a load of hot air! I have lived in Japan for over 10 years and have greatly enjoyed the (bathhouses) and many other benefits of living in a safe modern society. Gregory Clark However, it is also a racist and xenophobic society and to paint non-Japanese as having an allergy against discrimination is insulting and ridiculous.
Even on crowded trains, Japanese generally do not sit next to non-Japanese. Sometimes Japanese people will actually change seats if a foreigner sits down next to them. This is their “right,” but it is clearly xenophobic, as it demonstrates a fear or dislike of foreigners.
One of my great pleasures in Japan is the bathhouse. I have managed to enjoy quiet camaraderie and not spoil the atmosphere. I fail to see how a few rowdy Russian sailors would justify banning all foreigners from a bathhouse.
Gregory Clark’s snobbish and patronizing language — “rough-hewn, earthy people” — brings H.P. Lovecraft’s sinister descriptions of non-Western peoples to mind. And to read Clark’s article you would think that no Japanese people know how to “pick a lock” or commit crime.
America used to have “whites only” bars and other areas to preserve “white culture.” Is Clark seriously suggesting that having “Japanese only” areas or establishments is acceptable behavior for an advanced country that wishes to host the Olympics in the future?
I agree that Japanese people have the right to be racist, just as those who are discriminated against have the right to protest and try to change that behavior.
Let me add that speaking a people’s language does not leave one incapable of being racist or elitist toward the people. Personally, I am not anti-Clark, and I speak English, too.
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