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Hi Blog. Joining the ranks of hundreds of other places nationwide that have “Japanese Only” rules in place is this capsule hotel called “Kapuseru In Ohmiya” in Miyamachi 5-3-1, Ohmiya-ku, Saitama, close to JR Omiya Station East Exit, phone 048-641-4122. Incidentally, and also in violation of Japan’s Hotel Management Law, it does not allow women to stay there either. Here’s a screen capture of their entry on Rakuten as of August 18, 2014, with all their contact details. Courtesy of MF.
(Click on image to expand in your browser.)
Front door with directions there:
Entire site with “No Foreigners” and “No Women” rules listed at very bottom:
Anyone want to give them a call, and/or to report them to the authorities? Here’s how.
Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
UPDATE AUGUST 21, 2014: THEIR RAKUTEN ENTRY HAS REMOVED THE “JAPANESE ONLY” RULE, AMENDED IT TO A “BRING A JAPANESE SPEAKER IF YOU DON’T SPEAK JAPANESE, AS THE STAFF DOESN’T SPEAK FOREIGN LANGUAGES”. THE “MEN-ONLY” RULE REMAINS. RAKUTEN PAGE SCREEN CAPTURE BELOW:
59 comments on ““No Foreigners” (and no women) Capsule Inn Omiya hotel in Saitama (UPDATE AUG 21: No-foreigner rule withdrawn, but lots more exclusionary hotels found on Rakuten)”
I don’t know if you like it or not, but all I know is that hermeneutics(or rhetoric of science?) is mainly derived from Greco-Roman and German philosophies. It’s hard-nuts in humanity/social science. I’m not an expert on them. Even native speakers of English have trouble comprehending.
I don’t regard Japan’s problem as an exceptionally unique. Nor do I defend any perpetrators or bullies who condone, tolerate, or turn a blind eye to any type of social injustice occurring in the Japanese society. There is a moot point in approaching to Japan-related issues–depending on what, where, and how you look at the problems.
And, thanks, Debito! 🙂
@Marcus – Do we even need to “explore the motivation” of law-breakers? Isn’t that up to the court judge?
Hasn’t society decided that the court JUDGE is the person who decides to forgive (by granting shikkou yuuyo, which equals zero penalty and a mere “you better not break the law for the next 4 years” warning)?
And doesn’t the judge require to first see the defendant show real hansei (mitomeru no ga, ayamaru no ga, soshite “nido to shinai” no yakusoku no koto) BEFORE giving that generous shikkou yuuyo forgivance?
Society has not appointed Eido, or you, or me, or any other random person on the street, to just walk up to the law-breaker and have a little chat and then announce “well, based on what the defendant told me, privately, I am satisfied that his ‘motivation’ to break the japan-hotel-law was ‘just a desire to avoid foreigners with low Japanese ability’ and thus no court case needed?
Isn’t this a decision that society has decided judges should make after reviewing the evidence and listening to the defendants plea?
Why are we deigning it upon ourselves to let an undeniable past law-violation go unprosecuted based on the results of our debate about motivation?
Seriously, what should we as members of society do, when we discover someone who undeniably punched multiple people in the past?
For example, we have discovered a hotel owner who punched [in the heart = “seishin kutsuu” = emotional distress] MULTIPLE non-Japanese citizens over the past 7 years, meaning “every reader who felt seishin kutsuu when they happened to have browsed through those pages of Rakuten Travel for lodging over the past 7 years when the entry-denial-policy was still being publicly displayed”…
…and then we also must add the second, even more serious charge, namely: those multiple victims were NOT merely victims of a seishin-kutsuu-law-violation, they were ALSO victims of the clearly defined hotel-law-violation of lodging-entry-denial [the exact same hotel-law-violation which caused the Ministry of Justice AND the Kumamoto Prefecture Government to begin the official prosecution the Kyuden Kurokawa Onsen Hotel in Minamioguniin 2003])…
…so how can we say to those victims reading now, years later, “Hey everybody, you know how normally society’s laws require all caught law-breakers to be brought before a Judge FIRST, and then the Judge requires to see some serious hansei in a public forum (court), and THEN the victims decide weather to Hanko the official “OK, I forgive the defendant” document (very important in Japan, vitally essential, because judges rarely ever grant shikkou yuuyo WITHOUT receiving that “Officially Hanko’d Letter of Forgivance from the victims) but in THIS case, all you victims are hereby denied your day in court because I (some non-appointed-schmuck-off-the-street) have decided to appoint myself internet-judge-of-crime-motivation, and I proclaim that based on a little private conversation with the law-violator, I rule that the victims in this case do NOT deserve to have the case brought before an actual court Judge.”?
This case here is analogous to the lovably naive character of Michael Scott in The Office series, who proclaimed, when trying to help an employee he liked from being punished for a law violation, “C’mon, let’s allow the past action to be forgiven, let’s not punish the offense, because in society, when law-violations are discovered, WHO really should act as JUDGE and JURY?” to which a smart employee quickly replied rationally: “Judges and Juries, that’s who!”
So again, we witnessed some people were punched in public, (whoever read that sentence, over the past few years on that Rakuten page, written by that hotel owner, which clearly refused all 外国人, even those fluent in Japanese, because the message itself was even written in Japanese)…
…and yet even though we saw the violation we witnesses think that based on the results of our debate about motivation, suddenly WE can grant shikkou yuuyo even though we are NOT the actual court judge, even though we are NOT the district keiji, even though the actual victims who felt seishin-kutsuu when they were visually assaulted with that that hotel-law-violation of lodging-refusal when they were shopping online over the past years…
…and most importantly, this strange “street shikkou yuuyo” is being granted even though the law-violator NEVER publicly admitted anything.
That’s the worst part: shikkou yuuyo has been given with ZERO hansei. That never happens in a Japanese court. This is outrageous.
And yet here we are, with people I respect well (Loverilakkuma & Markus) thinking that we are supposed to be debating things like this:
“Did that previous 外国人お断り policy might have had some law-abiding alternative MEANING?”
“Did that previous 外国人お断り policy might have had some alternative law-abiding MOTIVATION?”
We all (even Eido) admit that the previous policy was violating the hotel-law of Japan.
The law-violation was witnessed, no public hansei was issued, no court judge notified, and yet: shikkou yuuyo granted.
By not helping contacting the Ministry of Justice, the appropriate Prefectural Government Officials, and subsequently the police and the keiji, we have ALL become guilty of thinking that WE have the right to choose to forgive, unilaterally, regardless of the feelings of the actual victims, a law-violation we all witnessed.
“Shut up man, the punching stopped. Isn’t that enough? The victims are home healing. It’s over dude. Let the puncher walk away without hansei, and without penalty. And we’ll just repeat this process again next time we see it happen elsewhere. Stop the punching, sure, but don’t punish the punchers. One by one, we’ll give mere warnings to millions of law-violators.”
I really thought we had a good case here, because the hotel-law-of-japan is so clear, and prosecution for that has solid precedent. We blew it by not gathering the evidence properly before having our press release here.
OK, live and learn, next time: we will videotape a black woman as she honestly searches online for for hotel-lodging, and then when she happens to find another law-violating-policy clearly written in Japanese (外国人はお断り) we will continue filming her as the seishin-kutsuu begins to show in the tears running down her face, AND videotape that same black woman being denied at the door when she arrives for the reservation which she went ahead and booked online anyway, and again film the owners cancelling her reservation due to not being a Japanese citizen (or for being a black-Japanese-citizen) THEN with that video evidence we can help that next hotel-law-violation to be prosecuted.
Actually, it would be even MORE effective if we can videotape 2 examples of the above with one difference: one black-woman will a Japanese-citizen, and one black woman will be a Non-Japanese-citizen.
Let’s see what happens when the SAME exact evidence for these 2 different plaintiffs is placed in front of the same prefectural prosecutor.
This is a case which the American media (and worldwide media) will watch: because we care when blacks and women are victims (much more than when whites or men are victims) so this would be a nice combination and the world will make a very big deal if the prosecutor decides to NOT press charges on behalf of either victim, or even more interestingly: presses charges on behalf of the Japanese-citizen victim only.
CNN-Japan will have polls showing the world surprising results of what Japanese-citizens reply when asked:
“Do you think ‘hotel-law-violation of lodging-denial’ should be prosecuted when the victim is a Japanese-citizen?”
“Do you think ‘hotel-law-violation of lodging-denial’ should be prosecuted when the victim is NOT a Japanese-citizen?”
Hey Ministry of Justice staff member, yeah you, we know your boss has tasked you with summarizing for weekly reports about what is being written each day on the most widely-read-foreign-rights-site-in-Japan, here’s the newest bombshell for your boss:
If the Ministry of Japan refuses to prosecute the next case of hotel-law-violation we document, the worldwide Gaiatsu (with the average American and worldwide reaction even causing Obama to issue a strong “I’m extremely disappointed that in this day and age, that these black women, and ANY human, is still being refused service at hotels in Japan based on race or nationality. I have been informed that the Ministry of Justice was given evidence and yet still has refused to initiate the prosecution which the law of Japan proscribes. Prime Minister of Japan, Emperor and Empress of Japan, this is unacceptable. Until Japan shows the world that race-based and nationality-based entry-denial is truly prosecuted just like any other law-violation with a victim seeking redress, Japan can NOT be considered a country-of-law. Japan is dangerously close to becoming officially categorized as a rogue nation, like after the Mukden-Terrorism when Japan refused to heed the advice of the League of Nations. These two black women who were refused entry based on race & nationality WILL be given their day in court to tell the judge and jury which hotel violated the hotel-laws of Japan, or economic sanctions will be voted on by the United Nations. In short, Japan, if the Japanese government does not prosecute every documented case of these “No Blacks Allowed, No Foreigners Allowed” law-violating establishment owners, then the Japanese government is in violation of the CERD treaty already signed, and thus Japan will suffer repercussions from the United Nations and most especially the United States of America. Our response to your violation of the treaty will be swift, severe, and sustained. Japan, clean your house or we will come clean it for you. Do you understand?”
@ Anon #52,
That’s the spirit!
@Debito I am still not convinced there is no hidden agenda when someone repeatedly tries to create cringeworthy “parallels” to imho unrelated cases or persons of the Western world, because in sum it does try to relativize the “unique” quality and quantity of xenophobia and racism in Japan.
Yes, I do think that Japan is exceptional in this area, certainly in comparison to the Western world, but even if compared to Korea – which owes many of its darker sides to Japanese rule, like the extremly inhumane and violent treatment of young recruits in the South Korean army (source: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/suedkorea-misshandlungen-beim-militaer-a-998163.html / German only)
But to get back to the point again: Loverilakuma, if you try to make the point that intention does matter even 1% in this case, i.e. we have to take into account that the wording may not have been meant as it says, then by that logic all those evil, racist terms people use should go unpunished, and for example the terms used for African-Americans in the early 20th century are ultimatetely only bad if used with bad intentions.
Is that the status quo in Japan? That the only thing that matters is *not* how the “receiver” feels about the “message”, but the sender’s intent has to be “explored” first?
I fear that it is. And that’s pretty “exceptional” and in no way defendable (which again might not have been your intention, but I am not sure which).
I don’t think I have to elaborate on, but it seems like you are still confused.
>if you try to make the point that intention does matter even 1% in this case,
That’s misleading. “Intension” matters to whom?
>That the only thing that matters is *not* how the “receiver” feels about the “message”,
Isn’t that what you call “intention” matters most?
>but the sender’s intent has to be “explored” first?
No. That’s not what I suggested at all. I already answered the question–very clearly. See my previous post(#45).
>Do we even need to “explore the motivation” of law-breakers? Isn’t that up to the court judge?
Not necessarily. That’s what people in academic, journalism, and legal enterprise usually do.
Ok, so here’s an update on the Rakuten hotel thing.
Once the hotel pages were changed from “現地に係員がいない関係上、外国の方につきましてはご宿泊をお断りさせていただきます。“ to
There is no staff on site. Furthermore, our staff only speaks Japanese.“
I asked Rakuten the following questions.
1) Is there is an explanation for the excessive time it was online after you were informed of the illegal advert? Negotiations with the hotel?
2) When a hotel makes an advert on Rakuten Travel is it an automated process or does an employee review each posting before it’s online?
Their replies were (full mail below)
1) In case any inappropriate content is found,
we proceed by asking the concerning hotel to modify such
contents, and sometimes it might take a certain time until
the hotel actually performs the update
2) Please note that it is each hotel’s responsibility to edit the information on their webpage on Rakuten Travel.
FULL RAKUTEN EMAIL
ご案内 Eメール経由(中野) – 2014年11月07日 12:33
Dear Mr Chand Bakshi,
This is Nakano from Rakuten Travel Customer Service.
Thank you for contacting us once again on this matter.
We sincerely appreciate your time to indicate
the issues on the Rakuten Travel website.
Regarding your new questions, please note that it is each
hotel’s responsibility to edit the information on their webpage
on Rakuten Travel.
Therefore, in case any inappropriate content is found,
we proceed by asking the concerning hotel to modify such
contents, and sometimes it might take a certain time until
the hotel actually performs the update.
Furthermore, particularly on this occasion we at Rakuten Travel
were also discussing a revision of our guidelines regarding
such issues, which might have caused a longer delay.
We apologize if the delay caused further inconvenience.
From now on, if any problems are found on the website,
including inappropriate expressions, we will similarly make
the utmost effort to solve the matter.
We once again thank you greatly for discovering
such issues this time.
END OF MAIL
So I then called one of the hotels on the list to check. (I actually think most of the hotels on the list are the same company, all in Oita) 貸別荘湯布院ヴィラハウスＭ
I spoke to a manager. I didn’t catch his name. (Now I want to say that the guy was really friendly, totally the opposite of the people working at the hotel in Omiya) He said gaijin were welcome and always had been, the wording of the text they had used merely meant they couldn’t speak English. They had changed the site after Rakuten contacted them.
So I asked if gaijin were ok and could stay at the hotel. He said yes, but added a but…
The “but” was that gaijin were ok as long as they could complete the check in forms etc. my level of Japanese would be ok they said. I left the discussion there.
Ok so my thoughts on this…
Hotels are likely lying, it wasn’t meant to mean language only.
Do I think this hotel will accept foreigners from now on…, probably.
The original hotel, no, I’m sure they’ll find some excuse to refuse them. No vacancies or something.
Rakuten wise, they did an ok job, but they took along time to do it though.
If they really are going to revise their guidelines, it would be good if we could have input in that. Stop terms like ‘Japanese Only’ being used, but referring to the language.
They should have just removed the pages straight away too, though I can see this would prevent the hotels updating pages.
I read online http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/12/us-rakuten-rental-idUSKBN0H706320140912 that rakuten will start an airbnb style business. Where people can rent rooms in people’s actual houses rather than hotels. I can imagine this kind of problem is going to pop up a lot.
Regarding the google cache, and them deleting the data. I don’t fully understand it, but I did check the “wayback machine” and that doesn’t seem to have a snapshot of the pages at all. Though I’m not that techsavvy so I don’t know if that means someone deleted something or not.
So what to do in future is the question. I think the Olympics are a good opportunity here. I think companies and government agencies will be more receptive to complaints about ‘Japanese Only’ businesses and hotels are a good place to start as they are connected to tourism, Olympic tourism especially and japans hope of showing their ‘omotonashi’. And there are concrete laws governing who can be refused at hotels.
So I propose making a group, non-profit or something, which advises hotels on this kind of stuff. But also reports hotels not abiding by the rules, (possibly sues them) and does some media campaigns.
I’m going to have a think about it, and maybe if Debito would allow me to make a post on debito.org in the near future with my ideas I can get some feedback and ask for people who would want to help out.
— You would be welcome to write a stand-alone post with your research and proposals under your own name on Debito.org.
#57: “Regarding the google cache, and them deleting the data. I don’t fully understand it, but I did check the “wayback machine” and that doesn’t seem to have a snapshot of the pages at all. Though I’m not that techsavvy so I don’t know if that means someone deleted something or not.”
Websites change over time. And here a couple of us though it’d be a good idea to have tangible and reliable evidence to provide the previous version(s). Now, in Archive.org, which, unless the owner ‘tells’ (skipping tech talk here) them not to store it in the first place, the webpage stays indefinitely – even in multiple versions at times (for example, screenshots of the same page from different years/months, let’s say 2009/10, 2010/11 and 12, 2011/3 and 4), whereas Google’s cache disappears eventually – since it seems only the newest version is stored – so Rakuten removing the problematic entries will in time also result in a change in Google cache.
Thus, if you want some tangible proof in let’s say 3 months, Google cache most likely will not be of much help.
As for screenshots, I am sorry to say this, but they are unreliable. Anyone could make a fake screenshot! How? It’s very simple:
1. Download the webpage for offline use
2. Edit the source (so that the webpage would show whatever you’d want it to – for example, my post #35 saying instead something like “You deserved it alright, now go back home you filthy foreigner” … )
3. Open the edited version in your browser
4. Change the URL in the browser (manually), so that even though you just opened the file locally (=it being stored on your PC), it’d look as if you were browsing the said page online (it being indeed on Rakuten’s website)
5. Take the screenshot…
(※ disclaimer: 100% belief in the correctness of online cache is also a technically a possible danger, since every computer system can be hacked, including both Google cache and Archive.org – but this wouldn’t be as easy as the above mentioned source edition… [far from it, actually]. Sounds paranoid? Well it does to me too.. this cache hacking scenario is most likely just a theoretical risk)
@#58 – Actually, no, Archive.org deletes ALL the past cache from any site upon one e-mail demand directly from the site owner (check their FAQ). So, now that I’ve mentioned that here, watch all of the past cache from Rakuten disappear from Archive.org tomorrow.