“Japanese Only” soul bar in Kobe, “Soul Love”, Nishinomiya Yamanote Doori. Advertises the music of people they would no doubt exclude.


IN APPROPRIATE, A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan, By ARUDOU Debito

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Hi Blog.  Here’s a submission from Sean Maki of yet another place that excludes NJ customers, this time in the international city of Kobe.  Archive of the Rogues’ Gallery of Exclusionary Establishments here, so you can see how the issue is nationwide.  I will add this case to the Rogues’ Gallery presently.  Thanks Sean.  Arudou Debito


May 4-6, 2011

Hi Debito.  On a visit to Kobe for Golden Week, I came across a bar worthy of your Rogues’ Gallery of exclusionary establisments. Ironically, it was a soul music bar called Soul Love, with a sign featuring album covers of soul artists, including prominent Motown acts, who presumably would not be welcome inside the bar.

〒650-0011 兵庫県神戸市中央区下山手通1丁目3-10 TEL 078-321-6460

The bar was located on Higashimon Dori, a prominent thoroughfare in Sannomiya, one of Kobe’s major entertainment districts.

Following are links to photos I took of their sign reading ‘Excuse me Japanese people only,’ as well as the main sign for the business, which includes a phone number.


All of these photos were taken with my cellphone, however, I have better quality images taken with another camera:

They were taken around 10 P.M. on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Please feel free to name me as the source of the photos, and to use my write-up for the submitter’s comment.

You might notice the ‘Japanese only’ sign also carries a sticker advertising AU phone service. I don’t know whether this the kind of corporate branding AU would be looking for.

Regards, Sean Maki


40 comments on ““Japanese Only” soul bar in Kobe, “Soul Love”, Nishinomiya Yamanote Doori. Advertises the music of people they would no doubt exclude.

  • I have seen and passed by that Bar several times. I live near by.

    There are many that refuse NJs entrance. I’ve been on the recieving end a few times. My J mate felt somewhat embaressed by the clubs doorman (or other) refusing me entry upon seeing me enter the club with him.

  • Hi, I live and work in Kobe. That place is just another shitty dive in a bad neighborhood (although I’ll grant that it’s off of a prominent thoroughfare). There are probably a hundred similar bars in the neighborhood, most of which are not remarkable, several of which advertise that English is spoke. I want to say that this injustice is really not worth the effort. The area has flavor which attracts visitors but no local NJ would try to walk through the door and see if it caused a fuss. So it’s not nice but I don’t think it’s worth the effort to try and change the policy of this one joint.

    — People said that about one onsen in Otaru way back when too. Then it spread nationwide. Study your history, start here. Left-alone signs encourage copycatting. You think it will stop at this bar, or in this neighborhood, or in this industry? It hasn’t yet.

  • People just don’t get it, do they. I am sure most people, and certainly most NJ tourists, would have no interest in going into such crummy bars. That doesn’t make it alright, and it doesn’t excuse a “leave it to them,” attitude. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. Or am I missing something?

  • I sent a mail to AU KDDI asking them why there was a racist sign with their corporate branding on it. I advised them that they might want to check it out because such associations might damage their reputation.

    I know it’s a long shot but may as well try.


  • Thanks to the activism efforts of Sora, this sign has now been taken down by the owner. It took a total of one pleasant phone call in Japanese and was done in under 5 minutes. The owner put up the sign not due to race or ethnicity fears, but rather due to language/culture misunderstanding fears and prior bad customer interaction experiences.

    It’s fairly common for Japanese “snack” type bars to have non-nominal (I’ve seen charges as high as ¥3000) “cover charge” that you do not pay at the door or up-front — a tradition that is not a custom in many foreign countries. Thus, after the patrons have have a few drinks and their judgement is impaired, they sometimes see the bill at the end of the night, are surprised by the steep cover charge, and accuse, in a foreign language, the proprietor of fraud. At my favorite watering hole live bar in Ōsaka, “All Is Vanity,” (free plug: located in Taishō-ku), I myself witnessed a pair of Japanese-language-challenged blokes verbally assault the owner over a relatively measly ¥500 cover charge. And the menu (which I added English translations to back in my early days in Japan in order to secure an occasional complimentary beer) even mentioned the cover charge at the bottom!

    * You can thank Sora et al for solving the QB House exclusionary sign problem too. That too simply took a couple of friendly phone calls in Japanese.

    — And you can thank other people (including people like me) for getting other Japanese Only signs down in the past. Thank you. And thank us. We’re all in this together to resolve this issue. So what’s your point? That we’ve somehow done it more wrongly than thoust?

    Anyway, having potential misunderstandings with the cover charge is no justification for putting up signs of this sort. It wouldn’t be justifiable in societies with actual laws against racial discrimination, so stop trying to justify it here too.

  • Update:

    Received a quick reply from AU, about 30 minutes after sending it. It was not an automated reply. A real person told me their name in the email they sent me. Here is the gist of what they sent:

    Thank you for your information for our logo used by third party’s sign.

    We will report it to section in charge for verifying this matter.

    Your comments and opinions are important to us.

    We will be more than happy to answer your inquiry, please feel free to inquire us anytime.

    Best regards

    It may not be the best or most efficient way to go about it, but maybe it’s a start.

    — It is. Thanks for doing it.

  • Called. Asked (in Japanese) if he meant Japanese PEOPLE only. He answered (in Japanese) that he meant Japanese LANGUAGE Only. “Anyone who speaks Japanese and can pay the cover charge is welcome” and he sounded totally sincere. So, I told him that’s great, and that to avoid complaints in the future he should simply add the word LANGUAGE.

    If he had sounded like he was simply lying to avoid the embarrassing truth (like the Azabu ballet school did), or if he had said “Yeah, regardless of Japanese language skills, regardless of Japanese nationalization, we simply don’t want non-Japanese-DNA folks in our establishment” (like the Otaru Onsen did) then I would have pressed further, but the fact is, in this particular case, the guy sounded like he HONESTLY meant Japanese LANGUAGE Only.

  • james grey says:

    I am surprised! I have been into that bar (maybe 4 years ago), with a Japanese friend. I don’t remember a sign, but there was no problem. I wasn’t asked to leave, and got served. Maybe something happened?

  • Oops, when I called, I was foolishly thinking that his sign had said “Japanese Only.”

    Now, I went back and looked at the photos of the sign again, and I belatedly realized that his sign had specifically stated “Japanese PEOPLE Only.”

    Wow, his voice sure sounded honest, but he straight-out lied to me. If he wrote PEOPLE he meant PEOPLE.

    Ponta=Sora, I wonder, are you going to remember this is a simple “misunderstanding” (like EVERY other case you have “solved”, or are you going to remember it as it TRULY is: a person excluding people of the wrong race (“to avoid trouble”), yet when asked about it, the person simply LIED and DENIED his policy is racially discriminatory.

    No misunderstanding here: the guy wrote “Japanese PEOPLE Only”, he meant “Japanese PEOPLE Only”.

  • And come to think of it, the sign in Tsukiji (which Ponta=Sora is so proud about having “solved”) ALSO specifically said “Japanese PEOPLE Only”.

    I can’t figure out if Ponta=Sora is in denial about the fact that some humans DO practice racial discrimination, or if he is simply very, very, naive.

    Probably the typical conversation between Ponta=Sora and a racist goes like this:

    Ponta=Sora: “Excuse me, some non-Japanese have noticed your sign, but this must be a simple misunderstanding, because you’re not racist, right?”

    Racist: “Nope, I’m not racist at all. No-one in Japan practices racial discrimination. No way! It’s just another misunderstanding.”

    Ponta=Sora: “Yeah, I know. Well, the sign has been noticed, and some complaints are going to come your way soon, so you should consider taking it down.”

    Racist: “OK, I’ll take it down to avoid the complaints. (I’m still going to continue doing what I’ve always done, which is to try serve Japanese PEOPLE Only, because their patronage is safer and more profitable, but at least from now on I’ll be more sly about about how I discriminate, for example I’ll just claim, ‘Sorry, all full, maximum occupancy and all that, cheers!’) Thanks for the heads up!”

    Ponta=Sora: “My pleasure.”

    *Ponta=Sora puts down the phone and pats himself on the back, then proudly posts something like, “No racism here folks, it was just another simple misunderstanding, I’m sure of it, the owner told me so! He wouldn’t lie, ware-ware Nippon-jin don’t lie, especially to each other. Case closed. The country I happen to have been born in has absolutely ZERO aspects in which it should practice Kaizen. There is absolutely NOTHING I would like to change about any actions committed by my people. I’ve got a blog in which I’ve CLEARLY proven to my readers that I am totally sure that there is NO problem with Japan’s current way of doing things. To put it simply, my country is PERFECT!”*

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    MG, Sora’s “kentanakachan” blog indicates that the owner will be changing his sign to the much more diplomatic “We’re sorry, but our staff only speak Japanese. Please use Japanese as much as you can,” instead, which is a lot more positive, open, and encouraging, while still making the reasonable-enough demand that patrons at least attempt to use Japanese no matter what their nationality. I’m very happy to see this,

    Of course, the best way to be sure that the owner really has rethought his “Japanese People Only” policy — and he did use the word “people” — is for some non-Japanese to go there, pay the cover charge, and enjoy some beers.

  • This is common amoung bars etc. Try Hello Work and let the counslers call for you. Youll see racism/xenophobia on a grand scale.

  • @Michelle.

    No, it isn’t common. It’s racist and it’s wrong, but you’re distorting the truth. It’s thankfully very rare and we need to be vigilant and ensure that it stays that way.

  • @Joe

    No, it is common. Try Hello Work and let the counselors call for you. You’ll see racism/xenophobia on a grand scale.

    Choose 5 jobs from the computer system, go have the counselors call those hiring managers who are desperately looking to fill open positions, and report back how many of those hiring managers openly tell the counselor, “Iya, Gaijin Dame. Nihongo pera pera demo, dame. Nihon shutokusha demo dame. Shitsureishimasu. (Click.)”

    Until you’ve experienced what Michelle and others have experienced, YOU’RE distorting the truth Joe.

    Prove us wrong, please: go today, we breathlessly await your triumphant report of what percentage of hiring managers agree to set an interview date for their open position… with a Japanese-speaking Gaijin.

  • @S
    We’re talking at cross-purposes here. I’m concerned with bars with “Japanese only” signs.
    The hiring (or not) of foreign workers is a completely different area and I freely admit I know nothing about it, though can easily imagine what a frustrating experience looking for work can be when faced with racist attitudes from managers.
    Regarding bars etc. I’ve spent over twenty years in Fukuoka, been to hundreds of bars and never, ever been refused service or seen a “Japanese only” sign. Now I know Debito isn’t keen on the “It’s never happened to me, so it doesn’t happen” school of thought, but my point is that if refusal to admit/serve foreigners were a “common” problem then surely it would have happened to me a good twenty or so times over twenty years. But no.

    — So therefore. Good thing we have a gallery of exclusionary signs, or else some people might say the problem only exists in our imagination because it hasn’t happened to them.

    Anyway, it seems the whole argument is about the idea of “how common” a phenomenon this is. Continue along those lines if necessary, but let’s not get hung up on semantics, please.

  • Really, the translation of the sign should be:

    Attention all foreigners, this is really a shitty bar and we screw our gullible Japanese customers over on charges. We know most of you would never put up with these business practices and we don’t want to have this turn into a heated argument in the bar, so please stay away.

  • Joe,

    I suspect your retired military or a base employee? You ignorance of the issue is grand. Do yourself a favor and head to Hello Hell, excuse, Hello Work and find out for yourself. “S” is spot on. You think we are making this up? I wish I was! I see those bar signs all the time, thats nothing. Head to Hello Work, and Debito it would be good for you as well, and try it on for size. Debito, the sign issue is weak stuff, there is much much more heavy stuff out there. Seek and you will expereince.

  • Anonymous says:

    @DL Exactly! The owner claims the “problem” is that at the end of the night when he springs the SURPRISE cover-charge on his drunk victims, the Japanese victims usually submit quietly to this little fraud, because they don’t have the balls to say no, but the Non-Japanese victims usually DON’T submit quietly to this fraud. The REAL SOLUTION for everybody would be for the owner to POST THE COVER CHARGE CLEARLY AT THE DOOR. But this owner has proven himself to be a liar who is more interested in profits than fairness.

    The crazy part is, over at that ugly site where people continuously claim that RACISM IN JAPAN IS NOT REALLY RACISM, they are currently saying, “Yes, the guy wrote ‘Japanese PEOPLE Only’, but he didn’t really MEAN ‘Japanese PEOPLE Only’, see, he meant ‘Japanese LANGUAGE Only’. Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket. That’s what he meant.”

    Sure guys, you guys KNOW Japan so well, just keep sticking your head in the sand pretending that there is NO problem here. Eventually, after about 30 more years here, when you start to see reality more clearly, you’ll look back on your old posts and do multiple face-palms over YOUR stupid lies.

  • @Mike
    Retired military, me? Thanks for the compliment, but I don’t imagine any branch of any military anywhere in the world would employ me.
    Regarding Hello Work, you say that my “ignorance of the issue is grand” which agrees completely with my “I freely admit I know nothing about it.” So nothing to argue about there.
    I’m interested, though, in your statement that you see “those bar signs all the time”. Where? Can you send us some pictures? Because “all the time” is taking us up a notch from Michelle’s “common”.

    — Okay, we’re starting to get bogged down in semantics. Let’s draw this bit to a close soon.

  • Debito Ill draw the line here, but I suggest you try out other venues besides the bars etc. Hello Work is a racists dream. The things Ive been told down there get into the bizarre territory. Roppongi still has plenty of Japanese only places, who cares? Employment Discrimination due to race color or creed is supposed to be illegal in Japan but is ignored openly.

    — Fine. Bring it up. But just don’t keep insinuating that I’m ignoring cases at Hello Work. Debito.org has posted on conditions there numerous times. Feel free to give us a report on your experiences (I will even devote a blog entry to it with your name credited as author. Send it to debito@debito.org.). Don’t make others do your work or make your claims for you.

  • The poster is written in English Only…Therefore, those who do not read English will not be affected…As a matter of fact we should advise the shop owner to post the message in different languages, in order to avoid misunderstandings.

    If they want to discriminate, let us teach them to do it properly 🙂 !

  • Fair enough, I just feel the Japanese only girly clubs thing doesnt affect most of us, I could care less about those places, there just there to rob you and I stopped going years ago. Repeated denials of job offers due to “gaijin dame” is a much serious offense and it has affected me and others personally, but there it is hardly ever mentioned here, only girly clubs.

    — Wrong wrong wrong. Have you even bothered to look at what kind of establishments are listed on the Rogues’ Gallery? Get read up or fuck off.

  • I do so wish that Japanese people would help stamp out racism so we didn’t have to do it ourselves. I’m sure some do,but I wish there were real numbers!

  • Hey Arudou how about making some hard to remove stickers that say something on the line of “This store practices racially discriminatory policies in violation of U.N. Treaty on Human rights” in english and in japanese and having people go and stick them on there if/when the cost is clear?

  • @Luke

    The problem with your sticker idea is that it might appeal to a certain demographic in the local community:
    “Oh look, a discriminatory policy sticker. There’ll be no gaijin in here, let’s go in!”

    — I also came up with some stickers for establishments advertising open-door policies. You should have seen how the self-appointed Gaijin Identity Police attacked that…

  • I am glad to hear from Joe that he has not encountered “Japanese Only” signs in Fukuoka. The same has been true for me in Miyazaki, a little further south in Kyushu. I once dragged Debito around for a night of sign searching and hashigo drinking — lots of shochu, no discriminatory signs. I have also had no problems with real estate agents or landlords down here. I have experienced discriminatory employment practices. (The court held that there is no protection under law from discriminatory employment practices, but nevertheless my dismissal was abusive, without cause, unjustified, and improper and I received a settlement.)

    But I have also lived in other parts of Japan and I have been somewhat stunned by the differences. The most irritating experience was in Yokohama trying to rent an apartment. Unless a big company is doing the rental for you, the standard rental contract requires a guarantor, and the guarantor must be a close relative living in Japan. That excludes most foreigners without even mentioning race or nationality.

    When I first came to Miyazaki 25 years ago, I rented an apartment for myself. Over time, several friends served as guarantors, including my real estate agent, the owner of a restaurant I frequently patronized, the manager of a school where I studied Japanese culture, one of my Eikaiwa students, etc. The friendliness of the locals is one of the reasons that I have settled on Miyazaki as a good place to live. But not everywhere is so benign.

  • @Debito
    Im looking at the Rouges gallery and all I see are drinky establisments, some hotel and other ayashi places. These same pics have been up forever, and they are a rather weak represenation of what else is out there. Sure, I cannot give pictures of Hello Work or Fudoya san experiences, but I have seen very little ever posted about it here, even though its very current. My point is that most of us never patronize such places as we arent wanted there even if they let you in. I understand that the rouges gallery followed after the Otaru case but perhaps that approach has become overused.

    — Let’s count. As of right now on the Rogues’ Gallery, we have eight onsens/public baths, four restaurants, one karaoke parlor, at least four stores, one pachinko parlor, two discos, at least three hotels, one ballet school, one relaxation boutique, one internet cafe, one newspaper subscription service, one eyeglass shop, several apartments, one billiards hall, and a few other non-ayashii places before you even GET to the umpteen bars. So if all you see are “drinky establishments”, you simply cannot read. Moreover, it’s your choice not to go bars, but most of us just may want to patronize a restaurant, go to a store, stay at a hotel, rent an apartment, dance at a disco, use an internet cafe, play billiards, get eyeglasses, do ballet, or read a newspaper.

    If you want to substantiate discrimination elsewhere, do so. But don’t criticize people who have done so if you’re too fucking lazy to do the work yourself. Fuck off.

  • Anonymous says:

    I notice the whole gist of some people’s writings are, “Japanese people are NOT racist against Gaijin, because I personally called them and asked them and they told me it was just a misunderstanding. Also, Japanese owners are JUSTIFIED in refusing entry to Non-Japanese because ‘most Non-Japanese don’t speak Japanese’.”

    The second point is totally absurd, according to that logic, “It’s JUSTIFIED for Jews in Israel to post signs refusing entry to Arabs because you think ‘most Arabs don’t speak Hebrew’ and it’s JUSTIFIED for Whites in Texas to post signs refusing entry to Hispanics because you think ‘most Hispanics don’t speak English.

    (According to this language-ability-based justification of race-based-refusals: it’s JUSTIFIED for people around the world to post signs refusing entry to Japanese people because you think ‘most Japanese don’t speak English’.)

    The sad part is that the folks here in Japan using such “logic” to justify “Japanese PEOPLE Only” signs (and non-signed-practices) are EVENTUALLY going to notice enough cases of THEMSELVES being on the receiving end of the race-based-refusals which they currently keep denying and justifying.

    I just wonder how many decades it will take these humans, both Japanese and Non-Japanese, to be honest with themselves.

  • There is racism and discrimination in Japan. To deny it exists is pure insanity. I think we all have to deal with it in our own way. I agree that there is such a thing as “creeping racism” where it starts at one establishment and then spreads out into other aspects of society.

    I for one also do not like the discriminatory signs. I guess I have come to taking the other approach of not bothering going in. I do not want to give my money to someone that feels that way about me. Debito-san, I understand you are coming from a different perspective. You are an actual citizen of Japan, while I am a PR and pay taxes so I can see how you may take a more intense approach.

    I guess I for one have actually seen things getting better for foreigners over the past 13 years. I know there have been transient events (fingerprinting, website asking for folks to anonomously report suspicious foreigners) but I have seen the overall trend as positive. This is merely my point of view and I am sure others have seen the opposite.

    What seems to me to have really deteriorated is the divisiveness among foreigners in Japan, in spite of what in my opinion is gradually improving conditions (with acknowledged bumps in the road).

    Your reply to Mike was disappointing. You did amend and provide factual data supporting your case but I think telling him to F&%$ off was a bit out of line.

    I do not agree with you all the time..not at all…but I like your blog and the fact that it exists. I also know there is another website that seems to be a rebuttal to you (but also seems to exist solely for the purpose of attacking you – and calling readers of this block debitard?). I do not know what the heck is going on (I do not know the history of the blogosphere and what personal issues there are) but as stated above there seems to be an increasing level of divisiveness (or maybe it existed for a while) among the foreign “community” in Japan.

    It is a major bummer and disappointment. Hope some day some folks can sit across the table and sort their differences out. Must say I am not confident that will ever happen.

    Have a nice weekend.

    — It would be nice if that could happen, yes, But it won’t. Most of these people who vent their spleen keep themselves anonymous, dropping their mind guano without ever revealing themselves to take responsibility for what they say. You’ll never see them at the other side of a discussion table to hammer out differences because they prefer to remain sniping from the dark. I’ve heard it called the “fuckwit mentality” gleaned from anonymity. In contrast, I have a very visible persona online, where I take responsibility for my comments. And there’s lots of them yet one of me. It’s not a fair fight. So I’ll forgive myself if I vent my spleen back when dealing with a person who simply won’t consider evidence I have painstakingly and meticulously put together over a decade.

    I’ve been dealing with fuckwit mentalities for close to two decades now, and it’s long gotten to the point where non-fuckwits are getting too jaded to deal with the nastiness of the Internet anymore, particularly when it comes to the English-speaking NJ community in light of the “Fly-jin” phenomenon. Find it “disappointing”, but you’re disappointed towards the wrong side: fighting back against willful ignorance is the only way to reclaim Internet discussion from the fuckwits. Hence telling a fuckwit to fuck off is perfectly within line.

  • Hey Debito-san

    Your point is well taken

    You are not doing what you do anonymously and most folks could not or are not willing to hold up to that scrutiny….still think the remarks are too much

    I do not always agree with you but appreciate your perspective

    As for the “other side” I do not know who they are ( Yes I have seen their website but names seem to be all hidden) so I would probably categorize them as cowards

    — Thanks, but that’s not enough. One must tell them to fuck off if and when necessary. Passive ignoring of them is getting us nowhere. Especially when they dominated the debate arena after 3/11 in a mass defaming of the NJ community. Don’t get hung up on the f-word. Understand what’s going on here and do something about it.

  • This is possibly the dumbest thing I have ever seen someone argue for. You’ll never win. It’s obviously due to race and you are in Japan. Whether you naturalize or not that’s not the question, it’s the way you look. You could live in Japan for the next fifty years and still be considered the same as some white dude who got off the plane from Cali to Tokyo the day before, Japanese citizen or not. Even if you got into such bars through legal action, good luck dealing with the people drinking around you. Japan is for those who look Japanese not those who have some piece of paper stating that they have “naturalized.”

    It’s like if some black dude was fighting to join the KKK in the south. It’s not gonna happen sweetie. It’s a lost cause.

    — Disagree.

  • I might have sent this picture on to you before, but I saw an apartments-for-rent sign at a station saying that they would rent to foreigners. 外国人可
    I thought it was a pretty telling sign because if a landlord says s/he is willing to rent to NJ, it kind of sounds like to me that a lot of places aren’t.

    — Please send it to debito@debito.org.

  • @Ummmm
    How can you compare a naturalised Japanese citizen wishing to be treated as a normal member of Japanese society with a “black dude” trying to join the KKK? Do you think, even for a moment, that the two are in any way similar?

    — Thank you. It gets very tiring to have to parse this stuff myself.

  • jonholmes says:

    I think a more realistic comparison was the recent attempt of a British national of Indian descent, a Sikh, I believe, who wanted to join the mostly racist white dominated British National Party. Due to legal ruling, he was allowed to join, as otherwise the BNP would have been an illegal racist organization, which they deny they are (despite their policies which suggest the contrary).

    So, if the Japanese government were to pass legislation and follow it up as the British authorities did, you would be allowed to enter that bar.

    But its a long shot, as a bar in Kobe is not a rival political party gaining votes that challenges the current power elite, so ummmmm has a point.

    (NB. I m not sure how this guy is getting on with the other BNP members, but his rationale for joining, by the way, was that he was afraid of Islamic extremists in Britain and said he wished there had been a BNP when India was partitioned, forming Pakistan).

    — Thanks for this. But we’re getting off track. Bring it back.

  • Hello,
    Just wanted to report what happened to an Irish friend and I (French). We went to this bar in Roppongi called soul bar (basement bar) that looked cool with good music coming from it and a big Happy Hour sign outside.Got in,saw one customer at the bar and the girl ran to us to tell us it was a “private party”.We asked why there was no sign stating that as I’ve seen many times before, and why the big sign with happy hour was out, and the only answer we got was “So sorry!Sorry!Bye!”.
    I’m very tempted to go there with a Japanese person,send him ahead and then get in to see what happens…
    Anyone knows the place and wanna give it a try?
    Anyway…If I ever go back to Roppongi, will definitely let you know what happened !
    PS:Thanks Debito for your hard work…

  • Hey Sean, how about a photo update: did the owner who wrote “Japanese PEOPLE Only” REALLY take the sign down as he promised, or was that just a lie to get callers off his back.

    And Hey Debito, how about adding this to the gallery before you forget: because the fact that the Japanese owner wrote “Japanese PEOPLE Only” makes it a totally UNDENIABLE case of Discrimination Based On RACE, and it is MUCH MORE blatant than the “Japanese Only” signs which can easily be lied about (“oh those signs? those signs simply mean Japanese (language) Only”.)

    I don’t see any reason why this “Japanese PEOPLE Only” sign hasn’t been archived for prosperity in the gallery yet, it deserves to be archived right under the “Pure-Blooded Japanese Only” sign.

    — Sorry, just haven’t quite gotten around to it. Been busy.

  • @Padraig
    I have seen similar things in apartment listings in various prefectures around Kyushu. 外国人可 right there in the same section as ペット可 and what have you.

  • Alexander says:

    I have also seen 外国人可 a lot.
    I asked a person in the business about it and he said that with occupancy rates quite low, some agencies suggest things like that (or ペット可 or 楽器相談 etc…) as a way to find tenants.

    When it is tough to find a place, any landlords reaching out to foreigners is not a bad thing, but I much prefer expressions like 外国人歓迎 which is common in Shinjuku for apartment and job offerings.

    — The fact that we have to specify anyone as “welcome” is part of the problem. The default should be welcome, as in, “Shouldn’t just about anyone be welcome who has the wherewithal to pay the rent and the security deposit?” Having to spell it out (since it is ergo not the default) shows how systematically entrenched the discrimination is.


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