Tony Laszlo, “Administrator of NGO Issho Kikaku”, in Asahi “Money” Section for his wife’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series



Hi Blog.  I find it pretty amazing how myths persist. The media helps. Not only do we have “Darling wa Gaikokujin” cartoon character slash “Writer” Tony Laszlo appearing as himself (in one of the most frightening photos I’ve ever seen of him) in the “Money” Section of the Asahi (May 17, 2008), he still has the byline of “Administrator of NGO ISSHO Kikaku”. 

That’s odd for a number of reasons, but we’ll stick to the facts, that a) ISSHO Kikaku’s website (, containing years of work by other NJ activists, has been offline for 2 1/2 years, and has even recently mutated to plain gibberish (today’s download):

and then b) there is NO NGO registered as “ISSHO Kikaku” at websites recording NGOs registered in Japan.  I guess the reporter didn’t fact check before publication.

Never mind.  He’s being portrayed as a doting father.  Good, but that’s neither “Money” nor news.  And it may be the only thing factual in this Asahi article.  See it after the next paragraph.

Why do I have it in for this guy?  Because he’s a person who erases the historical record of NJ “Newcomers” in Japan, and threatens to sue people who want to maintain it.  Start here for substantiation.  More on the Blog about this character here.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo


11 comments on “Tony Laszlo, “Administrator of NGO Issho Kikaku”, in Asahi “Money” Section for his wife’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series

  • Issho Kikaku is displaying a website for me (in Japanese, English, and Esperanto) as of May 31st, 7:10pm JST.

    It claims the NGO was registered in 1992.

    –What a coincidence. Thanks very much for the notice. But that’s an odd claim. The laws governing the registration of NGOs in Japan were not established until 1998.

    And of course, it’s still only a cover page, with no further access to the files depicting the works of other activists formerly under the Issho banner all those years ago…

  • I don’t think commenting on his physical appearance in photographs is appropriate. It makes any other criticism of him that you may have suddenly seem personal, petty and vain. If you want to slam someone based on their website, their ideas, their motives, their activism — fine. That’s all fair game. But why bring his looks into things? You’re better than that and smarter than that.

    –Point taken. For the record, I think the manga is created by a person of talent and integrity, and am a fan. Oguri-san deserves all the success she can get from her work. I just find the comic-book image and the reality at great odds, since I know the guy’s personality after many years of working together. To me it even comes through in the photos.

  • “It claims the NGO was registered in 1992.”

    No, it doesn’t. It claims the ‘NGO’ was established in 1992. NGOs (in the sense of civil society groups designed to put pressure on the government) existed in Japan long before there were laws for them, just as they did anywhere else. Pekkanen wrote the book in English on civil society and NGOs in Japan and most of his research is based in the period before 1992.

    I think Lazio looks like Billy Bob Thornton.

  • Big B, thanks for the correction.

    I wonder if the reason the data isn’t put back up is not because he’s too busy or a control freak, but rather because he’s simply lost it through a computer accident / error and has no backups and he’s too embarrassed to admit it?

    Not all writer/activists are good computer system administrators. These days, everybody with a tad of computer literacy these days thinks they’re a guru. Until they lose the data through a slip of a bad click or command and they discover they’ve been making bogus unusable backups for the past three years…

    –One teensy problem with this theory: The archives of the Issho Digest and Shakai mailing list archives were all on Yahoogroups. Backup of that is Yahoo’s territory, not some “writer/activist”‘s. The maintenance or deletion of that record was within one person’s control… Here’s the link to this information I already provided above.

  • The 1998 statute was the first to specifically address a system for incorporating non-profit organizations, but Japanese NGOs have definitely been around in other forms for much longer. Shadan houjin and zaidan houjin have existed for decades. For that matter, so have nin’i kumiai (voluntary associations), which don’t even have to be registered unless they want a legal name.

    Anyway, it’s all very bimyou. My point is that the NGO wouldn’t have to be registered in order to exist. That said, it doesn’t sound like the “group” consists of much more than Tony himself at this point, which I think is the real issue. Forming a one-man company is one thing, but claiming to be the administrator of an “organization” which apparently has no members is really pushing it.

    –And now that there actually is a specified legal category and registration for NGOs in Japan, one should be registered by now as one in order to claim that status in the media. No record of NGO registration for this organization, as depicted in the Asahi, exists.

  • While Yahoo! is in charge of backup, it is not impossible to lose control of a Yahoo! account, and thus the Yahoo! Group(s) that it may soley control.

    Forget to login at least once in six months (for example, when dealing with a pregnancy), and Yahoo! deletes your account. I don’t think this means the Yahoo! Groups created with the account disappear, but if the deleted Yahoo! account is the sole administrator of the group, then there can be a problem.

    Of course, I’m completely speculating and I have no idea if his account is active or not. I just have a difficult time believing that there’s any gain or real motive involved with closing the site down.

    –Read the evidence presented at the links I’ve given, already, and you just might see the gain and motive. There was lots of information archived on the Yahoogroups sites which do not paint Mr Laszlo’s behavior as leader of Issho Kikaku in the most favorable of lights. As the Issho Digest emails archived at the links indicate.

    Please consider the evidence instead of merely speculating–especially when an email from a disgruntled member indicates that the Shakai Archive was deleted, not lost.

    PS: Yahoogroups does not delete defunct groups without warning the administrator. I know because I have received emails from them in the past for some groups of mine that went fallow.

  • Adrian Havill Says:
    May 31st, 2008 at 7:19 pm
    Issho Kikaku is displaying a website for me (in Japanese, English, and Esperanto) as of May 31st, 7:10pm JST.

    Well done, Debito! Considering that, despite 36 months of protest from former Issho members, the Issho website wasn’t up as recently as May 30th, your blog entry appears to have had a miraculous impact.

    I wonder, will all the data contributed over the years be returning now as well? Dare I hold my breath on this?

  • Both my wife and I enjoyed the first two “Darling” books.
    I do, however, find it strange how Mr. Lazlo seems to go out of his way to conceal his nationality. It is usually said that he is of “Hungarian and Italian descent, raised in the US”. Is he a man without a country, or does he consider the label “American” (as was applied in a previous magazine interview) to be not interesting enough for his purposes?

    It really doesn’t matter either way, but the amount of effort he is putting into avoiding the issue seems to call more attention to it.

    –Tony Laszlo is an American, for what it matters. But that’s only become clear within the past year or so. Hell, despite years of working together with him, even I didn’t know until last October.

  • Scott said “petty” and other people are saying “jealous”
    ( )
    but I say it’s your blog. Your organizations are NPOs and
    his are not, so you should keep up the pressure.
    Plus, his Japanese isn’t good like yours and you are much
    more handsome. That should be you in the newspapers.
    Please put up more pictures.

    –Thanks for the compliments… For the record, we are a forming NGO/NPO, not yet registered (we’re just not making it seem as if we are). And Laszlo speaks excellent Japanese.

    As for being “petty” or “jealous”, being threatened with a lawsuit from Laszlo is not a petty issue. More information here.

    This behavior, for one, certainly does not match the character portrayed in the DARLING books.


    I just find it astonishing that a developed country could even have a
    cartoon called “my husband is a foreigner”.
    It is played on the Chuo line on the TV screen pretty much everyday
    and is the most asinine, banal, blunt, unfunny thing I have ever seen
    and leaves me feeling what on earth could anyone find funny in that.

    Can you imagine any other country in the world having a cartoon called
    “my darling’s one of them” or “my wife’s from over there” (as in the
    TV programme “奥さんは外国人”

    It is quite amazing that in a supposedly developed country this kind of thing is given the time of day.

  • I happened upon this website. I am indeed an American. I went to school with Tony Laszlo. He did in fact grow up in the United States, and attended college here as well. He was a great friend and i wish him much success!!!!

    — Don’t worry, he’s found it.


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