Racist flyer from Osaka Pref Police, this time with stereotypical drawings of black people


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Hi Blog.  The Japanese police are back up to their old tricks. Check this poster out from the Osaka Prefectural Government Minami Police Station Safe Livelhoods Section (courtesy of @feitclub and Tom, photo taken February 13, 2013, by SMBC in Namba Nankai Station), warning the public about “foreign gang crimes” including for no clear reason a gratuitous illustration of some “darkies”…




— Overview of the incident —
When the victim was walking back to his/her office after withdrawing cash from a bank teller, he/she was called out to by a group of three foreigners, who stopped him/her with a “You’ve got something stuck to the back of your coat.” When the victim stopped on the spot to check his/her back, that foreigner group snatched his/her bag that he/she had placed at his/her feet.

About the perps…

  • They are aiming for people who have withdrawn large amounts of cash from a financial institution.
  • They are shooting for times when the victim is distracted, using means such as “dropping small change all around”, “staining clothes with paint”, “saying you’ve got a puncture [to your bike tyre]”

Report these incidents to the police by dialing 110…

  • When you see someone in a store with no clear business who is hanging around there for a long time.
  • When you see a suspicious-looking car stopped around a store area.

If you are carrying a large amount of cash…
There are incidents of theft involving foreign groups.
Beware of being targeted for theft when heading back from your financial institution.

et cetera. Please contact us. OSAKA PREFECTURAL POLICE


Nice notice. I can’t quite tell why there is a need to include racist caricatures of black people in this clarion call for vigilance against “foreign gangs” (after all, Japanese gangs never steal, so we have to target foreigners, right?). And it’s not the first time we’ve had these sorts of racist caricatures, either, recorded on Debito.org for posterity:

Just a few for your reference:

Ueno Police racist caricatures in 2002 flyer



More information on the above here.kanagawaracistNPAposter2010More information on the above here.


More information on the above here.

One day I would love to have leaked to Debito.org NPA training manuals that talk about how NJ suspects are supposed to be treated in public and in custody.  We already have a former public prosecutor acknowledging in 2011 that he was trained to believe that “foreigners have no human rights” in Japan.  If I could get some sections of those training manuals scanned, we would have proof positive and undeniable that Japan’s police forces are not only innately racist, but also systematically racist.  Anyone out there with connections?  Would appreciate it.  Arudou Debito


UPDATE FEBRUARY 27:  Debito.org Reader AS sends this:

Hi Debito, I thought I’d share this quick parody of the NPA’s page on “furikome sagi”… http://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/seian/koreisagi/koreisagi.htm
Sauce for the goose…




40 comments on “Racist flyer from Osaka Pref Police, this time with stereotypical drawings of black people

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Debito, small fix that needs to be made. The second item in the second pair of bullet points refers to a 不審車, not a 不審者, so it’s a ‘suspicious vehicle’ and not a ‘suspicious person’.

    — So it does. Fixed, thanks.

  • As deplorable as xenophobia is it is not unfortunately unique to Japan. I have been living here since 1990, and except for the annoying question “Are you American?” most can be attributed to educational narrow mindedness or simply from collective mental disorder giving raise to irrationality. It is simply best to just ignore such deplorable behaviors, as it will always exist and never change for the better. Simply remember this George Bernard Shaw line in Caesar and Cleopatra “Pardon him, he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.”

  • I’d say the worst part about this is that NJ fresh off the boat tend not to see the inherent racism in this. The general reaction is (or at least some friends’ and mine was) “Wow, there are foreigners committing crimes in Japan? No wonder the Japanese don’t like us very much.”

    It is only after a few years in Japan that one becomes capable of seeing the real idea behind this. If not outright racism, it’s the old “let’s put the blame on someone so the local populace thinks something is being done”.

  • A Man In Japan says:

    I don’t see why there is a bigger deal being made out of this, because every poster that I have seen ALWAYS has a white person being portrayed negatively.
    Always being drawn with an out of proportion nose, blond hair and blue eyes.
    But when it comes time for it to happen to any body else, it’s total moral outrage time.

  • LOL!

    ‘Report these incidents to the police by dialing 110…

    When you see someone in a store with no clear business who is hanging around there for a long time.
    When you see a suspicious-looking car stopped around a store area.’

    I see Japanese people doing that everyday! I guess that’s ok, because ‘we Japanese’ are honest….

    ‘About the perps…

    They are aiming for people who have withdrawn large amounts of cash from a financial institution.
    They are shooting for times when the victim is distracted, using means such as “dropping small change all around”, “staining clothes with paint”, “saying you’ve got a puncture [to your bike tyre]“’

    Doesn’t mention (despite crude drawing) any facts that prove the perps ‘were foreigners’. And they seem to have an elaborate con-trick going, that employs Japanese fluently….um…sure they’re not Japanese? It seems like an awful lot of effort for a gang to come all the way to Japan, and become fluent in Japanese, just for a few man yen….Doesn’t stack up to me, when surely they could just punch someone’s lights out and grab the money….I think that this is a BS scare story, or the perps are Japanese.

    Whatever, I am sure that ladies on the midday train will be clasping their handbags even tighter to their chests when the next white, male, eikaiwa teacher (who came to Japan ‘coz anime is so cool’) steps onto the busy train. Just in case he is a pathological criminal. Meanwhile, Sick-note is giving 10 trillion yen a year, for ten years (plus interest) of the (future) tax payers money to *ahem* construction companies, who will be passing most of that on to…ah… ‘respectable businessmen’ who are…(what do they call them?)….’friends of ours’, and most definately not in any way linked to very Japanese criminal gangs…

  • SMH think I’m gonna re-post this,if you don’t mind… This is despicable. Does it even say that they were black or is this to be inferred by the “art”? Curious…

  • I saw very similar posters in a bank just outside Tokyo less than a year ago. I can’t remember if they were exactly the same but I remember one was the same,or a variation of, the cartoon with the foreign men tricking the woman at the ATM.

  • Kaerimashita says:

    @ Comment #7, A Man in Japan:

    What are you talking about? Debito has posted up examples of caucasian facial stereotypes negatively depicted in Japanese posters many times before and just reposted again in this article for a reminder.

    I can’t even understand how you see as it him making it a bigger deal other than you have some sort of sensitivity towards racism against blacks?

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Okay, since we feel the need to mention race/ethnotype or lack thereof in all our warning posters… how about updating all the “oreore sagi” warning posters:
    “Beware of JAPANESE persons operating as individuals or part of a gang calling and pretending to be your child or grandchild…”

  • A Man In Japan says:

    @ Comment #11, Kaerimashita

    I know what you’re doing here.

    Whenever it comes time to show a European male drawn out of proportion and stereotyped negatively, it’s considered normal.
    But when it comes time for anyone else other than Europeans to have the same treatment done to them, it’s total outright, moral outrage time and gets more attention.

    There’s one comment even saying “wow, just revolting”
    Why is the sensitivity for blacks so much greater than Europeans?

    Can you explain this fact for me Kaerimashita?
    It’s just like the way Japanese people can’t take one iota of criticism, no matter how constructive or true it is, but expect everybody else to take theirs.

    There is only one word for that, and it’s hypocrisy.

  • Let’s pretend I’m the NPA.

    “Hrmm, looking at the numbers, there were 86 reports of theft by foreigners in Tokyo in FY 20X0.”
    “Good lord, there were 96 reports in FY 20X1. That’s almost a 10% increase! We’d better make a poster!”

    *Makes a poster with the headline “外国人犯罪が急増する今” because there were 10 more incidents in one year.*

    — It’s worse than that. Check out this incident documented on Debito.org back in 2002 when the NPA was saying “bagsnatchings by bad foreigners happen frequently” at ATMs in Nakano-ku, and having ZERO confirmed NJ bagsnatchings whatsoever in the area. It was, in short, a complete and utter lie. By our police forces.

  • The J-Police is not comparable in terms of accountability with police forces from other industrialized nations. Just think about their ties with Pachinko, and the history of Pachinko, and it is not a big leap of imagination to think the police in Japan, like most other official institutions, serves the Yakuza first and the populace second. Blaming everything on foreigners may simply be a way to distract attention from the real perps. Despite the Japanese belief that the infamous “Nigerians in Kabuki-cho”, as well as the “Russian dancers” come to Japan to do crime on their own, they are of course brought here by the Yakuza and it is the Yakuza who controls them and takes the lion’s share of profits.

    I think these posters are outrageous enough to even make the usually ignorant folks back home understand that racism in Japan is bigger problem than they thought. It would be a good idea to contact someone in the media covering Japan back in your home countries and send them to the collection of posters (it would be great to have a dedicated page with translations for them). This happening in an allegedly civilized country is outrageous and deserves an international outcry.

  • This confirms what I have said about Osaka being one of the least NJ-friendly cities in Japan. I don’t go out at night because of the youth gangs and now I have to worry about police harassment from these posters in my own neighborhood! And people criticism me for having a siege mentality. Well this is why!

  • The Japanese are totally incapable of dealing with the rest of the world in any meaningful way. It’s as if they had just encountered foreigners for the very first time. Given that it’s 2013, everybody has internet, cable tv, and international flights to anywhere in the world, I think it’s safe to say that if Japan still can’t deal with the rest of world, then it NEVER will. Given the number of foreign restaurants in Japan, the fact that Japanese travel the world more than anybody else, that they spend more on English lessons than anybody else, what other excuses can they possibly come up with??

  • @Al

    I`ve always thought the same thing. There are countless ways in these modern times to learn or become aware of one`s surroundings, far and away. The excuses have been exhausted. It`s very disappointing that Japanese continue to behave in such a way.

  • @Fight Back #16

    If the “harassment” from the posters is the most you have to deal with, consider yourself lucky. Friends who lived in Osaka were always complaining about police stopping them on the streets almost every day for random checks. And around universities no less.
    The posters are everywhere in Japan, but yeah, Osaka is not exactly NJ-friendly.

    @Al #17

    It’s not really an “excuse” but I’ll just repeat what a Japanese friend told me after China overtook Japan on the economic ranking: “Well, Japan is a small country, we’d rather keep to ourselves and live in peace than have to compete with bigger countries”. If there is any truth to that, I suppose the only reason Japan expanded so aggressively post-war is because there was an incentive: money. Now that they realized they cannot get as much anymore, or that they already got all they could have gotten anyway they are going back to the “international hermit” mindset and just want to live peacefully in their little island.

    Not sure how the right-wing agenda fits into that mindset though, could be either “expand through other ways” or “let’s take what we want soon so we don’t have to deal with the world anymore”.

  • Blackrat wrote:

    “I saw very similar posters in a bank just outside Tokyo less than a year ago. I can’t remember if they were exactly the same but I remember one was the same,or a variation of, the cartoon with the foreign men tricking the woman at the ATM.”

    I had to chuckle this one…
    The gangs of foreigners “tricking” the unsuspecting Japanese woman with what?
    Our “fluent” Japanese?

    (How many textbooks even teach basic financial grammar?)

  • @Fight back, you might be onto something there. And I was thinking I would come back to Japan and live in Osaka!

    Check this out about a mall in Tennoji,- the link goes off on a tangent,and is unfortunately derailed by the writer’s nampa penchant and obscenities but within it there is the story of how the building owners have a policy to stalk all foreign looking customers. As of September this year…

    “I was angry and a bit ashamed in front of my friend. I knew Japanese people are a bit scared of foreigners but this was total paranoia! I decided to call it a day and said goodbye to my friend. As I was walking out of the building, I noticed a couple of westerners greeting customers at the door to the store. I found it a bit ironic, being that the mall was so paranoid with foreigners but had westerners working as greeters, welcoming Japanese customers. I told the two employees what had just happened to me. They kind of laughed at the accident and said it is nothing new, that the store’s policy is to follow all foreigners until they leave the store. ”


  • Can’t say I’m surprised at these flyers. And, it would appear, just by casually reading the trends reported on debito.org that the racism is becoming more and more overt, according to feedback on the Dezaki story, and others of late.

    A Spanish friend of mine and I, both of us dressed in business attire, saw a kimono-clad little old lady at an ATM in the middle of Hamamatsu one time, about to put wads of cash in as a deposit in what was obviously an ‘Ore-Ore’ scam. We got her to wait a few minutes, and we crossed the hallway to the Koban near the JR station and told the smoking sergeant with the scowling face, what was going on, and to please act NOW! Typical keystones, didn’t want to move at first, and they thought WE were the ones taking the money. The police actually intervened in the still-ongoing telephone call, and saved the old dear. But the look of disdain we got, instead of even a simple “thank you”, told us the sergeant was absolutely convinced that NJ were the root of all evil in the glorious empire.

    I can’t help but wonder what the idealized images these net-bullies, Ishihara-ites and the Black Van People etc. all have of the “way things would be in Japan if we didn’t have to deal with those pesky foreigners”? Surely the spectacles they wear can’t all be so rose-tinted?

    Surely they are among the demographic which has suffered layoffs because of off-shoring; seen local factories close because of a stagnant economy caused by poor public policy; read the seemingly abundant stories of Japanese children neglected by their inept Japanese parents, or who just disappear; hear tell of the various and sundry body parts which frequently show up around the country, placed there by callous Japanese murderers; hear of the instances of egregious business corruption involving slimy Japanese owners of Japanese firms who lie to sell their defective products; see TV reports of one crooked-to-the-core Japanese politician after another weeping in fake remorse for having been caught on the take? (Examples are almost limitless!)

    But, after all of this, it’s NJ who are the problem?
    Yeah, right!

  • This is Osaka poster is absolutely awful!

    By the way, I’d like to ask readers of this blog who follow it on Google Reader (via RSS) if they are getting updates properly. I just checked and it’s clear that the RSS feed is fine (works well outside of Google Reader) but my last update in Google Reader is Feb 5.

    — I’m also hearing that Google is not handling my RSS feed properly.

  • I’ve been working on ways to get around the RSS problem and have not been successful. It seems that there is something wrong with the feed after all.

    Feed validator says it is OK


    but when I tried to build a work around with Yahoo Pipes


    the feed produced no results.

    When I tried to use Feed Sanitizer


    to fix it, the updates also ended in early February.

    Perhaps something needs to be done to fix the feed. Yahoo Pipes produced the following error:

    “Error fetching http://www.debito.org/?feed=rss2. Response: OK (200). Error: Invalid XML document. Root cause: org.xml.sax.SAXParseException; lineNumber: 1; columnNumber: 2; The markup in the document preceding the root element must be well-formed.”

    — Sorry, you lost me. I’m not that internet savvy. Can somebody help definitively without derailing the discussion with too many posts? Thanks. And thanks for investigating and trying to help, Kirk.

  • I agree with the above posts as well as this article, most of these “notices”, “articles” and “news” about “foreign criminals” are meant to boost their PR ratings, create fear and make it all look like the government is doing a “good job” protecting the countrymen and how the GOJ “cares” for the people.

    The infamous ex-SDF and nationalist Toshio Tamogami even confesses that media about “scary NJ” is to make the media/government look good.


    Tamogami has confessed that:
    “While some media have overreacted by reporting that China is now on a “war footing”—or expressions to that effect—Tamogami says”

    as well as:
    “But the TV news and wide shows keep issuing scary reports because they’re trying to boost their ratings,” says Tamogami”

    Well if that is the case, then I guess we can pretty much say that the Japanese law enforcement is pretty much doing the same thing, that is, “to boost their ratings”, making the people trust them and controlling the populace with fear.

    These fliers issued by the Japanese police are possibly part of the LDP campaign to portray NJ in the most negative light as possible in order to justify Abe’s goal of changing to constitution back to the pre-war days that the LDP has always yearned for.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    pathetic and disgusting…This adds one for a nasty reputation Osaka Prefectural Police has. Yup, they are one of the most corrupted branches in NPA.

  • Unfortunately police harassment is an unavoidable part of NJ-life in Osaka. Bike checks, ID checks, intrusive questioning etc are all regular occurrences. One policeman even asked me, “Why have you been in Japan so long?” ,as if I had overstayed my welcome. Which, in their eyes, I probably had.

  • @ Bayfield #28

    I read the Tamogami article too.
    I do agree that the J-media loves to focus on external threats rather than facing up to the domestic problems that Japan has (5 tons of cyanide leaked into the river), and also agree that the J-gov is exploiting the situation in much the same way (only 40 houses rebuilt in Tohoku so far). However……

    Tamogami’s whole position that China won’t start a war is based on his belief that Japan is a formidable opponent capable of crushing China. LOL! Japan couldn’t manage to crush China when they had modern weapons and the Chinese didn’t, used biological and chemical weapons, ran a program of genocide, and didn’t have to worry about Japanese casualties turning J-public opinion against the war.

    Last time I checked, China had a variety of nuclear weapons at it’s disposal. Can’t leave craters in the ocean. It’s the cognitive dissonance that drives J-nationalism at work again; ‘Japan is strong because it has an alliance with the USA’ V’s ‘The war is over! Occupying US Army out!’

    And, to be honest, what would the US do if Sick-note goads the Chinese until they destroy the JSDF flotilla around the Senakakus with a nuclear torpedo, and then ask if the Japanese would like to negotiate now? I think the US would privately tell Sick-note to swallow his pride and avert a nuclear war, which the US public would have difficulty supporting on Japan’s behalf.

  • Bitter Valley says:

    I have been busy and not had a chance to catch up on my dose of reality checking about Japan, a country I love and have a complex relationship with. There are times when I struggle with my feelings as a father and someone who sees so much good here. This is not one of those times. The very best, the very best, to the point of negligent naivety would call this poster grossly insensitive. But there is no room for charity here. Osaka Police have been deeply racist and divisive and, probably, in the light of context, DELIBERATELY so.

    There is no excuse for this. There are no ameliorating factors. It is deeply racist and offensive and designed to be so. It is a simple case of divide and rule based on racism and nationalism.

    Shame on them. Shame, shame on the police.

  • For the most part I don’t think the people making these posters hold that much hatred against foreigners, but NJ bashing is a no-brainer when it comes to political strategy. Racism is legal, NJ don’t have rights, so by bashing NJ and depicting them in a negative light ensures that no one loses any votes or support. If they depicted a type of Japanese person in a negative manner, then the agency runs the risk of losing that element of the voting/support base. However with a negative depiction of a NJ no support is lost, the voting pool is galvanized, and as a result, NJ like me have to feel like garbage when they/me come across this type of sloganeering.
    It’s disgusting with or without the hatred.

  • Baudrillard says:

    ‘The owner of a Beijing restaurant posts a sign saying that Japanese, Philipinos, Vietnamese and Dogs are not welcome. ” is rational, its a reaction to recent political events. The western media notes this due to geopolitical concerns.

    The signs in Japan are exclusionary of the entire world, irrational, and there all the time. Driven by xenophobia only.

    The western media does not usually note this, due to geopolitical concerns and branding of Japan as “western democracy”. Ha ha.

    I have noticed every time someone back home asks me questions to confirm their stereotypes of Japan, and if my account differs, their eyes tend to glaze over and the conversation ends….

    It was not what they wanted to hear, it was not the light entertainment they associate with “Japan”.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    But then we have this:
    (Blood = Japanese v.2?)


    80% of Japanese welcome foreigners of Japanese descent

    Mar 2, 2013

    More than 80 percent of respondents to a poll said they are open to the idea of foreign nationals of Japanese descent living in the nation, the Cabinet Office reported.

    The office’s first survey of its kind, released Thursday, found 80.9 percent of respondents expressed openness to living alongside those with Japanese ancestry, including Brazilian and Peruvian descendents of Japanese immigrants who do not have Japanese citizenship.

    “With more opportunities to interact with foreigners, (Japanese people) are eventually no longer rejecting” the idea of accepting non-Japanese nationals in society, a Cabinet Office official remarked.

    Only 12.9 percent said they are unwilling to accept foreigners of Japanese descent, according to the poll.

    The survey, which canvassed 3,000 adults in January, said 59.7 percent of respondents were in favor of calls asking the central government and municipalities to assist non-Japanese residents, for instance by providing Japanese-language classes for unemployed young people and recruiting interpreters at Hello Work job-placement offices.

    As of the end of 2011, there were fewer than 300,000 foreigners of Japanese descent living in Japan, of whom some 210,000 were Brazilians and another 50,000 Peruvians, the Cabinet Office said.

    I’m guessing that a lot of the individuals polled were of the belief that these foreigners would look and act like the rest of the population – something about culture and language being in the DNA

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Andrew in Saitama #37

    You beat me to it! 🙂

    It’s a brilliantly pointless piece of reporting, for the sake of massaging the egos of the Japanese readers, and assuring them that Japan is a ‘modern’ country, full of typical Japanese double-speak, double-think, and the age old Japanese ‘double-logic’;

    “With more opportunities to interact with foreigners, (Japanese people) are eventually no longer rejecting” the idea of accepting non-Japanese nationals in society, a Cabinet Office official remarked.

    Brilliant! A massive leap forward! The J-public are finally willing to accept foreigners….as long as they are ‘Japanese’ foreigners….

    I feel like I have gone back in time 5 years. The same politicians are back, the same old economic policies are back, and now Japan wants all those Nikkeijin they paid to go home, to come back too?


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