Author Sono calls for racial segregation in op-ed piece

by and

Staff Writers

A prominent Japanese author and columnist who advised the government has called for Japan to adopt a system to force immigrant workers to live in separate zones based on race.

In a regular column published in the Feb. 11 edition of the conservative daily Sankei Shimbun, Ayako Sono said immigrants, especially those providing elderly care, would ease the difficulties in Japan’s nursing sector.

She also said that, while it was fine for people of all races to work, do research, and socialize with each other, they should also live apart from each other. “Since learning about the situation in South Africa 20 or 30 years ago, I’ve come to think that whites, Asians, and blacks should live separately,” Sono wrote.

Sono, who was appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to an education reform panel in 2013, cited an unspecified whites-only apartment complex in Johannesburg that black South Africans moved into after apartheid ended. She said there was a problem because black people tended to bring large families into small apartments.

“Black people basically have a philosophy of large families. Therefore, they would bring their families into the apartment they bought. For whites and Asians, it was common sense for a couple and two children to live in one complex. But blacks ended up having 20 to 30 family members living there,” she wrote.

Sono went on to say that with so many people in such a small space, the water quickly ran out and the white people were forced to leave.”People can work, research, and socialize together. But only in terms of residence should they be separated,” she concluded.

At the same time, a system has to be made to respect their legal identity as immigrants, she said, adding that “making people who are dispatched to Japan for work honor a contract with acceptable conditions is not inhuman.”

Sono’s comments sparked outrage, including on Twitter, where many called them distasteful and shameful, not to mention racist. The Japan Times reached Sono by phone Thursday, but she refused to be quoted for this story.

The Sankei Shimbun, meanwhile, defended its decision to run the piece. “This is a regular column of Ayako Sono,” a spokesman for the daily said. “We carried it . . . as her own opinion. We believe it’s natural that various opinions exist.”

Sono, long an advocate for various conservative causes, has extensive connections to Japanese and international conservative and right-wing politicians. In 2000, she welcomed into her home ex-Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who fled the country during a corruption scandal. Fujimori was later impeached, and in 2009 was convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

More recently, Sono got into trouble over an August 2013 weekly magazine article in which she lambasted women who insisted on keeping their jobs after childbirth and urged them to stay home and raise their children instead of dropping them off at day care centers.

Those remarks came about six months after Abe appointed her to an education reform panel, and despite government pledges to increase the number of women in leadership positions to 30 percent by 2020.

On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Sono was no longer a member of the education reform panel, and had resigned at the end of October 2013. He declined to comment on her remarks.


This story was corrected on Feb. 13, 2015. The original story erroneously stated that Ayako Sono currently advises the government. She only did so as a member of an education reform panel in 2013.

  • Hendrix

    Disgusting, absolutely disgusting woman

  • Ron NJ

    Prime minister-appointed advisors on education reform making comments like this? You couldn’t make this sort of stuff up if you tried, and the worst part is that it’s not even all that surprising – depressing, sure, but not surprising in the slightest in a country where so many of us are already discriminated based on race in our everyday lives, f.e. in securing housing or employment, even in cases where the (scant few) laws should protect us.

    • KenjiAd

      This is one rare occasion I’ve got to agree with you. :-(

      The saddest part of this story is that her opinion, while (disgusting+appalling)^2, is not so uncommon in Japan. I think it’s deeply rooted in the Japanese ethnocentrism. PM Abe also is among those who believe in the ethnocentrism.

      • 151E

        Not to let bigots and fools off the hook, but I would argue that xenophobia and tribalism are the default human condition. Only as a result of ever increasing contact between different peoples and cultures – mostly by way of mercantile and colonial expansion – has much of the western world slowly adopted a slightly more inclusive, liberal, humanistic world view over the past few centuries. Japan’s relative insularity, lack of immigration, and rather abruptly curtailed flirtation with Imperialism, has allowed natural ethnocentrism to go largely unchallenged. And people are lazy; we seldom question our own beliefs and assumptions unless forced to. Give Japan time – it will change (slowly).

      • KenjiAd

        I think you have a valid point. I also admit that, even though I’m a Japanese guy, I’ve spent the majority of my life abroad (26 yrs in America and 4 yrs in China) and I’m certainly not a “typical Japanese” person.

        Still, Japan isn’t some isolated, backward country. And Ms Sono certainly isn’t some old peasant in an isolated village. It just amazes me that a prominent Japanese figure like her still harbors this sort of racist view.

      • Ron NJ

        I’m 100% with you on this.

        People are always quick to go sakoku this or isolated island country that but the fact of the matter is that it’s 2015 and Japan has had constant uninhibited contact with other countries for over a century and a half, not to mention that it is a country that has had astounding success both exporting and importing culture and goods since the end of the war.

      • Oliver Mackie

        All correct except the “constant uninhibited part” which actually started in 1964 in theory and probably in the mid to late 80s in reality.

      • 151E

        I didn’t mean to suggest that Japan is isolated or backwards, only that contact with foreigners has been more limited here in comparison to more multicultural centers like Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Toronto, London, etc., and it can take generations for thinking to evolve.

        Think how long it took many living in cosmopolitan London to accept Indians, Africans, and other colonials as full equal citizens. Hell, even white British women weren’t given the right to vote on the same terms as men until 1928!

        Or think of the America experience with which you are probably more familiar. The first generation of successive immigrants were often discriminated against and seen as ‘other’. Today Irish, Italian, Jews are all deeply ingrained into the fabric of US society, but they all faced widespread discrimination a scant 70-150 years ago. And it wasn’t until 1965 that universal suffrage was fully realised for African American.

        So while Sono’s views are anachronistic and an affront to modern multicultural sensibilities, she’s a product of both her environment and her time (she was born in 1931!), and given that, as a species, humans are naturally xenophobic and tribal (nearly all tribal cultures label themselves as ‘people’ and identify other tribes as ‘other’ or less than fully human), so her comments shouldn’t come as total surprise.

      • http://lesstalkmoreactivism.blogspot.com/ Canaan

        I don’t think these excuses are useful. For one, modern Japan has a history of acceleration — they haven’t done things in the same time frame as other countries. ‘Slow’ isn’t a word I’d apply to Japan. ‘Mercurial’ and ‘accelerated’ are more like it.

        Japan should know this is an embarrassment. And it’s not the only incident stigmatizing Japan. The world expects better and is not interested in excuses from such an advanced nation.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        in some ways they are

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        No it isnt but the phobias and racism is still there

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        Japan needs to CHANGE NOW!!!

      • 151E

        Wow. Are there no bigoted, xenophobic, provincial, old farts in your country? This woman has been roundly condemned by many of her fellow countrymen. Her views on race, while unfortunately still shared by some, are in the minority. Still, one must recognise that social consciousness is influenced by a host of factors, and that change takes time. In this respect, Japan is hardly unique, with xenophobic tribalism seemingly being the human animal’s neurological default setting. And while I support your basic sentiment, shouting in all caps that Japan needs to “CHANGE NOW!!!” will do nothing to effect said change.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        and what would you do to the children of mixed parentage? ship them to the Aniu tribe?

      • 151E

        Why are you asking me? I think you’re confused. It is Sono who is calling for apartheid, not me. I simply wanted to point out to KenjiAd that such ethnocentric thinking is not unique to Japan, and to suggest that trade and empire have been two historical forces that have slowly eroded the natural tribalistic dichotomy of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in some parts of the west that now profess a more inclusive, liberal, humanistic world view.

        You respond to me saying, “Japan needs to CHANGE NOW!!!” I agree that there still needs to be change in Japan, and elsewhere. But Sono’s extreme views are not representative of the Japanese polity as a whole. And history would seem to suggest that – as much as I would that it were otherwise – widening the circle of inclusive identity, of seeing oneself in the other, is a process that takes time.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        Takes time they have had time in decades. Decades and nothing has changed no wonder the Yakuza is such a bad orgainzation they wont accept some nails dont need to be hammered down

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        see how racist they are?

    • Oliver Mackie

      Well, I’m afraid you’re going to have to make it up, because it didn’t happen.
      Look at the interesting language use in the article. Headline states “prominent….government adviser” blurb says that she “advises the governement” but only when we get to the article does it correctly state that she “advised” the government. Full details only come at the end (how convenient.) She USED TO BE an advisor until she got into trouble for voicing opinions about Japanese women which were contrary to government policy, ‘resigning’ shortly after. That was about 1 year and 4 months ago. She in no way represents anything close to government policy on this issue.

      • Gordon Graham

        shhhh…You’re ruining the narrative

      • Oliver Mackie

        Well, I just needed to get the facts out my system before heading down the pub to vent my outrage over drinks along with all the other NJ.

      • Gordon Graham

        The ol’ self-imposed segregation, eh?

      • Shaun O’Dwyer

        Well you can’t have been reading all the terrible things *Japanese* people have been saying about her on twitter, etc. Otherwise you’d be really outraged, wouldn’t you?

      • Oliver Mackie

        Sorry, lost me there. As I have said from the very start of this thread, this is no news. The woman has long since been kicked out of her advisory position to the government, her views share not one iota with official government policy, and most Japanese reject her views. Thus, the comments by some NJ here that it’s what the government really plans to do, that she should be kicked out of the government, or that many Japanese actually agree with her are, as you point out, nonsense.

        If anyone, Japanese or NJ, wants to Twitter or whatever about how much they disagree with her ideas then fine. Just don’t go around asserting things that the facts contradict.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Even though her views are not highly regarded by the majority and she long ago lost her advisory position, the fact that she is still published in and of itself is problematic. The newspaper it was published in is unapologetic for publishing it, which shows that they feel fairly confident that there still is a faction of the population large enough that supports this point of view for them to feel confident they will not receive much blow back.

      • Oliver Mackie

        So a free press is problematic? Thanks for clarifying your position on that.

      • blondein_tokyo

        This is what is known as a “strawman” fallacy. You are purposely misinterpreting my position so as to make it easier to disregard. And this, even though I have written multiple times in this thread, in reply to you, that the response to free speech is more free speech.

        For shame, Mr. Debate teacher, for your dishonest and disingenuous tactics.

      • KenjiAd

        … many Japanese actually agree with her are, as you point out, nonsense.

        It depends on the definition of “many.”

        If “many” can mean ~20% of population, considering that ~25% of population in Japan are >65 yrs old, I think it’s possible that “many” Japanese in fact would agree with the principle of racial segregation policy.

        As you know, the idea that racial segregation is bad/immoral/wrong is a relatively new concept. Let’s not forget that, only some 40 years ago, “many” Americans thought racial segregation was actually a good thing.

        My mother, born in 1935, would definitely agree with Ms Sono. She was vehemently against my marrying a Chinese woman.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        How many youths out number the older generation? the old generation is expected to double versus the young generation

  • Btd

    So it’s natural that many opinions be expressed…. My opinion is the lady has some nuts and bolts lose…… Maybe we could heard people like her together and make em live separately from our society….

    • James

      She has a point when it comes to cultures which will clash much like Europe at the moment. Why create another mess when we know multiculturalism is a lie and will always fail.

      The flip side however to what she says is that she forgets that Japanese are treated as equals in the countries they settle in. Asian countries dont allow for immigration however Asian countries are the beneficiaries of the open door policies of the West when they travel and live overseas. I have always found this rather short sighted from Asian countries including Japan.

      As a man of colour who lived during the years of Apartheid, she does have a number of valid points which people view as racist but it is not. Blacks don’t plan very well and we know from the 80’s.

      • Btd

        No she doesn’t have a point. The point you’re referring to would be a managed immigration, jaoan is doing that. There’s a fiddler except between a strict and well managed immigration policy and suggesting to introduce an apartheid style segregation sysytem, don’t you think? I’m pro immigration BUT only for people with very good skills, lots of money to invest, highly educated at respectable universities ecc.

      • James

        Get only the people you want will never hold. Look at Britain as an example. Do you really want another Rotherham?

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        rotherham who raped kids?

      • James

        Yes. Remember that we are not talking about engineering jobs. We are talking about low end jobs. This attracts all sorts of people and not always the best and kindest. This is how the UK ended in the mess. It was the low end jobs that needed filling. Then it lost control.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        yeah thats the problem with society the people who are born and bred and got better jobs the immigrants are treated like second class citizens and then japan says its so progressive when its not

      • Btd

        I guess Japan doesn’t want the kind of immigrant scum that controlled the Rotherham drug/rape ring. …. my guess, on the other hand, you never know…

      • savvykenya

        I don’t think anyone with very good skills, lots of money to invest and is highly educated at respectable universities would want to go to Japan! It is poorer immigrants who would be working in say, the nursing sector for the aging who would make majority of the immigrants. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        dude if your a man of color then you would see racism and that is racism plain and simple! Sometimes Japan can be racist

      • James

        Don’t confuse racism with nationalism. You are biracial so where does your thinking lay – with mom or dad?

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        Nationalism wouldnt want to seperate people. thinking!?!? I am pride to be both races. why do you think My thinking lays anywhere

      • James

        Ethnic nationalism separates people in order to protect itself. That is the reason why it exists. It protects the identity of its people.

        You talk about ‘races’ while we are talking about ‘nations’. Japan is a nation, Korea is a nation. They each have a unique heritage and culture. They have a unique language and dress with traditions. Into which nation do you fit in?

        From your words – ‘I am proud to be both races’ I take it one parent is Asian and the other is Western? The problem with biracial children is that they dont always fit in. This is why I asked where does you thinking fit in. Which nation are you as its one or the other. This is what the article is about – ethnic nationalism.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        how does Ethinc Nationalism protect people? The Aniu were the first there and then the Japanese had the firepower and took over. Taking away the Aniu identity and made them Japanese. They had a unique heritage culture Language and dress and that was taken away from them. Biracial kids needs to feel welcome and not oscatized for being different all kids are Japanese if they were born there and they need to stop having the motto Hammering the nail down!

      • Toolonggone

        Ethnic nationalism is an euphemism for “racial superiority.”

  • Wayne

    Can you believe the stupidity of this woman?

    • Micah 李 文 Jung

      Yes I can emma Watson is the Paragan of Feminism and her FRIENDS who are males now have lost there dicks

  • GBR48

    So whilst the rest of the civilised world was condemning apartheid, Sono decided that she rather liked it, and now wants to bring it back. And she is a Govt. appointment on an education panel?

    It’s difficult to think of many ways that could trash the Japanese government’s reputation internationally more effectively than this. It’s one thing for a right-wing govt. to promote right wingers, they all do, but they usually do a bit of due diligence first to check that they aren’t going to embarrass those who appoint them quite this much.

    You get used to bits of the 1970s cropping up in Japan every now and again – family restaurants and trains that allow smoking, guys with performing monkeys dressed like people – but waking up to a call to reintroduce apartheid tops most of them.

    I guess JR East need to start planning a new station: Shin-Soweto.

    • Ron NJ

      I wonder which Bantustan they’ll put the zainichi Koreans in!

    • JSS00

      And Abe and the right-wingers are saying that “Asahi shimbun damaged Japan’s reputation by reporting about comfort women”. No, I’m pretty sure Sankei shimbun is.

      • taitai

        Asahi shimbun damaged Japan’s reputation is true.In 1983, a former Japanese army soldier, Seiji Yoshida published a book entitled, “My War Crimes.” In his book, Mr. Yoshida claims that he went to Jeju island, and that he went on a “comfort women hunt” to draft a lot of women into the women’s volunteer corps and to take them to the battle fields. This was proclaimed by a lot of media outlets as a “courageous testimony,” despite the fact that his statements about time and place were vague, and didn’t declare who did the hunt and where. Because of this, the local newspaper publishing company of Jeju island went on an investigation and discovered that there was no such village which appeared in the book, nor proof that the Japanese army had ever come to that place.
        Since there were no other persons who shared this kind of testimony, there arose suspicion that his statement had been fabricated and he was interrogated by Japanese historians like Ikuhiko Hata. He ended up confessing in 1996 that the story was fictional.but Asahi has refused to admit Seiji Yoshida was con-man until this year.

    • Gerardo Gallo

      GBR48
      if you walk in paris, london, Manchester, you can find a lot of shin-soweto (but with different name). do you forget the riots of london Liverpool Manchester 2011 ? why even Japan has to have these problems?

      • GBR48

        It is one thing for immigrants to choose to live in the same area for mutual support and to take advantage of low cost property (as in Shin-Ōkubo). It is quite another for the government to segregate them into camps as the South Africans did in Soweto and the Nazis did in the Polish ghettos.

  • doninjapan

    I rather pity her, as I think it’s quite obvious that she’s suffering from some sort of dementia.

  • Toolonggone

    I put this woman on dishonor roll for her preaching right-wing hypocrisy. Tolerating racial segregation inside while denouncing its system outside is typical behavior among those who promote national deform narrative under the Abe regime.

  • Oliver Mackie

    Oh calm down. Stop getting riled up by some senile old idiot the possibility of whose ideas getting adopted is lower than that of Hillary Clinton getting elected……………….the next Prime Minister of Japan.
    The fact that she was appointed to some team of ‘advisers’ means nothing other than she was in the queue of ‘academics’ and ‘experts’ who rotate into and out of such panels as a ‘reward’ for climbing the ladder. The policy has already been decided and no-one in power is going to pay any attention to anyone on the panel anyway. This is just your friendly neighbo(u)rhood media trying to stir up some feelings among readers to initiate a ‘discussion.’

    • anoninjapan

      “..The fact that she was appointed to some team of ‘advisers’ means nothing…”

      Hmmmm…..

      • Oliver Mackie

        Care to elaborate? Any government is obliged to at least look as though they have invited a ‘spectrum’ of opinion, whether they have any intention of listening or not. The moment you see her ideas even being taken seriously then you have a point. It will not happen. The fact that many people here think there’s a possibility of that speaks of a deep distrust of Japanese based on the fact that…..they are Japanese, and therefore can’t be trusted. There’s a name for that type of thinking.

      • anoninjapan

        Sure.

        “…Any government is obliged to at least look as though they have invited a ‘spectrum’ of opinion, whether they have any intention of listening or not…”

        Indeed. So, does that mean you would invite someone who say has the opinion that to solve the current territorial disputes, nuking China et al is the solution. Blow them away problem solved…. Since this is simply an opposing point of view.

    • Carl MacIntyre

      I believe that it was the renowned scholar Edward Seidensticker who when asked the reason for leaving Japan, remarked that as a result of living in the country he was losing the capacity for outrage. We should never tolerate anyone advocating apartheid or racist policies, particularly someone in a public role. Irrespective of the pre-eminance of this woman, or lack thereof, we cannot simply dismiss these racists ideas as some sort of quirk or eccentricity. Silence in the face of these types of obscenities, is acceptance.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Interesting reference. So either he was so happy with his time in Japan that he saw nothing to be outraged with or he got ever-so frustrated with people ignoring his outrage. And of course many people these days simply don’t feel their lives are of any relevance unless they are outraged about something (or preferably everything.) Their right, of course, but you’ll understand if some of us prefer to save our energy for getting riled about news that might actually have some impact on reality.

      • Carl MacIntyre

        I think you missed his point completely. I believe he was saying that living in Japanese society dulled one’s senses about issues / events (like promoting the establishment of race-based ghettos) that should naturally spark strong emotions. Her comments, particularly in the context of the resurgence of Japan right wing political efforts, shouldn’t be ignored.

      • Oliver Mackie

        I got the point first time round. My point about selective outrage stands.

      • Carl MacIntyre

        “So either he was so happy with his time in Japan that he saw nothing to be outraged with or he got ever-so frustrated with people ignoring his outrage.”

        Glad you got the point. I couldn’t tell from your off base response above.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Ever heard of sarcasm? (First part)
        Second part was as written, with point elaborated further below that.

      • Carl MacIntyre

        Right.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Your point about selective outrage is ridiculous. There is nothing selective about becoming outraged at racist statements.

      • 151E

        You do raise legitimate points in this thread, and yes her proposals have a near zero chance of being actually implemented, but surely you must concede that the censure and revulsion expressed in this comments section it is not an inappropriate response to such outrageous comments. Sono is not just any “senile old idiot”; she is a columnist for a national daily. And as Mr. MacIntyre notes above, silence will be misconstrued by like mind xenophobes for tactic approval of their position. Expressing disapproval, without resort to hyperbole or hysterics, is an appropriate response.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Expressing discontent here will have actually no impact whatsoever on the opinions of xenophobes. Your claim that they would interpret silence as approval might hold if it were the from the Japanese public at large, but that will not happen. What do you think this discussion board is?

      • 151E

        A mostly symbolic means of catharsis. But not wholly without merit nonetheless. And you?

      • Oliver Mackie

        My reasons for posting here are very simple. For people outside of Japan, particularly those who might be considering coming here, the JT is a likely reference. It bills itself as a ‘window in Japan.’ I feel the picture given here by both the slant of most of the writing and almost all of the comments does not accurately reflect the experience that most would likely have here, and thus try to offer a more balanced view.
        Plus I teach debate and like to keep my hand in.

      • Carl MacIntyre

        Thank goodness someone has volunteered for the noble role of Japan apologist.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Rather an apologist for Japan than what I see here: advocation by some of punishment for those who express opinions which don’t conform to those they hold, advocating or condoning the advocation of violence, cultural stereotyping, ethnocentrism, and advocation of press censorship.

      • Carl MacIntyre

        And your’s is also an opinion, one of many. And as for Sono, what you see as punishment and infringement of free speech, I see as calls for accountability.

      • Oliver Mackie

        “And your’s is also an opinion, one of many.”

        You don’t say.

        “what you see as punishment and infringement of free speech, I see as calls for accountability.”

        Accountability to whom? You do realise, don’t you, that she ‘resigned’ from the position of government adviser over a year ago, after voicing opinions about women’s roles that contravened the official government policy?
        She is not a member of the government in any capacity. The only accountability she needs offer is that of a private individual writing for a newspaper. If you are suggesting (and I’m not saying you are) that a national newspaper should not be allowed to publish any op-ed piece it chooses and also be free to face any reaction, then you are advocating restrictions on free speech, which cannot be justified by resort to fears of public safety or national security.

      • blondein_tokyo

        You teach debate? Then how can you make such a spurious claim? You know good and well that people are not simply “advocating punishment for those who express opinions which don’t conform to those they hold” – People aren’t simply upset that Ms. Sono has *differing* opinions. They are upset that she holds racist opinions, and that a national newspaper published them without any accompanying counterarguments, or even a disclaimer.

        Additionally, no one is advocating punishment. What is being advocated is that she be roundly condemned, and that the newspaper that published her additionally be openly criticized – because as we all know, the best way to counter free speech is MORE free speech. And so far, I have seen no one suggesting otherwise.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Read the posts here before you make false claims about what ‘noone’ is or isn’t doing.

        Yes, I teach debate, which is quite different from teaching people what to think.

        Racist views have as much right to be aired in public as any other. They will die the death they deserve in that arena, not by being suppressed at source. It’s harder mental effort than censorship, but has the crucial attribute of preserving freedom.

      • blondein_tokyo

        I read every post from the beginning of this thread that you began, with replies by MacIntyre and 151E and myself.

        “They will die the death they deserve in that arena, not by being suppressed at source.”

        I could not agree more.

        But I believe it was you who said, “Oh calm down. Stop getting riled up by some senile old idiot the
        possibility of whose ideas getting adopted is lower than that of Hillary
        Clinton getting elected……………….the next Prime Minister of Japan. ”

        and

        “Expressing discontent here will have actually no impact whatsoever on the opinions of xenophobes. ”

        Which I and the others replying here took to mean that you think speaking up against Ms. Sono’s article is not worthwhile. I also seem to recall you calling this “manufactured outrage” or something similar in another ongoing thread. These comments seem rather contradictory, because how can you hold the opinion that speaking up “has no impact” and is only faux outrage for the sake of outrage, while at the same time saying that the best way to make an idea die is to allow debate on it?

        Perhaps you can explain this seeming contradiction?

      • blondein_tokyo

        If you teach debate, I’m rather surprised that you would question why people come here to debate.

        You are basically telling people that debating on a topic in this space is not worthwhile, because no one will change their minds. You then rather contradict yourself by coming here to debate, and stating that it is possible that some people reading this from abroad might see this debate and be influenced by it.

        You must value debate, or else you would have a lot of trouble teaching it; so you must understand that debate on all levels, even this seemingly insignificant one, has value.

      • Oliver Mackie

        I have not objected to anyone voicing disagreement here or anywhere with her ideas. What I have objected to is distorted reporting leading to airings of concern about government policy and the opinions of Japanese in general which are not only based in a distorted reporting of events but are directly contradicted by the facts, if examined properly. Shouting ‘stupid old bag’ or threatening to punch people is not debate.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Oh, then maybe I misunderstood your earlier posts. Could you explain, for example, why you said “Oh calm down. Stop getting riled up by some senile old idiot the possibility of whose ideas getting adopted is lower than that of Hillary Clinton getting elected……………….the next Prime Minister of
        Japan.”

        To me, it seems as though you are upset that people are getting upset. And my memory could be wrong, but I believe ti was you who called this “outrage for the sake of outrage” or something similar? If I’m mistaken, and that wasn’t you, then my apologies. But if it was you, perhaps you could explain?

      • Oliver Mackie

        I was going to write a lengthy response to your genuine questions but do not have the time. I will keep to the key points and will not be commenting further on this thread, for this same reason.

        You came to this thread late on (not a criticism.) I was in it from near the beginning (not a boast.) Lots of what I posted reflects that fact, but having reviewed, I feel I have been 99% consistent. The only consistency point that I feel needs addressing is my use of “senile old idiot” in a very early post and then later condemning others for simply name-calling. My point was this: name-calling alone is not debate. Many posts were just a few words long and were only name-calling. My post did include name-calling but that was in the context of at least giving a reason why people shouldn’t worry about this woman’s views (i.e. she has no impact on government policy, which is in fact very far from views.) It was a stylistic mistake on my part.

        I am not upset that people are getting upset, nor have I advocated actually preventing people from expressing how upset they are, simply trying to point out that I feel they are getting upset greatly out of proportion to the reality of what happened and also, actually mis-interpreting events (e.g. seeming to feel that this might actually have some chance of becoming government policy), and thus that their time would be better spent on other things. To reiterate if it is not clear: people can get upset if they wish (you may have noticed that I am very much a libertarian when it comes to the public expression of views, whatever they are) but I can also exercise my right to point out that I think they are mistaken in doing so.

        I have not mentioned getting upset for the sake of getting upset here. I have probably talked about ‘phony outrage’ in other threads (it’s a big problem in politics these days) but that was elsewhere, about different topics.

        I have a big problem (for reasons I have outlined in other posts here) with the way this issue has been covered by the English language press, the JT in particular. Like many on this board, I live in Japan. Additionally, I have two racially-mixed kids and will most likely spend the rest of my life here. I am as sensitive to the possibility of negative developments here for the foreign community as anyone, but, in my experience (close to 25 years) there is a huge amount of misreading by the NJ community of what goes on here which leads to a lot of unnecessary worry. This struck me as a classic case.

        To repeat, I am happy to read any response, but will not be participating further.

      • blondein_tokyo

        More than one person has changed their minds about issues during discussion. That is why discourse on ALL LEVELS, even at the most seemingly insignificant website, blog, or even water cooler discussion, is important.

    • Bruce Chatwin

      Sono was appointed because she reflects the “values” and beliefs of those who appointed her. Not only is she on the education panel but she is also on the Jimintou rekishi kentou iinkai – Liberal Democratic Party Committee for Historical Investigation.

      The rewards that you speak of include her appointment to the board of Japan Post Holdings (a post that she apparently still holds) and her appointment as the head of the fascist Ryoichi Sasakawa’s Nippon Foundation from 1996 to 2005.

      Sono has been a mover and shaker within the ultrantionalist right wing movement in Japan for years. The LDP appointed Sono to these committees because she has the same values and beliefs as those who appointed her.

      • Oliver Mackie

        It could be anything. The point stands. Her views will not be reflected in any official policy.

      • Shaun ODwyer

        Counter-factual test, Oliver Mackie- had a prominent intellectual/writer with advisor positions like Sono’s in, say Britain or America made similar remarks in a column for a high profile newspaper…yes, there would be a social media pile-on (which is happening here) but that person would also be quite reasonably asked to move along. I hope for the Japanese government’s international reputation that it does ask her to do that. Whether her views will be reflected in national policy or not is irrelevant. What is in question is the judgement of the people who appointed her, and their responsibility to act now that she has messed up.

      • Oliver Mackie

        You realise that in asserting that it would be “quite reasonable” to “ask” her to “move along” that you are advocating the repression of free speech, don’t you? The fact that the liberal consensus in the UK can’t tolerate the expression of contrary views is of no relevance other than to be somewhat of a source of regret to those of us from that country. Any ideas that lack credibility for whatever reason (moral, practical, whatever) will die a natural death in the course of debate. Of far more concern than the mutterings of an individual is the modern type of facist thought which has flooded the so-called ‘liberal’ movement. I note two telling things from this article and associated comments. First, an issue which has no chance of becoming policy has garnered 4-5 times the comments (in a much shorter time) than the positive news of actual policy proposals in Shibuya ward. Second, it is those and only those who are screaming their outrage here who have suggested rounding up people like her and segregating them. Only joking, you say? Such comments are the start of a very slippery slope. And just to think that such commentators are the first assert elsewhere that Japan has failed to learn from history…..

      • Sam Gilman

        Freedom of speech means she doesn’t get arrested or locked up for what she says and should be free from threats to her person. It doesn’t mean she should be immune from all reasonable consequences of her speech. She’s a political advisor, not a bank clerk. Her political beliefs are directly connected to her job and this is not just another far-out blue sky idea.

        I certainly agree we should all be celebrating what has happened in Shibuya, but it is not the people’s fault that this op-ed has garnered so much attention. It’s hers. If she didn’t realise that she might provoke a reaction by recommending a globally reviled idea, then perhaps she isn’t competent to advise politicians.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Several posters here are openly condoning violence against her and I don’t see a single condemnation. Not even from the moderator.
        My understanding frim the article is that she is no longer a political advisor, after having gotten into trouble for comments in a different area.

      • Sam Gilman

        Oh, certainly, any threats of violence are beyond the pale – I would absolutely agree with you there.

        I had not picked up that she was no longer an advisor – in which case what she deserves is public ridicule.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Yes, and it makes rather a mockery of those other comments calling for her to be kicked out of the government. Too outraged to actually look at the facts.

      • Sam Gilman

        I hold my hand up and say I didn’t read closely enough, but to be fair to people in general, this is how the story is being presented across various social media.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Trusting the media is the most elementary of mistakes. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that her remarks in Japanese were also translated in the most sensationalist way possible. Click, click, click….

      • Shaun O’Dwyer

        Don’t be silly. I said nothing about censoring what she’s written for Sankei Shimbun, or of censoring Sankei Shimbun, though both are fair game for criticism and ridicule. “Move on” means she be asked to retire from her advisor positions with the government. It is in the government’s interests to dissociate itself from an individual whose views on immigrants are in defiance of human rights norms and, for that matter, common decency. It’s really too bad that this has eclipsed the good news coming from Shibuya Ward, but that’s no excuse for ignoring Ms Sano’s article.

      • Oliver Mackie

        She’s no longer in the government, according to the article.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        Sono was appointed because she reflects the “values” and beliefs of those who appointed her, Abe and the LDP.

      • Oliver Mackie

        I believe you have already made that assertion. If compelled to repeat it, you might wish to share your evidence.

      • Bruce Chatwin

        You have already made that assertion. If compelled to repeat it, you might wish to share your evidence.

      • Oliver Mackie

        This post has gone wrong. I posted this to Bryce Chatwin. Weird.

      • batbrewer

        Her musings need not be “adopted as concrete policy proposals” for them to have the pernicious effect of shifting the center of gravity of what passes for political discourse in Japan a little further toward the extreme right, particularly since they appear in a popular newspaper (one that for all its bleating about a diversity of views seems wedded to particularly nasty ultra-right-wing ones).

      • Oliver Mackie

        What passes as political discourse? You are ethnocentric to the point of being racist. Additionally, you are advocating the suffocation of free speech because you don’t trust democracy in another culture. Or is it that you don’t trust the proles in general to know what’s best for them? A lot of people contracted that disease of thought studying in Moscow or Paris in the 60s. Upon returning home to Cambodia, Vietnam and China they led movements to speed up the coming revolution. I’m sure you know the rest of the story.

      • batbrewer

        I’m not “advocating the suffocation of free speech”, of course. I’m just pointing out that your contention that her ravings have no effect unless directly implemented as government policy is rubbish. Your allegation that I am “ethnocentric to the point of being racist” to suggest that political discourse in Japan is rather stunted is frankly bizarre. If you think it’s vibrant and healthy with a wide spectrum of views available in the most widely-consumed mass media, I have a press club I’d like to sell you.

      • Oliver Mackie

        If this woman espousing her views in a national newspaper leading to a storm of protest on Twitter (as reported in the article) leading to politicians in the government feeling it necessary to make statements clarifying that she is no longer on the education advisory committee isn’t a sign of a healthy debate and functioning democracy, then what is?
        A wide diversity of views means exactly that.

  • neville searchwell

    i think this women is a old fossil and has no buisness in politics ,any appointment from the goverment will reflect on the nation. when black people stop buying japanese goods cause they think japanese people are racist, so they dont want to spend money to grow their economy. it would be a terrible blow, goverment and public need to shout her down i have 3 kids in school and they suffer enough from bullies with out it becoming a ignorant sanction , nazism is what her tongue really says ,seperation due to the colour of our skin so sad .i wish she could be black for a day,a week a month and get a real experiance of her own ignorance.its 2015 do we really want to turn the clock back to ignorant times i like japan i like japanese people , its she who needs to be seperated from the public

    • RedBearded T

      Technically she’s racist against whites and blacks, or anyone who’s different from her…. Ring any bells?

      • neville searchwell

        true but she points out blacks as the problem

        “Black people basically have a philosophy of large families. Therefore,
        they would bring their families into the apartment they bought. For
        whites and Asians, it was common sense for a couple and two children to
        live in one complex. But blacks ended up having 20 to 30 family members
        living there,” she wrote.

      • Steph

        Where is asia do people have the ‘common sense’ for just a couple and two kids to live together? Multiple generations and large family living together seem to be pretty common. Even in Japan you see three or sometimes four generations under the same roof. The idea of the nuclear family is a very western concept…but I guess she approves of some foreign ideas?

      • nailikretsum

        Let her have the illusion. When she lived in South Africa she finally had the illusion of feeling “white” and superior. Alas, Nelson spoiled it all for her. Now it’s all sour grapes with the old hag.

      • blondein_tokyo

        That statement in and of itself is racist. She has simplified the problems of poverty, lack of health care, lack of sex education and birth control, and boiled it down to “black people have large families because they are black.”

      • Marubobo

        The German guy who’s name began with H….?

  • Joe Kurosu, M.D.

    Wow! I suppose she envisions neatly cordoned off areas with gates (locked, of course!), adorned with her version of 「働けば自由になる」…

  • Brian Southwick

    Japan for the Japanese.

  • Dan Knighton

    Can the whites get Shibuya?

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      You love ganguro and think they’re coming back, right? :D

    • Chris Clancy

      The gays got Shibuya, LOL

    • Marubobo

      Let the whites get the whole of Tokyo!!
      No, better! Let’s get the whole of Japan with all of its islands!

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        they did and were overthrown look up the ANiu

  • TeaTown Cowboy

    Former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara would be so proud of you, Ms. Sono. The rest of us think you are weak and have more fear than love, thus your misguided, racist comments. For those of us who are part Japanese, we especially take offense and also realize that one’s skin tone or culture or other thing which separates people does not determine whether a person is good or bad.

    I would LOVE to live separate from people like you, Ms. Sono!

  • http://www.georgesipos.com/ George T. Sipos

    One must wonder to what extent this woman is not simply making herself the public voice of views expressed and circulated on a regular basis within certain circles of the LDP…

  • Tim Groves

    We don’t really need to read the national press to obtain opinions of this caliber. We can usually get them first hand at the local izakaya after the first couple of beers have gone down.

  • simplyshiny

    I’m curious as to what she THINKS happened in South Africa 30 years ago….also where is this “20-30 black people in one family” thing coming from?

    • shanchan

      Her textbook on how to keep Japan xenophobic.

    • Perry Constantine

      From the same source as Reagan’s welfare queen statements in the 80s—an ignorant, racist mind.

  • shanchan

    So what about mixed race couples and interracial families? What does she propose for that? A forced system of divorce? Will the families have to live apart? Will they then bar interracial unions? Clearly this is someone who is very intelligent, and has given this much thought.

    If they have any sense they’ll remove her as an adviser. She’ll just shame the government more…who knows, that might be what’s best.

    • PsyVet1

      I was wondering also. Will they base Haffu status on the appearance? If the child looks enough Japanese to “pass” they get to live with Japanese, but if they look like Gaijin, they live in “special” neighborhoods…She needs some education, Race is imaginary. Mixed cultures and ethnicities happen but race is not even real in humans other than Human Race. One of my daughters looks very Japanese but her sister does not. Two opposites who have the same parents who happen to be different ethnically. With the falling birth rate, you would think this old bat would lighten up.

      • shanchan

        Clearly, she thinks the world is as segregated as her mind is. She can’t even fathom the concept that there are people aren’t going fit into her little categories.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        being biracial myself I agree with you since race is complex if we make it complex

    • Micah 李 文 Jung

      exactly where do you put them! dang woman needs to be fired

    • Micah 李 文 Jung

      that way it makes no F sense! Being chinese english welsh and scottish its like where do I fit in?

  • Perry Constantine

    I’d say that Abe should demand this racist bitch’s resignation, but we all know that he probably shares her beliefs.

  • ジョンソン ステイシー

    I bet my unmarried and childless self would melt her brain then. Lol!

  • Teo

    A woman in a critical age + being Japanese. This explains a lot…

  • Vance

    This article isn’t even worthy of comment. Can we just transport her back in time 200 years in Japan so she could be grouped together as a man’s property, with less status than that of a dog?

  • Seth Goss

    Just the latest iteration of that deep-rooted right-wing sentiment that many of Japan’s social ills can be traced back to the arrival of the foreigners…

  • JSS00

    Abe’s “Beautiful Japan”.

    • Gordon Graham

      best to get the ugly ideas out in the open

      • blondein_tokyo

        I agree with this. Free speech is important precisely to get these ugly ideas out in the open so that they can be roundly condemned and then countered with straightforward logic and reason. I’m glad the newspaper published her piece. It shows us exactly what we are up against, and how far we have to go.

      • Gordon Graham

        Absolutely! And by us, I’m sure you mean to include the majority of Japanese who are equally appalled by this racist’s views

      • blondein_tokyo

        Yes, and from what I can tell by the reactions in the press and on Twitter and Facebook, there are many. I am looking forward to reading the many articles criticizing Ms. Sono. :)

  • Rebane

    If I am not misinformed, she is CHRISTIAN. What would the Church possibly say about her intolerance?

    • http://zi.n.gy/ Kirt Seth Cathey

      KKK are Christian too! She is probably attending the Southern Baptist church is Brokenwood Tochigi.

    • KenjiAd

      She is a Catholic.

  • http://www.heavenlyvines.com Jamie Paquin

    Stunning – particularly the use of apartheid South Africa as a model!

  • http://zi.n.gy/ Kirt Seth Cathey

    Jihad! lol… punch her when you see her.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    I can see the movie title now…”Dejima II : The Cleansing”

  • Bogs_Dollocks

    Naive and insular.

    I wonder if she have ever ventured outside of Japan.

    • Chris Clancy

      Probably did and it further confirmed her insular beliefs.

  • http://registeredalien.weebly.com gpiper

    Maybe Japanese should be cordoned off in camps for their own protection while the rest of us are given the run of the country.

  • Barry Rosenfeld

    I’m just DYING to meet her! Just give me 5 minutes with her, I’ll sort her out.

  • Justin Sawchuk

    Finally a women that makes sense.

  • Chris Clancy

    Time and time again…ass-backwards!

  • Autumn Fae

    I am not surprised about her comments , especially from her generation. I have a student around her age who complained about Obama marrying a dark skinned Black woman. She also thought that Michelle Obama was not smart enough to go to a good university because she had dark skin. Those comments were the tip of the iceberg but I have met people like that bitch Sono. THey look down on everyone.

  • exit11

    Good idea let the Yamato inbreed themselves to extinction

  • GreatBong

    This is the most fascinating pro-immigration piece I have ever read.

  • Marubobo

    Not only her, we’d have to remove.
    I’m for a petitition to remove all Japanese politicians and exchange them to foreigners.

    • Simon T

      Perhaps you are being serious, but I don’t think you should lose faith in the goodness of most Japanese people.

      • Marubobo

        No, I’m not being fully serious here.
        I’m living here in Japan already for several years, can speak, read, understand the language.
        So I know that there are so many great people here (especially among the younger generations) that doesn’t let me lose my faith.
        I am just really angry with the old fashioned generation politics here and would wish for more fresh wind within these.
        This wind can only be brought by the hopeful young people here – or foreigners (but as you sure know good enough, we don’t have much to say here, so…)

      • Simon T

        Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more. Young people are systematically discouraged from any kind of political involvement here, unless they have family with influence, so this is the result.

      • Marubobo

        Yep, you say it!!
        I think, we are actually in the same boat. I’m too married to a Japanese guy with kids to come in near future.
        I don’t want to imagine what happens to us when politicians/advisors like this woman become overhand.
        The young generation is already frustrated by the actual situation that you describe perfectly.
        I so hope that the turnaround to a better change comes. Soon. Because leaving the country is easier said than done for us, too. And I love this country, so I’ll stay and try to do anything possible that will make it better.

  • Swim Bike-Run

    Let robots change her diapers when she goes into elderly care.

  • BB

    an extremist is always out of the line. she is not an exception.

  • arrotoxieta

    Japan is still vastly overpopulated to have an open-door immigration.
    Besides, there is basically no welfare accessible to foreigners. The country is approaching financial bankruptcy so there will be no welfare for foreigners in the future as well. Besides, the era of mass immigration is getting to a close everywhere, and its effects are far from being particularly positive (see Europe), it would be silly for the Japanese to embark in such self-defeating policy.

    • shanchan

      And yet the population levels are falling enough to worry tons of media coverage on the issue…and who mentioned welfare? She talking about creating a society that exploits the foreigners it NEEDS to stay afloat given the gaps in it’s native population.

      Japan can’t have it both ways, you can’t bring people in and try to keep them locked out of society.

      • arrotoxieta

        Any serious demographer will tell you that the ONLY way to stop population decline is to have higher birthrates. Unlimited mass immigration is a folly, and I strongly hope Japan will never embark on a policy with such dramatic political consequences as anybody can see in Europe.
        But Japan’s population, and actually the world’s population, needs to decline. Japan had 30 million people at the end of Edojidai, it has peaked at 128 million, currently still very close to the peak. This is an enormous population for a country of this size, mostly mountainous.
        Population decline will not be good for economic growth? Sure, but the world has to realise that endless growth cannot exist.

      • shanchan

        All anyone has to do is pick up a textbook to know the majority of what you just said is a load of crap. While it is true that the worlds population needs to be cut her in general, it is a well-known fact that localized depopulation is a problem in terms of maintaining a nation. Localize depopulation is the first death now of the nation. This is been proven throughout history and one doesn’t have to look very hard to find it.

      • arrotoxieta

        Nation? Precisely because of immigration, in Europe now you can no longer even mention the word “nation”. There are just “places” with “people” and balance sheets. Depopulation has happened before, will happen again, even in Japan. But Japan survived as a distinguishable historical entity. It will not survive population replacement, which is effectively a form of genocide.

      • shanchan

        Spoken like a true Xenophobe. You are just as racist and absurd as Sono, filled with fear of an imaginary enemy. It’s true that the world’s population could use some reigning in, as a whole, but localized depopulation is the first deathknell of a nation. Combine that with the bad economy which we already know to be a major factor in why people aren’t having kids not just in Japan but worldwide, especially among first world nations, you have a recipe for disaster. We are now living in a globalized world you cannot survive on the turtle mentality anymore. Japan does not have the natural resources or the economic power to survive free of international relations and free of immigration. Japan needs this not just people to fill holes in jobs not just for money and resources, but also for ideas and cultural exchange, the two things that breed Innovation.

        You also seem to ignore the fact that the problems in Europe were caused by the hundreds of years of imperialism, colonialism, racism, and marginalization of peoples by European nations. This caused the many strained relationships and bred attitudes of hatred on both sides. Europe imported thousands if not millions of people from other countries to boost its economic power during colonial days and the time of imperialism, and then, like this woman is suggesting, treated them like second-class citizens. Their work, effort, resources, and money wasn’t to foreign for them to take but when it came time to show them some human decency that was outrageous. It’s the very same reason Japan is having such a hard time getting along with its neighbors.

        Diversity is necessary for survival both in nature and in human constructs. Japan has two choices change or die. I’m not in any way implying that everything is going to be smooth sailing and there won’t be any problems, we’re dealing with people problems are inevitable. But it’s necessary. If you want to survive you have to change, change doesn’t come without growth, and growth doesn’t come without pain. That is life.

      • arrotoxieta

        This is not life, this is a reconstruction of politics to provide a pseudo-legitimation of unlimited immigration policies, which are historically disastrous. Note: I am not saying: no immigration. Immigration has always existed, and Japan has had immigration. Indeed, about 2% of Japan residents are foreigners.
        Globalisation: the country which is gaining more from this is China, where only 0.05% of the population has a foreign passport. Cultural exchange does not require the immigration of masses of millions of people, in the era of internet we do not need to move people physically. Indeed Japan modernised with only a few thousands experts being brought in from Europe. European culture is in full-fledged decline, not at all thriving, despite all the immigration. Unfortunately we are dominated by a severely oversimplistic anthropological idea whereby any group of people can be transformed into anything else within one generation. This is unfortunately not true, but the achievement of a desired performance requires a long education process, which the Greeks called paideia, lasting many generations and even centuries.
        If it is something which is in peril and will probably die is the idea that everybody has to be eradicated from any meaningful social and historical context and thrown into a planetary “globalistan”, which is indeed only a place of degradation, and paradoxically of extreme ethnic rivalry (see Ferguson). After seen the slow destruction of Europe I cannot wish to Japan the same fate.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Japan could use MORE outside influence, not less – and that this woman can get away with suggesting apartheid in Africa was a GOOD thing plainly shows why.

  • http://www.HenryStradford.com/ Henry Stradford

    She’s an ignorant bigot!

  • Raansu

    Apparently I went back in time to 1920….

  • Autumn Fae

    This is why people from her generation and older easily sided with the Nazis. They see themselves as superior to all races except Whites… I have had people from her generation tell me how they would never want other Asians or Blacks to come into their country but Whites were okay for them to “mix their blood with.” You think this is shocking? Pfft, I have met so many people like her in Japan.

  • J.P. Bunny

    Yokosu Japan. Come here and do your work, then get out of our sight until it’s time to work again. Should put that woman in a museum somewhere.

  • taitai

    I’m Japanese and Most Japanese are astonished and appalled at Ayako Sono.She is a a great novelist but She sometimes puts the cart before the horse so Some Japanese think she is a bit of an eccentric but We didn’t think she expresses such a racist view at all.

  • Vlad Poliakovsky

    With all my respect, particularly enjoy all the westerners in the comments saying smt along the lines of, let us rule Japan, send the Japanese politicians to the remote islands, can we get Tokyo and such. This attitude is the exact reason why so many Japanese people are scared of the mass immigration. The deeply rooted feeling of being right which a lot of western people have a proclivity to, is actually as racist.

    • blondein_tokyo

      I’m sure you know that hyperbole and sarcasm are often used to show contempt when countering arguments that people see as being extreme or just plain stupid.

      But if you really think that those guys actually meant what they said, and weren’t just being hyperbolic, then I suggest you start a conversation with them instead of posting your protest waaaaay down here where they won’t likely even see it.

  • http://blog.discoursesofsuffering.org/ John R. Yamamoto-Wilson

    > On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Sono was no longer a member of the education reform panel, and had resigned at the end of October 2013.

    Good!

  • Zizal

    Good,no need for the gaymerican cancer to spread into the east.

  • tisho

    This kind of thinking is created from the belief that one is superior to others. That women simply believes Japanese people are better and superior to others and therefore others are not equal and should be treated as such. She doesn’t even consider Japanese to fall into the same category as all the other Asian people. How delusional. I wonder who exactly what to come to Japan ? Maybe instead of debating on allowing immigrants and treating them like inferior dogs, they should debate how to actually make other people want to come to their country. There are just so many people in Japan that believe they are better than others, even thought they wouldn’t show it. The whole attitude of arrogance is just that. The believe that one is better than somebody else. These people are so delusional and detached from reality it’s just scary isn’t it. But the roots of all comes from their educational system and governance.

  • WeebM@STERilan

    Zyklon Ben”Burnin gooks by day, lynchin spooks by night” Garrison approves this idea

  • Gotterdamm

    A nation is a nation because of its people. The will of the people have the ultimate authority in how the destiny of their nation unfolds.

    If the Japanese say no to immigration and want to keep Japan a nation of Japanese, then that’s for them to decide.

    In the west, our ethics and values come from different sources – the Greeks, the Romans, God, The Enlightenment. In the Far East, the origins of morality come from far different sources. Do not label someone as “xenophobic” because they have a different view of immigration and multi-culturalism than you. You can advocate mass immigration in the West as much as you want, but you have no place to decide how Japan should determine her fate.

    Living in a foreign country is a privilege, not a right. To think that westerners should impose their world view on the Japanese is the height of hubris.

    • blondein_tokyo

      You seem to be saying that all views are valid; and as such, there is no such thing as xenophobia or racism.

      If that were the case, then Hitler was just another dude with an opinion.

  • Piro Ichiro

    When, like in Western Europe, 30% of the population in Japan will be non-Japanese, will you still call this country “Japan”? Or will it be yet another globish USA avatar?

    • blondein_tokyo

      I think it should be called the “USA of Japan”. :)

  • leconfidant

    Maybe the government could create special zones just for racists.

    Suits me.

  • Joe

    We can’t blame Sono for this… Because most foreigners in Japan shows a treat to their culture and society…

  • Gerardo Gallo

    probably the two Japanese deaths are still not enough to make it clear to the Japanese people that many people outside Japan have a culture (or a way of behaving) like animal cultures. Just think that many ISIS activists are resident in Britain, France, etc. People (but in this case, animals) that have never adapted to the culture that housed them. I do not say that Japanese culture is a superior culture, but at least is a different culture. I don’t say japanese is A+ and arab, negger,indian, are B-. I say that If you take a taxi in Egypt or in the US, you must give the tip. But not in Japan. I am only saying that the Japanese culture is too different from many countries. and as with all things, there is the need of a period of “acclimatization” to live without problems. Can you imagen an arab inside a Maid Cafe? but the problem can come in the future, when newcomers can oppose Japanese traditions, in Japan. Exactly wath happens now in Britain, France, Italy, etc. Countries that have accepted wild immigration without providing an adequate program of “acclimatization”. Japan, wake up! do not be fooled. Defend your culture ! Even when “Others” say “it’s racism”. Because, in truth, the “Others” are just jealous

  • Perry Dace

    As a South African-born resident of Japan I was horrified to read this. apartheid was our country’s greatest shame; an inhuman system that required torture and brutality on a huge scale to uphold and scorned every notion of democracy. Dear Japanese people, do not listen to this awful idea.

    • Micah 李 文 Jung

      So your black living in Japan how do you think your skin color has played in Japan do people like it or there is no difference?

      • Perry Dace

        Actually no, I’m a South African of European descent, so not black. The difficulty with your question though, is that it’s really hard for anyone to answer because they only have their own experience to talk about. Several people in Japan have had difficulty however in believing that I could come from Africa since I’m not black.

      • Micah 李 文 Jung

        HAHA yeah peoples ignorance

  • Even Ørjasæter

    So apartheid is a good thing… Now I’ve heard that too…

  • Gerardo Gallo

    i am for Ms Sono. Prevention better than cure. Today, The result of a bad prevention ( or “Inadequate training” of new immigrants ) can be observed in many european cities, …riots, violence… Japan, Wake Up!

  • Oliver Mackie

    Wow, that was clever. You managed to smoothly incorporate an adage. [Ignore the the fact that it a questionable one, it sounds SO poetic.] So, it being a ‘crack’ (as if the fact that it’s humo(u)r doesn’t make it any more smug) makes it o.k. to assert something as blatantly ethnocentric as that, because public discourse in another democracy doesn’t function exactly the way it does in your country of birth means that it’s narrow? The fact that this has been espoused by others before proves nothing other than that there have been NJ who have failed to understand Japan throughout it’s existence, just as there have been those who have have managed to. To paraphrase Edward T.Hall, the fact that you find some behavio(u)r in another culture to be ‘childish’ is about as sure a sign as there is that you have failed to understand it in context.

    Racism doesn’t have to be as blunt and simple as ‘I hate foreigners’ to still be racism. In fact, the type which is ostensibly ‘intellectual’ is even more dangerous, as its proponents deceive themselves into thinking that they are being intellectually rigo(u)ous, when they are not, and some who listen to them fall for the sheep’s clothing.

    • Carl MacIntyre

      Oliver, perhaps you should take a sabbatical from your self-appointed role as defender of all things Japanese and come down from the proverbial ramparts. Clearly, your histrionics about ethnocentricity and racism have gone beyond the bounds of logic and proportionality. Your assertion that criticism equals ethnocentrism equals racism is a position so devoid of logic that it can only be labeled as silly. There’s nothing about Japan that is sacrosanct and the notion that foreigners cannot critically assess Japan is absurd, Nihonjinron-based rubbish.

      You seem to have a propensity to doubling down on your specious arguments. Perhaps you could learn something from that sage American, Will Rogers; if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

      • Oliver Mackie

        “There’s nothing about Japan that is sacrosanct and the notion that foreigners cannot critically assess Japan is absurd, Nihonjinron-based rubbish”

        Correct. My Disqus history is wide open. If you are so inclined, you can check and see that I’ve never defended any of the spurious nihonjin-ron theories. At the same time, however, to assert that deep down ‘everyone is the same’ and that culture is some kind of light veneer which can be dismissed, is against all credible sociological study of the past 200 years or so. So, there’s also nothing about Japan that certain foreigners have a necessarily better propensity to assess than anyone else. It comes down to the approach taken by each individual. There are very difficult barriers to true understanding of any culture, and all cultures have their merits and de-merits.

        I notice from your Disqus history that you are a recent arrival in Japan. Welcome and I wish you every success in your business. If this is your first long-term visit and you came to the Japan Times looking for a balanced debate, I’m afraid you will be disappointed.
        Most of the long-term resident foreigners or naturalized former foreigners have long since left it behind. I would recommend going to FB and seraching for Earl Kinmonth (sometimes posts here as JapaneseBullFighter) a lecturer at several Japanese universities, with a distinguished career teaching Japanese history in the US, UK and Japan. He has made it his business to point out highly distorted reporting of Japan in the world media (there’s a lot of it, as you will see.) His posts attract comments from the community of NJ or naturalized citizens who have masses of experience in Japan, in raising families, working and starting successful businesses. No adherents of Nihonjinron there, but just a bunch of people who actually have the language ability, experience and levelheadedness to offer a balanced perspective. Just as good (though properly moderated) is the NBR Japan Forum, which anyone can join for free, which tends to attract a wide range of current residents, former residents, and Japan-focused experts in many fields.

        I note with interest that this ‘story’ has generated very little discussion there, and that the first thing everyone said was, “let’s look at the original article in Japanese.” Very weary they were (from long experience) of such sensationalist stories being distorted, consciously or otherwise, to generate outrage and clicks. I note with some satisfaction that, due to my posts, that the JT has now made three changes to the original article, in the blurb, in the text, and now in the headline. Not a bad return for the time spent, though it would have been better had it been unnecessary in the first place.

      • Carl MacIntyre

        Thanks for advice on various sources on Japan and I agree that any sort of attempt at cultural understanding has to be balanced. BTW – I lived in Japan from 1983 to 1993, so not my first rodeo here. I do, however, find myself in the position of not being overly concerned with understanding the whole Japanese culture thing. Perhaps that’s due to my age (60) or focusing on my business, but I’m just happy living in the moment and simply enjoying my walks though older neighborhoods.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Sounds like a good plan.

  • Jiru Ryōichi Cazzano Kawasumi

    I am launching a quick post here regarding my own familystory. I am Italo-Japanese. Mother is from Italy, father from Japan. I do not look Japanese in particular in contrary to my brother but I have never felt a desire to wish i could change one country for the “complete bloodness” of Japan or Italy.

    Now, I am not naive, I know there are people in both countries who would see me as “not genuine” but you know what, it doesnt offend me.

    To me, the comment of Sono appears strange, abit scary and to me sounds like something of “personal desire” rather than something that would help a nation.

    • Micah 李 文 Jung

      cool It doesnt since where do you or I fit in? If I was living in Japan?? Half chinese by the way. have you told your story to others so they realize its not just blacks who have light skinned family members? Yeah i dont get. I feel for me its east meets west and people make such a fuss over race. I do wish we had more chinese things where I live and more european things in my life

  • NoneOfYourBusiness

    It’s opinions like hers that made me rethink my plan of going to Japan to visit my relatives in Kyoto. In my family’s case, I’m the one who’s of Japanese descent (Dad came from Kyoto in 1956 to Canada; my mother was a Japanese-Canadian). I married an Irish girl.

    I wonder what that woman’d think of my Japanese/Irish-Canadian children?
    And the oldest one plays hockey. Probably think that they’d be some unique specimen to lock up in a zoo.
    Bakayaro kichigai bakemono-oba.

    • Micah 李 文 Jung

      Proably. But if you go to black cities you will find blacks are the bigots too.

    • Micah 李 文 Jung

      Look up Marion Barry and what he said about chinese and Japanese. the blacks praised him like he was some sort of god for the black community