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Hello Newsletter Readers. We took a short Northern-Hemisphere summer holiday, so there are fewer articles this month. But the issues we took up, especially in light of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, are pretty powerful. Case in point, my latest SNA Visible Minorities column 25 that came out today, excerpt:


Visible Minorities: Tokyo 2020 Olympics Postmortem
Shingetsu News Agency, Aug 16, 2021, by Debito Arudou (excerpt)

SNA (Tokyo) — The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are now past. This is a postmortem.

Last month’s column talked about the “evil” of the Japanese government and International Olympic Committee (IOC) in forcing an unpopular Olympics upon Japan’s residents, all the while as Tokyo’s cases spiked during a global pandemic. But I also argued how host Japan in particular is trained by national narratives to see “outsiders” (including residents who don’t “look Japanese”—our Visible Minorities) specifically as terrorists, hooligans, criminals, and vectors of disease.

These fault lines have predictably exacerbated the endemic social disease of racial discrimination. International events just give people more excuses to create “Japanese Only” signs and rules.

That’s not to say that I boycotted the Olympics. In fact, given my background, I should be a superfan. […] But thanks to my background in political science, I’m trained to view nationalism with a critical eye: How governments convince people to live, fight, and even sacrifice their lives for their country. The Olympics are rooted precisely in these attitudes, and forever filter athleticism through the lens of national representation and superiority.

So despite all their promises to showcase “Diversity and Inclusion,” the Tokyo 2020 Olympics shirked that opportunity — predictably and by design…


Rest at
Go read it before it goes behind paywall. Or better yet, support independent progressive journalism and subscribe to SNA for as little as a dollar a week!
Anchor site for comments at

Now on with the Newsletter:

Table of Contents:

1) “Japanese Only” doctors: “Fast Doctor” House Call Service in Tokyo (which takes foreign traveler insurance) closed to all foreigners due to Covid. Hippocratic Oath?

2) “Japanese Only” signs up in two Hokkaido Chitose city restaurants, Yakitori “Kawasemi” and Shokuji-dokoro “Yokaro”, June 2021.

… and finally…
3) My SNA Visible Minorities 24: “The Tokyo Olympics Trap”, on how these Games are harming Japan’s minorities, and how the IOC is harming Japan.


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


1) “Japanese Only” doctors: “Fast Doctor” House Call Service in Tokyo (which takes foreign traveler insurance) closed to all foreigners due to Covid. Hippocratic Oath?

Another casualty of the Covid scare in Japan has been the Hippocratic Oath, where this English-language medical service called Fast DOCTOR (see Japanese site and English site here) (where a doctor will make house calls for a flat fee of 50,000 yen) is now closed to all foreigners. Screen captures of the English site follow.

You can comment below about the rather odd things about the English site (including the iStock photos of non-Asian practitioners, and the testimonials at the bottom without a single recommendation in English). But the fact remains that this medical service is contravening their medical oath to treat all patients.

Second, the “foreign” patients they are likely to treat (especially in this time of strict Covid checks at the border and better vaccination programs overseas) at this time are less likely to be infected by the pandemic than the average Japanese patient.

Finally, it of course assumes that foreigners who read English are travelers, not Japan residents. Given all of these things that defy both good physical and social science, I wonder what kind of medical care they offer in the first place.

FYI, their Facebook page is
Plus a defender of these practices steps forward to gaslight, claiming “FastDoctor continues to offer its services to foreign residents of Japan.” I debunk that in the comments section below this blog entry at


2) “Japanese Only” signs up in two Hokkaido Chitose city restaurants, Yakitori “Kawasemi” and Shokuji-dokoro “Yokaro”, June 2021.

Here are some more “Japanese Only” signs that have appeared in Hokkaido (and nationwide) since the original ones back on 1993 that occasioned the Otaru Onsens Case. This time they are gracing restaurants in the eatery area of Chitose, a major city just outside of Sapporo that hosts Hokkaido’s largest international airport (and the Tokyo 2020 outdoor distance events). Courtesy of Keiron, taken June 21 and June 24, 2021. Enjoy the omotenashi of un-Embedded Racism.

1) Yakitori Restaurant “Kawasemi”
北海道 千歳市 千代田町 2-1-1 1F, Ph: 0123-27-6700
(Photo of exclusionary sign and storefront here)

2) Restaurant “Yokaro”
北海道 千歳市 幸町 1-1 新橋通り商店街 Ph: 0123-24-5448
(Photo of exclusionary sign and storefront here)

UPDATE: We’ve had our typical second-guessers in various online fora, claiming that these signs mean “Japanese LANGUAGE Only” (i.e., the proprietors cannot speak a foreign language), or that protesting this is a wasted effort because you can just go elsewhere. Here’s how I responded:

A poster wrote, for example: “Yeah, they really mean they speak Japanese only. This phrase was so rampant on the internet during 90s.”

I responded to all:
Historically and factually incorrect. “This phrase was so rampant on the internet during 90s” was because we made it so with the Otaru Onsens Case –- see the record of “Japanese Only” signs we created in the 1990s and beyond at

In fact, in my survey of hundreds of “Japanese Only” signs and rules that I did for my doctoral fieldwork, hardly any of them were enforced to mean “Japanese language only.” They all meant “Japanese people only”.

In fact, I cannot recall in my research a SINGLE place with a “Japanese Only” sign up that meant language only.

Especially if you’d bother to actually visit the link and look at the second place, “Yokaro”. Their sign specifically says “Japanese customers only”. That’s definitive.

And just going to another place is not a solution. As my book “Japanese Only” (Akashi Shoten, 2007, outlines, letting the signs alone emboldened other places to put signs up of their own, nationwide. Discrimination, if left alone, eventually spreads to other places and industries, and signposting it only lends legitimacy to the act of exclusion.

Let’s study the historical record and the evidence before commenting and offering half-baked solutions.


… and finally…
3) My SNA Visible Minorities 24: “The Tokyo Olympics Trap”, on how these Games are harming Japan’s minorities, and how the IOC is harming Japan

SNA: On the eve of the Tokyo Olympics, let’s talk about the mess.

Much space has been devoted to the idiocracy behind spending record amounts of money on infrastructure that is not built to last, or even if it is, it often winds up abandoned. Further, holding a superspreader sports meet during a global pandemic is a surefire path to social discord and preventable death.

But it matters that Japan is hosting this mess. This column as usual will first focus on the Olympics’ impact on our minorities, and then talk about the IOC’s responsibility for scamming Japan…

Rest is at
Anchor site for comments at


That’s all for this month. Thanks as always for reading!
Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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  • Jim Di Griz says:

    The NPA has done such a ‘good’ job of creating a ‘foreigner = criminal’ narrative that this idiot robbed a convenience store telling staff ‘I’m Vietnamese!’, because it’s a dead cart that would throw the police off his case…'i’m-a-vietnamese'-while-pointing-knife-at-convenience-store-worker-to-rob-her

    Police caught the Japanese suspect, so no, the police were not fooled, but this incident shows the level of blame this society places on NJ and how deeply normalized it has become and the dangerous result of this is that stupid people are exploiting it.

  • Baudrillard says:

    So, “Vietnamese” are the new “dangerous foreigner” (actually, “foreign workforce being abused/exploited until the get wise and leave”).
    Like the Iranians in the 90s, and the Chinese in 7/11 in the 2000s.

    The exploitive system never changes, just the nationality of the people passing through it (and realizing theyre not going to make a dime out of it, instead theyre going to be trapped in a debt/high cost of living cycle)
    Seems the Vietnamese are getting wise though. Hmm, running out of places to exploit. Indonesia next maybe? Papua New Guinea?

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    You can argue that the US is responsible for the miserable War on Terror and that Japan was not a target of Al Quaeda so it’s nothing to do with them.
    But Japanese leaders (especially Abe) have been continuously chomping at the bit to finagle any role in US military operations for the last 30 years, partially to make themselves (and Japan) seem relevant, but also to salve the perception of Japanese masculinity being emasculated by the ‘peace’ constitution.
    The product of this has been many ‘sending off’ and ‘welcome home’ parades of SDF over the last 20 years that have given PM’s a chance to look ‘strong’ for the voting right-wingers, much nashing of teeth over the constitution and (most importantly but least remarked upon) a chance to J-inc to enter newly opened markets as Japanese ODA gets funneled back to J-inc.

    And now we have the end in Afghanistan.
    I’ve always said that we won WWII because our ideology was better (of course, Japanese imperial ideology is above challenging, so Japanese policy makers have always believed they lost because our science was better- hence the Abe era decision to cut funding in humanities in state universities in favor of funding science).
    And here’s the proof that our ideology Is still better;
    USAF pilot breaks all the rules to overload his airplane with refugees leaving Kabul;

    Japanese transport plane leaves Kabul carrying just one passenger; a Japanese national because no one thought about it;

    • -Abe era decision to cut funding in humanities in state universities in favor of funding science)

      Ooh, how very Meiji Era, favoring the Prussian model.
      In the relatively homogeneous Japanese society, social status carries heavy obligations, and community pressure is extremely powerful.

      Thus, although Japan early adopted a version of the German Civil Code, it did not adopt the Germans’ strong consciousness of legal rights.

      Whats more, this dovetails with Cultural Acquistion. That is the Japanese Erai Oyaji want the stuff, the know-how, without needing foreigners themselves. To come up with a Japanese version. And certainly not rights for women etc. Amaterasu forbid! “We can choose which bits we take”.

      Lesson still not learnt. Still, try electing someone who isn’t from one of those long standing families beholden and enamoured with replicating what their grandad did in WW2 or before.

  • And abuses in detention facilities continue of course

    Nothing has been learned apparently.

    Immigration detainee in Japan suffers neck injury after security guard puts him in headlock
    August 30, 2021 (Mainichi Japan)

    MITO — A detainee at an immigration center in east Japan sustained a neck injury after a security guard from a private firm assaulted him over a row about a soccer ball, the Higashi-Nihon Immigration Center announced on Aug. 29.

    According to the immigration center’s general affairs division, the assault took place during a physical exercise period on the afternoon of Aug. 27. The guard apparently attacked the man after the pair had a dispute over a soccer ball. The security guard explained, “I put him in a headlock playfully because he lied to me about where the ball was,” while the detainee was quoted as saying, “It didn’t feel like a joke to me.” The detainee reportedly claims that he was “strangled” by the guard. There were no witnesses to the incident.

    Though the man claimed he was suffering neck pain that evening, he was not permitted to see a doctor as officials deemed he was not injured. A doctor at an outside hospital examined him as the detainee continued to complain of neck pain the following day. He was then diagnosed with a neck sprain requiring two weeks to heal.

    The immigration center in the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Ushiku detains foreign nationals who stayed in Japan illegally. The center’s general affairs division did not clarify the gender and age bracket of the security guard in question on the grounds that “it is an issue involving a commissioned private firm.” It said that it will decide whether to report the incident to police “based on the wishes of the male victim.”

    Immigration center director Tetsuro Isobe commented, “We deeply regret this (incident) that undermined the public’s confidence in us. We will strictly demand the security company prevent a recurrence.”

    (Japanese original by Takashi Miyazaki, Mito Bureau)

    Japanese version

    入管で警備員が収容者暴行「ふざけて」 被害男性「首絞められた」
    毎日新聞 2021/8/29 21:29(最終更新 8/29 21:29)





    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Niklas, on the contrary, immigration center employees have learnt the lesson very well; they really can get away with literal murder.

  • Naomi Osaka’s lack of social and interpersonal skills was misinterpreted by the Japanese media as ‘shyness’ and therefore ‘proof’ of her ‘Japaneseness’ as it showed she was a meek (oops, sorry, ‘humble’) Japanese (as in Japanese woman= meek) FOR YEARS.
    Now she’s getting code violations for hitting the ground with her racket in anger and walking off the court during the game with a towel over her head. Is that Japanese? I’m confused now.

    • Well, in NIhonjinron theory, when she’s meek its Japanese, and when she is angry that’s her American side showing.
      Of course, Japanese do not openly show anger blah blah blah.

  • You can‘t make this up. Vaccine rollout in Japan was delayed because „the food and diet are different in the US than in Japan.“

    This seriously reads like a satirical article, but sadly it‘s real.

    Excerpt: But during a radio program on Tuesday, vaccine rollout minister Taro Kono revealed that U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. had included more than 100 Japanese residents in the United States in its clinical trials last year, since Japan was not among the countries where it conducted trials. The pharmaceutical company conducted trials in the U.S., Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina on more than 40,000 participants.

    “When Pfizer said in July (2020) that it was going to conduct an international clinical trial, Japan was excluded because the number of patients (at that time) were considerably small compared with Western countries,” Kono said. “They thought that it would be meaningless to do it in Japan because it would only take time.”

    Pfizer, however, included about 100 or so Japanese expats and exchange students in the U.S. in its clinical trial participants, telling Japan that they had data on Japanese nationals, he said.

    “But the health ministry said it wouldn’t work because the food and diet are different in the U.S. than in Japan,” Kono said.

    • Yeah, but Kono The Incompetent, a lover of democracy so strongly that he blocks those on Twitter who disagree with him ( is up against Abe backed Sanae who really is friends with real Japanese nazis, making him the ‘progressive’ ‘change candidate’ despite costing Japanese lives with his myth of Japanese uniqueness driven unnecessary vaccine trials.
      Hopefully Japan is back to ‘revolving door’ politics because ‘stability’ (as in the long terms of Koizumi and Abe) just seems to be the extreme right normalizing fascist agendas and undermining the constitution.

  • Thankfully, 2 teenage mixed heritage girls have come out of nowhere to play in the US Open final AND they love talking to journalists and are overjoyed to have had the chance!
    I think that outside of Japan Naomi Osaka is finished. After spending the last 8 months being ‘high-maintenance’, she’s lost her spotlight with all this sudden shade.

  • Abe backed LDP candidate Sanae Takaichi goes full Nazi mode:

    “Even now, I feel that the splendor of the Japanese people, who have humbly received the world’s best imperial family for 126 generations, and inherited the DNA of their outstanding ancestors, remains essentially unchanged.”

    I wonder if foreign news outlets will report on this. Especially since a lot of them published crap like “Japan is changing” just because Naomi Osaka got to lit the Olympic fire.

    • Saying all that with a straight face should be a dead giveaway that she’s mentally ill.
      After all, you wouldn’t vote for a politician that believed fantasies such as ‘the tooth fairy is real’ or ‘there IS a Santa Claus!’ and yet these right wing Japanese fairy tales get a pass. Astonishing.

    • If you look at the Japanese language version of the “humanity declaration” on wikipedia it vehemently denies that the emperor every denied being divine. Check it out – it’s a real eye opener.

      • To be fair, this is Showa you’re talking about, right?
        Well even though ‘the west’ always says that he renounced his divinity in his surrender speech, in the Japanese version I don’t believe he explicitly said such a thing. In fact I believe that he merely states that he is ‘the same as you’ (‘you’ being the Japanese people listening).
        This English language idea that he renounced his divinity seems to be one of these US attempts to rehabilitate the WWII image of Japanese that US citizens had into ‘our Cold War allies’ (led astray in WWII by a few fanatics who took over the country!) kind of narrative.

    • from that link, this is telling “When Takaichi disparaged some left-wing opposition lawmakers, Ishikawa dismissed her. “I think you’re all conservatives. In Japan there appears to be no ideological conflict.””

      This coming from a fan of Japan.

      Japan…where even the left are conservative. Well, there is no real left opposition. Stalin also saw to that.

      Once again, Japan resembles Russia.

    • This Nokard guy needs to win a Nobel Prize or a tennis match or something, they’d foist Japanese nationality and tax burdens on him instantly.

      • they could pull the usual scam of deigning to give him the privilege of staying in Japan doing a menial job, paying into the now compulsory Nenkin/Kokumin Kenco Hoken/City tax as Japan needs tax payers to bolster up its aging population.

        In return he gets to admire cherry blossoms, 4 unique seasons, and buy over priced sushi etc. Nokard is documented as having an interest in anime and wants to befriend Japanese women, so I guess the other plus for him is to visit Akihabara. They probably need the business so thats a win-win…..

        • @ Jim Japan’s fantasy= elite foreigners want to work here, pay in, then leave.
          Japan’s current reality: drifters with no job or prospects back home with an interest in anime want to come here and indulge their hedonistic fantasies. (I partly include myself in this category, or me at 23 anyway).


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