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Hi Blog, and Happy New Year 2016 to all Debito.org Readers and their families. I wish you all health and happiness as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Debito.org this year (it was founded on March 15, 1996), and continue onwards to discuss life and human rights in Japan.
One very pleasant news that happened at the end of last year was Dr. Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, mentioning “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Rowman & Littlefield 2015/2016) as one of his “Recommended Readings” in The Japan Times. Thank you. It joins the other good reviews.
That book would not have come about without Debito.org cataloging events and issues in real time over the decades, and a good chunk of that research was done with the assistance of people reading and writing for Debito.org. Thank you all very much for helping me to write my magnum opus.
And just to tell you: my publisher has kept me appraised in real time of the sales, and it is selling far better than anticipated (and it’s about to be released in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America). I hope you will ask your library to get a copy.
Looking forward too seeing what 2016 brings. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
7 comments on “Happy New Year 2016: “Embedded Racism” makes TUJ Prof Jeff Kingston’s “Recommended Readings” for 2015”
Happy New year and I already ordered your book with my university book budget. I had to get my order in by December 31st. So its a done deal and it should be a good read on those long commutes. Let me know if your going to do a lecture or book tour in the Kansai area during 2016.
It’s great that Ivan Hall has gone into bat for this.
Hall’s Cartels of the Mind (http://www.amazon.com/Cartels-Mind-Japans-Intellectual-Closed/dp/0393045374) was a real turning point for me way back when. It was after reading Hall’s work that I started looking at things differently here, and Hall’s book indirectly led me Debito.
On the other hand, I can’t believe it’s nearly 20 years ago now- and what has changed – very little, arguably. Of course. I really think Debito’s work is a good counterpoint.
As Hall states: “Hats off to Arudou for breaking once and for all the Silence Barrier that has permitted Japan’s profound racial discrimination to purr along undisturbed well into the 21st century. Exposing at long last the definitional acrobatics of Japanese and foreign Japan Studies experts – who have argued that since there is nothing we could call racist attitudes in Japan it follows that there can be no systematic racial discrimination either – Arudou lays out voluminous evidence to the contrary showing how Japan actually operates in its laws, public policy, media messages, and social ordering.”
A solid summary by Ivan Hall about Debito’s excellent new book, and about the problem of documented ACTS of racial discrimination currently embedded in Japanese culture.
I would like to expand on the part in which Hall explains, “Japanese and foreign Japan Studies experts have argued that since there is nothing we could call racist attitudes in Japan it follows that there can be no systematic racial discrimination either.”
Which can be restated as, “Since Japanese people usually verbally claim that ‘We don’t hold racist feelings in our hearts’, this claimed lack of internal racism supposedly trumps all of the evidence of external ACTIONS of: differing behavior towards people based on the person’s race.”
To put it more briefly, “We Japanese really don’t think badly of Non-Japanese races, so all these race-based-actions can not be called acts-of-racism.”
To be even more concise, “We Japanese aren’t racist, so these are not acts of racism.”
Now, recently, I posted here my OPINION that the vast majority of people raised in Japanese culture on average generally hate Non-Japanese races.
But my OPINION, about internal feelings, can lead the deniers-of-racist-acts to waste our time with counter-arguments of, “You can’t PROVE that the Japanese person who posted the ‘No Negros (etc.) Allowed Entry’ sign actually FEELS any hatred in their heart about the people whom they are denying entry. I called the owner of that store and they told me they really LOVE all races equally. The told me they are not racist! So, this documented act of race-based entry-denial is NOT an act of racism! Thus, regardless of the emotional damage suffered by the black person who was refused entry merely for being black, no penalty should be enforced for the owner having posted that ‘No Negros (etc.) Allowed Entry’ sign.”
Which is why, instead of focusing on our opinions of the opinions of those raised in Japanese culture, we must focus more on the ACTIONS of those raised in Japanese culture, a culture which allows such signs to be posted without penalty in 2016.
The ACTIONS (such as policies of entry-denial based-on-race, and neighborhood Japanese citizens refusing to complain about such policies, and nationwide Japanese citizens refusing to complain about such policies, and nationwide elected legislators refusing to create laws with strong penalties about such policies, and nationwide police officers and prosecutors refusing to arrest and bring before a judge company owners who were caught committing such race-based entry-denial policies) speak MUCH LOUDER than the WORDS of, “But we Japanese people really don’t look down upon the races which we are denying entry to. We see you as equals. We even see you as above us, haha, you’re so much taller and stronger and faster, haha, we simply are choosing to NOT allow you Non-Japanese races into this store. See? We aren’t racist in our hearts, we don’t hate you, so: this race-based entry-denial is NOT racism.”
It is the ACTS themselves, the acts of race-based treatment-differences, which must be documented and focused on, when we make our plea to the 7 billion earth-residents: “Due to these ACTIONS of race-based treatment-differences, documented here here and here, humanity now responds by applying pressure through any peaceful means necessary, beginning with the world citizens privately choosing to boycott Japanese products (as we did to Apartheid South Africa), then even governments legislating an official trade embargo (again, as we did to Apartheid South Africa), until finally Japan’s legislators will realize that Japan, just like every first world country in 2016, must legislate and enforce new laws which actually penalize every documented ACT of committed the crime of practicing racial discrimination in Japan in 2016.”
Indeed, as Ivan P. Hall expressed: in Dr. Debito Arudou’s new book “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination”, Arudou lays out voluminous evidence showing how Japan is committing systematic racial discrimination in its laws, public policy, media messages, and social ordering.
>Now, recently, I posted here my OPINION that the vast majority of people raised in Japanese culture on average generally hate Non-Japanese races.
If I were you, I would say, they(“the vast majority of people raised in Japanese culture on average”) feel uncomfortable being with non-Japanese, compared to Japanese peers. This is getting clear especially when they hear the news about local realtors giving out rents to non-Japanese tourists. Also, I personally don’t like hearing people (including my parents and siblings) saying the term “gaijin” in an ordinary conversation. It rhetorically constitutes the notion of “double-negativity-consciousness”– “outsider” and “strangeness”– simultaneously, to mark the position of non-Japanese “race” as social construct.
Yes, about “feelings”, it is perfectly logical that the vast majority of people raised in Japanese culture on average “feel uncomfortable” being around non-Japanese, compared to being around their Japanese peers.
If the “relative cultural differences in levels of acceptance of other races” can be factored out just for a moment, and instead the relative (slight though they may be) physical differences can be admitted to understand the root of this “uncomfortable” feeling, it is logical and quite understandable that:
a comparatively physically-weaker-muscle bodied Japanese-race person usually (whether they admit it internally/externally or not) “feels uncomfortable” around a relatively physically-stronger-muscle bodied Caucasian-race person, because IF a physical fight were to arise the stronger body has a higher chance of winning,
just as a comparatively physically-weaker-muscle bodied Caucasian-race person usually (whether they admit it internally/externally or not) “feels uncomfortable” around a relatively physically-stronger-muscle bodied African-race person, because IF a physical fight were to arise the stronger body has a higher chance of winning,
Relatively-weaker-bodied people will probably always feel at least a little bit “uncomfortable” around relatively-stronger-bodied people.
That slight “feeling” of fear (of potentially losing a conflict situation, for example, being robbed, beaten, killed, or even just looking weaker and thus suffering a reduced chance of attracting an observing mate for the continuation of one’s own genetic line) is not something that can be legislated away.
Which is why, even though I am guilty of having brought up the factor of “feeling uncomfortable around other races” again and again (with my opinion that Japanese culture should choose to begin making more of an effort to mentally overcome this race-based feeling) I now am realizing the importance of simply focusing on legislating ACTIONS.
Races and cultures can continue to feel whatever it is they feel around other races and other cultures, but the bottom line is, humanity has decided that it is illegal for a business owner to refuse entry based on race.
Race-based internally-felt hidden FEELINGS of fear, dislike, hatred, like, love, whatever, has not been (and logistically can never be) made illegal.
Race-based external discriminatory-ACTIONS, such as race-based entry-denial, HAS been made illegal around the world, already, thanks to the U.N. CERD Treaty.
Thus, since the government of Japan has already signed that treaty, yet still refuses to outlaw race-based entry-denial, Japan is blatantly in violation of the U.N. CERD Treaty.
Instead of merely hoping the people of Japan will change their feelings, humanity must motivate the legislators of Japan to take one simple ACTION: enact the laws which the signed U.N. CERD Treaty requires.
This is what Debito’s “Embedded Racism” book proves to the world: that the legislators of Japan are currently still refusing to ENACT the anti-discrimination laws which the government of Japan promised the United Nations.
This supreme treaty violation shall not stand, and readers around the world are beginning to BOYCOTT JAPANESE PRODUCTS until Japan comes into compliance with the U.N. Treaty already agreed to.
So, Legislators of Japan, it’s your choice, are you going to stop violating the U.N. Treaty you signed, or would you rather get boycotted, trade embargoed, and eventually have NATO troops sent into Japan for treaty enforcement?
Choose the ACTION of obeying the treaty you signed, or suffer the ACTION of the world forcing compliance.
I continuosly meet people who are immersed in Japan but deny the very real gaijin othering the rest of us accept as reality. Its puzzeling to me, and I almost feel pity for their ignorance and the level they are still operating at. I hear the word gaijin almost daily now, and still feel the stares and remarks I did many years ago. I have not heard of Ivan Hall until now, but if it is as you have posted, it seems he was tuned in to this issue years ago. “On the other hand, I can’t believe it’s nearly 20 years ago now- and what has changed – very little, arguably.” So very true and sad. Things people careers etc should progress, but in Japan we see the circle where things just get recycled. Its a very strange phenomenon to witness. Ive seen many efforts by Abe to change things, and I will applaud him for that, but I personally dont things can change because its fundamentally impossible. I guess it would take a whole population to live abroad, check their own logic, then absorb that difference in culture and bring it back.
— Unfortunately, as I argue in Embedded Racism, pp. 218-220, I believe even that won’t do it. I call it the “Walling in of the Wajin”.
@ Tim #6
I think those people you mention are in a state of ignorance or/and denial.
They believe that they have ‘made it’ in Japan and are ‘accepted’ and ‘fit in’.
The truth is that they are subjected to just as much othering, micro-aggression and racism as we are, but they rationalize it as ‘Japan’s unique culture’ rather than calling Japanese out on it.
Like Gregory Clark, there will get their bubble well and truly burst one day, and suffer a huge shock, whilst the like of us will be saying ‘Yeah, and?’.