Briefly interviewed by BBC Radio program “BBC Trending”: “Scrubbing anti-foreigner scribbling from Tokyo’s Streets”, March 16, 2014


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Hi Blog. Unrelated to the big flap last weekend about the Urawa Reds “Japanese Only” Saitama Stadium Banner issue, I was interviewed by the BBC regarding anti-NJ messages and the public backlash against the xenophobes. Since I’m not an expert on Zainichi issues, I gave a bit more background on how Visible Minorities are treated in the following segment:

BBC World Service
BBC Trending, March 16, 2014
“Scrubbing anti-foreigner scribbling from Tokyo’s streets”
Segment duration: 9 minutes
Courtesy of the BBC.

My bit comes in between 14:45 and 15:53, but please listen to the whole segment; it’s a decent article.

I’m very happy that people are charting racist graffiti using Google Maps. Kinda like what has done for more than a decade with its Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments, complete with map to substantiate visually how widespread the issue has become.

Bravo. Make a record, and make it permanent, because the only way we’re going to show that a problem exists (and is getting worse) is by not letting racists become historical deniers. ARUDOU, Debito

11 comments on “Briefly interviewed by BBC Radio program “BBC Trending”: “Scrubbing anti-foreigner scribbling from Tokyo’s Streets”, March 16, 2014

  • A good report. I didn’t know Mariko Oi was N.Korean….it still surprises me that she is still slightly reticent to “explain” such anti-foreigner sentiments in Japan to a wider audience given her status at the BBC. She should also give an “introduction” to other Beeb reporters going to Japan, to at least allow them to see through the Japanese-hype and gloss; as they only tend to be in Japan for 2-3years, which is generally not enough time to get to grips with the “real” Japan. It would make reporters like Rupert W-H a lot more assertive, as he is suddenly become very passive since arriving in Japan.

    This article by the Beeb would also be a good introd into the relationship Japan has with its neighbours to explain why there is such constant and continual discourse. Open the eyes of the world, would be a good start to addressing this, rather than adopting to Japanese narrative by default – for all said reasons already noted on this blog by many others that live here and witness it daily…

  • The beeb has posted more info on that Blog regarding Google maps and racism:

    “..Activists in Japan are using a novel way to tackle racism.

    They’re using Google Maps to pinpoint xenophobic graffiti in Shin-Okubo, a part of Tokyo with a large ethnic Korean community.

    As we reported on our radio programme, Google Maps is being used to highlight the rise of the “netuoyo” or online nationalists.

    Anne-Marie Tomchak of #BBCtrending reports on the social media drive against racism in Japan…”

  • ” I didn’t know Mariko Oi was N.Korean”

    She didn’t say she was Korean. She said she isn’t Korean, but she’s called that as an insult because she’s considered anti Japanese for criticizing Japan.

  • john k Says:
    March 19th, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    From 8:59 – 9:01, she says she is actually N.Korean…unless my hearing is bad!

    You’re probably not used to listening to Mariko Oi. She has a jumbled English accent which is a mixture of OZ English, where she lived for a large number of years, and RP British English, which seems to have picked up since joining the BBC. It’s a bit irritating at time.

    In the clip you mentioned, she uses the long o: vowel instead of the shot o vowel and her pronunciation of, ‘I’m actually not Korean’, becomes, ‘I actually nought Korean’.

    I always think that Mariko Oi takes a very evasive attitude to racism in Japan, which is pretty ironic since a few years ago, when she was largely unknown, she complained about the racism she faced, because of her Asian appearance, when moving to Australia. She was segregated off with the other Asian kids in her new school (can’t find the article.

    She also bitched about the stringent immigration rules in Australia

    She’s the usual ‘sensitive about the racial slights of others against them, while insensitive to the racial slurs they impose on others’ Japanese you can meet any day of the week. If she’s the best the enlightened faction of Japan can do as a spokesman, I don’t hold out much hope for Japan’s future

  • Not wishing to hijack the thread..Mariko Oi has just posted a very interesting article:

    “…Is Japan’s public broadcaster under threat?..”**

    “..Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, was created to provide independent news to a nation. But recent appointments have raised fears that its independence is at risk, reports Mariko Oi…”


    — I’m not really a fan of posting articles without the contents being made germane to the blog entry in question. Either tell us why we should read this (just the fact that it was written by someone is insufficient) or I’m afraid I’ll have to delete.

  • Re my #6,

    Since there is no section for new links/articles which does not follow an existing thread, but, my be of interest to others, and that Mariko Oi appeared to be a topic of discussion and the topic pertaining to the article is about a subject widely discussed in many threads, that of NHK being a mouthpiece for the Govt (now being confirmed rather than just speculation and surmising) and noting the incumbent right right Govt as such…i thought it may be a useful source/ref.

    — Articles that don’t follow an existing thread can be placed as comments under any DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER. In any case, the submitter should at least tell us why this article is of interest.

  • Yeah, I too want to see it, and then I want to actually ADD in every OTHER location of anti-foreigner signs which Debito has already cataloged, every one in “The Rogues’ Gallery”

    And speaking of that, how about finally adding in the photographic evidence of that “Japanese People Only” sign that “Soul Bar” in Kobe had outside? That was even more blatant than the “Japanese Only” signs (which can be back-pedaled as “Oh, the sign just meant Japanese Language Only”.

    It’s interesting how far liars will go even when caught red-handed: the owner who put up that “Japanese People Only” sign even claimed, when I called him, that the sign had said “Japanese Only” and thus had simply meant “Japanese Language Only” (that old lie) but the photographic evidence clearly shows it said “Japanese People Only.” That photo and location definitely deserves a spot on the gallery, right?

    So, that sign, that location, and all the other signs and locations on the “The Rogues’ Gallery” need to be sent to the person in charge of the Shin-Okubo Korean focused flag collection, so that the BBC can then do an update story in which the red flags on the map suddenly appear from Hokkaido to Okinawa.

    I hope the person who approves new additions doesn’t say, “Oh, I only care about Anti-Korean grafitti here in Shin-Okubo, because I’m Korean. I don’t wanna include those officially printed anti-foreigner signs on doors. That’s not my concern, that’s not my campaign.”

    And here’s a question, in his system, does the flag disappear when the graffiti is painted over? It shouldn’t, it should change to yellow but remain forever. Same thing with the flags we want to add showing the signs. Red for currently existent, yellow for ‘fixed’.”

    — I don’t know why I didn’t put that sign up on the Rogues’ Gallery. My bad. Will do soonest. Sorry.

  • Decent report by the Mariko Oi, coverage and admittance of racism in Japan is very important.

    Its a shame that David’s smart comment about Japan needing a anti-racism law was then befuddled by the somewhat disconnected issue of Japan’s immigration policy.


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