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Hi Blog. For a nice bite-size Sunday post, dovetailing with yesterday’s post on the NPA’s whipping up fear of foreign crime gangs, here we have the Kanagawa Police offering us a poster with racist caricatures of NJ, and more minced language to enlist the public in its Gaijin Hunt. Check this out:
(Click on image to expand in browser.)
From http://www.police.pref.kanagawa.jp/ps/32ps/32pic/32004_47.pdf, courtesy lots of people.
Now let’s analyze this booger. In the same style of fearmongering and racist police posters in the past (see for example here, here, here, and here), we have the standard NJ conks and wily faces. Along with a crime gang stealing from a jewelry store (nothing like getting one’s hands dirty, unlike all the white-collar homegrown yakuza crime we see fewer posters about).
The poster opens with employers being told to check Status of Residences of all the NJ they employ. Of course, employers who employ NJ usually sponsor them for a visa, so this warning shouldn’t be necessary. I guess it’s nicer than warning the employer that if they do employ overstayers, the employer should also be punished. But again, we hear little about that. It’s the NJ who is the wily party, after all.
Then we get the odd warning about overstayers (they say these are lots of “rainichi gaikokujin”, which is not made clear except in fine print elsewhere that they don’t mean the garden-variety NJ) and their links to “international crime groups” (although I haven’t seen convincing statistics on how they are linked). Then they hedge their language by saying “omowaremasu” (it is thought that…), meaning they don’t need statistics at all. It’s obviously a common perception that it’s “recently getting worse” (kin’nen shinkoku ka).
Next paragraph offers the standard “threat to Japanese social order” (chi’an) presented by visa overstayers and illegal workers (even though overstayers have gone down steadily since 1993), and asks for the public’s assistance.
Then it brings in the heroic Kanagawa Police, and how they will be strengthening their controls over these big-hootered shifty-eyed NJ from now on, and asks for anyone with information about illegal NJ to drop by any cop shop or police box (even though police boxes I’ve reported unlawful activities to have told me to take my crimes elsewhere; I guess NJ criminality is a higher priority).
Finally, we have the places to contact within the Kanagawa Police Department. We now have a special “international crime” head (kokusai han kakari), a “economic security” head (keizai hoan kakari), and a “gaiji kakari“, whatever that is shortened for (surely not “gaikokujin hanzai jiken“, or “foreign crime incidents”). Such proactiveness on the part of the NPA. I hope they sponsor a “sumo-yakuza tobaku kakari” soon.
Anyone else getting the feeling that the NPA is a law unto itself, doing whatever it likes in the purported pursuit of criminals, even if that means racial profiling, social othering of taxpayers and random enforcement of laws based upon nationality (even a death in police custody with impunity), and manufacturing consent to link crime with nationality?
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
UPDATE: Compare and contrast with the English version of PR for the same police department, courtesy of crustpunker:
Not only is it a disingenuous lie, its contents are utterly banal. And since I can’t find the gaiji kakari under “Section Information” in English, so I doubt the overall accuracy as well.
This is linked from this even nastier Kanagawa Police site regarding NJ:
rest at above website
18 comments on “More racism in NPA police posters, this time Kanagawa Ken Yamate police and big-nosed “int’l NJ crime groups”. (UPDATE: Contrast with same Kanagawa Police site in English: “we patrol community hoping smiles of residents never vanish.” Retch.)”
Is the guy smoking the pipe at the top of the poster supposed to be sitting on a toilet?
— I think it’s a dockside pole for tying hawsers on. But who can insinuate themselves into the closed mind of the NPA?
And what’s with all the motion lines around their hands? Is this supposed to be significant?
— I think it’s the stereotype that NJ gesticulate more than J. But again, who can insinuate…?
“Anyone else getting the feeling that the NPA is a law unto itself?” Short answer, yes. Armed criminals in uniform I’ve called them from the get go. “Drop by any cop shop or police box (even though police boxes I’ve reported unlawful activities to have told me to take my crimes elsewhere).” I’ve had the exact same experience, more than once. “Don’t mess up my koban’s statistics, I’m due for a promotion!” they appeared to say.
“Innocent until proven foreign” seems to be the message. Reinforced over time.
It seems to me that these illustrations are taken from some free-clipart page- they look so different from the typical manga style of the Japanese pamphlets/leaflets, and kind of detached from the contents, except for the foreigneness of the men on the illustrations. I don’t have time to search around, but if I had, it would be a pleasure to have the boys in blue embarrased internationally.
Call this a more “nuanced” shock?…
Leaving aside but not forgetting this is outright racism and scaremongering, what made me aghast about all this was one of the points that you focused on, Debito, which I personally feel is very culturally important, is the idea of “omowaremasu.”
When I read it in Japanese, I thought to myself, wow, great…this reminds me of the idea that it’s ok to make a huge and inaccurate generalization about something to justify a particular position. I’m partly Jewish myself (Grandma was Jewish) and my sister has a large “hook” nose, so that means she’s potentially devious and untrustworthy and should be put in a concentration camp (She’s a careers counselor, a wonderful sister and mum, and just about the only egregiously antisocial crimes she is guilty of are her cooking and her pottery disasters)
Sorry, yes I realize the Kanagawa Police are not actually rounding up and throwing foreigners into concentration camps for certain supposed characteristics. But what about some completely irrational, almost insane, totally unfounded assumptions and how about tarring somebody with certain characteristics because someone was different resulting in a negative label. Gaijin? Juden? Niggers? Towelheads? Foreigners?
What’s in a name, eh?
Better watch out they’re in the hood!
My two cents is that they do this to keep politicians and bureaucrat in line. As long as the populace is properly scared of the “foreign menace” no one in power, or trying to get there, will try to curb the polices power for fear of loosing votes. With the current debt crisis I guess the police is trying to pre-empt anyone looking at their budget.
Foreingers are easy targets for this kind of propaganda campaigns since no one will stand up for them.
(cept our own debito that is) Given the low number of foreingers in Japan they’re not an attractive group for politicians. Easyer to play along with the story and get the low hanging fruit on the voting tree; fear-based votes.
And if the statistics don’t agree it must be because the crafty foreigners are getting better at hiding their crimes.
For which of cource the only answer is more resources and bigger budgets for the police.
Of all the places in Kanagawa, Yamate? The home of the first foreign embassies?
Wow could you imagine seeing this in the U.S., depicting Asian immigrants? the outrage would be huge. I mean things have gone to far in the other direction in the U.S. but this right here is just backwards, barbaric.
Norik, I went ahead and searched for you, and reverse-search engines came up with nothing so far. Neither did good ol’ Google. So I’m guessing they just commissioned some local bum to illustrate their idea of foreign criminals. Too bad, it really would’ve been a kick to expose them for plagiarism on top of everything else.
On-topic, I caught on the word “omowaremasu” even before I read Debito’s commentary. In fact, the pamphlet as a whole strikes me as rather ambiguous. Lots of big words (organized crime, fear for public safety and so on) with nothing to back them up. It’s all starting to look familiar, and not just because I read it on this blog before.
— Pointing out patterns is what we do here, and try to do best.
It kind of reminds me of these signs in California – http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zOhheIvaFOA/RyDf7jRZGuI/AAAAAAAAB6Q/diZ8Kg3uK4o/s200/immigrantcrossing.gif
Mexicans and animals run across the road, so be careful!!
Anyway, I’ll be on the lookout for the mafia (the kind you only see in movies) next time I’m down by the docks.
Is it just me, or do the foreigners all look the same in this poster? I mean, its the same hairstyle(curly of course) only one is not darkened(most likely blond) and of course they all share the giant foreign nose. The GOJ found out: all foreigners must be like Agent Smith.
Anyway, I wonder if someone should make a similar poster asking citizens to look out for suspicious Sumo….after all, they might just be gambling and have links to Yakuza! /sarcasm
Why not target the evil, duplicitous [Japanese] who refuse to properly employ Japanese nationals but rather take advantage of foreigners and pay them next to nothing? Surely a company would be an easier target than individuals when trying to address the problem of illegal employment.
But, as a few have already suggested, this latest taisaku (measure) is more about image than achieving actual results. You wouldn’t want all the illegals to disappear now would you? First, that would be hard on the poor Japanese businessman who needs a lower overhead to make ends meet and, more importantly, you don’t want to lose your foreign boogeyman. Budgets in the public sector are tied to demand and use, i.e., if you don’t use it, or, there is no demand anymore, you’ll lose the budget.
— Shouldn’t worry. Even if NJ crime went down to zero, they’d still argue for tightened controls to keep it that way.
Don’t forget the sideburns. Foreigners love the sideburns.
I just threw up in my mouth.
why not start posting both of these posters side by side?
Got a fax number for that Yamate Police Station? I’d like to tell them how utterly silly & demeaning their poster is…
I want this on a t-shirt, as is, uneditied.
I’m sure my friends and the people around me have not seen this poster and are thus unaware this type of thing goes on. If they were to see the poster on a notice board, late at night, they would probably buy the NPA line that anonymous foreigners are nothing but trouble.
But if they saw these outrageous over-generalizations blazoned across the chest of someone they knew, a law abiding, hard working, family man involved in the local community, then I think it would drive home how stupid the claims on the poster are.
I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on their clip art library and mixing up some “1970’s unlawful foreigner” t-shirts of my own.
You’re gonna love this:
rest at above website