"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Tokyo - city of violent degenerate foreigners"

This is a magazine which just came out in Japan, "Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu" the translated title of which is "Foreigners Underground Crime Files" (your translations may vary).

I'll rant later, first have a look at some of the contents. As is usual with these sort of incidents in Japan, Debito Arudou has done all the heavy lifting for us lazy foreign parasites.

Here is an image from one of the chapters, that I think indicates both the tone and quality of this charming piece of racist trash:

The text reads: "Oi Nigger!! Get your fuckin' hands off that Japanese lady's ass!!"

Other highlights:

Article about crimes by Iranians:
Catch the Iranian!!

Article lamenting Tokyo’s demise into lawlessness:
City of Violent Degenerate Foreigners!!

Article about foreigners scamming Japanese for money:
Japanese getting conned. “Theesaway to ze ATM, Meester Managing Director”

Feature of foreign guys picking up Japanese women (What this has to do with ‘crime’ is unclear)
You sluts really think foreign guys are so great, huh!!
We know Japanese guys are small, but..

On its own it is appalling, but what is more appalling still is the societal acceptance of such a magazine. It isn't sold at some seedy neofascist bookstore tucked away on a side street in the redlight district or anything like that. It originally went on sale at the Family Mart chain and other major convenience stores. It isn't some obscure little rag no one will ever see, it is mainstream media. Both Debito and Japan Probe are calling for a boycott of stores selling the magazine, which seems to working

Gaijin is a bit of a nasty word. Somewhere between gringo and nigger, it is still a common, if impolite term used to refer to foreigners in Japan. My "Foreign Resident Registration Card" is generally referred to by anyone outside a government office as my "gaijin card." Many Japanese and even newly arrived expats don't even recognize it as an offensive term and a lot of expats will use it to refer to themselves and their foreign friends.

Those who don't live here may not realize that Japan has its own aparthied system. Many bars, restaurants, clubs, public baths and other establishments do not allow non-Japanese on the excuse that our inability to speak language or understand the rules will cause problems. People of Korean descent in Japan - many of whom are second, third and even fourth generation residents born and raised here and most often descendants of slave laborers brought to Japan during its colonial occupation of the Korean Penninsula before and during WWII - cannot become citizens.

It is an article of common wisdom in Japan that foreigners, especially Koreans and Chinese, and increasingly Iranians and Africans, are responsible for most of the crime in the country, a bit of common wisdom that the facts simply do not support.

"Japan's crime rate is one of the world's lowest at 1,776 reported crimes per 100,000 people in 2005, according to the latest government statistics. The number of crimes among Japan's 2 million foreign residents in 2005 was 2,380 per 100,000.

Offenses by foreigners rose to a record high of 47,865 in 2005, from 47,128 a year earlier and 40,615 in 2003, according to police statistics. The number of non-Japanese arrested is also rising, to 21,178 in 2005 from 20,007 two years earlier.

The statistics don't break out visa-related offenses, which in 2003 accounted for 46 percent of crimes committed by foreigners. By their nature such breaches can't be committed by Japanese citizens.

Japan's overall crime rate in 2003 was 2,185 per 100,000 and 2,120 among foreigners. Excluding visa offences, the rate was 1,570 per 100,000 foreigners."

(source: Bloomberg News)

Big black buses decorated with Hinomaru and rising sun military flags, blaring loud martial music and slogans ("revere the emperor and expel the barbarians" is a favorite) are a fairly common sight in Tokyo. They are operated by ultra-nationalist groups, which are in turn funded by the Yakuza often as a way to launder money. Such groups are major supporters of the rightist conservative factions of the ruling LDP party and have been known to physically attack politicians and journalists who disagree with them. As a result, they are rarely mentioned in the mainstream press.

Rampant racism, sexism and militant nationalism are the 800 pound rhinos in the living room of Japanese politics. Everyone knows they are there, but feel it would be impolite to mention them.
Here is a more comprehensive account of this horrible racist magazine (with other discussions of the same issue here, here, here, here and here)

The scary part is that this is just the latest manifestation of a much larger problem. You will notice that none of sites linked to are Japanese newspapers or other media. That's because the Japanese media has yet to mention this magazine, which is put out by a sizable publisher, or the fact that a major convenience store chain was willing to carry it in its hundreds of stores nationwide. Not even the English-language press which caters to foreign and foreigner-friendly readers.

I am frustrated, ashamed and embarrassed by this. I've lived in this country for nearly ten years now, and most of the Japanese I've met are the nicest, kindest, most open-hearted and hospitable people you could ever hope to meet. I'm sure most (probably all, at least I hope so) of my native Japanese friends would be equally appalled by this collection of racist claptrap -- I once had a total stranger apologize to me for his fellow citizens after one of the hate-blaring black buses went past in the street. But there seems to be this societal blind spot when it comes to foreigners, especially non-European ones. The not-so-subtle encouragement of this attitude in the mainstream media here, both Japanese and English-language is reprehensible. All that is required for evil to succeed, is for good men to do nothing.

Yokoso Japan, indeed

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