/

No-foreigners landlord case shows Japan ‘utterly unprepared’ to fight discrimination: expert

by

Staff Writer

A decision last year by the Justice Ministry’s Kyoto bureau not to pursue a complaint against a landlord’s no-foreigners policy showed Japan was “utterly unprepared” to move on instances of discrimination, according to an expert.

The Kyoto case first flared in January 2013 when exchange student Victor Rosenhoj was moving from Ryukoku University’s Shiga campus to Kyoto and hunting for a new apartment.

Rosenhoj, a Belgian national, submitted a rental application through the university’s student co-op, which arranges apartments for its students. But he was told “matter-of-factly,” he said, that the apartment’s landlord had a no-foreigners policy and it was thus not available for him.

Angered by the move, Rosenhoj took his case to the ministry’s Kyoto bureau in June that year in the hope it would intervene. However, it was not until over a year later, in September 2014, that the bureau notified him by mail his case did not constitute a violation of his human rights.

Hiroshi Tanaka, a professor emeritus of sociology at Hitotsubashi University, says the case underlined the nation’s lukewarm attitude to clamping down on racial discrimination. He also believes Japan should follow other countries and set up a government institution dedicated to preventing human rights violations, as recommended by the United Nations.

“The nation is utterly unprepared to fulfill its responsibility not only to ban discrimination but to safeguard the victims,” Tanaka said.

Rosenhoj, who is no longer an exchange student, told The Japan Times that the bureau’s letter provided no explanation as to why his case had been dismissed. “I thought: ‘Wow, I can’t believe this. This has to be a joke, right?,’ ” he recalled.

Under Justice Ministry policy, its local bureaus can investigate complaints relating to human rights violations, and resolve the dispute through measures that include engaging the concerned parties in dialogue, providing recommendations, or educating people on the issue.

They don’t, however, have the authority to take punitive measures.

Rosenhoj said when he initially filed the complaint, an official at the bureau told him it had no legal authority to resolve the issue and nor could it give him any feedback on the progress of its investigation.

“I thought they were making a fool of me,” Rosenhoj said. “If they can’t tell us anything about their process, or if they don’t have the power to do anything from a legal standpoint, then it’s just a waste of time and resources.”

When contacted by The Japan Times, the Kyoto bureau refused to comment, saying it cannot talk about individual cases.

In Rosenhoj’s case, the bureau notified him in writing that while his claim had been dismissed, it had asked the student co-op to be more sensitive to human rights issues. The letter, however, did not mention the landlord.

Yuko Domen, executive director of Ryukoku University’s student co-op, said she did not recall the bureau talking to her organization about human rights, but acknowledged bureau officials had made some inquiries about Rosenhoj’s case.

The co-op, for its part, has since moved to improve the way it introduces accommodation to foreign students. Starting in fiscal 2014, it began to remove from its brochures details for apartments that have a no-foreigner policy.

Some landlords told the co-op that they were reluctant to take in foreigners because such tenants in the past had occasionally misbehaved or broken rules, such as appropriating a shared item in their apartments.

“If there are foreigners who have broken those rules in the past, they should absolutely be punished,” Rosenhoj said, “but that shouldn’t reflect on other foreigners.”

  • montaigne1

    ‘In Rosenhoj’s case, the bureau notified him in writing that while his claim had been dismissed, it had asked the student co-op to be more sensitive to human rights issues. The letter, however, did not mention the landlord.’

    -Yeah, that should take care of the problem, thanks a lot.

    -I had a situation a few years ago when I was looking for an apartment where a real estate company owner told me he had no apartments for foreigners, despite the fact I went there with my now Japanese wife (we were engaged at the time). I should have complained so the bureau could have told him to be ‘more sensitive.’ I’m sure that would have taught him a lesson.

    • primalxconvoy

      I once knew a half Japanese girl who was told that, in order to secure a flat, should be absent herself (as she didn’t look “Japanese enough”), while among only her Japanese mother to secure the deal. She was also told to state that her father ” had died “, lest the landlord demand to meet her “embarrassing” Indian father.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      When I was apartment hunting the first time, after a string of “Yes he’s foreign…oh…O.K., sorry, bye.” phone calls at the estate agents my G.F. asked “Would it be different if he was Japanese?” to which the staff smilingly replied “Of course! See, it’s like when you have an animal or something.”, smile, smile.

      • CLJF

        Worse than that, when I (a Japanese-speaking foreigner) went to a real estate agent to try to find an apartment to rent, my application was rejected by some landlords because I, and not my husband, was the breadwinner of the family. But gender discrimination is even more widespread here than racial discrimination…

      • Steve Jackman

        What can you say, it’s a primitive society.

      • blondein_tokyo

        I was turned down for an apartment not because I’m a foreigner, but because I was a woman- who was divorced.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        Without trying to get into an argument, how is gender discrimination “worse” than racial discrimination? I was being told that landlords were turning me down because, to them, I was the same as a dog.

      • CLJF

        Pretty sure that two forms of discrimination at once is worse than one.

  • jimbo jones

    what anti-discrimination laws?

    • TV Monitor

      Indeed, gender and race based discrimination is perfectly legal in Japan.

  • Ron NJ

    The letter from the ministry continued, “If you don’t like it, you should go back to your own country. This is Japan.”

  • primalxconvoy

    This is nothing new for racist Japan. What’s saddening is the usual Japanese whitewashing of the incident, with the university merely removing racist landlords’ flats from FOREIGN brochures, instead of politely refusing to do business with such landlords.

    Still, who cares, right? China is the go-to place in Asia these days. By the time Japan wakes up and starts welcoming foreigners, everyone else will be part of the Federation, and will be making first contact with extra terrestrials…

  • Tim Johnston

    No way……
    There’s no discrmination in this country??
    Who would ever think that?
    Pmsl

  • Tim Johnston

    I block it out!
    at the end of the day ignorance is a lack of education and a lack of being diverse to different cultures, for being the 3rd largest economy, you’d think there would be more individual freedom and thinking outside the box.

    Unlikely to change anytime soon, everything has to be examined and cross examined and approved by their superiors in Japan. They lack the casual, relax vibe most other countries are fortunate to experience on a daily basis.
    rigid and methodical in every sense of to much seriousness, I try to laugh it off.
    Life is short, Laugh!!

  • Hendrix

    Disgusting , this is a country that is part of the world community and part of the G8 or whatever its called these days etc… but still lives in the 1950s regarding anti discrimination laws and prejudice… and they get rewarded with the olympics in 2020 ! … japan has had a free pass which should have expired a long time ago..

    • Steve Jackman

      Yet, the standard response of the Japanese government when asked why Japan still has no laws against racial discrimination is that such laws are not needed because racial discrimination is not a problem in Japan. The Japanese are the masters of denial!

      • tisho

        Discrimination of all sorts are a major problem in Japan, but it is not going to go away just because the gov. says so. it is private individuals that want to discriminate, and they have all the right to do so. This will change only when people change, then they will stop discriminating on their own will. Only the gov. does not have the right to discriminate, private citizens do. To speed the process, what the gov. can do is eliminate the dozens of regulations/restrictions imposed upon businesses, that would make it more easy to fire/hire people, and the risk for businesses will drop, thus businesses now will not be able to afford to discriminate as they will be competing to hire the best and the brightest as it’s the case with the US. I am sure many big businesses in the US want to discriminate too, but they cannot afford to do so because they need the best people they can find, and if they do discriminate, the society will react and their business will be bankrupt, so they cannot afford to do it. In order to achieve the same thing in Japan, the gov. must stop intervening into the economy. Currently, there are way too many regulations and gov. intervention, the burocracy is too large.

      • Hanten

        Let’s remove the laws against murder while we’re at it, shall we?

        Laws against discriminating against people of other races, genders and sexualities have been found to very effective deterrents. Coupled with an effective education campaign, like the ones seen in your dear America, real change in behavior can happen in less than a generation. Laws or education alone have rarely effected much change.

        Also, it’s spelled bureaucracy. You’re welcome.

      • Minxy Minamoto

        Racial discrimination still happens in your utopia, America and it’s the law that is used to teach the bigots a lesson.
        When’s Japan going to join the modern world and outlaw bigotry?

      • tisho

        No, law is what encourages discrimination in America because it creates incentives for business owners to not want to hire groups of people that are more likely to sue you if they disagree with something.

        There is a low of discrimination happening in Japan but the gov. is not going to solve that problem, the gov. is part of the problem to begin it as i explained above.

      • Minxy Minamoto

        You think the government is part of the problem and that the free market will solve anything which is sad. They were the “philosophies” behind deregulating the American banking system which lead to the GFC. Thank you free market economy!
        Back to discrimination…
        I would love to think that you’re treated fairly in Japan but I bet you see lots of disadvantage being heaped upon you.

      • screendummie

        The U.S. banking system is highly regulated. The U.S. has never had a true free market it either. Currently it is heavy regulated market. The problem with regulation is that it is impossible to control all aspects of a market.

      • Minxy Minamoto

        And yet when some bankers sought to lessen the regulations they American congress gave into them. Which lead to lots of loans being made to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back, a toxic debt crisis and then the GFC.
        Back to discrimination…

      • screendummie

        No it didn’t. Tell me what law that was repealed that caused the financial problems?

      • Minxy Minamoto

        The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission concluded that the financial crisis was avoidable and was caused by “widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision,”

      • screendummie

        Did you just make this up? Or was this unfounded opinion?
        You didn’t state any actual causes!

      • bluetortilla

        How about GREED for a cause?

      • screendummie

        So you don’t have any idea either.

      • bluetortilla

        No, I stated the cause: GREED. You’re the one egging everyone on without revealing what you apparently know that everyone else does not. What report is this? You expect anyone to take seriously a financial report compiled by the government of the United States, the World Empire? Man, you are about as brain dead as a white suburban American on the 4th of July.

      • screendummie

        At least you admit you’re an ignorant bigot. I have a good idea of a number of causes but I think it is pointless to tell you since already have your beliefs.

      • Minxy Minamoto

        The Financial Crisis Commission concluded…

      • screendummie

        Concluded what? You didn’t even read that 600 report. You took a partial quote without any context.

        Apparently you don’t really know the causes.

      • Minxy Minamoto

        I love your profile name.

        You have no idea what I’ve read or not. Anyway, let’s get back to discussing discrimination. What do you think can be done about racial discrimination in Japan?

      • screendummie

        Is an ad hominem the best you can do?

        The housing crash had to do mostly with government pressures. When lending standards were lowered down to 3% money down for a house this was a sure fire way to cause a housing crash. It was not the lack or de-regulation but re-regulation that caused the financial mess. Now the government has lowered it to 3% money down for a house again. Lessens not learned.

        It wasn’t just the government and lenders at fault but those buying a house with so little equity put into and no wages to back the purchase. Some even lied about their income and the banks did not perform their due diligence by verifying it. Both at fault and none wants blame.

        If I had it my way, no one would be allowed to buy a house without 20% equity. It creates a stake for both lender and buyer.

        You know some people blame the partial repealing of the Glass-Steagall Act when Clinton was president but it has been proven untrue. Even President Obama admitted the repealing of that act was not a cause.

        How do I know such things? It is because I’m small retail investor. I do my best to understand the markets and economics.

        I gather you have little saved up and nothing invested. Proclaiming greed but not explaining it is mental laziness.

        As for Japan, the Japanese need to admit that many are racists. The Japanese need to admit a lot about themselves and their history. Part of Japan’s problem is that it is a consensus society. Once something has been agreed upon it is very difficult to disagree on it afterward.

        I’ve lived in Korea and China and know they have plenty of racists too.

      • bluetortilla

        Cause two: necromancers like you that baffle with B.S.

        Economics is a farce, a pallor trick, a big fat lie, a way to deflect blame off of the people who are causing the pain and to blame it on the weather. It’s the alchemy of our times, and Wall Street isa chock full of spin maser sorcerers.

        When some idiot starts spewing economics, my advice is to roll your eyes, walk away, and say the serenity prayer.

      • screendummie

        Ad hominem is the best you can do.

      • bluetortilla

        I believe the term at this phase is ad nauseam…

      • bluetortilla

        I think it’s best to ignore the ad hominem sapiens. The person is clearly the person his name says he is.

      • screendummie

        I’m not sure what you mean by teach bigots a lesson. President U.S. Grant did it at the point of a bayonet but it didn’t work. You don’t know much U.S. history.

      • Minxy Minamoto

        I would never justify war in such a way.

        Education and law can be used together to create fairer societies. If you don’t want a fairer society, I can’t help you.

      • screendummie

        Well that was not war. This was the U.S. of Federal troops to enforce the rule of law at the point of a gun.

        You kind of forget that when General Douglas MacArthur was the in charge of the Occupation of Japan he did use armed troops to protect woman to vote for the first time ever in Japan. Sometimes you need guns to protect the rights of others.

      • bluetortilla

        Actually it did work until Vice President Andrew Johnson took over and allowed the dismantling of the framework for civil rights that had been in place. The KKK quickly followed. You don’t know YOUR history. We also ignore the fact that many black lynching occurred in places like New York and Boston. I guess people are just hateful everywhere.
        Also, Jim Crow remains dead today because of federal intervention by the Kennedy and (dubiously enough) Johnson administrations. Big govt. can overturn racist practices.

      • screendummie

        What are you talking about? The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed after Lincoln’s death not before. It was not dismantled because it was simply not enforced by the executive! President Grant used Federal troops inside the old Confederacy states to impose civil rights. In the end it did not work. You clearly did not understand my post.

      • bluetortilla

        How do you expect anyone to understand a post so truncated as that?
        The point is that the failure, which led to Jim Crow, sharecropping, and disenfranchisement of a people who were formerly legally owned as slaves, did not fail because of one white general (who did little as President either), a law on paper, or any other particular person or event but rather on the determination of Southern white landowners and a white society to keep a people under their heel and the unwillingness of similarly racist North to raise a finger against it. It suited them just as well no doubt. It is the societal structure that is on trail, its behavior, not its laws. It is the same structure that lies when it tells Americans that they live in a free country. That lies when it says its wars against innocent populations are to protect itself from terrorists. Its lies when it doesn’t reveal that its currency is pegged to the dollar, not to the silly federal reserve system. Its lies about assassinating Presidents who don’t do what they’re told. Its lies about orchestrating attacks like 9/11, sacrificing its own citizens like all dictatorships do. Its lies in its refusal to admit to plans to and its readiness to go to WW3 over oil and doesn’t care who it kills in the process. That’s what’s on trail here. A government’s- any government’s- inability or willingness to give a damn about people.
        The truth about the Civil War is that blacks are still struggling for their freedom in the United States- the Civil War, after all, was about secession not slavery (and yes I am aware of the date of Emancipation Proclamation).
        Unless you can write more than 25 words, I wouldn’t be accusing people of ignorance Screendummie.

      • Jay

        I understand your views, and it may be true that governments cannot legislate discrimination away, however, governments have to take the lead in telling its citizens that ours is a society that will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race. Or age or sex, for that matter. Discrimination will always happen, everywhere, but the government should not sanction it by leaving it alone.

      • Hikari

        Are you sure it’s discrimination? I agree Japanese treat foreigners differently to their own people, but sometimes they treat you better because you’re a foreigner. Everywhere else in the world, foreigners pay way more tuition than locals, because the tax paid by parents help cover part of child’s tuition, but in Japan the fees are lower for foreigners because, well, foreigners. You come a long way, have many other expenses, it’s cool to have you show us your culture and for you to experience us a bit, surely Japanese won’t mind if we charged them a bit less to help make it happen. That’s the mentality. Is that discrimination too? It is, to us, an inequality, but we don’t see it negatively like Westerners do.

    • tisho

      People with socialist mentality like yourself believe that everything can be solved by gov. force, you are wrong. If i am a private business owner and i do not desire to do business with someone for whatever reason i might have, regardless of whether my reasons are dumb or anything, then that is my full right, i have the right to deny doing business with anyone i want, it is my own business, the gov. does not have the right to intervene and tell me who i can do business with and who i cannot. Furthermore, if the gov. does intervene and tries to make me do business with someone i don’t want to, that creates an incentive in me to come up with creatives and cunning ways of denying that same person, while otherwise i would’ve just be honest and say that i do not want to do business with him, now i will be forced to come up with a lie to deny him. There are millions of businesses, if someone does not want to do business with you, just go to somebody else. This is what a free society is all about.

      • Minxy Minamoto

        Tisho, I am guessing that you think socialist is an insult and yet socialist democracies like Sweden, Denmark and Australia have very civil societies. Nationalized healthcare, paid parental leave and anti-discrimination laws have been very effective uses of government force. There have by most measures, freer societies than Japan’s.

        Could you please try paragraphing and spell-checking your comments? That’d make your posts easier to read.

      • Hendrix

        He is a complete tool, probably a shill for the right wing in japan.

      • tisho

        I am not supporter of the right wing of Japan and you would know that if you had read my previous comments. The right wing in Japan is the left wing in Europe and America.

      • tisho

        No i don’t think socialist is an insult, i think people that believe in socialism are insane, because insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You have to defy that exactly ”civil society” means, but Sweden, Denmark and Australia are far from socialists, they rank consistently on the top of economic freedom index, ease of doing business and all other charts that measure economic freedom, that’s why they are rich. They do however have a lot of problems with their welfare states and gov. intervention into people’s lives. I assume you are not aware of the feminist insanity in Sweden ? Type in Youtube – feminism in Sweden and see what i am talking about, this is what gov. intervention does to you. You also talk about healthcare, i assume you meant to say ”free healthcare” ? There is no such thing a free healthcare, that money has to come from the people in the form of a tax, that’s why the taxes are so high in those countries with ”free” healthcare, and by the way, there are other issues that ”free healthcare” bring with it, such as long waiting hours and so on. There were a lot of cases in which UK mothers give birth outside the room because they cannot wait any longer. Yes they are freer, but only in terms of economy, not society. Not being able to say deny selling flowers to whomever you want is not an indication of free society to me.

      • bluetortilla

        You’re assuming that the present system is the only one possible, which is of course false.
        I’m not saying that we should live like tribal societies, but there indeed you systems that are obviously pre-socialist and yet there is no concept of private property. Even during the Middle Ages the lords did not own property- only the king did.
        Point being that our construct of cooperate capitalism is new, and is not going well at all. We need change- drastic change. Once again I apologize for getting off topic. I just don’t think blanket generalizations like the ones you make above get to the reality of the chaotic world we are living in. I do agree however that ideology is bunk.

      • bluetortilla

        Actually he’s right. Homo sapiens evolved from an ape straight to a free marketing right to be a bigot capitalist. Anything else is wrong wrong wrong and a corrupter of youth. This forum is so lucky to be blessed by someone who knows everything about economics and ideology. Think I’ll go polish my boots now…

      • Hendrix

        Socialist? … I’ve been called many things but that really makes me laugh, your ignorance is plain to see you know f all about me, rant all you like on JT cause you are just digging your own hole

      • Hendrix

        Yes the government doesnt have the right to intervene but it sure has a responsibility to set an example which the J government isn’t doing.

      • tisho

        I agree with that.

      • Steve Jackman

        Not only does a government have the right, but indeed an obligation, to intervene when the civil and human rights of any of its residents are violated. This is lost on the Japanese government, when it comes to protection of civil and human rights of Japan’s foreign residents.

      • bluetortilla

        I agree too. But I don’t think we should single out Japan w/o acknowledging that racism is everywhere. Tell me one country that is not racist.

        I do believe that Japan sticks out because they’ve been in a semi-protectorate state since WWII and have not evolved as quickly as other nations. But human rights are violated everywhere all the time.

      • bluetortilla

        I agree too Jimmy. But I’d also add that it’s universal.
        I do believe that Japan sticks out because they’ve been in a semi-protectorate state since WWII and have not evolved as quickly as other nations. But human rights are violated everywhere all the time.

      • MCD

        Tisho, would you argue this way if *you* were denied an apartment in the USA because you’re Japanese? (which I assume you are.)

      • tisho

        I would argue this way and i will continue to support individual freedom. I am a free market capitalism supporter. I am not Japanese, I am European (from Bulgaria). Like i already explained in my previous comments, there is discrimination happening all the time, everywhere, every single day under various shapes and forms. That includes the USA. And discrimination is not limited to race or gender. In the USA, currently there is a big problem with discrimination all caused by the gov. and the special privileges they give to some groups of people, including women. All this makes private businesses to not want to hire any of these groups of people because they risk being sued by an angry person who believes he has been unjustly fired or not given something, almost 100% of the times the courts will side with the special privilege group. Like i explained many times, if someone refuses to rent you an apartment, just find someplace else. The gov. cannot do anything about it. Even if there is a law against it, next time you’re not going to get a message saying – we don’t want to give you this apartment because you’re foreigner, you will get a message saying – sorry this apartment is already taken. Simple as that.

      • bluetortilla

        tisho, it will be hard for you to accept this, but you have been brainwashed. We all have, so nothing bad on you, but you will feel SO better when you see how it was done.
        Anyway, point: There has been very little freedom, including in markets, in all of history. What you are calling free market capitalism most likely applies to the Dutch colonization invention of starting the Dutch East Indies Company. That’s pretty much the first modern capitalist institution. That they went on with that charter to brutalize and commit genocide in parts of Indonesia (‘The Spice Islands’) is not so famous (or unprecedented). The system we have now is called ‘corporate capitalism’ (though I figure you know that) and though its basic form has been more or less similar for a long time now, never before has ‘branding’ consumerism become so widespread and certainly never before has Wall Street (i.e. world wide bankers) been so transparent in speculative trade and political lobbying (buying political power). The economy has always been to the bankers’ advantage, but we’re over the top now.

        Now, as individuals, where our minuscule slice of freedom fits into this system you tell me. You see, this whole thread is not really about racism and discrimination as it is about money. You have enough money and the landlord ain’t gonna care if you’re black, blue, green, or from Mars. That’s the world.

      • tisho

        I don’t know what was the first ever trading company, i am sure it wasn’t the Dutch East Indies as there was trade much happening around the world much prior to that. Also, free market capitalism did not came from that company, the idea of free market capitalism came from Adam Smith who is contributed as the founder of market capitalism even since he wrote his notorious book – the wealth of nations, which is a huge peace of book in which he analyses how a nation growth and becomes rich and how it doesn’t, he explains how only free trade and free economy can guarantee a wealthy economy. After writing that book, England was the first country to adopt capitalism and free market as it’s national economic policy but also as a foreign policy as well. Those were the years England expanded it’s empire and colonized a lot of countries, but they didn’t slaughter people around the streets, they would do trade with them, forcefully if necessary,as was the case with China. China refused to do trade with England because they believed they were too superior and there was nothing England can offer them, that’s why England forcefully made its way through the opium wars.

        The United States become a wealthy country because of free market capitalism, you will not find a country on this globe that is rich and not have a free market economy or at least had at some point of its growth period. And you will not find a rich country that has a socialist policies. The US in the 19th century was the freest country on the planet, anybody who wanted could jump on a boat and go there. There was no gov. intervention of any sort, no welfare, no taxes, no nothing. People were left completely free and the market was left free. The result is that the US growth to become the largest economy, attracting millions of immigrants from all around the globe every single year, also known as the 3 big waves of immigration. Why would a dirt poor guy from Asia or any country who doesn’t speak a word of the language want to travel hundreds of miles to come to a country knowing there is nobody to help him ? Because of economic freedom and the believe he can do anything and achieve anything if he works hard enough. The stories of people that grew from milk sellers on the street to giant company CEOs is countless. The entire hollywood was made by cheap immigrants, and the list goes on and on.

        I can give you all the examples you want of evidence that when you leave the economy free and do not intervene, you allow people that know how to create wealth to do it, and their contributions are priceless.

        Also, yes, what we have today is not free market capitalism by any means, it is something we call ”mixed economy” also known as crony capitalism. It is a mixture of capitalism and socialism. There is a long history of this too. In the US, it started during the great depression, when the president Hoover instead of allowing the economy to restructure and not intervene, he did the exact opposite of that and begun massive intervention by state funded project, he massively expanded the welfare, the minimum wage and begun a cycle that goes on to this day. Because, as one of the founding fathers of the US said – when people learn to vote themselves money, that would be the end of this country. And he was right 100 percent, this is exactly what happened. As the gov. intervene more and more, the economy become less and less free, and the problems begun occuring one by one, the jobless rate in particular of minorities massively increased, which leads to people want even more gov. intervention and the gov. promising even more ”help” they can’t deliver, and this goes on and on to this very day. Right now, it is virtually impossible for any US president to come out and say what really needs to be done because nobody will vote for him. People want to hear that the gov. will help him by giving them free stuff, free money, more welfare, more socialism. They don’t want to hear how the minimum wage literally destroys jobs and gov. intervention forces companies to move abroad. The only way a president can get things done is by lying to get elected and then do what’s right to be done.

        Also, your last statement is false too. Sure, some people will swallow their hate and let you in the bar or rent you an apartment if you gave them a lot of money, but this scenario is ridiculous on its own. First of all, why would you want to pay so much extra money for an apartment you know the owner hates you, and you can get a cheaper one someplace else ? Also, most foreigners get rejected online before they ever see each other with the land owner, which means the landowner have no way of knowing how rich these people are, he just doesn’t like giving it to foreigners, and he has all the right to do so. I am not saying its a good thing, i am saying he has the freedom to do it.

      • bluetortilla

        While i agree with little of what you’re regurgitating here, I must say I admire your passion! Very thorough.

        Wikipedia on Dutch E. I. Company: “t is often considered to have been the first multinational corporation in the world [2] and it was the first company to issue stock.[3]”
        Adam Smith: First, I would not contribute the whole of ‘western’ economic development to one man. What you call ‘free markets’ emerged from colonial conquests, of which England was the greatest holder of, and one of the foremost slave traders as well. Not exactly ‘free.’ Adam Smith declared without any sort of evidence at all that currency was an inevitably for rational man and that before currency there existed barter. The truth is that barter as a practice has always been quite uncommon and that currency was first used to pay soldiers in war.

        You are really selective in your portrayal of an everyone can get rich, opportunities abounding America. You left out all the 19th C. squalor, racism, wage slavery, organized crime, disease, and hunger, just to name a few of the not so great aspects of America. I’ll throw in the Chinese Exclusion Act and the KKK as well as evidence of America’s attitudes. In any case, the U.S., now a dominating and brutal world empire, is a country just like any country- no better no worse, just as greedy and power mad. Unfortunately, the riches you seem so enamored by have led to a locust like consumer frenzy that is spreading around the globe and threatening our very survival as a species.

        Crony capitalism provides breaks to the rich and the industrialists, not to the common person. Crony capitalism is the very antithesis of a welfare state. It’s Roosevelt you’re talking about by the way, not Hoover. Most rational economists would argue that when an economy grows too big or unwieldy, regulation is warranted. Unfortunately the vast bulk of that regulation has overwhelmingly benefited the corporate elite; they are the culprits of the current economic crisis, not programs like social security.

        Obviously you’re not a millionaire, because if you were you wouldn’t know people hated you, wouldn’t care if they diid, and wouldn’t frequent dives where you weren’t treated like a king. You’d be living in a mansion in Roppongi, not some roach hotel in Narima. If you were like most multimillionaires anyway. And you wouldn’t be wasting your time writing with me.

      • bluetortilla

        There goes Tisho again with that ‘socialist mentality’ stuff. I suppose you find Walmart, Costco, and Starbucks to be real winners for free markets, a great boon to us all? There ain’t gonna be much talk about ideology when the food starts running out.

    • screendummie

      It isn’t just Japan. It is much of East Asia in general. Koreans and Chinese are not much different. People in the West keep thinking the East is just like it. You know the same ideals and philosophy even if it is not true.

      • bluetortilla

        I have found Korea to be quite like Japan, probably more xenophobic, but China a whole other world. Sure, there is discrimination (where is there not?), but China to me is far more direct and easier to get things done. It’s very easy to get an apartment in China for example, and if you speak Mandarin people don’t really care much as far as jobs go (if you’re a specialist they don’t even care about that). They will take advantage of weaknesses in your visa however when it comes to business ownership. Overall, i would say China is far more willing to use foreign talent and skills, while Japan remains highly and frustratingly exclusive. Maybe that’s why, for better or worse for our already fragile earth, China continues to grow while Japan is stuck in the mire and not getting better.

    • gigi4747

      Why do you think there is a “right” to live in someone else’s property? There is no such thing. Just like if you owned a place, you shouldn’t have to have anyone there that you don’t want there.

      • bluetortilla

        And in a broader sense why would think that there is some inherit ‘right’ to own land at all? That is a concept peculiar to culture and ultimately enforced by arms.
        It is foolish to make blanket statements like gigi and reveals his/her lack of compassion. Of course land owners have ‘rights,’ but ultimately those rights are protected by courts and courts have the final say in regards to cases like racial discrimination or human rights. If a person doesn’t like that, then too bad- it’s the law.

    • lasolitaria

      “lives in the 1950s” is a statement that makes absolutely no sense outside the West. It assumes that changes that happened in Western societies are universal and desirable for all the regions and cultures of the world.

      • Hendrix

        Japan isnt some seperate planet where they can just do what they like, they are part of the world so they need to get with the program.. thats the reason why Japan is in terminal decline, they are isolating themselves into oblivion …

      • lasolitaria

        “they need to get with the program”

        Whose program?
        Who has the authority and legitimacy to make everybody follow this program?
        And why is this program a world program rather than a regional program?

        I’m what they call a Classical Liberal, yet I accept the fact that belief in moral equality and repudiation of discrimination, both key ideas of Liberalism which I deeply support, are a Western product -there was no Liberal Revolution outside the West. Other cultures, some older than ours, simply aren’t so revolted by discrimination. It’s not our position to tell them how to do things.

      • bluetortilla

        Actually it makes sense all over the world for anyone knows some history. Where was the theatre for the Cold War? On the other hand, the statement probably makes no sense at all to millenniers anywhere.
        I believe Japan has not grown along with the rest of the world because of its stunting relationship with the U.S. As long as it remains a military protectorate and a foreign policy puppet it will never have to really face the tough decisions other nations must grapple with. One reason the right wing is so dangerous in Japan is that it Japan does sever military ties with U.S. it would almost certainly start a new arms race with China. I don’t think any of us can quite grasp the consequences of that.

      • lasolitaria

        This has nothing to do with the Cold War. We’re discussing discrimination here.

        When you mention the 1950s, you refer to a time IN AMERICA when discrimination was widely accepted, encouraged and even supported by law, just before social reforms campaigned to end it. Japan had no Jim Crow Laws, no Atlantic Slave Trade, not even other races to deal with for a long time, so the reference has no meaning for them.

        Ending discrimination is not any sort of growth or progress, it’s just preferable. If in the future the West has a major turn towards radical conservatism and traditional morality, people will actually say that moral equality was a step backwards. It has happened before, it can happen again. So you better stop parroting what the mainstream says and question your own values, so you can be prepared to uphold them when the time comes. I know I am, because I know that achievements like the end of discrimination can’t be taken for granted as some kind of natural development in history but must be constantly defended.

      • bluetortilla

        Oh, and bullying third world nations and putting their people into indentured slavery, as well as starting senseless and cruel proxy wars does not fit into your definition of discrimination? Discrimination comes in many forms you know.
        The point is that the U.S. was, and continues to be using Japan as its protectorate to maintain its might in Asia. As such the nation’s growth has been stunted as a result of living under the U.S. military umbrella and being a yes dummy in foreign policy. They have not had to worry about their neighbors and as a result have seen little need to change. And that’s why Japan today is reminiscent of the the latter 20th Century.
        Also ending discrimination is not preferable, it is imperative. Or I guess you one of the billions on this earth blind to the inedibility of WW3 if we continue to hate each other.

      • lasolitaria

        Your examples actually attack your own point. Can’t you see that saying “imperative” is the first step towards the use of force and war? It is precisely intervention in foreign lands to impose “imperative” developments what will lead us to WW3. Those are the excuses America has used to meddle into other people’s affairs since the end of WW2. Don’t you remember what was the purpose of the American occupation of Japan? What was the Cold War about, if not America on one side and the USSR in the other trying to impose their “imperative” worldviews? Look at how recent intervention in the Middle East is partially justified by a need to end Muslim discrimination against non-Muslim and women. So you and the U.S. Government you criticize actually stand for the same thing, the main difference being that they have all the power and you have a keyboard.

        Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe our values are better. I just think that it’s not our prerogative to force them into other peoples. If our values really are absolutely better, as you believe, it follows that they’ll naturally catch up, right?

      • bluetortilla

        “Your examples actually attack your own point”

        What is this, the high school debate club? It is imperative to protect human rights. It’s a non sequitur to say given that, war is also imperative.

        “the main difference being that they have all the power and you have a keyboard.” That is a cruel thing to your fellow human being, and sheds light on your understanding of power. Undoubtedly that angst is something you are experiencing, because I have no idea what you are talking about. How many wars does the power structure have to drag us through, how many more millions need to be slaughter before you can see that a powerful man stripped of his clothes and money is just another man.

        “Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe our values are better.” Frankly, I find it hard to see anything to get right. Our values are better? Really? And I believe that too? Ain’t you the presumptuous, pompous snob!

      • lasolitaria

        Debate club? So here’s where your arguments end and your ranting and mocking starts…

        I think you fail to grasp reality, and reality is that “human rights” as we understand them -inherent, objective, universal- simply don’t exist. They’re a fiction -albeit a great one- that some people *in the West* -the Classical Liberals- came up with *not long ago* to make civil life viable when they overthrew the old system of rule based on ancestry/divinity/brute force. In places where this Liberal revolution never happened, “human rights” means nothing. So when we go and tell them “Hi, we notice that your life sucks so we’re here to introduce you to human rights, cause they’re imperative”, some of them, like some Muslim Arab countries, are bound to say “We like it the way we have it, so let’s see you try”. And then war starts.

        “Our values are better? Really? And I believe that too? Ain’t you the presumptuous, pompous snob!”.
        So our values aren’t better? A value like non-discrimination isn’t better? Then why are you saying that the Japanese and other peoples should adopt non-discrimination? Can you even see the blatant contradictions in your statements? I believe that our values are better, I just don’t believe they’re *objectively* and *absolutely* better but you do, seeing as you expect everybody to adopt them.

        “how many more millions need to be slaughter before you can see that a
        powerful man stripped of his clothes and money is just another man.”
        I don’t even… I’ve said absolutely nothing to this effect. It’s like you’re in a whole different discussion. Let’s agree to disagree.

      • bluetortilla

        I’m not sure if you’re arguing that the human experience is not indeed universal. That sort of non-scientific superstition guarantees continual ethnocentrism, nationalism, et al. I could not disagree more that the West badgering the rest of the world to enforce human rights has been the cause of any single war. The last I’ve heard the West, in particular the U.S., has been the worst violator of human rights by a vast margin. My venture is to say geopolitical jockeying is what wars are made of. Finally, all the basic human rights are listed right there in the U.N. Charter. Any nation that is a member is legally bound to those provisions to maintain membership. The fact that they are not enforced is another matter entirely.

        In any case you’re definitely right about one thing. Arguing on forums like these is tiring and a complete waste of time (anyone can check at Disqus all the posts I’ve made over the last few years). And I believe my own intentions seem to become skewed even as I write them. That perhaps is the nature of this medium. I think if we really want to contribute to change, we need to be active ‘out there,’ committed to something. People make the most impact in direct contact with other people.

        That said, peace be unto you and your loved ones lasolitaria. We’re all only human, fragile wisps in a heavy wind, with an extremely narrow window of time…

    • Anon

      Sure, as if there was no discrimination in the other countries of G8. Suing Japanese people is definitely the best way to get loved by them!

      • Hendrix

        Most other G8 countries have anti discrimination laws, unlike Japan… and before you mention the Japanese constitution about equal rights for all blah blah, well that only applies to citizens of Japan, not foreigners who are in a grey zone and therefore not “citizens” ( even though they pay tax…live here long term etc)

        Time for japan to get into the 21st century.

  • GBR48

    Yes, the ‘no foreigners’ rule should be illegal, and it should be enforced with a heavy fine every time it crops up, but it won’t happen, not least because the primary ‘no foreigners’ industry remains adult services, and that’s Yakuza-run.

    And even if they did outlaw it, legal alternatives would be implemented, such as a registration procedure requiring Japanese language skills, a Japanese bank account, Japanese ID, and Japanese everything else, as already successfully used by various organisations in other industries to keep the gaijin out.

    The university could stipulate that only landlords that accept foreigners would be considered for any student lodgings, but that would require an inspirational stand for truth and justice, and in Japanese administrative circles, the Force is not strong: the herd instinct prevails. On their wage, having grown up in a pro-conformist society, you probably wouldn’t do a Rosa Parks, either.

    All nations have their flaws, Eastern and Western, and some are more deep-rooted than others. All you can do is hope that future generations may be more pleasant than those that will inexorably pass into prejudiced, small-minded dust.

    In the meantime, welcome to Asia.

    China indoctrinates its kids with pro-Mao propagandist crap, tries to lock down the internet and locks up anyone who voices opposition, keeping the spirit of the 1950s alive for a new century. Thailand kissed goodbye to democracy and is now a military dictatorship – if not a banana republic, then a mangosteen republic. In Malaysia you may endanger your freedom if a visiting Kpop star hugs you because of the local religious crazies, and in South Korea, where social media is monitored, should you say the wrong thing in an academic text, blog post or newspaper article, you may get banged up on a fake ‘libel’ charge, the residue of those years of military dictatorship that the country hasn’t quite managed to entirely shake off.

    And that’s without even considering North Korea, the most ethically bankrupt nation in modern history, abductor of foreign citizens, even kids, with a starving, brutalised population controlled by a military dictatorship, run by an unelected pseudo-monarch with nuclear fireworks for toys, the nation beaten into submission by its armed forces and run on a day-to-day basis by criminal gangs. If you invented North Korea for a book it would be condemned as ridiculous, as nobody would believe it actually existed in the 21st century, much less had political support from nations so lacking in basic humanity and ethics that they permit its continued persecution of its indoctrinated, long-suffering population. North Korea remains the greatest stain on the integrity of Asia, for allowing it to exist in the manner that it does, and as it has nuclear capabilities, one day, the continent may well regret its failure to get the exterminators in and dispose of the bugs.

    In Japan, where you are less likely to get gang-raped on a bus, executed for being a drug-smuggling idiot, or have your business ‘supertaxed’ through a fake corruption charge, than in other parts of the continent, you often have to put up with the ‘no foreigners’ rule that the institutional racism and desire for ethnic purity prevalent within the LDP, unchanged since it was more globally popular in the 1940s, has ensured was never outlawed, despite untold years in government.

    The arms-length lives of citizens of foreign origin means that you are less likely to come up against other flaws, such as the cheerful tolerance of the Yakuza (organised criminals with their own shop, website, magazines and quite possibly yuru-kyara), the doping of kids’ textbooks with propaganda and the inability to reform any of the major economic flaws inherit in the monolithic corporate core of the nation. Regarding the stuff you do have to face, all I can suggest it that you roll with it and accept that you have to pay for the many good things Japan offers by tolerating an occasional bit of unpleasant crap that should have been consigned to history. This is, after all, Asia, where even history isn’t consigned to history.

    There’s plenty of racism, institutional and otherwise back home in the West, plenty of dark alleys full of drunks you need to remember to avoid, lots of glass ceilings, domestic violence, juvenile bullying, xenophobia, child abuse, homophobia, rampant gun-craziness, criminally incompetent governance leading to national bankruptcy, tolerance of organised crime and loony psychopathic jihadists. Nowhere is perfect.

    You just have to pick somewhere that is more pleasant than unpleasant, and accept that into every life some rain is gonna fall.

    If you are of foreign origin and in Japan, just be nice, always. Maybe, at some point, more of the locals might warm to us than recoil from us.

    If only human beings could accept those wise words of America’s greatest modern philosophers, Bill and Ted, and just be excellent to each other. The world could be such a nice place.

    • Steve Jackman

      I have two big problems with your comment. First, you are trying to trivialize the issue being discussed by wrongly trying to make its seem that the “No Foreigners” policies in Japan are mainly a problem relating to the adult industry. There’s no mention of adult services in the article, so please focus.

      Secondly, you are trying to confuse the issue by muddying the water and bringing up all sorts of unrelated issues and selective mention of other countries around the world which have nothing to do with this article. Again, please focus!

      • GBR48

        I’ll focus as much as I want when I write my comments. I am quite clear that the ‘no foreigners’ rule should be illegal. That it is fundamental to a Yakuza industry matters in Japan. It is a lot rarer in general Japanese society, where more backhanded ways are often used, such as the very Japanese registration process, unmentioned in the original article.

        It isn’t a trivial issue, but nowhere is perfect and you aren’t going to get any joy moaning about racism in Japan for the 194th time in a JT article, however wrong it is. You can’t just wander into a foreign country and expect them to ‘fix’ all aspects of their society that you don’t like and they do. I compared Japan to other Asian countries with good reason, almost all of which are far worse and declining. Malaysia has just reintroduced some 3rd world legislation to clamp down on political descent. Parts of Asia are, like parts of the Middle East, simply best avoided altogether.

        Japan is different to most Asian countries, largely from the American-led post-WW2 settlement, so it seems a lot more Western and has often sought to be ‘international’ in a way China has never been, and probably never will be.

        So, yes it is a serious issue, but no matter how often you raise it, there is a glass ceiling on just how different from their neighbours Japan is going to be. The people grow up in a conformist society and old habits die hard. Sometimes you have to accept what is on offer, be grateful for the good stuff, roll with the bad stuff, and just get on with life.

      • Steve Jackman

        “just get on with life”. I agree and I don’t think any of us who are critical of Japan’s racism and racial discrimination have stopped living our lives. However, the point is that one can “get on with life”, while at the same time also do the right thing. It’s a matter of “and”, not “or”, since one can, and should, do both.

        In this case, the right thing is to raise awareness of these issues within Japan and globally, and to keep hammering the point until positive change happens. This is especially true at a time when the Japanese government is trying very hard to quell free expression and muzzle those who it considers are critical of it (see the excellent “On My Watch” article published recently, dated April 2, 2015, by the former Tokyo-based journalist Carsten Germis, who writes for the German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeiny Zeitung, for more on this).

        If what you mean by “just get on with life” is to sweep serious issues of our time, which affect those of us living long-term in Japan, under the rug, then I’m afraid I disagree with you. Especially, since the Japanese would be loathe to compare themselves to the third-world countries who have mentioned, in any other area, so why do you compare Japan to them only in this instance.

      • GBR48

        I agree that continuous pressure to change things for the better is a good thing, but living in someone else’s country is a little like living in someone else’s house. There’s only so far you can go.

        And in a country as conformist as Japan, many changes may only be generational.

      • Steve Jackman

        I agree that change happens slowly, especially in a country like Japan. Unfortunately, Japan is going in reverse, so the change happening in Japan seems to be for the worse, not better. As the German journalist Carsten Germis writes in his article in the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan’s magazine, “The country I’m leaving is different from the one I arrived in back in January 2010.” Here’s a link to his excellent article:

        http://www.fccj.or.jp/number-1-shimbun/item/576-on-my-watch.html

      • AndrewMD

        I have to say that not everyone in Japan is racist. Japan is a small country, but you can find racist people any where. Also, you don’t know why they are not accepting foreigners for their rental spaces. For many landlords they have been burned by foreigners that rent out the space, leave it destroyed and then skip town on the next plane out of Japan.

        There is also the issues that the neighbors might not accept some foreigner’s lifestyle. One such thing is the type of foods foreigners cook, it might not smell pleasing. When Japanese live together, they know the smells of cooking will be similar.

        Now this doesn’t mean every foreigner needs to wear a Yukata and one tooth Geta, but learning about the country you are trying to live in can help erase the stereotype.

      • Hanten

        You have just justified racism in Japan against all foreigners by saying that some foreigners cook smelly food, destroy apartments and leave on short notice. I suspect you might be a racist yourself or, at the bare minimum, a racists’ apologist.

        It’s great place to live generally, even as a foreign woman. There are some racists and sexists here and that’s not okay. Being a bigot is never acceptable.

      • gigi4747

        He’s probably correct about the reasons. And ad hominems don’t prove anyone else wrong; they just call into question your own integrity.

      • Hanten

        If someone makes several racist statements in a row, they’re almost certainly a racist. I doubt he’d take that as an insult, though.
        Are you going to try to justify racism, too, now?

      • Steve Jackman

        Do you even realize how ridiculous your comment sounds? If you scan just todays Japanese newspapers, you’ll find that Jiji News is reporting that on March 27, security cameras in South Korea caught 22 Japanese high school students from a soccer team in Saitama stealing 70 items worth 2.5 million Won from 9 department stores in Seoul. Should South Korea now ban all Japanese from entering South Korea? Or, should all department stores in Seoul now put up big “NO JAPANESE” signs?

        Another news story reports that a former head of a school in Yokohama was arrested in Manila for taking photos of lewd acts with underage girls. Should the Philippines now ban all Japanese from entering the country?

      • blondein_tokyo

        “many landlords they have been burned by foreigners that rent out the
        space, leave it destroyed and then skip town on the next plane out of
        Japan.”

        Many landlords have been burned by Japanese who rent out the space, leave it destroyed and then skip town on the next train out.

        What recourse do landlords have against Japanese people who destroy apartments, and then cut and run? Not much. Which is why there is a guarantor system, wherein there is someone else who is then made responsible for the damage.

        Foreigners and Japanese alike must have a Japanese guarantor. This reason, then, is nothing more than a trumped-up excuse to hide the real reason they don’t want to rent to foreigners: they are xenophobic. They simply do not want to deal with a foreigner. This is prejudice; this is discrimination; this is racism.

        With this line of reasoning, you are being an apologist for racism.

      • Hikari

        Thank you sir. Yokoso.

      • Hanten

        Hear, hear!

      • Hanten

        Dissent is different from descent. Just saying.

        Carry on!

  • Steve Jackman

    It is disgusting and disgraceful that this type of blatant racism and racial discrimination continues to takes place in Japan and that it is sanctioned by the Japanese government. This is a clear abuse of civil and human rights of all foreign residents of Japan.

    Unfortunately, it does not come as a surprise to me. This is a country where “Japanese Only” and “No Foreigners” signs are openly displayed, where Japanese employers abuse foreign workers by telling them that Japanese labor laws do not apply to them since they are not Japanese, foreign residents have no legal recourse because judges and lawyers collude against them by breaking the laws themselves to deny them justice and due process of law, and foreigners are constantly treated and portrayed as inferior to the Japanese. Yet, the Japanese government takes every opportunity to tell the world how it is a responsible, open and democratic country. Hogwash!

  • CaptainAsia

    If you think Japan is bad then you should try China. In China foreigners cant own land or a house. They dont veil their racism in China, it is straightforward and in your face, no second guessing. YOU know when they spit on the ground and point to the exit. If you hang around you are gonna get thumped, just like what happened to that New Zealander who suffered from brain damage after a group of Chinese attacked him while looking for an apartment. BTW, they never were arrested. Not only did he get a damaged brain, his blueprints of his model that he wanted to start manufacturing in China got stolen and reproduced without any regard to his patent. Would this happen in Japan? I dont think so.

    • R0ninX3ph

      So, your argument is that because China is worse, its okay for Japan to be discriminatory?

    • Steve Jackman

      Isn’t Japan wonderful? OK, so you’ve made the point that Japan is better than China, but how does that help foreign residents who are living in Japan and facing the types of problems described in the article?

    • AsianReaper

      BS I have bought and sold many houses in shanghai , dude I have lived here 20 plus years I am unsure where you get your facts but they are muddled,

      • Steve Jackman

        And, I almost believed CaptainAsia! Thanks for setting the record straight.

  • Vichy

    *News flash: Discrimination in Japan”.

    Well, discrimination happens (most certainly) in every country in the world…
    I’ve seen and been subject to discrimination in various countries across the continents (I’m a caucasian male), including Japan.

    I experienced the ‘no-foreigner landlord’ discimination in Japan as well.
    Did I care? No.
    Did I find a great apartment easily? Yes.
    In the end, the narrow-minded landlord lost, because I took my money elsewhere.

    Does the fact that discrimination towards foreigners is a global issue exonerate Japan of any responsability? Certainly not.
    Could the situation be better? Probably and, in fact, things are improving slowly.

    But I don’t get why some people seem so adamant to transform Japan into a
    model society that fits all their ideals…
    Furthermore, I’m often amazed to meet these people (online or in the ‘real world’, for lack of a better term) who can’t stop complaining about the imperfections of the japanese society and yet live in Japan for decades.
    I find it a rather masochistic way of living one’s life.
    Each to their own, I suppose.

    • Steve Jackman

      Don’t be so quick to judge people, especially those you have only encountered online. I am very critical of the institutionalized racism and racial discrimination in Japan, but I NEVER let this get in the way I live my life. I feel very fortunate to have a fulfilling, positive and meaningful life. At the same time, I am also sensitive to the fact that not everyone has the same physical and emotional strength, self confidence, or financial wherewithal, to bear the injustice of racism and racial discrimination which they are routinely subjected to in Japan.

      I would turn the tables and say that I do not understand how some people can just look the other way and pretend that these are not serious problems worthy of discussion. For them, everything just seems to be about, me, me, me! They’re ok as long as they are not personally affected by something. Why would someone be so selfish, self-centered and apathetic, regardless of which country you live in and where you hail from?

      • Vichy

        You make an interesting point.
        About the ‘me, me, me’ thing, I’d like to understand why you thought my comment was somehow aimed at you.

      • Steve Jackman

        I didn’t. I was talking in general terms and used myself as an example to illustrate my point. I think you misunderstood the way I used “me, me, me”, since I wasn’t referring to myself here. It’s a reference to those people who only think about themselves.

      • Michael Eamon Osborne

        I would agree with you there! People today are too self centered!

    • Minxy Minamoto

      How simplistic. You’re basically saying that if you don’t like something about Japan then you should leave. According to you, foreigners have no right to complain about even the most unjust treatment.

      Most of the time my life as an immigrant here in Japan is fine. Thankfully, your take on the situation has no weight and I can complain when I need to. I can and will work towards changing Japan. I’m not trying to get Japanese people to speak English all the time or wear shoes in the house but I am trying to make my world a better place. What are you doing?

    • blondein_tokyo

      I keep seeing comments like this, and every single time I think to myself, “Are people really this dumb, that they honestly don’t see the illogic of their reasoning?” And then I remember: people are not only this dumb, they can also just be real jerks.

      Now, so as this is not just an ad hominem attack, I’ll spell out for you why your comment is so dumb, and also paints you as a jerk.

      1) Just because one country is racist, doesn’t make it okay for other countries to be racist.

      2) Racism is morally wrong. Even if you were able to find another apartment elsewhere, it was still wrong for the landlord to discriminate.

      3) You might not personally have felt bad when the landlord discriminated against you, but other people DO feel bad when they experience discrimination. You don’t have the right to unilaterally declare that people who don’t feel the same way that you feel are wrong.

      4) The effects of racism have been shown to have a deleterious effect on people’s psyche, causing problems like depression. When a person is discriminated against, it is psychologically bad for them. To complete this line of reasoning, hurting other people, intentionally making them feel bad, is morally wrong.

      5) People live in Japan for many reasons. Some people live here because they like it overall despite the racism they encounter. Others live here for work, because their company sent them. Still other people are married to a Japanese person who doesn’t want to leave, which has the effect of pretty much forcing them to stay, even if they don’t want to.

      6) Racism occurs everywhere. In order to live where there is NO racism at all, one would have to remove oneself from society entirely.

      7) People want to change Japan for the better because a) they love Japan and want to see it win; b) they have to live here, and want the situation to be better for themselves; c) people are additionally altruistic enough to want a better life for people who aren’t themselves; and d) people want to change Japan because Japan is WRONG, and righting wrongs is sort of how we generally make society as a whole better.

      I don’t expect you to read my reply and go, “Oh! I hadn’t thought of those things; thank you for making that more clear to me.” What is more likely to happen is a reply where you ignore everything I say and double down.

      Because people are stupid, and people are jerks.

      • Vichy

        Gee, you’re quick to label people (oh wait! I’ve been accused of that before, too).

        Well, probably much to your surprise, I do actually understand all the 7 points you made, and I do agree with you on these.
        Does this make me an even dumber jerk in your mind?

        And since you understand me so well, I will indeed double down.

        The fact that we agree on this issue doesn’t change the personal experience I shared. It doesn’t change my opinion of the people I alluded to in my opening post either (are you one them perchance?)

        Complaints can lead to frustration, frustration leads to unhappiness. I do feel sorry for them (and before you label me an hypocrite or dismiss my comment as ‘hollow empathy’, I’m sincere).

        I will read your reply (if you choose to reply, because it’s not easy to engage in a debate with a dumb jerk) with interest and leave it at it, since we’re rapidly going away from the discrimination issue.
        That’s my fault. I moved the goalposts with my final paragraph.

      • blondein_tokyo

        “Does this make you an even dumber jerk in your mind.”

        That’s hard to answer. The fact that you replied intelligently surprised me, because what I’m used to, as I said, are people who ignore the points of the argument and just double down. So no, I don’t think YOU are dumb; but I still think your comment is dumb.

        It’s dumb because of the exact points I made: people want to change Japan because changing it would improve their lives, the lives of others, and generally, make Japan a better country. This is important for those of us who love Japan and want to live here; but also for those who dislike Japan but have to stay for whatever reason.

        You label this entire process, i.e, this article in the Japan Times; these comments; the discussion as a whole, as “complaining”, which is just a way for you to dismiss all of it without addressing the actual content of what people are saying, or having to acknowledge that having a major newspaper cover an issue shows the “complaining” is getting attention – which is a good step towards something getting DONE about it.

        When enough people complain, an issue gets attention. When an issue gets enough attention, a discussion is began; and discussions bring about change. Change is good. We WANT this to change. Therefore, this discussion is important, and when I see people dismissing it as “just complaining” it makes me angry.

        As for this,

        “But I don’t get why some people seem so adamant to transform Japan into a model society that fits all their ideals…”

        You know, I’d settle for just being able to rent an apartment. If Japan wants to keep the other rather quirky aspects of its society, I’m fine with that. I actually find most of them to be rather endearing – even when in the midst of some annoyance, I find myself smiling and rolling my eyes.

        It’s just the racism I don’t like. And I don’t think you should be telling me that I should put up with it, or that it shouldn’t bother me.

        I’m sorry for calling you dumb and a jerk. But I do still think your comment, in and of itself, was a dumb one to make.

      • Steve Jackman

        It’s not about complaining or feeling frustrated at all. What it is about is trying to make positive change, which always starts with identifying the problem (racism and racial discrimination in Japan, in this case).

        You are advocating apathy, which is never good. Studies have shown that people who live life with “purpose” live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives. Identifying and fighting racism and racial discrimination in Japan is a very noble and worthy “purpose” for those of us who live in Japan.

  • AsianReaper

    easy way to solve the issue , do what I did and have a house built.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      Lend me the money? Promise I’ll pay you back next life.

      • AsianReaper

        Sorry , don’t believe in an afterlife , ^^

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

    Discrimination? There is no discrimination in Japan! Ask all your Japanese friends! They’ll confirm…

    • bluetortilla

      lol

  • Michael Eamon Osborne

    Why do you think Japan is like this towards Foreigners? the lack of do you think!? . . . . This is nothing new & can be traced back Centuries ago. Got to remember that Japan has always viewed most Foreigners “Gaijin” with great distaste because of our lack of understanding & the showing of great disrespect when living in their culture – Change isn’t going to happen overnight! Oh & for the record, Japan’s racism is no different like any other country – Fact!

    • R0ninX3ph

      So, just because racism exists elsewhere, its okay for Japan to be racist. Gottit. Thanks for your eye opening statement, I shall now ignore all discrimination I may face because somewhere else in the world, someone different to me is also being discriminated against.

      • Michael Eamon Osborne

        Mate! you can either take it or “leave” it!! – I don’t see it as a big issue!! All I see is, a lot of butthurt in these comments!

      • bluetortilla

        You’re absolutely right. And I’m gonna leave it.
        Good luck on your own, Japan. I hope your dedication to excellence and national preservation will save you when the oil and food start running out.

      • R0ninX3ph

        Ooh, its the “if you don’t like it, leave” argument too. Wow, you’re like a cliche machine.

        Next are you going to tell me I don’t understand Japan because I’m not a “pure” Japanese? Come on, I am interested to see which overused cliche you drag out next.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      Speak for yourself when it comes to “lack of understanding & the showing of disrespect”. So you lived in every other country on the planet too? I mean, you know for a “Fact” that racism is “no different like (sic) any other country”?

      • Michael Eamon Osborne

        Yes I have mate – I have traveled the globe! Trouble with people today is they are so self centered & don’t know how to accept things in life! I gather you have no knowledge of Japanese cultural history then?

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        You gather wrong.

      • Steve Jackman

        What’s happening today in Japan is tomorrow’s “Japanese cultural history”. Cultural history is not something you read about in books only, it is happening right now.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    This is the product of allowing Japan to get away with the “we are so special and unique” argument for all these years. It has resulted in vile racism. The Kyoto bureau chiefs should be named and shamed.

  • less-a-moron

    Sounds familiar. When I was teaching for what was then know as Sony English I had a heck of a time finding a place to live. I was rejected from a number of places because I was not Japanese. Since I was going to work for Sony and they were acting as my gurantor I was able to find a place. The fact I was Amerian was irrelevant. I liked living in Japan and the Japaese and would go back in a heartbeat if I could. Not that I am over 45 there is little chance of being employed there.

  • tisho

    I realize my comment and views are probably going to be disliked by many, but i fully support not having laws against discrimination. I think, as written in the US constitution, only the gov. does not have the right to discriminate. If a private citizen/individual/business etc. wants to discriminate, then i think the gov. does not have the right to tell him otherwise. Being free to insult other people is what free society is. In fact, i think by allowing people to discriminate, now it’s more easy to expose them, and that is the ultimate test of how advanced a society is, by allowing them to discriminate against others. If someone is anti-foreigner and wants to put up a sign that says ”only japanese” i say go for it, it is his own property, his own business, his own will, he is free to do trade with whomever he wants. If society is against such believes, then nobody will go shopping or do business with these kind of people and they will go bankrupt, or they will otherwise be forced to re think their behavior, by not by gov. force, but by his own reasoning. If the society has no problem with it, then that is the level of the social development, pure and simple. In the US, if you put a sign that says – no irish allowed, then even if the gov. does not intervene, people will boycott you and you will be bankrupt by the end of the day, that shows the level of social development. I fully oppose gov. intervention into private people’s lives. Only the gov. does not have the right to discriminate, private individuals/businesses should have the right to do so.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      Then you’ll be perfectly happy being refused service if any shop/bar/restaurant/hotel owner considers you a dirty (insert racial pejorative of choice here)?

      • tisho

        No, i will not be happy at all, i wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone, but it’s fact of life, and i will just find another bar. Also, i wouldn’t want to give money or shop in a bar whose owner considers me a dirty pejorative anyway, he’s probably going to spit in my drinks.

      • Steve Jackman

        “i will just find another bar”. WHAT IF, the other bar and the one after that also refuse you service? Do you realize how immature this argument sounds?

      • tisho

        You must have a sense of proportion, otherwise you can take the absolute extreme case scenario and apply it to literally everything, and there’s not going to be a counter argument against it, but it doesn’t server any purpose nor is contributing to anything. Is it possible that a gay couple will be denied service because they are gay? Yes. Is it likely ? No. It’s very unlikely that would happen. The reality is that it is very unlikely that you will be denied access to any bar in Japan, you have to literally walk the entire city to find a bar that will deny you access. Even if there is a bar, it’s unlikely you will find more than 2, 3, max 4, 5 bars in the entire city full of bars. Is it possible that all of them will deny you access ? Yes. Is it likely ? No. Very unlikely because businesses exist to make money. But even if you take the absolute extreme case scenario in which all the bars in Tokyo deny you access for whatever reason, even if that happen no matter how unlikely it is, there is nothing you can do about it, you will just have to accept the fact that these people are not developed enough as Humans. Like i said, do you really want to go to a bar whose owner hates you ? He’s probably going to spit in your drinks and make your night a terrible experience. Why would you want to even be in such a place and even talk to these people.

        If there was a law against discrimination imposed upon private people, next time you apply for an apartment, you’re not going to get an email saying – we don’t want to rent you that apartment because you are a foreigner, instead, you will get an email that says – sorry, the apartment is already taken, or some other obviously make up lie. Laws cannot change people’s mindset, it will only create an incentive for people to find a way to bypass the law, often using cunning ways and lies. People in general do not obey laws they don’t agree with, there are plenty of evidence for that one too.

        Also, by the way, i am not saying that the Japanese gov. believes in freedom more than Americans so they don’t make anti-discrimination law, not at all. Quite the opposite actually. Japan is much more closed economy and has several times larger burocracy than America and far more regulations and laws that make no sense and restrict individual freedom. The only reason there are no anti-discrimination law yet in Japan is because it benefits some politicians and their agendas not to have it, not because they believe in individual freedom.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        And as Steve says below, what if no other bar owner wants your money, because of your racial/sexual/religious identity?????

      • tisho

        I answered his question. Try reading it.

      • bluetortilla

        Wow, what a wimp! Anyway, ‘a fact of life?’ OK, well it’s also a fact that people can change and that changes for the better should be made, as best we can.
        We’re either one species, one race (not sub-species) or we’re not. Science has overwhelming evidence supporting the the former, so why can’t we accept it? Why do we have wars over race or nationality while dogs (who are far more physically variable than humans) do not seem aware at all of their ‘breed.’
        Why are we so bloody stupid?

      • tisho

        Yes, changes for the better should be made, but gov. intervention is not one of them, in fact, it will be a change for the worse. We’re bloody stupid because we have a bloody stupid educational system and a bloody stupid parents, so kids gets bloody stupid too.

      • bluetortilla

        Well, I agree on the brainwashed part, but I never said I supported government intervention as such. I would support anti-discriminatory laws (like the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution making slavery illegal) and support the enforcement of such laws.
        I think the case is simple. Do foreigners encounter a lot of racism in Japan? Generally speaking, yes, they do. But apparently it is not so insufferable as to make them leave in droves. There is plenty to like about Japan and plenty of good hearted Japanese people as well who would go out of their way to help you out any way they can.
        Japan is a curious, conservative place, in some ways wacky and in some ways really behind the times. And at times frustrating. I just take it for what it is. The racism here amongst the people themselves is not all that different from racism everywhere when it comes down to it.

      • tisho

        You contradict yourself. You say you don’t support gov. intervention, and then you say you want anti- discrimination law, which is gov. intervention into private people’s lives and private businesses. I already explained why this is not going to work in my other comments. The 13th amendment of the US constitution prohibits GOVERNMENTAL discrimination, not private. Only the gov. does not have the right to discriminate, private people have all the right in the world to discriminate, and they do in various ways every single day, including yourself. What MLK fought for was to stop the gov. and public institutions which are state funded (hence gov.) from discriminating, not private people.

      • bluetortilla

        You mean the ending of Jim Crow did not affect private people? Where do you get a knife to double split hairs?

        Anyway, I’m not sure what you are saying. A landlord doesn’t like your skin, language, cooking, etc. and refuses to rent. Now is that a business or an individual person discriminating? Obviously we can’t make laws that make people like everybody. But governments can sure and do make policies designed to whip up hate.

      • tisho

        That is individual people discrimination, and he has all the rights in the world, at least should have in a free society to do so. What socialist people like you don’t want to understand is that you can’t force people to do anything by writing a law bill. If it was that simple, we would all be living in a utopian society by now. You cannot force people to change their mind just because you passed a law bill. You can write all the laws you want, you can write a million laws against discrimination if you want, the effect is going to be zero. People do not obey or follow laws they don’t agree with. That’s a fact and it has been confirmed through history over and over again and there was thousands of examples of this. If i do not want to rent you an apartment because i hate your skin color or nationality, then that’s my own personal choice, it’s my apartment, my business and i can do whatever i want. If the gov. tries to force me by writing any laws, i will just find a cunning way of rejecting you again. I will make up a lie if i have to, you’re not going to get that apartment unless i want to. Is that really so difficult to understand ? It’s the logical thing and people do it all the time. Socialist people way of solving problems is through forceful intervention, free market capitalism gives people options and volunteering choice. It’s also very hypocritical to focus only on one single discrimination category while there are dozens even hundred more. When you look for a girlfriend or a boyfriend, do you not discriminate ? I discriminate all the time, most people do. Should the gov. write a law to prohibit me from discriminating when looking for a spouse ? When you choose a restaurant, do you not discriminate ? I do it all the time, most people do. You discriminate on a daily basis yourself all the time, yet you ignore all that and focus only on one single case of discrimination. The only gov. intervention i would support that would be meaningful is educational campaigns for children teaching them that all people are equal. That’s the only kind of intervention that would have a positive effect.

      • bluetortilla

        Why do you label me as a ‘socialist?’ What is a ‘socialist?’ I am for humane treatment of people and protection of civil rights. I adhere to the U.N. Charter and believe that everyone has a right to food, shelter, education, medical care, and freedom of expression. I believe that we should outlaw and that an international police force should snuff out wars before they start. I believe in a world representative government that uses and expands the present offices of the U.N. I believe in the dismemberment of the Security council to be replaced by an elected executive council. I believe in disenfranchising the current banking system to be replaced by global currencies limited pegged to general categories of commodities and services; not the currency today that is based on petrol, is backed by military might, and is universal and unlimited as to what it may be traded for.
        Unlike what you say, we do not have free trade. We have economies the foundations of which remain based on slavery. And if we, as a technologically advanced species cannot provide for the basic needs of our citizens then we have no business making babies.

      • bluetortilla

        Where is your reply? Did I miss it or did you take it down? In any case, the 13th Amendment stipulates the following federal law:

        Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

        Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

        Now, I don’t why in the world you would consider this NOT to be government intervention not affecting PRIVATE CITIZENS with a provision for ENFORCEMENT but here it is, government stepping in to abolish the treatment of human beings as property. You got a problem with that friend?

    • bluetortilla

      “I realize my comment and views are probably going to be disliked by many…”
      Naw, I’d say you’ve gone beyond dislike to the pariah stage. If you’re really the puerile and chauvinistic tea-bagger you come off as, why don’t you go back to the States (presuming that’s where you’re from) as neither gaijin here nor Japanese are likely to hold such upper-class hickish views such as yours.
      It’s not like I haven’t been patient reading your posts, but this is just too much. If I were you I’d just shut up at this point and spend some time rethinking politics, law, and human rights before posting again; you’re a loser on all three topics.

      • tisho

        Instead of insulting me, you should’ve spend your time pointing out which part of my comments are incorrect and for what reasons.

      • bluetortilla

        You’re absolutely right and I sincerely apologize. Honestly, rereading my comments I felt ashamed. I don’t know what came over me. Way too much anger :(

  • Paul Martin

    It took me 3 years before I could find an apartment to rent…their IS discrimination there !

  • George C

    Everyone should have a right to associate with whomever they wish for whatever reason they wish, however trivial.

    I have no problem that some Japanese feel uncomfortable around foreigners. I understand it. In the US I seldom associate with non-American Asians not because I dislike them but because I find their social style difficult and exhausting to accommodate. They are extremely shy and often seem nervous, frightened, and sensitive. I understand why this is appropriate in their culture but it becomes tedious to have to walk on eggshells when I’m just trying to get through a busy and stressful day. I have enough on my plate.

    This isn’t racism, or hatred. Its perfectly normal. Japanese, who avoid confrontation, must find it daunting to deal with a foreigner who – however inadvertently – trespasses on others rights. The foreigner isn’t bad, but why should the Japanese have to deal with what is to them a stressful social situation when just getting through everyday life is already stressful? Who needs the extra headache?

    People just want to get through life with a minimum of stress.The idea that this is hateful or racist is narrow minded and absurd.

    There are groups who have a social style, through no fault of theirs (or anyone’s) that is so different from yours that dealing with them is stressful and no one should be faulted for trying to avoid that kind of stress.

    People need to grow up and avoid reflexively reaching for the childish racism charge. No one is obligated to come to Japan, and if they chose to, they should be mature and sensitive enough to understand that some Japanese might be uncomfortable dealing with them for reasons that have nothing to do with hate or racism. If you don’t have that kind of sensitivity to others, maybe you should stay at home.

    • Steve Jackman

      Congratulations!!!! You’ve just made a perfect case for Apartheid in S. Africa, segregation in the U.S, Nazism, religious extremism, fascism and the KKK.

      Just on the side, did it occur to you that these issues (access to housing, employment, businesses, and the rule of law) are a little different from your personal choices in life about the types of people you choose to associate with?

      • George C

        Apartheid, eh? I’m surprised you didn’t bring out the Nazis. Oh wait you did. Because not wishing to add social stress to my day is just like trying to enslave Europe and kill Jews in concentration camps.

        Where do these nuts come from?

        The Japanese just want to get through their day, but they must be forced – forced – to deal with social situations they find emotionally stressful and that goes against their entire upbringing. Why? Because otherwise Nazism, and Apartheid.

        You are a cruel and insensitive bully.

      • Steve Jackman

        Here you go again with more silliness about social stress!

        Jiji Press has just reporting that security cameras in South Korea caught 22 Japanese high school students from a soccer team in Saitama stealing 70 items worth 2.5 million Won from 9 department stores in Seoul. Should South Korea now ban all Japanese from entering South Korea, since the Japanese are causing so much “social stress” in S Korea? Or, should all department stores in Seoul now put up “NO JAPANESE” signs, since they should not be “forced” to deal with the Japanese?

        How about the Japanese school principal who just got arrested in the Philippines for commiting and filming sexual acts with underage girls? Surely, the Philippines should ban all Japanese from the country, since they are causing “social stress” there and no Philippino should be “forced” to deal with the Japanese.

      • George C

        It might interest you to know that in NYC malls after teenagers go on a rampage every now and then all teenagers are banned from malls for a certain period of time. Its a perfectly rational reaction. No one is bothered by it. What about the poor good teenagers who didn’t do anything?

        You lack all sense of proportion and lack critical thinking skills. If Japanese thieves were an endemic problem on a large scale, it would make perfect sense to ban them. Rare incidents of behavior that is not specific to Japanese people but exists among everyone should not be used to exclude Japanese. But that requires too much thinking, I suppose.

        Freedom and equality are incompatible. You are prepared to restrict people’s freedom to force everyone to be treated equally. As long as you understand that you are sacrificing freedom then there is very little I can argue with you about. Its a question of first principles. I value freedom more than I do equality. You value equality more than freedom. I will fight you, and people like you, but I cannot argue with you. When you and those like you have succeeded in overthrowing freedom in favor of enforcing your moral vision, when you’re eliminated the only thing that might allow people of differing moral vision to live amicably together in a society, when the freedom that emerged from Europe’s bloody wars of religion convinced people that there might be less death and suffering if people with different ideas of right and wrong were allowed to live according to their conscience instead of being forced to subscribe to one “right” moral vision, you will have prepared the way for others to come along with notions of equality and “rights” different than yours and they will force you, just as you are doing now, to live by their ideas of whats right and wrong. But you can’t see that, or you don’t care. Like the religious partisans of the wars of religion, you “know” your moral vision is the only right and true one. And so history will go on its bloody way – the “end of history” my ass. As long as guys like you continue to be born history (violence, coercion, bloodshed) doesn’t end.

    • blondein_tokyo

      I’ll echo Steve Jackman’s comment.

      The fact that you think not associating with people who are different from you is stressful and a headache, says a lot about what kind of person you are.

      Would you put your real name to this? I’m just wondering. While you might have some friends who agree with you, I’d be very interested to know if, for example, your company, your neighbors, and others in your community would want to associate themselves with such a view.

      I ask, because expressing this kind of view publicly has gotten people fired, and/or publicly shamed.

      I’m sure you support that, since you believe “everyone should have a right to associate with whomever they wish for whatever reason they wish, however trivial.”

      Usually though, it’s people like you who are the first to whine when this right is exercised against them.

  • blondein_tokyo

    When I was told by agencies, one after another, “Sorry, we don’t have apartments for foreigners.” all I could think was, “Twenty three years in Japan, huge effort to learn Japanese, trying my best to fit in, paying my taxes, working hard, contributing to society, and THIS is how I get treated. Continually.”

    To be honest, due to that and other such incidents over the years piling up on me, I no longer think of Japan as my home. It’s just where I live.

    And I think that is how Japan wants me to feel. If that weren’t the case, then they wouldn’t keep allowing such blatant acts of discrimination to keep happening, would they? They’d actually make laws with teeth, and enforce them, and make it possible for people to file discrimination suits, and win.

    So I can only conclude that Japan LIKES itself this way, and as that is the case, I don’t know why they continually complain when the media in other countries accuses them of racism, and when Japan gets negative reports from Amnesty International, the UN, and so on. Have the courage of your convictions, Japan.

    • Monchichi

      You’ve just described the plight of the minority. As a minority, if you want things to change you will have to take the first steps. I’m sure a thing or two can be taken from the Jewish/Black civil rights movement playbook.

      • bluetortilla

        Hey I’m all for it! Where do we begin?

    • bluetortilla

      When I was told by agencies, one after another, “Sorry, we don’t have apartments for foreigners.” all I could think was, “Twenty three years in Japan, huge effort to learn Japanese, trying my best to fit in, paying my taxes, working hard, contributing to society, and THIS is how I get treated. Continually.”

      I’m right there with you. I tried to leave once, ran into visa problems after three years, and came back. Despite systemic racism I still prefer Japan to the States actually. Now I’m trying to build up a tutoring service (I could not get an in house job as J-E translator despite being highly qualified), and I figure if I fail I’ll head somewhere else again. Not easy at my age but hey, we live life until we’re dead, right?

      I would add to this that although I’m fluent in spoken and written Japanese, although I write blogs and make web pages in Japanese, Japanese companies will pick a Japanese person over me every single time. It’s not a complaint- it’s a frustrating fact. Everywhere I go, and this includes to ‘fellow’ gaijin, I’m pointed to these exceedingly boring and remedial English teaching jobs that do not want me to use Japanese and doing the kind of work I did here when I was 25 (the age group I’m competing with). For any foreigner with language skills, entrepreneurship seems the only way to find satisfaction in your work and life here. Good luck.

  • LiAn Ulbrich

    A lot of people are posting their distaste for this situation that has arisen in Japan. I understand that, yes, to us looking in, it is rude. That is, in our culture. In Japan, they have a lot of customs and mannerisms that foreigners tend to look over and dismiss as politeness. Their culture is very different from ours, and foreigners do certain things that often appall and sometimes even severely irritate the Japanese. We need to learn to respect this.
    I understand why these owners wouldn’t like to have foreigners in the vicinity which they own. It may be bad publicity if a foreigner is often bothering neighbors, or it may be that they don’t know how to deal with them. Recall that in the sixteenth paragraph that the landlords expressed their concerns about foreigners breaking rules and ignoring sound policies.
    Yes, many foreigners have the potential, knowledge, and/or respect to follow these guidelines, but because of the disregard for these standards, the privilege has been revoked.
    Instead of bashing on the government, we should try to see both sides of the problem and acknowledge every variable. If we expect foreigners coming to our countries to adapt to the lifestyle they have moved to, we should expect ourselves to do the same in another country.
    Ultimately, I see problems on both sides. Though it is justifiable to fight against this, sometimes it is better to leave these people be, so as not to uproot their vicinities. Complaints like this can put out businesses, which doesn’t just put the owner out of business, but also all of their employees.
    Of course, there are the rare exceptions, but we sometimes just need to turn the other cheek and move on. Criticizing a country will infuriate it faster than it will change it.

    • R0ninX3ph

      To assume someone will do all the things you believe their ethnicity will do, without knowing the person, is racism.

      To claim that Japanese people just assume that foreigners will not follow the rules, because of their being foreign, is discrimination. The fact there are no laws against this behaviour, is a problem.

      Yes, people living in Japan should be respectful of Japanese culture, and if someone isn’t, then that is bad. The assumption that many landlords make though is “Foreigner = Bad”, and has everything to do with ethnically based discrimination.

      The fact you decide to come here and defend the discrimination is just ridiculous. Would a landlord stop renting to Japanese people if a previous Japanese tenant destroyed an apartment they own? No? But they would if a foreigner did? Racism. Its black and white, stop trying to deflect by saying its the foreign communities fault because some people are douchebags.

  • AsianReaper

    JP times sure like to edit and delete comments. This site deletes more comments then the Chinese Censors…

  • AsianReaper

    Edit monkeys

  • bluetortilla

    Does this article have a Japanese version somewhere and if not, why?

  • George C

    Why don’t you delete the answers too if you deleted my comment? Might as well be consistent fascists. Sorry for politely posting a dissenting view. Next time I’ll stick to the party line. I probably need to be sent to reeducation camp. I’m sure you guys can arrange it.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    If you read carefully you’ll see I didn’t claim they called me an animal as such, I said they lumped me in the same basket as a dog. Thank you for your 2 cents worth however, though strangely I can’t recall you being with me at the time…

  • bluetortilla

    Whatever merits these platonian arguments have, at the root of it all is the fact that any racism is cruel, disgusting, and violent. Anyone who has experienced it is not likely to forget it, and anyone with a shred of dignity would never let himself get used to it.

  • Chris Ramesh

    To play devil’s advocate, maybe this isn’t an issue of discrimination motivated by just plain malignant racism. For example, around urban universities around the US, a frequent practice by landlords to off-campus students is to only rent to girls (various reasons given including to cleaner, more trust-worthy, less likely to host parties – granted these are all generalizations too and obviously will have exceptions, but landlords feel there is a measurable correlation). I don’t think these landlords maintain a deep-seeded hate for guys, but instead are making a business call on clientele. It also seems like Japanese people (again on avg.) hold themselves up to a different standard of order and cleanliness than most any group of people (see JPY ppl picking up trash at Brazil world cup, also see most public bathrooms in Japan – I’d eat off the floor). One could argue that these two examples aren’t really that different.

    Really, the point is to say that if this is wrong, shouldn’t the “landlord only renting to girls” example also be wrong (despite being widely tolerated without mass grievance). Would it be okay if a landlord charged foreigners more? (The way car insurance for guys is more expensive than for girls with all else equal). Disclosure: I don’t know much about Japanese culture and historical issues around racial tension, but just though I’d see what people think about the parallel we face everyday.

    • Hikari

      I really liked your post, I wanted to say similar but I seem to just be pissing people off… The Japanese like how another Japanese think and do similarly. Not much unexpectedness going on, so less risky.

  • gigi4747

    So happy this guy lost his case. Welcome to reality – there is no right to live on someone else’s property, whatever imaginary “rights” the courts have conjured up over the years.

    • bluetortilla

      And what it is that gives anyone the right to own property? I’m not advocating anything here- just asking.

    • bluetortilla

      Hey gigi, where is your reply to me about ‘lacking compassion’ and ‘Our Creator’ endowing us with property rights (which if true would have been great for Jefferson, Washington, and all the other slave owning aristocrats). I’m asking as it appeared in my mailbox but not here! So I’m wondering if there’s some bug.
      Actually, I was thinking of property rights as a pretty recent thing in human history. Native Americans certainly knew nothing of the concept, and most of the property rights today are ultimately derived from military seizure and disbursement. We should remember that the for the most part in the history of civilization only the kings and emperors were consider owners of lands, while others down the line were given titles to occupy. Tribal society has always been communal. And a situation persists today where private property can be protected or seized by force of violence, and most ‘house owners’ are simply debtors whose ‘property’ belongs to banks. Not casting judgement here- but what I write is true, is it not? I’m not offering a solution either, except perhaps spend as little as possible…
      As for personal stuff like computers and iphones, don’t you think that it is our rapid consumer society that makes people so greedy and dangerous? Not that there haven’t always been thieves, but you know. I don’t know, I leave my door open all the time and don’t worry about such petty things. If someone is stupid enough to steal my computer, I guess I’ll tell the police and buy a new one. But do I think it’s actually possible to own anything? No, I don’t. Is everyone entitled to my cupboard? No, that would be rude. Come on, humans are sensible are they not? If not, we’re going to perish as a species. But if you want proof of lack of ownership, look at your body. Just try to keep that forever.

  • Volt Man

    He probably have negro boyfriend or tattoo.

  • Paul Martin

    After 7 years in Japan and Japanese in my family I have found the problem is NOT with the Japanese people per say but those with the REAL power and wealth who control EVERY aspect of Japanese life. At least in other countries you can appeal bureacratic decisions but in Japan it even states on the bottom of immigration,etc forms NO APPEAL…that’s NOT freedom or democracy but blatant dictatorship by the FEW ! I am resolved that I and other gaijin cannot influence change…but we can expose the veritas to the World !

  • Josh

    what’s wrong with discriminating on the basis of race? Leftists do it all the time with affirmative action.

    • bluetortilla

      Oh lovely. White supremacist in Japan. Why don’t you move to Ferguson, MO., (where I grew up, incidentally) and see the fruits of affirmative action?
      Not to mention that things like affirmative action were started by ‘liberals’ like LBJ after the Kennedy/King assassinations, the true progressives who wanted people to be judged by the quality of their character, not the color of their skin. It’s quite clear that the whole welfare/bussing system is the brainchild of the conservative White establishment, not a result of black demand. They knew the result would be divisiveness and resentment, and ultimately would keep blacks in their place. Get an education, please.
      Finally, not directed to you personally, but can anyone tell me a single country in this world that does NOT have entrenched racism. From an alien’s point of view, humans must really hate each other.

      • Josh

        “Oh lovely. White supremacist in Japan. Why don’t you move to Ferguson, MO., (where I grew up, incidentally) and see the fruits of affirmative action?”

        Ferguson? What’s Ferguson got to do with this?

        “Not to mention that things like affirmative action were started by ‘liberals’ like LBJ after the Kennedy/King assassinations, the true progressives who wanted people to be judged by the quality of their character, not the color of their skin”

        Basically yes. But what we have now are not “true progressives” but cultural Marxist, who are intent on destroying White, Western Civilization.

        “It’s quite clear that the whole welfare/bussing system is the brainchild of the conservative White establishment, not a result of black demand. They knew the result would be divisiveness and resentment, and ultimately would keep blacks in their place”

        It’s not apparent to me why this should be the case. Certainly the data show that blacks who attend white schools perform better than blacks who don’t attend such school.

        “Finally, not directed to you personally, but can anyone tell me a single country in this world that does NOT have entrenched racism. From an alien’s point of view, humans must really hate each other.”

        The latter half of the 20th century up to now is merely a blip. A strong sense of racial pride and consciousness has been the norm for millenia. Aliens would understand this because they would likely have a strong understanding of the science underlying human nature.

  • SprSynJn

    With all the hate filled comments for this article, you’d think that the Japanese were egging us and threatening our lives and families with lynching. I understand there are some problems here, but y’all need to calm down.

  • Alex

    I went through the same problem ( I may say even worst). In a few lines: The landlord ( an old 50 years old lady), accepted my rent for one year ( through bank transfer) and then after a year called the police and told them that I wasn’t a tenant, that she doesn’t want a foreigner in her house ( she wanted to bring a friend in ). Though everyone in the neighborhood had only positive things to say about me… Landlord broke into the house two times ( with a friend), and tried to drag me out of the house without my belongs). The police came 5 times and tried to force me to sign a paper which – after I understood- stated that I agree to leave ( which I refused to sign without a lawyer). Landlord aggressed me physically, and then went to the post office declaring that she was scared of me. The police accepted to take my complain / declaration ONLY one month after, when I hired a lawyer. Lawyer which after reassuring me that I went to obvious abuse and discrimination, came back to me and told me that no matter how right I am, no one will admit that as a foreigner I have right to be protected myself from abuse against a Japanese person. Case dismiss… The landlord panicked when she heard that I hired a lawyer, called and told to the lawyer that she is having a beginning of mental problems and that she doesn’t remember what she is doing. After a year I’m still under the shock and have nightmares. I thought that if I’ll do everything by the rules and with the full respect and consideration, nothing bad can happen to me in this beautiful country. I was wrong. One really must Love Japan to put up with such regrettable experiences, and is what the Japanese people who despite foreigners must understand. [ I move into another house in the neighborhood, and the old landlord is going house to house to incite the neighbors to reject me ].

  • Alex

    I went through the same problem ( I may say even worst). In a few lines: The landlord ( an old 50 years old lady), accepted my rent for one year ( through bank transfer) and then after a year called the police and told them that I wasn’t a tenant, that she doesn’t want a foreigner in her house ( she wanted to bring a friend in ). Though everyone in the neighborhood had only positive things to say about me… Landlord broke into the house two times ( with a friend), and tried to drag me out of the house without my belongs). The police came 5 times and tried to force me to sign a paper which – after I understood- stated that I agree to leave ( which I refused to sign without a lawyer). Landlord aggressed me physically, and then went to the post office declaring that she was scared of me. The police accepted to take my complain / declaration ONLY one month after, when I hired a lawyer. Lawyer which after reassuring me that I went to obvious abuse and discrimination, came back to me and told me that no matter how right I am, no one will admit that as a foreigner I have right to be protected myself from abuse against a Japanese person. Case dismiss… The landlord panicked when she heard that I hired a lawyer, called and told to the lawyer that she is having a beginning of mental problems and that she doesn’t remember what she is doing. After a year I’m still under the shock and have nightmares. I thought that if I’ll do everything by the rules and with the full respect and consideration, nothing bad can happen to me in this beautiful country. I was wrong. One really must Love Japan to put up with such regrettable experiences, and is what the Japanese people who despite foreigners must understand. [ I move into another house in the neighborhood, and the old landlord is going house to house to incite the neighbors to reject me ].

    • bluetortilla

      I would sue the landlord for damages. Actually, conciliation is common practice here, it’s free, does not require a lawyer and usually scares the defendant enough into conceding at least something reasonable. Gaijin or not, the courts will take your case.

  • lasolitaria

    Go ahead, make it illegal to discriminate against people. There’s a vast array of ways to achieve the same result -i.e. keeping you out of someone’s home/business- while complying with the law.

    It’s a fact that some people don’t like you and don’t want you nearby. You can change this by addressing it and that’s only possible as long as it’s evident. Once you involve the Law, there’s no chance for a candid discussion anymore.

  • leconfidant

    Very poor article.

    The reason a lot of landlords don’t want foreign tenants derives from a long history of rather major problems occurring, not the appropriation of cups from the kitchen.

    I met a guy who fell on hard times and begged his landlord for one month without paying his rent. Then two months. Then he was going past the deadline for three months, promising to pay the whole thing ‘any day now’ when he decided to just do a runner and go back home. By not even leaving a note to say goodbye, he prevents the landlord from touching any of his belongings for a month. A law prevents landlords intruding when the tenant may have just gone on holiday.

    A lot of foreigners in the past have broken the rules and the landlords are sick of it, because they consistently got their heads kicked in. If you think this tenant’s having a hard time, put your feet in the shoes of the landlord who has to hire lawyers in Australia to recover his money from someone virtually guaranteed not to have it on him.

    The solution is already established :- work through a guarantor or guarantor agency, who will normally impose a deposit in advance.

    There are some right-wing lunatics in Japan, but this is not that and it would be better to research the culture we live in before we try to impose PC liberalism over everything as if it was the only way to live life.

    • bluetortilla

      This is probably the best assessment so far imo. Japanese tenants break rules too and run ‘nighters’, but at least a landlord figures his chances are better with them. One would think that all the deposits and up front money would serve as insurance- but the fact is that laws protecting tenants are indeed strict in Japan.

      • leconfidant

        Thank you. And I agree, western landlords often have much more power in the relationship. In Japan, the balance is about equal, with the landlord adopting distinct risks.

        I must confess that the first time I went flat-hunting in Japan, I believed something like the article reports. I learned most of my opinion from a Belgian guy who works in real estate in Tokyo.

        After that, I went about saving for a deposit, (which is what I would have done in London anyway,) and I presently live in a gorgeous little penthouse near Ikebukuro station. I pay my landlady an extra month in advance which I see in both our interests and I buy her a cake whenever we resolve a misunderstanding.

        It’s not rocket science. Save for your deposit, search for somewhere reasonably priced and close to your workplace, save the same money again for a rainy day.

        I’m just surprised the Japan Times has taken such a one-sided and uninformed stance.

  • Paul Martin

    I have lived here on and off since 2008, I have a Japanese daughter in law and grandchildren. It took me 3 years to get an apartment after agents repeatedly declined because owners wanted only Japanese ! But if you pay key money ( a month’s rent really disguised bribe) and thousands of $ a month plus huge deposits well you might just get into some packing case sized place. Japan, as I have said before is a beautiful,friendly country, if you are a gaijin and kowtow,grovel,smile and bow to everyone and don’t complain about discrimination or anything else, just accept and tolerate that you will always be treated as inferior especially by bureaucrats,

    then you’ll be fine !

  • Barry Rosenfeld

    He should have hired a lawyer and submitted a petition for redress which he clearly did not to the Kyoto District Court.

  • Pablo Diablo

    Only truly civilized country on planet earth. Stay true to your values Japan and do not listen to the leftist nuts in America! BTW, having lived there, you people might want to be especially resolute in keeping out the Nigerians. Just a suggestion.

  • http://moderntokyotimes.com/ Lee Jay

    Just a note, a lot of black people seem to be getting shot in America. Hey, just saying! If only America did what it preached….

    Also, discrimination is a reality all over the world. In South Africa many African migrants have been killed recently and many dead bodies are also floating near Europe.

    • bluetortilla

      Indeed. America is an extremely segregated and racist nation.
      The U.S. is a land of hypocrisy on many levels. Then again, racism and bigotry is a major problem in every country.

  • 無買デージャパン

    When I was a grad student in Kyoto, my colleagues from Taiwan and Philippines had great trouble finding accomodation, even with Japanese hoshonin (guarantors). My Philippine colleague (now a tenured professor outside Japan) had one potential landlord telling her openly she was probably a prostitute.

    • 無買デージャパン

      I thought that was outrageous but the other Philippine students all laughed and shrugged. Most of them had experiences like that.

    • bluetortilla

      We should never forget the cruelty that the Japanese Imperial Army inflicted upon other peoples during WWII or the fact that they have never made clear amends for those actions nor have have they ever gone through any serious self-reflection over it as a nation. Japan is behind the times in racist matters, and many stereotypes of superiority remain firmly embedded here, even amongst the common people.
      That being said, we should also never forget that the scourge of racism is hardly unique or worse in Japan than it is in countless other societies, and that it is racism that is the common enemy, not Japanese racism in particular. For those of us who live in Japan it obviously the closest to home for us, and therefore the easiest to begin constructive dialogue about. There are plenty of human rights and international friendship groups in Japan. How about joining one? If you can’t speak Japanese, how about learning it?

      • 無買デージャパン

        Thanks bluetortilla, my JP is not so bad though it may be hard to tell from my tweets LOL.

        I was going to add the terrible thing about this incident was that her grandmother was a comfort woman (I learned much later). But my colleague laughed and shrugged it off, together with her Philippine friends each of whom had a similar story.

        I am glad you make it clear you are not out to Japan-bash, but for those who like to use others racism to justify their own I should also say that there are a good number of Japanese people and even some institutions that realize there’s a problem and will stand up against discrimination. But it is arguably a difficult time to tackle these issues with the current government.

      • bluetortilla

        I believe in being of help where you can, and that where you can be of help is limited. For those of us living in Japan, becoming active against racism on the home front seems a good choice (but of course not the only choice).
        There are plenty of forward looking enlightened Japanese people and no shortage of human rights organizations (with similar problems as equivalent organizations elsewhere). Being made up of Japanese members, it is not surprising that they are not as aggressive in their approach or as visible as their Western counterparts, but they do exist.
        Joining friendship and international societies is another positive way to be a part of the solution for those who are less confrontational.
        Japan has not had a shortage of people aware of war crimes and who have wanted the topic brought out into the open once and for all. As unilateral overtures by the Japanese government have failed repeatedly, an international platform, preferably one involving the U.N. should be established. While domestic racism in Japan is one problem, Japan can never hope for good relations with its Asian neighbors until the grievances of the last war are made public and acknowledged and lamented formally by a modern Japan, in union with the countries which were victimized by the war.
        Accordingly, the United States also needs to formally apologize for its war crimes against Japan if it ever hopes to not hold Japan at the humiliating end of a double standard. Off topic I know- but it is these political issues that have so many people in Asia angry.

  • Hikari

    I love Japan. The Western mind is so hostile, any unfavorable decision made to different race must be racism and is immediately an offense that’s punishable. Foreigners are also treated differently by Japan very positively in many other aspects, but you hardly even appreciate it do you. Or is it somehow your born right when it benefits you? TUITION IS LOWER for non JP nationals and JR PASS, a free pass for unlimited bullet train rides, is only available to you foreigners.
    Did an Asian rejecting you mighty Caucasian hurt your ego? Why conclude it’s racism? Maybe it’s just because the owner wants to be able to communicate with you in their own language. Maybe s/he thinks you might keep your shoes on. Maybe you’re a smoker. Who knows.
    I myself have been rejected apartment IN EUROPE because they had no foreigner policy after they had one Indian student live in one of their property for a year and no one would rent it after that because of the condition it was left in, when I myself am not from India. Apparently there was no misbehavior, just the lingering of scent of spices. I never took offense, why? Maybe because I come from a country that differentiates and not discriminates. If this differentiation sorted me out, fine. They have the right to have preferences.

    • bluetortilla

      Spoken like a true a true ‘shimaguni’ country bumpkin. Being treated worse- or better- because of your race or culture is bigotry. I don’t think JR rail passes are intended for ‘foreigners;’ they’re intended for tourists.
      The one valid point you make is that it would appear that racism exists everywhere. I agree. I also think it should end.
      You cannot excuse racism away as a cultural bias. Japanese are no longer the insular people they once were, ignorant of the outside world. At least- they have no excuse to be. The world is a small place. Our ‘differences,’ whatever they seemed to be, are now seen rightly as quite petty.

    • Daniel Gerken

      Agreed. Whites/Westerners to this day continue in their supremacist imperialist thinking, as evidenced in the article. If their privilege is not acknowledged world-round they get to work hegemonizing the offending context to the one they are used to, the one in which they so conveniently benefit at the expense of non-Whites/non-Westerners. And, they do not care what culture is destroyed along the way as long as the culture that replaces it is a White/Western-benefitting one. Do not accept our propaganda or sympathize with us – we have done enough to take from the world already.

      • bluetortilla

        I too agree in principle, but has nothing to do intrinsically with being ‘white.’ It’s just a historical coincidence. Had the Chinese colonized the world and built empires, then being ‘Han’ would be perceived in the same way.
        Racism works both ways. You want to see unhappy people? Go to the country club. They complain about everything and will never get treated well enough or have enough servants. What kind of life is that?
        I think it’s high time for the world to get together and give the big finger up to power and wealth and treat each other with love and patience as the same human beings that we are. Stop exploiting people. Stop buying crap you don’t need. Stop watching the news, turn a deaf ear to politicians, and get together with neighbors instead. Racism is in the mind; it can be broken easier than people think.

      • Hikari

        thank you. I also really want to emphasize that this is not about race. It’s the cultural difference that’s considered as kind of a risk because they can’t predict you or don’t know what to expect of foreigners and same goes for foreign raised Japanese. They treat raised-abroad Japanese people the same.

      • Hikari

        thank you. I also really want to emphasize that this is not about race. It’s the cultural difference that’s considered as kind of a risk because they can’t predict you or don’t know what to expect of foreigners and same goes for foreign raised Japanese. They treat raised-abroad Japanese people the same.

  • fromanotherplanet

    White people whining about discrimination is just music to my ears. Now you know what the minorities and immigrants in your home countries go through every day. Keep on Japan. Let them feel the sting of being otherized and shunned LOL!!!

  • Hikari

    I have removed my comments, because I do not want to offend you and my opinions are offensive to you. I’m sorry for any discomfort I have caused you. It was not my intention. This is how much we can not understand each other. I also never meant to argue, so please forgive me if my tone in the imperfect English came out as harsh.
    The Japanese likes assurance. They are cautious people, and the unexpectedness of thinking and doing of people of other culture, even if by race a Japanese, puts this person on their proceed with caution list. This offends you, and I feel I can not fault them. Japanese are into being homogeneous. They worry about doing business with persons of different culture because we could be full of surprises to each other, and that’s interesting and fun if hanging out as friends but not so if this was in business setting. Weather it is renting you their property or letting you represent their company I think the cause is the same. It is not to do with race. It is the inevitable difference in thinking. We don’t claim our culture is superior. It’s just different. Besides, Japan can not be generalized. There are many, many foreigners working in Japan just fine.

    • tisho

      Your previous comment got deleted while i was replying, so i am copying my reply here.

      Yes, i am fully aware of the extremely strong group mentality
      Japanese people have. I have done a lot of studying and researching into
      human behavior and this strong group thinking. I have spoken to a lot
      of people about this when i was in Waseda, including some professors. I
      also tried speaking to friends (Japanese) whom i knew had a serious
      issues with this strong mentality. In general people appear to
      understand the cause once i explain it but this strong mentality is to
      ingrained in people from young age that It’s painfully difficult to get
      over it. That’s why when i talk with Japanese people i don’t know about
      something, i always begin by explaining them that i do not judge them by
      the actions of others and i do not associate them with Japan or
      anything else. It would take a change in the education system to change
      this mindset. Group orientation is very heavily ingrained in children,
      the use of language also plays a big role. The professors i spoke with
      tend to agree with me.

      Also, don’t worry about that, you’re not
      offending me at all, i agree that there is probably a lot of nasty
      racism everywhere in Bulgaria, i think most Bulgarians will probably
      agree with you if you spoke with them about this issue, they will most
      likely sympathize with you, i definitely don’t think anybody is going to
      get offended so you should try speaking with them. Being negative and
      only pointing the negative and bad things about our own country is a
      national hobby for Bulgarians. You can see that in the news/media too.
      Southern regions tend to be more open and emotional than northern
      regions. If you’ve traveled to other European countries, you might have
      noticed that people from the southern countries like Italy (in
      particular southern Italy), Greece and southern regions of Bulgaria are
      very similar in their behavior – very emotional responses.

      I am
      currently in my hometown of Dimitrovgrad, 60 km south east of Plovdiv, i
      will be flying to the US soon. My girlfriend is Japanese, she’s not
      very happy about living in the US, we might try living in Japan again
      after few years.

      • Hikari

        Blagodarya Tisho san, I wish this Disqus system allowed personalized messages like in facebook. Thank you for your advise, I will try it. Wishing you a wonderful future! Who knows, we might meet in Japan one day. Do skoro :)

      • tisho

        Pak zapovyadai. We might, who knows. Thank you and good luck with you too. Do skoro.

  • bluetortilla

    ”I think it’s true they want to welcome you and really do,as a guest, but don’t really want you considering it home here.”

    You show your deeply ingrained racism in almost every post you write. You sound like the spoiled daughter of zaibastus descendants.

    This is my earth honey and I will live anywhere I like. I am no guest here, and you are not a landlord of a fairly small archipelago of islands in the Pacific. I have every much a right to be here as the cranes when they come from Siberia. Or are they guests too?

    As long as people think they are special, that they are different from others, that the land belongs to them, that they think differently, that they cannot be understood by outsiders, and all that goes with such nationalist chauvinism, we will have wars and people will slaughter each other until the streets run with blood. You have no idea what an evil remark ‘you’re just a guest here’ is. I hope your way of thinking will end with all who think like you so that this world can finally live as one people enjoying one globe.

  • bluetortilla

    And just maybe all these laws work in the favor of corrupt bankers, police, and mafia who benefit from owning the land and herding people into zones like pigs. Did you think of that, or do you think you deserve to be burdened by a system that does not trust people?

    Do you have a houshounin to guarantee your life? Do you need a social security number to prove you’re a human being? Doesn’t a passport and visa basically signify that we are prisoners to political territories and oppressive systems that fear freedom? Or is that way beyond your comprehension?

    I would agree that there are plenty of unqualified Westerners teaching English, not just in Japan but all over- particularly in Asia. You’re right, it’s insane. But who is allowing it to happen? I have degrees and many years of experience, and I couldn’t stomach doing what is passed off as English education here. Given the choice, I’d send my child to your cousin, as he’d actually learn something. But if I did take on a degrading ALT job or whatnot, I doubt the employer would even ask to see my diploma. He just needs another white monkey.

  • bluetortilla

    Well, I think it’s great that you have seen that disgusting racism exists everywhere. Now that you know, maybe it’s time to forget about and fight against it! The first step is to see yourself as equal to everyone else in dignity and value and to give up the idea that being Japanese makes you in any way a different kind of human.

  • tisho

    Yes i spent months and months researching for which Japanese university to apply and how to apply. I applied for over 10 universities, including several public ones. The foreigner tuition you mentioned is not a free tuition exception for all foreigners, it is part of a scholarship program which i applied for and i explained in my previous comment. There are some only for foreigners scholarships which native Japanese people cannot apply for, but that is not to say it’s easy to get. You have to win the scholarship. And there are also scholarships for only native people, including some loans which are given only to natives and not foreigners. There is no special treatment or any exceptions for foreigners, i can tell you this much. Perhaps what you had in mind was the English teaching program, which a lot of native English speakers take advantage of.

    Also, i never said i had a bad experience, or that people are rude, i only said that according to my observation a lot of Japanese people do not tend to put themselves in other peoples shoes over a strong desire to get what they want. Another observation i have, and you just reminded me of it, is their, often hilarious, lack of sense of proportion. You just compared racism you’ve experience in a small village to racism in the largest city and megapollis -Tokyo. This is just completely misplaced comparison and it shows a no sense of proportion.

    Have you experienced racism in big cities like the capital or others ? In the small town i grew up in, here in Bulgaria, there are a lot of Vietnamese people which are not treated as you described.

    In general i would say Japanese people are way more polite and helpful than Bulgarians, but the problem is that in many of these cases the politeness and help you get is not genuine at all, but rather it comes out of a routine obligation, and i am not saying this in a negative way, i find Japanese people to be very concern about how you think of Japan, so any action they take in front of you has this in mind.

    Anyway, can you speak Bulgarian ? As a Bulgarian myself i find many aspects of Japanese culture to be shockingly similar to the Bulgarian culture. In particular the indirect communication and group oriented thinking. I am not sure if you can realize this if you don’t speak the language.

    Also, there aren’t many Asian people in Bulgaria, in particular small towns, so you have to excuse their stupidity. Take care.

  • Hikari

    I’m sorry to have upset you. I’ve deleted my comments because I really do not intend to offend any of you, you seem to have enough bad experience in Japan, and I do not want to be another one. Please don’t call yourself white monkey, although I must admit it just made me feel closer to you because in Europe I feel like yellow monkey all the time. When I said that people in Japan think we natives and non natives are different, maybe I could have phrased it better and not caused harm if I knew more English, but I think that’s basically what I wanted to say. I hope I sound how I intend to. We think so different. It’s not always for the worse, but for example what I hear a lot from Japanese host families is that, even when the student they are hosting is great, there are many “unexpected” events. It’s part of the fun. It’s interesting. And to experience that is part of the point of hosting home stays, but when it comes to business, like renting properties, or hiring someone and letting them represent the company, this kind of unexpected surprises becomes a cause of concern, and people don’t like to take chances. I just want to explain what I think Japanese think. It’s not that they decide not to rent you or hire you because you are of another race. It’s the cultural difference resulting in unexpectedness. Risk avoiding.

  • blondein_tokyo

    This person just said that fighting prejudice is “westernizing correction”.

    Don’t you find it quite interesting that this person just claimed, out loud and proudly, that bigotry is a closely-held Japanese value?

  • bluetortilla

    Here is a presumably Deleted Reply by Hikari:

    “Again, I apologize if I offend you, but I still think you think different to me.If I enter your home, and want to make changes when the current rules in your home is perfectly fine to your family, will you still welcome me to be part of your family?
    It is not racism. It is anti-change, yes.
    As I understand, you do not want to live in Japan the way it is. You want to change Japan to suit you.
    You are not alone, it is a common Western style of thinking, and that’s okay for you to think however you’d like, but I don’t want to see japan be target of such “correction”.

    Japan is a nation of over 100 million people. I’d hardly call it your home or the people living here your ‘family’ in the immediate sense of the word, any more than I could get cozy with some Parker family I’ve never met down in Jacksonville, Fl.
    The family you speak of is the human family, and the Western values you resist so much are just as superficial and surface sentiments as are your Japanese ones.
    People place way too much value on culture. What you should be more wary of is power structures- how they brainwash you and make sure you fit in so they can maintain their control over resources. Patriotism is a big fat lie and deep in our hearts we all know it. It’s as stupid and archaic as bowing before the king. I say put the days of national bigotry behind us.