BLOG BIZ: Thoughts about the future of What’s next?


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Hello Readers,

Thanks for reading this blog for now nearly thirty years. I want to tell you what’s on my mind nowadays regarding it.

As seen in my previous SNA column on having a future in Japan as an elderly immigrant, I came to the conclusion that it’s probably better to decide if you’re a lifer in Japan by age 40, and optimally split your time between two countries as you top up and totalize your retirement pensions (so you can avoid becoming that elderly Japanese (or NJ) living your twilight years in penury.)

But it’s been several years since I stopped living permanently in Japan.  Like many old Japan Hands I mentioned in my SNA essay above, I love coming back for a visit and to see people and places, and Japan’s tourism (especially for people who can read, write, and speak Japanese) is for the most part very, very good.  But similar to authors and analysts such as James Fallows, Japan has receded in my consciousness — as Japan has itself receded into an Asian backwater.  The issues I read about within Japan are usually insular, petty, and repetitive.  And they are generally on topics I have commented on before.  I’ve done the doctorate, written and updated my books multiple times, and said basically all I need to say about the state of discrimination and how to make a better life as an immigrant in Japan.  My current job does not involve Japan at all, and my Japan skills are only personally useful when I’m actually in Japan.  My interests have generally moved on to the geopolitical and on the state of democracy itself worldwide.  That’s what I read about and teach about in my classes on a daily basis.

I really don’t have the time or that much interest to expound further on Japan.  So if somebody else wants to join in and take up the cause of equality for NJ and Visible Minorities in Japan, please feel free.  (They can even write guest essays for, with their authorship of course duly noted if they want.  This venue need not go to waste.) I’ve been at it here, as I said, for nearly thirty years.  I’m not tired of writing.  I’m just devoting my energies to my students and saving up for retirement.

Would readers of be interested in my blogged thoughts even if they’re not about Japan?

Not to worry, as a blog and a searchable website resource on life and human rights in Japan will stay up in perpetuity, as people still reference it daily.  I will continue to write monthly columns for the Shingetsu News Agency and post excerpts on  (I’m just taking this June off while SNA Editor Michael Penn moves his offices overseas.)  And I will of course continue to approve comments here on a regular basis.

But in terms of the urgency of commenting about Japan, I’m not really feeling it right now, and want to devote those energies to something more productive, especially for my students.  In terms of profession I am, after all, a university instructor of Political Science first and an essayist/activist second. Readers, what do you think? Would you be interested in my blogged thoughts even if they’re not about Japan?

Sincerely, Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

Instructor of Political Science and Website Manager