Thursday, June 08, 2006

Protecting Human Rights is Dangerous!?

They say that nothing hurts a cause better than really lousy propaganda, and it surely doesn't come much lousier than this. Originally posted in Japanese by fellow citizen, activist, and all round nice guy Debito Arudou, I felt this was way too precious to deprive the English speaking world of, so please scroll down for my English translation. The FUD-o-meter is off the scale, but if there ever was a pro-human rights text, this would be it. Little further comment from me is necessary as the text largely speaks for itself, but where relevant I've added Debito's own commentary (thanks for the English version!)

Protecting Human Rights is Dangerous!

(Click the images to enlarge)

COMMENTS (by Debito Arudou)
Problems with the above:
  • At the above company, the boss had sufficient reason to fire the employee (disobeying instructions) and the public baths want to avoid problems with organized crime. It's not unreasonable to assume that if Human Rights Committee heard about this, they would examine the circumstances very carefully. Where is the writer getting the idea that they will only listen to one side and will not check their facts? This is alarmism, plain and simple.

  • When we look at the bigoted landlord and the stoneheaded school teacher, can you honestly say they did nothing wrong? Is it really okay to refuse accommodation to all foreigners on the grounds of a prior unrelated Chinese tenant? And is it really okay for a teacher to foster his own prejudices about women onto a female student in front of her impressionable classmates? Shouldn't somebody official be out there to encourage them to rethink their behavior?

COMMENTS (by Debito Arudou)
  • Kim Jong-Il is a public figure, not a random individual. Freedom of speech more than allows for the free criticism of public figures. Where is the evidence that the Human Rights Committee cannot or will not make this very obvious distinction? Again. this is alarmism, plain and simple.

COMMENTS (by Debito Arudou)

  • I would like the writer to explain the actual reasons for the old guy being under investigation. You've got to do that, otherwise this is an unrealistic portrayal. To illustrate: In the above cartoon, try replacing "Human Rights Committee Members" with "Police". Now an "investigation by police" without the reason made clear would be seen as an abuse of police power. And it would become an argument against the very existence of the Police Forces. Very few people would make that argument, of course, since we generally give the police the benefit of the doubt in its pursuit of social order. And in any case, the accused has the right to know what he's accused of. Point is, you just can't omit the criminal charge from the story. By doing so, you can jump to all manner of logical extremes. "Omigod! Police can do that too. So now I oppose the police exercising their legal powers!" etc etc. This disingenuous lack of attempt to strike a balance is by definition propagandizing.

  • Further, although a foreigner started the fight in the comic above, what if I claim it's normally the other way round? (There are Japanese that deliberately target foreigners for fights.) There's no definitive evidence either way. But that's not the main problem: Why in every instance in the above cartoon are foreigners depicted as the bad guys? The vast majority of foreigners in Japan are peacefully living their lives. This cartoon is baiting the reader and depicting its own prejudices. In fact, the cartoon itself is a great example of why we need anti-discrimination legislation.

  • It goes without saying of course, but if anybody--regardless of nationality--does something bad, why not simply report it to the police? Lock up the criminals, fine. But don't assume a person is more likely to be a criminal because he is a foreigner. Anyway, this logic is unrelated to the existence of a Protection of Human Rights bill.

Update After reading some of the many comments here, I would like to clarify that I am not in any way trying to imply that the views expressed in the manga are representative of the majority of the Japanese population. There are ring-wing extremists in any country. My reason for putting it up is that it unwittingly brings to light issues many Japanese people would have been previously unaware of, making a powerful case for the very laws it's opposing.

So for example, if I started complaining that without a human rights law, landlords can freely refuse minorities based entirely on superficial factors (skin colour, country of origin etc.) without the person in question having committed any wrong or given any reason to indicate they will, they assume you're talking extremist nonsense. They really do. "In theory sure, but if you talk to them and show them you're a serious individual with a proper job, then surely they'll change their minds!" they say (and no, this doesn't work in the majority of cases). On the other hand, when the people that are opposed to introducing such a law claim that landlords will no longer be able to freely refuse accommodation to minorities based on something that somebody else did, it makes the point abundantly clear that this is real and is happening enough to be considered common.

Of course, a lot of it is just scaremongering. The second and third page don't involve the Human Rights Committee at all, merely the fear that the writer assumes will be associated with their presence. In all of the examples shown, if the person had simply said "fine, call them and we'll let them sort it out" then it would lose much of its propoganda punch. In the case of the landlord, they would more likely instruct him that legally he can't refuse a tenant on the stated grounds. He lets the guy stay, the guy pays his rent on time each month, everybody's happy. If the guy doesn't pay his rent or causes too much of a nuisance in the neighbourhood, then take measures to have him evicted and keep the 2 month security deposit (on top of the 2 month's rent "gift money") to sort it out. Bear in mind that Japanese are just as likely to cause problems.

Likewise in the example of the schoolgirl, let's say she didn't like the teacher so decided to contact the police and say he sexually harassed her. Bearing in mind this is Japan and not the tabloids, the police may choose not to investigate at all based purely on the word of one person. If they do, and fail to find any other evidence, the case will be dropped. It may even be dropped if they do find the evidence. The investigation will cause embarassment to the teacher, and most likely problems for the girl when it all blows over. All of this can currently happen. At the same time, none of this though is an effective argument against having a police force.


  1. Of course they'd be against human rights. Wasn't Japan just recently added to the list of top countries of trafficing in persons? Just look at how many young Filipina and Thai girls are "working" in the "snack bars." I don't know if you've experienced it, but since I've been here, I've been turned away from more establishments because I'm a gaijin than have let me in.

  2. Considering the chaos that the application of human rights legislation has caused in the UK, where it has been used mainly to protect criminals, I am sure many people in Japan have a right to be worried.

  3. Right because criminals shouldn't have access to "HUMAN RIGHTS". Some soon day you might be the big bad 'Criminal' you know...But I forgot you're perfect.
    I, for one, am for "HUMAN" rights for any person that might just turn out to be, uh, human.

  4. post originals please. some of us read japanese.

  5. There's a link at the top of the page to the originals.

  6. "Gloucester, England:

    A suspected car thief who bombarded police with bricks and tiles during a rooftop siege was given a Kentucky Fried Chicken takeaway meal by officers to ensure his "well-being and human rights"....

    A spokesman for Gloucester police said: "He has been demanding various things and one was a KFC bargain bucket. Although he's a nuisance, we still have to look after his well-being and human rights. He's also been given cigarettes."

    (Richard Savill, "KFC meal 'ensures siege man's rights'", Daily Telegraph, Jun. 7)."

    How much Human Rights do people need? if you then follow this story and look at the cost to the public....

  7. This is an interesting examination of a racist Japanese comic. Almost the equivalent of Chick tract. As westerner who spent many years learning to speak Japanese and finally studying at Waseda University in Tokyo I understand the frustration of trying to live in Japan and being discriminated against.

    There's already huge hurdles for foreigners trying to get housing in Tokyo, you need a Japanese person to co-sign on most apartments. This is something that most Japanese are very hesitant to do, even for close friends. Also there's the issue of "Key Money" which raises the price of entry into new housing even further. Some places will secretly, or even openly, reject foreigner's applications for apartments. The problem many times worse if you're black, Chinese, or any other non-white foreigner.

    Bars (izakaya), restaurants and hot springs are notorious for foreigner discrimination and the further you get from Tokyo or Osaka the worse it gets.

    Newspapers frequently play up the threat of foreign crime when the statistics show that most crime is caused by Japanese and the percentages mostly follow the population percentages. Fortunately the newspapers Asahi and Mainichi have gotten better over the last couple of years.

  8. 外国人が家賃滞納してそのまま国に帰国するのはよく聞くけど?まぁ家賃の例も外国人じゃなくてもいいんだろうけど。

  9. あ、あと日本には他の国と比べて外国人が少ないから目立つのも原因だろうね。

  10. Here's a link to that article on KFC. Somehow, I doubt that bargain troughs of Kentucky Fried Bacteria are explicitly worded in law. It remains fundamental though that if the police take somebody into custody they have to make sure their human rights are preserved, and the specifics of how this is done will obviously be to a large extent at the officer's discretion. Change the wording to "during his 3 days in police custody, officers withheld food, water and opportunities to exercise or smoke, claiming 'this kind of scum doesn't deserve human rights'," then we have problems. As it stands though, this is exactly the same kind of alarmist propaganda illustrated above. Well found!

  11. KFC Guy was given food and drink while under seige on a rooftop. The police explained that they did not want him becoming faint and falling from the roof and thereby endangering bystanders.

    The gutter-press in Britain chose to make this about human rights and political correctness. However, the seige was ended very quickly after the gift of food, so before you consider the cost of a meal and some drink (about £20) you should consider how much more it would have cost to keep a team of police officers, dogs, vehicles etc there for another 2-3 hours.

    Please, use your heads, before you scream 'political correctness'


  12. I've been in Japan only for 2 months, but I have still to found any discrimination towards me. I can go any shop, any izakaya, and they are always kind and interested in my country and why I am in Japan. Not even a single person has mocked me or stared at me. I am not sure that a Japanese in Europe could say the same after this time.
    By the way, I am in Kochi-ken, Shikoku island.

  13. Awesome! As anybody who has lived in japan can attest, this just about sums up a large part of their attitudes to so many things - human rights, women's rights, industry.

    Thanks for the translations.

  14. Yeah, this does, of course, have some racist underpinnings, BUT, seriously, guys, there are a lot of sketchy gaijin around. I personally have known gaijin who just skipped out on their cellphone bill--rationalising it by saying "the company hassled me about leaving without paying when I got the phone, so you know what? I'm gonna do it!" It's a vicious cycle, and gaijin are just as much to blame--if not more.

    Arudou initially got gaijin-famous for his hassling of an onsen owner who wanted to stop Russian sailors from coming in and getting drunk. Which is more discriminatory? "No Russian sailors" or "no honorable foreigners?" Yeah, it sucks for those of us who have no intention of causing trouble, but let's face it: the onsen is private property, operated by a private businessman. You don't like it? Give your money to someone else. Welcome to the market economy. This tract is alarmist, yes, but don't forget that Arudou has made his name by spouting alarmist nonsense as well.

    And Jim? C'mon now. I have NEVER, EVER been denied service EVER in Japan, and I've lived in Osaka, Chiba, and two years in Toyama (MIDDLE of nowhere). I am sick of hearing this tired old chestnut every time gaijin get together (at a bar that let them in, surprisingly). It's patently ridiculous. The only places, in fact, that I've ever heard of gaijin being routinely turned away are "fashion bars" i.e. brothels. And if that's where you're trying to go, then you certainly shouldn't be on your high horse about human trafficking.

    Don't get me wrong; I've experienced racism/xenophobia in my years here in Japan, but the vast majority of it was "positive" or harmless racism, and the xenophobia is usually overcome with a demonstration that you've taken the time to learn the language (although I must certainly tip my hat to Arudou there!).

    It's a nice place to live as-is. If you don't like it, leave. There are a lot of countries in the world. Just find one you like.

  15. > It's a nice place to live as-is. If you don't like it, leave.

    As a citizen, I'm going to have to join the rest of the voting public and disagree with you on this.

  16. I lived in Japan and encountered no discrimination; in fact Japanese people always seemed to go out of their way to help me, as I could not speak their language.

    The basis of UK society is being underminded by unnecessary human rights law, which have largely been used to help criminals, both domestic and foreigh.

    Here's hoping the Japanes maintain their crime-free society and reject these laws.

  17. I would hardly call Japan "crime free." Point is though, whether or not you have personally been discriminated against is irrelevant, as the manga is not merely saying the complete opposite -that discrimination is in fact rife- but further that free discriminating against minorities is their inalienable right!

  18. What these comics are trying to illustrate is that the "Human Rights" bill infringes people's natural right to contract with others however they please. This kind of good-intentioned meddling always leads to unintended consequences. For an succinct discussion of the topic see Discrimination Litigation Attacks Freedom by Lew Rockwell.

  19. The people here complaining about the Human Rights law are all tory types who believe money is the same thing as righteousness. Greasy fingers in the grubby till. Onsen may be privately owned but they are paid for by the public. Once you take money for a service you cannot be allowed to discrimiate between paying customers, that's capitalism for you. The reason the law had to be brought in is because these nomark greengrocer/publican/butcher people all think the same way the world over, petit bourgeois scum.

  20. Indeed, the market certainly corrected itself in the Southern United States after the Civil War. Worked in South Africa as well.

  21. But Japan is a largely domestic-drive economy market, they don't really need the foreigners, that's the point. They've not had to domestically adapt to what other OECD counties see as being modern.

    And in the UK, you can discrimate against your customers too, i.e. publicans can and do ban whoever they like. Yet "petit bourgeois" pubs still exist.

  22. The fact that you would compare what black people suffered under slavery and Apartheid to the minor inconveniences associated with being a gaijin in Japan is not only fundamentally flawed, it's repugnant. And also incredibly telling.

    It is this kind of nutjob alarmism and sloppy thinking that ends up writing silly laws like the one we're talking about here, and why the pamphlet writer is concerned about it (he may be racist, but his concerns are not entirely unfounded). Slavery, Apartheid, and the Holocaust were Western/Christian inventions all. Reconciliatory ideas like "universal human rights" are fine for the cultures and nations responsible for the crimes which prompted them, but forcing other, unrelated countries to follow suit stinks of cultural imperialism to me. This whole human rights nonsense is a Western morality play; let's leave the rest of the world out of it. If Japan wants to grant the power of discretion to private citizens, that is not only their right, but it is a hallmark of a free society.

    And yes, Coal, you and Arudou are citizens, but you are not and never will be "Japanese." You can vote, but your voice will always be drowned out--thankfully--by those who actually belong (with all the nuances that word entails) here. If you fellows want to carry the passport of a country that doesn't accept you, it's your call, but I think you're nuts.

  23. You know, I live in Japan, have lived here since I was in middle school, and I have never once encountered any real discrimination. The worst that has ever happened has been people panicking at the idea that I might not speak Japanese. (I do.)

    I HAVE, however, been a go between for a countless number of situations like the ones pictured in the comic - In all of them, the foreigner was clearly in the wrong. The biggest problem was that they didn`t believe they were - It seems that a huge chunk of the foreigners in Japan forget that there are indeed differences in culture and what is acceptable and what is not.

    The thing is, there aren`t THAT many foreigners in Japan. People don`t enounter them on a daily basis. It seems like most people are perfectly willing and accepting of them at first, but after getting burned two or three times by foreigners, they start being more cautious.
    While we were living in an apartment, there was a Filipino couple living next door, and a Chinese family below us. The Filipino couple ran off in the night (literally) leaving rent unpaid, 8 cats (the place was no-pets), and they actually stole the fixtures. The couple downstairs also stopped paying rent, refused to leave, and then tore the place up before leaving secretly. The landlord was considerably more cautious after that. Turns out the Chinese family couple also had been causing a huge number of problems at local businesses. They apparently left the country, so no one could pursue charges.

    Do you REALLY blame the landlord for wanting to have a Japanese cosigner after that? I certainly don`t.

    I actually avoid most foreigners after being here for a while now. Everybody seems to make excuses and are more rascist than any Japanese I know. And it seems like they always make excuses to do stuff that is WRONG.
    "I just pretend I don`t understand anything so I don`t have to pay my train fare! If the stupid conductors want my money they can learn some English!" "Why should I pay the last month`s rent? I`m never coming back to Japan." "Thay made me fill out an extra sheet and gave me a hassle when I got this credit card - screw them! I`m gonna fill it to the max and run." "The gas guy looked at me funny when he hooked everything up - he must be rascist. I`ll run up a huge gas bill the last month I`m here and not pay it just to spite them."

    ALL of those are actually things people have said and done. No freaking wonder places get cautious. I mean, my god, if you want to be respected actually respect the people around you and the country you`re in.

    I DO agree, very strongly, with Kyle Armbruster.

  24. Theres a difference between saying 'Oi, you caused trouble in here tonight - you're barred!' and 'Oi slitty eyes, I don't like Japs - you're barred!'

  25. I would like to point out that Tamyu was, most likely, agreeing with my first, "tamer" post, not the immediately preceding post where I really let my dogs off the leash. =)

    Tamyu: Yup, that's the kind of stuff I was talking about. And if there's a gaijin who's been here for a few years who claims he's never heard and seen those things, he/she is a liar. No two ways about it. If I owned a building here (and I'd LOVE to), I, too, would be VERY cautious about renting to foreigners. I don't trust them.

  26. Arudou said that,"The vast majority of foreigners in Japan are peacefully living their lives."

    I am in that majority, I don't get wigged out that the culture is different here. A few more years and maybe Arudou can join us.

    It is a cartoon, chill out. Hang out with your kids or weed your garden, something more productive than getting distressed over a cartoon written by somebody who disagrees with you.

    Good thing America doesn't have any immigration or discrimination or human right issues.

  27. To Kyle - I actually agree with your second post to an extent also. I live here, am happy here, and I am only waiting for my citizenship application to go through.
    I do feel that I am accepted by anyone who actually talks to me for a minute - and that is what counts. I can`t say that I am accepted by everyone in other countries either. They may be the same race as me, but that doesn`t mean they don`t look at some other criteria. I mean, when I lived in the US, my family was discrimnated against based on certain petty things. Racism is not the only type of discrimination out there - only the most visible.

    I do consider myself Japanese for most purposes - More than I consider myself American by far. Japan IS my home country, really. I have yet to encounter anyone who did not accept me as アメリカ生まれ instead of アメリカ人.

    It seems that the fundamental line for acceptable/unacceptable behavior in Japan differs from that of other countries. Someone who is trying to find a way to beat the system or spite someone in a country they most likely don`t give a crap about will be ALL OVER any legal loophole they can use. I also feel fear about this passing. I know people will indeed abuse it, and that will end up reflecting badly against me.

  28. In Japan, two fully and equally qualified university level teachers. Both native speakers of Japanese. One gets full time, for-life hire, the other gets part time, one year contracts. The difference? The full timer is Japanese and the part time is a Japan-born "foreigner". And no, being born here does not make you a citizen, as all the thousands of Koreans born in Japan can attest.

    In my case, my university contract is for a "Foreign Instructor of English". Japanese nationals get different contracts.

    Different rules here for Japanese and foreigners, and that, in short, is discrimination based on national origin.

  29. Had to delete a couple of abusive posts. I'm all for constructive comments on all sides, but let's keep it civil, keep the language clean, and no ad-hominum please.

  30. America has been pussified by political correct bullshit. It is just another way used to control the people by restricting their speech and actions.

    Plus, most of the changes are just asinine.

    One of the most recognizable phrases in the history of television was changed so as to not offend the two female Star Trek fans. In Star Trek: TNG they changed "To boldly go where no man has gone before" to "To boldly go where no one has gone before."

  31. I come from a country which is also undergoing rapid cultural changes due to western influence. While most of the changes a welcome and good, we are also taking a lot of cultural bullshitake which is against our own cultural values. I'm not saying "human rights" is right or wrong, but since when western values should apply all over the world? I approve of Japanese backlash against cultural onslaught. They have every right to close all the borders and protect their cultural identity and drink without russians in their own bars. Ditto with women- in my country this western emancipation propaganda has created huge psychological problems when women start feeling guilty no matter what they do- if they are good wives and raise kids, they feel guilty that they are not modern, because its what Cosmpolitan magasine tells them to be. If they work their assess off, they feel guilty because they are bad mothers and the kids are beign brought up by other people- and its against cultural values and very nature.

    Values are not universal, and I always approve of countries which stick to what works for them- e.g. Switzerland (no foreigners allowed, and women happily do what benefits society most- raise kids), and, of course, Japan. They are advanced in every sense, especially by not blindly following others.

    I hope my country will also stick to what works for it, and only adopt new things that might benefit it. Otherwise our kids will think that suing McDonalds for hot coffee is ok.

  32. People are more than welcome to sue McDonalds because they're coffee's too hot right now. And they would, if the prohibitive expense didn't prevent a lot of the frivolous cases. Trying to get something for nothing is one of those universal cultural traits you'll find. Unfortunately that also prevents a lot of people from being able to pursue justice when their rights are genuinely violated, because in terms of basic human rights there's currently no legal recourse.

    With the issue of rent, the fact that landlords feel uneasy renting to foreigners because an unrelated prior tenant of somebody they read about in 2-Channel left the country with a whole month left unpaid, and can currently refuse 98% of the global population on the basis of that sense of uneasiness, despite actually having protection under the law themselves, is exactly why rights need to be protected. How can you justify making the majority of foreigners, (most of whom have lived here their entire lives) suffer for the crimes of the minority? This is armchair justice, not the "Japanese way."

  33. Before voicing my opinion I think it's important to qualify it: I don't live in Japan, I don't speak Japanese, and I don't know anything about the legal particulars of the bill in question. Quite apart from these "expertise" questions is the basic moral issue: Are we really expected to sympathize with a character who says, in seriousness, "I don't hire people from your country. Besides you're a woman!" Clearly the author of the comic expects us to do so, and therein lies the offense and the humor. If the author really wants to elicit moral outrage over potential abuses of the proposed legislation, he or she might at least adopt the straightforward dramaturgical device of avoiding protagonists who are themselves morally outrageous. Surely we can all agree that Mr. B's attitude, in and of itself, is offensive, and that his decision to discriminate, for example against women, is morally wrong? Whether a legal remedy is appropriate and the specifics thereof are different questions, as is the issue of whether Mr. B's attitude is understandable based on his previous experiences with foreigners and/or women. Indeed, the vignette would be much more effective as propaganda if we entered the situation with the lazy woman already in Mr. B's employ; he could then fire her with cause and we'd all be outraged when she went to the HRC shouting dicrimination.
    That Mr. B is actually a bigot only undercuts the author's purpose, and the fact that he or she doesn't realize this is suggestive in a frightening way of just how casually such bigotry will be received and accepted by the comic's intended audience.

  34. Kyle, just a note to point out that slavery is not unknown to the Japanese. During the Pacific War they quite happily, and brutally, used forced labor and conducted medical experiments on their prisoners. Chinese and Korean dislike of the Japanese is the direct result of these actions and imperialistic Japan's history. To say that "Slavery, Apartheid, and the Holocaust were Western/Christian inventions all" demonstrates an amazing ignorance of history.

    It's nice that you seem to view the Japanese as harmlessly racist smurfs, but their actual history is about as brutal and vicous as any countries, and for them to believe themselves above considerations of human rights is myoptic.

  35. Holy shit, that is an incredibly ignorant statement: "Slavery, Apartheid, and the Holocaust were Western/Christian inventions all."

    Christianity had nothing to do with any of those, and slavery existed before there was ever a "West" at all!

    Now onto the article itself:

    "It's not unreasonable to assume that if Human Rights Committee heard about this, they would examine the circumstances very carefully."

    Right, everyone knows how thorough and accurate decisions by committee are.

    "Yumi, you're a girl, so you have to sew more carefully"

    What the hell does this even mean? is he saying boys sew better than girls? Wow, Japan really is a different place...

    "Why in every instance in the above cartoon are foreigners depicted as the bad guys?"

    Because the comic is trying to point out how the HRC will be abused by disingenuous foreigners (and it will be abused, to think otherwise is naive... in fact, if this bill is passed I can guarantee that at least a few innocent lives will be affected negatively by it, if not ruined).

    "But don't assume a person is more likely to be a criminal because he is a foreigner."

    Almost none of these examples are criminal acts, so these people are not assuming they're criminals, and in the most blatant criminal act (fighting) there is no assumption involved, he saw the fight with his own eyes. However, they are prejudiced based on their previous experiences with people of their nationality (which, in my opinion, is the right of a private business owner). Also, notice how not all of the examples were foreigners? In one example, we see a Japanese yakuza. Obviously this comic is not an anti-foreigner comic, but an anti-HRC comic. In all the examples, the perpetrators were at fault (except perhaps the classroom one, that was just bizarre). Stop being so alarmist, as you call it.

    So it seems here we have two extreme sides. On one side, we have a guy who thinks this bill will be horribly abused and won't have much of an upside. On the other hand, we have a guy who seems to think the bill is perfect and will help cure Japan of prejudice. Because fining someone 3 grand and doing a search and seizure because he didn't want to rent to a Chinese man seems completely rational and is sure to warm the hearts of Japanese to foreigners.

  36. > On the other hand, we have a guy who seems to think the bill is perfect and will help cure Japan of prejudice. Because fining someone 3 grand and doing a search and seizure because he didn't want to rent to a Chinese man seems completely rational and is sure to warm the hearts of Japanese to foreigners.

    This is a straw-man argument. Nobody has claimed this.

  37. Monster, while I can sympathize with your objection to the knee-jerk association of Western culture with Christianity, I think you might want to consider qualifying your claim that Christianity had nothing to do with the Holocaust. To say that the Holocaust doesn't represent real Christian values, virtues, behavior, or whatnot is certainly a valid position, but to say that the historical institution of Christianity was in no way related to the historical phenomenon of the Holocaust is simply wrong.

    "Because the comic is trying to point out how the HRC will be abused by disingenuous foreigners"

    As I said above, the comic's author could have accomplished this purpose without the use of protagonists who are patent bigots, and it's this casual assumption of bigotry on the part of the audience that's troubling. Debate about the uses and abuses of the proposed bill is really incidental to the fact that whoever drew this comic thought that the mainstream Japanese audience he or she was trying to persuade would instantly identify with and relate to a character who is blantantly racist and sexist.

  38. I'm glad that Kyle and others have not experienced negative discrimination during their time in Japan. As a white male, I likewise had few difficulties. There were instances (including bars near military bases that barred foreigners, a shop keeper who refused to sell to me as a foreigner, and an older dentist who explained to me that Japan would win the next war against America) but generally, the discrimination was positive or at least "innocent": a foreigner could easily come to believe that that "あら! 外人だ" translates as "pleased to meet you."

    The situation was different for women friends (including my blond, white wife), as well as black, latino, and asian friends, especially those of Korean descent. Suggesting that discrimination against foreigners is uncommon requires a serious dose of intentional blindness, or a lack of travel and social networks in the country. Such discrimination is a significant part of Japanese culture.

    I don't excuse the behavior of foreigners in Japan. Gaijin *do* stink, and their behavior is different than the Japanese norm. The behavior of Westerners who are here in enclaves--especially the US military, but also corporate warriors--was cringworthy at first, and mortifying in many cases. Cheap foreign labor often does not have the money to be presentable in society.

    The vast majority of Japanese are welcoming to foreigners *to a fault*, but that does not excuse the many instances of discrimination that occur.

  39. PS: The idea that discrimination would be *less* in Toyama because it is off the beaten track (well, sorta--Toga-mura is periodically infested with foreigners), is off base, I think. I'm surprised you didn't encounter negative reactions in Chiba. In my short time there, it wasn't hard to find places that would be openly dismissive of foreigners. This was, however, some time ago (~12 years) and things may have changed for the better. In any case, it strikes me that negative discrimination is often more common in places where there are more foreigners.

  40. I had friends from Osaka who would come visit. Once they stayed with me at my house, they became physically repulsed at my hairiness. I could see it in their eyes every time I wore shorts. Glad you people love Japan, but I'm not visiting because they don't like the way god made me.

    People who live on islands (Japan, the UK) just need to grow up and realize the rest of the world is different because we're not as naive.

  41. Good thing America doesn't have any immigration or discrimination or human right issues.

    I hope that's sarcasm.

  42. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  43. Is that Brok Sampson from Venture Bros doing the bar fight?

  44. "in seriousness, "I don't hire people from your country. Besides you're a woman!" Clearly the author of the comic expects us to do so, and therein lies the offense and the humor."

    I just want to point out that the translation does NOT accurately reflect what the people are actually saying in the original comic. It is VERY biased toward making the thing look stupid. If Debito`s Japanese is so good, he should be able to do a much better job than that. Or at least have the common decency to not make things sound worse. As a translator/interpreter, I am pretty disgusted with the poor translation.
    It`s like they looked for the worst possible sounding way of putting something - you should NEVER inject your own feelings about the topic into your translation. Pretty pathetic.

  45. The comment about key money and co-signing, This is not directed at gaijins. Young Japanese have to have a co-signer too. Key money is a holdover from the post war days when housing was hard to obtain and it was a seller's market. Slowly, ever so slowly that practice is changing and there are places to be had without having to pay gift money, but you are not singled out as a foreigner, it is endemic.

    I have to disagree about rascism in Japan, it is so rampant here, it is actually institutionalized. It just depends on where you live and where you go. I've experienced it quite a lot actually over the years. Many restaurants in the Asaksa area and north of Ueno won't let you in if you are gaijin. Small towns are usually better and West Tokyo's a breeze, but there are many traditional strongholds in Tokyo alone where you are definately not welcome.

    There is a difference between tourism driven civility and acceptance.

    Personally I don't let it bother me. The benefits outweigh the deficits in one of the last homogenous strongholds on the planet. It's not mine to change but to enjoy for the last few moments it holds together. I lived in New York for many years and it is a cesspool compared to Tokyo.
    I like that there are no guns here and I don't have to worry about some crackhead wanting to gut me for a dime. I can put up with the inconvenience of not belonging.
    But what is really frightening about Japan is the hive mentality that is just below the surface. So I just pray there isn't an emergency,
    (alas, in the most seismically active country on planet)
    because that's when what is not spoken will become a rude awakening for the Nihonphiles.
    I remember the alarm I felt when I heard the governor of Tokyo say that the first thing to do in an earthquake is to "Get the foreigners."

    (images of Logan's Run trying to get to Narita on foot ocassionally run through my mind.)

    Many gaijin who experienced the Kobe quake will tell you how quickly the civility disappeared. I had a couple of friends who left Japan in disgust because of their frightening experiences in Kobe after surviving the quake. And their stories were not isolated incidents.

    Anyone who was here during the Korean Missle shot will probably remember the razor attacks on Korean schoolgirls on the trains.

    There are too many examples of xenophobic reality bubbling up to list here, but in the meantime, you are either here because you're technically useful or filling the tourist coffers, so soak in the well practiced smiles and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. After all it's your movie of Japan, make it what you want.

    Let's face it, there's a lot of good things that keeps some of us here longer then reason should abide, but being Polly Anna about where you really stand is just plain ignorant.

    I realize there are quite a few gaijin who pride themselves on how "Japanesy" they are. Who come from cultures with lost identitites and think they have refashioned themselves in some deeply meaningful way that they constantly wear on their sleeve to make up for some lack or another.

    But all of that is by the wayside.

    Kudos and good luck. 2001 was the summer of love in Japan and it was fantastic, now globalisation is finally taking root and in 10 years the Japan you are enjoying now will be gone forever. I know because I work with companies who are preparing for the demise, not because they want it, but because they have no choice if they are going to survive. The local mom and pop holdouts will be gone in 10 years. The songs and ceremonies will be forgotten. Japan will become like everything else, monotanous, debased, decentralised, and moribund.

    Maybe I'm being too tough on the Nihonphiles.
    After all it's probably a good thing someone still remembers how to play shakuhachi. Even if they, most likely, live in Northern California.
    I have Japanese friends who practice Noh, but it is falling away, the families who are at the last gasp and then hundred's of years of practice and discipline will be lost forever.
    I have friends who want very much to keep their communities vibrant their traditions alive, but that voice is drowned out by the excess of the world flooding in.

    So it is easy to look at racism as an issue of exclusion from the outside, but it is also important to see it as a mechanism for cultural survival.
    If multiculturalism is the dumbing down of everything so everyone is equal, then there is no excellence, no individuality.

    Marketers say they are the new culture, they say there is no culture anymore outside of their edict.

    Marketers can use terms like human rights to tear down the barriers to free trade.

    Free trade is getting everyone on the tit so they can quaff 2 liters of Coke a day, drive an SUV, and waste mindspace on Brad Pitt's baby instead of seeing they're getting royally screwed.

    That is all it really is about.

    Human rights are good in response to actual abuse, but for the most part it is not really so much about stopping abuse but opening the gateway to unfettered consumption. This is how human rights operates in the real world. So when you have any holdouts, any society that doesn't want to run itself into the gutter, they are not playing fair and are abusing human rights by holding on to misundertood traditions.

    But traditions are not always what they appear on the surface,
    A good inocuous example is men walking before women in Asia.
    An obasan once said to me, "I let him walk in front the same way I would walk a dog"
    She is not being held back. She holds the purse strings and knows her strength, not in an obstentatious western way of being loud and obnoxious, but in holding real power.
    And consider this, what nobility is there in using a woman as a body shield to walk in the door first except in the West?
    But of course this is seen as a sexist practice by the PC mob.

    On a grander scale we see this in politics.

    I have a personal theory about Myanmar.
    I have flown over Thailand for the past 10 years and have seen the decimation of their forests and wildlife at a rate that would make your eyes spin. Entire forests and ecologies wiped off the map forever.
    Myanmar is the last stand of old growth mahogany in the entire region. The rest was sold for deck lumber and tourist junk, so there is no more.
    But Myanmar won't play the game (and yes they are logging, but not to extinction). They are a holdout. And of course the voices of freedom cry against their lack of "human rights"
    I can guarantee that when the human rights take hold in Myanmar, the natural resources will be decimated as well.
    I am not advocating dictatorships, I am simply bringing up the point that cultures are pushed into a corner for survival.
    It is an intereting quagmire, this idea of human rights.
    Limitations, cultural sovereignty, not playing to the the presupposed programming about fairness.

    Does anyone expect threatened people to behave rationally?

    Does anyone expect to be embraced for "loving" a society when you are perceived as an avatar of their dissemination?

    In Japan the resentment runs high. And that is what sits always under the smile that takes your cash, and makes you feel at home, as a temporary means to an end.

    Enjoy it while it lasts.

  46. If it is true that if the translation is faulty, all my arguments kind of go up in smoke. Not speaking or reading Japanese, I've been operating on the assumption that the translation is reasonable, as there were questions early on in the thread requesting the Japanese original, and no subsequent complaints from the same parties based on a comparison of the two.

  47. Frankly this exactly the sort of alarmism that US right-wingers bring to any debate that involves respecting international laws... except that because it's happening in another country Americans are pretty quick to point the finger.

  48. > When we look at the bigoted landlord and the stoneheaded school teacher, can you honestly say they did nothing wrong?

    See, this is the problem with this sort of thinking. yes, of course they did something wrong. The question is, should everything that's wrong be illegal? And does banning behaviour work?

    I own a house. Let's say I want to let out a room, and let's say for the sake of argument that I don't like Indian people.

    An Indian person applies for the room. I turn them down. They suspect that it's due to racism and report me to the state for a human rights violation. What's the effect?

    Do I change my wicked ways and decide that, actually, I love Indian people? Of course not. Having been prosecuted as a result of a complaint from one of them, I become even more resentful of them than I was. And, furthermore, having been stung once, I decide never to let out a room again, which decreases the supply of available rooms to rent, which increases the price of rent to everyone, Indians included. Who benefits from that?

    (Before anyone starts, this is purely hypothetical and I have no problem with Indians at all.)

    In my honest opinion, nothing has done more to worsen race relations in the UK than anti-racism legislation.

    > It's not unreasonable to assume that if Human Rights Committee heard about this, they would examine the circumstances very carefully. Where is the writer getting the idea that they will only listen to one side and will not check their facts?

    It's called France.

  49. Exaggeration and weak arguments are common in political discourse. But I found this exchange amusing:

    Manga> "Human Rights Committee" is little more than a grand sounding name for what basically amounts to the thought police!

    Poster> Shouldn't somebody official be out there to encourage them to rethink their behavior?

  50. For anyone who believes that this is scaremongering, I give you . One topical example:

    Canadian magazine sued over cartoons

    Following up on earlier threats (Feb. 14, Mar. 19), Syed Soharwardy has brought a complaint against the Western Standard before the Alberta Human Rights Commission over its publication of the Mohammed cartoons. Ezra Levant, publisher of the Western Standard, explains (Mar. 29) that defendants in the "human rights" tribunal do not benefit from the protection that the loser-pays principle affords most defendants in Canada against groundless or nuisance litigation:

    "Even if we are successful in the human rights commission, we will not be compensated for our legal fees. It's not like a real court, where an unsuccessful plaintiff would be ordered to pay a successful defendant's costs. So even if we win, we lose -- the process is the penalty. Worse than that, the radical imam who is suing us doesn't have to put up a dime -- the commission uses tax dollars to pay lawyers and other inquisitors to go at us directly. Human rights tribunals themselves are illiberal institutions."

  51. I don't have the time necessary right now to read through all the comments since I last posted but there's a point I'd like to make. There are many "gaijin" here speaking about how racism isn't that bad in Japan and if you're a white gaijin (which I'm assuming many of those commenting are) then yes, the racism is usually "positive racism" and things aren't so bad. But remember, you're not the only person coming to Japan. Chinese, Philippine, Thai, African and even Black American gaijin have huge troubles in Japan. Being denied housing because of the colour of your skin or nation of origin is a ridiculous thing but it happens all the time in Japan.

    So yes, you're white, taught English in Japan for a year or travelled around a couple of months and didn't have any trouble. But for those of us who, for one reason or another, chose to call Japan home have many problems whether it's being denied bank accounts because of being gaijin, or being denied housing, or being told we're not allowed in Ofuro or Izakaya. These things degrade a person even if they're just occasional.

    There's a huge amount of anti-Chinese racism in Japan. It's not justified. Black Americans in particular struggle to find decent housing in Japan if they've gone there to work for longer than a couple of months. It's not fair. When you run a business you don't have the right to discriminate based on race, no matter what country you're in.

  52. Well I sure wonder WHY there is anti-Chinese feelings in Japan....I mean the Chinese just LOVE Japan.

    (yes, this is sarcastic)

  53. Indeed, the market certainly corrected itself in the Southern United States after the Civil War.

    I just want to point out that the market attempted to correct, but was prevented by legislation.

  54. As a Gaijin who has visted japan on a number of occasions, I found these comics truly fascinating.

    I have visted Japan on a number of occasions but managed to avoid the racism each time.

    Even so I had heard the stories of the real japan. The intollerant mindset, the racism, the sexism, the instutionalized bribery, the ethnocentric fear of the "Other"; but this is the first time I have actualy seen them for myself.

    It is good to hear that the diet is finally taking an interest in dealing with this issue.

    It will further be interesting to see if anything will actualy come of it. The japanese are notorious for circumventing the inconveinent.

  55. Tamyu> Debito didn't translate it, I did. Would you like to point out some examples of where the translation is poor, and what would be more accurate?

    Various> Poor implementation of a human rights law in other countries does not automatically make the fundamental premise bad. This is the same argument the comic is making. Much of the second and third page doesn't involve the Human Rights Committee at all, it just illustrates what is at this stage an unjustified fear that could as easily be made against police powers. If the refused tenant or the girl in the classroom said "you're breaking the law, so I'm calling the police" then would this become an argument for dismantling the police force?
    Various> "If I was a landlord and I heard about foreign tenants disappearing without paying rent, I would refuse to rent to them too." (ditto onsens re Russian sailors) If you were running a store and you heard about another store that got robbed by a black guy, would you put a big sign "NO BLACKS" in your window? Would you so readily argue your right to do this in front of thusly banned black members of the community?

    Kyle> This is not the place to discuss this, but statements like 'you and Arudou are citizens, but you are not and never will be "Japanese"' demonstrate a highly ignorant lack of understanding of what it is to be Japanese. Maybe to you, "they" are a Borg-like unified and impenetrable whole, but believe me a lot of people feel rightly insulted by that kind of extremist generalisation. Most of your other comments are intelligent and insightful (though I disagree with much of the content) so please try to keep them on topic.

    Mike> Well spotted. The comment clearly says "behavior" though, which doesn't really qualify as a thought crime.

  56. I have to agree with Cole, whatever your problem with a particular human rights law in England is, it has absolutely nothing to do with implimenting one in Japan.

    Obviously your country wrote a lousy law, and has no idea of how to enforce it.

    Meanwhile what's being dealt with here is instutionalized racism. I have a lot of friends who work in Japan that are treated as either second class citizens or human garbage.

    If you have a mind boggling problem with the idea of a human rights law, then it must the name your having trouble getting over. Because what this is, plain and simple is an anti-biggotry law. Try to wrap you head around that and let me know how it sits with you?

  57. Thanks this I think it is good to see that some one else is sharing with world how messed up Japan can be (but it is not perfect and no place is)! I know this is about the Human Rights but if you want a first hand experience at how seriously f'ed up Japan can be..... try Japanese jail.
    Very long story very short in a no Gaijin bar I walked into I was hit in the face w/a beer bottle, I walked out side leaned against t a car and fell down breaking the mirror off the car. Laying on the ground with a broken face some people surrounded me and one kicked me. I stood up and put my hands up to defend myself. When a man grabbed my wrist I pulled and pulled but he wouldn't let go. Then I punched him one time in the shoulder and he let go. Next a fat young (younger than me I am 34) Japanese guy literally jumped on on my back. I threw him to the ground and tried to get away. I was under attack. The police arrived a moment later...... and I spent the next 17 days in Jail with a 3 fractures in my face.

    My charges "Violence Against Japanese."
    There is so much more to the story like my obviously mentally disturbed cell mate or lack of medical treatment or the obvious lies told by the my accusers and even worse the truths they told. The man I punched statement says " I grabbed him by the wrist and he punched me in the shoulder." I think in America we call that self defense.

    This was 3 years ago in a little town by MT. Fuji. Now I live in Tokyo and I have to say it is a little easier here people I know and meet are not as bad but I only go to places I know I am allowed and rarely ever venture out anywhere I am not wanted.

    Like I said there is alto more to this and anyone who would like to know the whole story ..... even the parts that are my fault..... can contact me erin [at] erinhughes[dot]com

  58. Shirookami said "Many gaijin who experienced the Kobe quake will tell you how quickly the civility disappeared. I had a couple of friends who left Japan in disgust because of their frightening experiences in Kobe after surviving the quake. And their stories were not isolated incidents."

    I lived in the area at that time and experienced no problems of any kind after the quake.

    I do recall however that some Korean people or Japanese born people of Korean ethnicity did gather together in tents outside whatever emergency shelter was provided by the government. Whether this was as a result of discrimination or whether they just preferred to stick together I have no idea.

    But in my own case as a white Japanese speaking foreigner I experienced no changes in the way I was treated after the quake.

  59. /quote
    Values are not universal, and I always approve of countries which stick to what works for them- e.g. Switzerland (no foreigners allowed, and women happily do what benefits society most- raise kids)

    what the? i am from switzerland and those policies are unbeknownst to me...
    women in switzerland face the same challenges most western women do (family vs. career), 20% of our population are foreigners - "no foreigners allowed" would kill our industry and grind the country to a halt

    about the article:
    i've been in japan for two years+ now and although there are a comparatively many foreigners (esp. brasilians) around the place where i live (aichi-ken, okazaki-shi) i still get the occasional odd look, ppl still assume i don't speak japanese (i've passed JLPT 2kyuu last december) etc.
    but as far as i remember i've never been discriminated against or denied service. occasionally i do get (very) short answers to elaborate questions on services etc. but this reason is that the employee in question does not know the answer and can't be bothered. or they go "tenchou!" (=manager).
    i rather have been greeted with interest about my country and the languages i speak (four) and unfortunately "heidi". getting fed up about that ^_^


  60. Those who point out that a few foreigners who do behave poorly and give Japanese landlords, restaurant owners and shopkeepers cause for concern are missing the point.

    The problem isn't that Japanese people have reason to be cautious. The problem is that they believe they only need to exercise that caution with foreigners. Japanese people also skip out on their rent, dodge credit card bills, fail to clean their houses well, get drunk and fight, etc. The difference is that the reaction to Japanese people behaving badly is that such behavior is treated as anomalous whereas it is treated as "typical" of foreigners.

    Beyond that, some of the claims are absurd. A foreigner can't skip out on rent nor can he or she not clean well enough to be of great harm to landlords. You have to pay first and last month's rent to insulate the landlord from losing money if one skips out. You also have to pay a cleaning deposit of 1 or 2 months rent to cover any damage from not cleaning an apartment. This is in addition to key money and what other ways the landlord extorts extra money from tenants.

    Yes, there are some bad foreigners but there are also bad Japanese. I have never seen foreigners fight each other in public but I have seen Japanese beating each other up in public on 3 occasions. By the logic of some of the posters here, that means I should think that this is typical of all Japanese and be cautious of their violent nature.

  61. I had to think for a long time about what I wanted to say here.

    I have been lucky, in that as a white male, I have suffered very little at the hands of Japanese xenophobia. Not everyone I know was so lucky, and one acquaintance even went home... after finally being villified and kicked off her pushbike.

    I thought "shiroiookami"'s post was interesting in where it touched on multiculturalism ( which has, in my opinion, been very beneficial to my homeland of Australia ) though - I don't want to sound like a cultural imperialist, but to be honest, modern Japan can only fight this particular future so far.

    Making cowardly, petty moves like denying accomodation, services, etc to minority or safe-to-discriminate-against Gaijin whose yen are as cream as anyone elses will not solve problems of cultural dissolution while Japanese youth want their levi jeans, gucci bags, english conversation classes, blond hair and bad-boy-american stylings. Sooner or later, this stuff drags other things in from the outside world. There is also, from my scanty izakaya discussions, a seemingly growing awareness that Japan needs to engage the outside world if it wants a say in it's future ( there may be some selection bias there as to who talks to Gaijins in bars ).

    I don't know if a HRC law will fix these problems... as I'm skeptical that ethics can be taught using punishments, but I find the mindset exhibited in the works of its opponents abhorrent.

    -- Anonymous in Saitama-Ken

  62. Tamyu says much like my opinion.

    I too grew up in Japan but went to college in the US (where I remember seeing Debito Arudo when he was a graduate student, but).
    And, I live in the US now.

    But, on the English-language internet there are many stories including a blog of an English teacher who likes to talk about jumping the train turnstiles and pretending he doesn't understand, and running away. So many people think it's funny, but it makes me angry.

    And yet, I spend much time on 2ch, where the various comments also make me angry and I get into frequent flamefests. And yet I willingly participate too. So, I don't know how I feel about it, exactly. Perhaps the argumentative position always.

    As a child what bothered me were occasionally comments from people who were upset that I preferred to read books in Japanese rather than in English. I was supposed to be something I wasn't. Eventually I came to terms with it.

    Quite frankly I'm not nearly worldly enough to go to the sort of places that it sounds like wouldn't let me in! I've never had a problem with regular neighborhood bathhouses if that counts for anything - but I'm a woman.

  63. If you look different from a default citizen, and others that look the same cause problems, there often will be prejudice based on your looks.

    This happens in the USA all of the time too. Listening to the radio hearing crime reports and thinking "I hope it's not [my ethnic group]" is certainly not a local phenomenon.

  64. Ok, this is a Manga, not a statement released by the government in an entertaining medium. Americans are always complaining about foreigners and there right to have rights like everyone else, but that doesn't mean that every American is a red necked bigot.

    Same with Japan. So some Manga artist decides to publish some prejudiced bull crap, it's his right, telling him otherwise is infringing on his freedom.

    Besides, if my entire history involved foreigners coming in and chopping heads off in the name of Christ, or gross retaliation for an attack on a military harbor, I would probably post some funny comic strips about these same funky looking people (Granted it really seems this strip targets Chinese people, the same principles apply).

    Don't think that all Japan feels that way, or that they are a any more paranoid then anyone else.

  65. I think the free market is a better protector of "human rights" (which in this context really just means "being treated fairly") than any government body.

    The landlord who discriminates against certain clients just because of ethnicity won't get their money. Eventually they'll form their own rental system. This is exactly what happened in New York in the 1800s with Jews, Irish, Italians, and other "ethnic" (ie, non-English Protestant) groups who weren't treated fairly.

    Money is what matters. If, for example, the Japanese don't want foreigners, fine. Let them go back to being a xenophobic, inbred island people who couldn't pull an original idea out of their butts with both hands and a pair of pliers.

  66. for my 2 bits worth...

    I've experienced 1 telling episode of discrimination. A "comics/internet" cafe denied me entry to their premises because I didn't speak Japanese. Whilst my nihongo wasn't great at the time, I was able to understand what was being said. The disturbing element to this, was that the denial was relayed to me via a written notice, behind their counter, which was translated (perfectly) into english. I told them, very politely, that they should be ashamed of their foolishness, and promptly left. I tried reasoning afterwards, that perhaps they refused entry on the grounds of previous problems incurred with payment and services i.e. customers saying they couldn't pay because they didn't understand. However, this seemed a little flimsy, given that they had a clear and understandable notice, behind the counter, explaining fees etc. in english.

    I've also had an english class of housewives, tell me that Nelson Mandela looked like a black monkey (I agreed with them... saying how we are all descended from monkeys... they being yellow, myself white... somehow, they were unimpressed with this?)

    And I've experienced the usual gapes and gawks and consider it part of the adaption-process. I live in Tokyo (!)

    I guess with Japan, like anywhere, it's a matter of how much you adhere to the nation-state mindset.
    I consider myself a free-form of existence (real-politik is just so grim and po-faced) and I'm quite happy to negate the limits of this...

    But alas, Japan is a little off the mark in it's multi-colouredness...

    therefore, if yr reading/writing on this post, consider it a responsibility to be part of the solution (or just be another ignorant whining, probably white-privileged schmuck!)

    Try reading Frantz Fanon for a change...

  67. Apparently the Japanese don't like foreigners. And they don't want immigrants. And their government respects their wishes and makes it hard for foreigners to emigrate there. So take a fucking hint and DON'T GO there in the first place. It's their right to govern their own country as they please you feckless Perry wannabe.

  68. Anonymous blathered:
    Apparently the Japanese don't like foreigners. And they don't want immigrants. And their government respects their wishes and makes it hard for foreigners to emigrate there. So take a fucking hint and DON'T GO there in the first place.

    Shut your damn mouth. I can't speak for anyone else, but the Japanese government invited me here.

  69. Although the words "don't feed the troll" come to mind, I can't resist. Japan doesn't want foreigners eh? As for me, the Minsiter for Justice PERSONALLY approved my citizenship application, so I arguably have MORE right to be here than your average native, whose only qualification is some kind of vague tokenistic genetic connection to somebody else who had a similar vague connection to somebody else recurring. Not really a solid basis for a civil society.

    (Tongue firmly placed in cheek)

  70. The thing I find funny is that after everything I have been through in Japan I am still here..... and even funnier I now make about twice the avarage salary man here..... LOL. It is funny that in a place where discrimination is so wide spread being white can also work in your favor. I know that if I was Japanese my opertunitys would be limtless but my salary would be half... right now I will take things the way they are....

  71. i am an indian from singapore, and have spent a few years in japan, setting up a business, i have never experienced discrimination to levels some have posted, i have been invited into many japanese homes, to dine with them (this for an asian, shows respect and trust), never been stopped from entering any pubs or public baths/hot springs

    one thing that was pointed out by a japanese friend, was the attitude some westerner had towards japanese women, they believe the typical stereotype of a japanese woman being easy and sex starved for the white man, i have seen with my own eyes, the amount of disrespect shown to them, never would they try the same thing on a woman of their own country. Compared to countries like australia and some places in Europe, i have been treated quite well in japan. thank you

  72. This is a very interesting comic - thanks for posting it, Coal. Comics, being one of the last one-man shows around, continue to be a great platform for very personal expression. Its funny to see when that very personal expression is of some crackpot's xenophobia.

    The comic subtly speaks to the institutionalized mental segregation that seems so prevalent in Japan. I think of older Hollywood movies where subtle sexism is ever-present, or the very casual racism in older novels, and how that seems like an interesting cultural indicator of how things were and how much things have changed. Obviously, sexism, racism and segregation still exist here in the U.S.; but it has been forced to hide its face a little more. It will be interesting to see how this legislation affects Japanese society in the years to come. I hope you are able to revisit this subject from time to time on your site, Coal.

  73. The problem with human rights legislation is not merely that it can be badly implemented. The problem with it is that it is far more difficult to correct than other types of legislation when it goes wrong. When you've told the public that they have an absolute right to something merely be dint of being human, it is exceedingly difficult to try to change the terms of that right a few years later when it turns out all tits-up.

    The best way to enforce particular types of behaviour (if you really think that banning behavior can work without being hopelessly counterproductive) is to pass a law saying what may not be done and have the police enforce that law. People commit a crime, you punish them. Simple. A right is a whole different thing: you have a law which says that people are absolutely entitled to receive certain things, regardless of whether anyone has committed any sort of crime against them. So, for instance, in Germany, the right to housing has led to laws forcing people with too many unused rooms in their houses to take in tenants -- it's not just forcing landlords not to discrimate, but forcing non-landlords to become landlords. See the problem? If you have a right to live in a comfortable house and there are too few houses to go around, then you can have your right infringed without anyone actually breaking any sort of law. But, having told people they have a right, the state can't then tell them that it's changed its mind, so the only course of action left is to create a new law and punish people for doing something that wasn't previously criminal behaviour.

    And the problem with a human rights commission is that it is a bureaucracy, and all bureaucracies are self-perpetuating. Creating new laws for the police to enfoce is no big problem: there will always be various laws to enforce, so the police have no vested interest in keeping particular types of criminal active. But just think: if no human rights are being violated, everyone in the human rights commission is out of a job. So what human rights commissions do is make sure that human rights always are being violated. If people stop being racist, they redefine racism; if employers treat everyone fairly, they redefine what constitutes fairness. And that means that more and more normal behaviour is redefined by the state as being bad. And that creates one hell of a lot of resentment in society.

    It's happened in other countries. It's a disaster. Don't do it.

  74. I think this needs at least some perspective. While I fully support the efforts of those who have exposed this obviously idiotic, racist bilge, the issue is not that it exists but whether its existence matters. In discovering this stuff, are we saying that it's really an indication of how most Japanese think? If I put my mind to it, I'm sure I could find stuff just as bad here in the UK. But I'd dismiss it for what it is: irrelevant junk. I wouldn't give it the credit of being influential in any way - which is, I'm afraid, what is happening on this blog.

  75. Some good points.

    Concerning the intricacies of implementation, I think that's what we pay taxes for. Seriously though, those kind of difficulties should not detract from the point that Japan needs laws protecting human rights. If you're from a country where you grew up with such law already in place then it's very easy to take it for granted, and indeed complain about some of the consequences of poor implementation and arbitrary enforcement. Furthermore we realise that you can't change people's attitudes overnight, so discrimination will continue to happen at a micro level. The thing is, the constitution demands that all people be treated fairly and with dignity, and the UN treaty outlawing discrimination that Japan signed into in the 90s likewise demands that Japan do all in its power at every level of government without delay to outlaw discriminative behaviour. By not doing this, the government is basically saying it's fine to discriminate. This bill to protect human rights is a very important step in the right direction.

    For the record, my experience with bureaucracy here is that it's very thorough, often overly so. When I see the fearmongering going on in the comic, I'm more concerned it'll be the other way round - e.g. in the case of the landlord refusing tenancy to a foreigner it'll come down to Mr A's word against Mr B's, and as Mr B is (probably) not a native speaker he must have misunderstood what Mr A said. Case dismissed. This has happened before (albiet in private lawsuits as opposed to being as part of an established complaints procedure) and recently too.

    Jonathan> You're absolutely right and I should have made it clearer. This is like the history book issue, in that it's a majority being judged by the actions of a minority (which sounds pretty familiar given the discussion). I don't know exactly who came up with this publication but it's clearly an extreme right wing view and shouldn't be taken as typical (though I couldn't tell you how typical this view is). That's why what's really interesting is not so much what they are saying as what they're not. "With this law, landlords can no longer turn down tenants on a superficial basis" - I read that to mean "under current law landlords can and do freely discriminate based on race and nationality, punishing entire ethnic groups over the hearsay actions of a few." It's basically describing the exact reasons why such laws are necessary. If I hadn't seen the source I'd call it a parody.

  76. I would like to request once again that Tamyu point out the specific inaccuracies found in the translation (particularly the ones he/she feels are intentionally misleading), and provide more accurate alternatives. Without these, the comment becomes little more than a cheap shot aimed at eroding credibility.

  77. Imagine the horror! All those "Japanese Only" bars I saw last time I was there would have to let in *gasp* foreigners!! I'd like to see anyone try to get away with something like that over here in the US.

  78. I apologize for not immediately posting more details on what I feel is wrong with the translation. I am happy to do so now.

    But, before I elaborate, I want to bring attention to translation in itself. Translation is accurately putting the authors words and intent into a different language. There is no room for the translator`s personal feelings about the topic. Even if the author is writing something in favor of something you HATE, when you translate that you need to retain the author`s emotions about the topic. Otherwise, it isn`t a translation, but merely an interpretation.
    I think Sean put it pretty well - translated the way this is, it is pretty difficult to sympathize with the characters. Even when the English version is translated into Japanese - It doesn`t gather any support. The original author could not have intended that. What is the point of writing something in support of a cause that actually makes the cause look bad? It makes no sense.

    My feelings are not related to whether the author is right or not - but whether you are accurately conveying what he intended.

    And now, on to what I take issue with. I personally find it irritating that you have added strong accents and very poor grammar to the foreign characters. The original author *does not*. While it might not make a difference to you, it was the VERY FIRST thing that a non-Japanese speaker I showed this to found offensive. And yet, it`s hardly present in the original comic. The foreign characters have Japanese nearly equal to that of the Japanese characters. You overdid it.

    And now on to specific examples.
    On page 37 of the original: The original says 「いまネットなど一部騒がれてる」- Your translation says "hidden". Nowhere does he say it`s hidden. A correct translation would say "The (bill) that certain places online are getting worked up about" or "that is a hot topic with some people online". Nothing about it being hidden anywhere in there.

    Page 38: 貸せません = "I can`t rent". You put "I won`t". Even "I don`t" would be more accurate in the situation. Sure, he may MEAN he refuses to rent to foreigners, but those aren`t his actual words.
    The same page: (たぶんパソコンとかも)You translate that as "(most likely computers)". It means "(Possibly even computers)". Also, 公表する isn`t blacklisting - It`s just making details of the charges available to the public.

    Page 39:
    When the factory owner refuses her the job, he states a reason: 「だいたい使いものにならないから」, you neglect to include this. It *is* necessary, because when he fires her it is confirmed. 「女じゃ無理」could be put more accutately as "This isn`t a woman`s job".
    Your "backtracking" is likely a correct interpretation, but he actually SAYS "Sorry, I was a bit too harsh". He says "Fine. I`ll hire you". You just make him sound bad by putting the "congratulations" in there.
    「なんだよ さぼってばかりじゃないか」= "I knew it. You`re always slacking off!" With your translation, she could have just been taking a break and he could have jumped to fire her because of her race. That`s what it looked like to me before I read the original.
    The situation with the schoolgirl - "Yumi, you`re a girl. You should show a little more care when you sew."

    And that`s just the start. You have made the author sound worse than he actually does when he talks about the "thought police"... etc.

    I would go on, but I think I have made my point.
    I do not agree with the situations that are happening in the comic - but I also agree that this sort of bill passing is NOT going to change things for the better. Instead of people simply not liking/accepting foreigners, there will be contempt for them. People will feel pressured to "pretend" they don`t think in a certain way. Their actual thoughts and feelings will not change - and in fact, I feel they will get worse. I think that something similar has happened in the US - in particular, Equal Opportunity. It`s a great idea on paper, but if people are rascist to begin with they will feel even more strongly when they believe that
    they are being *forced* into doing something.
    If I work at a company and have a good position, I want people to look at that and think that I must be doing a good job...Not that I must have gotten there through blackmailing my employer with this law.
    If you want people to change, prove them wrong. Just because some law is there saying they act on their feelings, it doesn`t mean they will stop feeling that way.

  79. I just wanted to correct an error in my last post - "Just because some law is there saying they act on their feelings" should be "Just because some law is there saying they can`t act on their feelings"

  80. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  81. Tamyu> As a translator, I will have to respectfully disagree with a lot of your opinions. Direct literal translations of course are essential when dealing with technical documents or others that will be scrutinised based on their translations. Narratives such as this where the translation is aimed at people with a passing interest (or for entertainment) require a more interpretative translation in order to communicate the way it would have been written had it originally been in English. This is especially true with languages as different as Japanese and English, where in the former much more of the communication is in what isn't said. An editorial decision has to be made regarding the balance of precision and interpretation, and I believe I got the balance mostly right.

    For example, you speak about the accents. The very first thing said 「よろしーく」contains a very obvious indicator that he is not a native speaker. Additionally, from the drawing style, it is immediately obvious to Japanese readers that the man is meant to be Chinese, as this is a very common caricature. A western audience not fully accustomed with this style is less likely to notice or draw the same conclusions from the caricature, so it was necessary to compensate by exaggerating the accent in a way that would be more obvious. The specifics are swings and roundabouts.

    Then concerning the internet, it actually says 「一部だけで」. It also goes on later to specify that the mainstream media won't talk about it, and that you will need to search the net to find information. Simply saying "it's a hot topic among some people online" doesn't nearly communicate the original meaning that this is something you have to specifically look for in order to find (in other words, the definition of "hidden.")

    Concerning "can't rent" and "won't rent" - the usage is different between languages, and I maintain 貸せません in this context more accurately translates to "won't rent" than "can't rent."

    All in all, the translations are not aimed at students of foreign literature, and I stand by my editing choices. I don't think any of the things you've pointed out would qualify as horribly inaccurate or misleading as you suggested earlier, and the amount of people here agreeing with the original author based on my translation stand testament to this.

    Now about whether or not the law is a good idea, I've already said enough on that topic, needless to say I do not agree with you - needless to say it is guaranteed by the constitution and demanded by a treaty that Japan voluntarily signed into a decade ago. Of course if you think that lawmakers should be able to overlook the constitution when it suits them then good for you, but you should probably tell the Legal Affairs Bureau this before a final decision is made on your citizenship application. ;-) And as for acting on feelings, I'm sure there are people who would like to break into my apartment, steal my bike, and cause me physical damage. I'm rather glad that the law is there to stop them acting on these, regardless of their feelings.

  82. I appreciate your respectful reply. I am also a translator, and the translation I have done has been limited to mostly fiction - While your translation may serve it`s purposes here, I don`t believe that it would pass for publication.
    My feelings that it is misleading mainly come from my own personal feelings toward it. I read your translation first, and was in disbelief that someone could write something like that. Then, I read the original, and received a totally different feeling from it. Not "Right" of course, but not the same shock and disgust your translation brought me.
    I didn`t intend to directly insult your translation, which I realize I ended up doing. I have strong feelings about the bias in translations covering topics not generally agreed with. I still feel the author could not have possibly intended to make his "good" characters sound bad. While your interpretation may, in the end, be "correct" for your purposes - it still doesn`t reflect what the author actually wanted to say. That is where I believe it is misleading.

    Another big point is that this doesn`t really reflect the views of the common Japanese. And yet, here, it is presented as such... To put something up looking like it is the way everyone thinks sort of seems like you`re taking a shot at Japanese in general. I`m sure you`re not, as you obviously live here, but does the casual viewer know that? Does the casual viewer who sees this up on another site know that? No. It just supports stereotypes of Japanese... Which is one of the big reasons foreigners use over here to justify screwing themselves with all the crap they do. (Not paying, pretending not to understand to get out of paying, shoplifting because they`re big and no one will check, etc.)

    I believe that there needs to be something in place to bring equality to the law when foreigners are involved. This bill protects the underdog, raising him above a regular Japanese person. I sincerely believe that will only breed contempt. Even putting someone above their counterparts is still discrimination. The plan to implement "Human Rights Committee Members" is, in itself, a bit sketchy. The plan seems to be to accept volunteers, run them through a training course, and give them a badge. Essentially a volunteer force of civilians. Any bystander in the situation would be able to report the offense, prompting an investigation. That opens the door for a lot of abuse. You don`t like your neighbor? They said something that violated your rights! - Whether it is true or not. With a volunteer force checking these things out, there is a fair chance they won`t listen to both sides of the story. That is the MAIN complaint that is brought up about this bill. The comic just did a lousy job of conveying that part - although I`m certain it was covered in the actual book`s text. The bill covers every aspect of life, which means you could be out somewhere and make an "offensive" statement to a friend, be overheard, and then end up being investigated. There are really no limits in the bill - what is an offense is really up to the whims of the members. And knowing that the members will pretty much be volunteers who want to make a difference or who have personal feelings about the topic.... I don`t want to place my faith in that.

    Oh, and I apologize for omitting the 「だけで」bit of text. I was looking at the original in another window and just forgot to type it in. 「一部だけで」is a way of saying "On 2ch". Not that it`s hidden - only that the mainstream media isn`t getting worked up about it.

  83. Thanks for the response. Depending on what I'm translating, who it's being aimed at, and why, I would of course vary the amount of transliteration to interpretation. In this instance, if the original writer was asking for an official English version, then I'm sure then it would also look considerably different, but in those circumstances much of the editorial judgement I would leave to somebody else.

    Also it was never my intent to imply that all of Japan thinks like this, and on seeing that people were taking it that way I updated the original post to clarify. I just really wanted to show this off as an example of how poorly written propoganda can have the opposite effect, and leave my personal politics out of it - but then even a fairly neutral standpoint looks extreme to somebody with an opinion. I do agree that people taking advantage of the language gap etc. for personal gain (including much of the eikaiwa industry ;-) ) are a disgrace, and given all the negative press about foreign crime I'm certain that any such implementation would take into consideration that there are crooks on both sides. Things currently are so heavily weighted against minorities that the kind of 180° shift in attitude across all aspects of society you're anticipating seem very unrealistic to be honest. The precedent has already been set that if you're not a native speaker then you probably misheard - case dismissed, and I see no reason for this admittedly worrying trend not to continue.

  84. To everyone who has never experienced any discrimination in Japan, try renting a place to live. No, not the crap gaijin houses or low-income places, I mean in a normal, middle or upper-middle class neighborhood. I've had places in Tokyo turn me away and say to my face, "sorry, no gaijin." And yes, I speak Japanese, and I am completely non-threatening (white, skinny, 26yo male).

  85. I don`t mean to imply that there will be a huge shift in thinking.
    I mean, basically, that I don`t have any faith that this will be implemented properly. Third parties will find a way to use this to there advantage. The fine doesn`t go to the person wronged. I can MORE than picture it being misused to raise money. I don`t trust the government enough to say that they will want to give up any money they can get. I don`t have enough faith in them to say that they will bother to look into someone who the Human Rights Committee has deemed guilty.
    The bill has it`s heart in the right place, but I still say the implementation is wrong. There need to be other more fundamental changes before this really means anything. It`s like putting a bandage over a gaping wound. Sure, it may be harder to see, but it`s still there just below the surface. This bill doesn`t address the root of the problem, it just tries to pretty it up. Without true equality in the currently present laws, I don`t see it doing anything useful. I`m not really all that concerned about how this law will actually effect minorities - other than draw up contempt. At this point in time, there *are* laws that support and protect certain minorities. Unfortunately, this has prompted contempt. I don`t see how this larger, more expansive bill would be different. Regardless, I am more concerned with how this could be warped for use in 嫌がらせ - which is a concern most everyone around me shares. It`s not so much the minority aspect of it, but the very idea that you could get into trouble based on some arbitrary judgement. One party doesn`t have to be a racial minority - which is why I used the neighbor example. Even if you were cleared, you still have the stress hanging over your head.

    And just for your information - I`m not an Eikaiwa "teacher", and have absolutely no plans to be one. I do teach, but not English nor in English.

  86. And a spelling correction - "there" in the third sentence should be "their". How I wish these comments offered a preview!

  87. ...i'm surprised the guy in the comic even made it to the landlord. it would be more realistic if the real estate agent were saying, "sorry, we don't rent to foreigners".

    seen on a rental flyer/form once: 売春でも外人でもOK! (prostitutes and foreigners welcome! notice "prostitutes" is listed first...)

  88. I think this kind of human rights law is good. I would love to go to Japan but reading this I am put off but might go anyway for a short while. Maybe this protect foreigner law is part of a shift probably instigated by larger corporate bodies to undo the insularity that Japan is famous for. I am all for it. As a born-Brit of African and Caribbean heritage who has lived in and been deported from Canada after twenty years nationalism means jack-squat to me. I am so for globalism I can't even begin to say. There's plenty like me too: mongrels whose home is the ground under their feet who could use a good law that prevents discrimination. The thing with allowing landlords and restaurants to refuse money based on some bigotry is that it devalues that money in the hand of the discriminated. It turns certain workers into slaves because the money they work for is deemed, in certain situations, not good enough to buy the services and goods they need or even want.

  89. First of all that comic was racist, sexist and just plain ignorant. Someone made the case that the landlord may have had foreign residents before that caused trouble and left without paying the rent. Just because the guy had a few bad foreign residents doesn't mean its ok to label the entire foreign community as trouble makers. THATS IGNORANCE BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION. You can't label an entire group of people from one persons actions.

  90. How can anyone be against a bill that protects human rigts. Making the case that people might expolit the bill doesn't change the fact that the bill needs to be in place. Especially to protect people from racial discrimination. This has been a perpetuating form of ingnorace that has really hampered society. Not just in Japan but everywhere. If people can't find places to live or get jobs because becaues of discrimination this is what leads to high crime rates. Any idiot should be able to make that connection. The government here in America figured it out a long time ago. I'm black and i've never been to japan but i plan on going someday. It pains me to think that a place i've always admired wouldn't welcome me because of my dark skin. I believe the human rights bill is desperately needed in japan. Not just to protect foreigners but the people who were born there. The Koreans that were born in japan are treated like outsiders in their homeland. THATS INSANE. And yes i believe thats there homeland. Where ever you were brought into this world is where your home is. You can't logically tell a person that they don't belong somewhere because their ancestors weren't born there. Especially when there ancestor didn't asked to be brought there. Most of the Koreans that are in japan were born form the forced laborers that were brought over during WW2. WHATS WRONG THIS WORLD?

  91. Speaking for myself I haven't been to japan accept for a holiday once (We had a guide because we didn't speak Japanese and he managed to get us into anywhere we wanted to go)

    However I know firsthand how you can be made to feel like a foreigner in your own country

    I'm an Australian living in sydney in a prodeminently chinese area and it was only a few years ago that the shops were forced to have english on their signs, their are still shops where there is an english and chinese sign outside but not only are all the signs on the shelves in chinese but the prices are in Chinese currency (apoligies for not knowing the name of the chinese dollar) they will accept the dollar but pretend to speak no english (I know this because I know some of the shop assistants and they told me so)I have also been refused service in some of the restaurants here

    I con only imagine what it must be like in a foreign country

  92. I can't believe some of the comments here.

    You either have Human Rights or you don't, and the word Human Rights speaks for itself.

    Racist, sexist and prejudiced people, whatever their nationality or country of residence, will never like Human Rights because it is the end of their wrongly ways.

  93. Okay, my first comments are directed not at the initial subject, but at a couple of comments.

    "Considering the chaos that the application of human rights legislation has caused in the UK, where it has been used mainly to protect criminals..."
    I'm a firm believer in "an eye for an eye". Do to someone what they did wrong. However, I also believe in people having a chance to reform- and whilst I think that the prisons are now far too "cushy", the alternative described for the other country in question (Japan, from several sources) are worse, in my opinion. And apparently- although I go only by what I've been told here- America's prisons are actually desirable, to the point of people commiting crimes in order to go to jail.
    Neither is acceptable. Happy medium isn't there, but needs to be. However- with human rights legislation being properly implemented- that medium could be found.

    "People who live on islands (Japan, the UK) just need to grow up and realize the rest of the world is different because we're not as naive."
    ...Excuse me? The UK is unable to accept the differences of others? There is less racial segregation than in America (and I'm talking about "chosen" segregation, not legally inforced segregation- black/white neighborhoods etc) and we accept homosexuality much more. This seemed to be the view of a single person, but I couldn't let it slide.

    ...Right, now on to the subject matter. In a very confused manner, because it's 3:30AM.

    "People will feel pressured to "pretend" they don`t think in a certain way. Their actual thoughts and feelings will not change - and in fact, I feel they will get worse. I think that something similar has happened in the US - in particular, Equal Opportunity."
    Yes. I will agree on this- people in America- and to a lesser extent (with different issues, not race) in the UK- there have been a variety of reactions.
    One of the first is going to be a fear of appearing to being discriminatory. Yes, it will induce a level of concern- make people, in fact, more inclined to hire someone who may more commonly be discriminated against, purely to avoid looking as though they are discriminating.
    The second is that those who view this "minority" (we'll assume it's a minority, simply to make it easier in discussion) as only being able to get these jobs because of the circumstances outlined above. What I mean is that- let's use race, a black man, as an example. (I use blacks because they've been probably the most widely discriminated against race; and a man so as to avoid complicating the scenario with sexism.) If the black man is genuinely better for the job than the other applicants, and thus gets hired, the other applicants- who are racially native to the country and (as we're trying to understand the feelings of a racist) therefore view the black man as an "outsider" regardless of nationality, may- and often will- assume that the black man got it purely to avoid discrimination. As a result, the racist person will be more so, not less, due to resentment.
    My point here is that you can't change people's minds with a law. But if it's implemented very well and equally carefully, you can protect those that may need it- native to the country and otherwise.

    Next, onto those that comment on the amount of discrimination- well, I've never been to Japan, so I'm going to pull some resources from various different accounts. And yes, I've read several.
    I know of a lady who (with her gaijin husband) moved to Japan to teach English. They were in the same home for seventeen years; got friendly with the landlord. The floors needed replacing; and the landlord got some workmen in to do them. The husband took a couple of photos of the work-in-progress for the sake of interest and discussion.
    However, the workmen spoke to the landlord, who came to the lady in question in fear of their intending to sue them. She was shocked at this and asked why; and the assumption was due to their nationality (American). Seventeen years of their being close neighbours and he still looked at her as gaijin first.
    Now, this isn't blatent discrimination; nor is it anything that violates any rights at all. But it is sad and says a lot about how gaijin's aren't really accepted, no matter how long they live in Japan.
    The same lady and her husband was also stopped by a policeman who demanded to know where their bikes were from and if they were stolen. And apparently, yes, he did make a point of stopping foreigners to check.
    Now, I'm quoting this source simply because I have more to work with- but I've heard more, and worse. Some of them are perfect examples of why Japan would need a human rights constitution- namely, those involving jail and being detained.

    There is one other thing I want to say on the view on Koreans in Japan. The basic view is that most Koreans now living in Japan are descended from slaves which were brought to Japan; and that the Japanese should accept them because they were born there. All I have to say is that it took the black descendants of slaves a long time to be accepted as well- we can't comdemn a culture for making a mistake our own did in the past. We should just hope they learn from ours and wise up faster than we did.

    Last thing is that Japan is a very insular culture- but to those of you who are saying, "well, if they don't want anyone else, leave 'em to it"- clearly they do. They want the tourism trade (money), they want to trade their wares with other countries (money), and they want to import stuff from other countries (goods). In other words, Japan would collapse without any level of foreign relations- indeed, wouldn't most developed countries?
    Clearly, they can't distance themselves entirely- in fact, it's beneficial for them to have foreigners come to their country and teach English. The more Japanese people that can speak English, the more ways they have to bring in trade- both import, export, and tourism. And that, of course, leads to more money, and a better economy.
    The fear here- and of course, most hate is driven by fear- is most likely the loss of Japan's culture. And let's face it- that would be quite tragic, since it has ages of history and wonderful culture.
    I think the biggest way to help with all of these things would be to ensure visitors to Japan understand and accept their culture; so that the Japanese who dislike foreigners can learn they're not all arrogant or ignorant. Other than that- time. And yes- a well implimented human rights constitution.

    ...That ended up being a LOT longer than intended, and the original was made so long ago, I doubt anyone will read this. But I enjoyed writing it, so no loss.