily, in an editorial.

Last year, Mr. Diene submitted his report on Japan to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and U.N. General Assembly, urging Japan to recognize the existence of racial discrimination and immediately adopt a law against it.

Some recent incidents seem to indicate the need for such a law.

Last month a sensational magazine titled “Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes” went on sale across the country with its cover screaming “Will we let gaijin [foreigners] lay waste to Japan?” and “Everyone will become a target of foreign crime in 2007!” [“Gaijin” is a loaded word that literally means “outsider.”] The magazine provoked outrage over its garish depictions of Chinese, Koreans, Iranians and U.S. servicemen.

A boycott movement prompted major convenience stores like Family Mart, 7-Eleven and others to pull the magazines off their shelves.

The magazine’s editor Shigeki Saka of Eichi Publishing was not apologetic. He said the magazine wanted to discuss crimes committed by foreigners and how to be prepared for them.

The Japanese press generally ignored the issue, said U.S.-born Debito Arudou, a Japanese citizen. “There’s a reason for that: It’s not something that people want to discuss when it comes to real, naked racism.”

Moreover, in a nation that aspires to a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, some businesses still display “Japanese Only” signs. In Koshigaya, a bedroom community of Tokyo, Eden, an “adult entertainment shop,” has posted a sign saying “Pure-Blooded Japanese Male Only,” and “Chinese and Naturalized people, Japanese war orphans left in China, people of mixed race with Chinese origin, Absolutely No Entry.”

A manager said the shop itself did not mean to discriminate against those at whom it pointed a finger, but its female staff members don’t want them.

Such “Japanese Only” signs can be seen across Japan, said Mr. Arudou, author of “Japanese Only.”

“It’s getting worse. It’s nationwide.”

” ‘Japanese Only’ signs are unconstitutional, but they are not illegal because there is no law to enforce the constitution,” Mr. Arudou said.

Ironically, since Japan’s current population of 127 million is expected to fall to below 100 million by 2050, some say more foreigners should be encouraged to live and work in Japan for the country’s own survival.


What others do re discrimination: stopping hate speech in the US


Hi Blog. I think I should probably start a site which talks about how other societies deal with problems of discrimination. Offer a template for what Japan can similarly do. First a comment, then the case:

The first case (thanks to Karen for notifying me) is about hate speech in the US, where somebody wrote an essay for a prominent media outlet on why he hates black people. Look at how other media and the anti-defamation leagues (not to mention national politicians) immediately pounced on it.

You don’t see that happening often enough in Japan–and when human rights groups and activists like us do react (often successfully), we get accused of “Western moralizing” (a la Gregory Clark), cultural imperialism, or worse of all censorship or denial of freedom of speech.

The US, for one, has long progressed beyond that. They don’t necessarily arrest the perpetrator, but in the following case, the media and pundits came through to debate him down.

In a similar example in Japan, the GAIJIN HANZAI magazine, the Japanese press just about completely ignored it, and it was up to us domestic bloggers and activists to tell the distributors to disavow. Which they did, eventually. But it wouldn’t have happened otherwise, because civil society is not sufficiently developed here (not to mention is suppressed by “press club” media cartels, even more so than in the US) to set things right and make the debate arena a fair fight.

This is what prominent J politicians (even people like Education Minister Ibuki Bunmei–contrast with Nancy Pelosi below) would pooh-pooh as “human rights metabolic syndrome”? Phooey. I think it’s time, given Bunmei’s Butter comments, for people to realize that Japan’s suffering from too few human rights enforcement mechanisms, not too many. This is what people should be doing in any society.

Anyway, the case study follows. Arudou Debito in Kurohime, Nagano




Article follows:

Asian Week Suspends Writer Of Racist Column

POSTED: 12:56 pm PST February 28, 2007

UPDATED: 12:50 pm PST March 1, 2007

Courtesy NBC San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — An editor of a weekly newspaper calling itself “The Voice of Asian America” apologized and suspended a columnist after Asian-American and city leaders condemned an opinion piece titled “Why I Hate Blacks.”

The controversial column by 22-year-old New York based Kenneth Eng appeared in the current edition of Asian Week, which came out Friday.

READ: “Why I Hate Blacks,” by Kenneth Eng

In the piece, which appeared in the Feb. 23 edition, Eng lists reasons why he supports discrimination against blacks — including because “they are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years.”

Leaders at the Asian American Justice Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Coalition for Asian Pacific Americans and other groups are circulating a petition denouncing the column as “irresponsible journalism, blatantly racist, replete with stereotypes, and deeply hurtful to African Americans.”

Ted Fang, AsianWeek’s editor-at-large, called the decision to publish Eng’s piece a “mistake” and held a news conference with NAACP leaders in San Francisco on Wednesday to discuss how the Asian and black communities “can be different and yet get along and work together.”

Fang said he suspended Eng from writing for the paper.

“The newspaper is sorry that this got published, and I am personally sorry that this got published,” Fang told The Associated Press. “The views in that opinion piece do not in any way reflect the views of AsianWeek.”

The paper, with a circulation of 48,505, plans to review its policies to “understand how this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he added.

Fang’s family publishes AsianWeek, along with a local newspaper called the Independent, and owned the San Francisco Examiner between 2000 and 2004.

The petition being circulated by Asian-American groups calls on AsianWeek to cut ties with Eng, issue an apology, print an editorial refuting the column, and fire or demote the editors who published it.

“It certainly does not speak for the vast majority of Asian Americans,” Stewart Kwoh, who heads the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles, said Tuesday. “This kind of inflammatory (column) really can hurt and damage relations with the broader African-American community.”

Kenneth Eng, who has described himself as an “Asian Supremacist,” has written several columns for AsianWeek since November, including pieces titled “Proof That Whites Inherently Hate Us” and “Why I Hate Asians.”

Eng is in his early 20s and a graduate of New York University, according to a biography on a Web site promoting his science fiction writing.

A telephone listing for Eng could not immediately be located.

Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that the column had “no place in a city that is known around the world for civil rights and equality for all people. I am deeply concerned, both for the opinions expressed in the column and the fact that these opinions were published in a local newspaper.”

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, one of the city’s top black officials, has co-sponsored a city resolution condemning the article and AsianWeek’s decision to publish it. But she doesn’t believe Eng’s column will hurt relations between blacks and Asians in San Francisco.

“This man clearly is very ignorant of African-American history and his own history, and he’s very angry,” said Maxwell, who represents a district with large black and Asian populations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also weighed in on the matter.

“AsianWeek’s recent apology is a step in the right direction. Asian Week needs to make clear that despite this setback, it will move forward with policies that have no room for hate speech in its publication,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Full Pelosi Statement

“The hateful views expressed in Kenneth Eng’s column must not be tolerated and AsianWeek’s decision to print them was irresponsible. Eng’s words were not only offensive to African Americans, but to all Americans.

“AsianWeek, a publication known for promoting diversity and civil rights, has now issued an apology and has decided to no longer run material by Mr. Eng. These are steps in the right direction.

“I am proud to represent a city that prides itself on its diversity as its strength. Speech that promotes hate has no place in San Francisco or anywhere in our country. We must continue the fight to end racism and promote social justice for all.”


Transcript of FCCJ luncheon w. UN’s Doudou Diene, Feb 26, 2007 (UPDATED)


Transcript of Press Conference with United Nations Special Rapporteur Doudou Diene and Debito Arudou at Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan
Feb. 26th, 2007, 12:30 to 2PM

(photo with Doudou Diene and Kevin Dobbs courtesy Kevin)

Note: This is an unofficial transcript with some minor editing for repetition, taken from a recording of the event. It is not an official FCCJ transcript.

PIO: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. My name is Pio d’E,millia, and I’m moderating today. Let me introduce our guests for today’s professional luncheon.

On my right, are the uyoku, Debito Arudou, probably the first time in his life he has been called uyoku…

DEBITO: I’ve been called worse.

PIO: . . . but I’m sorry for this discrimination. And then Doudou Diene, who is the UN Rapporteur on Racism, Xenophobia and Racial Discrimination. I think it’s a good idea that we organized this without knowing that, because today, as some of you may have noticed from the wires, we have another, probably historical statement by the minister of the government, of Education, Mr. Ibuki, who stated in Nagasaki that, thanks to the homogeneous society, Japan “has always been governed by the same race.’’
Now, I think this is a good starting point for today’s debate, because I was going to ask Mr. Diene, who has a very hectic schedule this week. He’s under the invitation of several groups in Japan, namely IMADR, the bar association of Japan, the University of Osaka, and excuse me if I’ve forgotten any others. Anyway, he’s on a lecture tour. He has been invited as Rapporteur to talk on racism in Japan. But, he’s also back from two other reports that he just finished. One is about Italy, and the other is about Switzerland. So, since I see other Italian press here, I’m sure Mr. Diene will be happy to answer questions on the other side of Europe. I’m sure that we will find out we’re far from being an innocent society.

Anyway, without further ado, I will leave microphone to Arudou Debito, the very famous initiator of a historical suit called Otaru Onsen suit. I asked him to be very, very brief because, by now, everybody knows that issue and you can take nice bath in Otaru. Please update recent us on not only the issues of the onsens but that of the “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Files.’’ It’s a magazine I’ve here. It’s become a collector’s item, and is selling on E-bay for 40,000 yen. So, I’m sorry, if you didn’t get by now, you won’t get it any more, and I’m sure Arudou can explain what is behind this. Just for the record, the FCCJ Professional Activities Chairman did try to contact both the publisher and editor of this magazine. The editor seemed to be interested in coming here to make his case. He did an interview with Japan Today, but he was stopped from coming by the omnipotent publishers in Japan. So, he’s not here. Arudou, please try to fill in both sides and be very objective.

DEBITO: Hello everyone. It’s a pleasure to be back here. It’s always a pleasure. Thank you very much. First of all, I have a handout for everybody.

It’s three pages, starting with the report to Special Rapporteur Dr. Doudou Diene, on his third trip to Japan, February 2007. These are the contents of a folder I’m going to be giving him, along with several articles and several books, including the Gaijin Hanzai file, of course. I’m not going to be focusing on this. This is for you to take home. There’s lots of information, too much to get into within 10 minutes.

So, let me go over the visuals. Take a look at the screen.

Is anything changing? That’s what I was asked and I’m going to fill you in on a few things that might interest you. This is, for example, a Japanese Only sign in 2000. These things still exist in Japan. In fact, they’re spreading. And that’s what I’m going to make the case to you today.

All right, moving on. First of all, why does this matter? For one thing, 40,000 international marriages in Japan. In 2000, it was 30,000 marriages. It’s going up, and quite dramatically. And, children of these registered marriages do not show up as foreigners. Because they’re not foreigners, they’re Japanese citizens. Therefore, children of these marriages are coming into our society as Japanese, even though they might not necessarily look Japanese. That will make for a sea change in Japan’s future.

And, you’ll never see where they are because they are invisible statistically. Japan’s census bureau does not measure for ethnicity. If you write down your nationality, in my case “Japanese’’, there is no way for me to write that I am a Japanese with American roots. That’s a problem. You have to show ethnicity because Japan is diversifying. It is a fact, and one reason is international marriages.

And Japan needs foreigners. They are not here by accident. One reason: record low birthrates and record high lifetime expectancy. The United Nations now says Japan will soon have the largest percentage of elderly in the world. That’s old news. As of 2006, the Health Ministry says Japan’s population is actually decreasing, and will fall to 100 million in 50 years, actually 43 years. So, that means the number of foreigners who came in 2005 actually plugged the hole. We have a net annual of 50,000 foreigners per year influx. Now keep in mind that 50,000 for a minute because it’s important. Both the United Nations and the Obuchi Cabinet in 2000 said that Japan must import 600,000 workers per year.

How many are we now importing? 50,000, or less than 1/10th of what we need in order to maintain our current standard of living. That is a fact. Even our government acknowledges that. Japan is already importing workers to make up for the labor shortage and alleviate the hollowing out of domestic industries. We’re not going to let our factories go overseas. We’ll hire cheap workers, and give them trainee and researcher visas. One result of that is, between 1990 and 2007, we now have more than 300,000 Brazilians. They are now the third largest minority, and the numbers are increasing.

Given that there is this many foreigners here, more than 2 million total, without legal protections against discrimination, will foreigners want to stay in Japan and contribute? Japan’s government says we need them. So, help make it easy for them to stay. Well, let’s talk about problems with that. For example, and this isn’t a problem per say. This is Newsweek Japan from September of last year. All of these three people in the picture? They’re Japanese citizens, just like me. We are the future. Japan’s media is also talking about this as well. Look at that. Imin Rettou Nippon. Without foreigners, the Toyota system won’t work. This is the cover of Shukan Diamond, June 5th, 2004. Why is Toyota at number two in the world now? Foreigners. Cheap labor. Working for half the pay of their Japanese counterparts and no social benefits. However, Japan is the only major industrialized nation without any form of a law against racial discrimination.

And it shows. For example, the Otaru Onsens case. Pio said we all know it, so I’m going to skip it. Well, if you want information on it, here are my books, in English and in Japanese. And you can go to my website at for all the information you’ll ever need.

Let’s take a look at one case study. Who are these two here? Can I have a little bit of reaction here? An “awwww” Those are my kids, 10 years ago, maybe a little more. They were born and raised in Japan and are native speakers of Japanese and are Japanese citizens. Now look at this. They’re actually a little bit different-looking, aren’t they, even though they have the same parents –as far as I know! We went to one particular onsen in Otaru. What do you think happened? They said, “This one can’t come in.’’ Ha-ha-ha. Your daughter looks foreign. We’ll have to refuse her entry, even though she’s a Japanese citizen.

I’m summarizing the case to the bare fingertips, all the way down to the cuticles. That’s the best I can do in 10 minutes. We have another case here where I got Japanese citizenship in 2000. And there I am in front of the onsen. A nice big onsen, not a mom-and-pop place. I went back there on October 31st, and what do you think they said? Not “Take off your mask.’’ They said, “We accept that you have citizenship (I showed them proof)’’. But they said, “You don’t look Japanese, therefore in order to avoid misunderstandings, we’ll have to refuse you entry.’’

So, it’s no longer a matter of foreigner discrimination. It’s a matter of racial discrimination. They refused one of my daughters and they refused me. There’s a couple of signs there saying `Japanese Only’. Also, in Mombetsu, Wakkanai, there are signs, including in the middle of the mountains, where people say, “Russian sailors, this. . .’’ There are no Russian sailors in the middle of the mountains. Even in Sapporo. There are signs up in every language but Japanese for the 2002 World Cup. Those signs are still up today, except for the ones in Otaru. The moral of this tale is if you don’t have the legal means to stop this sort of thing, it spreads nationwide. Misawa. Akita. Tokyo. Saitama. . . here’s a few signs. Is the point becoming clear? Nagoya. Kyoto. Hamamatsu. Kurashiki. Hiroshima. Kitakyushu. Fukuoka. Okinawa. All of this information in on the website.

It’s getting worse, it’s nationwide. “Japanese Only’’ signs have been found at bathhouses, discos, stores, hotels, restaurants, karaoke lounges, pachinko parlors, ramen shops, barber shops, swimming pools, an eyeglass store, a sports store, and woman’s footbath establishment. Huh? “Japanese Women Only’’ They said they would not allow foreign women in because their feet are too big. (sounds of audience laughter) That is quote. “Because their feet are too big.’’ Give them a call, ask them.

Conclusions? It’s difficult to establish who is Japanese and who is not just by looking at their face. Which, as for “Japanese Only’’ signs, means let’s get out of the exclusivity thing. Things that happen to foreigners only affect foreigners? You’re wrong. Because of Japan’s internationalization, we’re going to have situations where even Japanese citizens get refused. A more profound conclusion is that “Japanese Only’’ signs are unconstitutional. They also violate international treaties, which Japan affected in 1996. They promised over 10 years ago to pass a law, but they never did.

These “Japanese Only’’ establishments are unconstitutional, but they are not illegal because there is no law to enforce the constitution. We took it to the streets and did what we could. The Hokkaido Shimbun agreed that refusing bathing was racial discrimination. We also took it to the courts. To summarize it, even the Supreme Court dismissed the case against the city of Otaru, saying it’s not involving any constitutional issues, which is ludicrous. It touches on article 14.

Here’s what everybody wants to know. We still have no form of law against racial discrimination in Japan. “Japanese Only’’ signs are still legal. We have official policy pushes against foreigners, and shadowy propaganda campaigns against any bill protecting their rights. For example, Shizuoka’ policy agency had a crime pamphlet in 2001. “Characteristics of Foreign Crime’’. It was put out by the police and distributed to shopkeepers. There were also NPA notices against foreign bag-snatchers and knifers. You can find such signs at bank ATMs and subways. You have a darkie guy speaking in katakana to a pure white Japanese, speaking in Japanese. So, the message is that foreigners are off-color and carry knives. These are put out by police.

Also, the NPA decided to deputize every hotel in Japan. How? If you take a look here. “Japanese legislation makes it mandatory that you, as a non-resident foreign guest, present your passport and have it photocopied. It says that all non-resident foreigners must show their passport. But the notice that the customers see is this one: “Japanese law requires that we ask every foreign guest for a passport.’’ That’s willful misinterpretation of the law. I’ve been asked for my passport even though I’m a Japanese citizen.

Now, we talked about this a minute ago. Here’s the Gaijin Underground Crime Files. It says on the cover that “everyone will be a target of foreign crime in 2007.’’ It further says, “Will we let gaijin lay waste to Japan?’’ That’s how foreigners are portrayed in this magazine. It is by Eichi Shuppan. Cheap. No advertising. The publisher is Mr. Joey H. Washington. Who is Joey H. Washington? I’ve asked, but have not gotten an answer. No advertising at all.

Who is funding this? We don’t know. There’s been no answer. Sold it in convenience stores nationwide. You can see the whole thing on-line for free at this address. Now, Pio is giving me the time thing. Gotta go. As far as the United Nations is concerned, it says that in the ICERD that “all dissemination of ideas on racial superiority, hatred, and incitement to racial discrimination shall be a declared offense punishable by law, including the financing thereof’’. A little bit more succinct is the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which Japan affected in 1979. “Any advocacy, etc. etc.’

Moving on, let’s talk about incitement to hatred. . . “You bitches! Are gaijin really that good?’’ This is from the crime magazine. Is this a crime? Groping might be a crime, stalking might be a crime. But kissing on the street? It’s not crime. And here, they’re talking about male member size. This is not exactly friendly stuff. “Hey, nigger! Get your hands off that Japanese girl’s ass!’’ Then there is the manga, where a Chinese drowns a Japanese wife, and says, “right, that’s put paid to one of them. I wonder where they got the evidence that he smiled as he drowned this person? And to conclude it, the manga says, “Can they kill people this way, in a way that is unthinkable to Japanese? Is it just because they’re Chinese?’’ Is this encouraging brotherly love? How we doing on time, Pio? Let me cut it off there.

PIO: If you lose your job as a professor, you can go around the world and do presentations. You’re really good at presentations. Doudou Diene has been waiting for a long time. Thank you for your patience and please go ahead.

DIENE: Thank you very much. I will be brief. I very much enjoyed this encounter. Anytime I come to Tokyo, and I would like to share with you two points. One, my main observation worldwide and after my visit to Japan and my follow up visit, on the world scene, there are three points that are strongly indicated in my report. One is the increase of violence, violent acts and killings due to racism. . .[garbled] In Russia, I was there to investigate racism. People had been killed in the streets of Moscow. Second, and more serious, is what I call the democratization or legislation of racism which is expressed by two things. One, is the way the racist political platforms are slowly but deeply infiltrating the democratic system and political parties under the guise of debating illegal immigration, asylum seekers, and now terrorism. When you analyze the program of political parties in many countries, you will see the rhetorical concepts, views being banalized. But more serious than the concept of banalization, is that you’re now seeing more and more governments composed of democratic parties and extreme right parties. You have it in Denmark, Switzerland, and we’ll know by May if we have it in France.

But when you analyze it more carefully, you see that extreme right party leaders were getting into government, to the center of power, and occupying strategic posts like the Minister of Justice. They are then in a position to implement their agenda. We are witnessing this development. It is a very serious one.

More serious, but in the same dynamic, is the fact that extreme right parties are advocating a xenophobic agenda, and they are being elected because of this agenda, especially in regional parliaments. Berlin elected seven representatives of extreme right parties. In the European Parliament, the extreme right has enough seats to constitute a parliamentary group.

So, the point is democratization and banalization of racism and xenophobia. Third point is the emergence of development of the racism of the elites, especially the upper class, intellectual and political. We are seeing now more and more books and studies being published by intellectuals, like Samuel Huntingdon’s “Who are We?’’ The central point of the book was that the increasing presence of Latinos was a threat to America’s identity. You’re seeing more and more crude expressions of racism in publications by university publishers. But the racism of the elites is also expressed by the birth of uncontrolled sensitivities? One French author said Africans were undeveloped because of their penis size. He added that they should be sterilized. So, he has crossed two red lines. One is an old racial stereotype about Africans and sex, and bestiality of Africans. It was largely forgotten, but is being revived by people like this man. Why did he call for sterilization? Historically, this has been the first step to advocating genocide, because sterilization means elimination of a group. This opinion was expressed by a key member of the French public on television.

Another example, also in France, [garbled] a local politician said there were too many black people on the French national soccer team, and that there should be more white people. It was a member of the Socialist Party, not an extreme right-wing party that said this. I provide these examples to show that we are seeing these statements by a growing number of elites.

You may ask why. I think that from this racism of the elites, which is coming strongly. . . because of the banalization, the opening of the door, anti-Semitism and racism are now coming back, being legitimized, despite very strong opposition in Europe. My role is not to denounce or to only present a dark picture of racism worldwide but also to share with the international community and the UN General Assembly the attempts to understand why it is happening internationally. Here, I’m trying to get something more positive. Postive in the sense that I really believe it, behind the increase of violence and killings due to racism, this verbal increase in racism by the so-called elites, I think we are witnessing something deeper, which is one of the causes of what I call a crisis of identity. The fact that in Europe, Africa, and Japan, the national identity, as it was framed by the elites, as it was put into the Constitution, disseminated through education, appeared in literature, and then in the minds and psyche of people, the national identity in the form of a nation-state is no longer conformed to the multi-cultural dynamic of societies.

The societies are becoming more pluralistic, multicultural. This trend contradicts the national identity as it was once defined, and still being promoted. It is precisely this clash which is being politically used by extreme right wing groups, penetrating the programs of political parties, whenever the issue of foreigners is concerned, especially in the debates on immigration and asylum seekers and their integration.
Indeed, if you take the debates on immigration in many countries, it’s what I call and “integration strip-tease’’. It’s a strip-tease in the sense that what governments are asking is for foreign immigrants to “undress’’ at the border. To undress their cultural, religious, and ethnic specificity. This discourse is being discussed and put into law. One discussion we here in the EU is on Turkey. Fundamentally, the issue of identity is at the core of the development of racism. The way the elites and, indeed, societies themselves, are facing their multiculturalization. The refusal to accept this reality is one of the sources of racism. It expressed by the elites because they are the ones who construct national identities, and they feel threatened. Now, what is the dynamic behind it? This means that the combat against racism and violent acts associated with racism has to be linked to the construction of truly multicultural societies, democratic, interactive, multicultural, and equal.

This point leads me to Japan. As you know, my report was submitted to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly last November. Three points on this report. One, I think there were many interesting developments after my report. The issue of racism is now a key issue here in Japan. It has been for a while. But my report has contributed in a way to help the issue be discussed. Second, my report had a very important consequence, which I’ve been advocating in all countries I visited. This is the mobilization of civil society and human rights organizations on the issue of racism. Japan has been advancing the issue, I must say. Japan’s civil society has organized around my report and created a network of minority communities and human rights organizations, and are acting by helping victims of discrimination, publishing reports, and drawing the attention of the media.

For me, this is central. Combating racism is not the exclusive domain of government. Civil society has to be involved and a key actor. This is happening now in Japan. The last consequence of last November’s report on Japan is that the way my report was received by the Japanese government. As you know, the initial reaction was very negative. Indeed, the Foreign Ministry told me they were not happy.
One key point the Japanese government made to the Human Rights Council in Geneva was to say that I had gone beyond my mandate in touching upon the role of history in racism. I put it as one sample point. Racism does not come from the cosmos. Racism is a historical construction. You can retrace how racism was born and developed, and how it manifests itself. This means that history is a sin for which communities have been demonized and discriminated. So, I did make that point in my report, referring to both the internal discrimination in referring to Japanese communities like the buraku community and the Ainu, and it is indeed linked to Japanese history and society. And the racism against Koreans and Chinese is part of the history of Japan from which all this racism eminated.

One of my conclusions was, beyond calling for the adoption of national legislation against racism and all forms of discrimination, I did invite the Japanese government to cooperate with regional governments like China to start cooperating on a general history of the region. And I did propose in my report, and we’ve done this elsewhere, a group of international historians to develop a report. I said that by drafting this history, it will help touch on the deeper issue of racism and discrimination against Koreans, Chinese here. Japanese may also be discriminated elsewhere. The process may lead to a more profound re-encounter and reassessment of the old linkages and legacies. I pointed out that if you read Japanese history books, the picture given of the history of Japan, China, and Korea is that of the short-term. I did say that if the Japanese government decides to teach the longer-term histories of the relations of these countries, Japanese will remember that Korea and China are the mother and father of Japan, for language and religion, and whatever else. The Japanese make it original, something Japanese. But the deeper source is more profound and comes from China and Korea, but this is forgotten. I did say that if you teach this clearly, Japanese will realize this, and realize that discrimination is occurring against Koreans and Chinese.

There is something going on in the Japanese government, I think the fact that the accepted my visit was an indication that they place the human rights issue of some importance. It is never pleasant for a government to invite a special Rapporteur. You are considered a nuisance. But, they did invite me to come, so I came. This means that, somehow, they recognize there is an issue here. I take it that sense. So, on the historical issue, after having negatively reacted in Geneva last summer to my conclusions by saying I’d gone beyond my mandate with regards to bringing up historical issues, in November, at the UN, the Japanese delegates informed the UN that the process has started of contacts between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean historians. I say excellent. But my recommendation was that this process of drafting historical revisions to get to the deep root causes of these issues should be coordinated by UNESCO, as UNESCO has done it in the past. They can give it a more objective framework, and can eliminate the political tensions which may come from this process.

So, I think this is a demonstration that something is going on. Now, in conclusion, my visit to Japan is not a one-time, final act. It is a beginning of a process for which Japanese racism will be monitored as we monitor it other countries: Russia, or my own country, Senegal. Each and every year, I will come back to the situation in Japan as follow-up. I will inform the international community of whatever developments occur, negative or positive, to bring the issue to the attention of the United Nations where it can be discussed. Tonight, there is a debate at the Japanese Bar Association from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on racism. So, the mobilization of legal establishment to engage in the combat against racism is a fantastic step. I am now ready to answer any questions you might have. Thank you.

PIO: Thank you, and the next time you come to Japan, I hope you can meet with the Education minister, Ibuki.

DIENE: I do hope so. But I will quote him in my next report.

Q: Stefano XXXX, Italian Daily News [garbled] What were your findings in Europe and Italy, especially compared to Japan? For Debito, I have a question. There is no way to raise the interest of my foreign desk editor in the magazine you mentioned (Gaijin Hanzai File) because they will say, “Well, it’s not on the front page of the Yomiuri Shimbun’’. Why is it important to raise this issue, even if there are, in other countries, garbage press saying some bad things, especially in Europe?

DIENE: On Italy, I visited Italy in October. My demand to visit Italy dated from a year and a half ago when Berlisconi was Prime Minister. I was concerned of the policies I’d been informed of and wanted to check the reality with the new government. In my report, I formulated three recommendations and conclusions. One, racism is not a profound reality in Italy.

But, my second conclusion was that there was a dynamic of racism and xenophobia. There is no deeply-rooted racism. At least I did not find it in my investigations. But there is dynamic of racism caused by two developments. One is the legacy of the previous government. The government was composed of democratic parties and extreme right parties.

This agenda influenced the previous government’s policies towards immigration and was translated into law. That government, by their policies and programs, have created this dynamic. The second reason was that Italy was confronted in the past few years with a very dramatic migration and immigration process. You know, all of these boats coming from Africa, north and south. The dying of hundreds on the sea, and camps being established in Italy and Sicily, and these were shown in the media every day. Certainly, showing this in the media every day had an impact. Lastly, the political manipulation by the extreme right parties and Italy was also facing an identity crisis because the national identity of Italy is no longer framed to the process of multiculturalization. This created a tension. There is a dynamic. If it is not checked, racism will become rooted in Italy. So these are my main conclusions.

DEBITO: All right. I think the root of your question is, what is the peg for the Italian press? If it’s not on the cover of the Yomiuri, who cares? Well, why should you let the Yomiuri decide what you report in Italy? That seems illogical to me to begin with.

You’re looking for a peg? Here’s your peg: we got the book off the shelves. That book right there is a screed. You think it’s only going to affect non-Japanese? Well, it’s going to affect Japanese, too. We’re talking about the incipient racist reaction to Japan’s internationalizing society. That is news, and it’s not reported on enough. Look, the fact that we got the book off the shelves is pretty remarkable. I mean, as I wrote in my rebuttal to Mr. Saka when he said, “Hey, we just published this because it’s freedom of speech about a taboo subject’’. Wrong.

As I wrote here, it’s not like this is a fair fight. We don’t have an entire publishing house at our disposal with access to every convenience store in Japan so we can publish a rebuttal side-by-side. And the fact that the Japanese press has completely ignored this issue is indicative of how stacked the domestic debate is against us. You think the domestic press is going to go to bat for us and naturally restore balance to the national debate on foreign crime and on internationalization? The domestic press completely ignored this. There’s a reason for that. Real, naked racism is not something that people want to discuss. The fact that we actually stood up for ourselves and said, “Look, we might be foreigners but we do count. We do have money.’’ Myself, I said that, OK, I’m not a foreigner but this kind of thing is going to affect me, too.

And we’re going to exercise the only invaluable right we have in this country: the right where to spend our money. If you sell it at this place, we’re not going to buy anything at this place. Take it off your shelves. We actually took the book off the shelves, and said, “Look, it says `nigger’ here. Look, it shows Chinese killing people and smiling about it. This is gutter press. Do you really want to sell this sort of thing?’’ And they said, “No, we don’t really.’’ And every single place eventually took it off the shelves. This happened only because the strength of our conviction. The press didn’t shame anybody into doing that. We did that. That’s news, because we count now. We are not going to be ignored. We’re going to stand up for ourselves. And that, I think, is a peg.

PIO: The problem is the peg is now sold on e-bay for 40,000 yen. But, OK.

Q: My name is {garbled} I’m from the economic and political weekly of India. I have two questions, one for Dr. Diene and one for Mr. Arudou. For Dr. Diene: do you think your report will have any reprocussions on Japan entering the Security Council? Or should it have any reprocussions on Japan’s entry? Can a nation that practices racism so avidly be a member of the Security Council? For Mr. Arudou, I’ve followed your efforts. I believe the legal route is one route to go in attacking this problem. The other way is hitting them in the pocketbook. Japanese are great exporters of their tourist sites, and there is nothing like the Japanese tourist industry. How should we hit them there?

DEBITO: We meaning who?

Q: Us, and the press. Because I think that once you have frontally faced them through the press. There are a lot of cyberworkers from India who come here. I think we can do something by petitioning the Indian government through our journals and writings.

DIENE: On the first question. It was raised the last time I was here. I did say it was a very dangerous question for me to answer. The Japanese government is going to monitor my answer very closely. But I will give you my reading of it. I don’t think that the existence and the relative presence of racism should be one of the criteria for a country to get to the Security Council when racism is not an official policy or position of the government in question. Indeed, I did not say anywhere in my report that racism is the official policy of the [Japanese] government. This is contrary to South African apartheid. If the simple existence of racism was one of the criteria, the Security Council would be emptied. No country would be there. What should be part of the criteria is they way the Japanese government accepts the international rules of human rights and accepts the international instruments it has signed.

And I do think, indeed, that they are doing so because they accepted my visit. Some governments don’t. For example, I’m still waiting for the Indian government to accept my visit. I’ve been waiting for two years. They told me, “come’’ but don’t touch on the [garbled]. So, the fact that the Japanese government has accepted my visit is a very positive sign. And I do think that in the coming years they are going to implement some of my recommendations. I have no guns, armies or weapons of mass destructions to make them oblige.

But my reports keep going to Human Rights Council and General Assembly. I do think we are in the process of change. I don’t want to isolate, punish, or condemn any government. Racism is a deeply rooted reality in whatever form, whatever society. It exists everywhere. My role is to contribute to its recognition and the way it is being fought. I’m interested in cooperating with Japanese government and Japanese society in helping face these deeply rooted issues. Now, just before Arudou, you touch on something that is often forgotten when combating racism, the role of tourism. People don’t realize that tourism is the most fantastic dynamic of human encounter. Tourism, the way it is practiced now, is only on the economic dimension. It’s not helping promoting a deeper human encounter and interaction. I’ve been launching a program in UNESCO, my Silk Road. We are trying to develop a new concept of intercultural tourism. Tourism should promote a more profound knowledge.

DEBITO: Thank you. I almost got what I was looking for here right now on the Internet, but the connection in this room is a little slow. To answer the question about tourism. Why is the Japanese government doing the `Yokoso Japan’ tourism campaign? Because our exports aren’t doing so hot, and our imports aren’t doing so hot and we ought to do something about our economy. So, let’s bring in more tourists. Well, what are you doing to make it a bit more welcoming? That’s what they want. Well, what about those “Japanese Only’’ signs that are up? What about the fact that every time you check into a hotel you’re going to be treated like a criminal?

The Japanese embassy in Washington is telling foreigners they’ll have their passports checked when the check into a hotel for “effective control of infectious diseases and terrorism”(audience laughter). Now, infectious diseases? Japanese don’t carry infectious diseases, do they? Of course not. And terrorism? The biggest terrorist attacks we’ve had in this country have all been carried out by Japanese. There’s an air of hypocrisy in saying “come here, we’ll take your money. But we’re not going to welcome you in the same standard you’d be welcomed overseas.

DIENE: Just to contradict a little bit my friend Arudou. On the issue of passports and checking in at hotels. As an African, I travel quite a bit and in most of the countries I visited, I’ve been asked the same question. Not only at the border but also at the hotel. Since 9/11, it has become a general reality that a foreigner is suspect. When the foreigner is ethnically or religiously different, he is more suspect. This is the reality.

DEBITO: Just a caveat, though. As I said earlier, they are corrupting the law to say all foreigners must show their passports. That is against the law and should be pointed out. It’s happening in Japan to all foreigners.

PIO: I sympathize with you. Because even Italy checks with Italian citizens in hotels.

Q: My name is Lewis Carlet from the National Union of General Workers and I’d like to follow up on the gentleman from the Italian press about his comment that it’s not front-page news on the Yomiuri. I’d like to point out that, between January 30th and Feb. 6th, Asahi Shimbun ran a series called “Africans of Kabuki-cho’’. Several articles, though not quite as vicious as the magazine we saw up on the screen, portrayed stereotypical images of Africans as criminals, that they only marry Japanese for a visa, that they force young Japanese women into their bars. I’d like to give these articles to Doudou Diene and Debito for your reference.

Q: Yuri Nagano, freelance. I have a question for Dr. Diene. You’ve seen racism all around the world. How would you compare Japan against the United States? There’s a lot of hate crimes in the U.S., so if you could give me, in a nutshell, an idea of the differences. On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is Japan’s racism compared to other countries, especially compared to countries with genocide, where they are killing off people?

DIENE: My position is to avoid any comparisons. Because I learned that I am mandated on something that is very complex and each country has its own specificities. There is no possibility, now, when racism is not an official policy of any government, but it is a practice that is culturally rooted.

My reports have three purposes. One, it is a contribution to society. I put what I’m told by the governments and civil societies I meet with in my report and the governments are welcome to correct the report with regard to laws I got wrong. So, my report’s first objective is to mirror society, to say that this is what I’ve seen. Is it true? That’s for you to decide. The second dimension of my report in which we try to describe the policies of the government, what kind of laws have been approved and what kinds of mechanisms have been put in place to combat racism and to describe them as precisely as possible. And to describe what the communities told me.

Internationally, my reports are a comparison between governments. When a government elsewhere reads my report on Japan, they may find a practice that interests them. They are trying to frame their policy against racism. Internally, most of my reports are part of the public debate once they are published. Like in Brazil, I issued a critical report. Racism is deeply rooted in Brazil. I expressed the strong political will of the Brazilian government to combat the problem. So, I want to help the different countries share their practices. I cannot give a scale. I try to take each case on its own reality and complexity.

Q: [garbled] Sato, a stringer for German television. I have a question for Arudou-san. According to the front page of the magazine “Gaijin Hanzai Ura File’’, it seems to rather target Korean, Chinese, maybe Arabs and those faces. I can’t see any Caucasian, so-called “gaijin’’ in Japanese. I’m interested in learning who funded the magazine and if you’re investigation uncovered them. Who are they? Also, you are American and Caucasian. . .

DEBITO: No, I’m not. I’m Japanese.

PIO: Don’t give me more information for Mr. Diene! (nervous laughter from Sato)

Q: In appearance. You enjoy kind of reverse discrimination. Do you take it as discrimination also, or do you enjoy it?

DEBITO: I’m not sure what you mean. I’m sorry. I don’t know what you mean by reverse discrimination in this situation.

Q: Well, Japanese people, I think, generally speaking, like Caucasians, so-called gaijin people.

DEBITO: Not the publishers of this magazine.

Q: Well, they have something of an inferiority complex, all very complex feelings. Sometimes, you are treated very specially. So, how do you deal with it?

PIO: She’s talking about two different types of approaches. One is against the sankokujin, as Ishihara Shintaro would say, and then the trendy gaijin.

DEBITO: Well, let’s start with “Gaijin Hanzai’’ There’s plenty of stuff in there about the so-called gaijin, or white people. That’s your definition. I don’t buy it, but even on the cover, you can see a white-looking guy. Before you comment on the contents, look at the contents please.

Now, about me getting special treatment as a Caucasian, I’m not really sure that’s the case. I generally live my life like anybody else in this society. I don’t pay attention to my own race except when it’s pointed out to me. And it is, of course, often pointed out to me. It happened yesterday when I was asked yesterday what country I was from. I said “Japan’’. That’s generally where the conversation stops because they think I’m a weirdo. But the point is still that I don’t really pay much attention to it and I don’t consider my status to be anything special, except that I’m a rare citizen. That’s the best way I can answer your question.

[ADDENDUM FROM DEBITO: In hindsight, I would have answered that even if there is differing treatment based upon race in Japan, there shouldn’t be. Race shouldn’t be an issue at all in human interaction. Also, the conversations I have about nationality with people do continue to flesh out that I am naturalized, and after that, we communicate as normal, with race or former nationality becoming a non-issue.]

Q: Bloomberg News. Mr. Diene, when you were talking about criteria for Japan entering the Security Council, you did make the distinction as to whether or not Japan has a policy of racism in the government or whether it just exists. But, just a question. How do you distinguish a pamphlet from the National Police Agency or the lack of a law outlawing discrimination, how can you distinguish that state of affairs with the government’s policy on racism? And just as a clarification. When you said that in Europe the racism comes in some way from immigration or globalization, does that also apply to Japan based on what you’ve seen?

DIENE: It’s a good question. What I meant by distinguishing government policy and social and cultural deep reality of racism in the society is to compare with the situation of South Africa’s apartheid when racism was officially advocated. Japan does not have that policy. It is true that in my work I have found institutions practicing racism. I denounce this in my reports. But whenever this reality is identified, the governments either deny it or recognize it and take steps to settle the issue. I have to look at my mandate in a long-term perspective. Getting out of racism is the permanent work of all governments.
Even the most democratic institutions have the reality of racism. Often, you find silence and invisibility contributing to racism. The invisibility factor is important to remember. In Sweden, you have five members of Parliament from immigrant community. The realities are different. I have not found any official policy of racism from the Japanese government. I’ve found many practices and manifestations, deep rooted in the history and culture of the country. It’s deep within the psyche of Japan.

Q: Edwin Karmol, Freelance. I don’t know if there are any Japanese journalists representing Japanese media here, but there weren’t any questions asked. It’s even more surprising that you don’t get front-page coverage.

DIENE: I must say that the issue was raised when I came, just a few months ago. I would have liked to have been invited by the Japanese press. But, at the end of my visit, I did meet the Japanese press at a university. There was a press conference and they came. Indeed, I had an interview from the Asahi Shimbun. But, certainly, I profoundly regret. I am not just down from the cosmos. I come based on the international convents a country has signed. Indeed, my work is ineffective if the society is not informed of my visit. If the media is not reflecting on my visit known. . . In other countries, the first thing I do –I did not do this in Japan –but I organize a press conference to say I’m here for this and this. So, the public will not. At the end of my visit, I have a press conference. And I do regret that here in Japan such coverage didn’t come. But I think it may come.

PIO: Have you ever asked, formally, the Nihon Shimbun Kyokai for a press conference?

DIENE: No, I usually don’t ask. I usually don’t ask. I let the media freely decide if they want to invite me.

PIO: Well, we can do a swap with the Kyokai. We’ll give them Diene and we can get Bush or Chirac. Thank you very much.


(photo with Doudou Diene and Kevin Dobbs courtesy Kevin–click on image to see whole photo, not just me. Sorry, could not create thumbnail)


J Times on GAIJIN HANZAI, finally


Hi Blog. Japan Times finally got to doing a story on the GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine. Fortunately, it’s probably the best article I’ve seen on it. Includes actual statistics of magazines sold and sent back (Family Mart, interestingly enough, was entrusted with about half the copies printed), and crime statistics debunking the book’s claims. Thanks Masami. Debito in Sapporo


[photo caption]
This is the cover of Kyogaku no Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (Shocking Foreigner
Crime: the Underground File), a special-edition magazine published by
Tokyo-based Eichi that has triggered public outrage and caused Family Mart
to call it discriminatory and pull it off the shelves.

Mag on foreigner crimes not racist: editor
By MASAMI ITO Staff writer
The Japan Times: Friday, Feb. 23, 2007

“Now!! Bad foreigners are devouring Japan,” screams the warning, surrounded
by gruesome caricatures of foreigners who look like savages, with blood red
eyes and evil faces.

The subtitle along the bottom of special edition magazine Kyogaku no Gaijin
Hanzai Ura Fairu (Shocking Foreigner Crime: the Underground File) asks, “Are
we allowing foreigners to devastate Japan?” with a tiny qualifier “some” on
the first kanji.

The 125-page single edition is about crimes committed by non-Japanese.

The pages are filled with crime stories and photographs of alleged crimes
being committed, drug deals, stabbings, gang fights and arrests — all of
them involving people from a wide range of countries. Some of the
nationalities named are Iranian, Chinese, South Korean, Brazilian and

A spokesman for Family Mart, the main distributor, said that two days after
the magazine was released at the end of January, it began receiving e-mail

According to a leaflet circulated by a group of protesters, the magazine
“gives discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of

After receiving more than 10 complaints, Family Mart took a closer look at
the magazine.

“When we read it, we found some expressions to be discriminatory and decided
to stop selling the book,” said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of

On Feb. 5, the firm ordered all its 6,800 outlets nationwide to remove the
magazine from the shelves and shipped them back to Eichi. It said that of
the 15,000 copies in stock — of the 20,000 to 30,000 that had been printed
— 1,000 were sold.

Shigeki Saka, editor of the magazine, claimed Eichi did not intend to
discriminate against foreigners but wanted to provide an opportunity for
“discussion” about the issue.

“This book was not originally published for foreign readers,” Saka said. “It
was to raise the issue (of crimes committed by foreigners) in Japanese
society. . . . But I believe the foreigners have the fear that they will be
viewed in the same way” as criminals.

Carlo La Porta, whole holds British and Italian citizenship and has lived in
Tokyo for 16 years, said he thought the magazine painted foreigners as

The magazine “brings a problem into focus without adding perspective to it,
and as such implies that foreigners at large commit a lot of crimes,” La
Porta said.

Although the headline of a feature interview with a former Metropolitan
Police Department investigator, on the magazine cover, says, “In 2007,
anyone could be [sic–the Japanese says “ni naru”, will be, not “ni nareru” could be]
the target of foreigner crime!!” the number of crimes
committed by non-Japanese has actually fallen recently.

According to a report on organized crime to the National Police Agency,
18,895 foreigners were arrested in 2006, a decline of 2,283 from 2005.

In 2005, the number of foreigners arrested for serious crimes — murder,
robbery, arson and rape — fell to 396 from 421 arrests the previous year.

The 21,178 foreigners arrested in 2005 constituted only 5.5 percent of the
386,955 arrests that year.

Eichi’s Saka said he published the book despite the recent decline in
crimes, a point the magazine briefly mentions.

“The content (of the magazine) really is not intended to get rid of
foreigners nor is it extreme in tone. It is based only on facts,” Saka

“I wanted to talk about the economic situation and environment in Japan that
has caused foreigners to commit crimes. But it does contain a little bit of
extreme expressions, for commercial purposes.”

The magazine contains several articles about the bad conditions many
foreigners work under, linking that to criminal activity.

One feature article says poor working conditions in Japan “have caused
(foreigners) to build resentment toward Japanese society and, one after
another, more people are getting involved in crimes because of the hardships
in their lives.”

On what are called “entertainment” pages, there are photographs of
foreigners and Japanese women embracing on Tokyo streets. One photo of a
black man and a Japanese woman has the caption, “Hey nigger!! Don’t touch
that Japanese woman’s ass!!”

Saka said that while he knew the term “nigger” is racist, he reckoned it
would have a different nuance written in Japanese. “We used it as street
slang, writing it in katakana. But if we had known that we would get such a
huge reaction from foreigners, we might have refrained from using it,” he

Saka said that although the book had been pulled from Family Mart, it is
still available at some bookstores and on the Internet.

Hideki Morihara, secretary general of International Movement Against All
Forms of Discrimination and Racism, said the magazine is only part of a
wider problem for which the government is partially responsible.

He said the government frequently links foreigners with the growing threat
of crimes in Japan and is creating the image that all foreigners are
potential criminals.

He cited how in 2003, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, along with the
Immigration Bureau and the NPA, launched a campaign to cut the number of
illegal foreign residents in Japan by half within five years.

A joint statement released at the start of the campaign says “immediate
action must be taken to resolve the issue of illegal overstayers for the
safety of our country” because “the existence of some illegal overstayers
(is the source) of foreign organized crime that occurs frequently.”

Morihara also said that last year’s legislation to revise the immigration
law to enable photographing and fingerprinting of every foreigner entering
Japan gives the impression that foreigners are potential terrorists.

“It is a big mistake to think that by categorizing foreigners as dangerous,
Japan will be protected,” Morihara said.

The Japan Times: Friday, Feb. 23, 2007

GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka responds on Japan Today, with my rebuttal


Hi Blog. Here we have an interesting development: The editor of the GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES responds to his critics. A fascinating and relatively rare glimpse into the mindset of a person with a “thing” about gaijin. I post his response below, then I offer up some comment after each paragraph:

Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics
By Shigeki Saka, Editor, Eichi Shuppan Inc

Japan Today
Friday, February 16, 2007 at 07:03 EST

TOKYO — Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English word

Another criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

Shigeki Saka is an editor at Eichi Publishing Company in Tokyo.


Now let me reprint the entire article and offer comments below each paragraph:


Why I published ‘Foreigner Underground Crime File:’ Editor makes his case and responds to critics

First of all, let me thank Mr Saka for taking the trouble to respond. Most people of his ilk do not come forward with their views and hold them up to scrutiny. (The publisher himself hides behind the name “Joey H. Washington”, which is legally questionable) So I offer these comments hopefully in the same spirit with a bit less defensiveness, and hope that a constructive dialogue, which Mr Saka indicates he wants, will ensue in future.

Ever since publishing a magazine called “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” (Foreigner Underground Crime File) last month, I have been subject to a campaign of harassment. In particular, some emails I’ve received have been quite vicious — and have included threats to my life. I have to admit that, although the ferocity of this reaction has surprised me, the basic emotions have not.

Right from the start we get the underlying current of the mindset behind the response: A perpetual feeling of victimization on the part of people who threw the first stone. As if the critics are the bad guys guilty of “harassment”. Agreed, there are limits to how far criticism can go, and once there is a threat of violence the line has been crossed. But ye shall reap. You wilfully create an inflammatory book and put it on bookshelves nationwide, you will get inflammatory reactions. As an editor in the publishing world, Mr Saka should by now be used to criticism. But to cry about his own treatment in the media, after publishing something this distorted, shows a definite lack of self-reflection that will do him little good as a professional in future.

The topic of foreigner crime is taboo in Japan, with people on both sides of the issue distorting the facts and letting their feelings get the better of them.

The meaning of “taboo”, even in Japanese, means something that cannot be discussed. However, there has been much discussion about foreign crime since 2000, from Ishihara to the NPA to the tabloids to the Wide Shows to the respectable press. Not taboo at all, and for an editor to get this word so wrong in even a formal debate calls into question his qualifications as an editor and wordsmith.

As for distorting the facts, GAIJIN HANZAI does a respectable job of doing it all on it’s own (starting from the very cover, where “gaijin” are going to “devastate” Japan if we let them, and where “everyone” will be a target of “gaijin crime” this year). Saying that people on both sides are getting it wrong (even if true) is no defense, and no license to do it yourself.

On the Japanese side, the “foreign criminal” is a beast who lurks everywhere and wants nothing more than to destroy Japanese people and their way of life. Whether it’s a North Korean agent kidnapping our daughters or a Chinese thief invading our homes, many Japanese are convinced that foreigners should be treated with suspicion and fear.

I don’t want to get hung up on semantics here (as I have not seen the original interview in Japanese), but here we have the victim complex combined with the editor clearly admitting which side he’s on. “Our” side. “Our” daughters. “Our” homes. As opposed to crime affecting everybody badly, which it does. You can’t do “us” and “them” when criminals are indiscriminate sharks who treat everybody as food. Especially since almost all criminals in Japan are Japanese no matter how you fudge the “facts”.

Whether or not the foreign criminal is out to “destroy Japan” (as opposed to take advantage of it for profit motive like any other criminal regardless of nationality) feels more like a figment of Mr Saka’s active imagination. Last I heard, there are no real anti-government anarchic groups out there run by foreigners; that’s usually the domain of the Japanese radicals.

This attitude makes it impossible to have an informed conversation about where real foreign criminals come from, or the reason they commit their crimes. In fact, one of my goals in publishing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” was to help begin a frank discussion of the issue.

This “attitude” being referred to here is not the fault of the critics, but the fault of the instigator, in this case the people who funded Mr Saka and Eichi Shuppan. By all means, let’s have an informed discussion about where crime and criminality comes from. But putting it in terms of racial and nationality paradigms certainly does not inform the discussion. Given how blunt these tools of analysis are as social science, this book generates far more heat than light.

Criminality is completely unrelated to nationality anyway. By offering no comparison to Japanese crime, there is no chance for informed conversation whatsoever since it is not grounded in any context. Which means the entire premise of your book is flawed and not on any search for the truth.

What you are getting, however, IS frank discussion. But you pass that off as “harassment”. Your positioning yourself as the victim switches off so many intellectual avenues.

On the other side, many foreigners consider any suggestion that they engage in lewd or criminal behavior to be an unacceptable insult. This can be seen quite clearly in the reaction our magazine elicited in the Western media, and especially in the online community. The army of bloggers who bullied FamilyMart convenience stores into removing “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” from their shelves have decided for everyone else that this book is so dangerous that it cannot be read.

Here we go with the victim mentality again, where an “army” of bloggers (I’m amazed the translator didn’t use the word “horde”) “bullied” innocent victim convenience stores into submission. This odd world-view assumes a) non-Japanese are that organized (Believe you me, they’re not! Unless you get their dander up like your magazine so effectively did.), and b) the convenience stores were powerless to stop them (No, the shopkeeps–and EVERY other Japanese I have shown this magazine to–reacted to your rhetoric, particularly when one showed them the pages with the interracial public displays of affection–with shame and revulsion. One didn’t even need fluency in Japanese to inform the discussion. You made our job incredibly easy for us.)

No, the shopkeeps and distributors, who apologized not out of fear or compulsion, decided for themselves that this book was offensive and not worthy of their racks. As did your advertisers, as you admit below.

Yet I wonder how many of these “puroshimin,” or “professional civilians,” have read — or even seen — the magazine. I suppose the same right to free speech they claim for themselves should not extend to those who might want to buy and read our publication.

Let’s walk through this Trojan Horse of logic. You deliberately put out a book that will aggravate a section of the Japanese population. If anyone successfully protests, you say we are censoring you. Drop the tatemae, already, and stop hiding behind pat and half-baked ideas of “free speech” when the honne is that all you want to do is sell books. And it was after people actually SAW the mook that shopkeeps followed through with sending them back.

(And for those who haven’t seen the mook, here’s the whole thing, scanned, and available for free:

What these people are ignoring is a simple truth: there are no lies, distortions or racist sentiments expressed in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu.” All the statistics about rising crime rates are accurate, and all the photographs show incidents that actually occurred.

No lies, such as talking about Japanese penis size? Or that a Mr. “Joey H. Washington” published this book…? Anyway…

You fill the book with statistics, yes. But three tests of telling the truth is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By leaving out any mention of Japanese crime, which is, if anything, more likely to target Japanese and devastate the Japanese way of life, you leave out the whole truth. This is a distortion, which is inaccurate.

So are the statistics about rising crime rates. Many crime rates in certain sectors (and in general, according to recent news) have fallen. So have the numbers of visa overstayers EVERY YEAR since 1993. Maybe you didn’t get all that in before press time. Or maybe you just did not feel that these “facts” were convenient enough for inclusion.

For instance, it is true that on June 19, 2003, three Chinese nationals murdered a Japanese family — a mother, father and two children aged 8 and 11 — and dumped their bodies into a canal in Fukushima [SIC–It was Fukuoka]. It’s true that Brazilians and Chinese account for over half of the crimes committed by foreigners in Japan. It’s true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

For instance, it is true that a woman in Wakayama fed her neighbors poisoned curry rice. It is true that a Tokyo woman killed her husband with a wine bottle, cut him into little pieces, and threw him away with the nama gomi. It is true that a man killed a British hostess for his own sexual predilections. It is true a man killed his Dutch partner in Paris and ate her. It is true that a prostitute strangled her patron, dismembered him, and walked around town with his penis around her neck… Need I go on?

All of these criminals were Japanese. How would it feel if I were to write a book and publish it overseas saying you should never eat curry in Wakayama because Wakayama people might poison you. Or that one should never marry a Japanese woman because she might bludgeon you with a bottle and cut your prick off?

Or that a Japanese robber posing as a doctor poisoning everyone in a bank shows that Japanese are more devious than Westerners because they have to kill everyone in the building in order to get at the money? I bet there would be howls from the media and even the Japanese embassy.

And the groping thing? The Japanese government has to take measures to segregate public transportation because the “chikan” problem is so bad here. The differences between this and that is that it’s harder to photograph the same acts happening in a crowded train. And that it is consensual. Which means it is not a crime, and beyond the scope of this book.

That’s not to say that some of the criticism leveled at “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” is unreasonable. Bloggers have called attention to a few of our crime scene photographs, in which we have blurred the faces of Japanese people but not those of foreigners. Let me respond by saying that, if we had covered up the foreigners’ faces, the reader wouldn’t be able to recognize them as foreign, and the illustrative power of the image would be lost.

Another Trojan Horse of logic. No, Eichi Shuppan didn’t block out the gaijin faces because they didn’t think there would be any trouble from them, especially legally. Why not leave in the Japanese faces for more illustrative power that the situation is Japanese vs gaijin? Because you’d be slapped with a lawsuit for invasion of privacy, that’s why. Again, lose the tatemae.

Use of ‘niga’ doesn’t have emotive power of English wordAnother criticism I have heard involves our use of the term “niga,” which appears in the caption of a photo showing a black man feeling up his Japanese girlfriend on the street. I would like to stress that this term has none of the emotive power in Japanese that the N-word does in English — and to translate it as such is unfair. Instead, “niga” is Japanese street slang, just like the language used in the other captions on the same page.

You are seriously trying to argue that nigaa is not derived from the English epithet, that the Japanese streets just spontaneously came up with it to describe people with high melanin skin, or that it has no emotive connection to its root? 

I wonder who elected Mr Saka representative of all Japanese when it comes to interpreting how we feel about epithets. Every Japanese I have shown this book to (and I have shown it to thousands) has recoiled at the word (and one display to the shopkeeps gets it quickly removed from the shelves). Try saying it on Japanese television or using it in the respectable press. And try being the target of “jappu”, “nippu”, “yellow monkey”, “yellow cab” etc. anywhere in the world and see if that “street slang” defense works.

Same with the word “gaijin”, used in every situation in the book (even the title) except when citing police statistics (where the official word is “gaikokujin”, of course). Even here we translate it as “foreigner”, which is not the same word with the same emotive power either. But interpretation of epithets is less the property of the speaker, more the person being addressed. And Mr Saka’s attempt in an earlier explanation to say “this book is for a Japanese audience” (which he does not make in this essay) is a facile attempt to exclude or deligitimize the non-Japanese resident’s voice from the free and open debate he so highly prizes.

Finally, some critics point to the absence of advertisements in “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu” as evidence that we are financed by a powerful and rich organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason there are no ads in the magazine is because we couldn’t find any sponsors who wanted to be part of such a controversial project. However, in one way I wish we did have the backing of such an influential group: I would feel a lot safer if I could count on them for security!

I am looking forward to your next expose on the Yakuza and their methods of crime. Then I think you would have some real security concerns. A few angry letters in your email box does not a similarly life-threatening harrassment campaign make.

You still haven’t answered the question of where your funding came from. And the fact that advertisers had more sense than to be associated with your mook (and shopkeeps and distributors, once notified of the contents, also quickly washed their hands of you) should be some cause for self-reflection on your part.

Having been given this opportunity to share a message with Tokyo’s foreign community, I would like to stress three points. First, before foreigners rush to accuse me and my staff of racism, or to label our publication a typical example of Japanese xenophobia, I would ask that they consider how quick their own culture is to view the Japanese as subhuman. In World War II you labeled us “monkeys,” and in the bubble economy years, you considered us “economic predators.”

Cue victim complex again. We Japanese been done wrong (one or two generations ago, when Japanese were likewise contemporarily calling gaijin “devils”, “barbarians”, “lazy illiterates”…). So it justifies our doing wrong right back. How far back do we have to go here to justify the use of historically hateful and insulting epithets in the present day? And does Eichi Shuppan really want to sink to the level of the bigots (found in every society) who use those terms of debate?

Second, as our country becomes increasingly globalized and more foreigners come here to live and work, the Japanese will be forced to confront the challenges of a pluralistic society. Only by honestly discussing this issue and all it entails can we prepare our culture for this radical change.

Cue the possession complex again. “Our country” belongs to us too. We live here, and pay taxes and contribute to Japanese society the same as everyone else. Only by honestly dealing with the fact that Japanese social problems are not so easily blamed on foreigners, or on an internationalizing society, can we prepare “our culture” for the challenges of Japan’s future.

The operative word here is “honestly”. But thanks to books like GAIJIN HANZAI, which conflates criminality with nationality, I think that is beyond the likes of Mr Saka, Eichi Shuppan, or their anonymous patrons.

Finally, if we can manage to openly discuss the issue of foreign crime in Japan, we will have the opportunity to address our own problems as well. Sure, we could continue to run away from the topic and remove books from shelves, but in doing so we are losing the chance to become more self-aware. What we need to understand is that by having a conversation about violent and illegal behavior, we’re really talking about ourselves — not as “Japanese” or “foreigners,” but as human beings.

So why isn’t the book entitled “NINGEN HANZAI”? Because it’s not about talking about violent and illegal behavior “as human beings”. Nor about our “own problems”, but rather about “gaijin” and the evils that they do because they are gaijin. And how in some places in the book they should not be here in the first place and how we must defend ourselves from them. The problem being pointed at is not “ourselves”. It is about “them” and how they hurt “us”.


In conclusion, the reason why the mook should not go back on the shelves:

In my view, when one publishes something, there are of course limits to freedom of speech. Although Japanese laws are grey on this, the rules of thumb for most societies are you must not libel individuals with lies, maliciously promote hate and spread innuendo and fear against a people, and not wilfully incite people to panic and violence. The classic example is thou must not lie and shout “fire” in a crowded theater. But my general rule is that you must not make the debate arena inconducive to free and calm, reasoned debate.

GAIJIN HANZAI fails the test because it a) wilfully spreads hate, fear, and innuendo against a segment of the population, b) fortifies that by lacking any sort of balance in data or presentation, and c) offers sensationalized propaganda in the name of “constructive debate” (when I don’t think Mr Saka has any intention of doing anything more than selling magazines; he is on no search for the truth–only wishes to hawk wares for wareware nipponjin). Dialog is not promoted by fearmongering.

Even then, we as demonstrators never asked for the law, such as it is, to get involved. We just notified distributors of the qualms we had with this book, and they agreed that this was inappropriate material for their sales outlets. We backed that up by proposing a boycott, which is our inviolable right (probably the non-Japanese residents’ only inviolable right) to choose where to spend our money as consumers. We proposed no violence. Only the strength of our argument and conviction.

It’s not like this is a fair fight here–we do not have an entire publishing house at our disposal, with access to every convenience store in Japan, so we can publish a rebuttal side by side.  And the fact that the Japanese press has completely ignored this issue is indicative of how stacked the domestic debate arena is against us. You think the domestic press is going to go to bat for us and naturally restore balance to the national debate on foreign crime?

We did what we could, and it worked.  Especially since the tone of GAIJIN HANZAI did our work for us. You should be kicking yourself for making our job so easy.


Again, I thank Mr Saka for making his ideology so plain. Ultimately, he comes off as a crybaby who sees other people going about their business, gets angry because the people there remind him of someone who teased him in grade school, then puts up posters accusing those people of ruining his neighborhood. Then wonders why people get angry at him, and accuse them of violating his freedom of expression when they pull those posters down. If this is the best argument the bigots in Japan can muster, then Japan’s imminent transition to an international, multicultural society will go smoother than expected.

Arudou Debito
Japanese citizen and full member of “our society”
Miyazaki, Kyushu
February 16, 2007



Just got this from a friend. Seems like migration of labor is causing some problems with “foreign crime” in China too. So much for GAIJIN HANZAI’S speculation that Chinese somehow have more criminal tendencies. Anyway, FYI. Debito in Sapporo

South China Morning Post
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Crime-plagued Guangzhou considers foreigner database

Updated at 11.47am:
Legislators in crime-ridden Guangzhou wanted to set up an information
database to track the activities of foreigners blamed for some of the
lawlessness, state media said on Thursday.

The proposal by 13 legislators was based on data showing a 40 per cent
increase in illegal activities by foreigners in the southern city in
2001-05, the China Daily reported.

“[Foreigners] without legal permission to live and do business in
Guangdong, and especially those who commit crimes, pose a great threat
to the province’s social security,” Yan Xiangrong, a deputy in the
Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress, told the paper.

The scheme would involve “all related governmental organisations,
including departments of foreign affairs, public security, health,
labour and social security, industry and commercial and civil affairs”,
Mr Yan said.

No other details on the plan, which was put to the Congress last week,
were given.

Guangzhou is plagued by purse-snatching motorcycle gangs and other crime
linked to its spectacular export-fuelled boom.

The crime is typically blamed on the more than three million migrant
workers drawn to the booming city but a rising number of foreigners also
have set up residence or businesses in the province.

There were 40,000 foreigners living in the province, most of them in
Guangzhou, the paper said.

Recent cases involving foreigners have included smuggling and
drug-trafficking offences, it added.

Last month, Guangzhou announced it would more than triple the number of
surveillance cameras around the city to 340,000 to help stem the crime.

GAIJIN HANZAI mag endgame: “out of stock”


Hi Blog. Just a quick update. I’ve just come out of my last speech in Japanese this trip (I wanted the information to be fresh, so I left it until last night to get to it, and wound up working on my Powerpoint presentation in Japanese until 2:30 this morning), and have spent some time this afternoon unwinding along the rather pretty white beaches of Shirahama-Cho (hence the name), in Wakayama. Rich resort area, don’t see myself getting down here on my own dime anytime soon…

Anyhow, I was part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Buraku Liberation League on what the local governments can do to secure the rights of foreigners. Of course I had a lot to say (you can see the Powerpoint presentation in Japanese at and wound up speaking a bit longer than my allotted 30 minutes (visuals invite stories and anecdotes, after all). Went very well.

One of the reasons it went so well was because of you bloggers. I want to thank you all for keeping us updated in the comments sections, with your letters to and from sellers and publishers. I was able to cite them in real time (the conference room had internet access, and as other people also suffered from logorhhea, I was able to read back mail, prune spam, and cut and paste your data onto projectable flips). When closing comments came up, I projected the letter from mag publisher Eichi Shuppan (thanks Simon) saying that they are no longer selling the magazine, and would be recalling it from stores. ( Even Eichi’s website confirms that it’s “sold out”.

Sure enough, I have stopped by every convenience store I’ve come across on this trip (there are two FamilyMarts here in Shirahama alone), and the book is not in stock. Haven’t found it since I left Hokkaido. Other comments from you bloggers (see related blog entries) say that there are some stray issues floating around, but that other sellers are giving answers to your letters that are proactive and cooperative. Amazon remains the lone holdout (I have a feeling they would sell asbestos if it wasn’t illegal), but that shouldn’t matter as long as Eichi is suspending sales. Bravo, everybody. Well done.

One issue raised in our panel discussion today was whether boycotts are effective or the right course of action. I of course argued in the affirmative. Clearly, according to publisher Mr Sata, the creators of this trash did not expect us to be able to read it, and Sata was forced to fall back on the basic typical intellectual chauvinism of “our language, our rules” to demean and exclude “foreign comment” or feeling from the nationwide debate he apparently so highly prizes. What he didn’t count on was that non-Japanese residents, as customers, have the power of the pocketbook.

This is where a boycott comes in. If we don’t do something, anything, especially through our fundamental (and basically only) inviolable right in Japan to choose as customers where to spend our money, we as international residents are going to be walked all over again and again because the perception (held even by many within our ranks) that we are guests or we simply don’t count. Wrong. And we proved that conclusively in less than two weeks.

Given that this magazine cost probably a quarter-million dollars US to produce, I have the feeling somebody really took a bath on this issue. Should think they’ll think twice before publishing hateful crap like this again.

Somosomo, we aren’t going to make ourselves count if we don’t stand up for ourselves. We did, admirably. I want to thank James at JAPAN PROBE for spearheading this movement, and Steve for making it so easy for us to get the information promptly and right before I started travelling. Everywhere I have shown this magazine there have been gasps of disgust. And that’s the Japanese audiences. Good. That’s how it should be.

Treat yourselves to a nice dinner tonight, everyone. You’ve earned it.

Arudou Debito in Shirahama, Wakayama-ken

Japan Probe: GAIJIN HANZAI publisher Saka responds



JAPAN PROBE reports the overseas press is calling the publisher of GAIJIN HANZAI Mook, and cracks are starting to show in the logic:

Very good excerpts from two news media:


Bloomberg has published a story on the Foreigner Crime File, in which they mention Debito and Japan Probe:

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — FamilyMart Co., Japan’s third-largest convenience store chain, yesterday pulled a magazine on crimes committed by foreigners from store shelves, citing the publication’s “inappropriate racial expressions.’’
FamilyMart withdrew copies of “Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu,’’ or “Secret Foreigner Crime Files,’’ after receiving at least 10 complaints from customers since Feb. 3, Takehiko Kigure, a spokesman for Tokyo-based FamilyMart Co., said in a telephone interview yesterday. About 1000 copies of the magazine, which costs 690 yen ($5.74), were sold.

“We decided to remove it from our shelves because inappropriate racial expressions were found in the magazine,’’ Kigure said. The company removed the book from 7,500 stores in Japan yesterday.


Secret Foreigner Crime Files featured widely in Japanese blogs and other Internet forums after it appeared on FamilyMart’s shelves.

Debito Arudou, a naturalized Japanese citizen and author of “Japanese Only,’’ posted a bilingual letter for readers to take to FamilyMart stores protesting against “discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.’’


Another blog, Japan Probe, asked readers to check that FamilyMart is complying with its pledge to remove the publication.

The Spanish Media has also picked up on the story, and they have published an interview with the publisher of the magazine. Here is an English translation by Julián Ortega Martínez:


Publishing date: 7/2/2007 14:11:16
Magazine [editorial] director: “I feel I am in danger”
Shigeki Saka, director of a xenophobic magazine, receives a wave of complaints and threatening mails. Interview.
Tokyo – IPCJAPAN/Shiho Kohinata

Shigeki Saka, Eichi Shuppan’s editorial director, which published Gaijin Hanzai Ura File, a magazine accused of being xenophobic and racist, told he was conscious the magazine could arise criticism from foreigners, but he claims his intention was to lead Japanese people to discuss the increase of crimes by foreigners and the country’s internationalization.

He denied the magazine has any xenophobic sentences, claimed he’s not a racist and refused to apologize. During the dialogue with he received threatening e-mails whose content he did not want to disclose. What is your opinion on the reaction of the public about your magazine?

Shigeki Saka: I don’t understand it yet well. There are a lot of questions from foreign press [outlets] as Reuters or Bloomberg. I know there are a lot of complaints. But that depends on how you receive this stuff. In principle it is a magazine written in Japanese and sold in Japan. Then, it’s for Japanese people to read it. Besides, on the magazine there are not any discriminatory claims, though I imagine that foreigners who are always discriminated are a little bit more sensitive. What did you wanted with the approach given to the magazine?

SS: Currently Japan is facing a lot of offences starred by foreigners. There must be a why. I wanted to find that “why”. I can’t act as if nothing was actually happening. Today there are some Japanese afraid of foreigners and I wanted to survey these people’s psychology. I want you to read the magazine. You’ll see. And what have you discovered so far?

SS: Foreigners’ crimes in Japan have a profile which changes depending on the country and this is what I also wanted to know. For example, about Chinese and Koreans. Japan welcomes them as kenshusei and that system is officially intended to they to learn Japanese working techniques and that they take them back to their countries. But it happens that they are put to work as common employees, but with low salaries and some of them cause minor offences. The kenshushei system is the problem that has been generated by Japan. It is a problem from here. What are you based on to give an opinion about the crimes?

SS: We have spoken with Japanese police in order to write each article. For them this issue is serious and they have provided the data. I have also spoken with Japanese specialists, as university professors devoted to this issue. This magazine is a summary of these data and focused on the foreigners’ issue. Don’t you think the way the photographs are used is tendentious?

SS: If you read the magazine you will understand it. Maybe foreigners can’t read the articles in there and they only see the pictures of the discriminated. The magazine has a lot more than photographs, which is 1/4 of the total. I wanted the magazine to be read by a lot of people, so many people bought it we put shocking pictures, to call everyone’s attentiona. But I don’t want they think it’s a discriminating magazine only because of the pictures. Besides, I’m not a racist. In Japan there are a lot of contradictions and, in order to have a coexistence between different cultures we have to erase those contradictions. To solve those contradictions is one of the goals of this magazine. How did you get the photographs you published?

SS: There is a very special photographer. He walks the commercial districts as Roppongi, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Shibuya. He’s around the city all day. He’s a freelancer. I did not ask him to take pictures of the foreigners, but he offered the ones he had to us. In the city there are a lot of foreigners, but he doesn’t go only after them. What do you think about Familymart’s withdrawal of the magazine?

SS: I’m sad about that. We can’t say anything else about the withdrawal of the magazine at the combini because Familymart has not communicated anything yet, they withdrew it without asking us. Normally distributors are more powerful. We can’t do anything, but I think that withdrawing it is a way to reject the debate. The magazine raises an issue to discuss. Why there are so many crimes by foreigners? What can we do? Without a magazine of that kind we can’t know the positive or negative opinion from the people. I want a discussion and I want to find the way to solve this problem. This is my other objective. But I see that the foreigners who are angry, but that’s because they’re afraid to be discriminated, that’s why they overreact. At the internet blogs I see they’re only putting the pictures and they discuss from that, I confess I’m discouraged about that. I want a discussion. Else, we will never be able to internationalize this country Will you apologize?

SS: Look. First, I’m receiving a lot of e-mails which seem like a joke. What do they say?

SS: I can’t tell you, but I feel I’m in danger. I want opinions, but most of the ones I receive are overreactions from the foreigners. Most complaints come from foreigners. I want to know the reactions of the Japanese. I must say I’m a little worried. I know there are some people bothered but if you read the magazine, you’ll see there’s no single discriminatory phrase, so I don’t know why should I apologize.

You can see what the problem is in my full review of the magazine, available at No single discriminatory phrase? Makes me wonder if HE actually read the book.

One more article, while I’m at it. From the South China Morning Post:


JAPAN: Magazine’s focus on crimes by foreigners sparks outrage
Graphic collage of foreigners’ crimes touches on Japanese xenophobia, say rights groups

South China Morning Post
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
By Julian Ryall

A lurid “true-crime” magazine that depicts foreigners as red-eyed criminals bent on causing mayhem in Japan has been criticised by a rights group as “ignorant propaganda” which will increase intolerance towards people from other countries.

Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes went on sale across Japan on January 31, according to Eichi Publishing, but quickly caused outrage with its garish depictions of Chinese, Koreans, Iranians and US military personnel.

Eichi is an otherwise unremarkable publisher which also publishes mainstream magazines, including hobby and movie magazines, as well as some soft-core pornography.

The one-off, glossy 128-page magazine, which sells for 690 yen (HK$45), includes graphic, manga-style comic strips retelling the story of the murder of a family of four by three Chinese nationals in 2003, grainy pictures of a police raid on a brothel, images of off-duty American soldiers in a street scuffle, and shots of foreigners holding hands with Japanese women under the headline, “Yellow cab real street photo”.

One is captioned “Hey nigger! Get your f****** hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!” Another reads: “This is Japan! Go back to your own f****** country and do that!”

“It’s disgusting,” said US-born Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese who campaigns for foreigners’ rights. “It’s fallacious, baiting, ignorant propaganda from cover to cover.

“It focuses exclusively on the bad things that some foreigners do, but has absolutely nothing about crimes committed by Japanese,” he said. “Crime is not a nationality issue and they are simply equating evil crimes with evil foreigners.”

A spokeswoman for the publisher declined to comment.

The publication is on sale in bookshops and convenience stores throughout Japan, as well as through Amazon Japan, although Mr Arudou said the FamilyMart chain, with nearly 7,000 stores, had removed it yesterday morning.

Mr Arudou said conservative politicians and media were edging Japanese society to the right and heightening fear of foreigners, and a magazine such as Eichi’s bordered on incitement to racial hatred and would not be tolerated in most other societies.

One chapter of the magazine reveals the alleged tricks that foreign sex industry workers use to take advantage of drunk Japanese men – adding a dig about Korean women smelling of kimchee.

Another article is titled “City of violent degenerate foreigners”, while a map of the world gives a “danger rating” for countries, with China top of the pile, followed by Korea and Brazil.

“The publication feels like a sales pitch for keeping foreigners out of Japan, and that’s a campaign that the Japanese police began in 2000 when they began to get tougher on people from overseas,” Mr Arudou said. He pointed out that the magazine contained an interview with a former police officer and mugshots of suspects. “I get the impression the police have been co-operating with the publishers.”

According to the National Police Agency, 47,865 cases involving foreigners were solved in 2005, an increase of 737 cases from the previous year. Some 21,178 foreign suspects were arrested, down 664 in the same period.

Date Posted: 2/7/2007

Still waiting for this to catch fire domestically… here’s hoping. Will cite this in my speech tomorrow to human rights groups here in Wakayama. Bests, Debito in Shirahama



Here’s an article I tracked down this morning while doing research for an academic piece on this subject. Was on the road, missed it, sorry. From China’s PEOPLE’S DAILY. Surprisingly, the issue of how evil Chinese criminality was portrayed in the book was completely ignored in the article. Hm. Debito

Japan stores withdraw ‘foreigner crime’ book
UPDATED: 16:55, February 06, 2007

Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart and other retailers are pulling copies of a book on “foreigner crime” from their shelves after a wave of complaints, the stores said yesterday.

The front cover of Shocking Foreigner Crime: The Undercover File, published in Japanese, features caricatures of non-Japanese, alongside the question: “Is it all right to let foreigners devastate Japan?”

“We are removing the book from our shelves today,” said Takehiko Kigure of FamilyMart Co’s public relations department. “We had complaints from customers, and when we checked the content of the magazine, we found that it contained some inappropriate language,” he added.

Inside the glossy magazine-style book, photographs and illustrations show what the editors say are non-Japanese engaged in criminal or reprehensible behaviour.

“We wanted to take this up as a contemporary problem,” said Shigeki Saka of Tokyo-based publishers Eichi, which also publishes magazines on popular US and South Korean television dramas. “I think it would be good if this becomes a chance to broaden the debate,” he added.

One caption in the magazine refers to a black man as “nigger”. “This is not a racist book, because it is based on established fact,” Saka said. “If we wanted to be racist, we could write it in a much more racist way,” he added, saying that the word “nigger” was not considered offensive in Japan.

Details of well-known past crimes committed by foreigners are also given, such as last year’s kidnapping of the daughter of a wealthy plastic surgeon by a foreign group.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

Review of GAIJIN HANZAI Mag: what’s wrong with it?


Hi Blog. Had some time in train transit between Kashihara and Kyoto, so I decided to take care of some outstanding business:

By Arudou Debito, Hirakata, Japan

To deflect the cultural relativists and naybobs who make a sport of poking holes in any argument or social movement, it’s probably a good idea to give a review of the “GAIJIN HANZAI UNDERGROUND FILES” publication. and why it’s symptomatic of so much of what is wrong about a media which has insufficient safeguards against hate speech and defamation of ethnic groups.

(And for those who haven’t seen the mook, here’s the whole thing, scanned, and available for free:

The review is organized thusly:




The first impression is one which hardly needs explanation. Crazed faces of killers putting bullet holes in the cover, with classic ethnic profiles (center stage is what appears to be a slitty-eyed member of the Chinese Mafia), with a Jihadist, generic white and black people, and caricatures of both N and S Korean leadership in the very back–all coming to get you, the reader. Along with a listing of the countries covered inside (complete with flags), it advertises interviews with the National Police Agency (NPA–who will be “thoroughly” chasing down “gaijin crime”) and ex-cop and “crime expert” Kitashiba Ken (who is quoted as saying that “everyone will become a target of ‘gaijin crime’ in 2007”).

The take-home message at the bottom: “SHOULD WE LET THE GAIJIN LAY WASTE (juurin) TO JAPAN?”. As if “gaijin crime” is the main element of crime in Japan (it is not), and alarm towards hordes of gaijin is warranted.

Of course, the use of the word gaijin (a housou kinshi kotoba, or word not permitted for broadcast in the media) already shapes the debate. Whenever official stats are quoted within, they use the official word for it–“gaikokujin hanzai”. But whenever there is any analysis, “gaijin” becomes the rhetorical currency. Conclusion: From the start, there is no attempt to strike a balance or avoid targeting, alarmism, or sensationalism. The rest of the book will bear this out.



This is no exaggeration. The very first page asks the questions in the “Why do you beat your wife?” genre: “Why is gaijin crime frightening? Why is it rising? Why is it happening?…” with a collared gaijin splayed out on the sidewalk by police with the headline in blood-red, “GOKUAKU GAIJIN” (evil foreigner). “WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!” reads the final departing thought.

The next pages develop their case for Tokyo as a “Lawless Zone” (fuhou chitai, or “dangerous zone” in katakana, just in case you missed the point), listing up the obviously anarchic areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Roppongi. Often categorized by country (China, South Korea, Iran, Brazil, Philippines, black people…) and crime (stabbing, smuggling, kidnapping, attempted murder, assault, petty theft, gangland whacks, youth gangs…), it liberally interprets the scenes in an unfavorable light: A stabbing of an exchange students is questioned as a “battle between Chinese groups?”, a person found unconscious in the bar district of Roppongi, receiving medical attention from officials while gaijin and Japanese rubberneck, is interpreted as “the surrounding gaijin look as though they have no concern whatsoever”. After all, Roppongi is apparently “a city without nationality” (mukokuseki toshi–as opposed to, say, more accurately, “multicultural”?) where, as the article portrays, only the fittest survive.

One would get the impression from reading all this that the Yakuza don’t exist in Japan, and that they also do not have a long history of committing the same crimes in the same areas (if you doubt that, take a crime tour of Kabukichou with friend Mark S, who has been here for as long as I’ve been alive and has written books on Japanese crime). Ah, but you see, that would fall outside the purview of this book. This is about *FOREIGN* crime, after all. So no need to ground this in any context or give comparative statistics at any time with Japanese crime… (They don’t, in case you were wondering.)

Bonus points for the editorial tendency throughout the magazine to mosaic-over Japanese faces to mask their identity, but leave the gaijin faces intact. Gaijin are, after all, not entitled to the same rights of privacy in our country. Photo credits, by the way, are given to what looks to be a Chinese name. He must be everywhere at once, or at least as patient as Ansel Adams…



give us profiles and motivations of perps based upon nationality (since naturally, their premise is that crime is committed by nationalities, not individuals).

We have an interview with an Instructor at Nihon University School of International Relations named O-izumi Youichi (who shares his insights into the general gaijin criminal mind through his studies of criminality in Spain), included to demonstrate that Japanese police and soft Japanese society don’t have the mettle to deal with more hardened foreign criminals.

A section depicting China as a breeding ground for hardened criminality (and South Korea as the same but bolstered by an extra booster of hatred for Japan). A more sympathetic section about Nikkei Brazilians (who given their hardships overseas would understandably want to re-emigrate back to the homeland–pity they’re corrupted by foreign criminality).

Something on the US military, whose crimes are “too small” (bag snatching, shoplifting, petty theft, bilking taxi drivers…) yet still cast doubt on their real ability to “keep peace in the Far East”. Something on foreign laborers in general (now 700,000 souls), with some background on their situation, but with a focus more on the apparent social damage than on their possible benefit to Japan (such as making Toyota the world’s number two automaker, for example).

Finally, the NPA are selectively quoted to make the case, naturally, that they are understaffed and need more money (which is quite possibly one major motivation for cooperating with this publication in the first place).

The bulk of the remainder of this book is devoted to developing stories beyond the visual, and into the graphic storytelling. Written by the same small number of authors (who demonstrate a clear voyeuristic tendency found in people with an extraordinary taste for the macabre), the next section leads off with a Top Ten of Foreign Crime Cases (subtitled in English, “ALIEN CRIMINAL WORST 10”–Chilean Anita, who landed her J husband in jail in Aomori for 13 years on corruption charges, is merely Number 4), and each gets a full page. The majority are murders.

Naturally, North Korea then gets its due, over six pages, where they make the case that “FOR THE DPRK, CRIME IS BUSINESS”. Then it finishes off with a lovely screed about how Japanese criminals may be taking refuge in the cruelty of foreign crime. As if foreigners are raising the bar.


But the coup de grace surely belongs to a six-page manga recreating the 2003 murders of a Fukuoka family suspected of being rich by Chinese “exchange students”. After they break into the premises, they drown the wife (who is a state of undress and drawn titillatingly), then smile (and say, “Good, that’s put paid to one”) and strangle her nearby sleeping child. Then the father returns home and finds the Chinese threatening to knife his other daughter in the genkan, then strangles her in front of him. Then, when the father is unable to produce the riches they killed everyone for, he gets strangled by two Chinese pulling a rope between them taut (one puts his foot on his head for leverage). How these actions, conversations and thoughts were recreated when there were no witnesses is unclear. Finally, they are dumped in a Fukuoka harbor, weighed down with weights.

Pretty nasty stuff. But the jewel in the manga’s crown is the final caption: “Nihonjin ni wa kangaerarenai kono rifujinsa. koumo kantan ni hito ga korosareru no wa chuugokujin da kara na no ka?” “The unreasonable of this is unthinkable to Japanese. Does killing come so easily because these people are Chinese?” I guess thiis assumes that killings of this sort don’t happen between Japanese. History begs to differ.

(Then again, the editors have that base covered–if heinous crimes of this ilk occur, they are inspired by or encouraged by gaijin all over again, according to that previous essay about raising the bar. Wareware nipponjin can do no similar wrong, right?)


Then we get into crime profiles of wanted criminals–two pages of gaijin killers, thieves, drug runners, smugglers, etc. All with photos, ages, body measurements, descriptions for the crimes, and phone numbers of the local police stations in charge. Like TV show America’s Most Wanted.

Two more manga follow–one with the botched kidnapping last June of a rich plastic surgeon’s daughter by two Chinese and one Japanese (only the Japanese perp is drawn with “normal” non-slitty eyes, of course). Of course, the narration only allows us to hear what goes on inside the Japanese’s head, and how he was a rather hesitant accomplice (even though at the end he’s the one with the gun to the kidnapped girl’s head, and who pulls the trigger on a jammed gun).

The other manga is about a Chinese “research” laborer working on a pig farm, and this time, for a change, we hear about the plight of the worker being exploited by nasty Japanese bosses (who are drawn like the pigs the Chinese keeps feeding at all hours of the day). It’s the most sympathetic story in the book, but the Chinese still ends up knifing his bosses. It’s an oasis with some sympathy, if anything.

But in between them is an interview with an ex-cop, Kitashiba Ken, famous for his pronouncements about law enforcement in Japan. His points (in headline): Stop illegals, Understand that “the age of internationalization” also means “the age of internationalized crime”, and that this spring there will be “an unimaginable planned organized event”–a Tet Offensive of foreign criminality, if you will?

There is another article speculating on whether Japanese society is creating foreign crime, another on crime by foreign cults (like Asahara’s, perchance?), more pages on smuggling, another on the CIA’s involvement in all this, another on foreign prostitution (focussing on the supply, not the demand, naturally), underground hospitals dealing with foreign abortions…


But then we go off the scale with the most famous pages iin the book–showing gaijin and Japanese women engaging in public displays of affection and heavy petting on the street. The headlines are full of vitriol: “OI, N*****R, GET YOUR HAND OFF THAT J GIRL’S ASS!!”, “YOU B*TCH*S THINK GAIJIN ARE THAT GREAT?!!” (with subtitles about comparative size and hardness), “HEY HEY HEY, NONE OF THAT T*T RUBBING ON THE STREET!!”, and, of course, the prize-winner: “HEY HEY HEY, GET YOUR HAND OUT OF THAT GIRL’S P***Y IN PUBLIC!”

The problem here is that, given that this is all apparently consensual, none of this qualifies as a crime. It’s just an eyesore to the editors who wish they could switch places.

Next up (superimposed over a photo of a naked woman’s backside) is a story about prostitution servicing US servicemen. Then another bit on foreign copyright violators (as if Japanese industry doesn’t have a long history of engaging in widespread copying and innovation of foreign goods). And then a long section on the foreigner sex industry in Japan (again, focussing on supply, not demand). In the interest of full disclosure, the magazine provides great detail on how to deal with foreign hookers, particularly how to procure them (even market prices). And a Q&A section on “Delivery Health” Korean pros, including speculation on how their nether regions smell.

The book closes with a calendar of crime–187 cases over 2006 organized by month stretched over 12 pages. (Good thing they didn’t include Japanese crimes, since that would have made the book a lot thicker!) And a back page that says that “Gaijin Crime in Japan–47,000 cases per year. (Again, good thing they didn’t include Japanese crime…), with a world map surrounded by guns, knives, syringes, and skull-and-crossbones danger ratings for 14 countries that are “targeting Japan” (and, not mentioned, giving the overwhelming majority of domestic criminal elements some competition…)



1) It is unclear who published it, and how it got so much shelf space in national chains. The name given, “Joey H. Washington”, is clearly a pseudonym, and books by law are apparently not allowed to be published anonymously like this. But in this current media culture, where outlets like 2-Channel can say whatever they like to a huge audience (even if it’s not true and it maliciously hurts people) with impunity.

2) There is no advertising whatsoever in the magazine. This is extremely odd because the book is printed often in full color on very fine quality paper, and runs for 130 pages. A friend who worked in the trade estimated this would run about a quarter-million dollars US for a nationwide press run. Yet it sells for 657 yen–a steal. Who is behind this? Smells like a rich and powerful patron…

3) They editors apparently thought nobody would notice. Foreigners, particularly those most often targeted for exposure, don’t read Japanese, of course. Wrong. And that’s why the reaction has been so interesting overseas. More on that in a sec.

4) This book is very well researched. The photos are incredible. It’s hard to believe that this came about without police cooperation. In fact, I don’t believe it. There is information in it that only the police are generally privy to (such as passport photos of suspects)! Another great method for the police to increase budgetary outlay–by inspiring fear in the public…?



Because it falls into the old fallacies that “we Japanese” rubric and faulty Japanese social science has for generations promoted. Attributing behavior to nationality, as if Chinese kill because they are Chinese (cf Gov. Ishihara’s Ethnic DNA speech to explain Chinese Crime). As if foreigners lead the way into harder crime (hardly). As if foreigners and Japanese are innately different (if foreigners are criminals, logically Japanese must not be–after all, who needs proper comparison?). And those aberrant exceptions are the results of foreign influences, not possibly sui generis…

It is a distressing tendency, not the least because it falls into a very common pattern in Japan of avoiding responsibility, and pinning the blame for your own problems (such as the general upward trend in domestic crime) on other people.



has been one of general revulsion all around. Blog Japan Probe led the charge for a boycott of the sellers of this mag, and some, particularly FamilyMart, have quickly decided to withdraw it from their stands (although several friends nationwide report that it is still on the shelves). defends the sale of the book with pat slogans of freedom of speech. The issue and developments have made AFAIK the Times London, the Guardian, IHT/Asahi, Bloomberg, Metropolis, and dozens of major blogs on Japan in the Blogosphere. I have mentioned this issue in my recent speeches (even projected some scanned images), and people have said they will be on the lookout. Meanwhile, the publisher, Eichi Shuppan, has said that this book is not racist because it is “based on established fact” (never mind interpretation or invective), and that “n****r is not an offensive word in Japan” anyway (sez who?).

No doubt there will be more interesting ripples to come, particularly if the overseas press coverage boomerangs into the domestic. Let’s hope the real media watchdogs ferret out who’s really behind this and why. Meanwhile, I offer this quick review of the publication as a primer to those who cannot procure the book or read it. In haste, so sorry for any errors.

Arudou Debito
Hirakata, Japan
February 8, 2007


GAIJIN HANZAI off shelves, apologies begin


Hi Blog.  Writing remotely, and have a speech to 350 people (not on this, but I might find a way to squeeze it in) coming up in a few hours, so I`ll be brief:

Looking at the crop of comments this morning (thanks very much for that–I had no internet access last night, so apologies for the delay in approving them), people forwarded us letters from retailers like Family Mart offering apologies and stating they would be pulling GAIJIN HANZAI from the shelves.  Well and good. 

(I’m not used to this computer, and don’t have time to figure out how to copy and paste links, so please tool around the comments sections of the GAIJIN HANZAI posts and find them? Some here:”>

Also, overseas press, according to JAPAN PROBE (, have also been reporting on the situation, and Eichi Shuppan publishers have been quoted as saying that “nigger is not an offensive word in Japan”.  Kinda like the word “gaijin”, huh?

Lastly, I finally found time last night on the plane and train to give GAIJIN HANZAI a good going-over. My initial reactions are that the magazine, despite a few sections where the authors are trying to show gaijin in a somewhat favorable light, this becomes faux given the invective.  Examples:

After showing the murders of the Fukuoka family by Chinese thieves, they conclude by saying, “Did they do this because they are Chinese?”  (No, they did this because they were murderous individuals.)  They also depict one of the killers as laughing and saying, after murdering the wife in the shower in a titillatingly-drawn scene, “That’s put paid to one of them.”  (What possible evidence could there be that he actually said that?)

In the photos of the crime scenes, all the Japanese faces are covered up.  The foreigners faces are rarely covered up.  One scene in Roppongi shows the authorities helping a downed person on the street.  The caption reads, “And the foreigners seem to show diffidence”, deliberately not covering up their faces to show how carefree they are in this “lawless zone”.  That’s completely unwarranted attribution.

Finally, I’m amazed at how good the photos are of the crime scenes.  The magazine even has a passport photo of a suspect.  These things should be hard to get.  I’m beginning to wonder whether they had any police cooperation in the production of this magazine. They have an interview with an ex-cop…

Anyway, I said I’d keep this brief. Gotta clear my head for the speech, so I’ll hopefully write a more detailed analysis of the magazine later, if this topic isn’t passe by then.

Arudou Debito

UPDATE EVE FEB 6 9PMJust got back from speech:  More attended than expected (about 380), sold ten books and two t-shirts.  Lovely enkai afterwards.  A bit tipsy, so excuse candor.Got calls from two reporters (South China Morning Post, for one) regarding the GAIJIN HANZAI mag before the speech.  Should be 500 words somewhere, keep an eye out.

Managed to copy four pages from the mag (hadn’t time to scan it in Hokkaido.  Friend took digital photos) and project it up for the audience today.  Lots of shockwaves.  Summary thoughts pointed out FYI:

1) THERE IS NO ADVERTISING IN THE MAGAZINE.  Given the fact that this is a very high-quality publication selling for the very reasonable price of 657 yen, it is very clear that these people have some very rich patrons financing them.



PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA.  Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.

PHOTO CREDITS FROM KYODO TSUUSHIN AND THE MYSTERIOUS NITCHUU KEIZAI SHINBUN, not to mention AFP and PANA.  Curiouser and curiouser.Also got a call from a domestic rights activist, but was in speech mode and couldn’t answer.Anyway, next stop Kyoto tomorrow.  Then Shiga the next day.  Keep us posted, everyone.  Thanks.  Debito in Kashihara



Finally back online after two days in the wilderness, sorry. Just found out that the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Evening News had a brief blurb from the Reuters Wire (page 3, Feb 6) saying that FamilyMart is removing the books from its shelves.

Meanwhile, I stop by every convenience store I see. Haven’t seen the mag yet in the Kansai. Good. Debito in Hirakata

GAIJIN HANZAI Mag publisher “Joey Washington” a penname, not allowed


Hi Blog. According to a friend, whenever you publish something in Japan, you must put down the publisher’s name. On the GAIJIN HANZAI Mag, it is listed as “Joey H. Washington”, which is clearly a pseudonym, given the information below.

This is apparently not permitted under Japanese publishing laws. I’m in transit down south, and don’t have time to do research on this at the moment (so I’ll throw it out to the blogosphere for somebody else). Anyone want to do some research on the laws or the people involved here?

Information from a friend follows. Debito

I’m given to understand that ISBN registration requires use of real
names, and “Joey H. Washington” does not appear on the Mook’s registration,
which is as follows.

Notice publisher number at top is 7542.

ISBN of the mook is 9784754256180.

This parses as 978-4-7542-56180.

978 is general classification for book.

4 means Japan.

7542 is Eichi code.

56180 is the specific ISBN the published has assigned for the book for a list of purchased valid numbers.

Company website has more information on company.

代表取締役社長 is 上野文明.

Someone should telephone to 03-6419-2750 (or number given in magazine) and ask to speak to the person named in the mook as its publisher — or to Ueno if that doesn’t get the response you want.


The Times (London) Weblog on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag Issue


Hi Blog. GAIJIN HANZAI Magazine issue now in another British publication: The Times London. Have a look. Thanks to Mr Parry. Debito

You’re not big, you’re not clever
By Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times Online Weblog
February 04, 2007
(REPORTER BIO: Richard Lloyd Parry is the Asia Editor for The Times and has lived in Japan since 1995. He is also Foreign correspondent of the year.)

I’ll keep this brief because the tale is recounted in detail on other blogs – but there is an illuminating flap in progress over a magazine which appeared a few days ago in Japanese convenience stores. It is entitled Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (‘Foreigners Underground Crime File’). I don’t yet have a copy myself, but a number of pages are scanned in at the pages indicated below. From these it is clear that it is a work of scrabrous racism of a kind which, in the west, you would not find outside the publications of the dedicated ultra-right. But this magazine was on sale in Family Mart, a chain convenience store with branches every few hundred years across Japan.

The magazine (or mook – Japanese for a hybrid of a magazine and a book) gives explicit expression to a notion which peeps between the lines of a lot of crime reporting – that crime in Japan is simply and straighforwardly the fault of foreigners. Not Caucasians or Europeans/North Americans (one and the same in this kind of thinking), but Africans, South Americans, South Asians and people of the Middle East.

There is an article about the state of Tokyo entitled:

City of violent, degenerate foreigners!

Another piece is headlined:

Catch the Iranian!

But the giveaway is a series of photographs, sneakily shot with a telephoto lens, of Japanese women canoodling with gaijin men (reminiscent of those old Ku Klux Klan publications showing pictures of mixed race couples guilty of “miscegenation”.)

Profanity and racist invective follow.

You sluts really think foreign guys are so great, huh!!


Oi Nigger!! Get your fuckin’ hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!!


This is Japan! Go back to your own fuckin’ country and do that!

And then the clincher:

We know Japanese guys are small, but . . .

Oh no. How sad. How disappointingly obvious. There was I, hoping to identify a complicated racial paradigm shift, or a radical rippling of the zeitgeist (or at the least a dangerous breach in the space-time continuum). But it turns out to be all about a little bloke somewhere who, in the words of Lily Allen, is “small in the game” . . .

A Google Blog Search for Gaijin Hanzai Ura File or Gaijin Hanzai Ura File or 外人犯罪裏ファイル will lead you to the latest webchat. The most comprehensive blogging on the subject so far is by that tireless campaigner for gaijin rights, Arudou Debito. He’s updating with new posts, so start from the top of the page, but the original post, including images from the mook, is here. The later posts contain the text of a letter to Family Mart (which ahs outlets in the US) demanding the removal of the offensive publication. Apparently they have agreed to do so within a week – which doesn’t strike me as particularly prompt or effective action.

If you want to buy it for yourself, it’s here on Japanese Amazon.

Posted by Richard Lloyd Parry on February 04, 2007 at 11:06 PM |



皆様こんばんは。有道 出人です。いつもお世話になっております。






China: 14 Russia: 5 Korea: 9 Brazil: 8 Colombia: 3
「YELLOW CAB REAL STREET PHOTO お前らそんなに外人がイイのかよ!!」


英知出版株式会社 (英文社名 Eichi Publishing co.,ltd.)
所在地 東京都渋谷区神宮前五丁目38番地4号
代表者 代表取締役社長 上野 文明
参加団体 日本雑誌協会 雑誌公正取引協議会 出版文化産業振興財団


20000 Mariner Ave, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503
Tel:310-214-1001 Fax:310-214-7200




 更に波紋がすぐ広がりました。今朝、英国の英字新聞「The Guardian」は既に「日本のゼノフォービア(外人恐怖症)」について記事を載せました(英語):,,2004645,00.html

 そして、Japan Probeというブログが「ファミリーマートに対して不買運動をしよう」と勧めてきました。

Dear Family Mart Management:

I have always enjoyed being a customer of yours. However, I am gravely disappointed that you have decided to stock and sell a magazine entitled GAIJIN HANZAI URA FAIRU, which in my view offers discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.

Please remove this magazine from your shelves immediately and return them to the publisher. Please take care not to sell magazines of this type ever again in your stores.

Until you do, I will not shop in your store, and will tell my friends overseas and nationwide to boycott your stores. Non-Japanese are important customers too, and in this competitive market it will be no trouble for us to take our business elsewhere.


冠省 いつもファミリーマートで日常品を購入させていただいております。






Family Mart Japan:

Seven and Y Holdings (7-Eleven):


 宜しくお願い致します。有道 出人

“BOYCOTT FAMILY MART”; Letter in E and J for you to download


Here you go, Bloggers. Download this letter in English and Japanese and take it to your Family Mart. It’s self explanatory.


(PDF Format)


(Word Format)

How it reads:

(I can’t get PDF, Word, or .htm saved from Word to display on this page, so let me put the text and graphics below for you to read. Download from links above for a printable formatted copy, one page. Debito)



Dear Family Mart Management:

I have always enjoyed being a customer of yours. However, I am gravely disappointed that you have decided to stock and sell a magazine entitled GAIJIN HANZAI URA FAIRU, which in my view offers discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan.

Please remove this magazine from your shelves immediately and return them to the publisher. Please take care not to sell magazines of this type ever again in your stores.

Until you do, I will not shop in your store, and will tell my friends overseas and nationwide to boycott your stores. Non-Japanese are important customers too, and in this competitive market it will be no trouble for us to take our business elsewhere.


冠省 いつもファミリーマートで日常品を購入させていただいております。








Just got back from an excursion to two FAMILY MART stores in Sapporo (Kita 2 Nishi 14 and Minami 12 Nishi 10). They just opened in Hokkaido a few months ago, and are pretty concerned about their image as a newcomer in this competitive market.

They had the magazine in stock. They don’t now. They were very nice about it, and took it off the shelves immediately.

It’s pretty easy to do:

1) Check to see if the magazine is on the racks.

2) Ask for the manager (kakari in or tenchou)

3) Ask him or her to accompany you to the racks, and indicate that this is the book in question.

4) Give him or her the letter and let them read it. Meanwhile, thumb to a couple of pages (you’ll see that in the Japanese version I include quotes of the problematic language in red font–particularly the bit about the n****r clause and on-street fingering; this has nothing to do with foreign crime anyway). Should cause a shock, appropriately.

5) Ask them to take it off the rack and send it back (the letter does too).


In both cases, the manager was very apologetic and cooperative, and away went the mags to the back room. Should think this will happen elsewhere too, as the company is neither charged for the delivery nor the return of any publications they don’t sell.

I’ll be heading south tomorrow. Think I’ll print up a number of these letters and stop by any FAMILY MART I see….

Guardian UK on GAIJIN HANZAI Mag


Hi Blog. Fruition. Debito


Magazine plays to Japanese xenophobia

Available in mainstream bookstores, magazine targets Iranians, Chinese, Koreans and US servicemen

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

Friday February 2, 2007

Guardian Unlimited (UK) newspaper online,,2004645,00.html

PHOTO:Human rights activists say the magazine is indicative of the climate of fear of foreigners created by conservative newspapers and politicians

The recent release of a glossy magazine devoted to the foreign-led crime wave supposedly gripping Japan has raised fears of a backlash against the country’s foreign community, just as experts are calling for a relaxation of immigration laws to counter rapid population decline.

Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes, published by Eichi, contains more than 100 pages of photographs, animation and articles that, if taken at face value, would make most people think twice about venturing out into the mean streets of Tokyo.

The magazine, which is available in mainstream bookstores and from Amazon Japan, makes liberal use of racial epithets and provocative headlines directed mainly at favourite targets of Japanese xenophobes: Iranians, Chinese, Koreans and US servicemen.

Human rights activists said the magazine was indicative of the climate of fear of foreigners created by conservative newspapers and politicians, notably the governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara.

“It goes beyond being puerile and into the realm of encouraging hatred of foreigners,” Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen, told the Guardian. “The fact that this is available in major bookstores is a definite cause of concern. It would be tantamount to hate speech in some societies.”

One section is devoted to the alleged tricks foreign-run brothels use to fleece inebriated Japanese salarymen, while another features a comic strip retelling, in graphic detail, the murders of four members of a Japanese family by three Chinese men in 2003.

An “Alien Criminal Worst 10” lists notorious crimes involving foreigners from recent years, including the case of Anita Alvarado, the “Chilean geisha” blamed by some for forcing her bureaucrat husband, Yuji Chida, to embezzle an estimated 800m yen from a local government. Mr Chida, who is Japanese, is serving a 13-year prison sentence.

The magazine’s writers are equally disturbed by the apparent success foreign men have with Japanese women: hence a double-page spread of long-lens photographs of multinational couples in mildly compromising, but apparently consensual, positions.

Mr Arudou accused the mainstream press of exploiting the supposed rise in foreign crime by failing to challenge official police figures. Although the actual number of crimes has risen, he said, so has the size of the foreign population.

“The portrayal [of foreign criminals] is not one of a neutral tone,” he said. “They don’t put any of the statistics into perspective and they don’t report drops in certain crimes.”

The magazine’s publication coincides with warnings more foreigners should be encouraged to live and work in Japan to counter the economic effects of population decline and the greying society.

The current population of 127 million is expected to drop to below 100 million by 2050, when more than a third of Japanese will be aged over 64.

“I think we are entering an age of revolutionary change,” Hidenori Sakanaka, director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute and an advocate of greater immigration, said in a recent interview.

“Our views on how the nation should be and our views on foreigners need to change in order to maintain our society.”


Family Mart replies: GAIJIN HANZAI off shelves “within 7 days”


Just got this reply from a friend named Tom who wrote Family Mart management. –Debito

Hello Debito—

Really quick—I wrote the Family Mart folks a very polite note in Japanese asking them to reconsider stocking the Gaijin Hanzai mag—haven’t received a reply yet. Wrote Famina a similar note and got the belowmentioned reply in less than 10 hours. Glad to see that some folks in Japan are occasionally willing to listen.

Thanks, Tom

Dear Tom,

Thank you very much for sending e-mail to our ‘info@’
and bringing this matter to our attention.

FamilyMart Japan will have this publication off their shelves
within 7days.

Once again, thank you so much for contacting us
and will continually strive to improve the quality of our
store to meet up to your expectation of Famima!!
as your local community store.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know.

Hidenari Sato
HIDENARI SATO (I¡$B%O%3%(%K(I£¡¡$B%”%`%?%g(I¡$B%R(B
20000 Mariner Ave, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503

Blogosphere: Boycott Family Mart (for selling GAIJIN HANZAI mag)


excerpted from Japan Probe blog–Debito

The magazine [GAIJIN HANZAI URA FILES] is disgusting, and I don’t think it would be out of line to use the word racist when referring to it. We here at Japan Probe are not going to let a mainstream convenience store like Family Mart get away with selling such offensive material. We would like to call for an international boycott of FamilyMart-affiliated convenience stores.

What exactly do we mean by “international boycott of FamilyMart-affiliated convenience stores”?

FamilyMart has 12,000 stores worldwide, in countries including South Korea, China, Canada, and the United States. We ask that you not shop at any of these stores.

Please write letters or e-mails to FamilyMart corporation, letting them know your displeasure with their decision to sell racist literature. [See the list below]

Spread the word about this to everyone you know. The foreign community in Japan is very small, so we will need every person we can get. If you have friends in one of the other countries FamilyMart operates, let them know about the boycott. If you have a website or blog, please write about this and spread the news [feel free to use the above image to show your support to the boycott]. If anyone has contacts in the media, please let them know about this!

We also support any other peaceful and legal method of getting the word out about this issue.
What do we want from Family Mart?

FamilyMart must issue an official apology and remove all copies of the magazine from its stores.

FamilyMart must stop selling publications from the company responsibile for the magazine in question. [Unless the publisher issues an apology and halts sales of the book.]

FamilyMart must make assurances that it will not sell similar racist literature in the future.

Charitible donations by FamilyMart Co. to organizations that promote international understanding would also be desirable.
If you’re planning to contact FamilyMart and complain, please use the following contact information:

FamilyMart Japan
FamilyMart Co., Ltd.
Head office
26-10,Higashi-Ikebukuro 4-chome,
Toshima-ku,Tokyo 170-8404,Japan

Family Mart USA
Tel: 310-214-1001
Fax: 310-214-7200

As part of this campaign, we would like to compile a list of known store locations that have sold the magazine in question. If possible, take pictures of the magazines on their display rack, so we can post them here. If you buy a copy as a reference, scan your receipt as proof that it was purchased at FamilyMart. [It’s also rumored that Daily Yamazaki convenience stores are also selling the magazine, and if we get enough reports regarding Daily Yamazaki, we will add them to the boycott.]

List of online retailers currently selling Gaijin Hanzai Ura File
7&Y [Part of the Seven Eleven Group]
Kinokuniya BookWeb
Rakuten Books
Honya Town

more at

“GAIJIN HANZAI FILE” pubs spectre of evil foreign crime


Hello Blog. Here’s a lovely little publication, apparently available at convenience stores, courtesy of friend Steve (who took the trouble to purchase, scan, and help publicize this issue). Entitled “GAIJIN [sic] HANZAI URA FILE”, it publicizes all the underground evils that gaijin in Japan do, including seducing our women on the street…

Here’s a scan of the cover, with all manner of caricature which would be deemed offensive in any other developed country. And to give you an example of the hate speech within, some excerpts (Steve’s translation), and links to scanned images follow. Please excuse the language.


Turning the keyboard over to Steve, as he has portrayed the goods most effectively. I’ve made sure the UN has gotten word. Debito in Sapporo


OK,OK, I caved in and my curiosity got the better of me. I’ve scanned some pages at the bottom of this email:

Publisher: Eichi Shuppan 150-001 Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-38-4
Publisher-in-Chief: Joey H. Washington (I wonder who this guy is?)

Available online at

Here are some ‘highlights’:

Back Page:
47,000 crimes by foreigners each year!!
There then follows a ‘danger rating’ (危険度) of each country, scattered on a world map surrounded by knives, guns and syringes:
China: 14
Russia: 5
Korea: 9
Brazil: 8
Colombia: 3
None for the USA, Canada, Australia or the whole of Europe…

Article about crimes by Iranians:
Catch the Iranian!!

Article lamenting Tokyo’s demise into lawlessness:
City of Violent Degenerate Foreigners!!

Article about foreigners scamming Japanese for money:
Japanese getting conned. “Theesaway to ze ATM, Meester Managing Director”

Feature of foreign guys picking up Japanese women (What this has to do with ‘crime’ is unclear)
You sluts really think foreign guys are so great, huh!!
We know Japanese guys are small, but..

Picture of black guy touching a J.girls ass in Shibuya (obviously consensual too)
Oi Nigger!! Get your fuckin’ hands off that Japanese lady’s ass!!
(… yes. It really does say ニガー)

Picture of dark-haired foreigner kissing J.girl in Shibuya (again, obviously consensual)
This is Japan! Go back to your own fuckin’ country and do that!

Picture of foreigner with hands down a J.girls knickers in Shibuya (definitely consensual)
Woah! Woah! Woah! Would you stop fingering a girls pussy in the street, OK?

Links to scanned images: