Nepalese beaten to death in Osaka, 4 assailants arrested in apparent hate crime


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Hi Blog. What follows in my view is clearly a hate crime. It is reportedly a random singling out of a NJ by a group of four J youths who beat him senseless — even dropped a bicycle on his head, smashing his skull on the pavement. Fortunately (after a chase), they have all been arrested, no doubt after the security camera footage (below) made any plausible deniability of the event impossible. (In statements to the police, according to the Japanese media below, one assailant even insinuated that he couldn’t believe he had actually killed a foreigner.  Come again?  That’s the ultimate in kubetsu plus denial.) Story follows, then a quick comment from me:


The Japan Times, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012
Man beaten to death on Osaka street

Osaka (Kyodo) — A Nepalese man died Monday after being assaulted on a street in Osaka early Monday by two men and two women, police said Tuesday.

Bishnu Prasad Dhamala, 42, died at a hospital after being attacked in Abeno Ward.

The police said they arrested Hiroki Shiraishi, 21, a tattoo artist, and his acquaintance, Miyoko Shiraishi, 22, at the scene after receiving a report about the assault.

The police are looking into the whereabouts of the other two assailants.

The four and Dhamala are not believed to be acquainted and the police are trying to identify the cause of the incident.

Dhamala came to Japan about 10 years ago and had been working at a restaurant in the city, according to the police.



大阪市ネパール人男性暴行死事件 現場から逃げていた男女2人を東京都内で逮捕
フジテレビ系(FNN) 1月22日(日)13時33分配信, courtesy of Dave Spector




この事件では、共に暴行を加えた殺人容疑で、自称・彫り師の白石大樹容疑者(21)と、白石 美代子容疑者(22)の2人が、すでに逮捕・送検されている。



See security camera coverage of the assault at this link:




ネパール人殺害2容疑者、無抵抗 執拗に男性暴行
読売新聞 2012年1月21日





大樹容疑者らは事件直後にも現場近くで男性3人に言いがかりをつけ、殴りかかっていたという。府警は4人が通行人を手当たり次第に襲ったとみて、ダマラさんを暴行した経緯を詳しく調べる一方、残る2人の行方を追っている。(2012年1月21日 読売新聞)

COMMENT: There is little more to be said except that this is hardly an isolated incident. We’ve already mentioned here the Scott Kang and Matthew Lacey probable homicides (“probable” only because the NPA essentially refuses to acknowledge that they were outright murders, and stonewalls attempts to release further data that would probably prove things conclusively). But go back a bit, and you’ll find the Herculano Case, where a 14-year-old Brazilian boy named Herculano Reiko Lukocevicius was similarly beaten to death on October 6, 1997 by a Japanese gang in Komaki, Aichi (information about a book on his case is here); he was afforded much less press coverage (I’m glad the Japanese media is on the ball this time, with far more coverage in Japanese than in English). And of course we cannot leave out the Suraj Case, which is even more insidious since his brutal death was at the hands of officialdom (and may be but the tip of the iceberg, given Immigration’s history of ill-treatment of NJ while in detention). And if we stretch the issue even further, how about that recent curious “suicide” of a NJ suspect, accused of murdering two other Taiwanese students, who was somehow allowed to have a knife and sufficient mobility while in NPA custody presumably despite searches?  All curious lapses in standard procedure when a NJ is involved.

In sum, I think it is time to retire the myth that Japan is preternaturally “safe”.  After all, public maintenance of this myth not only gets in the way of honest accounting, but also makes nationality an issue, as officialdom publicly states that foreigners commit more crime (and therefore, the logic eventually ensues, shouldn’t be here in the first place).  Let’s face it:  When properly accounted for, reported, and considered without the bias of nationality either of victim or perp, Japan has its fair share of criminal behavior.

Therefore people should be careful of being the target of basic covetousness, wanton prejudice and scapegoating, or even just random hatred.  After all, Japan has no effective laws to punish the last two (see here and here) if you have the misfortune to be existing while foreign here.  Arudou Debito

37 comments on “Nepalese beaten to death in Osaka, 4 assailants arrested in apparent hate crime

  • Was out with my girlfriend yesterday, and we walked by the local black bus (which had been blaring it’s hate around my block periodically all day – royally p$&@ing me off on a Sunday)

    I expressed my displeasure to her at it’s presence and message, and she jokingly suggested I wave as it reached us walking the other way, which I, presented with that as option a), and flipping the bird as option b) proceeded to go with the less confrontational of the two. I hadn’t noticed a few cranky looking yakuza guys in one of the souped up box like commodore looking cars giving me death stares for daring to date a Japanese directly behind the bus, but my lady had. She grabbed my arm before I could wave.

    She was apparently terrified that they would attack me. I expressed my doubts given that they were accompanying the black bus, and that I’d be fine if i waved, but she was most definitely not.

    Yep, safety Japan. If only the locals thought it was safe to go out at night. For this guy, sadly, he was guilty of walking while gaijin once too often. Safe my ass. I won’t think about waving next time.

  • My god, what a horrifying video, especially the part where they literally drop a bike on him.

    I’m puzzled by the reports. “I can’t believe I (killed) a foreigner” implies that the perpetrator didn’t know that the victim wasn’t Japanese … so would it be any better if he was? We don’t know the facts about the case, about why those punks were chasing Dhamala. It was dark. They could’ve been drunk, or strung out on drugs, or something. I feel it’s way too early to call it an actual race/hate crime. Let’s not jump to conclusions.

    And speaking as a woman? I do feel that Japan is far safer than any western country that I’ve ever lived in. I don’t believe that it’s perfectly safe, just safer.

    — As always, it depends where you are and at what time, anywhere in the world. And people seeking you out for a hiding makes anywhere they are unsafe. I strongly doubt that these thugs didn’t know their victim was a NJ — any other motive is unclear; my read of the statement is they couldn’t believe the NJ died (“Hey, NJ are bigger and stronger than us, I thought he could take a good beating.” Think postwar image of pro wrestler Killer Kowalski vs. Rikidouzan.) I’m jumping to my conclusion: It’s a hate crime.

  • I want to know what the justice system is going to do about this. Another light slap on the wrist, perhaps? Nah, they’ll probably botch the investigation and state that the Nepalese man died of “natural” causes (maybe a heart attack) and won’t even prosecute. I hope people get this news out to the world, in English as well.

    — I would be surprised if that happened. That video is incriminating and removes all possibility of those thugs resorting to a reflexive self-portrayal as victim (“He started it…” etc.) The only defense they really have is effusive expressions of remorse to the judge, which they will no doubt rewire their brains to do. Then they’ll get off lighter.

    But I think they’ll do time. The J media has not ignored this, after all, so the pressure is on. But perhaps I’m being optimistic; it wouldn’t be the first time the J judiciary has unpleasantly surprised me, and the slow-turning wheels of justice in Japan have a habit and the design of blunting public outrage. As always, wait and see, but it’ll be awhile.

  • Interesting article. I want to point out that this article is interesting to me for two reasons:

    1. It is about a hate crime that occurred in Osaka, which is interesting. One time when I was walking through Osaka in ’07, an old man got off his bicycle and started hurling epithets at me for absolutely no reason. I couldn’t understand any of them except “baka,” but that was pretty clear. I realize that my incident and the one in today’s Debito article are anecdotes, not conclusive statistics, but given this article and my experience in Osaka, I can’t help but wonder if Osaka is more anti-foreigner than the national average.

    2. One of the perps was a tattoo artist, which I found interesting. Where I live (Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture), the local tattoo parlor is the congregating point of the bousouzoku gang, and flies a Nazi flag.

    So… I just wanted to comment on those things.

    I believe that the police should crack down on hate crimes and make an example of racist attackers like the ones in the article. Will they? Doubtful. But they should.

    That said, as someone who has been attacked several times during my 10+ years in Asia (where most of the assaults happened in “Korea Sparkling”), this is my street-smart advice, which has allowed me to be assault-free since October 2008 (when my face was horribly swollen and my tooth chipped after being beaten up by two Korean gang members):
    – Avoid walking outside after 10:00 PM in urban areas unless with a friend.
    – Avoid red light districts and areas with booking clubs, night clubs, etc. and streets with bars anytime after the sun goes down, unless accompanied by several friends. And even then, it’s somewhat risky, because places like those are essentially in a state of anarchy, especially red light districts.
    – If you ever see a group of young men after dark, get away from them as quickly as possible (walk quickly, duck into a train station with lots of people, etc.). Groups of young, drunk men are very likely to heckle you or perhaps physically assault you.
    – DO NOT count on the police or other authorities to help. First of all, police might take 20+ minutes to show up if they are called at all, at which point you could be injured or dead. And even if they do show up, there is a strong possibility that they might take the side of the attackers.
    – DO NOT count on passersby to help. They probably won’t. But if you find yourself being attacked, single out people in the crowd and ask them for assistance (“HEY, YOU IN THE GREEN SHIRT, HELP ME!” is better than “SOMEBODY HELP ME!”). This is due to a psychological phenomenon called “de-individuation.” The more people in the crowd watching you get beaten up, the less each one will feel responsible to help you.
    – As Confucius said, “The law is far, but the fist is near.” Learn to defend yourself, because as mentioned previously, neither the police or passersby are likely to help.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I have to admit, I am a bit baffled by the ‘I can’t believe I killed a foreigner’ comment.
    I see two possibilities;
    1) They are unaware (as readers here are not) that the J-police have a less than superb record of investigating crimes where the NJ is a victim, or…
    2) It’s a racist default in the way they conceptualize the crime. ‘I killed a gaijin’, as opposed to ‘I killed a real (Japanese) person’.

    The thing they should be ‘not believing’ is that the whole thing was captured on film, since that is most likely what will compel the police to take action, rather than ruling that the victim killed himself with a bicycle….

  • I believe that this is not an auspicious way to enter into a discussion of criminology comparisons.

    As such, on what should be focused is the horrible nature of these crimes (and not a comparison of criminology of crime in Japan vs other nations).

    All such crimes merit condemnation and prosecution.

    And Japan is not a society free of all violent crimes.

    However, comparing Japan with neighbouring countries (Russia, Korea, China, Taiwan) shows that its rate of violent crime is lower.

    What merits attention is that Japan’s violent crimes, and its law enforcement focus, seems to focus on marginalised groups, including foreigners.

    One wonders whether violent crimes also disproportionately affect other marginalised groups, such as the mentally ill, etc.

    For a recent formal study that examined crime and marginalisation, see:

  • I think Debito is absolutely correct with this reading, “they couldn’t believe the NJ died (“Hey, NJ are bigger and stronger than us, I thought he could take a good beating.”)

    “Your honor, please don’t give me a death sentence or life imprisonment sentence or even a 20 year imprisonment sentence, because when I was smashing this gaijin’s head with a bicycle, I didn’t BELIEVE the gaijin would actually die. Gaijin are usually hard to kill. Who knew this one would die so easily? I didn’t know. I honestly didn’t know. It was never my intention to kill this gaijin, we simply wanted to maim him. This gaijin died because he was weaker than the standard gaijins. I can’t believe I killed a gaijin. Go easy on me Judge.”

    Judge checks his desk for any letters from Royalty in Nepal. Nope, the victim wasn’t well-connected. Well then, easy verdict, since the victim was a mere gaijin, and the defendants were young Japanese boys, claiming it was an accident, mere rough-housing resulting an accidental death, I want to just give them probation, but since that damn video was released to the media and shown to the public, OK, I’ll give them 7 years prison, but hey, they’ll probably be released on parole even earlier. Case Closed.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    At last, some TV news coverage of this. Too bad it became TV news only after some arrests were made – one would think that a gang bashing people to death in the street would be newsworthy. Heck, we may have even found time to slip it around the 10 minutes we spend on Darvish’s new contract every night.

    Japan is a safe country, but not the safest by a long shot. It’s about time the police and the media started reporting crimes as news.

  • When possible, avoiding assaults is ideal.
    However, if assaulted, is it in the NJ’s best interest to defend himself and hit back?
    I have no references at hand, but I think I have read somewhere that foreigners who get in fights–even if in defense–with Japanese are (or may more easily be) forcibly deported.
    And unless it was recorded, it is unlikely that many will believe it was only in defense.

    Just last weekend I was talking to my (Japanese) girlfriend about this.
    She was saddened by the events that happened to the Nepalese man and asked me to be careful.
    She was also worried that if I were to defend myself that I could be deported.

    Hence, if assaulted, 1) defend yourself and possibly be deported, or 2) take a beating (and hopefully survive) and stay in Japan. Neither option is very good.

    But as I said, I do not have any solid references on this.
    Could someone more familiar with the legal situation comment on this?

  • I live near the area in question, and am a 19-year expat in Osaka exclusively. I just to my shame found out about this ONE WEEK LATER: appalling. It is a hate crime without a doubt; just that the cowards thought a Nepalese would make an easier target than a person fitting the stereotypical Gaijin pattern.

  • I can already imagine how the 2-channer consensus must be spinning this:

    -One of the suspects is from Nishinari-ward, which is notorious for being a lawless jurisdiction overflowing with transient day laborers and hisabetsu burakumin. Hence the guy is probably a burakumin meaning he is subhuman and not Japanese, absolving our society of any responsibility.

    -The suspects are obviously of ethnic Korean descent and are disguising themselves as Japanese using tsumei pseudonyms, all with the sinister intention of making Japan look bad in the eyes of the international community. Furthemore, a Japanese person would never do something as underhanded and inhumane as ganging up 4-1 on a person and bashing their head in with a bicycle. This is clearly the MO of those pernicious zainichi!

    -The suspects are bosozoku or fledgling boryokudan members as opposed to normal “taxpayer” Japanese, hence their actions are not representative of us “normal” Japanese. Yakuza and criminals are not human remember? Case closed.

    -(If all else fails, they will probably pull the Osaka-card which is something along the lines of:) The barbaric city of Osaka has always been reviled for the low Mindo (degree of cultural civility) of its citizens. Osaka is a city of uneducated welfare recipients that all suffer from a crippling lack of decency and joshiki (common sense), one of the symptoms of which is its nationwide reputation as a place where some of the weirdest crimes are committed (kinda like the state of Florida). Hence this is an issue with Osakan society, not Japanese society.

  • I can`t believe how this just happened to be in the right place for video to capture it. Could you imagine if it wasn`t? Story over. How about those other people walking by doing nothing?

  • Until I looked at Debito’s site I had no idea that this awful thing happened. My thoughts go out to the deceased’s family.
    Now compare this lack of coverage with recent events in Salford, England, where an Indian man was shot dead. That made headline news in England.
    The fact I had to read Debito to find out about this horrific event but did not see it in the national newspapers or on the national news is very worrying indeed.

    — But it was in the national newspapers and national news, as the media sources attest.

  • i had my usual tuesday lunch at my local nepalese/indian restaurant and asked if they knew the victim. i thought it might be possible since this restaurant group has around 30 restaurants in the kansai area. sure enough one of the guys was acquainted with the victim as he had been a customer at one of their restaurants in the area where he was killed. my chef friend was especially outraged since he felt that the victim was an extremely kind, gentle and meek person making it hard to understand how he could have possibly provoked the attack!

    it is a very sad and shocking crime! i hope that video helps motivate the courts to do the right thing for once!

  • Hiroki Shiraishi, 21, a tattoo artist, and his acquaintance, Miyoko Shiraishi,

    They both have the same family name, yet they are called “acquaintance”. Brother and sister, husband and wife?

  • In 2011, did people feel safe in Japan?
    Thousands of foreigners and wealthy Japanese fled Japan in March, and many didn’t return.
    Thousands have fled their homes in Fukushima in fear, likely never to return.
    About 20,000 died, maybe more, because they weren’t properly warned or rescued from predictable tsunami.
    Courts have reportedly not arrested or indicted officials accused of murdering a man in their custody at Narita.
    No arrests or convictions involving Tepco, JAL, Olympus, and other companies.

    No successful cases of shareholders suing crooked board members or execs, as far as I know.
    UK born CEO of Olympus went to a journalist, not the police, and fled Japan in fear after blowing whistle on corruption.

    Police crackdown on cyclists.
    Police crackdown on foreigners.
    New anti-gang laws, reports of gangland wars behind the scenes, buried in mainstream press.

    Most Japanese I know complain that Japan is getting increasingly dangerous. It doesn’t matter if Japan is safer than the US, UK or Iraq. They live in Japan, and safety matters to them.
    In 2011, I felt safer in Australia, Taiwan, Canada and several European countries than I did in Japan.

    Summary: if your life consists of eating, sleeping and commuting to work and back, and you have a business card from a well-known company, and you keep your mouth shut and allow people to humiliate you, and you don’t worry about radiation and quakes and tsunamis, Japan might be a safe country for you.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Video camera doesn’t lie about what these punk asses did upon a helpless, defenseless victim. I would be more interested in NPA’s policy on hate crime if they went easy on these perpetrators.

    — There is no NPA policy on hate crimes. There isn’t even a law in Japan against hate speech, let alone.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Notice that none of the Japanese news sources cited here suggest “racism” or “hate crime”?
    I suspect that until racist attacks and hate crimes are reported as such, the rest of society can blissfully live in denial.

  • “Most Japanese I know complain that Japan is getting increasingly dangerous.”

    I think this is true in just about every country in the world, but is it merely a *belief* and rarely supported by evidence. Most likely, it is fear stoked by hysterical media, like those people who ran away after the earthquake.

  • This is appalling and there is no excuse for what happened to this man. I hope the perpetrators are found and punished to the extreme. Would love to have a few minutes alone with these punks. Also if the Japanese sources are not calling this a hate crime or race based I am not sure what they would consider to be one. Yes, this is a problem in Japan.


    Sorry but I just cant take it anymore. I have read Debito-san’s website for years. I have not always agreed with him but have found the website useful, informative, and I have found out about some issues I would never have heard about if I did not read this site.

    I am sorry you had such a bad experience at Narita but I am still curious about your visa status. It does not excuse the way you were treated but it is relevant.

    Regarding your statement, “Summary: if your life consists of eating, sleeping and commuting to work and back, and you have a business card from a well-known company, and you keep your mouth shut and allow people to humiliate you, and you don’t worry about radiation and quakes and tsunamis, Japan might be a safe country for you.”

    Perhaps this will be considered “hate speach” but here it goes.

    I am no Japan apologist, but I find your statement condescending and full of arrogance. I am a Permanent Resident of Japan and have started my own business. My company is not well known and I do not keep my mouth shut. I was chastized here for an article I posted on Fukushima (which later turned out to play out as stated in my article). I also volunteered in the Tohoku area in March and May. I do not carry a business card from a large company and do not “fear” or “cowtow” to authorities. I know several other enterpeneurs in Japan that would say the same and have the same feelings toward your arrogance.

    Also the statement, “About 20,000 died, maybe more, because they weren’t properly warned or rescued from predictable tsunami.” is false. Tens of thousands of people were warned and escaped the tsunami. I met some of these people in March. Although many residents were angry at the government for the slow response, none said anything about a lack of warning.

    As each day passes I am beginning to disbelieve more and more of your account of events at Narita.

  • @Andrew

    > Notice that none of the Japanese news sources cited here suggest “racism” or “hate crime”?

    The police have been working really hard and have already taken care of that issue. (Yes, that is sarcasm.)
    According to them, it was an “indiscriminate violence without regard to the individual”. (Quote: 相手かまわず無差別暴行)
    Further, “it was understood from interviewing the police that [the defendants], after drinking, committed a an impromptu crime without regard to the individual.” (Quote: 酒を飲んだあと相手かまわず場当たり的に犯行に及んでいたことが警察への取材でわかりました。)

    Also, “the four had picked a fight with another Japanese group, so the police view this [attack] as impromptu violence without regard to who the individual was.” (Quote: 4人は別の日本人グループにもケンカを仕掛けていたということで、警察は相手は誰でもよく場当たり的に暴行に及んだとみています。)

    Full article below.

    ネパール人殺害事件 相手かまわず無差別暴行










    (01/25 09:38)

  • Doug, I have done many articles about people in Tohoku complaining about lack of tsunami warning. Others have too. Even good ol’ NHK touched it. So it must be true.

    I’m glad you are more positive about Nihon than most, but how would you feel if tomorrow your whole life in Japan was gone?

    I answered the visa question on my blog several days ago. Just go there, not the Economist site.

    I personally feel Japan is no longer a safe country. Two of my elderly neighbours were victims of armed robbery in their homes in a very nice area of Tokyo. Many people have been robbed in the hisaichi in Tohoku after moving back to damaged homes. The myth that “there was no crime after the tsunami” has been widely disproven.

    If people want to hate me or ignore the truth of my reports, that is their choice. I have a better life ahead, surely.

  • haiberman man says:

    Who really knows what happened.. Even though I have been bothered by Japanese people in Sannomiya (Kobe) I don’t think of Japan or Japanese people any different. I mean shit happens everywhere. You can’t escape crime. How many helpless Japanese or other people died in America because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is life!!!

  • The point seems to have been lost a bit. NJ women need to be careful. And being seen in public with a Japanese woman can invite trouble for a NJ man. But it is silly to say that Japan is dangerous, even for foreigners. As far as I can tell, Japan is still remarkably safe. The only thing in this article that is particularly disturbing is the lack of awareness that hate crimes DO exist here. And in some places, and under some circumstances, they are quite common.

    — So in essence, you’re not disagreeing with the original point I was making in this blog entry. I said that we should retire the myth that Japan is PRETERNATURALLY safe. If you’re saying that under some circumstances, some crimes (in particular against NJ) are “quite common” (and that NJ women must be careful in public and NJ men should be careful being seen in public with a J woman), then that would seem to more confirm my point than refute it.

  • Japan is still safe overall, but there are people who have issues with foreigners, no doubt. The story reminded me of an scary experience I had on a local train bound for Yokohama a few years ago. I was sitting and noticed an old Japanese guy staring at me, so I stared back at his eyes for a few seconds. When the train stopped at the next station, the guy took his umbrella and hit it on my head with full force in a kendo style move. Before I was able to fully comprehend what just happened to me, the guy had gotten off the train and the doors had closed. As for the other passengers on the train, they all acted as if nothing had happened, looking the other way. I still can’t believe this happened to me, but it actually did.

  • @JH
    That’s pretty offensive. I would have gone mental at the old git.

    I have never had any trouble like that, but have seen J on J violence twice in 11 years (which, to be honest, is a pretty low rate compared to what I used to see in London).
    The first time was about 6 years back, heading out of JR Osaka station after catching the last train. A middle aged man in a suit was hiting a similar aged woman on the floor over the head repeatedly with an umbrella so hard it snapped. She was crying screaming ‘Call the police!’ over and over again in Japanese. I saw/ heard it and was walking straight over when a group of 5 younger Japanese men and women (about university student age) walked around the corner at about the same moment, took one look at me, and called out to the umbrella guy ‘What did the gaijin do?’. I just turned and walked straight off.

    As a result of that experience, about a year later in Umeda, down a dark street late at night, I saw a middle aged man dragging a crying and screaming middle-aged women along the floor by her hair. I ignored it. Just like Japanese people do every day when they don’t want to get involved because it’s a hassle, and I definately don’t need the hassle. After all, who is going to thank me for it? Maybe it was even the same couple as the first time, I don’t know, but it is a direct result of the way I am treated as a foreigner. Why should I stick my neck out? Where are the ‘ware ware nihonjin’ types at times like that?

    — I too have been in situations where public violence or the threat thereof between third parties has been present, and eventually felt the same impulses you did. The only tool in your arsenal as a visible NJ is to be a passive eyewitness from a middle distance, and hope that the phenomenon we’ve mentioned briefly in the Comments Section of a blog post (and I someday hope to get to as an essay), that of “not in front of the foreigner”, might shame people into stopping (if they don’t lash out and try to blame you for something instead; this is, incidentally, why I always keep both hands on the subway straps in a crowded train just in case there is a chikan incident; don’t want to be possibly a party to that either). Sad incentive system, isn’t it?

  • @Jim

    Well, as i said, by the time i had regained my composure, the door had already closed. Lucky for him and myself I reckon. I would have probably beaten the s.hit out of him given how upset I was at the time. Glad I lost that opportunity and am still here, as opposed to having being deported back to Europe or enjoying the hospitality of a Japanese jail. I am not the violent type at all, but in a situation like this adrenaline and instincts tend to briefly gain the upper hand.

    Anyway, I still think this is an awesome place to live overall. The parochial mindset is a problem and I am glad there are people like Debito who keep on pushing for these issues to be made public and hopefully being addressed by politicians in the future. (its a long shot..i know)

  • I think in those incidents calling the police would be the least you can do (even if you wanted to keep your distance)…doing nothing just seems horrific. I wouldn’t worry about comparing yourself to others…the “if everyone else does nothing why should I” just leads to a downward spiral of inaction…perhaps the japanese people could say the same…the gaijin did nothing so why should I. If we want to be a respected part of Japanese society we have to look out for others.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    My hat’s off to you, I can imagine that the realization of what had just happened would have driven many to flip out. I think I would have done, and (as you say) get deported.
    However, when incidents like this happen to Japanese abroad, they are always seen as shockingly outrageous and violent attacks on a poor, defenseless japanese victim.
    Here is one of many blogs that publicizes incidents of NJ on J violence outside of Japan. The Japanese sense of outrage is so hypocritical.

  • more news on the attack:

    Nepalese man fatally assaulted in Osaka while protecting 2 employees
    (Mainichi Japan) January 30, 2012

    OSAKA — A Nepalese restaurateur died after allegedly being beaten by four Japanese in Osaka’s Abeno Ward on Jan. 16 as he was escorting two young employees to their dormitory.

    The four Japanese — two men and two women — were arrested on suspicion of beating 42-year-old Bishnu Prasad Dhamala to death.

    “I thought the foreigner had shoved me, so I got angry and kicked him many times,” one of the suspects was quoted as telling police.

    According to Dhamala’s Nepalese friends and other sources, the four attacked him on a street in the early morning of Jan. 16 after a New Year’s party with friends at his restaurant in Tennoji Ward. He apparently warned the two employees, both in their 20s, in Nepalese to stay out of the altercation when they tried to help him. One of the employees phoned Dhamala’s 36-year-old Japanese wife while the other dashed to a nearby convenience store to call for help, Dhamala’s friends say.

    Dhamala had repeatedly told his employees to behave properly, follow Japanese law and not cause trouble, his friends say. His wife told the Mainichi on Jan. 29 that her husband could not walk quickly, and probably could not escape or resist, because of recurring back problems. “But he probably stayed there out of a sense of responsibility to protect his two employees,” she said.

    Dozens of Nepalese and other friends assembled in Osaka on Jan. 28, the 13th day since his death under Hindu customs, to offer flowers at the scene of the crime. Some Japanese also put their hands together in prayer.

    Another Nepalese restaurant owner in the city’s Chuo Ward said, “It’s sad to have lost a compatriot. I hate the four people but they have parents who must have been saddened by their children’s future behind bars. One crime makes many people sad. I want the Japanese to know that we Nepalese feel that way.”

    The original Japanese story:

    毎日新聞 2012年1月30日 8時29分(最終更新 1月30日 12時13分)







     ◇気さくな人柄 礼儀、法重んじ





  • “–my read of the statement is they couldn’t believe the NJ died (“Hey, NJ are bigger and stronger than us, I thought he could take a good beating.” Think postwar image of pro wrestler Killer Kowalski vs. Rikidouzan.)”

    I wish to question this interpretation. Isn’t the NJ as bigger and stronger mostly a stereotype reserved for the big white European or North American? I would have thought the stereotype for an Asian victim would be they are weaker and in need of subjugation for their own good by the superior Japanese.

    I feel foolish for nitpicking about what are ultimately both ignorant stereotypes, but the interpretation struck me as strange.

    — Fair enough.

  • What a horrible and tragic story! As an Indian-American, I’m quite interested in visiting Japan someday. But a story such as this gives me a lot of pause and hesitation. I realize that there are scumbags in every country out there, but I still feel shaken just at reading this story. 🙁
    I’d hope if I ever visit, it would be as uneventful as possible. I fear I’d face some issues especially at not fitting the typical sterotype of a gaijin where most are caucasian.

  • Jim Di Griz says:


    Caution; PURELY ANECDOTAL but I would advise any US or EU citizen who is not white or black (I’m from America, like Obama- haven’t heard that for a while!) from attempting to make a life in Japan. My UK born Pakistani friend with a degree in Japanese Studies and post grad degree from Keio Uni went home afterwards because of discrimination.
    Japanese would ask him where he was from, and he would reply the UK, but they just couldn’t compute that he could be ethnically asian, but a UK citizen and fluent English speaker (mainly because most Japanese cannot distinguish between ethnicity and nationality). He was not blond and blue-eyed, and was therefore rejected. In fact, he was even looked down upon most of the time, since he was ethnically asian, and whilst the Japanese have an inferiority complex towards the West at times, they certainly have a superiority complex towards other asians.
    It is a shame that you are not American-Indian (Native American) since I have met many Japanese who have a deep respect and misplaced sense of brotherhood with Native Americans on the basis that ‘they too’ were kept down by the white man (desipte having never actually met a Native American).

  • Thanks for your comment Jim Di Griz. At the moment, I would only want to visit there for a time. I am happy with my American and Canadian citizenship. I do know that there is a sizable number of Indians in Japan and Kobe. For the latter, those Indians have lived there for decades now and are deeply settled there. I believe most Indians in Tokyo only work there temporarily. I do speak fluent American English, and you are probably right that just by those Japanese looking at me, they will think I am not fluent in Japanese merely due to not being caucasian. I believe most Indians in Japan are straight from India anyways unlike myself being raised in the U.S. Such a shame if the odds are already against me merely due to the skin I was born in!!!

    I have never heard about some Japanese having a positive view towards Native Americans though, that is interesting. If I come there in peace, I hope to be treated as fairly as possible as well.

    Again, there may be a chance that a white gaijin there will be treated badly as has happened and I may have no incidents there at all. I’d want the Japanese to treat me like any other gaijin, but I may be asking too much for the moment. We shall see how their attitudes towards foreigners, especially non-white foreigners change as time goes on. 🙁

    — I think we’re treading into the realm of overgeneralization and making the Japanese public monolithic. Let’s avoid that.

  • Jim Di Griz says:


    Thanks for your comments, because this is a really interesting area that is deserving of much more research. Please remember that my reply to you was anecdotal, and cannot be regarded as a universal truth. Debito is right to warn against seeing the Japanese as a monolithic entity, even if that is how they would prefer themselves to be seen.
    I think that for the time being the research will remain limited (unfortunately) to how white foreigners get on in Japan. This is a result of many historical factors, but as the economies of countries such as Brazil (ethnically diverse), and India (just for example) get more powerful, Japanese society in general will have much more contact with NJ who don’t fit into tidy ethnic/nationality distinctions.
    Hopefully Brazilian and Indian scholars will conduct their own research into these issues in the future, and the Japanese Studies as a whole will move away from being based on the writings of white American and European academics.

  • Pair indicted over murder of Nepalese man in Osaka
    Japan Today CRIME FEB. 08, 2012 – 05:47AM JST ( 28 )OSAKA —

    Prosecutors in Osaka on Tuesday indicted a man and a woman over the murder of a Nepali man in Osaka on Jan 16.

    Hiroki Shiraishi, 21, a tattoo artist, and Miyoko Shiraishi, 22, are charged with being part of a gang of four that beat a 42-year-old Nepalese Bishnu Prasad Dhamala to death while he was walking home after work in Osaka’s Abeno Ward early in the morning on Jan 16. He died later in hospital.

    Two other assailants, Hiromasa Ie, 21, and Kuniko Tsukamoto, 21, fled the scene and were traced to Tokyo where they were arrested a week later.

    CCTV footage showed the group stomping on Dhamala’s face and throwing a bicycle onto his head from a raised arm position while he lay motionless on the ground, TBS said. The four suspects have said they did not know Dhamala.

    Police said that Dhamala, who worked in a restaurant, has been in Japan for about 10 years.


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