NHK repeatedly racially profiles prototypical criminal (the only NJ person in a crowd) on TV program Close-Up Gendai, Apr 5, 2017


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Hi Blog. Reader JF has this to report:


Date: April 5, 2017
From: JF
Re: Close Up Gendai 4/5 – Bad stereotyping
Hi Debito,

Just watched today’s Close Up Gendai on NHK, [“Can smartphones steal fingerprints? The over-transceiving society has arrived“]. Topic was how biometric data from pictures and security cameras can be used and abused.

While the experts were taking, during the entire program, they kept on showing relevant clips in the background. One of the clips shows how a face recognition system picks a criminal from a group of faces in a public place. Sure enough, among the group of Asian faces, there is one Western-looking foreigner, who happens to be “blacklisted”….

Please see attached picture taken from my TV. As reinforcement of the image linking foreigners to crime, I counted our “blacklisted” gaikokujin friend reappearing on continuous loop 6x, but I may have missed some as I just skimmed it. One in the beginning, two more in-between and the rest in the last 5 minutes when they had the discussion in the studio, including one at the very end.

What does this, on a subconscious level, suggest to the Japanese audience? Not sure if you know somebody at NHK, they should be more sensitive about these things!

When they briefly explained the face recognition system it also picked Japanese faces, but the clip that kept on running in the background only showed the foreigner being selected every single time.
Regards, JF


Here’s a link to the program (which even includes the foreign blacklisted person in its signature image:

View the entire program at

COMMENT:  It’s an interesting program in terms of content and execution, but how far the mighty have fallen.  Close-Up Gendai was one of those programs you could count on for at least trying to strike a reasonable balance.  Clearly not anymore.  Especially after the purges of the show to reflect NHK’s hostile takeover by political leaders who explicitly (as a matter of officially-stated policy) can only act as the government’s mouthpiece.

Okay then, if that’s the way you want it.  Here again we have more evidence of latent racial profiling as probable representations of government policy  — NJ are more likely to be criminals (if not terrorists — watch from minute 18:30), all over again.  Beware of them in a crowd!  Dr. Debito Arudou


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4 comments on “NHK repeatedly racially profiles prototypical criminal (the only NJ person in a crowd) on TV program Close-Up Gendai, Apr 5, 2017

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I like the way that ‘BLACKLISTED pops up in English! Surely this is because the Japanese have no such linguistic equivalent since no Japanese (by nature of blood descent!) could ever be ‘blacklisted’ from any group of Japanese? The very concept of exclusion by blacklisting is being presented as one of those pesky western ideas that westerners use to discriminate against each other! Ergo, if NJ blacklist other NJ, it ‘must’ be ok for Japanese to blacklist them too!
    Awesome abuse of psychology by NHK here.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I assume NHK dispatched their media staff to the security fair to interview several firms on the subject. I don’t know which company innovated the bio-metric face recognition system since no indication or reference to company’s name(which I believe responsible for providing the sources of micro-aggression in the public screen) was given in the entire program. I understand the public’s growing need of security upgrades concerning the risk of data breach and theft in the age of digital proliferation. But it’s obtuse for national media to display such a disturbing scene–not once, not twice, but three times(!)–at the risk of exploiting cultural stereotype. It’s a case in point to see the way J-media institution produces the discourse of wajin privilege by portraying white as a reverse model minority for articulating Japan’s race problem (like associating with the xenophobic, racist, supremacist like Dylann Roof or Richard Spencer just because he happened to be “white,” while no single extremist has ever successfully landed on the other side of shore to physically hurt locals after WWII…).

  • Well singling out a western face from among a sea of asian faces is relatively easy. If they can also single out an asian face from among asians why didn’t they show it? Too hard?

    I bring this up because singling out an asian face in Japan is much more useful because the overwhelmingly vast majority of criminals in Japan have asian faces. Don’t believe me? Just check outside any police station at the wanted list. They are always asian faces on the police wanted lists.

  • When I saw this on NHK, my initial reaction was “What the…? They must have gotten his permission to use that clip!” Maybe he’s being paid a nice sum for them to use it. If not, he should be.

    I remember a year ago, one of the schools I taught at, had the police visit and make a presentation in the bid to dissuade the students from joining gangs (some of the students’ fathers were gang members). I thought it was a good way of nipping any thoughts of the students doing likewise in the bud, so I decided to go and have a look. As part of the presentation the police drew a chart depicting the head of gangs, middle men etc. Lo and behold the head of the gangs were BLACK MEN!! Color and features!! There are no black men who are the heads of gangs here in Japan, As it trickled down to the bottom of the chart the skin pigmentation got lighter with more Japanese features (helpless sweet innocents….roll eyes.

    This outright subtle conditioning of the mind is the result of the Japanese’s attitude towards foreigners. Message: It’s not us it’s them.

    Between late last year and early this year(2017), I was watching a news report on TBS where they were reporting on ATM robberies done by Japanese. They only used a drawn picture of a black man in dark glasses while they did the report. A black person wasn’t involved! Many people disregard things like these, but they are what make blacks in Japan never given a chance to prove themselves. Blacks cannot break the stereotypes no matter the zillions of positive things they do. The Japanese ‘know’ them more than they know themselves.

    A parting question I have is why are foreigners always regarded as being a suspicious character even by just taking the train to work? A Japanese robbing a convenience store is less suspicious than a foreigner going about their business.


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