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Table of Contents:
1) Kyodo: “300 people per day re-entering Japan breaking COVID self-quarantine”. But NJ report government incompetence, which punishes them disproportionately.
2) Senaiho’s final update on Yamanashi School Bullying Lawsuit: They basically lost, because bullying is an “expected and normal” part of Japanese Education (UPDATED with full court decision text)
3) Problematically racialized Education Ministry-approved primary-school “Morals” textbook: “Shōgaku Dōtoku: Yutaka na Kokoro 1-nen” (Kōbun Shoin, 2020)
4) Nagasaki Yorozuya-machi Steak House “Bronco” sign: “Foreign people are forbidden to enter this restaurant to prevent infection.” Exclusionary racism evolves with Covid. (UPDATED: Signs are down)

And finally…
5) SNA Visible Minorities 21: “A Retrospective on 25 Years of Activism”, April 19, 2021

By Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (,, Twitter @arudoudebito) Newsletters as always are freely forwardable.

1) Kyodo: “300 people per day re-entering Japan breaking COVID self-quarantine”. But NJ report government incompetence, which punishes them disproportionately.

Government incompetence is nothing new. There’s not much you can do when the expectation is one-way: The Man demands a promise from you, with punishments if you don’t comply, but if The Man doesn’t keep his promises, too bad, since there’s often no punishment for the Powers That Be. That’s what’s happening under Japan’s new “self-quarantine” rules. Kyodo News reports that “up to 300 people per day are breaking the self-quarantine”. People, regardless of nationality. What is NOT evenly enforced regardless of nationality is the punishment. As Kyodo notes, ‘The health ministry, which has asked for people to honor their pledge, has warned that penalties for noncompliance include publicly revealing names or, in the case of a foreign national, revocation of their status of residence and deportation.”

That’s very different. Especially since people are reporting to Magdalena Osumi of the Japan Times (see below) that there has been no follow-up from the government when it comes to helping people keep their pledge (and some confusion about how the rules are supposed to work). So if the GOJ messes things up and you’re a citizen, uh, your name gets made public. Big whoop. But if you’re NJ, through no fault of your own, you get deported. Your life in Japan is over. As has predicted might happen, this new Covid “Self-Quarantine” regime has become yet another means to ethnically-cleanse Japan of its foreigners. As if revolving-door visas and insecure job statuses aren’t enough. And of course, the Kyodo article neither questions the disproportionality of the punishment or reports on the incompetence of the government.

What follows is the Kyodo article. After that, a request from Magdalena Osumi for information about the government incompetence for an upcoming article. Read on if you have something to share with her.


2) Senaiho’s final update on Yamanashi School Bullying Lawsuit: They basically lost, because bullying is an “expected and normal” part of Japanese Education (UPDATED with full court decision text)

Senaiho: We received a judgment from the Yamanashi Circuit Court in our case against the bullies of our daughter resulting in the school cutting her hair and her dropping out of school. In a Readers Digest version of the judgment, we lost. The court ruled that while recognizing the fact that bullying was present, it did not amount to enough abuse that would merit awarding any damages. A certain amount of teasing is expected and a normal part of the Japanese educational system, in the court’s opinion, so zero amount is awarded.

There is no hiding our disappointment in this judgment, so I won’t try to white-wash it. It sends the message that it is OK to bully others for whatever reason in Japanese education, as long as there are no serious physical effects, such as severe injury, death, or suicide. There was no mention whatsoever of anything related to racial motivations in our case.


3) Problematically racialized Education Ministry-approved primary-school “Morals” textbook: “Shōgaku Dōtoku: Yutaka na Kokoro 1-nen” (Kōbun Shoin, 2020)

XY: In the textbook, I identified three major problematic points in total: 1st, gross gaijinization of a birthright Japanese just because of having a foreign father instead of doing the morally correct thing and teach that the so-called “hāfu” are as Japanese as any “pure” Japanese; 2nd, the claim that Emma is bad at Japanese because of her “foreignness”, which can easily proliferate the stereotype that “foreigners” can’t speak Japanese (properly), even if they have a Japanese parent (and therefore aren’t gaikokujin (or gaikoku no hito, wording that is more about origin than legal status) in the first place); and 3rd, a strong focus on differences rather than similarities as human beings no matter what race someone belongs to. Overall an extraordinarily poor example of a grade-school textbook, sidelining mixed-race Japanese to gaikokujin status and planting this legally false and socially outdated idea into the minds of first graders. A G7 member should do away with the proliferation of such bs. It’s 2021, not 1921.

In conclusion, I think that these two texts sneak in stereotypes into the minds of Japanese first graders that are detrimental to foreigners and international (racially diverse) Japanese. The first one subtly conveys a “foreigners can’t be trusted” kind of message, the second one treats legal Japanese with international heritage as genuine gaikokujin and overemphasizes differences over similarities, and also proliferates the obnoxious gaikokujin = blonde eigojin stereotype.


4) Nagasaki Yorozuya-machi Steak House “Bronco” sign: “Foreign people are forbidden to enter this restaurant to prevent infection.” Exclusionary racism evolves with Covid. (UPDATED: Signs are down)

Steak House “Bronco”.
Address 850-0852 Nagasaki, Yorozuya machi 5-4
Phone 095-825-9377
Facebook page:ステーキハウス-ブロンコ-206688849396493/
Sign says: “Foreign people are forbidden to enter this restaurant to prevent infection.”
This is in Kanko dori, the main downtown shopping area in Nagasaki. Online photos of the interior show a Confederate flag on display.

COMMENT: Another one to add to’s collection of “Japanese Only” signs. In addition to all of the other places archived both here on the Blog and on the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments, it looks like the owner of Bronco is so much of a fan of America that he’s adopting America’s long history of racism, down to the Confederate Flag (supporters of which would historically no doubt have supported America’s Asian exclusion laws, WWII internment camps for Japanese, and other measures that would exclude Non-Whites like him).

The interesting thing about this bigot is that his racism has evolved with the times. No longer is it a matter of excluding people because they don’t “look Japanese” or “don’t understand Japanese culture” etc., etc. Now it’s a matter of infection. That’s funny, actually. Given Japan’s abysmally-low vaccination rate, vaccinated foreign tourists are probably less contagious than his regular Wajin clientele. But no matter. He’s just reflecting Japan’s incredibly unscientific border controls and the narrative that Covid is exogenous. Given the new Eek variant possibly incubated from Japan’s former honor-system quarantines for Japanese only, it’s not anymore. But any excuse for a bigot.


And finally…

5) SNA Visible Minorities 21: “A Retrospective on 25 Years of Activism”, April 19, 2021

SNA I’ve been involved in activism in Japan for many years. Indeed so many that my online archive of work,, just turned 25 years old last week. With that in mind, I’d like to devote this column to a retrospective of the past quarter century: What, if anything, has contributed to help make conditions for Non-Japanese residents and Visible Minorities better? first went live on April 15, 1996, during the earlier days of the World Wide Web, as a means to respond to online bulletin board critics. When topics came up over and again, I’d just archive a previous essay on and send a link. After a couple hundred essays were organized into general information sites, became a platform for issues involving foreign residents of Japan.

The first major issue I took up was “Academic Apartheid” in Japan’s universities. This is where all Japanese full-time faculty were granted contract-free tenure from day one of employment, while all foreign academics, despite many being better qualified than their Japanese counterparts, got perpetual ninkisei contracts (some of them term-limited) without the opportunity for tenure.

I discovered a “smoking gun” one day in my university mailbox: A paper directive from the Ministry of Education encouraging national and public universities to fire their older foreign professors by not renewing their contracts. I scanned it, archived it, and sent a link to prominent advocates like Ivan P. Hall (author of Cartels of the Mind) for further exposure. It turns out that a government demanding their universities axe all their foreigners over forty is state-sponsored discrimination, and it blew up into an international issue that even then-US Ambassador Walter Mondale took up.

All of that information is still up on today, and it turns out that a permanent archive that is searchable, citable, with context and without paywall, is a valuable resource, especially as many unscrupulous people would rather have a history of their actions and policies disappear into the ether. Once archived on, it didn’t. Soon other issues on garnered national and international attention, even generating public policy movements…

Rest is at
Anchor site for comments at


That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading!


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22 comments on “DEBITO.ORG NEWSLETTER MAY 17, 2021

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    (Eye roll) This guy sounds like he’s only just discovered Japanese racism and wants to have a ‘serious’ conversation about it as a ‘serious’ academic.

    I’d take him a lot more ‘seriously’ if his conclusion wasn’t that racism in Japan is something Japanese people do to ;
    1. Blacks
    2. Japanese of Korean descent
    3. Black Japanese of Korean descent

    Sheesh! It’s not like the topic of racism in Japan isn’t a long-standing issue covered in many places (like!
    Hasn’t he worked it out yet? It’s not Japanese racists vs 1,2,3, it’s Japanese racists vs everyone else!

    He’s ‘discovered’ racism in Japan, and he thinks it’s news to everyone else too. Please mind your head when leaving your bubble….

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    This is hilarious!
    Myanmar fires 2 diplomatic staff in Japan for criticism of the junta.
    Japan confirms ‘fired’ embassy staff visa are ‘still valid’.

    Err, yeah, ok, just make up the law as you go along then. After all, if you cancel their visas, you’ll have to send them to a detention center…(oops! Japan shoots self in foot by sending diplomats standing up against Myanmar junta to detention center where they are denied medical care).
    They might prefer the junta.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    IOC’s Dick Pound having a spectacular Japan ‘myth’ meets Japan ‘reality’ moment;

    ‘ “The Japanese when they take something on they are very organized, very efficient and very effective in delivering it and this vaccine thing for some reason or other they haven’t, and I don’t know what the glitch is,” he said.’

    ‘ “The thing that has puzzled me… the state of emergency they have declared,” Pound added. “It’s called an emergency except all the restaurants and bars in Ginza are still open.”’

    It’s like he just believes every spoon fed myth out there about Japan!

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Is Naomi Osaka just the flakiest or what?
    A couple of weeks ago, she said about canceling the Olympics ‘it definitely should be a discussion’.

    I guess she got MASSIVE pushback from her Japanese sponsors, who also happen to be Olympic ‘partners’ (for partners read ‘sponsors of the Olympics’), because now she’s not doing post game press conferences anymore because the media is so unfair and giving her stress (or something).
    I guess she doesn’t want to get caught up in social issues about Japanese public health, and the IOC, and her sponsorship $$$, and it’s not about black people in America ANYWAY!
    So despite her having a contractual obligation for millions of dollars to go out after the French Open and fo PR for her sponsors, she’s ducking out of that with some ‘stress from the media’ lameness and her Japanese sponsors are ENCOURAGING HER TO DO SO (because they don’t want to see her out on the spot about the Olympics).

    • Baudrillard says:

      Diva PR move on that latter. Some say she is actually playing the victim, and mental health is the latest bandwagon victimhood to jump on.

      • Jim Di Griz says:

        That’s what she wants them to think!
        I bet the truth is the news coverage of her questioning the Tokyo Olympics prompted an IOC>GOJ>her Japanese sponsors who are Olympic ‘partners’>Naomi Osaka style ‘sh1t rolls down hill’ dynamic to play out where protecting the idea of having the Tokyo Ol¥mpic$ is worth more for these stakeholders than the loss to her sponsors of her not doing PR in Paris.
        Face it, I bet her sponsors made it clear to her that if she didn’t stay away from journalists until after the Olympics, then the GOJ might suddenly demand to see proof she is no longer has US citizenship or they might cancel her Japanese citizenship (and think about all the financial implications of that for her).
        Her blaming it on the media is not only convenient (since she’s spent most of the last year courting media attention with named masks, and threatening to pull out of tournaments, then announcing she changed her mind- she knows how to (and does!) play the media).
        Blaming the ‘media’ to distract form what’s really going on and deflect from the actual issue, is a page straight out of Trump’s playbook. Isn’t she embarrassed by herself?

        • David Markle says:

          Claiming “mental health issues” is the same as saying: “I won’t like the questions you are going to ask me” or more specifically: “my leash has been yanked, so I better shut up about the Olympics being held or not if I know what’s good for me.”

          The fact that people like her can’t even speak their mind about something that effects them so personally, makes my heart warm and fuzzy. It means there is a some serious blood in the water attracting all sorts of scavengers. The sharks are out there circling too no doubt.

        • David Markle says:

          By the bye, citizenship is way down this ist of her concerns. The top three are money, after that is money. All it would take is for Japan Inc. to decide she is not “pure” enough for them to pull the plug on her.

          She thinks she has mental issues now? She ain’t seen nothing yet if she doesn’t tow the line

        • Jim Di Griz says:

          Ok, so now I’m thinking Osaka has a genuine mental health problem. According to the NYT, she pulled out of the open because she refuses to give interviews to ‘the media’, but she did an interview coming off the court with Japanese TV channel WOWWOW (who are also her sponsor), so I guess all that complaining about being asked ‘will you eat katsudon’ and ‘can you use chopsticks’ was t a problem at all! It was the NJ media’s bad all along…

          And then she goes on some tangent about how beating Serena Williams caused her trauma because of Serena’s behavior, and she’s been struggling with mental illness since then (so is it the media’s fault now or not?);

          So now she’s blaming a black woman for her problems? Mmm, ok….

          She doesn’t seem very stable to me.
          Maybe this is the pressure Japan puts its international sports stars and Olympians under? has written about this before.
          Still, it’s a great reason to duck out of the Tokyo Olympics whilst avoiding the whole Covid situation and public lack of support ‘thing’.

          — I don’t think the article says or implies she’s blaming Serena Williams.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    BTW, I’m betting Japan wishes it hadn’t kicked out all those Indonesian, Filipino, and Vietnamese nurses now after making them mess around with kanji tests…
    Ideology FAIL.

  • David Markle says:

    On the morning talk shows today (5/30/21), several panelists were visibly outraged at how the IOC could possibly be able to dictate to their beloved JAPAN that it hold the games in spite of its own best interest, and the desire of over 80 percent of the population that the games be canceled or postponed. The answer is simple: you (Japan) signed over those rights when you agreed to host the games! Those bygone days must seem like never-never land to the Japanese today.

    The contract (written under Swiss law) gives pretty much everything, legal rights wise, to the IOC. The host country is by default a contractual employee of the IOC. If Japan chose to unilaterally cancel the games, the cost to it would be astronomical. All the host can do really is control who and under what conditions the participants and support staff get to enter the country. The problem is you cant really have the Olympics without the athletes and the staff required to hold the events even though Japan is trying its best to do without them. Even now they are entering the country, quarantine free, at the rate of about 500 a day. Japan is s_____d if if it does, and the same if it doesn’t. I marvel at how the ditch keeps getting deeper and deeper as the events themselves draw closer.

    We already have the Indian variant of the Covid running loose in the country, and there is speculation by experts that a unique Tokyo Olympic hybrid of the virus might mutate and become another vaccine nullifying form of the disease that has reeked havoc on the world. There is a glass-clinker to Japanese uniqueness. The Japanese have only themselves and their political/economic system to blame albeit they will undoubtedly blame the NJ for all their losses and trouble if the games themselves turn into the medical disaster they suspect they could. The Diamond Princess which I wrote about extensively at the time, proved to be prophetic as to what the future would hold for this country. The Olympics and its Covid component are a black hole that is sucking everything and everybody into it despite their best efforts to extract themselves from its pull. Goodo Rucku!

  • David Markle says:

    J Politicians are trolls. They smell weakness in people who are suffering from depression.

    Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that he would “watch over her quietly” and there was concern on the streets of Tokyo for the woman who will be one of the faces of this year’s Olympic Games in the city.

    The irony of this is just too much. She will enjoy sympathy in the western media for a while, which will act as a tenuous force field for her Japanese support. However (as if depression was not enough), now she has creepy old J politicians “quietly watching over her” like a demented troll wringing its hands in anticipation of its next victim. Some might say; “Well he didn”t mean it like that.” Yes he did. He is a J politician, he knows exactly what he is saying. I am sure Naomi didn’t intend it this way, but now ‘the face of the Tokyo Olympics’ is ‘the face of depression.’

    Mental illness is something treated with the greatest cruelty and contempt in Japan It’s sufferers living lives of complete rejection and isolation if they choose to endure it that long. Naomi only has value to Japan on the tennis court, where she has to keep winning so Japan can lay claim to her “good genes”. Her mental issues only expose her “defective foreign genes.” This would add neurosis to anyone’s couch session. The lip service support from her Japanese sponsors and so-called fans I don”t believe are sincere for a minute. Its just not in their bones.

    Now we have the Face Of The Tokyo Olympics suffering from such serious depression, she has to step away from the court for a while. Boy if this doesn”t capture the dire mood of the Olympics in Japan perfectly. Everybody would like to step away from this whole fiasco for a while. Unfortunately there is no place we are allowed to go. We are all locked into our bubbles of safety, hiding behind moldy masks. Oh to have a private jet able to whisk oneself away from all this darkness for a while would cure my depression for sure.

  • David Markle says:

    Scratch One Ugandan Champion,

    “The athletes, arriving late on Saturday at Tokyo’s Narita airport, were all fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jabs and had negative PCR tests before boarding, the Asahi newspaper reported, quoting an anonymous Cabinet Secretariat official.”

    Hmm, fully vaccinated, negative Covid test before departure, (not in Uganda but Paris), No symptoms. Upon arrival, bells go off and he is whisked away to the Covid gulag to be put on the next plane home.

    You got to hand it to that Japanese technology, it can sniff a Covid virus from 5000 miles away. Now only 999,975 more people to test and admit or not into the country. How was it he as allowed on the plane, they ask, and they think the admission proceedure should be stricter? What could possibly go wrong?

    • Jaocnanoni says:

      Except that his “bullying” went about 10,000 miles beyond what I’d call bullying. He should’ve “earned” a criminal record with his torture and assaults back in the day.

      • Jim Di Griz says:

        Well yes, exactly.
        Not so much bullying as sexual assault and assault of someone with learning disabilities from elementary to high school.

        • Baudrillard says:

          Found this on wikipedia, before it is erased
          “In “Rocking on Japan” (published in January 1994) and “Quick Japan” (published in August 1995), Oyamada has talked about the experience of attempted murder when he was a student, with smile. However, he is in charge of music production at the Tokyo Olympics, which has the concept of “Unity in Diversity”. Of course, many Japanese are angry with this fact. He is a villainous criminal rather than a musician.”

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