|

Imagining a Japan that thinks beyond blood and binary distinctions

by and

The recent heroics of Japan’s team in the Rugby World Cup — three wins in the group stage, including the historic nail-biting victory over South Africa — pave the way for two potentially positive outcomes: a bright future for rugby on these islands, and, just maybe, a template to discuss identity and belonging in Japan.

It was obvious to anyone watching the Brave Blossoms’ games that of the 31 players included in Japan’s squad, some of the players did not appear — how should we put it? — typically Japanese. In fact, 11 players were born outside Japan — the same number, incidentally, as for the Welsh and Scottish teams. Under current rugby union rules, a player can be considered for selection for the national team if, amongst other considerations, they have lived in the country for three consecutive years.

But in 2015, how do we define “typically Japanese”? Do we do so through blood, race and ethnicity? Or would we not be better off opening up the field, and, much like the vaunted rugby squad, considering new ideas, while relegating outdated terms and modes of thinking to the sin bin?

Consider Kotaro Matsushima, one of Japan’s try scorers, born in South Africa to a Japanese mother and Zimbabwean father. He later attended Toin Gakuen High School in Yokohama. Matsushima, as well as being a big talent for Japan, is also what is known as a hāfu, a word stemming from the English word “half.” Generally “hāfu” is a benign term, used to signify someone who is half-Japanese and half something else — in the case of our children, half-Irish. It’s also, we would argue, an unfortunate term.

Firstly, much like the truncated word for foreigner, “gaijin,” “hāfu” is a catchall phrase, and not unlike a label: It signifies difference, in this case an ethnic and racial mixture, but stops short of naming those differences, e.g., “Irish-Japanese.” People are denominated as half-Japanese and half-… well, the other part of the equation is not deemed important enough to act as an identifier, as it is the extent to which they are Japanese that matters. This view is broadly, though not universally, accepted.

Secondly, the term is used inconsistently: Do most Japanese consider a Korean-Japanese boy to be hāfu, the way they would a French-Japanese girl?

And there is the baggage and confusion the word “hāfu” carries with it, the flip side of which is wholeness and purity — which is probably why some people reach for the term “double.” But this signifier has gained little traction, as it seemingly creates bias against “singles.”

All of these terms are problematic, and moving from racial identifiers to national ones should be the aim of any progressive society. As a stopgap measure, “Irish-Japanese,” as an example, is a huge improvement over “hāfu,” as it acknowledges both aspects of identity and shifts the focus from the child themselves to their parents. (“I’m Japanese but my father is from Ireland.”)

And this is all before you consider that, genetically speaking, there is no more biological credibility to biracial designations (“Irish-Japanese”) than there is to describing someone with a tall mother and a short father as a person of mixed height. “That we even have the idea there is such a thing as mixed race is a testament to our disarticulation of race from biological facts,” wrote the scholar Walter Benn Michaels.

And yet in spite of this, or because of this, these labels matter hugely, especially in an era when our concept of identity is far more fluid and undergoing transformations.

In some ways Japan has made progress on racial issues, with young mixed-race personalities frequently appearing on television. Ariana Miyamoto, a bi-racial model, won the Miss Universe Japan contest earlier this year. However, the hāfu phenomenon may be nothing more than a temporary fad, with their inclusion in popular media as superficial a symbol of change as the presence of numerous black and transgender personalities, whose own status reflects nothing of the real and ongoing difficulties faced by racial and gender minorities in Japan.

Regarding mixed-race individuals, the widespread admiration from other Japanese seems to stem from an envy of the exotic glamour of their appearance and their ability to bypass rigid expectations of conformity while still being “Japanese enough” to fit in. There is little evidence that it represents any broader growth in the idea of what it means to be Japanese.

And it is this issue that is central to any discussion on what Japan will come to need most in the coming decades: people. Can a more robust Japanese identity be developed, one which is more flexible and goes beyond binary (hāfus, singles, doubles) and blood distinctions?

Japan has become the go-to example of population decline. Projections vary, but they all foretell drastic changes — a population drop of up to 30 percent over the next 50 years, matched by a contracting economy. International investors, generally averse to injecting money into such shrinking economies, are already watching carefully to see whether Japan can adopt a practical response to the problem.

Technology alone won’t provide the remedy, nor will herding Japan’s elderly back to work, and politicians and policymakers generally seem to miss the point that the goals of increasing family size while pushing women to work more are mutually incompatible. Quite simply, without a major wave of new foreign workers — and the U.N. Population Division has recommended figures of up to 600,000 per year — Japan will not be able to stave off economic decline.

The Abe government has floated the idea of increasing the number of three-to-five-year temporary visas for a new generation of disposable workers who can be repatriated as soon as they are no longer needed. There is no short-term solution to Japan’s problems, though, and to survive in the 21st century the country needs new ideas, foremost among which is a reassessment of its concept of national identity.

Japan needs fresh blood, new workers, new ideas, and as many foreign entrepreneurs and innovators as it can entice to its shores. It cannot hope to do this with meager offers of temporary accommodation and an overt fear of societal contamination. Culture thrives and grows only in its exposure to other cultures, with Japan’s explosive growth during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) serving as a prime example.

It is also hard to offer credence to suggestions that Japan, by virtue of its homogeneity and island status, is a special case. Ireland in our youth was largely very white and very Irish; only in the past 15 years, with Ireland’s economic turnaround in the late 1990s, did any significant immigration take place. As of 2012, 17 percent of the population was foreign-born, a much greater rate than in Japan, albeit in a much smaller country.

The influx has been a huge boon for Ireland, both economically and culturally, and the country has received praise for its efforts at adjusting to the new arrivals, including by passing new antidiscrimination laws and offering immigrants the right to vote in local elections. Furthermore, Dublin was ranked highly for its integration policies by a Council of Europe study.

Of course there are problems to be overcome; tensions between groups, especially when stoked by self-serving political or media figures, need to be carefully handled, but most of these issues stem from native reactions to foreign arrivals rather than any inherent problem in the latter group.

In Japan, the native role in such problems has been highlighted eloquently by Haruko Arimura, the former minister for women’s empowerment. While arguing the government position that more female workers, rather than immigrants, is the better road to take, Arimura claimed that Japan’s negative treatment of immigrants could create the kind of resentment against Japan that might lead one of them to decide to become an Islamic State suicide bomber.

Setting aside the inherent xenophobia in this comment and the clear fact that her government’s security policy has vastly greater potential as a precursor to terrorist activity, Arimura offers a clear example of an expectation among Japanese people that attempts to assimilate immigrants into Japanese culture would create irreconcilable tensions.

This represents a fundamental failure to recognize that truly multicultural societies do not demand assimilation, the very idea of which would rob immigrants of the vibrancy and freshness that makes them so vital to Japan’s ability to reshape itself in coming decades. Instead, such communities recognize that a person’s place in society, including their identity as a citizen, should be tied to more important factors than the degree to which they conform to such superficial elements as the appearance of the majority.

So, in the afterglow of the national team’s success in England, let’s consider Japan’s rugby team — a truly talented mix — as something we should embrace as a concept and a model of what Japan has the potential to become.

Foreign Agenda offers a forum for opinion about issues related to life in Japan. Your comments and story ideas: community@japantimes.co.jp

  • Steve Jackman

    “The Abe government has floated the idea of increasing the number of three-to-five-year temporary visas for a new generation of disposable workers who can be repatriated as soon as they are no longer needed.” Japan has been treating expats as disposable workers for as long as I can remember, so this is nothing new. The sad fact is that Japan will never treat foreign workers as anything other than second-class disposable workers.

    Even highly skilled foreign professionals are treated as completely disposable employees by corporate Japan. I know of several such foreign workers who Japanese companies pleaded with to come work for them. However, as soon as the immediate needs of these companies were filled, they tossed the foreign workers out like trash. All the empty promises made by these Japanese companies of secure employment, equal treatment and advancement opportunities turned out to be just ploys used by the companies to extract as much as possible from the workers before unceremoneously getting rid of them (often using extremely dishonest, illegal and unethical practices).

    The contracts Japanese companies sign with expat workers are worth less than the paper they’re written on. The companies get away with this because they know that foreign employees have no recourse against them, so they freely violate Japanese labor and employment laws when dealing with their non-Japanese staff. The Japanese judicial system is famously corrupt, racist and xenophobic, so Japanese companies know that they will always win against foreign workers, no matter how badly they have broken Japanese laws. In such a harsh and unfair environment, it is hard to see how Japan can increase the number of expats.

    • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

      Foreign workers should be treated as disposable so they don’t settle and alter the genetic and ethnic makeup of the ethnostate

  • Firas Kraïem

    “All of these terms are problematic, and moving from racial identifiers
    to national ones should be the aim of any progressive society.”

    Nationalism as a progressive idea, who woulda thought?

    • Steve Jackman

      National does not mean nationalism.

      • Firas Kraïem

        It very much does. Especially in Japan.

      • Steve Jackman

        I repeat, national and nationalism are two different things, just like race and racism have two different meanings.

    • R0ninX3ph

      Surely National identifiers would refer more to someone identifying as Japanese by nature of being born and raised in Japan? Or hell, even just raised in Japan.

      Instead of the situation now, where someone is not Japanese unless they are “racially” Japanese.

    • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

      Nationalism is the only truly progressive idea, anything else is an appeasement of empathy.

  • Firas Kraïem

    “All of these terms are problematic, and moving from racial identifiers
    to national ones should be the aim of any progressive society.”

    Nationalism as a progressive idea, who woulda thought?

  • Jordan Burke

    This Western push to force the flawed and failing concept of multiculturalism on Japan. I dont get it. You see they have lo crime and no racial conflict WHY DO YOU INSIST ON PUSHING THESE ISSUES ON THEM? Have you seen Europe lately? Sweden is not “better off” as a society with this “new blood” you speak of as if people are the ingredients of a soup. As an Irish person, a Liberal one, I am still not too keen on the idea of going to visit Ireland one day and finding the Irish a minority in their ancestral home. Nations are a home to a people, not a business with a revolving door as you seem to be suggesting by repeating the “low birthrate” argument. Your going to have racism, slums, conflict and crime. It happens EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Why is it a global crime for a nation to want to assert its identity? Japan’s explosive growth had nothing to do with how many foreign faces you see in a crowd, it had growth because it had the tight cohesion the more fragmented western societies can only dream of.
    If Japan lets in all these foreigners, then technologies come in that fill the labor shortage leaving them jobless, then what? You live in a well-meaning but foolish state of ignorance on the reality of human nature.

    • etchasketch

      I felt the same way after the great potato famine.

    • akelo

      If you read the article, you may notice that not opening up would set Japan on the road backwards, and badly. There are not tons of options here, Jordan Burke dearest.
      And in case you didn’t know, we all live on this little rock in the universe and we have to share it and help each other. I don’t think razor wire and oppressive immigration policies are going to be very helpful.

      • John Higson

        And open door immigration with it’s attendant problems, so vividly illustrated by Jordan Burke, will be helpful??? I would suggest that you examine every nation where that demographic experiment has been tried and get back to us.

      • gnirol

        Examine every nation where the population drops 30% in a half century and get back to us. If person X doesn’t like Y, that can be overcome. When all the X’es don’t produce enough to earn sufficient income from the rest of the world to feed their families, the world says, gee, isn’t if awful they’re starving and moves on, dropping bits of foreign aid on their poor cousins. X and Y can do nothing or X and Y can simply decide that their ancient customs are less important than eating and having a decent house to live in. Do the X people expect the rest of the world to provide them comfy lives because they come from what once was a developed country, when they accept a future in which they are lagging behind other countries that are doing whatever it takes to move ahead? The problems in Europe exist because the people in Europe, including old and new immigrants, don’t want to solve them, not because they are unsolvable. If Japan were to become multi-cultural and perhaps lead the world in this direction, the now 200-year old nation-state system as we know it could be replaced by something created for the world as it exists in the globalized 21st and 22nd centuries, not the 19th. Or are we to just give up as a human race and let the world splinter into ever smaller competing entities, only a few of which eventually remain as successful countries and dominate the others? Sounds like 19th century empires to me. Of course, when you mix, you have to put living together successfully above everything else. Lots of compromises are necessary at first. Eventually, you make new rules, create new customs and lose old ones (today’s world probably ignores most Hittite customs), develop new cultures. This is bad?

      • R0ninX3ph

        Because it is a black and white world right? Its either no immigration or completely wide open immigration?

      • Buck

        You are right, it’s about finding the right
        balance.

      • John Higson

        Japan’s immigration policy seems to work pretty well as it is thank you very much. They import the specialised labour they need and gain the economic benefit of it.I should know, I benefited from it! But that’s not what posters here are advocating, and you know it! They want Japan to open the floodgates and let in 500,000 -1 million per year, from anywhere and totally change Japan as it stands now to a completely different country in exactly the same way that Britain was changed by the migration of the fifties and sixties. I’m not sure that was a good thing, and in certain instances it was actively a very bad thing.Japan has seen and probably learned from this. I don’t want the same for Japan, and more importantly, neither does Japan!

      • Steve Jackman

        “But that’s not what posters here are advocating, and you know it! They want Japan to open the floodgates and let in 500,000 -1 million per year”.

        No one here is advocating what you have stated. Can you point to a single comment here which is advocating this? Let’s try to have some honesty and integrity in the posts.

      • John Higson

        I think 600,000 was mentioned in the original article……..which now can’t be accessed.

      • Steve Jackman

        You’re funny.

      • Hanna Magai

        Yes, they usually forget on purpose that they could implement new policies to help families and encourage parents to have more children…This would cost a lot of money for the government and for big companies so of course they would rather invite a cheap workforce. Big companies don’t care about social problems, they only care about profit. So obviously every one of them and they puppet polititians say how it is so good for the economy to bring thousands of migrants in.. I think the very fist step shouln’t be mass immigration, but new policies to help child birth.

      • John Higson

        And open door immigration with it’s attendant problems, so vividly illustrated by Jordan Burke, will be helpful??? I would suggest that you examine every nation where that demographic experiment has been tried and get back to us.

    • akelo

      If you read the article, you may notice that not opening up would set Japan on the road backwards, and badly. There are not tons of options here, Jordan Burke dearest.
      And in case you didn’t know, we all live on this little rock in the universe and we have to share it and help each other. I don’t think razor wire and oppressive immigration policies are going to be very helpful.

    • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

      Diversity is fear of inequality dressed up as good intentions

  • Tachomanx

    Ask Europe how well Multiculturalism has worked for them.

    Thousands of these “citizens” have travelled to join ISIS and a some have returned to repay european kindness with bullets and fire.

    Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

      • Jordan Burke

        True.
        Modern democracies work best when all its citizens have a modern mindset. Letting in large amounts of people who likely don’t share that is kind of opening yourself up to some problems that are better avoided. You must also realize that no matter how much we try, you cant tell people to change their worldviews within a few decades.
        Be honest, is Europe doing Multiculturalism right? Whats the end game here? A Europe that is culturally 45% European? Doesn’t make sense. You seriously think everyones going to get along when people rapidly flood your cities who do not share your values and culture? Thats whats going on in Europe. Multiculturalism is a nice thought but I honestly cant see it being a thing the Japanese, I mean c’mon, the Japanese, would handle well. They feel differently about what a nation is than we do.

      • Steve Jackman

        I think there are a couple of issues worth mentioning. First, it is not fair to say that immigration and diversity are not good things, just because a few countries in Europe may not be getting them right. Doing so ignores complex and unique issues about these countries, including their colonial past, invlovement and complicity in the roots of certain modern conflicts, and their geographical proximity to some of their former colonies. There are much better examples of other countries like the U.S, Canada and Australia, which are getting many things right when it comes to building healthy, vibrant, dynamic and harmonious societies based on diversity and attracting new blood (sensational headline news notwithstanding).

        Second, yes, it is clearly the right of the Japanese people to continue to maintain their homogeneity, insularity, xenophobia and to keep their country closed. However, they need to realize that there are tradeoffs to everything. Is it wise for someone to never leave their home or cross the street because of an irrational fear of getting hit by a bus? By maintaining its current trajectory, Japan is certain to face oblivion based on demographic, cultural, financial and competitive factors. It’s a law of nature that ecosystems which fail to evolve and lack diversity are doomed over the long term and Japan cannot be an exception to this rule.

      • John Higson

        It show your total misunderstanding of the concept of diversity and lack of knowledge of genetics that you use these in an economic context! Japan has the greatest genetic diversity in Asia!

        Why are you so keen to ram western concepts of diversity down Japan’s throat!? Your cultural chauvinism is breathtaking and insulting and you need to step back and reconsider, you’re looking like an idiot!

        I get the feeling that you’re an economist, and that isn’t a compliment!

      • Steve Jackman

        “I get the feeling that you’re an economist, and that isn’t a compliment!”. I get the feeling that you’re an ignorant closed-minded bigot, and that isn’t a compliment either!

      • John Higson

        How does my defence of Japan as a monocultural society which is successful and relatively peaceful and pleasant make me a bigot? I’d be interested in your twisted and ranty logical fallacies!

      • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

        In what way is diversity and multiculturalism a good thing?

        I’ve lived in Canada for over two decades and there’s nothing here that wouldn’t be done better if the entire country was Chinese. It’s peaceful because the immigrants here tolerate Western ideals, but it’s not optimal.

        If anything, diversity is a social illness that needs to be fixed with assimilation, inequality, and ethnonationalism. From the nationalist perspective, most western countries lag behind Asia in homogeneity and racial harmony.

      • Toolonggone

        You’re right. Multiculturalism does not fix economy. Neither does nativistism. There ought to be significant change in the system of distributing social capital, labor force, job creation, and wellness across the nation.

      • Philosopher

        Wait! You’re saying that Japan has a modern mindset and the immigrants in might or might not let in don’t? That’s the funniest thing I’ve read here all day.
        Japan ranked 106th in the World Economic Forum gender equality rankings last year. Below The Philipines where some of the potential immigrants seem to be.That’s hardly the marker of a modern society.
        I love Japan but there are so many more examples of its archiac legal and social systems that I almost don’t know where to start. Here are a just few more off the top of my head.
        Japan still lacks laws against racial vilification. Even threats of ethnic cleansing pass muster here.
        Japan insists that its citizens be registered as families. As though being single makes you invalid.
        Japan asks foreign-born residents to pay taxes, insurance premiums and into pension plans, then refuses to pay out those same residents when they’re unemployed or retired because they’re not citizens.
        Are they the hallmarks of a modern society?

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • etchasketch

      “Multiculturalism is nothing but a pretty word for Apartheid where cultures avoid mixing with one another while living in the same country.”

      Sure, as long a people like you exist.

    • tisho

      Do you know what multiculturalism is? I am pretty sure you don’t. There is difference between a religion and a culture. Culture are your habits, your way of thinking, the way you do things, what you believe, the way you speak, the way you dress, all the information you have, all the knowledge you have, that’s what culture means. Now, how can all the people in one country have the same way of thinking, same knowledge, same information, same habits, same views and so on? Obviously they can’t, and they don’t. Therefore, you can’t say a single country has a single culture, because every single individual has his own individual way of thinking and way of doing things. What you can say, however, is that there are certain common characteristics that the majority of people in a country share, those can include a certain favorite food, way of dressing, or view of some things. The United States was built by immigrants from all around the world. Have you heard of the 3 big immigration waves? People from Europe, Asia and the middle east came to America and built the wealthiest country on Earth. I think what you are referring to is some failed aspects of the views majority of people from predominantly muslim countries share. I agree that a lot of the views/customs a lot of people from that region have is wrong, it is something from the middle ages and it cannot be accepted by the majority of people living in European countries. As long as you come with the intention of making a better life for yourself, and being open minded about the local way of doing things, meaning try to accept it, and not impose your own way of view onto the local people, you are welcome to come. Every country has positive and negative aspects of their ”culture”. When you go to another country, you want to accept the positives, not the negatives, you want to try to change yourself to fit the culture of that country, and if you can’t, then that country is not for you obviously. When foreigners go to Japan, most of them try their best to accept the Japanese culture, even though there are many failed aspects of it. I would suggest people take the good aspects, and try to bring about positive change. What you are saying is – because some of the people that will come might be bad, therefore we shouldn’t accept anybody.

      • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

        Do they? If foreigners really did accept Japanese culture, they would not pretend that Western moral values like multiculturalism are infallible virtues. I would argue they don’t even work for Western societies.

  • Shaun O’Dwyer

    Oh, I get it. According to conservative pundits, multiculturalism will upset Japan’s harmonious, monocultural, ancient national identity, leading to resentment and then to terrorism and suicide bombers. Neither of which Japan has experienced in its history, ever (because, you know, “the wa” etc). Am I missing something here?

    • Steve Jackman

      Yes, you got that right! It’s the same wa and harmony which leads to Japan having one of the highest suicide rates in the world, many Japanese who are so traumatized by society that they have locked themselves in their rooms and refuse to leave their homes, widespread bullying in almost all aspects of Japanese culture and a nation which is totally incapable of communicating or interacting with the rest of the world. Ah, the wonders of a homogenous society based on wa!

      • John Higson

        And immigration and all its challenges of integration and alienation as seen in the west will solve these problems how? It would seem that your answer would be to superimpose more problems on top of already significant challenges. Your flawed logic betrays you!

      • Steve Jackman

        Immigration brings with it new ideas and different perspectives, it shows people that there is more than one way of looking at something by challenging widely held myths and assumptions, it helps safeguard against group think and tunnel vision, and it makes societies generally more dynamic and open minded (bigots will always be bigots, so I’m not talking about them). I think these are all things which Japanese society is in dire need of.

        Then there is the little issue of Japan’s future financial and economic sustainability, as I asked you about in my other post, for which I am still awaiting your response.

      • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

        Well bigotry is often a positive thing, a fact that eludes many westerners

        Besides, what’s a few people committing suicide compared to committed ethnic suicide? Your blood is your nation, anything less reeks of unchecked compassion for others

      • tisho

        Only Europe has problems with immigration, America does not. Have you heard or seen any muslims having trouble integrating in the United States? I haven’t. Even the romani people are well integrated into the United States. The reason is because the way Europe wants to integrate people is wrong, and it will never work, it never has, never will. Europe is a big socialist, welfare state(s), they want to force people into integrating. America on the other hand has a free labor market, which allows people with differences to integrate themselves. Free labor market is like an equal playing field, it allows all people to compete/work together and climb the social/job ladder. In Europe, they have extremely regulated labor market, there is no equal playing field, you can’t expect someone who doesn’t speak the language, have no skills, no experience in anything, to compete with a local person for the same job. Of course there will be problems with integrating. The social benefits and minimum wage are only making it worse, they don’t allow people to integrate themselves, in the US, it used to be that – you come here, you are on your own, nobody is going to help you, you help yourself. Now the socialists have taken over the government and are trying their best to emulate the European failed model.

      • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

        That’s because America isn’t an indigenous homeland for Whites. See how well immigration worked out for the natives. If the red man had been more fascist and more xenophobic, they might not be in such a situation.

      • soudeska

        Seriously? America doesn’t have a problem with immigration? Try telling that to an American. They will laugh in your face.

      • Steve Jackman

        America does not have a problem with immigration. It has a problem with illegal immigration. Two different things.

      • tisho

        Have you seen any problems with immigrations integrating in the United States? The US was built by immigrations, literally. Every single person in the US is ether an immigration or his parents/ancestors were. Why is it that even the Romani people and muslims integrate well in the US, but not in Europe? Because the US has a free labor market which allows people with differences to integrate themselves, while Europe does not have a free labor market, they want to force people into integrating with their big welfare and socialists states.

      • tisho

        Have you seen any problems with immigrations integrating in the United States? The US was built by immigrations, literally. Every single person in the US is ether an immigration or his parents/ancestors were. Why is it that even the Romani people and muslims integrate well in the US, but not in Europe? Because the US has a free labor market which allows people with differences to integrate themselves, while Europe does not have a free labor market, they want to force people into integrating with their big welfare and socialists states.

    • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

      Wouldn’t it? It would be justified for an indigenous majority to use violence against diversity, which essentially amounts to genocide through race replacement

      That any country had wars in the past does not justify tolerance for outsiders

  • John Higson

    When will western commenters, soaked in do-gooding western propaganda about how great multiculturalism is, when it has CLEARLY failed in the west, leading to uncounted societal problems, stop trying to impose our failed norms onto the clearly better Japanese model of monoculturalism?

    Yes, Japan has it’s problems with racism and misogyny(but where doesn’t?), but these pale into relative insignificance when set against the positives of a safe and pleasant society and environment to live in and bring up children! Why on earth would they want to even nibble away at the edges of this to appease westerners who feel that they should be doing more to appear like the west! Our cultural norms are not necessarily better just because they are ours! And it is extreme cultural chauvinism to think otherwise!

    • akelo

      “safe and pleasant” – for whom? If Japan doesn’t open up and accept a larger workforce, its economy will nosedive, and then we’ll see how “safe and pleasant” life is.

      • John Higson

        Its economy may contract with a lower population, but I would suggest that the GDP per capita would stay the same or even increase, releasing more money per person. A positive outcome surely? And, of course, it all depends on productivity, doesn’t it?

        The idea that a falling population is bad is a flawed and simplistic concept to say the very least! One that is pushed hard by bankers and economists, and we all know how reliable they have been as far as the ‘greater good’ is concerned, don’t we? Growth, as a concept, has become a civil religion and an unquestioned good, when in fact it is nothing of the sort! More growth=the use of more stuff, exponentially, forever. To believe this is to be insane or an economist/politician!

        That isn’t even the biggest problem, carrying capacity is. By any ecological metric, Japan is vastly overpopulated by any measure imaginable! It produces less than 40% of the food it consumes and takes something like 40% of the entire world’s sea catch! How with 2% of the total world’s population is THAT sustainable? And you want to see this increased! A much,much more sensible and environmentally friendly policy would be a managed downsizing of the population and economy over the next centuries to what the nearby ocean and the home island’s soils and environment can sustain long term, NOT short term growth fueled by a recklessly irresponsible immigration policy specifically designed to shore up banking and corporate profits at the expense of everything that makes Japan unique and uniquely attractive.

      • Steve Jackman

        I am not very good at Math, so maybe you can help me out here. Japan’s government debt at well over USD 10 trillion is approaching 250 percent of GDP. Japan’s current population of 127 million is projected to dip to about 80 million. It seems logical that as the country’s population shrinks, so will its GDP.

        Doesn’t that mean that Japan’s debt (which is still growing, especially due to skyrocketing costs of supporting an aging population) as a percentage of it’s (shrinking) GDP will get even larger? Making things worse, wouldn’t Japan’s government debt problem also get much worse on a per capita basis as its population plummets?

        So, who’s going to pay Japan’s bills? Now, I’m no Einstein, but the answers to these questions seem pretty self evident to me.

      • John Higson

        And a skyrocketing population on a finite islands will end how when they are already passed carrying capacity?

      • Steve Jackman

        “And if debt gets too bad, default, it’s only banker that get hurt and who cares about them?”

        Your comment just illustrates your ignorance. Almost all of the Japanese government debt is held domestically by the Japanese people themselves, so a default hurts only the Japanese people who hold these government bonds.

      • John Higson

        Actually, I did know that, but it’ll never be paid off and will be defaulted on anyway, at this stage T.I.N.A.(there is no alternative). No amount of heroic growth will ever get Japan ahead of the keynesian hole it finds itself in! Default is the only way.

      • Steve Jackman

        “No amount of heroic growth will ever get Japan ahead of the keynesian hole it finds itself in! Default is the only way.”

        It seems to me that you have conceded defeat, since your case for keeping Japan on its current path (insular, homogenous, xenophobic and closed to outsiders) inevitably leads to it’s destruction. A default means the end of Japan as we know it.

      • John Higson

        I don’t necessarily agree with that, default would mean hardship for some and disaster for banks and maybe Japanese govt in it’s current form. But it’ll still be recognisably Japan, with it’s own character and culture, not the waterdown, heterogenous and globally homogenous mish-mash that you and others here advocate. I’ll take economic decline and the Japan we know, and so will Japan!

      • Steve Jackman

        Are you serious or just trolling?

      • John Higson

        Absolutely serious.

      • Steve Jackman

        In that case, my sympathies to you.

      • John Higson

        And my sympathies to you in your quest to push failed western policies onto Japan, because it won’t happen. Japan has a real respect for it’s culture and identity and won’t give it up to appease idiots like you. You’ll still be arguing this in 20 years time and they’ll still be insular and xenophobic and……….Japanese.

      • John Higson

        I don’t necessarily agree with that, default would mean hardship for some and disaster for banks and maybe Japanese govt in it’s current form. But it’ll still be recognisably Japan, with it’s own character and culture, not the waterdown, heterogenous and globally homogenous mish-mash that you and others here advocate. I’ll take economic decline and the Japan we know, and so will Japan!

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        So you’ll be leaving these fair isles yourself soon then? I mean, you need to make way for the true natives, don’t you?

      • John Higson

        I already left….., but just like MaCarthur ‘I shall be back!’, if only to show my boy how to be a man!

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        Against my better judgement…..what on earth is that supposed to mean?

      • Steve Jackman

        Given some of his comments here, I think we’re probably better off not knowing.

  • akelo

    For your information, not all European ISIS fighters come from an immigrant background. The issue is a lot more complex that you seem to think.

  • akelo

    For your information, not all European ISIS fighters come from an immigrant background. The issue is a lot more complex that you seem to think.

    • Tachomanx

      Certainly not, many are children of said immigrants that have failed to integrate into society (Partly due to the country itself and it’s failure to integrate them properly) and despite having a passport do not really feel english, french or german.
      Such disgruntled young people are easy to rile and feel part of a community when a crazy imam begins brainwashing them.

      • brichieb

        Talk about being brainwashed by crazy imams

        7.5 million UK citizens who declared themselves non-white in the 2011 UK census vs. highest estimates of around 1500 British muslims that have gone to fight for ISIS (official figures are one third of that at around 500), and they’ve scared you into taking ISIS defections as the defining symptom of multiculturalism?

      • Tachomanx

        Not only ISIS, but also poverty, discrimination, riots that explode from time to time like in France.
        Also high rates of school dropping and other social elements that marginalize these people.
        Most would not join ISIS, but as we have seen, terror hust need one with a rifle to suceed.

        Multiculturalism should be crushed and these people coming be fully integrated. After all, these are people coming from failed nations, hence what they bring with them is the formula to make a nation fail.

  • John Higson

    ‘Culture thrives and grows only in its exposure to other cultures, ‘

    Nonsense, so the Japanese culture that we all know and love didn’t grow and change during its self imposed exile of centuries during the Tokugawa shogunate? The reason that it underwent explosive growth after the imposition of trade by ‘The Black Ships’ was because they adopted new technology and NOT western cultural norms. The fact that you superimpose an agenda of cultural exposure on top of this Japanese achievement of technological adoption says more about your agenda than anything else!

  • John Higson

    ‘Culture thrives and grows only in its exposure to other cultures, ‘

    Nonsense, so the Japanese culture that we all know and love didn’t grow and change during its self imposed exile of centuries during the Tokugawa shogunate? The reason that it underwent explosive growth after the imposition of trade by ‘The Black Ships’ was because they adopted new technology and NOT western cultural norms. The fact that you superimpose an agenda of cultural exposure on top of this Japanese achievement of technological adoption says more about your agenda than anything else!

    • R0ninX3ph

      They didn’t adopt western cultural norms? So, is that why homosexuality was not frowned upon in Edo and previously, but after the black ships came, suddenly it was abhorrent? Kay.

      • Buck

        There are so many more examples as well. Culture is fluid and changes over time.

      • John Higson

        Not that I’m agreeing with you because I don’t know(and I smell a burning martyr), but does one example negate my whole thesis? Yet another logical fallacy I think.

    • DuckWhatDuck

      Ohhhhhh man.
      New technology *and* new cultural norms, and new intellectual models for understanding their own culture that were heavily, heavily influenced by contemporary Western thinking.
      They adopted new technology, they adopted new forms of organization, some groups adopted Western fashions and others backlashed against that by getting hyper-traditional; they imported educational models and governmental models and the idea of a written constitution. Ideas are also a form of technology.
      And they imported Western ideas of what it meant to be a culturally distinct nation-state, and part of that means emphasizing your own cultural/ethnic individuality and heritage in certain modes. A lot of the ways in which Japan asserts its uniqueness can actually be linked to 19th century Western ideas about cultural nationalism, as well as to indigenous Japanese ideas – nihonjinron and kokugaku approach Japanese identity in very different ways partly because of the time gap between them, and partly because of the fact that nihonjinron emerges from a mixed Japanese and Western intellectual background that kokugaku didn’t share.
      The modern “Japanese culture that we all know and love” is the product of a century and a half of Japanese responses to Westerners.
      And Tokugawa and earlier Japanese culture was ALSO heavily influenced by outside sources – have you considered the importance China has had throughout Japanese history? HUGE swathes of Japanese culture would never have evolved in the forms they did without Chinese linguistic, literary, and political influence. The writing system, the imperial court structure, the adoption and assimilation of Buddhism, the literature and poetics…
      This is not to denigrate Japanese culture in any way. Every culture is a product of outside influences, and internal responses to those influences (adopting them, rejecting them, adapting them, taking elements and dropping others). Japanese culture evolved during the Tokugawa Shogunate, sure, but it also evolved during every other period of its history, and if you’re going to consider the Tokugawa era (which was not without outside contact, in any case, it was just limited), also consider other eras of history? Particularly blatantly, the massive social changes resulting from external contacts with China in the Asuka-Nara eras.

      • John Higson

        ‘Every culture is a product of outside influences’

        Easter Island? Incas? Yanomami? Congo Pygmies?

        ‘The modern “Japanese culture that we all know and love” is the product of a century and a half of Japanese responses to Westerners.’

        When did I mention ‘modern’, I said Japanese culture, meaning the Japanese things that are instantly recognisable as Japanese, Sumo, Tea Ceremony, traditional dress, Haiku, Kabuki, and a whole host of other things. How have these been influenced by the west?

      • Steve Jackman

        I get the feeling that you’ve never actually been to Japan.

      • John Higson

        They may not be an integral part of everyday life, but they exist hugely in the minds of ordinary Japanese people and they pay a lot more than just lip-service to them as crucial touchstone of ‘Japaneseness’ and are immensely proud of them(some would say too much…). Sumo is on the TV every day it’s fought, lots of people practice Sado and Ikebana, Haiku are every where, traditional dress is worn regularly, though only by ladies and all of these thing were talked about by my students with immense pride that you would never get from traditions practiced in the Anglosphere or Europe. I lived in Japan for 12 years and like it JUST the way it is and so do they. YOU don’t matter and nor does your arrogant and condescending opinion,

      • Jameika

        I’m with Steve here. You’re grasping at things people *think* exist rather than at reality. Every nation needs a narrative to believe that they have validity, but sometimes that narrative needs to be challenged. The things people generally believe about their cultures are what they are told, not what is real. Japan was never isolated. Even in the Edo period trade and contact continued with the Korean Peninsula and the China of the day, but also with the Dutch East India Company. How is that isolating a nation? It’s not. The Shogunate was struggling to unite the nation as one (and really for the first time), so they needed to make sure that they had no real threats and since they were holding all the daimyos’ families hostage in Edo, the only threat would have been from abroad. Let’s stop pretending that this single period of isolationism defines Japan. We change. We adapt. And we reinvent culture. The Incas, for example, didn’t just suddenly appear, right? I think that’s what DuckWhatDuck was trying to say.

  • Ahojanen

    I am rather non-committal to the issue of multiculturalism, but it seems that “successful” cases or progress in diversity and integration (leading up to tangible achievement like one in RWC) are hardly reported by major media outlets. By contrast negative events and “problem” often appear in headlines. We should be aware of such asymmetric tendency in media reporting.

    In fact, the majority of well culturally adaptive gaijin minorities and their life look quite ordinary and mundane just like those of mainstream Japanese people; their stories may be far from newsworthy.

  • Shady Shita

    Everyone starts talking about religion and immigration and forgot the main topic, mixed race is the fastest growing race in the world weither you like it or not. Korea realised this and a neutralised person got a position in the government, does the Japanese government will be able to do the same? Only time will tell :)

  • ChezC3

    Keep Japan for the Japanese.

    • Terry “Death to Equality” Xu

      Asia belongs to Asians. Any call for diversity is a declaration of war against the ethnostate

    • Jameika

      Define ‘Japanese’.
      Where do you draw that line?
      What is ‘Japan’ if not a nation made up of all these people who have come to these islands over hundreds and thousands of years?
      This is no different. Culture and nation are not static.

      I’m pretty sure Amaterasu didn’t pull the nation out of the sea and populate it with her children or whatever.

      • ChezC3

        You know god damn good and well…

  • Piro Ichiro

    Too many Japanese have traveled to Europe, especially to France, UK, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Italy and witnessed what hapens there to be interested in your “Citizen of the World” BS. Japan is a Nation, not a hotel, unlike most countries in the West where all that counts is the productivity/debt ratio. A Nation has a people whose roots are in deep the soil. A hotel is filled with oportunists who come when it fits their needs, and flee when times are bad. Migrants don’t build a country, they suck the life force out of it.
    That being said, what you call “multicutural” should be renamed “multiracial”. Japan filled with Nigerians or Iranians who have their parents’ culture is not Japan anymore. You could be a black Japanese, but you have to be of Japanese culture, otherwise you’re just a parasite.
    One more thing: there is not ONE immigration. There are different immigrations. Dublin, which I know rather well, is an immigration city but those foreigners come from Europe and US. You cen see a few veiled-women and their bearded husbands, but I can assure you that those guys don’t participate in improving your GDP. On the other hand, Marseille or Malmö are packed with people from islamic countries, and almost no immigrants come from Europe, US or Asia. As a result: crime is high, poverty is high, unemployment is high, wellfare spendings are high, and it’s a complete apartheid between those parasites and the natives.

  • Piro Ichiro

    Too many Japanese have traveled to Europe, especially to France, UK, Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Italy and witnessed what hapens there to be interested in your “Citizen of the World” BS. Japan is a Nation, not a hotel, unlike most countries in the West where all that counts is the productivity/debt ratio. A Nation has a people whose roots are in deep the soil. A hotel is filled with oportunists who come when it fits their needs, and flee when times are bad. Migrants don’t build a country, they suck the life force out of it.
    That being said, what you call “multicutural” should be renamed “multiracial”. Japan filled with Nigerians or Iranians who have their parents’ culture is not Japan anymore. You could be a black Japanese, but you have to be of Japanese culture, otherwise you’re just a parasite.
    One more thing: there is not ONE immigration. There are different immigrations. Dublin, which I know rather well, is an immigration city but those foreigners come from Europe and US. You cen see a few veiled-women and their bearded husbands, but I can assure you that those guys don’t participate in improving your GDP. On the other hand, Marseille or Malmö are packed with people from islamic countries, and almost no immigrants come from Europe, US or Asia. As a result: crime is high, poverty is high, unemployment is high, wellfare spendings are high, and it’s a complete apartheid between those parasites and the natives.

  • Paul Martin

    As a gaijin I agree, the rugby magnificence demonstrates just that ! Japan should shed it’s fanatical, nationalistic one mindedness and become truly international or risk isolation by the rest of the World !