Japan Times JBC 90: “Claiming the right to be Japanese AND more”, Aug 3, 2015


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Hi Blog.  Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting to my next Japan Times JBC Column 90, disputing the discourse that people 1) have to “look Japanese” in order to be “Japanese”, and 2) cannot be Japanese AND something else (such as a different nationality, “race”, or ethnicity).  I make the case that many things such as these, once ascribed from birth, are now a matter of personal choice — and that person must claim it (in the face of constant identity policing) in order to own it.

As noted in the column, this think piece is grounded in a debate I had earlier this month regarding an incident with a bank teller in Canada who expressed incredulity at me having a Japanese passport.  Thanks for making it the most-read article on the JT Online for two days again this month.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

PS:  Sneak preview of the article’s illustration, by Adam Pasion:



Claiming the right to be Japanese AND more

By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
JUST BE CAUSE column 90 for the Japan Times Community Page
August 3, 2015

“A Japanese passport? You don’t look Japanese.”

I get this all the time. Understandably: Most people don’t expect a Caucasian to have Japanese citizenship.

It’s just a shame they so carelessly articulate their surprise. No matter where I go, a natural curiosity about my background soon turns into vocalized judgment.

“What an unusual name. Where are you from?”
Me: “Japan” (or, “Born in the U.S., lived in Japan,” if I’m feeling chatty).
Their most common response: “But you don’t look Japanese.”

Or Customs and Immigration at any border: “What’s with the Japanese passport?”
“I’m a naturalized Japanese citizen.”
Again, “You don’t look Japanese.” (That’s the milder reaction. In Jamaica, officials took my passport around the office for a laugh. In the U.S., they rendered me to secondary for a few hours of waiting and inquisition until I missed my next flight. Seriously.)

Trying to dodge these questions by saying “It’s a long story” often doesn’t cut it. (American official: “Oh? We’ve got time.”) Having to school everyone about my background on a daily basis gets tiring, and biting my lip through many an intrusive and sometimes humiliating experience leaves psychological “triggers” after a while.

I realized that last month on vacation in Canada, when a bank teller asked for my ID. Passport presented, out it popped: “It’s funny you have a Japanese passport. You don’t look Japanese.” I snapped back: “Let’s not go there. Lose the racism and complete the transaction.”

Afterwards, I asked the teller (an Asian gentleman), “How would you like it if you produced a Canadian passport and I said, ‘That’s funny; you don’t look Canadian’?” He said, not much, and apologized.

There are a few important details to this story I don’t have space for (see www.debito.org/?p=13381), but the conclusion was that the manager sent the teller home for the day (a surprise to me, as I never asked for any sanction) and then invited me to his office for a chat.

“I understand your frustration,” said the manager, “because I am Metis.” He was referring to his official minority status in Canada as a descendent of First Nation aboriginals and colonial settlers.

“I hate it when people I’m doing business with tell me that I don’t ‘look Metis,’ even after I show my status card.” He said that this kind of behavior was unacceptable at his bank, and in Canada.

Refreshed by this experience, I blogged and Facebooked about this no-nonsense zero tolerance. And then the topic blew up in my face.

Some readers wrote in to say I had overreacted. Instead of jumping straight to “racism,” I could have defused things with a quick explanation of my background or a joke.

Others said that I was defying common sense. A white guy with a Japanese passport expecting no surprise? Unreasonable. (Surprise I do expect. Vocalizing that surprise in a professional setting and calling a customer’s identity “funny” is problematic.)

The critics that really got my goat were those that expressed disgust at my acting so “un-Japanese” (as in, not avoiding conflict) and went on say that, to them, I no longer qualified as a Japanese. (I unfriended them because that’s pretty thoughtless. By their logic, I could murder somebody and still qualify, since some Japanese do murder.)

The most interesting argument accused me of exercising my “white privilege”: “You get to be white and Japanese? You’ve taken this too far!” I had victimized the Asian teller because I had the power in this relationship as a white in Canada’s white-dominated society. (The critic’s thoughtful essay and my answer are archived at www.debito.org/?p=13404.)

For the record, I don’t doubt the existence of white privilege. (You can even find an example on our Community pages: Gregory Clark’s Dec. 4, 2014 “Kick out the touts who rule Roppongi” Foreign Agenda column.) I acknowledge that I have received advantageous treatment worldwide due to my lighter skin color and white background.

But the two of us parted paths at the point where the critic said I could not be “white and Japanese.” I do not believe that they are mutually exclusive. (Neither does Japan: In apartheid South Africa, Japan successfully lobbied to be Japanese and “honorary whites”.)

I’m Japanese and white because I earned it — through decades of study and self-education, acculturation, living and contributing to Japanese society, dedication and sacrifice (including my American citizenship and even my very name), and close scrutiny by the Japanese government of my “Japaneseness” in ways not seen in other countries’ naturalization processes.

I am certifiably Japanese because the Japanese government says I am, and they gave me a tough test to prove it. I am not Japanese but white. I’m claiming the “and.”

So why write a column about this? After all, I got myself onto this sticky wicket by naturalizing into a country with few “non-Asian-looking” citizens.

Because this goes beyond me. What about the people who didn’t have a choice — like our Japanese kids?

It shouldn’t be an issue. They are Japanese children, full stop. And they can be something else yet 100 percent Japanese. It’s not a zero-sum game. (That’s why I am not a fan of the term hāfu.) I say claim the “and.” For them.

Mountains out of molehills? OK, how will you react the 100th time (or the fifth time in a day) that you hear, “Oh, what cute gaijin kids!” Will you stand idly by when people openly doubt your kids’ identity as they grow up and risk being denied equal opportunities in society?

We’re fully formed adults — we can take these sucker punches — but kids need someone in their corner, pushing for their right to be diverse yet belong.

The push must happen until the point where the surprise is switched around — into shock at someone daring to imply that a citizen or resident with a surprising background is not a “real” or “normal” member of society.

Admittedly, careless comments from individuals are not something you can immediately fix, but alienating attitudes about people’s identities should not be expressed in a corporate or official capacity. To anyone. Anywhere. That’s where the push starts.

Don’t get me wrong: People can think what they like. But if they articulate thoughts inaccurate, unkind or alienating about us or the people we care for, we should reserve the right to push back accordingly — and not succumb to the majoritarian identity policing that goes on everywhere.

But let’s come down from ideals and return to the bank counter. The main issue there was not the law of averages determining “normal” or “triggers” or “privilege.” It was one of self-identification.

Pause for a second and take stock of where things are going these days: Somebody can self-identify as Japanese and African-American, and represent Japan at the Miss Universe contest (like Ariana Miyamoto). Or be male and then female or vice versa (like Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox and Lana Wachowsky). Or be LGBT and married. Or, like Rachel Dolezal, be white and “culturally black” enough to head a chapter of America’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

A future is emerging where the major social statuses assigned us from birth — e.g., gender, “race,” nationality, even ethnicity — are breaking down. They can be a matter of personal choice.

That’s a good thing. With the unprecedented porosity of international borders nowadays, the notion of a “normal” person is ever eroding. That’s why I believe that anyone should be allowed to shape, control and, yes, claim their own identity.

Now, you might think that Japan, the island society, is unaffected by these trends. I would disagree. As I describe in my forthcoming book, “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination,” the pressure of Japan’s aging demographics is unrelenting. If Japan cannot get over the conceit of having to “look Japanese” to be treated as one, then it cannot make “new Japanese,” and the country will continue to sink into an insolvent economic abyss.

Thus, if our Japanese kids cannot self-identify, hundreds of thousands of them (eventually millions, as people continue mixing) will spend their lives having their identities policed back into being “foreign,” not fitting in when they should be welcomed for all their potential as individuals with more worldly insights.

Let’s knock off the identity policing. Stop telling people who they are. Let them tell us. Let them claim the “and.”


Debito’s 20-year-old historical archive of life and human rights in Japan is at www.debito.org. Twitter @arudoudebito. Just Be Cause appears in print on the first Monday Community Page of the month. Your comments and story ideas: community@japantimes.co.jp


17 comments on “Japan Times JBC 90: “Claiming the right to be Japanese AND more”, Aug 3, 2015

  • Hey Debito, your most recent article specifically, and your life work in general, inspired a little song:

    “I have a dream, one day all children in Japan will be able to say, I grew up in Japan so I am Japanese.”

    Nippon no ZENnin ga, yattou chanto futsuu ni ieru you ni. Tashikani.
    Ware ware wa, ZENnin, Wakai-Generation-Nippon-jin, da yo. Yo, check it.
    Nippon no daiji na Zeikin-o-Haratteiru-Juumin ga totemo hitsuyou da yo. Kangaete mi?
    Zutto tsuzukeru you ni, tetsudai suru hito ippai ga hitsuyou. Juumin ZENnin kansha to sonkei.

    Mazu, fukuzatsu na shitsumon, mainen, heikin, Nippon no zeikin ga, ikura chanto haratteiru ka?
    Soshite niban no shitsumon, zembu de, ima made, Nippon no zeikin ga, ikura haratta koto aru no?
    Kono futatsu no shitsumon wa hontou ni hitsuyou, Nippon-o-tetsudai-shiteiru no shoumei ni naru zo.
    Joudan ja nai yo, 25 nen kan ijou no gen sen ga saifu ni haireru yo, mite ore ga chanto kochi aru yo.

    Parasaito ja nai yo, dakara jibun no hataraiteiru to haratteiru koto ni tsuite, yoi puraido ga aru yo,
    soshite soiyu “mukashi ni, watashi no yayoi no ojiisan ga nanka yatta” no puraido ga mou zen zen imi nai,
    soiyu furui na “jomon-yayoi-kombi-jinshu ga, mukashi ni erai koto shita” no jinshu puraido ga zen zen tsukaenai,
    IMA no Nippon o IMA tasukeru tami ni, IMA no watashi-tachi wa, kyou donna puraido dekiru na shigoto o shiteimasuka?

    Hai, zeikin harau na shigoto, to kodomo wo sodatsu na shigoto, to toshi ue no hito no sewa na shigoto, zenbu ga yoi yo,
    tabemono kankei no shokubutsu sodatsu to doubutsu sodatsu na shigoto, ouchi o tsukuru no shigoto, sore mo zenbu ga yoi yo,
    kantan to ieba, ii mokuteki ari, Nippon Juumin no mainichi heikin seikatsu o motto shiawase ni naru kanousei fueru na shigoto, danbe,
    dekiru dake jikkyu jisoku, dekiru dake nipponsei o katte, jibun no mago no mago no mago ga ii jinsei nareru you ni, yoku kangaeyou. Yo.

    Soshite furui na baka na machigai o yameyou, daredemo okoru sa, ii wake nai na, kaisha yaru to zettai moukaranai, yurusenai jinshu-no-kubetsu da yo,
    Amerika wa 1964 nen kara jinshu-no-kubetsu ga chanto ihou ni shita, soshite Nippon wa 1995 nen ni kokuren ni houritsu tsukuru no yakusoku mou shita,
    desu no de, yattou futsuu ni, zen first-world kuni to onajimi ni, chanto tsuyoi batsu tsuki jinshu-no-kubetsu ihou ni shou, chanto Juumin o mamoru ni,
    Juumin ZENnin wa onaji hitsuyousa ga ari, daiji na zeikin-o-haratteiru-jinkou, zutto tsuzukeru you ni, jinshu-no-kubetsu ga chanto batsu tsuki ihou ni.

    Burakumin-Jinshu, Ryuukyuu-Jinshu, Ainu-Jinshu, Hakujin-Kokujin-Ajiajin-Jinshu, Haafu-Jinshu, Zembu-no-Jinshu, Jinshu-no-kubetsu o tadachi ni yameyou.
    Burakumin-Jinshu, Ryuukyuu-Jinshu, Ainu-Jinshu, Hakujin-Kokujin-Ajiajin-Jinshu, Haafu-Jinshu, Zembu-no-Jinshu, Nippon-Juumin-Team o tadachi ni hajimeyou.
    Donna jinshu kadouka, mou doudemo ii. Jinshu-kubetsu ga yattou, OWARI. Tetsudai suru hito, ippai hoshii. Nippon no tetsudai suru to, anata wa Nippon-jin.
    Zenbu-no-jinshu ga onaji hitsuyousa, onaji zeikin, onaji gimu, onaji kenri, onaji Nippon no tetsudai suru node, Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin, KANSHA to SONKEI. 🙂

    Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin, aru hito wa Nippon umare, aru hito wa Nippon sodatte, aru hito wa Nippon ni kita bakari, soshite minasan wa Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin Team.
    Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin, aru hito wa Nippon Shutokusha, aru hito wa Gaikoku Shutokusha, soshite minasan wa onaji zeikin o haratteiru Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin Team.
    Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin, aru hito wa motto JomonDNA, aru hito wa motto YayoiDNA, aru hito wa motto HokanoDNA, soshite minasan wa Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin Team.
    Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin, aru hito wa tabemono tsukuru, aru hito wa ouchi tsukuru, aru hito wa ningen o sewa suru, soshite minasan wa Nippon-Juumin-ZENnin Team. 🙂

  • I asked my eldest son,
    “What does this song suggest we do?”
    He replied, “Kouhei ni naru.” Kouhei means Fairness; Impartiality; Justice.
    So today I learned a positive word to state what action is needed: simply “Kouhei” 公平 Fairness.
    Hmm, the Equality=Balance character 平 appears in both Fairness (Kouhei 公平) and Peace (Heiwa 平和).
    Ah, as well-stated by the wailers, who sang that Equal Rights & Justice are absolute prerequisites for Peace.

    In the case of the song above, the motivational-factor was changed from “No Justice, No Peace” to “Equality is Profitable.”

    “Equality is Profitable, meaning that since more happy workers are absolutely essential for the current lifestyle to continue, hey majority wake up and get smart for your own survival, for Japan to survive and thrive, Japan must finally legally obey the CERD Treaty Japan signed in 1995 and better-late-than-never publicly announce to the world that Japan has finally legislated in 2015 a law with penalties which must be enforced preventing the crime of Jinshu-Kubetsu.”

    Yes we are fully aware that most folks currently hide behind the assumed-and-implied “benevolence” of the word kubetsu. Kubetsu is a non-benevolent word which carries with it the false-pretense that kubetsu is somehow benevolent, unrelated to sabetsu, and legal.

    Sabetsu of course is wrongly defined by the average person as “you know, slavery and basically slavery, what whites did to blacks back in the day, an action which by very definition Japanese people have never done, and thus sabetsu doesn’t occur in Japan, haha, it can’t occur here, I don’t know how far that 1964 Civil Rights Act in America legislates, I don’t understand all that talk about every human having an equal right to be treated the same as the majority race in each land, I don’t understand all that philosophy talk, I just know that here in Japan we literally can’t do sabetsu, check the definition, because we are the Japanese race not the white race, so why do you foreigners and foreign-looking-people-who-managed-to-get-Japanese-citizenship(but-I’m-still-not-going-to-treat-you-as-I-treat-a-REAL-Japanese-person,ha) why do you all keep stating that we Japanese are doing sabetsu against you here in Japan, we keep replying that according to our unofficial street definition of racial discrimination entitled sabetsu, Japanese literally can NOT ever be guilty of racial discrimination entitles sabetsu. We only do proper kubetsu.”

    Which leads us to kubetsu. Kubetsu of course is wrongly defined by the average person as “well, one NEEDS to use proper discriminating discernment when it comes to differing in actions we take, it is a necessary step in operational procedure, when we see applicants or customers who appear to be a minority race in this land, we should not and can not treat them the same as we treat someone who appears to be of the racial Japanese majority. Treating everyone the same would be absurd. The best treatment is for racially “pure” Japanese appearance folks, a second treatment for racially “haafu” Japanese appearance folks, a third treatment for racially “NON-Japanese” appearance folks. We do our best to differentiate between people using physical appearance, and if needed taking into account accent and even fashion, when trying to guess what level of race and thus what level of treatment to provide. See, we are simply using racial appearance for treatment differentiation, and we call this kubetsu. We are being discriminating. Kubetsu is GOOD racial-discrimination. Sabetsu is BAD racial-discrimination. We don’t do sabetsu. We only do kubetsu. Kubetsu is good.”

    So, most racial discriminators hide behind the “kubetsu” word, when committing acts of racial discrimination.
    Which is why, notice in my song, I strictly hammer in the point that Jinshu-KUBETSU is the act outlawed worldwide.
    This phrase connects the “Race” with the “Discrimination” and makes racial discriminators properly embarrassed of Jinshu-Kubetsu.
    No more pretending kubetsu is OK. No more attempting to hide from the awfulness of sabetsu in this semantic “kubetsu” word camp.
    This song matter-of-factly walks right into the “kubetsu” camp and announces Jinshu-no-KUBETSU is illegal worldwide. Boom! Reality.

    Japan is the country that MOST needs to attract and keep a high number of satisfied tax-paying worker residents, for Japan to survive and thrive: according even to former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau Hidenori Sakanaka executive director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, a vital first goal is 10 million extra tax-paying worker residents through a synergistic-influx-policy.

    So for Japan to survive and thrive, for the average resident of Japan to increase his chances of having a good life as well as his family into the future, Japan must now prove to the world that Japan is a good place for tax-paying worker residents to choose, and the only way to convince the internet savvy observers is to publicly announce that Japan has finally legislated in 2015 a law with penalties which must be enforced preventing the crime of Jinshu-Kubetsu.

    Enacting and enforcing this 2015 Jinshu-Kubetsu-Batsu Legislation is the most effective known way for the group of soon-to-be 100-million elderly-people-in-Japan to attract and satisfy an influx of 10 million or 20 million extra tax-paying worker residents (that’s just 10% to 20% of the total population, meaning 80% of the Japanese majority race will firmly remain the majority race, so for those who desire racial purity, whatever that is, it still remains far higher than most other countries, so relax racial purists, 80% Yayoi heavy will still remain as the majority) and thus by 2040 an estimated 15% of Japan’s residents will have various DNA mixes, ALL-Jinshus deserving equal legal protection from the out-dated, un-profitable, murahachibu-era, worldwide-outlawed-act, of Jinshu-kubetsu.

    So yeah, there is a reason why the Jinshu-Kubestu-Batsu Legislation is being recommended, for the benefit of all Japanese residents.

    PS – Here’s the link to Debito’s article: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/08/02/issues/claiming-right-japanese

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Anonymous, #3&4,

    As always, you are shooting the lines of bullets at the board of “inflexible,” “unchangeable” Japanese cultural/legal norms. But the article is about cultural stereotype toward persons who choose to become naturalized Japanese citizen. To most people, becoming a Japanese citizen involves many tradeoffs including but not limited to surrendering a passport, and giving up residency/properties of your first country. They are still subject to mail delivery sent from their home country (if the Japanese immigration customs find something suspicious, you will have a high chance of being getting arrested by the authority). But more than that, they will also have to pay close attention to the immigration customs of foreign country like the US, UK, or Canada when they travel outside Japan under Japanese passport. Especially, the US immigration Customs is notorious for dragging passengers’ feet, excessively long process for entrance and time-consuming airport security check toward both citizens and non-citizens. I wouldn’t be surprised that Debito gets caught at the USCIS interrogation for his conversion of citizenship–since the US is getting much more sensitive toward a growing number of citizens who choose to ‘opt out’ for denaturalization, eyeing on those who try to leave for Canada, Mexico, or elsewhere for tax dodging. I know the issues most of us here discuss primarily concern the interest on Japan or Japanese society, but the article will open up the floodgate that forces us to tackle general perception of “becoming Japanese (through legal means)” beyond home soil.

  • Another interesting and excellent article!

    But don’t you get pissed off by the usual suspects continually attacking you in the JT comments? Doesn’t seem to matter what you write about, out comes the mostly inappropriate comments. Or have you grown one hell of a thick skin that you just don’t care?

    — Obviously they take no notice of what I say. So I’m not going to care what they say. They could just ignore me. But the fact they can’t, every time, is indicative of how insecure they are about their position.

  • One important first goal is that all Japanese citizens become recognized as Japanese, let’s end jinshu-kubetsu.

    A second larger goal is that all Japanese tax payers become recognized as Japanese, let’s end kokuseki-kubetsu.

    Debito’s most recent article focuses on the former worthy goal, and at the same time we care about the latter worthy goal too.

    The song above as it evolved originally started with various-DNA born-in-Japan folks basically saying “We’re Japanese”.
    In which case it would have matched Debito’s article better. But somehow I felt compelled to extend it slightly further.

    First off, yes, we want all Japanese-Passport-Holders to be treated as worthy of equal kouhei treatment as all Japanese people receive.

    Secondly, we also want all Japanese-Tax-Paying-RESIDENTS to be treated as worthy of equal kouhei treatment as all Japanese people receive.

    So yes, as observed, the “We’re Japanese” definition was expanded slightly further than normal, to include every human helping Japan survive. 🙂

  • For example, millions of tax-paying residents are due to country left unprotected from the law violation of companies employing the person 30 hours or more yet refusing to enter the human into the shakai hoken “50% paid by company, required by law” health insurance, and these victims are thus illegally forced pay 100% out of their own pocket Kokuho instead, millions of victims of shakai-hoken-avoiding companies, yet most folks don’t care about these millions of victims because they lack a Japanese passport. No companies get penalized financially by the Roudoushou. So no companies feel it worthwhile to obey the shakai-hoken-registration laws when it comes to THE-WRONG-NATIONALITY-human-who-pays-equal-taxes-but-doesn’t-get-equal-protection-of-the-labor-and-shakai-hoken-laws. So yeah, I care about those folks too, in addition to the other-DNA Japanese not being respected as Japanese. Let’s expand our bubble of care as much as possible, to include all humans in Japan, paying taxes, helping this country survive. 🙂

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I have to admit that I’m taking kind of a back seat on this issue. I’m not sure I know enough about Canada and it’s issues. I’ll support the Doctor on the matter in any way I can, and I agree that however people feel about the in’s and out’s of slamming him for being white & Japanese, he’s got all critics by the b*lls when it comes to the matter of how our children are treated. And for me, that’s the important part.

    You see, I didn’t know Japan had socially backwards, Imperialistic world-view, institutional and casual racism as the norm when I first came here; I believed the lie that Japan tells the world about being a modern, democratic, liberal, international kind of place. Now, that lie has been fully exposed in my eyes, and I can see what a hopeless mess Japan is. I am too white, and always will be. Even if I naturalized, I don’t have Japanese blood, and in this antediluvian bumbling illogical mess of a society, that will always be the lowest common denominator AND the denominator of first-resort.

    I know this. I support activists in their attempt to change Japan, but when Abe’s black-shirts come, I live safe in the knowledge that I’ll be first on the plane out of here.

    But the children!

    My kids don’t have the choice. Nor should they have to suffer having the choice made for them or taken away from them.

    Fact; there will be more and more legally Japanese children of mixed nationality parentage in the future. I think (like I think that my kids will) that these children, upon realizing that they will be marginalized for their whole lives and that Japan hasn’t ‘got used’ to the idea of children of international marriages (the excuse often used thus far), that these children will turn their backs on Japan and explore the other aspect of their heritage that’s allows them to define themselves.

    This will be yet only one more factor that increases the rate of Japan’s decline; we have talked here before about the fact that international couples are having more children than ‘pure’ ‘yamato only’ couples.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Oh, BTW Dr., the stalker site is proposing to contact anyone one/organization that wants to speak to you/wants you to speak to them, and harass/intimidate them into changing their mind;


    (screen cap available on request).

    This is a perfect example of NJ apologists learning to silence freedom of the press by watching Japanese right-wingers and acting in an identical way. What’s next? The Japanese right-wingers send out bullets, are they gonna do that?

  • @snowman,

    Ive noticed that as well; its the same attackers and trolls who post the same hate everytime. Look, I dont agree with everything Dr. Debito says or does, but I never have had the urge to attack or stalk, thats coming from a weird place. Debate is the answer, or if Dr. Debito is firm or arrogant on his position, then its his right. Afterall, who amoungst us are out there speaking up about this very real stuff? Got to salute the Dr. for seeing that weirdness for what it is and pressing on.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    @JDG, #8

    >I think (like I think that my kids will) that these children, upon realizing that they will be marginalized for their whole lives and that Japan hasn’t ‘got used’ to the idea of children of international marriages (the excuse often used thus far), that these children will turn their backs on Japan and explore the other aspect of their heritage that’s allows them to define themselves.

    That’s exactly what I thought about. Unlike parents, kids learn how their life looks like as they grow up being exposed to racial/cultural baggage and become distrustful of Japanese society, if not nation as a whole.

  • @JDG *9

    Blimey, that site is full of some seriously disturbed, hate-filled weirdos. Creepy, creepy people. I’ve seen them on JT having a go at Debito but I had no idea they were that bad. Yeesh.

  • one thing that really annoys me at immigration at all the airports in japan is the guy standing at the entrance and deciding just by looking at peoples faces which way to send them.
    not only is it wrong(even if you are non-japanese,the japan resident foreigners and automatic gate location is next to the japanese passport control not the foreigners) but its clearly racist.
    my sons who entered separately from myself,although japanese were told ” foreigners” and directed to the foreigners area by this guy who based the decision just by looking at their faces.its the same at all the airports in japan ive entered so its obviously a standard policy.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Acwallace, don’t let that guy push you around. When he gestures towards the tourist/visitor line, just keep walking to the re-entry line (or whichever one applies to you) and point at it while looking back at him. A gentle reminder that he judged you wrongly. and he’s not going to physically grab you and push you the other way.

  • M.I.Y #15

    That is precisely what I do. I ignore the toddo that is looking at me and indicating the long tourist/foreigner section line, and just keep walking to the re-entry line. He usually then asks me..are you re-entering (no i thought i would use this line as a laugh because it’s shorter!!) and just calmly say – of course – or if they are rude i continue to ignore them and walk on.

  • thanks mark ,john -that is what I do-but I find it incredible that in the 21st century they have a system where a guy judges peoples nationality by looking at their faces.


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