5 comments on “UH Manoa Center for Japanese Studies presents, “Japan’s Visible Minorities: Appearance and Prejudice in Japanese Society”, by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

  • Good luck, Doctor! Will there be a video/transcript?

    — Thank you. It went very well (full house, apparently the largest crowd in memory to fill the room) and great Q&A. Sorry, no video or transcript — I had plenty of stuff to manage without worrying about the technology behind a video uplink as well.

  • I am talking to the most elite members of the MoJ on this issue and when you ask them about immigration, it just does not compute. The best they can do is welcome foreigners here who are talented, take their best years, and then send them back.

    The mindset about offering a path to citizenship for several millions of people is met with blank stares. You can’t be Japanese because nationality is based on “race.” Race means looking “Japanese” and acting “Japanese” according to stereotypes laid down orginally in the racist and imperial Mejii era, and twisted and modernized post-war.

    There’s no helping them. They’d rather shrink to irrelevance rather than have a multicultural and multi-racial society. They can’t even enforce basic anti-hate speech legislation or anti-discrimination legislation for heavens sake and its 2014, not 1954.

  • To be fair, we would have had better luck under MacArthur, honestly. Shame no one had the foresight to check the Japanese when pushing the constitution through so they can just weasel out with handwaving and excuses about ‘well you see, kokumin…’ or whatever.

  • #2 FaithnoMore:
    – Immigration is not palpable to the majority of Japanese people, let alone the GOJ.
    – The mentality you attribute to the Meiji era and post war era is really one uninterrupted thread. They were race-based before the Meiji (separate writing system for foreign-origin words – who would think of that???) and they never stopped.
    – Yes, it is better to stay “pure” than to dilute their superior Japanese blood.

    – About Katakana – think hard about the mental state of a people/language that felt the need to invent a redundant, totally separate writing system (besides the one they already had) and keep it in use for over 1,000 years, just to keep track of (and never forget) the origins of “foreign” words. IMHO, the reason things are done are an insight into the DNA of a culture. Japanese people made Katakana and kept it in use because it serves a purpose. This is important to them.
    They have, and will continue to choose “purity” and decline over a robust economy brought about by immigrants.
    Some people (and nations) have to learn the hard way. It may take a few decades, but they will come around, in time.

    #3 Welp:
    -MacArthur was in a hurry. He had 2 overriding goals:
    #1 – to call Japan “fixed” so he could hurry back to the U.S. and run for President, and
    #2 – to keep Japan strong in the face of the rising Soviet threat.
    So he took a lot of short cuts. He did not clean house, but merely made minor adjustments, and called it “done”. Very sloppy.

    — That’s not an accurate history of Katakana. It’s certainly not the case that katakana was just for foreign loanwords when it came to prewar legal texts — for example, the Meiji Constitution (see here too). Let’s get back on track without blurring the point with sloppy renderings of history.

  • @ Dude #4

    In addition to the good Doctors comments, I just want to point out the MacArthur himself was none too pleased with ‘the reverse course’ undoing his good work, and much though he hated communism, actually said that the communist teachers union was Japan’s best chance for true democracy (Gordon; Postwar Japan as History).


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