NHK BROADCAST ON OTARU ONSENS ISSUE
NHK Ch 3 local broadcast, Jan 13, 2000, 6:14 to 6:19 pm
(All translation by Dave Aldwinckle with help with one sentence from SJ)
ANCHOR: Next, we have the problems brought about by the Otaru onsens refusing entry to foreigners. Re the two bathing facilities in Otaru refusing entry to foreigners, citizens groups including a university instructor have communicated (moushiiremashita) some improvements (kaizen) to the city.
[SCENE: Mylet followed by Aldwinckle, Makishita and Aiuchi, entering a Otaru City Hall conference room, then Aldwinckle with a deep bow presenting the chinjou to a representative of the mayor, a cut to a closeup of the text of the chinjou itself, and closeups of seated Mylet and Aldwinckle nattering with the mayoral rep.]
ANCHOR: The conveyers of the communique were citizens groups including university lecturer David Aldwinckle, an American, of Hokkaido Nanporo-Chou.
In the past, due to Russian bathers doing things like drinking alcohol in the bath room and disturbing the peace, the onsens have refused entry to all foreigners. Calling this "discrimination", Aldwinckle requested improvements from Otaru City, and submitted to Soumubuchou Sakai Yukio an original administrative jourei ordinance to eliminate discrimination and establish punishments.
ALDWINCKLE [one of those eight takes]: This is a clear violation of international treaty. Japan is also a signatory to the Convention on Racial Discrimination, so Otaru should also be aware of that. That is why we made our request (yousei).
ANCHOR: This problem does not just affect foreigners--it also affects regular citizens (ippan shimin). From Sapporo NHK we have a report from Ishii Ken.
[SCENE: Establishing shot outside onsen Osupa, then a closeup of the JAPANESE ONLY sign.]
ANNOUNCER: Two large onsen establisments in Otaru refuse foreigners. One has been doing this from six years ago, the other from the day it opened two years ago, putting up signs "limited to Japanese" and refusing all foreigners.
EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM FRANCE: I think this is racial discrimination.
EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM GERMANY: Otaru gets a very bad reputation because of two onsens.
OLD MAN ON THE STREET: Well, discrimination is a bad thing.
LADY IN HER TWENTIES ON THE STREET: I have to admit that, although it's rude of me to say this, I draw away from Russians.
[SCENE: Otaru from a hilltop, then Russians milling about, a "YU" sign signifying hot baths, the inside of one of the bathhouses we may never otherwise see, then outside a deserted onsen.]
ANNOUNCER: Port town Otaru often gets foreign boats, mostly from Russia, and close to 30,000 Russians a year visit here. This all started when Russian bathers did things like booze up, make noise, and jump into baths with soap on. Lots of complaints came from Japanese customers. There was a case where a bathing establishment which let Russians in lost Japanese customers and went bankrupt.
KOBAYASHI (manager of exclusionary Yunohana onsen): Certainly human rights are fundamentally very important, and we have to respect them. But we also have to stay in business. That's why these issues are coming into conflict.
[SCENE: October 99 meeting one with the City and international groups, with establishing shots and cuts to Kokusai Kouryuu Tantou bureaucrats Takeuchi and Miura, and finally a closeup of a flyer in Cyrillic.]
ANNOUNCER: Famous as an international city, Otaru City convened a policy meeting last autumn, which decided to write up and distribute a flyer in Russian explaining bathing manners.
TAKEUCHI: After receiving all this cooperation we would like to see an early resolution to this problem.
[SCENE: Outside Yunohana, panning over to the new exclusionary sign only in Japanese (see a photo of it at http://www.issho.gol.com/BENCI/index.html#yunohananewsign), then a pie chart, and close ups of a handwritten survey saying "absolute refusal", "unhygenic", and "worry".]
ANNOUNCER: However, this did not result in the two onsens reopening their doors to foreigners. Now the managers say that foreigners' manners are not the only reason why they are refusing them.
Last month the onsens surveyed their customers. Out of 837 respondents [to the Osupa survey], exactly 50 percent said "I don't want to let them in" or "You should refuse them", whereas 35 percent said "You should let them in" or "There's nothing else but to let them in". They also wrote reasons like "I am ill at ease when foreigners are around", "I'm worried about contagious diseases", showing deep-seated prejudices (nezuyoi henken) amongst Otaru citizens.
OHKOSHI (manager of Osupa): This is for us a very palpable threat (wareware ni totte hijou ni kyoui ga suji desu (?) I'm extrapolating) If this problem is going to disappear, given the strong feelings of the public, if we don't promote awareness and understanding, this problem will remain a very difficult one.
[SCENE: Establishing shot outside Otaru Shouka Daigaku, then a conference with Prof Funatsu and several exchange students]
ANNOUNCER: At Otaru University of Commerce there are 91 exchange students. Advisor to them is Professor Funatsu Hideki, and he plans to utilize the power of the Otaru public by convening a public debate at the end of this month.
FUNATSU: When exchange students come from faraway lands, how should we accept them in a pleasant way, and how can we help them enjoy their stay and lifestyle in this town? I am thinking of opening a forum on this.
[SCENE: Several shots of assorted foreigners milling about Otaru]
ANNOUNCER: Otaru, the scene of this fuss (sawagi), was also taken up in an article in The New York Times last November, with aftershocks (hamon) spreading internationally. How will Otaru citizens come up with a policy solution? What compromise will the citizens of Otaru find? In other words, what is real internationalization? The conclusion will also be the answer to that question.
NHK JAN 13 BROADCAST ON OTARU ONSENS ENDS
Really quick comment: Thought NHK did a pretty good, balanced job. They even repeated my quote in the news summaries at the end of the program. Much obliged.
The reporter on the broadcast gave me a call two days ago to see what I thought of it. He also told me that a rare telephone call came in right after the broadcast to say, "What the hell are these onsens doing? About time you broadcast that segment nationally, not just locally."
After all this survey scheisse portrayed as the public's true feelings, that was very heartening to hear.