DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 5, 2015

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 5, 2015

Table of Contents:
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ACTIVISM AND ITS TRIBULATIONS

1) “The problem I have with David Aldwinkle [sic] is…” A stock criticism of me and my methods, then my answer.

2) Film record of Debito in action negotiating with a “Japanese Only” establishment in Shinjuku: excerpt from documentary “Sour Strawberries” (2009)

3) Tangent: How anti-discrimination measures are enforced elsewhere: Racism towards me at a bank in Canada

4) Honolulu Weekly Feb 9 1994: “Prints of Darkness”: Ronald Fujiyoshi, Hawaiian fighter of GOJ fingerprinting of NJ, 20 years ago says prescient things about future Japan

INTERESTING TIDINGS IN OFFICIALDOM

5) AOL News: J-League soccer ref speaks English to, then denigrates Japanese-German player, denies anything discriminatory. But then official protests from club!

6) Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus extended interview with Dr. M.G. Sheftall: “Japan’s Kamikaze Suicide Pilots Exhibit at the USS Missouri in Honolulu”

7) Tangent: Indo-Pacific Review article: “A Rope Bridge in a Fiber-Optic Age: The East-West Center in Hawaii”

8 ) Looking for substantiation of change in editorial bent at Japan Today etc. after acquisition by right-wing Fuji Media Holdings

… and finally…

9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column 88: “U.S. green-lights Japan’s march back to militarism”, on America’s historical amnesia in US-Japan Relations, June 1, 2015

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

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ACTIVISM AND ITS TRIBULATIONS

1) “The problem I have with David Aldwinkle [sic] is…” A stock criticism of me and my methods, then my answer.

April 6, 2014, by “Billy” (name changed): The problem I always have with David Aldwinkle [sic] comes in his suggestion at the end. Asking people to start harassing the restaurant owner with phone calls? Way to reinforce the 迷惑 stereotype of foreigners that this restaurant owner already has. Aldwinkle often seems to want to head up some kind of gaijin mafia hit squad that goes around naming, shaming, hounding, and publicly humiliating anyone suspected of mistreating foreigners in Japan. It’s ugly mob tactics, and it makes him look just as ugly, if not uglier, than the people with the “Japanese Only” signs. In many cases, Aldwinkle’s attitude and tactics earn some sympathy for those signs.

Aldwinkle’s crude approach especially comes to light in the fifth comment on that blog post. Someone suggests a sensible, conciliatory approach with the restaurant owner, offering to translate menus for him and to resolve other problems. Aldwinkle won’t let this comment go up on his blog without attaching to it a snarky, bolded response that aims to humiliate the comment’s author. Maybe Aldwinkle [sic] would be proven right in the end that this restaurant owner wouldn’t budge, but Aldwinkle isn’t particularly interested in finding out. His first pass in these situations is to accuse and attack, immediately putting anyone in his path on the defensive. He tosses hand grenades in situations where gentle words might have more effect.

Arudou Debito…the guy who took Japanese citizenship so that he could try to force Japanese people to behave more like Americans.

=================================

This is a common criticism leveled against me. Since the author has a doctorate (in English), I decided to take him up on his claims and show the shortcomings in his social science and research methods in an informative exchange.

http://www.debito.org/?p=12274

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2) Film record of Debito in action negotiating with a “Japanese Only” establishment in Shinjuku: excerpt from documentary “Sour Strawberries” (2009)

As a follow-up to the previous blog entry, where I cited somebody who (ironically) accused me of dealing with people by “launch[ing] immediately into angry, confrontational accusations”, here’s an actual movie record of me in action.

This is part of a documentary by Daniel Kremers and Tilman Koenig named “Sour Strawberries: Japan’s Hidden Guest Workers” (2009), talking about how Japan’s NJ, as a labor force and a resident population, are being treated in Japanese society. It is an excellent film that touches upon many important subjects, and it can be previewed and purchased here.

I appear for about five minutes within negotiating with a “Japanese Only” establishment, one of the dozens upon dozens I have talked with over the years, to confirm the facts of each case (recorded for posterity at the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments) and investigate the firmness of the exclusionary policy. See it for yourself:

http://www.debito.org/?p=13365

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3) Tangent: How anti-discrimination measures are enforced elsewhere: Racism towards me at a bank in Canada

Got an interesting story to tell: Recently I had business at a Canadian bank, so I went to a branch of it within Canada. My transaction required me to show government ID, so I showed my Japanese passport, of course. That’s all I have.

The teller verified my ID, but then made the comment, “It’s funny that you should have a Japanese passport. You don’t look Japanese.”

I said, “Let’s not go there. Lose the racism and complete the transaction.”

Well, after the transaction was complete, I called for his manager, and…

http://www.debito.org/?p=13381

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4) Honolulu Weekly Feb 9 1994: “Prints of Darkness”: Ronald Fujiyoshi, Hawaiian fighter of GOJ fingerprinting of NJ, 20 years ago says prescient things about future Japan

Honolulu Weekly: When civil-rights activist/missionary Ronald Fujiyoshi refused to be fingerprinted in compliance with Japan’s Alien Registration Law in 1981, he launched a personal attack on the Japanese government which still hasn’t ended. […] After waging his own personal battle against the Japanese government for the greater part of the last two decades, [Ronald Fujiyoshi,] the 53-year-old Hilo resident is hopeful that the recent change in government is a sign that the Japanese people have at last begun to fight back against what he contends is a sinister system which has been unjustly subjugating them for centuries.

Fujiyoshi’s personal beef is Japan’s latent racism, which he maintains is knowingly cultivated by the country’s ruling circles in order to foster an “us vs. them” mentality. Japan’s alien-registration laws are widely known to be among the most rigid and strictly enforced in the world. It has long been a complaint among non-Japanese immigrants in Japan that the laws are also part of a greater government scheme to prevent them from feeling completely at ease in their adopted homeland, withhold full citizenship rights and relegate them to positions of permanent underclass status in the overall economic tapestry of the nation. Especially onerous to Fujiyoshi was the Japanese government’s longstanding policy of insisting that all foreign residents and criminal suspects in Japan submit fingerprints for identification purposes.

Being grouped with criminals and thus treated as undesirables created acute resentment in the Korean-Japanese community, over 700,000 strong and representing roughly four out of five of Japan’s foreign residents. Many of them have lived in Japan for several generations; their relatives were originally brought there forcibly during World War II as military conscripts or factory workers. They are still treated as outsiders, and their “alien” status frequently denies them jobs, housing and scholarships. Fujiyoshi contends that the fingerprint policy is both unconstitutional by Japan’s own admitted standards and an abhorrent violation of the United Nations International Covenant of Human Rights, to which Japan is a signatory. […]

For Fujiyoshi, state-sanctioned racism is bad enough, but even more repugnant is the denial of its existence by most Japanese. He maintains that the power structure, for its own purposes, is using its tremendous control over the media (and consequent influence on public opinion) to perpetuate the traditional notion that there are only three major races in the world. “According to this view, all there are are Caucasoid, Mongoloid and Negroid stocks,” says Fujiyoshi, recounting the argument he has heard more times than he cares to remember. This belief is worse than oversimplistic: It makes it possible for the Japanese government to exclude from the category of racial discrimination its dealings with other Asian and Pacific peoples living in the country. Japan can safely perceive itself as a country of only one race and sincerely believe that the racial conflicts plaguing the rest of the world can’t happen there.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13216

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INTERESTING TIDINGS IN OFFICIALDOM

5) AOL News: J-League soccer ref speaks English to, then denigrates Japanese-German player, denies anything discriminatory. But then official protests from club!

AOL News: In the June 6 J2 match between teams Avispa Fukuoka and Tokushima Vortis, it has come to light in a club statement that will be filed with the J-League that Referee Takayama Hiroyoshi used discriminatory language against Fukuoka player Sakai Noriyoshi.

Sakai Noriyoshi is the younger brother of Japan soccer representative Sakai Goutoku, who is half-Japanese, half-German. In the 35th minute of the second half during a foul, Referee Takayama asked in English “Are you OK?”, to which Sakai answered in Japanese, “Daijoubu desu”. Takayama then apparently said, “What the… you [using omae, a masculine, informal, often disparaging or belligerent way to say “you”], you can speak Japanese after all.” To which the bystanding players protested. At that time Referee Takayama promised that he would apologize after the game, but no apologies were forthcoming. The club protested to the commissioner, but during investigations Takayama denied that there was any discriminatory statement made.

COMMENT: When you read the whole article, you’ll see that several positive precedents are being set here, sorely needed in Japan’s sports milieu where racialization of athletes is quite normal. Bravo to the bystanding players, the club, the fans and even the reporter for not letting this migroaggression stand unchallenged.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13354

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6) Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus extended interview with Dr. M.G. Sheftall: “Japan’s Kamikaze Suicide Pilots Exhibit at the USS Missouri in Honolulu”

Now up with critique from an unexpected quarter is an extended interview I did with Dr. M.G. “Bucky” Sheftall on the WWII Japan Tokkō “Kamikaze” suicide missions, which appeared in an abridged version in the Japan Times as my JBC column on May 4 2015. This longer version features more questions from me and more candor from Bucky. Here’s an excerpt:

Japan’s Kamikaze Suicide Pilots Exhibit at the USS Missouri in Honolulu: an interview with M.G. Sheftall
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 22, No. 1, June 08, 2015
Dr. ARUDOU Debito, Dr. M.G. Sheftall

4) You mentioned earlier about other Tokkō missions, including the suicide motorboats. But we hear mostly about the pilots, hardly ever about the other types of Tokkō. Tell us a little more about these other branches, and why you think the pilots have garnered all the attention, especially in popular culture and at Yasukuni Shrine, where they are more famously enshrined as heroes?

Sheftall: In addition to the iconic self-immolating bomb-laden fighter plane version of Tokkō almost anyone inside or outside of Japan associates with the term “Kamikaze”, there were three other major Tokkō platforms that we could deem significant in terms of: 1) the expenditure involved in their development and production; 2) the initial expectations the Japanese military had for their success; and 3) the loss in human lives caused by their deployment. These were the Kaiten (“Fortune-reverser”) manned torpedo, the Shin’yō (“Ocean-shaker”) rammer-motorboat, and the Ōka (“Cherry Blossom”) manned rocket bomb – which was essentially a 1940s cruise missile with a human being in place of a computerized guidance and target acquisition system. Really brutal contraption.

In any case, all three of these platforms were bitter disappointments for the Japanese military. Each of them resulted in over a thousand “friendly” fatalities involved in attempts to deploy them – this is also counting the crew members of the “motherships” ferrying the Kaiten and Ōka (specially modified fleet submarines for the former, and specially modified twin-engined bombers for the latter) into battle – while only causing a few hundred Allied casualties in total between the three of them, as compared with “conventional” aviation Tokkō, which caused some 15 thousand Allied casualties just in the Battle of Okinawa alone. So, right off the bat I would say that this dismal operational history is certainly a sizable factor behind the rather low profile – and the poor reputation, when known at all – of these specialized Tokkō weapons in the postwar Japanese public imagination.

http://www.debito.org/?p=13349

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7) Tangent: Indo-Pacific Review article: “A Rope Bridge in a Fiber-Optic Age: The East-West Center in Hawaii”

IPR: The East-West Center in Hawaii is timid, insular, and lacking in fresh, dynamic thinking about a region that has outpaced the institution as a whole.

The East-West Center (EWC) in Hawaii is well-positioned geographically and conceptually to be a powerhouse of constructive, intellectual engagement with Indo-Pacific Asia. A 50-year legacy of providing academic and research fellowships to young students from Asia has developed a deep regional network of alumni now in senior government positions, multilateral organizations, and the private sector. Over the years, hundreds of experts in governance, policy, science, and history have resided in or served as visiting scholars at the institution. Its spacious facilities, some designed by a world-class architect, are immersed within a beautiful, serene campus setting. And yet this venerable soft-power institution has become flaccid. […]

The EWC president, Dr. Charles Morrison, has been in place for 16 years. During this period he is widely credited with keeping the non-profit Center from being shuttered (this instinct for survival applies to his own job, as he was once dismissed, but then returned to his position as president). Most recently he helped the institution weather the very public resignation of EWC’s entire energy team led by Dr. Fesharaki, which revealed the “turmoil” inside the Center. However, simple survival should never be the measure of institutional success. With a purported deadline of 2018 to achieve self-sufficiency, transformative change is required for the EWC to evolve from prolonged survival thinking to a thriving institution renowned for being a vanguard of engagement on critical issues.

Founded in 1960 through the vision of the late Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, the EWC’s mission to promote “better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue” is of paramount importance. While a 1978 GAO report demonstrates that concerns about the EWC’s identity and quality of contributions were emerging in its early decades, the Obama administration’s “rebalance to Asia” is the sort of golden opportunity for which the EWC was designed. However, senior fellows are unable to articulate what the EWC’s role is in the rebalance effort. According to them, Dr. Morrison has never stated how the EWC mission fits in the rebalance. One expert said “more of the same I would assume,” while another questioned the relevance of the EWC now that flights no longer need to stop in Hawaii when crossing the Pacific. A striking statement considering that Pacific Command, the nation’s largest strategic command and most visible face of the “rebalance,” sits only a few miles away.

http://www.debito.org/?p=12543

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8 ) Looking for substantiation of change in editorial bent at Japan Today etc. after acquisition by right-wing Fuji Media Holdings

Following the recent acquisition of GPlus Media by right-wing media conglomerate Fuji Media Holdings, I’ve been hearing murmurs about changes in editorial policy over at Japan Today (and Gaijin Pot) of deletion of comments that are critical of the Japanese government etc.

Let’s try to go beyond murmur. I have a reporter who would like some substantiation for an article. Has anyone saved copies of their critical comments that were deleted? Or if you comment there from now (keep your comments sane, please), could you keep an eye on it? (Screen captures would be nice.) Please let Debito.org know. Thanks.

UPDATE JUNE 29, 2015: Proof of Fuji Media Holdings’ editorial bent: Fuji TV apologizes for subtitles fabricating quotes from South Koreans as “hating Japan”:

http://www.debito.org/?p=13376

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… and finally…

9) My Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column 88: “U.S. green-lights Japan’s march back to militarism”, on America’s historical amnesia in US-Japan Relations, June 1, 2015

This time I’m talking about the geopolitics and historical amnesia behind PM Abe’s April visit to the United States, and what all the misdirected fanfare means not only for Asia as a region, but also NJ residents in Japan. Here’s the opening:

JT JBC: As I’ve often written, I’m a big proponent of the historical record — if for no other reason, so we can look back at the past and learn from our mistakes.

That has been a major issue for the current Japanese government. As hundreds of historians have publicly stated, the Shinzo Abe administration has been systematically working to deny (or in Abe-speak, “beautify”) Japan’s worst wartime ugliness, on an increasingly obvious quest to reconfigure Japan as a military power. In other words, the right is marching the country back to the Japan that nearly annihilated itself 70 years ago.

But I’m even more disappointed with the historical amnesia of the Americans. Abe’s standing-ovation tour of the United States in April, during which the two allies established the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, has basically helped Abe further destabilize the region.

That’s awful news. The U.S., Japan’s strongest ally and chaperone for most of its foreign policy, is, given Japan’s powerless leftist opposition, basically the only one who can stop this. [But they won’t. In fact, they’ve done exactly the opposite by publicly legitimizing Japan’s march back to militarism…]

http://www.debito.org/?p=13333

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 5, 2015 ENDS

36 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER JULY 5, 2015

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Sankei TV had its talking heads on after the Japanese ladies lost the soccer.
    I wasn’t surprised when they rolled out the ‘the Americans were good, they were really good, but Japan never had a chance, the Japanese are so much smaller and weaker, and it was in Canada, so it was like a home game for America, but an away game for Japan, we shouldn’t have expected them to win’ routine.

    Except that didn’t Japan beat America in the 2011 ladies world cup final?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Pear Harbor tweet ‘trends’ after Japan lose to US in ladies soccer. Japanese shocked and offended at US racism;

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33405094

    And yet, this is just ‘ordinary Americans’.
    How does Japan think Koreans and Chinese feel when thier politicians make racist and offensive comments about the war? It’s a ‘shoe on the other foot’ FAIL.

    But also, given how Abe has been playing up how he is Americas ‘best friend’, and how hard Abe has been working to put a lid on the stink of the past, it must come as a real shock to the J-masses to see that many Americans haven’t forgotten, and don’t care if you’re offended.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    “Try on the kimono, learn what it’s like to be a racist imperialist !!!today!!!”

    This is what Americans are saying about Americans wearing kimono.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2015/07/07/mfa-backs-down-over-kimono-event-response-protests/lv9NHcnpW0lsRE77d9hvkI/story.html

    I’m sure that this will cause ripples in Abe’s drive to refloat the Japanese economy on the back of tourism. After all, he thinks that all NJ *want* to come to Japan and be permitted the luxury of the wild experience of wearing clothes that the Japanese used to wear. What ever will he do if the prevailing western attitude becomes that it’s distasteful for NJ to wear kimono? The mind boggles.

    But since we’re on the subject, let’s start slamming salarymen for ‘dressing up’ as western style office workers, in their suits and all (racist imperialists!). After all, it’s not as if they actually live in a western society with it’s freedoms and liberties and social contract, and all.

    — But there is a difference between costume fetishization of a society/people (which is what the artists were doing) and everyday practical wear attuned to a situation (i.e., suits to work). People can wear what they like. It’s the context that’s being made the issue here, I think. And it’s a bit of a tenuous link back to Abe when GOJ representatives don’t seem to be involved in this issue at all.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Dr. Debito #3

    The narrative that this was a Korean anti-Japanese complaint in Boston is circulating on the Internet.
    In that respect, it is (or is seen as) an attack on Japan itself by the Japanese OR is being deliberately misrepresented as such by right-wingers in order to further thier own anti-Korean agenda (and we know these groups have links to Abe).

    As for the salarymen, I was joking but;
    They are just as much pretending to be office workers in a developed, modern country as the customers at the Boston gallery were pretending to be Japanese.
    How many times have we called Japan out for not meeting (or indeed subverting) western standards of human rights, liberty, and democracy? And don’t forget, we can only call them out on it because the J-government likes to proclaim to the west things like ‘Our shared values’.
    So yeah, why not point out the right-wingers absurdity by showing them that salarymen are ‘dressing up’ and ‘play acting’ at being members of a modern democracy?
    Given Japan’s reality, shouldn’t they shave the front of thier heads and wear hakama when they obey thier seniors, or Abes would be junta in Tokyo, in every tiny matter without question?

    Reply
  • DAD

    “..It’s the context that’s being made the issue here, I think..”

    Indeed, that’s the point many are making here:

    “…Protesters quickly labelled this event as racist, saying it propagated racial stereotypes and encouraged cultural appropriation….Amnes Siyuan, one of the protest’s organisers, said: “A bunch of people tried to prove that they were not racist. That was not the point. We wanted to talk about why this event is cultural appropriation.”

    Christiana Wang, another protester, said Asian Americans tend to be underrepresented and are forced into certain categories, such as the geisha or the quiet student….”

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-33450391

    Reply
  • Baudrillard says:

    Briefly, Jim has a point though.”Japan has always liked to pretend we are a Westernized, modernized, ultra-sanitized society (“comfort women” — what’s that?). But dig a couple of meters down and what you’ll see is a wide, murky streak of what we call yamato damashii (大和魂, the Japanese soul).

    Thats from the article someone posted here about the revival of Kendo in the Japan Times, the writer is a Japanese woman.

    She is basically admitting that the postmodern western veneer of Japan is essentially fake, and then goes on to say how Kendo-as part of the right wing revival-is essentially a good thing as if Japanese men are all herbivore geeks “where will that leave Japanese women?” (presumably Japanese women are just hanging around waiting to get married, in her worldview, but I digress).

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Interesting titbit!

    Remember that after Stephen Fry’s BBC comedy show QI induced the wrath of the Japanese government, Stephen and the BBC then decided to change an hour long episode of his series on languages from Japanese to Chinese (PR own goal by the J-gov)?

    Well, it seems that the BBC was cowed by J-gov intimidation and turned down the rights to Phillip K. Dick’s alternative history book ‘The Man in the High Castle’, which depicts a war losing US partitioned by brutal Axis powers. Amazon picked up the option and two episodes have gone out.

    http://io9.com/an-explanation-for-man-in-the-high-castles-biggest-chan-1717127092

    Reply
  • An interesting article:

    “…Honda has agreed to pay $24m (£15m) to settle US claims that it discriminated against some customers based on race….”

    I wonder if this is being reported in Japan….haven’t seen anything yet.

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33527783

    Honda pays $24m to settle race discrimination claim
    BBC News July 14, 2015

    Honda has agreed to pay $24m (£15m) to settle US claims that it discriminated against some customers based on race.

    An investigation by US regulators found that the Japanese company charged African American and Hispanic owners higher interest rates on car loans.

    Regulators found that they paid on average $250 more than white customers regardless of their creditworthiness.

    Honda said in a statement that it “strongly opposes any form of discrimination”.

    The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Department of Justice said that American Honda Finance Corp, the company’s loans arm, would change its pricing and compensation system to reduce the potential for discrimination.

    Despite the settlement, Honda said that it disagreed with how the two regulators determined discrimination, but “we nonetheless share a fundamental agreement in the importance of fair lending”.

    American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC) does not make loans directly to consumers, but receives loan applications through car dealers. Those dealers have the discretion to vary a loan’s interest rate after an initial price Honda sets based on creditworthiness.

    The $24m that Honda will pay will go in to a fund to compensate affected borrowers.

    Car loans are the third-largest source of household debt in the US, after mortgages and student loans.

    AHFC will also pay $1m into a car finance education program for minority borrowers, the regulators said.
    ENDS

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Dr. Debito, I’m interested to know your opinion on the fact of Abe putting his right-wing agenda above the law of Japan (the constitution), and what such blatant disregard for the rule of law implies for us NJ.

    I’m also interested in your opinion of the Tokyo Olympic stadium bait and switch, whose corruption driven spiralling costs must seem like a godsend to those who hated the design out of sheer racism that the designer wasn’t Japanese;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/18/national/national-stadium-architects-return-fire-say-design-behind-high-costs/

    My own personal opinion is that faced with such blatant disregard for the law, and racism at the highest levels, attempting change in Japan is a list cause. Rather, publicizing the truth to the world as a warning might be better.

    What do you think?

    Reply
  • Anonymous says:

    I think Jim, that Debito simply would prefer to keep his focus here on Discrimination in Japan, thus no comment.

    But obviously, we all are appalled at this bold unconstitutional patently-illegal offensive-military-building action.

    I’ll just go ahead and say: you are 100% right Jim, Japan’s blatant disregard for the rule of law is dangerous for NJ.

    If Japan’s majority allows THIS action to happen to THEM, they will allow ANYTHING to happen to Japan’s MINORITIES.

    Logically, of the Japanese citizens drafted into a war, “half-breeds” will be disproportionately sent to the front lines.

    If Japan’s goal were truly Defense, the constitution already allows as many 100km-limited Defense-missiles as desired:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323316804578165023312727616

    Japan (and every country) should simply install millions of 100km-limited Defense-missiles on the coastline as a shield.

    Clearly, the war-crime-released-suspect Nobusuke Kishi’s grandchild Shinzo Abe’s true goal is Offense instead of Defense.

    If ANY leader causes any of my children to be killed by Japan’s next war-of-aggression, subsequent natural karma WILL occur.

    — I was about to comment under JDG’s post, but I’ll do it here, since it’s more recent. Debito.org focuses upon how developments in Japan influence Japan’s non-citizens and minorities, particularly its Visible Minorities. If there was a peg made (as Anonymous has above) for an issue on how these dangerous precedents affect those people, not Japanese people in general, we’d have something a bit more appropriate to talk about here on Debito.org. Got an article that makes that case? Great, send it in. But otherwise, you can bring things up in the Newsletter Comments as before and discuss them; or visit other fora where they are already discussing those things. But it’s not something I’m going to bring up as a major post under my name here unless I have something to say. And all I can say right now, if you look at my previous Japan Times columns on the rise of Abe and Japan’s looming remilitarization (see for example here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), all I can say is, “I told you this would happen.”

    Reply
  • D.A.D.

    Ive noticed on your older postings of Just Be Cause, clicking the older links goes to an error page or just the front page of the JT. One is no longer directed to the page/article.

    — Crap. I haven’t the time to ferret out all of those right now, so if you would send me the dead links to debito@debito.org, I’ll send you good Karma and fix them presently. Meanwhile, please search for the article title that you see on the blog page you’ve been directed to via the Japan Times search function. Or see all of my articles in order and look for the titles at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/column/just-be-cause/. Sorry about this.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ John K #13

    I don’t think so. Let’s see if the Japanese language statement says POWs were ‘made to work’, rather than saying ‘were used as forced labor’, like at the new UNESCO sites.
    Could be that all this is just another weasel word statement, like the ‘comfort women’ not being called ‘sex-slaves’ in Japanese.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Anonymous #11

    ‘If Japan’s majority allows THIS action to happen to THEM, they will allow ANYTHING to happen to Japan’s MINORITIES.’

    Exactly the point I was making.

    Reply
  • Anonymous says:

    @Jim #15

    Yes Jim, understood and appreciated.

    Agreeing with the point you were making.

    Truly grateful for ALL of your vital posts. 🙂

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Justice Ministry ‘overwhelmed’ by a deluge of snitches reporting Koreans as illegal immigrants;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/21/national/xenophobic-wave-tips-target-illegal-korean-residents-immigration-bureaus-overwhelmed/

    Seems that people have assumed that any zainichi Korean who doesn’t hold the new zairyu card by July 8th automatically becomes an ‘illegal alien’ who should be deported, and without knowing if the person has the card or not, Japanese residents are reporting all the Koreans they think they know to the Justice Ministry.

    Reply
  • This story is terrifying, and it demonstrates that many enfranchised members of this racist Japanese society are itching to leverage institutional force for perceived personal gain. My translation follows:

    http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH7K7QN1H7KOIPE02Q.html

    Immigration Bureau Denies Rumors of Zainichi Deportation
    Asahi Shinbun July 21, 2015

    The Ministry of Justice’s Immigration Bureau has received reports of alleged immigration violations following the spread of an erroneous Internet rumor that Zainichi Koreans would be “deported effective today.”

    The bureau responded by calling this “a serious state of affairs” and publishing an official denial on its website.

    The rumor stated that “Effective July 9th, Zainichi Koreans are hereby illegal immigrants and will be deported.” A related post on Twitter encouraged readers to “report any Zainichi Koreans you know to the Immigration Bureau in order to collect a reward.”

    According to a source in the bureau’s General Affairs division, the official website which accepts information about immigration violations (http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/zyouhou/index.html) “received many reports about foreigners who would not be deportable for any clear reason” around July 9th.

    Zainichi Koreans lost their Japanese citizenship after World War II. They and their descendants were previously required to carry locally issued Alien Registration cards, and are now required to carry nationally issued Special Permanent Resident cards. The cause of the rumors is thought to be related to the fact for approximately 150,000 of 360,000 Zainichi Koreans, the deadline to switch cards was July 8.

    =================================

    The link to the snitch site was a nice touch by the Asahi. Related: To my knowledge, there’s currently no non-discriminatory language in Japanese to refer to non-documented immigrants. 不法滞在者 makes me sick to my stomach whenever I hear it, and I really would like a workable alternative if anyone knows of one.

    「在日コリアンは強制送還」 ネットにデマ 入管が否定
    黄澈 2015年7月21日08時03分

     「在日コリアンは今月から強制送還される」といったデマがインターネットで出回り、法務省入国管理局に、この誤情報に基づいた「通報」まで寄せられていたことがわかった。入管は「重大な事態」として、ホームページにデマを否定する内容を掲載した。

     流布されたのは「7月9日以降、在日コリアンは不法滞在者になり、強制送還される」などのデマ。「知っている朝鮮人を入管に通報して、報賞金をもらおう」といったツイッターの書き込みもあった。不法滞在の情報を受け付ける入国管理局のページ(http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/zyouhou/index.html別ウインドウで開きます)には9日を中心に、「明らかに退去強制事由に該当しない外国人に関する情報が多数寄せられた」(同局総務課)という。

     外国人の在留管理制度の変更で、戦後に日本国籍を失った在日コリアンとその子孫は、自治体発行の「外国人登録証明書」から、国発行の「特別永住者証明書」に切り替えることになった。約36万人の特別永住者のうち約15万人の切り替え期限が7月8日だったことが、誤情報につながったとみられる。

    Reply
  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for having translated that Japanese version article into English, XY. Appreciate the energy expenditure.

    Yes I agree, the phrase “Illegal Immigrant” is sickening, just like the phrase “Suspicious Person”.

    Meaning, if a human is in a country, paying taxes, thus supporting the country, not hurting anyone, how is any human’s existence illegal?
    A very intelligent human who used to post here, D.B. Cooper, shared links which opened my eyes to the fact that “Illegal Humans” began in 1905:
    http://www.debito.org/?p=5763#comment-189989
    http://www.debito.org/?p=7910#comment-213663
    http://www.noii.org.uk/no-one-is-illegal-manifesto/

    In “Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”, Jean Jacques Rousseau pointed out something we border-accepting nation-supporting humans have forgotten:

    “The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, ‘Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody’.”

    Likewise, if a human is sitting on a train, not hurting anyone, how is any human a suspicious human based on APPEARANCE and not actions?
    Encouraging the majority to “report all suspicious people 不審な人” basically means “Report anyone who APPEARS ‘different’ (um, all minorities).”
    Thus, someone with a blue-mohawk or strange-clothes “appears suspicious” and gets reported, as does the “suspicious-looking” Arab.
    “Report all suspicious ACTIONS 不審なやること” would be relatively much better. But even THAT encourages pre-crime pre-emptive Questioning and Detainment.
    How about we simply “report all ILLEGAL ACTIONS 違法なやること”, and police obey the law requiring probable cause that the person actually committed an ILLEGAL ACTION.

    I really need to start helping my “ハーフ” speak English fluently, so we can relocate before Japan slips back into full fascism full racism.

    “before Japan slips back”? Haha. I should add a “(sic)” after that, because as Baudrillard always correctly points out, the Yamato-pride-disease NEVER ENDED, Japan merely was forced post-war into the PRETENSION of having been cured of its racist “Yamato Pride” sakoku keep-out-all-foreigners mentality.

    That MASK of decency is clearly slipping off now, as people infected with “Yamato-pride-culture” (like the majority of my students) begin to admit their hatred of non-Japanese (meaning, to them, non-Yamatos) and want Gaijin out of Japan!

    Although they realize I am clearly in the Gaijin group, they think that by currently focusing on “Koreans out, Chinese out” it somehow makes their crazy stance acceptable, with the inference that “You white Americans are better, you’re OK, you’re a useful house-gaijin helping us pass the Eiken English Test, you can stay… (for now.)”

    Notice in the propaganda written “BY the Yamato People FOR the Yamato People”, the special race sentences:
    https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/大和民族
    https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/大和民族#生物学的考察
    https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/大和民族#父系
    https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/大和民族#母系
    https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/大和民族#分布

    Those deep racial sentences don’t appear much in the “Yamato People translation for foreign consumption” version:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamato_people

    How very “inscrutable”. I always disliked that word which was fed to those naïve gullible 1970s/1980s authors who brought Nihonjinron to the West with books which fooled my father into telling me “Japan is the most civilized culture in the world.”

    To me, describing the Japanese as “inscrutable” always seemed to have a double intention: to infer that the Japanese can’t be understood, AND to infer that the Japanese can’t be can’t be criticized.

    Recently, having taken the time to look deeply into the etymology of this no-doubt well-chosen buzz-word which attempts to hide all flaws of Japanese culture, I now am confident my initial suspicion of this word being used to “protect-Japanese-culture-from critique” was correct.

    See, everyone knows the “can’t be understood” synonyms of inscrutable: “enigmatic, mysterious, unreadable, inexplicable, unexplainable, incomprehensible, impenetrable, unfathomable, unknowable; opaque, abstruse, arcane, obscure, cryptic. The antonym being transparent.”

    But what most folks unconsciously fail to realize (and what I long felt viscerally, and recently confirmed consciously) is that the root of the word “inscrutable” is “in scrutari = not able to search through its TRASH (scruta).”

    Yep, so the conscious inference is that “You can’t understand Japanese culture, don’t even try” and the stealthy unconscious inference is that “You can’t criticize Japanese culture, don’t even try to search through the Japanese culture’s TRASH looking for problems. Japanese culture is non-scrutable. Inscrutable.”

    OK, OK, bringing my tangent back to the Japan Times article pointed out by Jim and the Asahi article translated by XY, yes absolutely, calling Permanent-Residents-of-Japan who happen to be ethnically-Korean “Illegal Immigrants” is absurd and incorrect.

    This recent Japanese push to “report Koreans born-in-Japan for deportation to Korea” is like if Americans were to push to “Report Blacks born-in-America for deportation to Africa!”

    “Report and deport those damn born-here descendants of slaves brought in forcefully from abroad long ago, kick the current generation of tax-paying law-abiding residents back to a ‘home’ they have never been to, based merely on their race. Yeah, call the hotline. Send ’em back!”

    Absolutely absurd.

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ XY #18

    This story also shows how much so many Japanese believe the government endorses their racism.

    Reply
  • Yep,”members of this racist Japanese society are itching to leverage institutional force for perceived personal gain”- yep, thats why this type of little hitler, or nosy neighborhood oyaji etc, is probably Abe’s demographic.

    They want to be empowered to lord over NJs. Its been going on since the 80s, you’d get some small eikaiwa boss threatening any behavior he (usually a he) didnt like with “a call to immigration- We Japanese have the right to deport “fumajime gaijin”.

    “Fumajime gaijin” just means any foreigner who does not obey his every (illegal) word. In 2005 some disgruntled salesman actually tried to do this to me- he want to the local koban and said I was “acting illegally” i.e. not dropping everything at work to serve him, but was quite chagrined when the police told him “it wasnt their department”.

    On the other hand, I wonder how I would have fared if he had known about the snitch site.
    BTW, his wife was an Asian NJ, and he hated whites, so that’s definitely a case of so-called white privilege not existing or backfiring!

    Thats on the micro level. I fear that on the macro level this means Japan is (in these peoples” minds) supposed to lord it over Asia,and although in practice now powerless to do so, it just means back on the micro level a certain male demographic Japanese to think they “own” Asian trainees, (and get extremely peeved when I-as the whiteman- was with e.g. a Filipina/Thai GF, but I digress although quite a few of the “Japanese only” bars Debito has cataloged are in fact full of NJ hostesses brought in “for” the Japanese).

    This has happened before, under the name of “Co-Prosperity Sphere.”

    Reply
  • Anonymous says:

    @Baudrillard

    Yes, that phrase “不真面目外人(Fumejime Gaijin)” is the Japanese way of saying “Uppity N*gger.” Another sickening phrase, here in Japan.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Fuji TV (again? Don’t they EVER learn?) makes talento is TV special wear a T-shirt that uses the word ‘honky’;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/28/national/calling-honky-gaffe-prone-fuji-tv-stumbles/

    Tellingly, they said that they just wanted to make the Japanese ‘本気’ ‘stand out’, and chose to spell it as ‘honky’, rather than ‘honki’, because they knew that ‘honky’ was a word in English.

    Clearly, they knew it was a word, but couldn’t be bothered to check it’s meaning, or if, having done so, couldn’t give a toss that it was a racial pejorative.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    So, the J-racists are blaming the British architect who designed the 2020 stadium for the cost over-runs caused by Abe’s economic policies (I guess it’s saves them having to stand up and actually articulate that they hate it because it was designed ‘by a foreign woman!’) started off by complaining that the design didn’t suit Japan’s ‘unique culture’, but the same people have got nothing to say when it comes to plagiarizing a Belgian Theater’s logo to use as the Tokyo Olympics logo;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/30/national/tokyo-olympics-emblem-said-look-similar-belgian-theater-logo/

    So much for ‘unique culture’ BS.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Re; me @ 25

    I notice that the TPP negotiations have fallen through. Nobody has said as much, but since Wikileaks are saying that the NSA was listening to Abe’s private briefings at his home, Abe must now be thinking that they have been spied on throughout the TPP discussions, and taken advantage of. Of course, Abe would never say that, since he’s trying to convince the J-public that the US is Japan’s friend, and Japan needs to help ‘put out the fire at America’s house’.

    And that’s more to the point. Today there is virtually no media coverage of the fact that Wikileaks is spilling the beans on NSA spying on Japan. Is this because the secrets about Japan that Wikileaks is revealing are covered by the secrecy law? You can read it in English on the internet, but the Japanese media can’t report on it?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    Hashimoto is feeling left out of this years guilt-trip fest with Abe hogging the right-wing limelight, so he’s decided to demonstrate how little he understands American democracy, and has sent a letter in behalf of Osaka, to San Francisco, to urge them to remove Korean Sex-slave memorial, or face the consequences of upsetting Japan!

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/11/national/history/osaka-send-letter-san-francisco-comfort-women-statue/

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Japanese women’s group, painting themselves as ‘victims of racial discrimination’, block Japanese Army sex-slave memorial in Australia;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/12/national/politics-diplomacy/australian-city-nixes-comfort-women-statue-osaka-urges-san-francisco-not-build-one/

    How sick a mentality must these Japanese women have to block a remembrance of Japan’s sex slaves because they believe that they themselves are being victimized? Shame on Australia for backing down.

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG, #29

    They are one of those right-wing activists employing a leftist strategy to promote their actions.
    Nadeshiko Action(Japanese Women for Justice and Peace) is nothing more than a sham. They are a product of ideological hypocrisy by using a fancy name to create a facade to cover their real activity–like Democrats for Education Reform, a right-wing pro-privatization group funded by billionaires, reformsters, and Republican leaders. JWJP has close ties with numerous right-wing cells, LDP leaders, and pro-Japanese hakujin gangs including Texas old fart Tonny Marano and a Wajin handler Kent Gilbert.

    http://nadesiko-action.org/?page_id=5151

    Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG, #29

    One more to add. I don’t think people organizing the group are mentally sick by nature. But, they are capable of exploiting and alienating culture of others based on race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. for their best interest to win “culture war.” Honestly, I am all in for the victims of comfort women. But we’ve got to be very careful when it comes to the ways it is addressed by activists who resort to instigation tactics for gaining personal attentions. Putting up a statue in front of city park somewhere out in foreign soil alone doesn’t gather people from both sides of the aisle for reconciling the past.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Loverilakkuma #33

    I disagree.
    Groups like the one I mentioned are proof that there can be no reconciliation through discussion. There can only be (IMHO) reconciliation forced by a campaign abroad to raise awareness of the issues abroad to the point where it makes Japan’s economy and international image ‘bleed’ due to the revisionism and denial. When Japanese understand that the world is repulsed by their attitudes on this issue, and can turn their back on Japan because they don’t have to ‘reach an understanding’, then Japan will accept the judgement of the Allies victory in the war of aggression that they started.
    No?

    Reply
  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Loverilakkuma,

    My apologies, I replied to your comment #33, but missed your comment # 31, which I agree with totally.

    Reply
  • A tangent on Blogs, is rather interesting from the beeb*:

    “..Is it the beginning of the end for online comments?..”

    “..To have comments, you have to be very active, and if you’re not incredibly active, what ends up happening is a mob can shout down all the other people on your site. In an environment that isn’t heavily curated it becomes about silencing voices and not about opening up voices…”

    “..There’s another category which is more difficult, which is people who didn’t read the article, but have some sort of personal agenda and a point to make. There’s always going to be people who have things to say which just aren’t productive…”

    *http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-33963436

    Reply

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