"Am I the only one who gets frisked five times a year?" was a question posed on Facebook by a black man living in Tokyo late last year, as he related the systematic and apparently racially motivated harassment he's received at the hands of Tokyo's finest over the course of his 10 years here.
The post distressed me. Though I haven't found myself on the business end of undue police attention anywhere near the frequency he has, I felt his humiliation vicariously. I also happen to know the gentleman personally, and if his isn't the name on top of the Metropolitan Police Department's list of Foreign Citizens Beyond Reproach, it ought to be.
By any profile aside from a racialized one, it would be unlikely that Jesse Freeman would ever find himself in the cross-hairs of law enforcement. He's a 32-year-old native of Baltimore who has spent his time here tirelessly putting his mind and talents to creative use. In addition to being a filmmaker who has held numerous standing-room-only screenings of short films he's directed and produced, he's an extortionate fee away from becoming an ikebana shihan (Japanese artistic flower-arranging instructor). He has even fashioned his own style of minimalistic ikebana, which he has displayed in exhibits in Tokyo.