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Uproar and Disgust in Japan over "Foreigner Crime File"
February 16, 2007 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Full of slurs and racist depictions of foreigners, the "Foreigner Underground Crime File" has been causing a stir in Japan. Under threat of boycott, many convenience store chains and online retailers have apologized and withdrawn the magazine. However, author Shigeki Sakai has not. Activist and naturalized Japanese citizen Arudou Debito and website Japan Probe respond. Though now out of stock, you can read the publication for yourself.
posted by armage (56 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sadly, this is not an isolated problem in Japan. This just happened to be another timely and rather egregious example of it.
posted by armage at 4:30 PM on February 16, 2007


The magazine was fairly racist in the way it overstated the problem and demonized the groups it targeted. That said, I have some sympathy for Japanese culture if it is true that they have significantly lower crime rates that other cultures and this is changing in large part because of the influx of foreigners. That's unfortunate. It is a case where multiculturalism doesn't bring only benefits. If Japan has a tradition or legacy of xenophobia, the real downsides of increased multiculturalism is only going to trigging these feelings. At least the Japanese economy is doing better these days, as economic stagnation has a way of letting people dwell on bad stuff.
posted by bhouston at 4:51 PM on February 16, 2007


Let the unpersons take their best shot.
posted by Rumple at 4:54 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


If Japan has a tradition or legacy of xenophobia,

If???????
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:59 PM on February 16, 2007


These guys plan to translate some of it into English.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:00 PM on February 16, 2007


Yeah, I really don't think that statement deserves an "if". Japan, past and present, has a deeply ingraned nearly pathological tradition of xenophobia. Full fucking stop.
posted by Riemann at 5:01 PM on February 16, 2007


Yeah, but black people really do commit like 300% more crime than anybody. You can look that shit up somewhere.
posted by four panels at 5:02 PM on February 16, 2007


Racist bastards! No wonder Grandpa put them in camps!
posted by Megafly at 5:03 PM on February 16, 2007


Of, if your talking about Grandpa Wolfgang, it wasn't Nisai he put in camps.
posted by Megafly at 5:04 PM on February 16, 2007


Racist bastards! No wonder Grandpa put them in camps!

This is a rather silly statement, you're relating the racism in Japanese society with people of Japanese ethnicity in American society. Also, American society has made great progress since WWII. There is no question that America in the 1940s was a pretty racist place.
posted by delmoi at 5:10 PM on February 16, 2007


The story from this post has already been in Reuters, Australian ABC news, and a handful of others, but the Japanese domestic news doesn't seem to want to touch it (I suppose partly because it's not all that uncommon here).

I guess Japan has seen some crime in the past decade from Brazilian migrant workers and from some other east asians in Japan, but as Debito and others have been diligently pointing out, the Japanese media often seems to encourage people to fear any/all foreigners, and they do a piss poor job of setting the record straight when foreigner crime stats are misrepresented (which they often are).

All that said, the particular publication in question is the type of thing that is ignored for what it is by 90% of people here. It is basically a tabloid rag for the extreme fox-news types of Japan. I also think a big part of the problem is that Japan has a different idea than westerners about what racism even consists of, probably due to the fact that they have had so little exposure to foreigners until just recently.
posted by p3t3 at 5:15 PM on February 16, 2007


The book tends to focus on non-white foreigners in Japan, such as Chinese, Koreans and...Russians (?)

I, a white person, lived in Japan for ten years. A good friend of mine I met over there is African American. I complained to him once about people staring at me in stores, refusing to sit next to me on the train, and making stupid comments.

He said, "Yeah, that's how I feel back home in the States. Japan is actually kind of relaxing."
posted by KokuRyu at 5:22 PM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


"you can read the publication for yourself"

If you read Nip.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:40 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]



Yeah, but black people really do commit like 300% more crime than anybody. You can look that shit up somewhere.


I think that what you will find is that poor people commit (or are arrested for, not the same thing) disproportionately more crime than others. In the US black people make up a disproportionate percentage of the poor. This does not imply that black people are either biologically or culturally more inclined to criminality than other groups.

Of course, please post evidence that supports your simplistic, (perhaps unintentionally--giving the benefit of the doubt here) inflammatory and bigoted statement.


This is from wikipedia, not the best citation, but its a start:

Nations originally established as 'New World' colonies seem to share a common thread - that aboriginal and indigenous peoples have among the highest incarceration rates of their countries' prison populations. And as is the case with African American prisoners, the reasons for such figures continue to be hotly debated.

In Australia, Aborigines have the single highest imprisonment rate of any ethnicity, and make up more than a fifth (20%) of the prison population. [5] Per 100,000 people, that equates to about 1200-1400 prisoners.

First Nations make up about 2% of Canada's population, but account for 18% of the federal prison population as of 2000. [6]

In New Zealand, 50% of the approximately 6,000 inmates identify as Māori and Pacific Islanders about 12%, most of them classified as low or medium security inmates. [7]



There are two conclusion that come to mind from reading this information. Either melanin causes people to lead a life of crime or, groups that have undergone systemic racism and subjugation suffer from factors and environments that are conduits toward criminality and they are targeted by law enforcement agencies as criminals.

To simply state that black people commit more crime than anyone is to only look at one facet of an extremely troubling phenomenon.
posted by anansi at 5:42 PM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


This thread is starting to give me brain damage.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:43 PM on February 16, 2007


Also, American society has made great progress since WWII. There is no question that America in the 1940s was a pretty racist place.

And there's no question that, in today's America, blacks are incarcerated at a rate that far exceeds the one in the 1940s, to the point where widespread incarceration has decimated the free population of young blacks. "Great progress", indeed! Unfortunately, our disapproval of the open expression of racism has done very little to change the racism inherent in the American system. Given our widespread denial about the issue, openly racist books like this one might represent a step up in terms of dealing with race in America.

As for the magazine in question, it's obvious that nobody at the convenience stores' management had actually looked at it -- from the description at Debito's blog, it sounds as if everybody they showed it to dropped it like a hot potato. Japan definitely has a big problem with immigrant rights, but I think the horrified reaction to the magazine says more about mainstream Japanese morals than the magazine itself does. And to be honest, I think some period of prejudice and conflict between foreigners and Japanese is unavoidable. As Debito points out, Japan is not as homogeneous as it likes to think it is... but it is still a LOT more homogeneous in terms of culture than most other countries, and the concept of "inside/outside" is deeply ingrained in that culture. And, to be frank, confrontational foreigners like Debito aren't exactly helping to move the perception of foreigners from the "outside" to the "inside", either. IMHO, concentrating on meeting Japanese culture halfway might bring more results than simply demanding rights for those on the "outside", based on moral judgments that are also imposed from outside.

on preview: anansi, check your sarcasm detector...
posted by vorfeed at 5:44 PM on February 16, 2007


gaijin really means "barbarian", "foreigner" a polite spin
posted by matteo at 5:50 PM on February 16, 2007


drjimmy11 wrote If Japan has a tradition or legacy of xenophobia, If???????

Xenophobia against an influx of "foreigners" is so common. In the US there is a lot directed at Mexican illegals. In European and Britian, the perceived threat of the moment is Muslims who are "refusing" to assimilate. In Israel it is the non-Jews who are perceived as the ""demographic threat."

KokuRyu wrote The book tends to focus on non-white foreigners in Japan, such as Chinese, Koreans and...Russians (?)

That is surprising. There was some focus on the American GIs probably resulting from the emotional aftereffects of the high profile rape/killing case a few years ago. I said earlier that it is a good thing that the economy is growing, because that reduces xenophobic urges, but that was in comparison to the American economy. The China economy is growing rapidly and Korea is still in a growth phase. Thus it may that this changing economic relationship between Japan and its neighbors that is driving this resurgence of xenophobia.
posted by bhouston at 5:55 PM on February 16, 2007


I am actually surprised that with a population of less than <2% foreigner that it raises such reaction. Less than 2% is incredibly low, orders of magnitude lower than the situations resulting in backlashes elsewhere (i.e. American, Britain, Europe, and Israel.)
posted by bhouston at 5:58 PM on February 16, 2007


matteo or anyone else: Do you know the original meaning of the root word of "foreigner"? I just looked for it and couldn't find it. Don't even know its language origin (it doesn't seem to be German's audlander nor French's etranger.) Just curious.
posted by bhouston at 6:00 PM on February 16, 2007


Has anybody here lived in Japan for an extended period of time? They would know the obvious: foreigners, or "gaikokujin", are typically white, with blond hair, blue eyes, and a big nose. They are good, and are something every Japanese should aspire to.

These foreigners inhabit movie screens, comic books and English-language textbooks published by NHK, "Japan's BBC."

Japan is a lovely place for white foreigners - at least it was for me.

However, people from everywhere else, especially South Asia, are "gaijin". It's an offensive word that only ten-year olds or complete idiots use when addressing a white person. But a gaijin (an outside person - nanbanjin = babarian, and I've never heard anyone use that word in casual conversation) is a brown person, usually brought over to work in an electronics factory or a construction site.

Currently, the Chinese are the most hated gaijins, if only because of a well-publicized murder in Fukuoka several years ago.

A large Brazilian community, based mostly in Gunma and Shizuoka, has caught the public's attention, mostly because it is difficult for the group to assimilate into Japanese society. Lack of education and lack of opportunities, for whatever reason, are going to cause problems.

The flames are stoked by rightist politicians such as the governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, who manipulates statistical data to argue that foreigner crime is on the increase, when it is most definitely not.

I lived in Japan for ten years, and never experienced any sort of hate-inspired prejudice. Wait a minute, I was turned away from a strip club ten years ago for being a foreigner. I can live with that.

Was Japan annoying at times? Yes. Are people parochial and completely uninformed about the outside world? Yes. Do I find the lack of habeus corpus etc for foreigners very troubling? Yes.

But although Arudo Debito does many great things, his Western approach to activism - grandstanding, it seems like - can alienate folks. That said, I think his benefits outweigh his asshatery.

PS - My wife, who is Japanese, says that Canadians can be very rude to her because she is Asian.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:14 PM on February 16, 2007


gaijin really means "barbarian", "foreigner" a polite spin

Literally, gaijin 外人 means "outside person." Whether it, as a contraction of gaikokujin 外国人 (lit. "outside-country person"), is offensive or not is up for debate. They both mean foreigner in current usage, however. This discussion on Japan Forum about the term might be enlightening.

For the record, in Japanese I refer to myself in various contexts both as gaijin and as gaikokujin, and I feel no shame or embarrassment about having it said to me, either. (The same goes for hakujin "white person.") If someone's calling me a gaijin with malice and anger in his voice, however, that's completely different, and I will certainly take offense.
posted by armage at 6:17 PM on February 16, 2007


And I can second what KokuRyu says, having lived in Japan myself. If you are not white, you are often treated differently.

(And of course, that's not true all the time or for all people. It varies so widely depending on where you are in Japan and how much exposure people have had to actual foreigners, rather than the caricatures they see in media.)
posted by armage at 6:21 PM on February 16, 2007


(BTW, KokuRyu, drop me an email -- I want to ask you something, but you don't have a contact point in your profile. Thanks.)
posted by armage at 6:29 PM on February 16, 2007


"Has anybody here lived in Japan for an extended period of time?"

I lived there for 6 years. It was a lot of fun most of the time. But yes, I did run into some blatant violent racism before. Quite often it was at the hands of black guys. Very rare was it at the hands of Japanese people. One time I had some guy that claimed to be Iranian threaten to kill me and a friend that I was with. My friend was Swedish, but to him it didn't matter. We were white and so obviously we must be evil.
posted by drstein at 6:56 PM on February 16, 2007


Oh, I was there from 1988-1994. Perhaps things have changed a bit since I was there. I spent most of my time seeking out beer & ramen. Being allergic to many seafoods made my culinary experience a more interesting one.

I really liked Japan. It's a beautiful place and certainly is interesting.
posted by drstein at 7:01 PM on February 16, 2007


Do you know the original meaning of the root word of "foreigner"?
foreign
1297, ferren, foreyne "out of doors," from O.Fr. forain, from L.L. foranus "on the outside, exterior," from L. foris "outside," lit. "out of doors," related to fores "door;"
from etymonline
posted by agentofselection at 7:04 PM on February 16, 2007


bhouston: from the OED

[foreign: a. OF. forain: popular L. type *foranus, f. foras, for-as: see FOR- prefix3.
Med.L. had foraneus (Sp. foraneo) on the analogy of extraneus; also forinsecus adj. (f. class. L. forinsecus adv.), which in Eng. Law Latin is the usual equivalent of foreign.] (Where some of the characters don't cut and paste well so I simplified)

where FOR - prefix3 refers to the anglicization of the french hors, meaning outside.
posted by Rumple at 7:07 PM on February 16, 2007


Thx agentofselection & Rumple. Its origin is pretty straightforward then, no connotations of barbarianism.
posted by bhouston at 7:21 PM on February 16, 2007


If someone's calling me a gaijin with malice and anger in his voice, however, that's completely different, and I will certainly take offense.

I'm not keen on the straight-up "gaijin" in any tone, but don't forget about "gaijin-san" ("Mr. Barbarian" how nice) and, if it applies, "gaijin-sensei", both of which are used with something approaching a bizarre brand of affection.

I found that it was unusually difficult to gain trust in Japan. The biggest problem seemed to be fighting all kinds of persistent unspoken assumptions about the moral character of non-Japanese. For example, a suggestion that I tailor my answer on some paperwork to save headaches got me the the incredulous response: "We cannot lie!" Um, no. Not lie. The paper was asking my moving date. I could move on a different day. Stuff like that. It's pernicious and if you let it get to you it will drive you crazy. So you don't.

Anyway, this place is a paradise in many respects, particularly with regard to safety, so I can understand how this monoculture tries to cope. Hell, we in North America love to scapegoat and profile and we're proud to be multicultural!
posted by dreamsign at 8:22 PM on February 16, 2007


It's true that American guys grope their Japanese girlfriends daily on the streets of Tokyo.

that's only to distract you while their friends do your mother
posted by pyramid termite at 8:50 PM on February 16, 2007


GAIJIN HANZAI editor Saka responds on Japan Today. From Debito.org.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:01 PM on February 16, 2007


This might not pertain to the conversation, but the thing I remember about foreigners in Japan when I visited was that I saw several white Americans manning counterfeit watch/sunglass/handbag/wallet-type stands in some of the heavier trafficked areas of Tokyo. This made me chuckle to see because it seemed a kind of antithesis of NYC where you see lots of West Africans manning the same kind of stand.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:06 PM on February 16, 2007


Usually Isrealis.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:18 PM on February 16, 2007


Ha. They could be Israelis. I didn't actually speak with them or hear them speak. They can be easily confused with Americans sometimes, especially if your nationality detector is being overwhelmed by Tokyo sensory overload.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 PM on February 16, 2007


“Was Japan annoying at times? Yes. Are people parochial and completely uninformed about the outside world? Yes. Do I find the lack of habeus corpus etc for foreigners very troubling? Yes.”

Boy, this Japan sounds a lot like the United States.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 10:26 PM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


par for the course and sho ga nai
posted by dydecker at 12:45 AM on February 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I live here now, and if I had to sum it up succinctly, I would say that gaijin aren't seen as real people. Some of us (the white ones like myself) are seen as basically harmless, or at best good for entertaining school kids and girls with crazy ideas about equality. The rest of us are seen as deranged predatory animals who need to be stopped before we eat somebody. It's much easier to live in Japan if you fit into the first category, but either way, I don't think most people treat you as though you have the depth of thought and feeling that Civilized Humans (i.e. Japanese) have.
posted by donkeymon at 3:13 AM on February 17, 2007


I'm reminded now of a conversation with one of my Japanese colleagues that you might find interesting.

I was doing a class on Halloween in October, and so had been talking to teachers about Japanese ideas of spirits and ghosts -- notably the oni, a kind of spirit but most often thought of as a demon. These are said to inhabit people occasionally, and they feature largely in traditional tales of battles against evil. In any case, I asked, what can you tell me of these oni? Can they be seen? What are they like?

Well, my colleague says, their main characteristic is their lack of control, of discipline. They give in to their passions and so are dangerous, like wild animals. He paused there for a second. They also say that they come from somewhere else, not from Japan, and that they are fair-haired. Fair-haired? Yes. And they come from outside of Japan, and are dangerous because of their lack of discipline and control... He frowned. Don't read too much into it.
posted by dreamsign at 3:37 AM on February 17, 2007


And good comment, donkeymon. That rings true to me.
posted by dreamsign at 3:39 AM on February 17, 2007


bhouston : "I have some sympathy for Japanese culture if it is true that they have significantly lower crime rates that other cultures and this is changing in large part because of the influx of foreigners."

If that were true, I'd be sympathetic. However, as has been mentioned briefly upthread, it's not true: Foreigners in Japan commit less crimes per capita than Japanese in Japan. That gap gets even bigger when you remove crimes which the Japanese couldn't commit even if they wanted to (overstaying visas, etc.) And, while it's true that there has been a recent increase in crimes by foreigners, there has also been a corresponding recent increase in crimes by Japanese. So crime is going up, but foreigners in Japan are still less likely to be criminals than Japanese in Japan.

matteo : "gaijin really means 'barbarian', 'foreigner' a polite spin"

No, barbarian would be "keto" or "yabanjin".

donkeymon : "I don't think most people treat you as though you have the depth of thought and feeling that Civilized Humans (i.e. Japanese) have."

That hasn't been my experience in the 11 years I've lived here. It's true for some people, sure (Gov. Ishihara, for one), but that number has always seemed relatively small to me (bigger than I want it to be, of course, but not conventionally "big"), and certainly not "most people".
posted by Bugbread at 5:02 AM on February 17, 2007


Interesting, the etymology of "foreigner". Foreigners here in Japan (especially relatively new residents, who've lived here for 2 or 3 years) sometimes complain "The Japanese call us foreigners 外人. That's an insult! It means outsider!". Which, looking at the etymologies of "foreigner" and "外人", becomes "The Japanese call us outsiders outsiders! That's an insult!"
posted by Bugbread at 5:04 AM on February 17, 2007


My own experience has been much closer to bugbread's than donkeymon's. I'd be interested in knowing whether those people who perceive the Japanese attitude towards foreigners as dangerous or condescending live in Tokyo (or another large city, but especially Tokyo) or in the countryside.

I was never in the JET program or a full-time English teacher, so I never had the experience of being the "token gaijin" in a particular town. When I did visit a small town or village, I got stared at by a minority of children, but everyone else was either too polite to stare or just didn't care.
posted by armage at 5:49 AM on February 17, 2007


I was a JET for 3 years in a medium sized city (not countryside by any means whatsoever, but small enough that I was the first foreigner that a lot of folks had ever talked to), and it was certainly a very different experience than Tokyo, but the "depth of thought and feeling" wasn't a difference. There was a lot more "you are from America, so surely on issue X you think Y and feel Z" assumptions, but they were never that my thoughts or feeling were more shallow, as much as that they were more predictable.

There was also the occasional "you're not Japanese, so you wouldn't understand" (though not said so aggressively), but that, again, wasn't so much "we Japanese are more deep", as much as "we are different, so there are things that foreigners cannot understand", with the corollary assumption that "there are things in America that non-Americans cannot understand either".

(In fact, on reflection, I think I've even heard that line once or twice when I gave my opinion on something: "I'm not American, so I don't understand")
posted by Bugbread at 6:11 AM on February 17, 2007


Don't forget about the black van people, who drive around Kansai (do you guys get them up in Tokyo as well?) with loudspeakers blaring nationalistic music, all the while ranting about how the foreigners should be expelled from Japan and/or killed, and how the foreigners are destroying Japanese Culture.

(Hopefully the picture links there continue to work - flickr seems to be having some problems.)
posted by emmling at 7:47 AM on February 17, 2007


Yeah, we get the black van folks. Though here, from what I can tell, they're mainly extolling how great Japan is and how great the Japanese are, and talking about how Japan has the rights to this island or that. They aren't directly dogging on foreigners, for the most part, but it's very, very clear what the subtext is.
posted by Bugbread at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2007


One of the black van folks pictured in the photos is wearing a belt with a Dolce & Gabbana buckle.

I think he's in for A Talk.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:26 AM on February 17, 2007


At least the pedestrians walking by the black van folk have "Ugh, not these crazies" avert-your-eyes expressions, that's good.

PS - My wife, who is Japanese, says that Canadians can be very rude to her because she is Asian.

A bit ironic that a complaint of mild prejudice are doled out in a mildy prejudicial way itself. :P
posted by CKmtl at 10:23 AM on February 17, 2007


AFAIK (which isn't authoritative) KokuRyu's comment above about 'gaikokujin' vs. 'gaijin' was backwards . . . the American off-duty occupiers doing stupid things were 'baka gaijin' not 'gaikokujin', and AFAIK this tradition goes back to the first European arrivals.

As more and more non-European foreigners entered, 'gaikokujin' became useful to describe them as a group.

The Anti-Russian sentiment comes from 2 angles -- 1) Stalin meanly taking back the half of Sakhalin the Japanese won in 1905 and four worthless islands (and the decidedly not worthless fishing grounds) off Hokkaido and 2) drunk Russian seamen carousing around port cities in northern Japan.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2007


Also, over the past ten years Russian women have increasingly been brought in (trafficked in) to staff Japan's huge sex industry. They're cheap! They're blond! They're exploited by mafia from two different countries!

After the wall fell, Russians frequently traveled to Japan Sea ports. I used to live about a 45 minute walk from the harbor, and you would see these guys dressed in old leather jackets, ratty fur hats and so on wandering around the rice fields, looking for used car lots.

But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that discrimination in Japan is nowhere near the level of its counterpart in the US (remember the reports of armed gangs taking over New Orleans after the hurricane?) or even Canada, where First Nations people (Indians in American parlance) live in literally Third World conditions, a victim of a system of discrimination virtually equal to Apartheid.

Discrimination exists in Japan, and you need a tough skin to live there as a foreigner or even as a Japanese person. But organized racial violence is non-existent when compared to the US, Canada or Australia.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:07 AM on February 17, 2007


CKmtl : "At least the pedestrians walking by the black van folk have 'Ugh, not these crazies' avert-your-eyes expressions, that's good."

Yeah. As much as the mayor/governor of Tokyo (I can never figure out if Tokyo counts as the equivalent of a city or state) says crazy things, at least I've never seen anyone in rapt attention when the right-wing crazies are giving their speeches on the street corners.

KokuRyu : "But organized racial violence is non-existent when compared to the US, Canada or Australia."

Yes, that's because there haven't been any earthquakes that have given us foreigners the excuse to riot in the streets and put poison in the water. But, fear not, Ishihara has exorted the Self-Defense Force to defend the Japanese people from the inevitable violence us foreigners will commit when the next natural disaster strikes. History has proven it will happen!
posted by Bugbread at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2007


PS - My wife, who is Japanese, says that Canadians can be very rude to her because she is Asian.

Strange. Canada, at least in its major cities, is incredibly multicultural. Here is the rough breakdown of report ethnicity in Canada as percentages of total population:

20% English
15% French
14% Scottish
13% Irish
9.3% German
4.3% Italian
3.7% Chinese
3.6% Ukrainian
3.4% North American Indian
3.1% Dutch (Netherlands)
3.1% South Asian
2.8% Polish
2.4% East Indian
2.2% Black
1.2% Norwegian
1.2% Portuguese
1.2% Welsh
1.2% Jewish
1.1% Russian
1.0% Métis
1.0% Swedish
1.0% Filipino
0.9% Hungarian (Magyar)
0.7% Latin American
0.7% Southeast Asian
0.7% Arab
0.4% East Asian
0.3% Korean
0.2% Japanese
posted by bhouston at 4:36 PM on February 17, 2007


Can't believe I missed this thread for so long.
Just thought I would add that I've been here 7 years now and my experience is more akin to bugbread's than those who are complaining. Aside from the obvious "Japanese Only" shops-of-ill-repute, I've had very few incidents of racism against me in my time here.
It's true that you'll never truly belong, but how well you attempt to fit in really makes a big difference in your experience of life here.
posted by nightchrome at 9:11 PM on February 17, 2007


Just thought I would add that I've been here 7 years now

and I've been 7 years gone. My first year there the Heiseis were countable on one hand :(
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:08 PM on February 17, 2007


Are people really complaining? I'd say I've noticed some racist behaviour -- there were about a dozen apartments open in my neighbourhood but only one that would take a gaijin -- you have another word for this? But these are mere anecdotes. Some people here are asshats, same as anywhere.

on preview: heh, black van folks. There's one passing by now.
posted by dreamsign at 10:51 PM on February 17, 2007



Strange. Canada, at least in its major cities, is incredibly multicultural. Here is the rough breakdown of report ethnicity in Canada as percentages of total population:


Please... Canada has conned itself into believing it's is some sort of multicultural paradise. Your own stats show that over 90% of the population can trace their roots to western Europe. Outside the major cities (if you can count Vancouver or Ottawa as "major" given their very small size) the population is cloyingly white. Only in Toronto is the population not majority white by a significant amount. Even within the large cities racism is alive and well and there is growing self-segregation between communities. I am in an inter-racial relationship myself in Toronto and we still get looks.

I grant you it's better than Japan in diversity terms (I lived there for 3 years), but Canada has an awfully long way to go before it matches its own image of itself.
posted by modernnomad at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2007


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