My latest SNA VM column 16: “US Elections Repudiate Trump’s Japan-Style Ethnostate”, suggesting that the US might be taking real steps towards a post-racial society, Nov. 16, 2020


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Visible Minorities 16: US Elections Repudiate Trump’s Japan-Style Ethnostate
By Debito Arudou, Shingetsu News Agency, November 16, 2020

SNA (Tokyo) — The US elections captured the world’s attention. No wonder. Given America’s hegemony as an economic, political, cultural, and military power, the results underpin the future of geopolitics and world order.

But here’s another angle: This election offers the world some insights into how countries painfully evolve into multiethnic, post-racial societies. It even demonstrated how enfranchised people would rather destroy their governing system than relinquish power.

Fortunately, they didn’t win. Let’s recount some important facts.

The contest between incumbent Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was indeed, as depicted in campaign slogans, a battle for the “soul of America.”

At stake was whether Trump’s nepotistic, corrupt administration—one that shamelessly used whatever means they could to perpetuate their power, punish political enemies, and undermine democracy both domestic and worldwide—would get four more years; or whether America’s place as a world leader, for better or worse, would be restored to less capricious leadership, with policymaking sane enough to keep its own citizens alive in a self-inflicted pandemic.

Clearly American voters chose the latter course; Biden won. He got five million more votes in an election where more people voted for a president than ever before, with voting rates on track to be among the highest in modern US history. […]

[There are of course some caveats, and] given the current status of Trump refusing to concede the election, and his lackeys interfering with a transition to the presumptive winner, it’s clear that no matter who wins, Republicans feel they are the only ones entitled to run the country. They view cheating, sabotage, soliciting foreign interference, and spreading unscientific conspiracy theories as fair play. The United States’ 233-year experiment in democracy be damned; 73 million voters in this election agreed with Trump’s authoritarianism. The intractable polarization of American politics is complete.

Still, the fact remains that this election was a repudiation of Trump, and, in retrospect, it’s a textbook example of democracy in action. […]

Ultimately, the history books will remember this about the past four years: Trump was the worst president in American history—the only one who was impeached, served only one term, and lost the popular vote. Twice.

Well, good for the United States. But there are also lessons here for Japan, particularly its minorities: how countries make slow and painful transitions to a post-racial society…

Read the rest on SNA at

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4 comments on “My latest SNA VM column 16: “US Elections Repudiate Trump’s Japan-Style Ethnostate”, suggesting that the US might be taking real steps towards a post-racial society, Nov. 16, 2020

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    I’m so glad that they finally beat Orange Cheeto last month, although Democrats should have won by landslide. It’s still mind-boggling to see Trump garnered more votes than last time, gaining more support from Blacks, Hispanics, White Women, and LGBT voters. Biden obviously struggled in securing Blacks/Latinix voting blocs, which resulted in losing Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio. And clearly, the public remains divided over police brutality, economy, COVID-19, etc.

    I’m pretty sure Biden administration will put everything back to normalcy, but I am skeptical that his administration will make a difference from Bush/Obama era–which revealed the abuse of power by elites– national intelligence, the White House, the Congress, and big corporations over citizens. That’s how a man like Trump came out and run for the president. Many people passionately supported him because they were so upset with the national direction in struggling economy. Biden is a well-known centrist, and featherbedded with political/corporate establishment from both sides of the aisle. He’s a kind of guy giving people nudge-nudge, wink-wink to African-Americans and corporate-fed left/liberals, while trashing down those coming from progressive/working-class camp.

    To be sure, the US is wise enough not to follow Japan-style ethnostate, but diversity doesn’t assume the embracement of change in ideology. Seeing more non-whites and immigrants supporting Trump or black leaders getting on the wrong side of race history(such as Candice Owen, Daniel Cameron) is a living evidence of ongoing ideological divide, which is just as problematic as ethnostate and xenophobism.

  • Long term US resident and habitual nationalist and America basher Kuni Miyake has the following to say;
    ‘ For Japan, there is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that the nation’s dark side comprising nationalism, populism and xenophobic behavior, which I liken to being socio-political in nature, will grow — especially if the country fails to recover from the economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The good news is that Japan’s dark side is much less racist, ethnocentric and inward looking than its counterpart in the United States. The Trumpists in Japan are also not armed with pistols, rifles or automatic weapons. Their expressions of frustration and anger are therefore likely to be calmer and less violent.

    Most importantly, Japanese society is mature enough to overcome such ugly and unhealthy feelings — hopefully. So let us keep our fingers crossed.’

    Not sure how he’d know about racism in Japan right now since he’s been living in the US for years, and is part of the majority when he does visit Japan.

    Oh! BTW, he’s got ‘friends in the Prime Minister’s office.’
    Oooh! The mighty influence he must wield! Is it the office cleaner?

    • ‘friends in the Prime Minister’s office.’
      Oooh! The mighty influence he must wield! Is it the office cleaner?”
      This reminds me of numerous conversations in Japan I ve had by essentially disenfranchised Japanese justifiying their “indirect influence” on the erai hito and the system. Or how they “know” that famous person (They mean know of, or have seen at a distance, or bowed to once. Or how the President acknowledged them as he got in his limo).
      Everything from how women are the “rulers in the home” and gatekeepers of the purse strings (though this doesnt include the large demographic of single mothers/parent families living in poverty) to Jim’s hypothetical office cleaner presumably along the lines of
      “a clean office can influence the mood of the prime minister into being in a good mood”.

      Or the usual discussions of how much depends on good will; the good will of the judge to make the right decision because of course he is an Erai Hito, or in the example above, the good will and willingness of a husband to go along with “Japanese tradtition” and voluntarily surrender his salary to the wife for management.
      The takeaways here are 1. its all arbitrary 2. people kid themselves they have more power than they really do, to feel better about their essential powerlessness 3. The Erai Hito will always do the right thing, they think.
      Thus 4. We Japanese dont need a Western style constitution.
      Dreamy Day Delusions. Still, should impress the hostesses over drinks “Sugoi! You “know” the prime minister. Have another drink its only 1 man Yen”

  • Kuni Miyake’s comments are laughable and sound typical of what we may here coming out of Nagata cho. Japan’s dark side is less racist and ethnocentric? This guy has to be kidding.

    I am no fan ot Trump who is not really fit to be a President and some of his remarks were nuts. However I have no illusions about the election of Biden. Despite the virtue signalling about “inclusion” and “diversity” his cabinet choices in key positions are long time establisment elites and Loverilakkuma states above we are in for more of the same. Janet Yellen again??? Nothing more needs to be said.

    I was having breakfast with a fellow American in Japan who was telling me how racist the U.S. is. I asked him to take a look around (as well as other countries). In the U.S. the issue is vigorously discussed, analyzed, and explored – even to the extent of reaching the point of “all white men bad” mantra. It is the opposite extreme of Japan in reality.

    It seems Miyake may live in the U.S. but perhaps does not interact with any of the locals (like some of the folks we see over here in Japan)


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