DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2, 2015

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DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2, 2015

Table of Contents:

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THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE FOR NJ WITH THE REACTIONARY-NATIONALIST ABE ADMINISTRATION

2) Discussion: Abe rams through Japan’s new security guidelines: How will this affect NJ and Visible Minorities in Japan?
3) Japan Times: Govt “Snitch Sites” being used to target Zainichi Koreans for harassment
4) Kyodo: “Overseas work, study seen as negative point for hiring anyone handling state secrets” Such as multiethnic Japanese?
5) Mainichi: “Not Japanese Enough?” Bog-standard article about Miss Japan Miyamoto Ariana’s fight against racial discrim in Japan, not in Japanese for J-audience

MISCELLANY

6) Update to Canada bank racism issue: Fascinating FB conversation gets me to capitulate
7) “Gaikokujin ja arimasen: An Analysis of the Interactive Construction and Contestation of Being a Foreigner in Japan”, an academic paper by Dr. Cade Bushnell analyzing the conversation I had with Yunohana management during Otaru Onsen Case

… and finally …

8 ) Japan Times Just Be Cause 89, “Media redraw battle lines in bid for reach”, on Fuji network’s acquisition of Japan Today.com, July 6, 2015
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By Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
Freely Forwardable

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THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE FOR NJ WITH THE REACTIONARY-NATIONALIST ABE ADMINISTRATION

2) Discussion: Abe rams through Japan’s new security guidelines: How will this affect NJ and Visible Minorities in Japan?

What’s happening these days in Japan under PM Abe, i.e., the ramming of new security guidelines through the Diet, will have ripple effects for years, particularly in terms of Japan’s legislative practices and constitutional jurisprudence. Not since the days of Abe’s grandfather doing much the same thing, ramming through the US-Japan Security Treaty more than five decades ago (which also did remarkable damage to Japan as a civil society), have recent policy measures been given the potential to undermine the rule of law in Japan. And I say this with all the disappointment of a Japanese citizen, voter, and Japanophile. The Japanese Government has truly shamed itself as a proponent of its own civilization, and its short-sighted voting public has done too little too late to prevent a self-entitled single-minded person as awful as Abe being given a second crack at governance (this time with a majority in both parliamentary houses, no less).

Debito.org, with its focus on life and human rights in Japan as relates to NJ and Visible Minorities, isn’t really in a position to comment on this until it becomes clear how these policy outcomes will affect them. Right now, all can say is that I told you this would happen. Consider my record in real time in my previous Japan Times columns on the rise of Abe and Japan’s looming remilitarization (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). Meanwhile, I’m not one to speculate further without more concrete evidence.

Speculation, however, can be your job. What do Debito.org Readers think the future is for NJ and Visible Minorities under this new Japan where fundamentally-pacifist policy underpinnings are being undermined and circumvented? (We can see the forthcoming attitudes within LDP propaganda very sharply critiqued by Colin P.A. Jones recently in The Japan Times.) Your turn to crystal-ball. Opening this up for discussion:

http://www.debito.org/?p=13416

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3) Japan Times: Govt “Snitch Sites” being used to target Zainichi Koreans for harassment

In the previous blog entry, I pondered aloud a future Japan after the rule of law and the Japanese Constitution is further eroded for the sake of reactionary nationalism. Under Debito.org’s purview, without clearer evidence I wasn’t able to speculate how this would affect NJ residents of Japan. Now there is some evidence (which was brought up elsewhere on Debito.org within Comments starting from here) within a Japan Times article excerpted below.

Not all that long ago, NJ residents of Japan were basically seen as misunderstood guests. As I describe in great detail in my upcoming book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (out in November), thanks to GOJ campaigns in the 2000s the narrative officially shifted to seeing NJ as a source of crime, illegal overstaying, infectious diseases, and terrorism.

As can be seen in the JT article, this attitude has percolated down to the interpersonal level. Again, not that long ago, Japanese in general were quite unaware that NJ had to carry “Gaijin Cards” 24-7 or face arrest, detention, and financial penalty (many I talked to were even more flabbergasted when they realized that NJ fingerprinting — the hallmark of criminal tracking in Japan — was once involved).

This has clearly changed: anonymous xenophobes-cum-bullies empowered by the Internet are now aware enough of NJs’ vulnerable status as something trackable by Gaijin Cards (thanks to official NJ-targeting campaigns such as this one, found in places like subway stations back in 2011) that they are now spreading false rumors about Gaijin Card conversion (from the ARC to the remotely-trackable Zairyuu Card) and visa overstaying (in this case targeting the Zainichi Korean “generational foreigners” ethnic minority in Japan). They are now “overwhelming Immigration” with “tips from bounty seekers”.

The kicker to this incident is that the internet bullies have been empowered by a system of “snitch sites” that the Japanese Government set up long ago (and Debito.org has long decried as incredibly open to abuse: see also here) to anonymously rat on any NJ based upon any reason whatsoever. Did the fools who set up this system really think that sooner or later this wouldn’t happen? What’s next, as Japan’s general public starts to get involved in this GOJ-sponsored “Gaijin Hunt”?

http://www.debito.org/?p=13421

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4) Kyodo: “Overseas work, study seen as negative point for hiring anyone handling state secrets” Such as multiethnic Japanese?

Continuing with this month’s theme of how a reactionary-nationalist Japan will treat its NJ and Visible Minorities in future, the article below is very indicative. Although I did refer to it in my end-year JT roundup of Japan’s Top Ten Human Rights Issues for 2014, somehow it escaped being properly archived on Debito.org as a single blog entry. So here it is: people with connections abroad will be considered a security risk and potentially be excluded from pubic service. No doubt that will include Japanese citizens with NJ roots. This is, in a word, odious.

Kyodo: The Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office has warned government offices before the new state secrecy law takes effect Wednesday that people who have studied or worked abroad have a higher risk of leaking secrets. […]

The documents presented by the intelligence and research office at a meeting with other government bodies in November 2011 state that the experience of attending schools overseas or foreign schools in Japan as well as working abroad or working for foreign companies “could be an opportunity to nurture a special feeling about foreign countries.”

The papers said such people “tend to be influenced by” approaches from foreign countries and there is a “risk” that they “prioritize the benefits of foreign countries and voluntarily leak secrets.”

http://www.debito.org/?p=13431

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5) Mainichi: “Not Japanese Enough?” Bog-standard article about Miss Japan Miyamoto Ariana’s fight against racial discrim in Japan, not in Japanese for J-audience

I’ve been withholding comment on the very good news about Miyamoto Ariana’s ascension to the role of Miss Japan, and for the role that she is taking on of her own volition to fight “racial discrimination” (yes, explicitly jinshu sabetsu — something that the J-media generally refuses to even acknowledge exists in Japan). What I’ve been waiting for is how the J-media (as opposed to the predictable reaction from the J-xenophobes) would react to her activism. And here’s a good example from the Mainichi Shinbun: (A few comments follow the article.)

Mainichi: At first glance, Ariana Miyamoto does not look like an ordinary Japanese woman. But the 21-year-old model and former bartender speaks the language like a native and thinks and acts like a typical Japanese her age. In March, she became the first mixed race contestant to be crowned “Miss Universe Japan,” but not everyone cheered the result…

Debito: Okay, a few points: 1) The opening paragraph, where the article says, “But the 21-year-old model and former bartender speaks the language like a native and thinks and acts like a typical Japanese her age.” Well, she IS a native speaker of Japanese, and she IS a typical Japanese her age. Because she IS a Japanese. 100%. Even she says so. Front-loading the articles to reinforce the narrative that she isn’t a Japanese because she has mixed roots is one major problem in this unnecessary debate about Miyamoto-san’s identity…

http://www.debito.org/?p=13425

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MISCELLANY

6) Update to Canada bank racism issue: Fascinating FB conversation gets me to capitulate

A couple of weeks ago, shortly before bedtime when I was tired and on vacation, I tossed off a blog entry on Debito.org about my recent experience with what I considered to be racism towards me at a Canadian bank for not having a passport that matched the bank teller’s expectation of phenotype. In other words, the teller said my having a Japanese passport was “funny” to him, as I didn’t “look Japanese”.

This was quickly dealt with in a way that I had never seen done in, for example, Japan (where this behavior would in my experience be explained away as a cultural misunderstanding, oversensitivity on my part, etc.). In Canada, the manager intervened, and (unbeknownst to us at the time) sent the teller home. The manager, who happened to be a minority in Canada, then said he well understood my distaste for identity policing of this ilk. In sum, the blog post was to give kudos to Canadian society for stopping this sort of thing in its tracks.

I had thought this was a pretty summary case, and wrote it up as such. However, I had no idea that it would blow up in my face. So much so that I had to add an addendum to the post from a person accompanying me to that bank, filling in a number of things I hadn’t bothered to mention — such as the fact that we called the manager because we had a separate issue of business that needed a manager’s attention, and the teller in fact interfered with that request, and more. This blog post is to archive the essence of a very informative discussion on my Facebook that was occasioned by that blog entry. The discussion cleaved into several quite distinct camps, essentially:

http://www.debito.org/?p=13404

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7) “Gaikokujin ja arimasen: An Analysis of the Interactive Construction and Contestation of Being a Foreigner in Japan”, an academic paper by Dr. Cade Bushnell analyzing the conversation I had with Yunohana management during Otaru Onsen Case

The landmark Otaru Onsens Case of “Japanese Only” signs continues to reverberate more than a decade later. Dr. Cade Bushnell of the University of Tsukuba kindly sent me the following notification of a research article he wrote, based upon a taped conversation I had with exclusionary management at Onsen Yunohana back in 2000, which precipitated the famous lawsuit. Please have a read, especially if you are interested in the field of Conversation Analysis.

Gaikokujin ja Arimasen (I’m Not a Foreigner):
An Analysis of the Interactive Construction and Contestation of Being a Foreigner in Japan
Cade BUSHNELL University of Tsukuba, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Associate professor
Journal of International and Advanced Japanese Studies, University of Tsukuba, Vol. 7, March 2015

Abstract (excerpt): In the present research, I examine a service encounter between a Caucasian Japanese national, his two friends, and the racially Japanese staff of a public bath house in Japan. In the analysis, I use conversation analysis and membership categorization analysis to examine the specific ways in which the participants co-construct the categories of Japanese and foreigner, how they constitute the category Japanese as being bound to differential sets of attributes, rights, legal statuses, and so forth, and how they treat these mutually different categorical constitutions as being problematic for assembling the real-world activity of using the bath house facilities. I also consider how the sequential and categorial aspects of the talk jointly work to make the interaction visible as being a dispute as the participants align to or contest categories in their interaction.

Link to full text follows:

http://www.debito.org/?p=13397

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… and finally …

8 ) Japan Times Just Be Cause 89, “Media redraw battle lines in bid for reach”, on Fuji network’s acquisition of Japan Today.com, July 6, 2015

Opening paragraphs: Something significant happened in April that attracted only desultory press coverage, so let’s give it some more. GPlus Media Co., which operates English-language websites Japan Today and GaijinPot, was sold to Fuji TV-Lab, a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings Inc. The Fuji Media group has the Fuji Television Network under its wing, as well as the conservative daily Sankei Shimbun as an affiliate.

This matters to Japan’s resident non-Japanese (NJ) communities. Fuji TV was recently caught fabricating subtitles falsely quoting South Korean commenters as “hating Japan” (Japan Times, June 29). That’s an incredibly dishonest thing for a nationwide broadcaster to do, especially when it may have a nasty impact on Japan’s Korean minorities.

However, the Sankei Shimbun as a newspaper I believe is no less nasty. Over the past 15 years, for example, they have run articles grossly exaggerating foreign crime (see “Generating The Foreigner Crime Wave”, Japan Times, Oct. 4, 2002), a column claiming that Chinese had criminal “ethnic DNA” (May 8, 2001, written by regular columnist and former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro “let’s fight a war with China” Ishihara) and an opinion piece by Ayako Sono on Feb. 11 that praised the racial segregation of South African apartheid as a model for Japanese immigration policy. The Fuji-Sankei group offers pretty much unwavering support to the country’s right-wing causes and talking points. They are further right than the Yomiuri — and that’s saying something. Before I get to why we should care, let’s look briefly at the existing landscape of the nation’s English-language media…

http://www.debito.org/?p=13389

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That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!
Dr. ARUDOU, Debito (debito@debito.org, www.debito.org, Twitter @arudoudebito)
DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2, 2015 ENDS

12 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2, 2015

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Interesting article on Aichi prefectures struggle to integrate NJ;

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/24/national/aichi-meets-challenge-of-surge-in-non-japanese-students/

    Basically boils down to this;
    Japanese teacher explains that they made all these materials and resources in Portuguese for the Brazilians, but after Lehman’s shock, they all left (N.B. NOT they were all paid by the J-gov to go home) and now there are all these Filipinos here, and we need to do the whole thing all over again, translating it all into Tagalog (sigh), which is really a drag for us Japanese teachers.

    Anyone would think that these guys resented Filipinos for coming ‘over here’ and taking nasty ‘3K’ jobs away from Japanese people who (aren’t) desperate to do them! And hey, here’s a lightbulb moment, why not actually employ some Japanese as a second language capable Filipinos to run the classes, instead of Japanese teachers muddling along with a Filipino ALT doing all the translating for them?

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    In passing, but I just noticed that Blade Runner director Ridley Scott’s adaptation for Amazon of Phillip K. Dick’s ‘The Man in the High Castle’ is running with the tagline;

    ‘Freedom is under control’.

    This doesn’t appear anywhere in Dick’s alternative history book of 1962 America under Japanese/German rule, and I can only speculate that Scott (who swore never to go to Japan again after J-gov bureaucracy made it impossible to film street scenes) is playing games with Abe’s ‘Fukushima is under control’ speech.

    — I watched the pilot of that. Enjoyed it. Want more!

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Well, here’s an odd story…

    NJ ‘comic’ Jason Atsugiri was filming in Tsukiji fish market. During a break, he went to the toilet. While he was standing at the urinal, a Japanese guy comes in and tells him the toilet is ‘Japanese only’, but upon seeing Atsugiri’s face says ‘Oh, it’s ok, he’s famous’ to his associates outside.

    1. Jason Atsugiri is an American citizen named Jason Danielson, who is married to a Japanese national, and has been in Japan for 4 years.
    2. His ‘comedy’ routine consists of being a loud, wildly gesticulating foreigner, using broken Japanese to ask ‘Why Japanese………?’ questions that display his lack of cultural awareness, which makes him the butt of the jokes. Unfortunately, this is him playing an NJ stereotype that many Japanese want to believe is real, and no doubt his success stems from the fact that he is reinforcing a negative image of NJ that these Japanese want to believe in. This is problematical to say the least- it’s kind of like a black guy doing black-face.
    3. Since he’s famous as ‘the gaijin that proves gaijin are stupid’, he’s allowed to use the toilet as a reward (although, presumably NJ who don’t want to reinforce racist stereotypes continue to get the ‘Japanese only’ treatment).
    4. Jason then went on twitter to APOLOGIZE for being the victim of discrimination, after all, as he explains, those fish market guys have to deal with all the bad behavior of those gaijin interfering with their work. Exactly the kind of gaijin he pretends to be in his comedy act, that exactly the kind of guys who say ‘Japanese only’ want to believe all gaijin are.
    5. Jason has been heaped with praise for his apologism by Japanese netizens. After all, accepting discrimination makes him a ‘good guy’. If he’d acted like the gaijin he pretends to be in his act, he would have been ‘one of those emotional gaijin that flies off the handle at anything’, ‘so unstable’.
    6. This news has been reported in the English language media by Japan Today (owned by the right-wing Sankei Group);
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/netizens-support-foreign-comic-after-japanese-mans-discriminatory-remark
    They are putting out the message to the English speaking world that doesn’t know Japan any better, that when you are discriminated, you will be praised for shutting your mouth, and taking it, rather than making trouble by standing up for your inalienable human rights.

    Analysis;
    Jason Atsugiri is a perfect example of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’; he has made an act out of acting like a stupid, rude, noisy, know-nothing gaijin, and this encourages Japanese people to treat him with disdain and discrimination. When he then goes on to show that he doesn’t fight back against such discrimination, but in fact rationalizes why he *should* be discriminated against, he is lauded as a ‘good gaijin’, further reinforcing the idea that it is appropriate for Japanese people to discriminate against NJ, and that NJ who don’t accept discrimination are unreasonable and in the wrong.

    Good work Jason Danielson, you’re single handedly putting the human rights movement in Japan back to zero, making your children’s futures harder, and becoming the poster boy for Japanese right-wingers distorted world-view. You’re right up there with Scott-stokes. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    In fact, I would urge all white, anglophone Debito.org readers to contact TV stations which air him, and complain about his racism.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ me #3

    Interestingly, right-wing owned Japan Today moderators have got their knickers in a twist ovr people calling Jason Atsugiri out over his appalling gaijin ‘act’ that he makes his living by, and twitter apologism, and posted the following;

    ”ModeratorAUG. 25, 2015 – 12:10PM JST
    Readers, please refrain from insulting Mr Atsugiri and posting drivel such as “paid Japan apologist.” It is petty and reflects badly on yourselves.”

    (screen cap on request).

    Hence, if you point out the problematical nature of the story, you are told to ‘shut up’ effectively, and berated.
    This is what Baudrillard was talking about here;
    http://www.debito.org/?p=13488#comment-1033067

    When he said that if you challenge the distorted world-view that these crazy right-wing racist people hold, you are painted as the problem.

    Reply
  • This Jason guy is laughable and not for the reason he’d like to be. Talk about playing to the lowest common denominator. Reminds me of the old joke: They all laughed when I said I was going into comedy; they’re not laughing now!

    Well…people are either laughing AT you (and indirectly other NJ), or not laughing at all.

    Reply
  • “Or, rather, instead of going for direct confrontation (which quite a few westerners would no doubt have preferred), he chose the Japanese way of conveying his message (that the old guy was a mindless nationalist discriminating against foreigners) and helped the plight of many foreign residents and visitors to Japan. Obviously, his “Japan apologist’s” way was much more effective as it got him the support of the Japanese netizens than the western way of confronting the guy straight away. But then, it seems that if you get the support of the Japanese you will lose the support of (some of) the foreign residents here. Damn if you do and damn if you don’t.”

    Surely this is the best comment on Japan Today?

    — Not really. Pretty low level of discussion in the first place.

    Reply
  • An Interesting article:

    “Japan should be a peace broker, former UN refugee chief says…”*

    and goes on to say: “Japan should get more involved in mediating disputes between countries and seek to play the role of a peace broker. To make this possible, we must train people so they have a solid understanding of international politics …”

    Good luck with that one. The current and successive Govts have all failed spectacularly in all depts on that score so far…so who will train them?!!!

    * http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Japan-should-be-a-peace-broker-former-UN-refugee-chief-says

    Reply
  • Interesting how other countries try to adopt very similar tactics against non-citizens, the J-way, of checking visa over stayers. But the public reaction is most definitely NOT typical J-way*.

    “…Australia’s border protection agency has sparked outrage with a snap announcement it would carry out visa checks on the streets of Melbourne….”

    “..But the move sparked a social media outcry, with fears of harassment and racial profiling…” Funny that, who would have thought eh?…oh yeah, the Japanese Govt, as it’s okay in their eyes as they are not racial profiling!

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-34082340

    Reply
  • Back to school….for some..and the sad same anxieties surface…..well on foreign media anyway, about kids going back to school:-

    “..Tackling the deadliest day for Japanese teenagers…..Last year, for the first time, the most common cause of death of those aged 10 to 19 in Japan was suicide…”

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34105044

    Reply
  • And another about turn for the 2020 farce of the Olypincs:

    “Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo scrapped amid plagiarism claim….”We’re certain the two logos are different,” Toshio Muto, director general of the Tokyo organising committee, told a news conference….While Kenjiro Sano has denied plagiarising the logo, he has admitted his team did copy other work for a beer promotion and faces several other accusations of plagiarism…”

    Oh dear oh dear…the J way of business just does not translate beyond these obsequious shores…..no surprises there, again!!…tut tut.

    * http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34115750

    Reply
  • Kyoto City has an English language ‘rules’ book for tourists, because, y’know, loud noisy westerners.

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/kyoto-creates-infographic-to-show-tourists-how-to-visit-politely

    Stupid cartoon figures tell you not to do this, or not to do that, because ‘this is Kyoto’. Either it’s covered by the law, or it isn’t. Except that this is Japan, so Kyoto will be allowed to implement these new ‘rules’ to govern NJ tourists that the rest of the population will ignore.

    ‘Don’t smoke or litter! The ancient kami (gods) are watching you!’

    Gee, tell it to the locals already!

    ‘sunglasses and hats are still signs of shady behavior and can make some people feel uneasy.’

    Wow, so many ‘shady’ Japanese people in Kyoto today, making other Japanese people feel ‘uneasy’.

    Why bother? Go on holiday to Thailand.

    Reply

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