Racist statements from Xenophobe Dietmember Hiranuma re naturalized J Dietmember


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Hi Blog. Here we go again. Pet Xenophobe Dietmember Hiranuma Takeo (who is so far out there he won’t, or can’t, run under the LDP banner) has once again said something nasty about foreigners. Or at least people he still considers to be “foreigners”. Read on, comment from me follows the Japanese Sankei article:


◆Ex-minister Hiranuma says lawmaker Renho is ‘not originally Japanese’
OKAYAMA, Japan, Jan. 18 2010 KYODO NEWS

and http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2010/01/18/4576412.htm

OKAYAMA, Japan, Jan. 18_(Kyodo) _ Former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma on Sunday criticized remarks made by House of Councillors member Renho in November in trying to slash budget allocations for the supercomputer development by pointing to the fact that the politician, who goes by a single name, is a naturalized Japanese.

“I don’t want to say this, but she is not originally Japanese,” said the former Liberal Democratic Party member during a speech before his supporters in Okayama City. “She was naturalized, became a Diet member, and said something like that,” the independent House of Representatives member continued.

Hiranuma was referring to the high-profile remarks made by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan member, who asked during a debate with bureaucrats, “Why must (Japan) aim to (develop) the world’s No. 1 (supercomputer)? What’s wrong with being the world’s No. 2?” The remarks have been broadcast repeatedly on TV as a symbolic image of the DPJ-led government’s efforts to cut wasteful spending.

The remarks were “not appropriate for a politician,” Hiranuma said, adding that Japan, as a country aiming to be a science technology power, “must have the budget for (developing) the world’s No. 1 (supercomputer).” He later told reporters he did not intend to say anything discriminatory and what he meant was that politicians should not engage in “sensational politics that ring the bell with TV broadcasters.” According to Renho’s website, she was born in 1967 as the child of a Taiwanese father and a Japanese mother, and switched her citizenship from Taiwanese to Japanese in 1985.

Renho’s office told Kyodo News on Monday that the lawmaker would not make any comment on Hiranuma’s remarks because she did not hear them directly.


「もともと日本人じゃない」 平沼氏が蓮舫氏を批判
2010.1.18  産經新聞 Courtesy of AS



毎日新聞 2010年1月17日







COMMENT:  Well, people will stoop to anything to delegitimize a person’s opinion, won’t they?  Even question their ability to put their country’s needs first if they have NJ roots?  Well, as a fellow naturalized Japanese, I say:  Fuck you very much, Takeo.  Given your family history as an adopted son of the family name, I question your ability to represent Japan’s Blue-Blooded Elites as you claim to do.

There’s a reason for my intemperance.  This is not the first time Hiranuma has resorted to bigotry and ignorance to take cheap shots at an internationalizing Japan.

Consider Hiranuma’s rallying with the alarmists to try and deny Permanent Residents from getting local suffrage in 2009.  (Bonus points for irony:  It’s his camp which usually says that PRs should naturalize if they want suffrage.  Then he says the above; clearly naturalization is irrelevant to him.)

Consider Hiranuma’s opposition in 2008 to a bill plugging paternity loopholes in Japan’s Nationality Laws (which he fortunately could not stop) because it would dilute “Japan’s identity”.

Consider Hiranuma’s alarmism rallying against passing a Human Rights Bill in 2006 since it would lead to “totalitarianism of the developed countries” (which his camp unfortunately probably did manage to stop).

And consider Hiranuma’s belief that a female Empress might let a NJ in to sully The Royal Womb:


The Japan Times Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006
Female on throne could marry foreigner, Hiranuma warns
The Associated Press

Dozens of conservative lawmakers and their supporters Wednesday attacked a proposal to let females and their descendents ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, warning the move threatens a centuries-old tradition — and could even allow foreign blood into the Imperial line.

The lawmakers, led by former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma, are fighting a bill being drafted by the government to avert a succession crisis in the Imperial family by allowing reigning empresses and their descendents.

Females have been barred from the throne since the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and a 1947 law further restricted ascension to males from the male line. No woman has reigned in more than 200 years.

The Imperial family has not produced a male heir since the 1960s and public support has been growing for a change in the law to allow Princess Aiko, the only child Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, to ascend to the throne.

Hiranuma, however, warned the reform could corrupt the Imperial line, which he said has been the supreme symbol of Japanese national and ethnic identity for centuries.

“If Aiko becomes the reigning empress and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be the emperor,” Hiranuma told about 40 lawmakers, academics and supporters at a Tokyo hall. “We should never let that happen.”

Despite the overwhelming public support for the reform, traditionalists have stepped up a campaign to quash the move — going so far as to propose bringing back concubines to breed male descendants as was done until the Taisho Era (1912-1926). Others have argued the aristocracy, banned after World War II, should be reinstated as a way of broadening the pool of candidates for the throne.


COMMENT CONTINUES:  This video-nasty of a person is in my view unfit for national office.  Unfortunately, his constituency did not agree.  He got comfortably reelected in Okayama as an independent last August.  I’d say that’s Okayama’s shame, but Hokkaido reelects shameful politicians too (think Suzuki Muneo).

Let’s hope the media takes Hiranuma to task like the media did somewhat for a similar-style othering of TV personality Takigawa Christel (unrelated to Hiranuma, but same genre).  Japan’s future has no use for people like him.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

27 comments on “Racist statements from Xenophobe Dietmember Hiranuma re naturalized J Dietmember

  • Renho should hold a news conference and demand Takeo explain why the hell being a naturalized citizen has anything to do with Japan’s supercomputer budget. It would be interesting to hear this moron’s explanation of his remarks, if he can in fact come up with one.

  • And he has enough guts to blatantly lie that what he said was not racist… I’m sorry, but trying to illegitimize someone else’s statement by saying that “she is not Japanese enough,” based strictly on her Taiwanese background, is a textbook definition of ethnic discrimination.

    A bit of a tangent, but many conservatives who are against foreign suffrage claim that foreigners can naturalize as Japanese citizens if they wish to vote. This kind of statement makes such defense totally meaningless (even more so than it already is, considering the hassles and sacrifices one has to make to naturalize). He must be totally oblivious about it too…

  • I love how his website spends so much text mentioning the lineage of his wife’s family. His own aristocratic family history.
    Or the essay in english which is another ‘we were the victims’ tirade. About how unjust the Tokyo Tribunals were.

    His website seems to read more like a history page then that of a serving Diet-member.

  • “Given your family history as an adopted son of the family name, I question your ability to represent Japan’s Blue-Blooded Elites as you claim to do.”

    I agree that Hiranuma is a xenophobe, but this comment you make is pretty gonzo. Adopted or not, he is still part of the Hiranuma line, being a direct descendant of Yoshiro Hiranuma. Now whether or not he has politics in his blood or not is a different question.

  • What a tool…

    His website reads like propaganda – “Takeo Hiranuma has run undefeated since 1980 under the platform: respect humanity and create a harmonized society; defend liberty and establish a peaceful and prosperous society; cherish our heritage and traditional culture; wish for the establishment of the self-written Constitution; and work as a politician with a true vision, and will to act instead of becoming an insider of Nagata-cho.”

    Are these codewords?
    1) “create a harmonized society” = no visible/vocal foreigners???
    2) “cherish our heritage and traditional culture” = sakoku?
    3) “wish for the establishment of the self-written constitution” = he and his goons want to rewrite the constitution, to make, er… constitution 2.0? I think as bad as it is under the current constitution, it would be worse under THEIR edited version. Seriously though, there is an undercurrent in Japan that restoring the emperor’s powers, and growing the military would restore Japan’s “prestige” internationally.

    Q. He says he does not want a blue-eyed foreigner in the royal womb… does this guy not know that the emperor himself has admitted to the Korean part of the imperial bloodline? It seems this guy has a real problem with blue-eyed blondes…maybe envy?

    If there is justice in the world, his children will all marry foreigners…

  • Let’s look at that website a bit:

    Takeo Hiranuma was born August 3rd in 1939 in Tokyo. He graduated from Keio University. He legally became a son of his great-uncle Kiichiro Hiranuma who was the Prime Minister of Japan in 1939. Kiichiro Hiranuma also served as Chairman of the Privy Council and several cabinet posts such as Minister of State. Takeo Hiranuma’s great-grandfather Yoshiro Hiranuma was Dean of the Department of commerce at Waseda University and subsequently became the third President of the university.

    Takeo Hiranuma has been married to Masako. She is a daughter of Yoshimitsu Tokugawa whose grand-father was the 15th Shogun Yoshinobu Tokugawa. As a former Marquis, he served as a member of the House Peers.

    Just look at how much importance he places on who he was born to (or in this case, who he had legally designated as his father!) and who he married, and who SHE was born to. What a f***ing loser. Just reading about someone who so uncritically embraces such an outdated, middle-ages way of measuring a person’s worth, makes me vomit a little in my mouth.

    — See what I mean about self-professed Blue-Bloodedness?

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    As egregious as his statement was, and as sneaky as it was (“I didn’t mean to say that… did I?”), there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with Renho’s position, which I myself am also against.

    Perhaps a much more effective rejoinder would have been to ask her about being ‘No. 2’ next time the people come out to vote.

    — Disagree all you like with Renho’s position, yes. Just don’t say she’s saying what she’s saying because she’s technically not a real Japanese.

    It should be irrelevant. And it’s deeply hypocritical given the stance Hiranuma’s crowd has taken demanding that people naturalize if they want full rights.

  • Andrew Smallacombe says:

    “…politicians should not engage in “sensational politics that ring the bell with TV broadcasters””

    The pot calling the kettle black.

  • He legally become son of his grandfather, only because his grandfather didn’t have any kids. He would have had the same great-grandfather either way. His ‘blue-bloodness’ is not invented. In fact, part of me thinks that being raised in an ivory tower has something to do with his ridiculous xenophobia, and equally appalling lack of tact.

  • Hiranuma-san,

    Since I notice you have a English website, I assume you can read English.

    Your comments this week to Renho’s Japanese nationality is very discouraging. I am now considering this process, however in your eyes it has no meaning.

    No wonder Japanese are giving up their nationality faster than people are applying for Japanese citizenship.

    If you wish to discuss, I work in Hibiya and welcome you to my office or I can come to your office.


  • He legally become son of his grandfather, only because his grandfather didn’t have any kids. He would have had the same great-grandfather either way. His ‘blue-bloodness’ is not invented. In fact, part of me thinks that being raised in an ivory tower has something to do with his ridiculous xenophobia, and equally appalling lack of tact.

    Well said. —But how does one become a grandfathers son? Am I missing something? Isnt the definition of Grandparent that of having kids who in turn have kids? I am confused. If either of my grandfathers had no kids I don’t exist.

  • In related news…


    — Silly old article from 2008 again selectively quoting statistics. Especially this bit:

    “There’s been an overwhelming increase in Japanese females in their 20s and 30s marrying European and American males. This has increased by more than tenfold over the previous five years.”

    Yep. But that’s just looking for some kind of spike (a spike I can’t find in the stats; the overall trend is not so dramatic), and still the overwhelming majority of international marriages in Japan (79% in H.19) are J male to NJ female. That bit is never covered in the article. Instead, the spectre of NJ men stealing our women is discussed. Classic J male spiteful reporting that Tokyo Reporter would do well to see through (dubious given the title).

  • mark in kanto says:

    Write the guy an email at


    if possible in Japanese, and let him know you won’t vote for him (even if you can’t vote, that is not a lie). And won’t contribute to his slush fund. Thanks to his idiocy and racism.

    But I still don’t get it. OK, assume with him that a woman on the throne might lead to a child besmirched by foreign DNA, picked up on a fling or study abroad, or marriage to a gaijin. Does that mean that any MAN on the throne could not marry a non-Japanese female and have kids who would be the next crown prince? Do only women marry foreigners? Or is this all some kind of Freudian reflection on Hiranuma’s part of the envy of not being able to capture a buxom blonde from Sweden, or whatever his fantasy is? Or is there some law I don’t know about that blocks emperors whose mother is a foreigner from assuming office while those with foreign fathers are not so barred?

    Someone enlighten me about this moron’s thinking….

  • With reference to that tokyoreporter article I find the stats a little curious. It says the ratio of foreign mothers to fathers is 1.4:1, which would suggest the ratio of marriages is rather closer than the 4:1 ratio Debito quotes. Maybe they relate to different time periods.

    Of course the silly foreign-men-stealing-our-women stuff is equally hateful in any case, almost on a par with the “blue eyed emperor” stuff.

  • What are yall talking about. If a woman in the Imperial Family marries a commoner(aka Not part of the Imperial Family), then they have to step down from the Imperial Family. So there is no way for a female to marry a foreigner and their son becomes Emperor.

  • “…and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be the emperor”.

    Yes, because obviously foreigners only come to Japan to study and impregnate innocent Japanese maidens! Where is his fear founded? Why even fear interracial marriage anyway? This guy makes no sense, but racists never do anyway.

  • John (Yokohama) says:

    On a related note…

    Love this line:

    “…he cannot understand why third-, fourth-, or even fifth-generation foreign residents would not seek Japanese nationality.”


    Saitama governor opposes giving local suffrage to foreigners
    Wednesday 20th January, 04:41 AM JST

    Saitama Gov Kiyoshi Ueda said Tuesday he is opposed to a planned bill aimed at granting permanent foreign residents in Japan the right to vote in local gubernatorial, mayoral and assembly elections. The cabinet of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is considering tabling a bill to that end during the ongoing 150-day regular session of the Diet.

    ‘‘I have long been opposed to such a bill. I don’t think it is a matter to be decided by a majority of votes (in parliament,)’’ Ueda told a regular news conference. Ueda, who was once a member of the House of Representatives from the Democratic Party of Japan currently headed by Hatoyama, said he cannot understand why third-, fourth-, or even fifth-generation foreign residents would not seek Japanese nationality. He was apparently referring to Korean residents in Japan.

    — Again, the illogic of spite. He does not seem to understand the legislative process of a representative democracy process if a majority of votes in the Diet can’t decide something.

  • Actually it is shows not just his racism but also a pathological sexism.He believes women are basically untrustworthy.

    Princess Aiko is still only a child but he was already speculating that she will grow up and have flings with foreign men.

    What truly patriotic Japanese would even imply, that an Imperial Princess may have loose morality. Surely, Grandfather (father) Hinamura would have been disgusted that the statement was made.

    I am surprised his own right-wing cronies did not attack him for making this implication

  • John (Yokohama) says:

    In the easier and more difficult department 😉

    “Point system planned for immigration policy”


    To prepare for the expected population decline, the Justice Ministry plans to welcome highly educated professional foreign workers, but it will make entry tougher for descendants of Japanese.

    The planned new immigration policy, based on a point system, is intended to maintain Japan’s future economic growth by taking in more skilled foreigners, such as researchers, doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs.

    These measures were featured in a report submitted Tuesday to Justice Minister Keiko Chiba by an advisory group on immigration control policy. The group, the fifth of its kind, is chaired by Tsutomu Kimura, an adviser at the education ministry.

    The Justice Ministry is expected to review the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law and related laws and ordinances, and submit a revision bill to the Diet as early as next year.

    A point system for skilled workers has already been introduced in countries like Britain and Canada.

    By grading would-be workers in Japan based on their education levels, professional skills, qualifications, work experience, incomes and other criteria, the Justice Ministry will recognize those above a certain level as highly skilled workers.

    Those recognized will receive preferential treatment, such as longer periods of stay in Japan, as well as permanent residency status after five years of living in Japan, instead of the usual 10.

    But the ministry plans to establish more rigorous entry requirements for foreign nationals of Japanese descent.

    At the request of the business community in need of labor, the immigration control law was revised in 1990 to grant residence status–without employment restrictions–to second- and third-generation Japanese. That led to a steady inflow of unskilled workers, mainly from Brazil and Peru.

    But now, unemployment has become a serious problem among these nikkeijin, as manufacturers have closed factories amid dwindling demand in the struggling economy.

    In admitting foreign citizens of Japanese descent, the Justice Ministry plans to require “an ability to make a living in Japan on their own” by, for example, having secured employment beforehand.

    The ministry later intends to demand of the nikkeijin “a certain level of proficiency in the Japanese language” through a certification exam or other measures.

  • Obviously this comes from someone raised in an immigrant society… but it’s just about the easiest thing in the world to stay where you are. Born into a family of politicians? Become a politician… especially in this country, not difficult at all. What’s not so easy is to go through the naturalization process, gain the support of your consistuency DESPITE having “foreign” heritage, and to rise to quite a high position in the government of your adopted country. (Possibly learn a new language as well? I don’t know Renho’s background, either she is a native Japanese speaker and that argument doesn’t apply here, or her Japanese is so good that I can’t tell that she ISNT native, and that definitely gets added to the list of accomplishments)

    No, he doesn’t have to agree with her position… but rather than doubt someone’s loyalty to a country they had to work quite hard to become a citizen and a servant of, I’m personally more inclined to assume that she only has what she considers the best interests of the country in mind… which may or may not agree with what I think the country’s best interests are, depending on the issue… butthe reasoning is certainly flawed.

    Again, coming from the country that elected Dubya here so probably not an unbiased opinion, but I look at those guys who are descendants of the shogun or whoever, and think “That guy has never had to work a day in his life, worry where his next meal is coming from, or balance his desire to have multiple children with the reality that 15 tsubo and a 30-year-old wooden house are all he and his family have got, I certianly don’t want him making the laws that affect us middle-class nobodys.” Haven’t heard that opinion raised publicly in Japan yet… but this guy is just as attackable for superficial reasons if you look at it from a different point of view.

  • Hmmm, I did a little searching and some questions arise.

    Turns out Takeo Hiranuma was born Takeo Nakagawa.

    Takeo Nakagawa’s Father’s name was Kyōshirō Nakagawa.
    Takeo Nakagawa’s Mother’s name was Setsuko Nakagawa.
    Takeo Nakagawa’s Mother’s parents’ family name was Iida.

    Then, Takeo Nakagawa became legally known as Takeo Hiranuma,
    when Takeo’s Great-Grand-Uncle (Takeo’s Mother’s Grand-Uncle)
    Kiichirō Hiranuma (35th Prime Minister of Japan, no biological kids)
    adopted 3 people at once, after Takeo’s Father was killed in W.W.II.
    (That’s strange, can one even adopt someone who passed away?)

    And wait a second, why does Takeo’s official homepage profile
    in English claim that Kiichirō Hiranuma was Takeo’s “Grand-Uncle”?
    Is that by mistake or on purpose? Yo, GREAT-Grand-Uncle, admit it!

    Anyway, about The-Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Takeo-Nakagawa 😉
    (that’s a joke, and yes I’ll sometimes call him Takeo in this post,
    but don’t worry, good friends always like to keep things casual,
    and since he has the right to support “Nankin No ‘Shinjitsu’ ”
    I have the right to drop any pretenses of respecting him…)

    Question #1:

    When the official paperwork was drawn about this group adoption of
    Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Grand-Niece (Setsuko Nakagawa) and
    Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Grand-Nephew-in-Law (Kyōshirō Nakagawa) and
    Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Great-Grand-Nephew (Takeo Nakagawa),

    did the official paperwork say,

    A) “Kiichirō Hiranuma is hereby adopting his Great-Grand-Nephew
    Takeo Nakagawa to henceforth be called Takeo Hiranuma
    and to henceforth legally be called Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Son.”
    (“Son” is what the various internet sites seem to be claiming.)


    B) “…henceforth legally be called Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Grand-Son.”


    C) “…henceforth legally be called Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Great-Grand-Son.”

    If the correct answer to Question #1 is A, that’s fine, no problem, but
    if the correct answer to Question #1 is B or C then Takeo Hiranuma
    would be guilty of having effectively rewritten history by claiming to be
    one or two generations closer to Kiichirō Hiranuma than legally decreed.

    (Speaking of rewriting history, did I mention the movie Takeo supports?)

    OK, if the correct answer to Question #1 is A, then more questions arise.

    Question #2:

    Did the official paperwork say,

    A) “Kiichirō Hiranuma is hereby adopting his Grand-Niece
    Setsuko Nakagawa to henceforth be called Setsuko Hiranuma
    and to henceforth legally be called Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Sister.”


    B) “…henceforth legally be called Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Daughter.”


    C) “…henceforth legally be called Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Grand-Daughter.”

    If the correct answer to Question #1 is A, and
    if the correct answer to Question #2 is A, then it seems
    Takeo’s Biological-Mother legally became Takeo’s Mother.

    If the correct answer to Question #1 is A, and
    if the correct answer to Question #2 is B, then it seems
    Takeo’s Biological-Mother legally became Takeo’s Sister.

    If the correct answer to Question #1 is A, and
    if the correct answer to Question #2 is C, then it seems
    Takeo’s Biological-Mother legally became Takeo’s Daughter.

    Question #3:

    Did the official paperwork say,

    A) “Kiichirō Hiranuma is hereby adopting his Grand-Nephew-in-Law
    Kyōshirō Nakagawa to henceforth be called Kyōshirō Hiranuma
    and to henceforth legally be called Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Brother.”


    B) “…and to henceforth be legally Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Son.”


    C) “…and to henceforth be legally Kiichirō Hiranuma’s Grand-Son.”

    If the correct answer to Question #1 is A, and
    if the correct answer to Question #3 is A, then it seems
    Takeo’s Biological-Father legally remained Takeo’s Father.

    If the correct answer to Question #1 is A, and
    if the correct answer to Question #3 is B, then it seems
    Takeo’s Biological-Father legally became Takeo’s Brother.

    If the correct answer to Question #1 is A, and
    if the correct answer to Question #3 is C, then it seems
    Takeo’s Biological-Father legally became Takeo’s Son.

    Of course, one must also take into account the fact that…

    How confusing! So how is a group-adoption like this written?

  • I wonder how he would feel about Yuko Kavaguti, the Russian Japanese-born skater? She was interviewed on NHK last night. Interestingly, both the Japanese and English soundtracks consistently called her ‘Kawaguchi’, which is certainly not her legal name in Russia, and would be the equivalent of referring to Debito as デヴィッド or some-such. They even had some skating footage where her name came up on a panel as ‘Kavaguti’, which is the romanised transliteration of the Russian name. It seems that she’s regarded as entirely Japanese in Japan, though I don’t know if she actually surrendered her citizenship around the time she went to Russia several years ago.

  • @John, that’s because even though she is Russian-Japanese, the Japanese would much prefer to adopt her in as “one of them” but they can’t with that pesky foreign family name so they change it to something more japanese sounding. Just my thoughts.

  • A politician said that Japan did not need to keep attempting to have the worlds fastest supercomputer. This guy countered, with words to the effect that “well she would say that because she is a naturalised, rather than natural, Japanese” In other words, perhaps, he was arguing that a naturalised person might be less invested in Japanese pride, in Japanese attempts to be number one, and further that as a natural Japanese he, and the other natural Japanese to whom he was addressing his speech, are likely to be more invested in Japanese pride. He further argued that her statement was inappropriate for a politician, perhaps suggesting that she should be representing same emotions, judgements as he is representing, of natural, not naturalised, Japanese people.

    Brain storming here…This reminds me a little of the treatment of US Japanese during WWII. They were thought to be less patriotic, more likely to be insurgents, less likely to want to fight for their country. In the European theatre at least this assumption was demonstrably incorrect I believe, since Japanese fought with conspicuous valour. The US, and president Regan I believe, found it within their hearts to retract, apologize and compensate interned Japanese descended Americans.

    At the same time, perhaps if one did a survey Hiranuma’s statement might be found to be true. Doing a survey of one, an an inappropriate one at that, as a non-naturalised permanent resident of Japan, who might naturalise, I feel myself to be less ego invested in Japan being number one in terms of their supercomputers. I am a bit “no-border” (think cup noodle and John Lennon) and don’t care all that much about whether one or another country (that of my birth=UK, or my home=Japan) is number one.

    Again, lets say for the sake of arguement, that it is true that Renho is a little more detached, and universalising, thinking of the good of the world at the same time as the good of the Japanese people. That might be a good thing. Someone “Hiranuma-like” in so far as that person felt that descendancy affects judgement might say “Isn’t it a good thing that there are people like Renho here in Japan that call our attention to our emotional attachment to Japanese achievement. Isn’t it good that we have people here calling our attention to our national pride, and in so doing encouraging us to think of the wider picture?”

    Think of Obama. Oh my gosh…I realise that I am a bit “Hiranuma-like.” I think that I was glad that Obama won partly because, as in the preceding hypothetical paragraph, I felt that Obama, as someone with non American ancestors, might take a more universalising attitude towards American policy, be a bit of a no-border-John-Lennonisty, universal person and leader. Should I feel ashamed for assuming that Obama’s descendancy might affect him in this way?

    And is being no-border-John-Lennonisty-universalising always good? It seems to me that there is a balance. It may be a good thing to have a bit of national pride, at least until all countries are ready to be universalising.

    Anyway…I don’t find Hiranuma’s statement that troubling. I wish that instead of saying “This person is naturalised Japanese therefore she is not a good representative,” he or someone else had said “This person is naturalised and has a more detached and level-headed view of what it is to be a member of a nation, and the aims that our nation should aspire to,” but I can accept that someone might feel the opposite way.

    Is it always a bad thing to make judgements which take into account a persons’ descendancy?

    — Yes it is, in this society in particular, where it is hard enough for people not born “Japanese” to be accepted as “a Japanese”. I for one would be furious if somebody said that about me if I was in Renho’s position. I would never accept these extra hurdles and doubts to be added to one’s “personal stake in the situation” just because of birth status. You think many people in a society and debate arena this unsophisticated about issues of race would go though all the mental calisthenics you just did? Get real.

  • tim,

    i think your opinion is moot as you have not taken japanese citizenship.
    when you take that step as debito and renho have done then im sure you will have a different perspective.
    its an outrageous comment to make about another japanese politician.
    however,it is politics and obama suffered similar in the us

    — No no, he’s entitled to his opinion. And I’m equally entitled to disagree with it, quite vehemently in this case.

  • Personally, I also take issue with the Obama statement. I don’t know of any US presidents with Native American ancestry, so every single one has ‘non-American ancestors’. Or do white people not count as immigrants?

    Either way, your particular ethnic background or history shouldn’t have any bearing on whether you can do your job properly.


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