“Japanese Only” sign on Izakaya Bar “100” (Momosaku 百作) in Asakusa, Tokyo


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Hi Blog. Japan’s sometimes inhospitable hospitality industry has yet another example of exclusionism. Will we legally have this stopped by the 2020 Olympics, or will Japan as a society allow these people to be an embarrassment? Dr. Debito Arudou

From: KD
Subject: Japanese Only sign Asakusa
Date: April 20, 2018
To: Debito Arudou
Hi Debito,

I spotted a Japanese only sign near our Air BNB in Asakusa.

[Japanese version: None of our staff at this establishment speak foreign languages, so we refuse entry to all people from overseas (kaigai no kata)].

I took it down and they put a new one up the next day.

Name: 100 (izakaya) (Momosaku 百作)
Address: 4 Chome-7-12 Asakusa, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 111-0032

Picture of sign and front attached.

I was wondering what I could write in Japanese as a review on Google Maps to make potential visitors aware that the izakaya has a racially discriminatory policy.  Sincerely, KD

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23 comments on ““Japanese Only” sign on Izakaya Bar “100” (Momosaku 百作) in Asakusa, Tokyo

  • I sometimes think about writing bad reviews in Japanese about such establishments, but then it might actually help them get more Japanese customers. Maybe we should just write that the staff is inconsiderate or rude.

  • Outright discrimination and pretty unacceptable. If they said, “Sorry, we only speak Japanese” then I could understand, but baring those customers is absurd.

    Definitely put a review up on Tabelog or Google

  • realitycheck says:

    Do something easy – send the photo with your info to as many media sources as possible. Include the NY Times, NY Post, Washington Post, Guardian, Daily Telegraph and DailyMail in the UK, The Australianm the Sydney Morning Herald, etc.
    Put it in the correct context and be smart about the way you word it. Let them know this is Tokyo, the capital of Japan about to host the Olympics – in 2018.
    No laws preventing Japanese style exclusion of foreigners socially and the wider social/legal context.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Yeah, I agree with that. You have to force the western media to stop giving Japan a free pass. Maybe it’s impossible given that the J-Gov is throwing yen at these companies from its ‘propaganda’ budget as I’ve commented before.

      Maybe internet travel review websites need to include honest ‘refused service for being foreign’ reviews so that Olympic visitors can experience the joy of racism when they come? Bottom up is likely to blow Japan’s tatemae better.

      • cynical.nj says:

        I would like to applaud your idea..
        But then, allow me to be the devil’s advocate for a minute.

        Do you really think the world would care?
        There is an football World Cup upcoming, there are conflicts and crises all around the world, do you really think anyone would care about such a ‘first-world problem’ such as this, a mere piece of paper? It’s not like NJs are getting beaten up in Japan or exiled or anything.. (see Rohingya, as far as our Asian neighborhood is concerned)

        Ok, I have to admit, while being really pessimistic by nature, part of me would really like to see this happening, so allow me to end this comment with a somewhat more constructive proposal.

        How ’bout we try working on this ‘context’ thing right here, inside this comment section?
        As in, not just … what would YOU put in as context?
        To be honest.. not much comes up to my mind, other than these two:
        1. you’d think a Japan is a democracy/developed country (blablabla), but…
        2. you’d think that while not necessarily being the bedhood of democracy, Japan would still take its laws [including the CERD] seriously, still, this is 2018 and yet…

        any other ideas?

  • FormerJapanResident says:

    What the?!? I went there when I first visited Japan back in 08. Me and the group I was with (all foreigners) had a great time there. The barkeeper was cool too.

    It’s so close to Sakura hostel. Why change your policy now? I just don’t understand it. That’s so disappointing.

    • Those uppity gaijin are just mendokusai.
      Still, it is easier to say no to them in Japanese. Unless they try to argue in Japanese, then can switch to Engrish, or pretend not to understand their Japanese.

      “The Japan that can say no”, indeed, Ishihara. Personally I have found Japan tends to say no far more than yes. And certainly is not one for changing minds or policies or even making exceptions when confronted with evidence or “western” style logic.

      Must be why Abe wants a Japanese style constitution, it muddies the water with mysticism and arbritary pseudo science.

      • Baudrillard says:

        Arbitrary (correcting my typo) but I always thought it just mean random. Interesting synonym list: arbitrary
        (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.
        “a country under arbitrary government”
        synonyms: despotic, tyrannical, tyrannous, peremptory, summary, autocratic, dictatorial, authoritarian, draconian, autarchic, anti-democratic;
        It doesn’t bode well in the new Japanese style constitution….

  • It appears two additional reviews showed up on Google. One from a foreign resident of Japan and another from a Japanese. They are interesting to read. This, along with the Diving site are outright and inexcusable discrimination.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Forget about Tokyo Olympics Games in 2020. Maybe we should boycott this type of traditional Japanese establishments in certain areas because their mindset have remained unchanged since the last century??? #shamejapan

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Where to post this?

    For years, the Abe government ran a website asking the general public to submit policy questions for official responses.


    They solicited a limited number of contributors to submit an agreed number of comments each month, every year, and then edited the comments before responding.


    The recent deletion of the site and its archives after journalists notice it was full of right-wing anti-NJ comments that were in breach of anti-hate-speech law.


    Could it be that the Abe government ran an anti-NJ hate-speech forum? Say it ain’t so!


      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Jim, for noticing and sharing both of those articles.

        John G. Russell, professor of cultural anthropology at Gifu University, has now entered my list of intelligent honest top commenters about current Japan culture.

        Arudō Debito, and Debito.org’s Jim Di Griz, and Debito.org’s Baudrillard, and Steve Jackman, and Luxeguard (https://imgur.com/a/M0PNAN1) and now John G. Russell.

        Arudō Debito and John G. Russell being more courageous than Anonymous commenters like me, since sharing ones own real name and place of work takes on the enormous risk of being sent death threats, being financially attacked, and possibly being physically attacked or even killed by illogical radical fundamentalist Japan-culture-problem-deniers who simply refuse to admit that race-based and nationality-based service refusal is immoral and outlawed internationally by the United Nations CERD Treaty.

  • Anonymous says:

    Any refusal sign which mentions a kind of “person”,
    is instantly patently illegal according to U.N. CERD.

    It is perfectly legal for signs to say “we only speak X”
    but it is illegal to ban “foreign global overseas people”.

    “日本人のみ” All refusal signs about “people” is illegal.

    Speaking of such illegal phrases, google “日本人のみ”
    Here: https://www.google.com/search?&q=“日本人のみ”

    “House share for Japanese people only” http://archive.is/Hkr3H
    “Island visiting for Japanese people only” http://archive.is/m082l
    “Job positions for Japanese people only” http://archive.is/WS4OO

  • Sorry, we don’t have any foreign language capable staff, so international athletes just sit and wach the competitions from your homes in your own countries… so much for the olympics…!

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    This is a tangent. A SD lawmaker named Michael Clark jumped into a frying pan after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff over a recent masterpiece cakeshop case in Colorado. The lawmaker, who was elated into the victory of cake maker’s religious freedom(providing service to gay-couple is against his belief) made a slippery comment in the facebook, saying that an owner of bakeshop should be allowed to refuse to bake a wedding cake for the people of color. Shortly after being questioned over his comment, he apologized and deleted it.


    Here’s the thing. There are plenty of jerks in the US behaving just like racist idiots we see in Japan. But even such an idiot like Michael Clerk is capable of understanding his mistake and what he needs to do as a follow-up. Why? Because so many people know its problem and understand its consequence from national history. Hence, they abolished the Jim Crow and signed off the Civil Rights Acts(1964).

    Japan’s public understanding of racism and (commitment to social justice) is not up to a par with the West or any country that has anti-discrimination referendum. What I usually see in race discourse is media’s willful indifference and hypocrisy by national government. The absence of anti-racial discrimination law well explains how lame and pathetic Japan’s pursuit of equality and human rights is.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, the majority of 7 billion humans raised in Non-Japanese-Culture have agreed upon the consensus morality that “Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal is immoral and should be outlawed.”

    Meanwhile, the majority of 125 million humans raised in Japanese-Culture have NOT agreed upon the consensus morality that “Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal is immoral and should be outlawed.”

    So, based on the present-day majority-held humanity-culture morality-stance, logically the new label for the general act (wherever it occurs on Earth) of “Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal” is: Japanese-ness.

    Japanese-ness: The immoral act of Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal, which the majority of humans raised in Japanese-culture have NOT agreed upon the consensus morality that the act is immoral and should be outlawed.

    (Japanese-Culture is the only “developed-country” culture currently on Earth which in 2018 the majority have NOT agreed upon the consensus morality that “Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal is immoral and should be outlawed.”)

    (Since Japanese-Culture is the only remaining rogue culture of 125 million people whose majority refuses to admit that act is immoral and should be outlawed, the Japanese-Culture majority logically are currently the most deserving to have their culture’s name being associated with the act of Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal.)

    Thus, regardless of where it occurs, or who the perpetrator is, or who the victim is, the new logical label for Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal must be awarded to (the current United Nations CERD Treaty violating) Japanese-Culture.

    To put it more succinctly, Japanese-ness is the immoral cultural act of Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal, committed anywhere by anyone.

    TLDR: Race-Based or Nationality-Based Service Refusal = Japanese-ness.

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