THE NYUU YOKU TIMES (入浴タイムズ)
OTARU ONSENS UPDATE DEC 16, 1999
THE GERMAN EMBASSY SENDS A STRONG LETTER TO THE OTARU MAYOR
Japanese original is visible at http://www.issho.gol.com/BENCI/germanembassyjp1.jpg
(Translation from the Japanese by Dave Aldwinckle, cross-checked with the German
version for accuracy.)
TO THE OTARU MAYOR
Tokyo, November 29, 1999
Topic: Concerning the discrimination shown the Karthaus family and other
Westerners using Otaru onsens and sentos
Related Documents: Your letters to the Karthaus family
On this occasion we, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, were contacted
about matters of a pending problem from the Karthaus family, of which the husband
and father is a German citizen. They have sent us the correspondence between you
This is how we as the German Embassy stands: Looking at the traditional and friendly
relations between Germany and Japan, we see this discrimination towards a German
citizen based only upon appearance or nationality as a very serious problem. In
the same fashion, the treatment shown is disadvantageous to citizens of other EU
countries in Japan, as well as all foreigners this case will affect.
This is why we were very happy to read in your correspondence to the Karthaus family,
dated October 12, 1999, that you feel the same way.
Granted, it is certainly the case that not all foreigners in Japan are instantly
familiar or used to the customs of Japan, and they will maybe commit mistakes that
will inconvenience or hurt Japanese at first. However, in my experience with Germans
and Westerners, most try very hard to absorb and adapt quickly to Japan and Japanese
customs. A foreign person with a multinational family would particularly fall into
Therefore, it is our belief that when it comes to this problem concerning the use
of onsens and sentos by Westerners, the complete exclusion of Westerners is no solution
at all. Instead, we feel the correct path would be your proposals, and your working
towards promoting enlightenment and understanding between both parties.
In conclusion, we would like to hear a report on the results of your talks with the
related bathing establishments and their supervisory bureaus. We would like to express
our appreciation for your efforts.
We will send a copy of this letter to the Karthaus family.
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
First Secretary and Consul
Okay, that's the Germans. Now how about the Americans?
I met with both the Consul and the Consul-General of the Sapporo Consulate on Wednesday,
October 6, 1999, and received a very positive and supportive reaction to our efforts.
However, the Consulate has been quiet these past two months despite being kept informed
via my Friends' List. It would be nice to see the same kind of support from them
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