April 15, 1996: Twenty years of Debito.org. And counting.


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Hi Blog.  As of today (JST), Debito.org has been in action for twenty years.

That means two decades of archiving issues of life and human rights in Japan.

After starting out as an archive of my writings as Dave Aldwinckle on the Dead Fukuzawa Society (an old-school open mailing list that once boasted some of the biggest names in Japanese Studies as members, but eventually succumbed to a death by a thousand spammers), Debito.org, with assistance from internet mentors like Randal Irwin at Voicenet, soon expanded to take on various contentious topics, including Academic Apartheid in Japan’s Universities, The Gwen Gallagher Case, The Blacklist (and Greenlist) of Japanese UniversitiesThe Community in Japan, The Otaru Onsens Case, the Debito.org Activists’ Page and Residents’ Page, book “Japanese Only” in two languages, the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments (which became the basis of my doctoral fieldwork), racism endemic to the National Police Agency and its official policies encouraging public racial profiling, the “What to Do If…” artery site, our “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan” (now in its 3rd Edition), the overpolicing of Japanese society during international events, the reinstitution of fingerprinting of NJ only at the border, the establishment of the Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association (FRANCA), the 3/11 multiple disasters and the media scapegoating of foreign residents (as “flyjin”), the archive of Japan Times articles (2002- ) which blossomed into the regular JUST BE CAUSE column (2008- ), and now the acclaimed academic book, “Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Lexington Books 2016).

Debito.org has won numerous awards, been cited in publications worldwide, and its work noted in reports from organizations such as the US State Department and The United Nations.  With thousands upon thousands of documents and reference materials, Debito.org remains one of the oldest continuously-maintained websites on Japan.  It is THE website of record on issues of racial discrimination and human rights for Visible Minorities in Japan, and, for some, advice on how to make a better, more stable, more empowered life here.  It has outlasted at least two stalker websites, a faux threat of lawsuit, an insider attempt to artificially set its Google Page Rank at zero, and cyberhackings.  And it will continue to go on for as long as possible.

I just wanted to mark the occasion with a brief post of commemoration.  Thank you everyone for reading and contributing to Debito.org!  Long may we continue.  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

P.S. Let us know in the comments section which part(s) of Debito.org you’ve found helpful!


Do you like what you read on Debito.org?  Want to help keep the archive active and support Debito.org’s activities?  We are celebrating Debito.org’s 20th Anniversary in 2016, so please consider donating a little something.  More details here.

7 comments on “April 15, 1996: Twenty years of Debito.org. And counting.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    Saw this on TV this morning as well; 2 Japanese 2018 winter Olympic snowboard hopefuls are dropped because they tested positive for marijuana. They claimed that whilst training in Colorado, they smoked it at a party because it was ‘recommended by a gaijin’.


    1. Gee, didn’t these guys know that marijuana would make them pariahs in Japan?
    2. Isn’t marijuana legal in Colorado now?
    3. Who are these ‘gaijin’ that ‘recommend’ smoking it? French? Germans? Oh! Wait! They mean those American ‘gaijin’, you know, the ones in America (which kind of makes the dope smoking Japanese snowboarders the ‘gaijin’ here).

    — The word “gaijin” appears nowhere in the article. Let’s not make issues out of topics not raised.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    @ Dr. Debito,

    Sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. The TV coverage of that story was blaming it on ‘gaijin’.

  • JDG #2

    What is more disturbing is the fact that they committed no crime. In Colorado, personal use of the weed is legal. Thus, it is the hand of big brother Japan on them…even when outside of Japan.
    You have been warned…

  • I often recall with great distinction the very moment that I realized Japanese society was deeply embedded with even worse racist attitudes than the great divide (8 Mile) of Backthereland. It was the day when one of the very brightest out of many hundreds of students obliviously referred to her many erstwhile Arabic classmates as foreigners…WHILE she was a student in UAE. I was completely flabbergasted. She was barely moved, even after I explained how shockingly ethnocentric her world view was (despite having lived overseas). AIN’T NOTHING GONNA CHANGE there…

  • Randal Irwin says:

    Man, I remember the week we spent in the Voice International Corporation offices where I made you a basic web page and taught you how to put text on it. You were a challenging student! But it was WELL worth it. You have come a long ways and continue to provide a great service and source of thought and information for the inhabitants of the planet. And what about that first book that you wrote–semi fictional semi autobiographical tome about that Japanese company where you worked? Is that available anywhere? You’ve made a lot of progress there too!


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