Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 10:04:40 +0900
From: Dave Aldwinckle <>
Subject: Otaru Onsens UHB TV 10.27.99 Broadcast Transcript

OCT 27, 1999, 5:10-5:14 PM

ANCHOR OIKAWA JUN: In Otaru, a problem where some public-use bathing establishments in Otaru are refusing entry to foreigners, has been causing an uproar. Otaru City yesterday even convened a meeting on it yesterday.

And in Shizuoka [Prefecture], a significant court judgment on foreigner discrimination was handed down the other day. After that, we will talk about a more local foreigner problem.

PLAYBACK: (mise-en-scene of Ana Bortz at a press conference, Bortz walking to the courthouse with Lawyer Ogawa, and of the courtroom interior with Judge Sou presiding. Subtitle: "Acknowledement of compensation for foreigner discrimination (gaikokujin sabetsu)".)

VOICEOVER: A Brazilian woman was refused entry to a jewelry store for being foreign, and the Shizuoka District Court the other day delivered a verdict ordering payment of 1,500,000 yen. It seems that the store refusing her was because there was a case of foreigners shoplifting there in the past.

In Otaru, there is a similar problem.

PLAYBACK: (mise-en-scene of an autumnal Otaru, Russian sailors walking around their ships, and of the signs at Yuunohana)

VOICEOVER: At the entrance to this onsen there is a sign saying JAPANESE ONLY, and large bathing facilities have been refusing entry to foreigners from about four or five years ago. Apparently there have been a few Russian sailors in the baths drinking alcohol with loud voices, consequently driving away local customers. There have also been unfounded (konkyou no nai) and
nasty (akushitsu) rumors of unclean Russian sailors; the bathing institutions, driven into a corner, have reacted decisively against the foreigners.

DAVE ALDWINCKLE: More than angry, I'm disappointed. What with them making
such inhuman (hiningenteki) rules as these.

PLAYBACK: (mise-en-scene of our house interior, of our daughters playing cards with mommy and daddy, with close ups of Amy's Asian and Anna's Western features.)

VOICEOVER: This is Debito Arudouinkuru, Nanporo resident, who came to Japan from America twelve years ago. Of course, he knows Japanese culture and manners. When he tried to enter some large bathhouses with his family last month, only he was refused entry for being a foreigner.

ALDWINCKLE: No matter much I entreated them, they said, "You can't come in here with your family."

SUGAWARA AYAKO (Dave's wife): Our kids are often called "gaijin" by those around them, but this time around, they asked, "What, gaijins can't come in? Why's that?" And as parents, we couldn't answer them.

SUGAWARA AMY (elder daughter, aged 6): It was pitiful (kawaisou), because they said foreigners are not allowed inside.

VOICEOVER: The refusing onsens sufficiently acknowledge (juubun shouchi shiteiru) that this is a matter of discrimination and a violation of human rights. They say that this is not something that they want to do. They are now considering not refusing all foreigners and instead turning in a direction of opening their doors.

ALDWINCKLE: I don't think the onsens are all bad. There were some ill-mannered people. But for the sake of a few ill-mannered people, banning all of us is an exaggeration and the wrong thing to do.

VOICEOVER: Otaru is sister cities with Nahodhka, Russia.

PLAYBACK: (mise-en-scene of Cyrillic banner over portside building reading, "welcome to our city, our dear friends (shin-ai no yuujin)").

OTARU CITY GENERAL AFFAIRS DEPT CHIEF, TAKEUCHI KAZUHO: It's not the case that Otarans dislike Russians. It is a problem for the whole city, and we must take up this problem and think about what to do together with our citizens.

VOICEOVER: For the city's part, the first-ever meeting of international groups in Otaru was convened by the city to deal with this problem.

ONE OFFICIAL: This JAPANESE ONLY rule is no matter what confused and absurd (mukakucha).

VOICEOVER: There are also ill-mannered Japanese. This problem, where the actions of a few bad-mannered Russian sailors being used as a reason to refuse everybody, is causing a real stir. But if one stops to think about it, this problem will certainly be resolved on its own accord.

ANCHOR OIKAWA: This is quite a difficult problem. If I were to say something from my own experience, when I went into restaurants in Europe and America, even though there were plenty of seats open, I was steered to tables in the back or close to the toilet. This is discrimination. But I assume that this was because the restaurant considered having Asians out in the open like that some sort of minus. The only reason they probably didn't put up a sign saying WHITES ONLY was because they cannot do things that are clearly showing racial discrimation nowadays. Or else they have some mental brakes (shinriteki na bureiki) telling them that would be an unwise policy. It's a pity that discrimination exists everywhere, but if there is no minimum "brake" to shame them out if it, well, as a recipient of discrimination myself I don't think I can protest (kougi) it.

(NB: I don't understand the Oikawa's point either. Nor did my wife. Maybe that's why he's working in Sapporo and not for a major network down south.)

Dave Aldwinckle

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