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Anti-foreigner hate-speech publication on sale in Japan

February 16th, 2007 · 9 Comments

Gaijin HanzaiYou know, I might have seen this magazine in a convenience store last weekend. I can't remember which one or where. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did. I just didn't give it much thought.

Even the title Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (Foreigners Underground Crime File) uses an epithet for "foreigner" that's offensive enough to be banned from broadcasts.

From Chiba Beat:

“It goes beyond being puerile and into the realm of encouraging hatred of foreigners,” Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen, told the Guardian. “The fact that this is available in major bookstores is a definite cause of concern. It would be tantamount to hate speech in some societies.”

From Reuters:

"We wanted to take this up as a contemporary problem," said Shigeki Saka of Tokyo-based publishers Eichi, which also publishes magazines on popular U.S. and South Korean television dramas. "I think it would be good if this becomes a chance to broaden the debate," he added.

One caption in the magazine refers to a black man as "nigger."

"This is not a racist book, because it is based on established fact," Saka said. "If we wanted to be racist, we could write it in a much more racist way," he added, saying that the word "nigger" was not considered offensive in Japan.

More articles:
debito.org
Japan Probe
Japan:Stippy
It was pulled from Amazon.co.jp I'll look through the user reviews later.

You want my opinion? I'm glad it was published. Living in Japan is the only way a white male like myself can truly understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of racial descrimination. I can say for certain there are plenty of Japanese who are disgusted by this kind of publication, just as there are whites in the US who believe in racial equality.

Categories: General

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Garrett // Feb 16, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    For those who prefer audio, Seijigiri #17 spent some time on this rag, too.

    There's a Newsvine article on it, too.

    Sorry for the blatant self-promotion.

    I had a chance to see quite a bit of this "mook" and found it to be so over the top as to almost lose its offensiveness. At first, it's unpalatable, but then you start to think, "This has got to be a put-on."

    I'm surprised Amazon pulled it. When they responded to James at Japan Probe, they pretty clearly said they were going to continue to sell anything that wasn't illegal and kind of gave him a mini-lecture on freedom of speech.
    I guess they figured the bad press was not worth it for a magazine that probably wasn't selling anyway, except to foreigners outraged by it. When the Metropolis story came out (well after the fact – it had been pulled from most conbini shelves at least a week before), a number of my colleagues asked where they could find it.

    Kind of clever on the part of the publisher, when you think about it.

  • 2 Socko // Feb 16, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    "Living in Japan is the only way a white male like myself can truly understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racial discrimination. I can say for certain there are plenty of Japanese who are disgusted by this kind of publication, just as there are whites in the US who believe in racial equality."

    So true, I feel it everyday in some form or another while walking around on the weekends with my family or commuting to work. I also know a lot of Japanese that are very embarrassed with the way that the Japanese government just sits back. They are 20-30 years (or more) behind the U.S. in a lot of ways. Living in Japan has totally changed my view of the world.

    - sockoinjapan.blogspot.com

  • 3 Garrett // Feb 16, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I'm not so sure.

    I don't think it's the same thing. There's one very important difference: we're foreigners. I just don't think it's the same feeling as being the object of discrimination within one's own country, growing up with it. Not having anywhere to which you can escape.

    The feeling just can't be the same.

  • 4 Darren // Feb 16, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    I agree with you Rich, I have to say on my last trip to Japan I was having a meal at a cafe/resturant that I think a lot of locals used it was in Asakasa, I was sitting there with my friend and an old Japanese man just came up and stood staring at me for at least 10 seconds then muttered something to the other Japanese guys and left.

    That really freaked me out for at least a day after, although I did get a few ohio's from the locals so I guess there is good and bad in all societys.

  • 5 ArturoC // Feb 17, 2007 at 2:56 am

    Heard about it on the KobeBeefShow.com #57 I believe. Strange, and not something I would expect from Japan. (not sure why) I hope that is only the view of a very small group of people. I'm still hoping to visit Japan soon.

  • 6 Jay // Feb 17, 2007 at 3:05 am

    I also had a similar but lesser experience in a restaurant is Asakusa. There was an old couple staring at us with no pretense of concealing it. There were several episodes of it before they finished and left.

    My parents and I were the only gaijin I could see there and were were with my brother in law. It was a restaurant recommended by one of his friends. It was notable for it's agemono. I found the kakiage a bit too greasy for what I like.

    Then there was another time in Kyoto, but that was more like the opposite. I was given a resoundingly firm ignoring by a vendor on the way to Kiyomizu dera(I think that was the shrine).

    -Jay

  • 7 Naughty Ferret // Feb 19, 2007 at 12:15 am

    Living in Japan is the only way a white male like myself can truly understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racial descrimination.

    Bang on with this observation, though I always get amazed by the number of hypocritical people who don't get it, i.e. the foreigner in Japan who whines on about how discriminatory the Japanese are while whining on about how "the immigrants" are ruining their own home countries.

  • 8 Ricky // Mar 5, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Living in Japan is the only way a white male like myself can truly understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racial descrimination.

    I'm a white male living in Japan. I feel little discrimination and I find that the benefits of being foreign here far outweigh the drawbacks. I really don't think that this is anywhere near what a black man feels in a small town in the southern US (particularly ~20 years ago). While we might get a cold glance every now and then or maybe the seat next to us on the subway is the last one taken, nothing has happened to me in two years that made me feel genuinely offended. Most of it is humorous if nothing else.

  • 9 debito.org » Blog Archive » “GAIJIN HANZAI FILE” pubs spectre of evil foreign crime // Oct 7, 2007 at 10:12 am

    [...] Herro Flom Japan » Blog Archive » Anti-foreigner hate-speech publication on sale in Japa… Says: February 16th, 2007 at 1:39 pm [...]

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