Review of documentary Sour Strawberries by an attendee, next showing Sapporo Apr 23


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatar
Hi Blog. A review from Japan Visitor Blog on documentary SOUR STRAWBERRIES.


“…I attended a meeting in Tokyo at the end of last month, part of a 10-day tour of the Kanto and Kansai regions by Arudou Debito, where he promoted the documentary Sour Strawberries – Japan’s hidden guest workers. 

Sour Strawberries is a 60-minute film shot in Tokyo in March 2008 by a German-Japanese film crew that focuses on the issue of discrimination in Japan, mainly as it affects foreign workers from other Asian countries.

Numerous interviews in the film reveal the blatancy of discrimination in Japan, with foreign workers treated very much like slaves, most notably the workers who inspired the film’s title: strawberry pickers from China who worked days of at least 12 hours, 365 days a year, and whose passports were taken from them by their employer.

Union activism in defense of victims of discrimination in Japan is also liberally documented, the most startling example being the story told by a Japanese union activist, Torii Ippei of the Zentôitsu Workers Union, who, in response to his efforts in one case involving foreign workers, was doused in gasoline and set alight by the infuriated employer….”





Go check out the site. There’s even an awful picture of me. The things I do to show off “Japanese Only” T-shirts…

If you’d like a showing in your area like the one mentioned above, be in touch with me at  Planning another nationwide tour between late August and early September.

Next showing:


THURS APRIL 23, 2009.  7PM

Sapporo L-Plaza for Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA)

Sapporo Chuo-ku Kita 8 Nishi 3

(just off JR Sapporo Station’s North Exit (kitaguchi), follow the underground exits to the very end).  


Arudou Debito in Sapporo

2 comments on “Review of documentary Sour Strawberries by an attendee, next showing Sapporo Apr 23

  • I saw this movie and I actually thought it was rather good – and have voted so in the poll on this site. The movie highlighted an important problem without trying to depict it as a “foreigner vs. Japanese” issue. They didn’t even try to demonize Kono Taro or the Keidanren guy for saying that Japan’s immigration policy should target only highly skilled immigrants, perhaps implying that the rest be damned. I did find the section with you, Debito, a little incongruous though. Wouldn’t your work on temporary foreign workers at universities in Japan have been more in line with the theme of the film? Or did the producers specifically ask you to highlight your work on the “Japanese only” signs?

    — They asked me the questions and I gave my answers. They asked me to take them on a tour of Japanese Only signs and I did. It was their project, not mine.

  • How about coming to Fukuoka? I think Kyushu would be great place to show this film.

    — Would be happy to. It’s a matter of setting up a venue. Possible?


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