Life, work and video games in Japan
Speechless. I'll let Debito retell the story here.Sometimes Japan feels like a first-world country and then sometimes it really doesn't.
Monday, February 05, 2007
I think its effing ridiculous.In the UK, the slightest misunderstanding of a mildly racist comment leads to tens of thousands of complaints, intervention from parliment, police investigation, and an international outcry - im talking about that celebrity big brother thing a few weeks back.In japan, a blatantly racist magazine can be published professionally, and sold in a popular convenience store without anyone batting an eyelid.I understand non-japanese are a minority, compared to the ethnic mix we get in the UK, but the fact that it was approved for sale is mental. It kinda puts a dent in my opinion of japanese people as a polite, tolerant society. I never gotten any funny looks or comments when i went there twice, but if this can be sold in a mainstream shop with no dissaproval, it goes to show that racism isnt really a taboo over there.Its not exactly gonna help Chinese/ Korean relations either, and you know the slightest thing angers them...
You have to try and keep perspective. FamilyMart is taking it off the shelves, though strangely Amazon cites "freedom of speech".I don't think Japan is populated by racists but there are a few (like everywhere) and it's just that in Japan there is no law to slap them with. No "incitement to racial hatred" or actual protection from racism laws to be found. I think if the general public was more aware of the issue things may change but they don't really know or care about it. Doesn't make them all racist though.
Yeah, i guess youre right. I mean, after all, youve been living in Tokyo for 3-4 years and you only have had 1 racist incident as mentioned in that post a while back!Oh yeah - Ive just booked my third trip to Tokyo. Gonna stay for 25 nights in April. Cant wait!
The man who published the "file" defends himself in the latest issue of Metropolis, citing free speech-issues and wanting an "open dialogue" on the topic of foreign crimes, using very nice and mature language, even lashing back at evil bloggers who critized him. Perhaps then he should not have removed his chances at partaking in such a dialogue completely by publishing such an iciteful, biased, steaming pile of crap, eh?
All in all I think that this really isn't such a big deal. Western media immigrants characterizes people all the time, and arguably worse. This was a single publication of this theme, and its more of a comic (in the comic book sense) take on the influx of foreigners in Japan in the last 20 years.Lets face it, Japan is having some growing pains, in terms of dealing with the integration of forigners and seeing the "Japanese" way of life change.There are plenty of blatently racest images of japanese, middle eastern, black, korean, etc. in western movies, t.v. and books.Lets put it in perspective. It was a comic book... I do agree that the author's claims about this book creating a dialog was total rubbish, but it did infact do just that. Here we are anyways...But I do appreciate that people are becoming critical of such racial charicterizations, but I don't think banning it is the answer. Vote with your dollars as they say.
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