Sapporo Consadole player and former England Team soccer striker Jay Bothroyd refused entry to Hokkaido Classic golf course for being “not Japanese”


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Hi Blog.  Here is some foreshadowing.  Famous football player Jay Bothroyd, who played for the English national team, and now plays for Sapporo Consadole, has faced a “Japanese Only” golf course in Hokkaido: a famous one called  the Hokkaido Classic.  (The very course was even designed by a foreigner!)

This exclusionism is somewhat old hat for people who have been following the Otaru Onsens Case and the other “Japanese Only” places in Hokkaido and nationwide for all these decades.  But when it starts happening to famous people (such as those playing for local Japanese teams), you know the bigots have lost their common sense from a public relations point of view.

Bring on the 2020 Olympics!  There will be lots more “foreign” athletes to target then!  Not to mention their supporters. Dr. Debito Arudou


Former England striker turned away from golf club in Japan ‘because he is foreign’

FORMER England and Cardiff footballer Jay Bothroyd has claimed he was turned away from a golf course in Japan, where he is now playing, because he is a foreigner.
Daily Express (UK) Wed, May 30, 2018

Jay Bothroyd claimed he was turned away from the golf course for being a foreigner.

The 36-year-old Arsenal academy graduate, who made his only appearance for England in 2010, joined J1 League club Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo last July.

But the striker was left stunned after he was refused entry to his local golf course on the northernmost of Japan’s major islands – the Hokkaido Classic – which was designed by golf legend and 17 time major tournament winner Jack Nicklaus.

The exclusive par-72 course charges £338 for a weekend round of golf between June and July, with its fees website page stating that non-Japanese players must be accompanied by a club member.

But Mr Bothroyd, who has also played in Italy and Thailand, took to social media to question if it would be deemed racism in the UK or US.

He tweeted: “Today, I wanted to play golf, and when I went to Hokkaido Classic Golf Club, I was told that foreigners refused.

“If this were British or American, wouldn’t it be seen as racism? Do you have any recommendations for a good golf course?”

(Courtesy of SendaiBen.  Note different ending in original Japanese:  “Fukuzatsu na kimochi desu”, or “It’s a complicated feeling.”)

A British man in his 30s has also claimed he is sometimes declined entry to some places in Mr Bothroyd’s adopted city of Hokkaido.

He said: “I was once declined by a hotel in Hokkaido. Foreigners couldn’t stay there.”

A survey by the Justice Ministry in March revealed a worrying number of foreigners who are refused entry to venues in Japan, even though some are even able to speak the language.

The golf course’s fees page says non-Japanese players must be accompanied by a club member

It found that 247 out of 4,252 foreigners are “sometimes” refused entry to shops and restaurants due to their nationality, while 18 said they were “frequently” refused entry.

In addition, 347 anti-immigration rallies took place in 2013, growing to 378 in 2014, while Brazilian journalist Ana Bortz successfully sued a store in Hamamatsu after the owner tried to eject her.

In May 2016, Japan passed the Hate Speech Law, aimed at curbing racial discrimination to fight the growing problem.

When Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, Japan is expected to welcome more than 40 million tourists, with organisers hoping to eradicate the problem in time for the global showpiece.

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15 comments on “Sapporo Consadole player and former England Team soccer striker Jay Bothroyd refused entry to Hokkaido Classic golf course for being “not Japanese”

  • The comments section of that article is full of praise for Japanese-style exclusion.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Boo hoo. Welcome to my world. You know what? It happened to him because he wasn’t famous enough! They would never have turned away David Beckham because they would have recognized him, and known it would have been a big deal had they excluded him.
    The mistake they made here is that they excluded someone that is famous enough outside Japan in the real world that this story got coverage, and Japanese racism is now a ‘thing’ that the U.K. press will keep an eye on.
    Dr. Debito should get in touch and give the newspaper an interview about how this relates to the Olympics.

    • Baudrillard says:

      yeah, boo hoo welcome to my world is spot on. Also the postmodern media obsession is the determiner of relations here, the “relationship between images”, not people, as Debord would put it.

      Thus, “world famous gaijin” (Beckham, Simon Le Bon) welcome. Not famous gaijin gets no play.

      I (don’t) love how dumb and simple minded it is in Japan. Like a “Ooops I slipped on a banana” gag, it has to be “made really simple for people to get” in the words of a one celeb band member.

      Its a pathetic paradox, if someone is world famous, then natch, the Japanese will go for it but then be charged millions they can ill afford for the privilege. And they may not be interested in doing business or coming to Japan. Hypersensitive, insecure Japan perceives celebs who dont come as “hating Japan”

      (Second link, a tangent, but very telling on lots of unspoken Japanese cultural differences in the media, and movie making, love the directness “Crap like AKB48”)

      But as you say, Bothroyd is just famous enough in the outside real world to get attention, and social media is a new dynamic, and thus shame J xenophobes in the Daily Express (though their figures of NJs experiencing exclusionary practices are too low).

  • Baudrillard says:

    Love how these FOB minor celebs turn up in Japan and then express shock at being discriminated against. It is so naive.But indeed, it would not happen in the UK or USA or at least there would be legal redress.
    I attribute the dearth of comments here to the sheer boredom our jaded readership have when the privileged realize that Japan does not care about your money, but rather your race.

    He can’t get into a golf club, well booo hoo, regular folks can’t even rent an apartment. Funny how little people care…until it happens to them!

  • Baudrillard says:

    More on Jay Bothroyd, “During his time at Perugia, he befriended then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s third son, Al-Saadi Gaddafi. At the end of October 2011, Bothroyd said of Al-Saadi: “Saadi is a friend of mine.”

    I think I have lost any sympathy.

    But in his defence, he doesnt look like the “poster boy NJ celeb” like blonde Beckham. So that was anothe reason for J xenophobes to exclude him.

    Otaru Onsen all over again? They decide who gets in based on (racial) looks?

    Also note that NJs are allowed if accompanied with Gaijin Handlers. Pets must be kept on a leash?

  • Anthony Dolan says:

    @baudrillard I save my anger for the discriminatory landlords and businesses rather than the victims, no matter who they may be.

    • Baudrillard says:

      Thats great, but I have no sympathy (different from anger) for this spoilt celeb himself, except that at least his whinings will alert the media to widespread J racism.

  • Though it is an inexcusable form of discrimination, this newspaper piece has some errors/ommissions. “City of Hokkaido”? No year for the Ana Bortz case. It looks lie it was as recent as 2014. Is there no better source?

  • Addendum 2: The club website says “Non-Resident”, not “Non-Japanese”, by the way. This is an important distinction. What counts as a “resident” is of course open for interpretation. Permanent residency? Adress in Japan? Also, I would like to know the reasons for this pilicy and if other clubs (they are one of a chain of clubs) also have this rule. If I would be rich and able to play golf, I might give it a try….. and see if they let me in. But since I am none of both, I can’t go and check it out.

  • Baudrillard says:

    To summarize
    1. He is foreign
    2. He isn’t famous enough for them
    3. He wasnt accompanied by a Japanese Gaddaffi type
    4. He isn’t blonde Caucasian clean cut looking, like Beckham

  • I was in Japan shortly after Obama’s election, a Japanese person told me “ it’s good America elected a black president, it shows your country is getting over its racism.” I nearly choked, in Japan, if you’re 3/4 Japanese, 1/4 not, many do not consider you Japanese. I have been refused entry many places with “Japanese” only.
    Wonder when Japan will have its first black president?
    For this that think discrimination is bad in the US, and the US is the worst— look around, travel around.

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