DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 4, 2015

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 4, 2015

 

Table of Contents:

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GOOD NEWS

1) Debito.org Post #2500: Dr. M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall’s speeches at the opening of “Kamikaze” suicide pilots exhibit aboard USS Missouri, Apr 10 and 11, 2015

2) Kyodo: Summary Court overturns fine levied on Filipino-Japanese man after Osaka police botch assault probe — that punished him for defending himself against drunk Japanese assailants!

SAME OLD, SAME OLD

3) Tokyo sushi shop Mizutani, with 2 Michelin stars, refuses NJ customers; awaiting Michelin Guides’ response

4) Kyodo: Ryukoku U exchange student denied “No Foreigner” Kyoto apartment in 2013; MOJ in 2015 decides it’s not a violation of human rights!

5) FCCJ’s Number One Shimbun on how GOJ is leaning on critical foreign correspondents (incl. accusing them of being on Chinese payroll!)

AN INTERESTING TANGENT

6) 1912 essay: “Japanese Children are no Menace in Hawaii” (from a “Prosperity-Sharing System for Plantation Laborers” handbook), with surprisingly inclusive arguments

… and finally…

7) My Japan Times JBC Column 86 April 6, 2015: “Japan makes more sense through a religious lens”

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By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org).
Freely Forwardable

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GOOD NEWS

1) Debito.org Post #2500: Dr. M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall’s speeches at the opening of “Kamikaze” suicide pilots exhibit aboard USS Missouri, Apr 10 and 11, 2015

To celebrate Debito.org’s 2500th Blog Post (not including all of the other sites for example here, here, and here in the ten years before the blog was established), I am proud to have the privilege of putting up two important speeches by friend and colleague Dr. M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall of Shizuoka University, author of “Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze” (Penguin, 2005)

These speeches were given on April 10 and 11, 2015, to commemorate the opening of a temporary exhibit of historical artifacts and records of “Kamikaze” suicide pilots. This important exhibition is currently below decks for at least the next six months aboard the USS Missouri (yes, the site where Japan surrendered and ended WWII), anchored at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii. It is open to the public, featuring things from the Chiran Peace Museum near Kagoshima, Kyushu, never before seen outside of Japan. I was in attendance at both events, and it made several US newspapers (the front page of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription only), on Hawaii NewsNow, and the Los Angeles Times) as well as some Japanese media. The ceremony itself took place on the 70th Anniversary of a suicide pilot colliding with the Missouri (its bomb did not explode), with many people on both sides of the Pacific in attendance.

I’ll let Bucky tell the rest of the story. First the shorter speech of April 11, then the longer one with more context and intents of April 10. Read and have a think about how some people are wresting control of Japan’s wartime narrative into a less jingoistic direction.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13229

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2) Kyodo: Summary Court overturns fine levied on Filipino-Japanese man after Osaka police botch assault probe — that punished him for defending himself against drunk Japanese assailants!

47News.jp (article below) reports that the Ministry of Justice Legal Affairs Bureau has refused to acknowledge “No Foreigners” apartments as a violation of human rights. This is the outcome of a case back in 2013, where an exchange student at Ryuukoku University was denied a flat despite going through the Student Union, and he took it to the Bureau of Human Rights for the official word on the subject. More than two years later (presumably the poor chap wasn’t living on the street in the interim), the MOJ determined that the foreigner-averse landlord had not violated anyone’s human rights, refusing to elaborate further. Great. Job well done and great precedent set, BOHR.

Two things of note: One is a media bias. Note how once again the 47News.jp article portrays the issue incorrectly in this scan of the sidebar illustration: It’s not “Foreigner Discrimination” (gaikokujin sabetsu no jirei). It’s racial discrimination, because the first case they cite (the Otaru Onsens Case in 1999) eventually has a Japanese being refused too. Yet the Japanese media will almost always refuse to undermine the incorrect narrative that racial discrimination never happens in Japan.

Second thing is that Japan’s generally ineffective Potemkin Bureau of Human Rights (jinken yougobu) has a long history of blind-eyeing the very thing it’s charged with protecting against. As further evidence of its ineffectuality – even complicity with discriminators – here is an example where the Sapporo BOHR advised a local government (Otaru) that it has no legal obligation to pass ordinance against racial discrimination, only suggesting that the city make such an ordinance if it considers it necessary. This is a scan of a BOHR document from my book “Japanese Only: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan” (Tokyo: Akashi Shoten) , pg. 347 in the English version:

Further, the BOHR has denied information to claimants on the pretext of protecting claimants from their own privacy, so I wholeheartedly agree with the exchange student’s complaints about the lack of transparency. So this latest event of saying a blanket exclusionary policy as not a violation of human rights is but one more example to record on Debito.org for posterity.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13185

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SAME OLD, SAME OLD

3) Tokyo sushi shop Mizutani, with 2 Michelin stars, refuses NJ customers; awaiting Michelin Guides’ response

AFP: A top notch Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in Tokyo on Monday defended its special reservation rules for foreigners after a report in Japan it had refused to accept a booking from a Chinese customer. Sushi Mizutani, which has two of the coveted Michelin stars, told AFP it has an “across-the-board policy” of not accepting bookings by non-Japanese customers—unless they are made through a hotel concierge or a credit card company.

“Non-Japanese customers may not show up for their reservations,” a member of the staff at the restaurant said, adding employees do not have the foreign language proficiency to explain requirements to patrons. “We prepare fish for the number of expected customers and have to turn down other requests for booking sometimes. We simply cannot afford it if people don’t show up. “We don’t think it is anything discriminatory,” he said… No one from the Michelin Guide was available for comment.

COMMENT: Given the relativism and exceptionality that pervades the world’s treatment of Japan (giving it a free pass for some pretty egregious examples of racism), I would be rather surprised if Michelin took their stars away. Let’s wait and see.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13271

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4) Kyodo: Ryukoku U exchange student denied “No Foreigner” Kyoto apartment in 2013; MOJ in 2015 decides it’s not a violation of human rights!

JDG: Well, this is an interesting case. Now, if we take the poor reporting to mean that ‘Filipino-Japanese’ = naturalized Japanese citizen of NJ descent, this story is quite telling.

Naturalized Japanese citizen is stopped in Osaka by two drunk Japanese guys, who grab his shirt collars whilst shouting at him. The naturalized Japanese punches one in the face in self-defense and is arrested, charged, goes to court, and is fined.

The Japanese assailants, since they are ‘victims’ of their own victims self-defense, are not apprehended, and win compensation from their victim!

Thankfully, this was over-turned at a [summary] court. But the fact that it played out like this clearly shows the intense institutional racism of the Japanese police and legal system. In effect, if you are Japanese, you can commit assault (by western standards) on NJ (well, anyone who was not born Japanese), and the legal system recognize you as the victim if you are injured whilst attempting assault!

http://www.debito.org/?p=13269

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5) FCCJ’s Number One Shimbun on how GOJ is leaning on critical foreign correspondents (incl. accusing them of being on Chinese payroll!)

Germis: What is new, and what seems unthinkable compared to five years ago, is [foreign correspondents] being subjected to attacks from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – not only direct ones, but ones directed at the paper’s editorial staff in Germany. After the appearance of an article I had written that was critical of the Abe administration’s historical revisionism, the paper’s senior foreign policy editor was visited by the Japanese consul general of Frankfurt, who passed on objections from “Tokyo.” The Chinese, he complained, had used it for anti-Japanese propaganda.

It got worse. Later on in the frosty, 90-minute meeting, the editor asked the consul general for information that would prove the facts in the article wrong, but to no avail. “I am forced to begin to suspect that money is involved,” said the diplomat, insulting me, the editor and the entire paper. Pulling out a folder of my clippings, he extended condolences for my need to write pro-China propaganda, since he understood that it was probably necessary for me to get my visa application approved. Me? A paid spy for Beijing? […] The heavy handedness has been increasing over the past few years […] MoFA officials now seem to openly attack critical reporting. I was called in after a story on the effect the prime minister’s nationalism is having on trade with China. I told them that I had only quoted official statistics, and their rebuttal was that the numbers were wrong. […]

I’ve heard of an increase in the number of lunch invitations from government officials to foreign correspondents, and the increased budgets to spread Japanese views of World War II, and the new trend to invite the bosses of foreign correspondents deemed too critical (via business class, of course). But I would suggest the proponents tread carefully, since these editors have been treated to – and become inured to – political PR of the highest caliber and clumsy efforts tend to have an opposite effect. When I officially complained about the Consul’s comments about my receiving funds from China, I was told that it was a “misunderstanding.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=13205

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AN INTERESTING TANGENT

6) 1912 essay: “Japanese Children are no Menace in Hawaii” (from a “Prosperity-Sharing System for Plantation Laborers” handbook), with surprisingly inclusive arguments

Essay on Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, 1912, Conclusion: There have been born in Hawaii both Chinese and Japanese, educated here to man’s and woman’s estate, and, going back to their own country, have found themselves entirely at variance and out of sympathy with things there. Provision is made in Hawaii for the sound education of all its youth of all nationalities, in a public school system not surpassed in any state or territory of the mainland. Education is free and compulsory. A school is kept open for forty-two weeks in the year in the remotest country districts. It would he an anomaly to find an adult Hawaiian who can not read and write, most of them in both English and Hawaiian. This laudable foresight in providing means for the training of the young originated with the early missionaries, whose descendants, many of whom are now men and women of wealth and social influence, are leaders in all the activities that make for the betterment of the rising generation of all our races. Interest in education is not confined to any one class. Planters, business men, lawyers, doctors—all urge upon every legislature the importance of generous provisions for the education of the youth of the land.

There is nothing in evidence thus far to show that the Japanese-American citizen will not make as loyal and trustworthy an American as the other races and nationalities that have been absorbed by the American body politic and are now numbered among the Americans who set the highest standards of citizenship. Of course Hawaii is doing something new in this connection. But the first fruits of the Chinese-American gives every promised that the American influence in Hawaii over the Oriental of the Far East will be as bene-flcient and will develop as certainly a good and loyal American as the Americanism of the Eastern and Middle States in its influence on the Oriental of the Asia Minor, Russia and the population of what is in general terms the Near East. No American need worry over the future of Hawaii’s Americanism if the present immigration policy, agreeable to both Japan and the United States, is followed out. That is, to allow Hawaii to assimilate what Oriental population it already has, and at the same time balance the proportions by allowing, for a time a larger immigration of toilers from Europe.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13169

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… and finally…

7) My Japan Times JBC Column 86 April 6, 2015: “Japan makes more sense through a religious lens”

JBC: Ever noticed how Japan — and in particular, its ruling elite — keeps getting away with astonishing bigotry? Recently Ayako Sono, a former adviser of the current Shinzo Abe government, sang the praises of a segregated South Africa, advocating a system where people would live separately by race in Japan (a “Japartheid,” if you will). But that’s but the latest stitch in a rich tapestry of offensive remarks.

Remember former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara’s claim that “old women who live after losing their reproductive function are useless and committing a sin,” or his attribution of Chinese criminality to “ethnic DNA” (both 2001)? Or former Prime Minister Taro Aso admiring Nazi subterfuge in changing Germany’s prewar constitution (2013), arguing that Western diplomats cannot solve problems in the Middle East because of their “blue eyes and blond hair,” and advocating policies to attract “rich Jews” to Japan (both 2001)? Or then-Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone declaring Japan to be “an intelligent society” because it was “monoracial,” without the “blacks, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans” that dragged down America’s average level of education (1986)?

Although their statements invited international and domestic protest, none of these people were drummed out of office or even exiled to the political wilderness. Why? Because people keep passing off such behavior as symptomatic of “weird, quirky Japan,” i.e., “They say these things because they are Japanese – trapped in uniquely insular mentalities after a long self-imposed isolation (sakoku).”

Such excuses sound lame and belittling when you consider that it’s been 160 years since Japan ended its isolation, during which time it has successfully copied contemporary methods of getting rich, waging war and integrating into the global market.

This treatment also goes beyond the blind-eyeing usually accorded to allies due to geopolitical realpolitik. In the past, analysts have gone so gaga over the country’s putative uniqueness that they have claimed Japan is an exception from worldwide socioeconomic factors including racism, postcolonial critique and (until the bubble era ended) even basic economic theory!

So why does Japan keep getting a free pass? Perhaps it’s time to start looking at “Japaneseness” through a different lens: as a religion. It’s more insightful…

http://www.debito.org/?p=13199

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 4, 2015 ENDS

12 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 4, 2015

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Created by command of Abe, children’s manga teaches ‘facts’ about constitutional revision without context, in a manner that presents Japan’s current constitution as an evil western device to control victim Japan;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/11/national/politics-diplomacy/ldp-produces-manga-make-case-constitutional-revision/

    Includes such stunning distortions of fact as;
    ‘the pacifist Constitution should be revised because it was hastily written in just eight days — by foreigners.’

    ‘Constitution written by Americans whose main purpose, it says, was to “make Japan powerless” 70 years ago.’

    ‘lament Japan continuing as a “defeated nation.”’

    ‘It’s as if our neighbors are making the rules for our house’.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    P.S.

    With this manga, Abe has gone beyond his revisionist war on history, to a full blown war on reality. I have to question his mental health. Clearly, given the timing, he has been emboldened by being rewarded by being allowed to speak before Congress.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Loverilakkuma, thank you for finding that and posting the link!

    It’s a sickening piece of work.
    Have a look- for starters it patronizes women, and of course, the grandfather character is smarter and wiser (except that he appears not to remember the horrors of Japan’s war) and represents grandfather Kishi telling young little Shinzo kun the way things ‘really’ are.

    Oh, and all those rising sunburst coming from behind characters heads!
    At the end, I thought they were looking towards the flash of an A-bomb, but alas, it was the rising sun.

    I can’t really call this brainwashing propaganda since its just too clumsy for Japanese society (although in a closed society like NK the style would be effective). It’s a tour de force of nationalist delusion and fantasy. And mark my words, like the manga states ‘written by Americans!’, this is a step towards the blaming of all NJ for everything that will go wrong (fiscal, demographic, etc).

    It’s paranoid delusional fantasy from people who don’t understand how Japan came to be in the position of having the US write them a constitution in the first place. A constitution that was far better than anything Japanese leaders had come up with themselves by then (voting age of 25, during wartime, gee, that seems fair? No votes for women).

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I’m really surprised that no one has picked up on the article I linked at #5.

    It shows how LDP as a party is so against taking action (as opposed to just making sound-bites) to ensure that women don’t face discrimination in opportunities and join the workforce, that the only way the LDP’s Minister for Women can even hope to poke them into action is to set up a straw man argument that if they don’t, the only alternative will be (gasp! horror!) immigration!

    NJ as the ultimate bogey man that just might have a chance of forcing positive change for women’s equality in Japan?
    I doubt there will be any change. In fact, the fact the the LDP bigwigs aren’t frightened in the least by her straw man argument is because that they see it for what it is; untrue. After all, these are the very people that have been propagating the ‘NJ as threat’ myth for their own gain in the first place.

    — It’s a good article and I wanted to take it up in the next blog entry. But then Gregory Clark’s thing came up and now I’m not sure which to do first!

    Reply
  • This is an interesting one:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32822504

    “…Japan’s aquariums have voted to stop acquiring dolphins caught during the controversial annual hunt in the town of Taiji….”

    It doesn’t say, in true Japanese style, it wont acquire them from elsewhere by similar means. Just that it wont acquire them from Taiji. Typical double speak to appease those outside of Japan that don’t understand how Japan really works.
    Since their sincerity is summed up here:

    “…the group’s chair, Kazutoshi Arai, told a news conference that the move was not a criticism of the Taiji “drive fishing” method, nor of whaling culture itself. He said Jaza still believed that the Taiji hunt was “not cruel”..”

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    And here it is! Japanese government to get legal access to your bank account;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/21/national/politics-diplomacy/lower-house-oks-bills-granting-state-access-citizens-bank-accounts-companies-greater-latitude-customer-data/

    Not only that, but loosening the restrictions on what companies can do with your personal information, which given how Japan has such a terrible record of managing sensitive personal information, should have you all worried (I’m talking millions of lost pension records, illegal J-police surveillance of hundreds of muslims, and who could forget Universities selling students personal data to, well, anyone, and then there’s all the lists of zainichi that used to get bought and sold before going un derground after being outlawed).

    This is what a police state looks like.

    Reply
  • Aahh..in true Japanese style..the tax hike is to blame for the closing of 40 stores:

    “..Japan’s Yamada Denki to shut at least 40 stores…”*

    So despite sales of $13.9 Billion…they are closing 40 stores. More obfuscation. They can’t blame foreigners, so what else is left…the 3% increase in tax. Whilst this is not a typical Debito article…i see this as the tip of the iceberg. Japan’s economic woes are slowly ever so slowly starting to gain momentum into reality that ahs been predicted by many outside of Japan, but ignored inside. The days of blaming Johnny foreigner for their ills and bad publicity from discrimination will seem like small fry for these companies. These companies/restaurant that used to “explain away” their racism and duplicitous behaviour now have a far more pressing matter, economics. Yet when these companies start to fail…suddenly, we need more visitors,… shall be the chorus! Oh the irony.

    http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Japan-s-Yamada-Denki-to-shut-at-least-40-stores*

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Health Ministry blames record spike in AIDS cases on foreigners in Okinawa, doesn’t have a clue as to the same spike in Fukui.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/28/national/science-health/new-japanese-hiv-carriers-20s-hit-record-high-349-2014/

    Newly reported HIV carriers among people in their 20s in Japan in 2014 totaled a record high of 349, the health ministry said Wednesday. This may indicate that AIDS education for people under 20 has been insufficient, said Aikichi Iwamoto, head of the ministry’s AIDS committee…

    The ratio in Okinawa was high possibly because the prefecture attracts many tourists from abroad, Iwamoto said. But he said he has no idea about what was behind the high figure in Fukui, adding that it is necessary to look for the reason.

    EXCERPT ENDS

    Reply

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