“Japanese Only” diving and hiking tour company in Tokashikimura, Okinawa: “Begin Diving Buddies”


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Hi Blog. I found some time, so here is a little something for this week:

In addition to the hundreds of “Japanese Only” businesses found on the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments (the fieldwork for book “Embedded Racism“), here is an Okinawan diving and hiking tourist agency called “Begin Diving Buddies” on a remote southern island called Tokashiki (35 mins by boat from Naha, Okinawa Prefecture) that refuses all “foreign” divers or hikers.

Their excuse: “safety reason and regulation” (or more simply in the Japanese, just “safety” (anzenjou), since there are NO regulations which blanket refuse foreigners in specific for wanting to swim dive or walk in the mountains).

“Dear foreign customer, we don’t give you service due to safety reason and regulation.
We are appreciated your understanding.”
(申し訳ありません。 安全上の理由により,外国の方はお受けしておりません)

Here’s a screen capture and text, courtesy of Steve and other Debito.org Readers:

About Diving: “Gaijin Refused” http://archive.is/kUTlD
Even just Walking: “Gaijin Refused” http://archive.is/rk6Gw
(Look at the photos, not dangerous hiking, simple relaxed walking.)
The smiling race-excluder: Mr. Ken’ichi Konishi http://archive.is/STvQx

Begin Diving Buddies’ contact details are:

☆ 住所 : 〒901-3501 沖縄県島尻郡渡嘉敷村字渡嘉敷1918-1
☆ 電話 : 098-896-4114
☆ 携帯 : 090-3272-3939
☆ FAX : 098-896-4115
☆ mail : tokashiki@begin.jp


Feel free to give them a piece of your mind.  You can also also let officialdom know as well.  Here is Tokashiki-mura’s official website, and Okinawa’s official tourism writeup on the place.  Dr. Debito Arudou

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22 comments on ““Japanese Only” diving and hiking tour company in Tokashikimura, Okinawa: “Begin Diving Buddies”

  • Its common to see the excuse such as “for safety” used in japan, ive encountered this many times, they have a plethora of mickey mouse excuses, used according to the situation. Its why other countries use the rule of law to circumvent such nonsense

    • @Gary
      Wow. I read an explanation on the Japan LOL organisation homepage and it said that the two foreigners were verballty reprimanded for not knowing about Japanese immigration law. But it sounds like it was the other way around! Those two Japanese guys who kept the other guys’ visa ID cards were in violation of the law.

  • Ok. Then whats the point in advertising and promoting their business in english about becoming ”diving buddies”?

    • ボードリラード (Baud) says:

      Because its cool to use Engrish. Forgive my experience, however cynical you may think it, I once was asked by a certain Govt Ministry to come up with an English slogan for their boxing club, as even they felt their own effort, “One kick is the punch”, was just wrong.

      After numerous brainstorming sessions and a lot of effort put it to creating a dozen or so slogans such as “one punch and you are out to lunch”,
      the Ministry rejected the Native Speaker’s English.

      Because they wanted Engrish that “every Japanese can understand”. Thus nonsense is the standard fare here.

      It is the ultimate postmodern degradation of meaning, where signs are meaningless and are ‘just” signs.

      Whatever the corrected sign now says, they will still do what they want. thus the massive disconnect between Japanese Law, or their own employment contracts, and e.g. the way teachers are treated at Aeon. (see poster The Truth About AEON: Part III | Once A Traveler)

  • In your post you said, “there are NO regulations which refuse foreigners in specific for wanting to swim or walk in the mountains”

    For the sake of accuracy and clarity, scuba diving is not “swimming”. There actually ARE substantial safety concerns to take into consideration when diving. Also, the company may not be referring to Japanese governmental regulations, but possibly insurance company regulations or regulations from the diving organization under which the company is operating.

    I’m not excusing the “Japanese Only” policy in any way, even under the assumption (through the application of Hanlon’s Razor) that this is the company’s poor and clumsy attempt at heading off language barrier issues with regards to safety.

    PS – The website has changed the wording of the message that appears on its website. Unfortunately, it’s not much of an improvement: “Dear global customers, Since we are not yet prepared and for safety reasons, we are afraid that we are unable to accept you. We apologize for this inconvenience and would appreciate your kind understanding. (外国のお客様各位,弊社受入体制の問題と安全上の事由により恐れ入りますがお受入ができません。何卒ご理解ご了承の程お願い申し上げます)”

    — Yes, the English is now perfect, and perfectly suited to a “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone” boilerplate found in American business practices. It’s clearly native-speaker proofed, so methinks our old friend “Kyoto Joe” got in touch with them and did a similar thing as he did in Beppu Station — offered “a better option” with alternative wording.

    Nevertheless, however carefully or politely worded, it’s still a blanket refusal of all “foreigners” (or however “global customers” is to be interpreted), on the grounds that foreigners cannot under any circumstances dive or hike safely. If my suspicions are correct, thanks to “Kyoto Joe” for empowering the exclusionists further. I hope you take the trouble to go down there too and ascertain whether they will grant you service as well.

    • As a resident of Japan, I don’t think I am a global customer. Would be interesting to test that assumption. Likewise 外国の could be interpreted the same way (I live in 国内).

      • Anonymous says:

        And what will you say to them, Sendaiben, when they explain to you that “外国” in their definition means “外国 racial appearance”, and that “ALL 外国 (racial appearance) people are refused service”?

        – “外国 racial appearance” refused even if you are a resident of Japan.

        – “外国 racial appearance” refused even if you are a Permanent Resident of Japan.

        – “外国 racial appearance” refused even if you are a nationalized Citizen of Japan.

        – “外国 racial appearance” refused even if you are a Born-Japanese-Citizen.

        So yeah, what will you say to them, SendaiBen, after your tongue-in-cheek joke / serious stance that you are a “国内-residing 内人” when they reply “you are still a 外国の方” who they refuse service based on race or even nationality, then what legal penalization do think is appropriate?

        And what will you say to them, SendaiBen, when they explain to you that your Born-Japanese-Citizen daughter “looks too much like her white father, and thus must be refused service, so none of the other 外国人 we are refusing service to get jealous, we must refuse ALL foreign-appearance-people, even ‘half-foreigner-race’ people and even ‘quarter-foreigner-race’ people, for rules and ‘fairness’ and safety”, as “Onsen Yunohana – Earthcure KK” did to Debito?

        Yep, this is just a another small business committing the crime of “No Black customers allowed, sorry” once again, but the misguided rationalization responses have been seen again and again.

        – “I’ll just politely tell them (the U.N. CERD law-violating criminals) to make their signs more polite.”

        – “I’ll just shrewdly tell them (the U.N. CERD law-violating criminals) to hide their signs to avoid a lawsuit.”

        – “I’ll just naively show them (the U.N. CERD law-violating criminals) my Gaijin Card / Permanent Resident / Japan Passport, then they’ll let ME past the signs, the signs must intend to exclude tourists” (as if excluding tourists is somehow legal.)

        – “I’ll just convince (the U.N. CERD law-violating criminals) to make a special exception for me, by telling them “I’m a Fluent-Japanese-Speaking, Long-Term-Japan-Residing, Exclusionary-Service-Defending, Good-Gaijin, I’m not at all like those Beginner-Japanese-Speaking, Short-Term-Japan-Residing, Exclusionary-Service-Criticizing, Probably-Violent Bad-Gaijin you are innocently trying to exclude. Let ME in, so I can write an online report ‘proving’ the ‘Japanese Race Only, No Foreign Races’ signs was just an innocent cultural/linguistic misunderstanding.”

        We’ve seen the whole range of responses again and again.

        The correct response to any “No Foreigners” signs is: PENALIZE the sign-posting criminals (even if they stop the crime tomorrow, even if they try to explain their supposed intentions, even if they try to give a tatemae apology, even if they try to hide the fact they had posted such a sign.)

        The PENALIZATION is for having violating the U.N. CERD Supreme Law which outlaws such race-based (and even nationality-based) service-refusal internationally and which is the Supreme Law on this subject specifically in Japan which Japan signed and effected in 1995 and inaugurated (発効した) in 1996.

        Judge Tetsuro Sou admitted as he handed down his ruling in the Ana Bortz case in 1999: “Banning foreigners from a store has an element of treating them cruelly because of their differences and is not appropriate behavior: Japan is a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and THAT TREATY IS AUTOMATICALLY SUPREME DOMESTIC LAW.”

        In what kind of society do we simply allow criminals to violate a law, then simply give a verbal-excuse, and the criminals walk away scot-free without any penalty at all?

        PS – Here is Eido Inoue now once again arguing that the above business, and all businesses open to the public, have a LEGAL RIGHT to refuse service based on nationality or race:


        PPS – And yes, it turns out my previous post was correct, this race-based-exclusion-defender Eido Inoue WAS indeed ex-military, according to his own claims:

        http://archive.is/trVCi (Ctrl F: Syrian) ~ Eido Inoue
        http://archive.is/LACcY (Ctrl F: Syrian) ~ Bonesupren
        http://archive.is/vEaOX (Ctrl F: ringleader) ~ Bonesupren
        http://archive.is/0pEjo (Ctrl F: ringleader) ~ Bonesdawg
        http://archive.is/RSpQ0 (Ctrl F: ex-military) ~ Bonesdawg

          • Anonymous says:

            First please set the goal posts firmly, before you “will do” anything:

            For any Race-based (or even Nationality-based) Service Refusal,
            what legal penalization do you think is appropriate for that crime?

            Before interviewing such a sign-poster, please state your stance.
            Just in general, regardless of country, “No Blacks”, what penalty?

            My stance is the legislated $1,000 and 6 months penalty is logical.
            I say the 6 months prison should be mandatory, not a mere option.

            (Too bad that is maximum, which allows judges to give no penalty.
            A proper legal system would have set penalties for proven actions.
            By allowing police/prosecutors/judges the ability to NOT penalize,
            via allowing “suspended sentences” to proven criminals they like,
            the “Equal Justice For All” is destroyed by such no-penalty ability.
            No more allowing wealth, status, plea-bargaining, to avoid penalty.
            No more unfair power allowing judges to choose “low / no” penalty.)

            Any defendant found guilty of action X, the penalty must always be Z.

            So, just in general, the action of a “No Blacks” sign: what penalty?
            And your penalty answer should remain steady no matter the race.
            “No Blacks” “No Jews” “No Asians” “No Whites” “No Arabs” etc.
            “Jews only” “Whites only” “Japanese only” there must be 1 penalty.

            This isn’t a contest where only past-victims’-grandkids deserve justice.
            Whether descendants of Slavery / Holocaust / Holodomor – or not.
            The penalty for race-refusing or nationality-refusing must be equal.

            And that penalty must be equal regardless of the sign-poster’s story.
            The sign-posting penalty must be equal regardless of his verbal claims.
            The sign is the crime, regardless of “I love gaijin” or “I hate gaijin” words.

            Many people keep making the mistake of advocating no penalty:
            “Because the sign-poster has not said that he dislikes the races he banned.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he has no hate of the races he banned.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he simply suffered trouble with those races before.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he simply wanted to avoid trouble with those races.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he simply meant language when he banned those races.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he simply thinks those races can’t speak Japanese.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he simply lacks confidence in his own English ability.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he simply wants to protect those races from accidents.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he simply has an small-stature inferiority-complex.”
            “Because the sign-poster says he really loves & respects the races he banned.”
            The excuses are infinite, and un-provable, and none erase the sign-posting action.
            Even if true, none of those excuses erase the humiliation the victims suffered.
            No excuses can erase the trauma of each banned-human who ever saw the sign.
            Judges must penalize the sign-posting action, and never reward any verbal excuses.

            So the question is: what penalty for “No Blacks” would YOU legislate?
            Meaning, what penalty is right for race-barring and nationality-barring?

            SendaiBen, when you wrote “I will do what I can”, probably you meant:
            “I’ll ask the owner if gaijin-race residents-of-Japan can join the walking tour.”
            “And I’ll try to get the owner to change to ‘All Japanese-language speakers OK’.”

            But how about setting the goal posts firmly, before hearing his reply.

            For any Race-based (or even Nationality-based) Service Refusal,
            what legal penalization do you think is appropriate for that crime?

            And this question is for all readers too, please speak up strongly:
            What prison penalty is strong enough to deter “No Blacks” signs?

          • Well, I do think there is a difference between race/nationality-based exclusion and language-based exclusion. The difference is that you can learn a language but you cannot change your race (and it is difficult to change your nationality).

            I also run a small business, so I can sympathise with, for example, not having English-speaking dive instructors.

            But to answer your question, I would punish race-(or nationality)based exclusion by a business with forced closure of the business for a week. This would give them enough time to take down the signs and rethink their policy. If the signs/policies were still in place I’d close them for another week.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually Jon, no need for any complex “diving insurance regulation” Hanlon’s Razor rationalization attempts, when their simple WALKING tour page is not about diving at all: “We don’t give walking tours to foreigners.”

      And now they have simply changed the English explanation of their non-language-based service refusal “外国人お断り” from “No Foreigners” to “No Global Customers: we can’t accept you”.

      Silly Kyoto Joe, since you obviously want to help “Japanese People Only – No Foreigners Allowed” businesses to avoid complaints and lawsuits, you should have told them to make their service refusal signs talk about strictly about LANGUAGE ABILITY instead of NATIONALITY or RACE.

      As it stands, Kyoto Joe: your supposed “successes” in explaining/defending/improving the Beppu & Okinawa signs are both total failures: since the Beppu “Japanese Only (with a Japanese Flag to show this means Japanese People Only)” refusal sign and, and the Okinawa “”No 外国人 Customers, we can’t accept you” sign both still stand.

      And even if you get the criminals to hide their past crimes starting tomorrow, what about the compensation they owe the victims of emotional suffering (Seishin Kutsuu 精神苦痛) which they already caused to all Non-Japanese-Race people, whom were already denied service based on race.

      People already had to explain to family members, “This walking tour guide refuses my race” regardless of whether the sign-posting criminals hide the sign tomorrow.

      Really, if you found a business with a sign that said “Whites Only, No Blacks, No Asians, No Jews, no non-whites allowed” you would really be satisfied with the sign-posters simply hiding the sign tomorrow, with no legal penalty for the sign-posters proven violation the United Nations’ Supreme Law?

      Kyoto Joe, it’s like you’re saying, “If I get the criminals to stop doing a crime, for example If I convince some thieves to put back what they stole, then we can pretend that no crime was committed in the first place, so we shouldn’t legally penalize these proven criminals!”

      #1. These particular criminals currently still are refusing to stop committing the crime (the violation of Supreme Law U.N. International CERD).

      #2. Even if criminals agree to stop committing the crime, from now on, they still need to be legally penalized for the proven crime they committed in the past. That’s how laws work, the well-publicized legal-penalization is what scares other would-be-criminals from NOT committing such crimes in the first place.

      #3. So Kyoto Joe’s attempts to PREVENT criminals from being penalized for their proven past actions (the signs refusing service based on nationality or race, or apparent nationality or apparent race) are immoral attempts at PREVENTING justice. Stop it Kyoto Joe. Justice is needed for humane society.

      • I don’t know who “Kyoto Joe” is, so I’ll just ignore that part of your comment.

        As for the part addressed to me, I’m not saying I agree with any version of the message. I’m just pointing out that safety reasons are justified when talking about diving in particular. And I was also pointing out that diving and swimming are not interchangeable terms

        • Anonymous says:

          To be clear: the comment to you Jon is vital: there is absolutely no justification for the WALKING page to be refusing service based on race or nationality.

          Refusing service to “foreign races” or “foreign nationalities” is a crime, and this particular criminal has made it clear his business even refuses simply WALKING with foreign races or foreign nationalities, so there was no need for you to focus on rationalizing the diving page.

          The comments to “Kyoto Joe” are not towards you, but still should not be ignored, since the correct reply about criminal behavior is NOT pointing out irrelevant rationalizations nor helping the criminals avoid legal penalties.

          The correct stance, when one sees ANY race-based service-refusal or nationality-based service-refusal is to admit that action is patently a crime in every United Nations country which has signed and ratified the CERD treaty, regardless of any particular criminal’s reasons for committing that crime.

          Refusing service to foreign races/nationalities is a crime according to the United Nations CERD Treaty, and it’s about time we stop making excuses and stop demanding we give each criminal a chance to convince us they aren’t racist.

          That’s not how the legal system works. The action which already happened in the past is what gets penalized, not whether or not the criminal gives a good speech now, and not whether or not the criminal stops committing the crime tomorrow.

          “No foreign races”, “No foreign nationalities”, “No foreigners”, “Japanese race only”, “Japanese people only”, “Japanese citizens only”, “Japanese residents only”, “Residents of Japan only”, having posted ANY of these signs for even a minute is the crime.

          The crime has been committed in this case. The judge simply needs to see the archived web page. Whatever changes are made to the web page today or tomorrow cannot erase the fact that a crime has already occurred in the past.

          • Again, I’ll reiterate that I was commenting specifically on the message about diving, not anywhere else on the site. The reason I did so was because Debito conflated swimming with diving in his original post. There are, in fact, safety concerns with diving that do not apply to swimming.

            Don’t take my clarification of that particular point as support for anything else on the site. I’ve been clear that disagree with the message. I’m just shedding a bit of light specifically on the diving part of this diving site.

            — Point taken. I too acknowledge that swimming and diving are two different skill sets and require different training, and have made the appropriate amendment to the blog entry. Sorry that this debate got side-tracked a bit because of it.

    • Anonymous2 says:

      Has anyone contacted them to ask what the “safety reasons” are that specially affect “global people”? What if the “global people” speak fluent Japanese and are experienced divers?

  • “Because they wanted Engrish that “every Japanese can understand”. Thus nonsense is the standard fare here”

    Yea I have written documents in professional level English and was told to change it to something nonsensical, just to meet that “standard” also

    Its insulting to us, as we spent our formative years learning how to write and compose a document, and can judge the level of competency of the writer by their craft, but that whole paradigm is reversed, now no need to be intelligent, being a clown instead becomes the defacto standard, as long as you show love for Japan of course. A study on the long term effects of such behavior would be interesting indeed.

    • Baudrillard the Clown in the Theatre of the Absurd says:

      ” a clown….., as long as you show love for Japan” Yep, thats what Abe etc want. Has an ironic parallel with “Running Clown Game” which is a PUA technique which i have witnessed successfully used in Roppongi, the only pay off in Japan for being a clown, do not expect any professional reward.

      More seriously though, this damages Japan. A real case study for which I was paid big money for, was from a French multinational in Tokyo that wanted to completely “retrain” their “goofy acting clown” of a J manager (exact words of his cynical, weary French boss) because they wanted to promote him to a director role but the global bosses just would not take him seriously, they even locked him out of a board meeting. He just did not have the air of a senior executive, because he could not stop running clown game.

      He was popular with the local junior staff, but his mannerisms just didnt cut it with the directors flying in from overseas.

      But you can’t make a leopard change his spots, and despite cultural awareness training, he just outright quit the company.

      Just take that to the macro level and you have a reason why Japan gets turned down by America for that coveted permanent security council seat- because they arent taken seriously. (Just as President Wilson turned Japan down for racial equality at the League of Nations.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_Equality_Proposal#April_11 )

    • Baudrillard the Clown in the Theatre of the Absurd says:

      At least certain American companies, like Universal Studios, have American presidents that went ballistic when they saw nonsensical Engrish (mistakes) on their characters’ T shirts in Japan and from then on insisted a native speaker be hired (used, actually, not full time hire, no benefits) to correct the mistakes.

      Because otherwise it is indistinguishable from a cheap Chinese copy at the 100 yen shop.

      But the native proof reader’s presence was resented, ignored, and corrections sometimes disputed even by the younger staff (its not a generational thing). I speak from first hand experience.

      Mendokusai kara. Having to get the English correct in an American company. Oh the irony.

  • realitycheck says:

    So from the reaction of Kyoto Joe to this thinly disguised exercise to exclude anybody who is not Japanese from a publicly advertised business and justify this mean little racially motivated act, we can then conclude other countries are free to do the same to Japanese people by this logic.

    In Hawaii –
    No Japanese on our walking/surfing/other physical activity tours please. Your English language skills are not good enough to communicate without us having to employ Japanese-speaking staff for you. This is expensive.

    And you don’t respect the boundaries and limits that are necessary on our islands. You do risky actions to take photos when in fact you are putting your and others lives’ in danger. You are not used to real waves or real surfing, and you cause much bother by your inexperience.

    In Australia –
    No Japanese on the beach because you don’t speak our language and you have a tendency to do stupid actions like climb on dangerous rocks hit by strong waves – we are endangering our lifeguards or at least taking their attention away from others who need help by your Japanese actions.

    Therefore, no Japanese on our beaches please. You don’t understand our culture and you play games with the forces of nature on our beaches.

    Thank you for understanding why we refuse to provide you with recreation and services.

    Except………………..anybody arrogant enough to impose this kind of segregation on people from another country and culture would receive the full weight of the law as they should.

    Japan looks like a very trashy society when one sees and hears of its fondness for justifying racially based activities against ‘the other’. Just as trashy are the foreigner propagandists pretending there are rational bases for such 19th century thinking.

  • Baudrillard says:

    In other countries they often hire an English speaker to cater to English speaking customers. It seems this company is just too cheap to do this, so would rather be exclusionist and racist!

    Omotenashi lacking, it doesnt bode well for the Olympics. Some have predicted the language school sector will get a boost in the years beforehand and/or teachers will be paid more.

    But this isnt the 80s, so don’t hold your breath. Probably they will look to hire cheap labor, probably non westerners from poorer economies, on temporary visas, and any language training these teachers give will no doubt be rushed, at the last minute, as has often been in the case in my humble experience.

    What they need is to offer specialists in cross cultural awareness expat deals to come here and train all staff….wait, it just isnt going to happen now, is it?

    Even if they did the above, old habits die hard. Remember., “This is a nice pen….” from the senior J – salesman after a year’s training (company went bankrupt).


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