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Safety tips for foreign women in Japan

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Moving to Japan as a single foreign woman is quite safe, but there are some things you should be aware of if you’re considering living here. Foreign women attract a lot of attention in Japan, mostly because there aren’t too many of us, and we stand out. We are extremely conspicuous, and this can turn into a problem.

Over my three years living all over Japan, I can recall numerous incidents involving a stalker, or a "chikan" (groper) on crowded trains or empty streets. Those Japanese men are usually curious or obsessed with foreign women, they’re mentally unstable, and the experience is terrifying and unsettling. It also happens to Japanese girls on a regular basis, especially in crowded trains. Many foreign women leave Japan after a few months or a year due to those kinds of incidents. The vast majority of my foreign friends in Japan are guys, so they’re not exposed to the same kinds of dangers.

I never talked much about it, at least not publicly, but after exchanging views with fellow foreign women here in Japan, I found out that ALL of them had been victims of a form of harassment or stalking. Instances of flashing and other public sexual acts seemed like a common thread, sadly. It’s important to file police reports if it happens, even if in most cases, the police won’t do much about it, but at least they have it on file.

It’s also fundamental to not put yourself in situations that could potentially be dangerous: walking alone at night in sketchy areas, taking dark roads/streets, not locking the door, or going inside the house of someone you barely know. NEVER, EVER do that. If you give private English lessons, NEVER go to their house, only meet in a crowded cafe. It’s a given, but sometimes people forget and think they feel safe, but they may not be and it can end tragically.

If you’re being stalked or harassed, it’s best to tell the police, your employer, and your friends. Have many emergency numbers on hand and let people know you don’t feel safe. Avoid any situation or place where he might try to approach you. Take the women-only car in the train at rush hour, even though lurkers sometimes find their way in. Most importantly, live in a safe neighborhood and building, know your neighbors, and always be aware of your surroundings.

This post sounds quite dramatic compared to my usual lighthearted tone, but I think it’s major to shed light onto this issue. Even knowing this, I’d still move to Japan, and I’m not trying to discourage anyone who’s considering a move here. It really is a SAFE country, but this is a significant hazard and you must be aware.

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Over my three years living all over Japan, I can recall numerous incidents involving a stalker, or a “chikan” (groper) on crowded trains or empty streets. Those Japanese men are usually curious or obsessed with foreign women, they’re mentally unstable, and the experience is terrifying and unsettling.

Uhm.. that sounds like the opposite of, "Moving to Japan as a single foreign woman is quite safe".

13 ( +19 / -6 )

My fiancee is a typical Northern European female. (Blonde hair, tall etc) She gets quite a bit of attention most of which is harmless. But she experienced a chikan on the subway in Tokyo once though. I felt more sorry for him because shes not one to just take that sort of cr*p and the abuse she gave him was pretty hilarious and the look on his face afterwards as he was scuttling away = priceless!

14 ( +18 / -4 )

If you think it's THAT bad just imagine how much WORSE it is for Japanese women.

-1 ( +9 / -9 )

The crime rate in Japan is really low and Japan is a very safe country to live in. But, unfortunately, there are still some insane people here as there are in many parts of the world. Maybe the number of them is not so big compared to the other parts of the world when we take Japanese modest nature into account, but still we have to be careful. As we know, ordinary Japanese people are very helpful, so we can ask them for help when you are in trouble. They will surely help you and maybe explain the situation to the police as well if you can not speak Japanese well.

3 ( +7 / -6 )

Those Japanese men are usually curious or obsessed with foreign women, they’re mentally unstable, and the experience is terrifying and unsettling. It also happens to Japanese girls on a regular basis

So if it also happens to japanese women on a regular basis, shouldn't the title (and content) be Safety tips for women in Japan?

It’s also fundamental to not put yourself in situations that could potentially be dangerous: walking alone at night in sketchy areas, taking dark roads/streets, not locking the door, or going inside the house of someone you barely know. NEVER, EVER do that. If you give private English lessons, NEVER go to their house, only meet in a crowded cafe. It’s a given

Exactly, if you have any sense you'd do the same anywhere, so why is this specifically advice for foreign women in Japan? Why not just advice for women anywhere?

4 ( +12 / -9 )

That advice goes for women Any where! My wife travels by Subway (nyc) every day & is always following her instict as well as common sense rules for travelers anywhere. Yours are On Target,I might add!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I've experienced and few unsavoury things over the years, but I have almost never felt unsafe here compared to home.

the latest incident about a year ago I reported a flasher because it was 4.30pm on a known school walk for elementary kids.

the police man asked me for a description and I said "about 10cms, quite narrow,no distinguishing features."

he didn't miss a beat. just scribbled something in his book and said "Thank you Mrs Chiba Chick. And....um.....his face??!" Oh. That!

7 ( +13 / -6 )

So if it also happens to japanese women on a regular basis, shouldn't the title (and content) be Safety tips for women in Japan?

How many Japanese women are reading this?

3 ( +10 / -8 )

A woman or child should never walk alone in dodgy areas at night. Either walk in a group or catch a cab. All countries have weirdos and perverts, i would like to see them locked up.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

At least with chikan, their sleaziness is in plain view...

The "respectable" knuckle-draggers, pose more of a threat.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When I read the article my first thought was: where the hell did that journalist lived before? And I found out: Canada, one of the safest country for women. As a european girl when I read this I think: gosh we get so much worse in Europe, those japanese stalkers seems like naughty kids for me. As a girl who has lived 3 years in Canada, I can as well understand that this kind of thing seems awful for canadians girls who are not used to be harassed AT ALL. Unfortunately the whole world is not as safe as Canada... but I am 100 % sure I will be safer in Japan than in my own country... but I totally understand the point of Vivan Morelli

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I think Japan is safer than many other countries but bad stuff still happens.

Remember, the young British women Lindsay Ann Hawker (22) murdered Mar. 2007.

Another British women, Lucie Blackman (21) was murdered in July 2000. An Australian women Carita Ridgeway (21) was murdered in 1992. Both murdered by the same guy.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Be happy you are not a woman in India.. and women in Latin countries have it worse.. I wish young Japanese girls on subway would start yelling "Stop" if someone grab or try to film under skirts.. but girls could stop dressing like dolls and school girls could start wearing jeans in the winter for sure.. and if someone touch you.. kick their ass once in a while and stand up for your rights.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

The author is perfectly right. Because some of us have spouses and close friends in Japan we tend to get defensive if something negative, but true is said about the country.

The point being made, from my understanding, is that foreigners sometimes get too relaxed with the notion that Japan is safe. Japan is 'safe' but we should still be on our P's and Q's, as sometimes things are not always what they seem. Japanese women know it. They don't have to be told. Unsuspecting foreign females who harbour the notion that 'nothing bad happens to you in Japan' are traumatized when (1) their undies are stolen off the line (2) upon seeing you men miraculously become drunk reel over to you and start groping your breasts among other heinous offenses. Japanese women on most occasions will spot the perpetrator and take preventative actions. The foreign woman moves out of arms reach, but alas that is not enough. As he reaches her, there is that big lurch and the next thing she knows his hands are nowhere else but on her breasts. He is 'drunk'. What is she to do? If a man groped my breasts in my country he would be fined. That's sexual harassment.

Furthermore, foreigners have no rights in Japan. It's more likely if she reported it she would be accused of teasing. The 'she' is me.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I have often said Japan is a safe country.....................for men, much less so for women(all of them).

I hope any woman coming to Japan read this or similar info before they arrive, because they are pretty much guaranteed to experience harassment, perverts or even worse as Zichi pointed out at some point

Be careful out there!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

A young foreign woman reporting a rape or serious sexual assault to the cops will be shocked to discover the negative response such reports can bring with the cops pointing the finger at the victim. Many of these bad experiences have been recorded by the Tokyo Rape Crisis Center.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

I think one of the reasons we 'feel' safe here in Japan is that Japanese culture tends to be more passive and less confrontational than in the west. People here are unlikely to make much eye contact with you and appear even slightly threatening whereas in the states for example young guys walk around looking menacing just to be cool.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No doubt Japan is safer than other countries in most ways but as it is said "Safety First" therefore, I will say this article is good and very timely because it reminds me of recent incident of New York City woman who vanished in an other country.

In our daily life we think we know safety rules but this kind of article is a kind of reminder and after reading we must share information with others.

Thanks goes to JT and writer for providing informative article.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Shanique: Exactly! People love to talk about how safe Japan is so when women from other countries move here they can easily have a false sense of security which is often reinforced by the men here often being considerably smaller than the men from their home countries and as a result, seeming to be less dangerous or intimidating.

It's perfectly reasonable to let women who plan on coming to Japan or those who've only been here for a short time, know that they shouldn't be complacent about their safety. There's absolutely no need to be so sensitive about the article being directed at foreign women for those reasons and by mere fact, that they, not Japanese women, are most likely to be reading this site and this article.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So if it also happens to japanese women on a regular basis, shouldn't the title (and content) be Safety tips for women in Japan?

Because the article is aimed at a foreign audience not a foreign and local audience or just a local audience but a foreign one.

Exactly, if you have any sense you'd do the same anywhere, so why is this specifically advice for foreign women in Japan? Why not just advice for women anywhere?

Because saying such things usually results in a comment back saying your blaming the victim. The other reason and in my opinion the primary reason is because Japan has a reputation of being such a safe nation that these women may think that because Japan is so safe that these "security behaviors" that they did in their own country or in another country are not needed because again Japan is such a safe nation. This is called risk compensation also known as the Peltzman effect. For example they found that when a driver is aware that a car has more safety features such as anti-lock brakes that they will drive faster and they will also tail gate the cars in front of them much more often. There is also a lot of evidence that free condom distributions programs also fail to reduce HIV infections because the people take greater risks during sex.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For the record, since living in "safety" Japan I have been twice followed by men in cars, have seen more men masturbating in public than anyone ever should, had my underwear stolen off the line and been groped by a kid on a bike who couldn't have been older than 14.

That last one wasn't exactly an impetuous act either since I saw him riding back and forth in front of me. He kept looking back down the road so I thought he was waiting for a friend or family member. It turns out he was waiting until the coast was clear so he could ride by and grab my breast. At first I was so shocked I didn't know what to do. By the time I got my wits together to go after him he was long gone. I spent an hour scouring the neighborhood for him but he was smart enough to get out of Dodge. That whole incident was creepy, disgusting and extremely angering, especially when people laughed about it with a "boys will be boys" attitude. I bet that boy grew up to be the kind of man who did much worse than what he did to me and the fact that he was a boy, a boy who would do such a thing, was extremely unsettling.

Those may all seem like innocuous events to some and compared to being raped, stalked, made by law to dress a certain way, etc. they were. Even so, what events like those that happened to me do though is to chip away at a person's sense of security and comfort and to create a certain degree of cynicism every time we hear about how safe Japan supposedly is.

Also, to suggest that Japanese stalkers are any less dangerous than those of Europe, America, etc. reinforces the "boys will be boys" attitude and the notion that what has happened is no big deal so just let it go. It belittles the traumatizing and criminal events many women in Japan have gone through and diminishes any attempts to deal with such criminals and violence against women in general.

I'm sorry if this sounds rude but to say something like " those japanese stalkers seems like naughty kids for me" just seems like a really ignorant and insensitive thing to say. I'm sure the families of Shiori Ino, Rie Miyoshi, Ayano Hatansuka, Lucy Blackman, Lindsay Hawker and all of the other women who have been murdered by those "naughty kids" would be appalled to hear such comments.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I agree that the vast majority of perpetrators are Japanese men, but just to avoid any stereotypes, the three worst experiences I have had here have been two physical assaults and a stalker. The physical assaults were by Japanese WOMEN! One thought I was hitting on her gaijin boyfriend (he was an acquaintance and I just came up to say hello an to thank him for something and the next thing I know - wham! Right in the face! Didn't see it coming!) The other was a known trouble maker in our building who they think was taking drugs and just belted me when I stepped into the elevator. Absolutely no provocation whatsoever! The stalker was a gaijin guy living here! So yes, Japanese men are kind of famous for their chikaning and groping but the advice to be aware of your surroundings and EVERYONE is good advice.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Many of the concepts are universal for women anywhere, but my main issue was this article was horribly written.

Do we really need CAPS LOCKS telling us to NEVER NEVER do something in a newspaper article? I mean, of course its obvious - don't wander into scary areas alone at night - however common sense needs to prevail over all.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

This article has nothing specific to Japan. The advice the author gives, like not walking alone in the dark in sketchy areas, not going into the house of someone you barely know, or reporting an incident etc. is COMMON SENSE!!!!!!!! Not just for women, but for men too. If anything, Japan is safer for women compared to many other countries.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

xam23,

Actually given that Japan promotes its "safety" very heavily this article is VERY Japan specific, although obviously can apply anywhere.

Try finding a Japanese woman who hasnt been harrassed, grabbed by chikan/perverts etc, it is very pervasive here so yeah its pretty important for foreign women here, espceially if they are new or yet to arrive, heck just read the posts

These problems/issues are very pervasive here, simple as that, Japan is safe for men, MUCH less so for women, all of them.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

For the record, since living in "safety" Japan I have been twice followed by men in cars, have seen more men masturbating in public than anyone ever should, had my underwear stolen off the line and been groped by a kid on a bike who couldn't have been older than 14.

Ambrosia, do we live in the same neighbourhood? I have had exactly the same experiences, exactly the same number of times, apart from the panty-snatching thing (live in a high-rise). I've even been followed by a uniformed boy on a bicycle who managed the remarkable feat of steering his bike with one hand, and .... doing something else with the other. Now, that's not something you're likely to encounter outside of Japan!

I want to add to this excellent article: be very, very careful about who has access to your private info. I mean, really, be paranoid about protecting it. A complete stranger walked into our office one day, and asked the receptionist for my name, home phone number, home address, and a copy of my teaching schedule. She gave it to him without question. The next few weeks were not a lot of fun for me. And to add insult to injury, whenever I complained to co-workers or friends about this weirdo following me around or calling me at night, they would brush me off by saying "relax, he just likes you!" or "you're so pretty, he can't help it!." Way to blame the victim.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

If anything, Japan is safer for women compared to many other countries.

In many ways, I agree with you. I feel personally safer because of the lack of firearms, and also because I'm a good half head taller (and somewhat stouter!) than the average wispy little Japanese male. However as a few posters have commented, I think it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Foreign women in Japan really do have unique safety issues here, and I'm glad that this article addresses it in a straightforward and non-hysterical manner.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I don't know if we did or not but I have lived in a couple of different places in Japan so I can say from experience that nasty things like the panty theft and groping are not limited to Tokyo or even the big cities.

I'm sorry that you had someone stalking you, or at least that's what it sounds like you're suggesting they did and you're right to caution people to be very careful about what information they allow others access to. I've had friends who've experienced similar things with the information having been given out by people who really should've known better, especially in light of the Personal Information Protection Act which went into effect in Japan in 2005.

http://www.jonesday.com/newsknowledge/publicationdetail.aspx?publication=2920

For those who think that things like panty theft and groping are no big deal, according to some studies, while not all or even most voyeurs or exhibitionists will go on to commit crimes of sexual assault or sexual murder, an extremely high percentage of those who do commit sexual assault or sexual murder started off as voyeurs or exhibitionists.

Voyeurism, exhibitionism, theft of one's undergarments and groping are most definitely not crimes that should be laughed at, tolerated in any way or twisted so as to blame the victim. People who "like you" don't stalk you. It's not your fault that someone thinks it's okay to steal from you. Old women, women in burkas, women who are not pretty, young girls and even toddlers get molested and raped so it's not really anything to do with one's looks or dress and to suggest otherwise is simply ignorant. And it's not "naughty" behavior. It's criminal and it's wrong.

I don't know about your co-workers Tessa but if your friends are laughing it off like it's no big deal, I'd take the time to educate them on the reality of the situation or consider making new friends, as harsh as that sounds. You want to surround yourself with people who support you not people who minimize a potentially dangerous situation.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

watch out for the closet knife wielding slashers

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm sorry that you had someone stalking you, or at least that's what it sounds like you're suggesting they did and you're right to caution people to be very careful about what information they allow others access to.

Thanks! To cut a long story short, the guy was mentally unstable and ended up having a full-blown nervous breakdown and being admitted to a psychiatric unit, which saved me that hassle of dealing with him. And yes, it's very important to protect one's privacy, but I think in Japan, despite the new laws in effect, the rules are different for foreigners and probably will be for some time if we continue to tolerate it. A few weeks ago my co-worker (a handsome young man from Europe) was admitted to hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Several of his students called up the office and demanded to know where he was staying ... and they were all given details of his illness, treatment and whereabouts. He was quite surprised when they all showed up at his bedside. Now, I'm sure those students had the best of intentions ... but imagine if they hadn't?

Personally, I'd be furious. Where do we draw the line?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Mymy To: Right...Canadian girls are not used to being harrassed at all and Canada is all rainbows and sunshine with tonnes of snow. I felt Canada was more dangerous than Japan. When I lived in Vacouver, I encountered more people that I felt uneasy around on the streets and had more unwelcomed comments than I have ever had in Japan. That's not to say I haven't had issues in Japan. I have delt with a stalker here and was ratherscared. However, I think that I can deal with known threats much easier than the crazies that come out of nowhere back home.

If I were to give advice to girls who are coming to Japan, this would be it: Be aware of your surroundings and bring some common sense.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This article make me thinking me talking to my kids. Tokyo is definitely the safest city in the world, but this does not means there are no mad people like anywhere else. Thus the basic caution is to be observed: don't go blind with people you don't know! That is pretty simple and life remain very cool here.

A bit of caution, yes, but definitely no reason for any kind of paranoia.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Whatever. Much prefer to live here and be able to walk or bike around at night unmolested and without fear than in my home country, the very scary and heavily armed U.S.A. I think this article is needlessly alarmist. A reasonable awareness and not walking and watching one's iScreen is enough.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

My article on the subject is far, far shorter, and applies to women everywhere in the world:

Knee, elbow, fist, then walk away. Even if he's bleeding on the floor he won't dare file charges, because you can just tell the police what he was doing, and he knows it.

See above, but HARDER.

Just because it's sexual assault it is still assault, and shouting is good, but only AFTER you have him on the floor crying. You never know what he's got in his other hand, and it is a very good idea to put him on the floor first and scream later.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As a public journalist you will be by yourself many times in locations that are foreign to you. You also state that you are a runner and your pictures are all over the internet(s). A runner with a camera is a pretty good combination to catch criminals. In martial arts footwork and body position are really the most important thing.

Maybe Women need to have a highly visible camera/cell phone. A very solid cell phone with a strap can make a good weapon also.

I would also look into doing some rotator cuff and shoulder exercises -these can easily be done at home with light weights (household items) and the flexible (tube) weight straps. You can keep your runner type body yet look stronger on top.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most women who get a lot of attention dress for a lot of attention, it's a game of feeling desired. When they are touched or feel threatened they start to panic and complain about being a victim.They want you to look at them, but not touch or pursue unless you have ESP and know she is really desireable of you also.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Hmmm....maybe that's because if you are touched in a sexual or threatening manner, without your permission, you are technically a victim. It's called assault. If you physically threaten someone it is also considered a crime in many countries.

As visual creatures, it is natural to want to look at others and to want to be looked at however, most people understand when the line is crossed into inappropriate "looking" which is the definition of leering. If you think that the way a woman dresses gives you permission to leer at, touch, threaten or pursue her then you are lacking some very basic awareness in regard to appropriate social behavior and I strongly suggest you get some help. You shouldn't need ESP to tell you if any of those things are okay.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Miffy,

The article is NOT alarmist, very factual I'd say, just look at the post from some female posters, and the vast majority of women in Japan will be harassed, groped, or WORSE, some many many times!

And rape is a LOT more common here than stats show, the keystones just dont give a $#@$! And Japanese women know it so most rape goes unreported

This is a HUGE problem in Japan that the male population collectively for the most part simply prefers to ignore, it is NOT alarmist at all!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Being chased by less than 14 yr olds on bikes is rather funny though. But this sort of behavior really needs to be nipped in the bud. Even Conan the Barbarian had issues with dogs chasing him down till he finally got that sword. You need to be careful since you are dealing with a child also.

Most women who get a lot of attention dress for a lot of attention, it's a game of feeling desired. When they are touched or feel threatened they start to panic and complain about being a victim.

Many people really do not like to even be asked/addressed in public because they have no idea of who you are. People dress for looks, but that does not give you a reason to touch them. =You are really violating their space and they feel violated/threatened. The only time I would do it is if they are in imminent danger or need assistance.

There are some very weird people out there on these psychotrophic meds also. Bizarre behavior during flu season etc.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

badsey: First, I didn't say I was chased. I said I was groped. Second, I didn't say he was less than 14. I said he looked to be no more than 14. In reality he could've been 24 for all I know. Third, no it wasn't funny. A lot of 14-year old boys are much bigger than I am and can be rather intimidating. I guess we have a very different sense of what's funny and what's not. I certainly agree that that kind of behavior needs to be nipped in the bud though.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If our teenage son was going around groping people we would very much want to know about it to get him appropriate help and nip any potential issues in the bud. We certainly wouldn't think it was funny or boys will be boys and I am shocked some people think like that.

I'm also shocked that - yet again - there are people who suggest these women who are molested are "asking for it". It doesn't matter how someone dresses, no one asks to be molested. It is the fault of the perpetrator, NOT the victim. It is not true either - refer to my post about when I was molested pregnant and wearing Winter-time maternity clothes, and the uncountable number of news reports involving sexual assault of anyone and everyone from attractive young hotties to women in their eighties. It's about power and control.

I also thought Japanese were paranoidly obsessive about personal information, to the point where I have been making conversation in the past and asked "Do you have children?" and got the response "None of your business!" So what Tessa has said about giving out such private info is horrifying to me! What happened to that receptionist? Was she even disciplined? Does this privacy thing not count for foreigners then? Would they have given out the same info on a Japanese member of staff?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Good article for the ladies. All are valid points made by the writer.

Overall Japan is a pretty safe country compared to other places in the world, especially when you consider Japan's population, you'd expect much more crime here.

But no matter where you live, there will be crime and problems and Japan is no exception.

I think the most important thing is you have to be smart - street smart. Use you hunch and always listen to your inner feelings. Don't trust strangers, and always always talk to your friends, the police, whomever you know if you feel any danger.

It is very important to talk so people around you are aware.

Just keep your guard up at all times. A bit paranoid maybe, but you get used to it and being street smart just becomes a part of you. You always have to be aware of your surroundings.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Overall Japan is a pretty safe country compared to other places in the world,

southsakai -- I think it depends on how you define "safe". If you mean safe from actual physical harm, them maybe you are right. But if you mean safe from unwanted attention, stalking, etc., then I would beg to disagree with you. For example, my daughter, at the time an attractive 20 year-old attending Temple University, lived with me for two years in Japan. One Saturday we were on the elevated train to Odaiba in a pair of seats that face two others, when I notice the man -- yes Japanese -- holding his camera down between his legs trying to take pictures up my daughter's skirt. Now, needless to say, the man and his camera made a un-planned, and fairly violent, exit at the next stop, but this was only one of many such incidents she experienced in her time in Japan. I almost got the impression that Japanese men somehow felt it was OK to do or, especially say, things to her that they would never in a million years say to a Japanese woman. Almost like acting out some kind of manga fantasy.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

SSakai

Crime rates against women are MUCH higher than whats reported because the keystones wont do anything most o f the time

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This missed the most important piece of advice: "Avoid Renting a Flat at the First Floor". There are plenty of Japanese men in each and every neighborhood who will be stealing your pants and bras from the balcony of the first floor. They prefer them unwashed but may be content with the washed ones on the laundry rope too. Just don't live on the first floor!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Just don't live on the first floor!

I agree with you, but I know one young lady living on a high floor who caught a neighbour stealing her panties from her balcony using a boat hook! Never underestimate the ingenuity of a Japanese pervert.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

ChibaChick - priceless.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I believe that no country is truly safe due to the men in each country........ I wish that the world would treat women and children with much care and respect for the fact they exist and without women no one would have been born. Atlas, the world had not truly learn including Nihon.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

what Tessa has said about giving out such private info is horrifying to me! What happened to that receptionist? Was she even disciplined?

No, she wasn't, because I didn't want her to get into trouble over an honest rookie mistake, but I made it clear to her that it wasn't to happen again. And I certainly learned a valuable lesson from the experience .... don't trust anyone.

Does this privacy thing not count for foreigners then? Would they have given out the same info on a Japanese member of staff?

I think foreigners and Japanese are treated differently in this respect. One of my students is a receptionist at a big (and I mean BIG, you've definitely heard of it) "culture centre" and she told me that it's quite common for students to call the office asking for background details about the lecturers. In the case of the Japanese lecturers, the questions are usually about educational background or experience. But for the foreign lecturers, the questions are usually more personal, such as "is he married?" or "how long has she been in Japan?" or even "does he gave a girlfriend?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I almost got the impression that Japanese men somehow felt it was OK to do or, especially say, things to her that they would never in a million years say to a Japanese woman. Almost like acting out some kind of manga fantasy.

You are right on the mark. I've experienced and witnessed this so many times. I don't know why so many people that all Japanese men are polite, my impression is quite different.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If you give private English lessons, NEVER go to their house, only meet in a crowded cafe.

Follow this advice ladies. Not just ladies but guys as well. You never know what kind of psychopath your student could be. This is not joke. If you haven't been in Japan for more than two or three years you might not know about the murder of Lindsey Hawker.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Lindsay_Hawker

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You never know what kind of psychopath your student could be.

OMG that Lindsay Hawker link is creepy, especially the way he approached her.

In the beginning I actually consented to having coffee with my stalker because he seemed like such a regular and well-educated guy, who insisted that he only wanted to practice his (already excellent) English with me. My Japanese co-workers were especially enthusiastic about the idea, and encouraged me to go out with him because he came from a "good family." I had no idea he was such a nutter; it's not like he was sporting a tattoo on his forehead or anything like that. I think that there are lot of people like him in Japan, but we don't usually notice them because unlike in Western societies they tend to come from middle-class or higher backgrounds, and therefore are protected (financially and otherwise) by their families, which means that they are less likely to come to the attention of the authorities.

I think I may have had a narrow escape!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This missed the most important piece of advice: "Avoid Renting a Flat at the First Floor". There are plenty of Japanese men in each and every neighborhood who will be stealing your pants and bras from the balcony of the first floor. They prefer them unwashed but may be content with the washed ones on the laundry rope too. Just don't live on the first floor!

VERY important point. I learned my lesson after I caught my drunk and aroused landlord peeping through my living room window one summer night.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I was forever RETURNING the underwear of the woman above us! For nearly two years I was regularly finding bras and panties on our balcony that had "fallen" off her line. If I didnt know better I would have sworn she was throwing them down to us!

Its not as if those bras and pants are cheap here either! A decent bra is at least 6000 yen a time and the knicks will be starting at around 1500 for the decent matching ones. Aside from the pervetedness of it, Id be peed off at the amount of money the constant theft would be costing me!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So can we stop agreeing that Japan is a "safety" country? It isn't. More so if you are a female here. It amazes me how people will go on and on about how 'safe" Japan is and use the useless crime stats to prove their point. NONE of these stories have shocked me. I have been assaulted, stalked and been treated horribly because I'm a woman. I don't know ANY female in Japan that hasn't experienced one of the above. The myth of "safety" country is wide open on this thread. Perhaps folks will remember this on other threads??

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I think it is particularly important for women to be careful in foreign countries because it's not so easy to read people whose culture you are not familiar with. What may seem like a "safe" person (shy, passive, etc.) may be anything but.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This article has nothing specific to Japan...

...If anything, Japan is safer for women compared to many other countries.

And that, right there, is the reason for this article. People stating that there are problems all over, but "Japan is safer." No. Women in Japan need just as much vigilance as woman in any other country because sexual abuse and harassment are treated as a joke, if even that. If there was less "Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more" and a little more serious enforcement, THEN maybe Japan would really be safer for women.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"This is a Chikan's world." -James Brown

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well said Fadamor. This is NOT safe country regardless of what the sheep bleat.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

All just a matter of perspective. Being groped or being shot dead ... which one is safer, take your pick.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

CGB, how many folks get shot dead, how many women get groped on the train? You have a much higher chance of getting groped on the train than being shot dead. Regardless, women shouldn't have to deal with either. If the men here were taught to keep their hands to themselves... But they aren't and instead, they make separate train cars like that will solve the issue.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@tmarie

Japan is a safe country compared to most, no need to worry about your safety. No femle members of my family have been assaulted or harassed but they are carefull to follow rules: Do not travel alone in poorly lit places late at night or catch a cab. Never get drunk on your own as the perverts notice this and my take advantage. Do not talk badly about Ajaan in pubs or bars, this applies to men and women, Japanese can get annoyed when the country is criticised especially if they have been drinking. These rules apply to any country.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Betraythetrust!

I have trouble believing that you actually live in Japan, you seem so out of touch. How am I supposed to avoid travelling on a rush hour train at night on my way home from work? What do you recommend I do, stay indoors from sunset to sunrise and only venture outside covered from neck to ankle?

By the way, as far as train groping goes, being in a crowd of people has never protected women from being targeted, on the contrary it seems to embolden the pervs. they seem to rely on the natural reticence of Japanese women and the dislike of "making a scene."

And what on earth was I doing to encourage the weirdo who spotted me in my office from outside (in broad daylight) and decided there and then to start stalking me? I have heard literally dozens of first-hand stories like mine from both Japanese and foreign women living here, and I can assure that not one of those women ever placed herself in any of the situations you've described.

today, a group of Japanese friends and I were discussing this topic, and one of them told us that she was groped by a male driving instructor during her first lesson! And he was a retired police officer, no less! What did she ever do to deserve that? And whatever made him believe that he could get away with it?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Tessa

I have never said that anyone deserves to be assaulted, groped etc. I have been a Japanese resident from 1996-1997, then 2001 to the present day. I have lived in the Osaka suburbs and now the countryside. The things i suggested are some ways to help but cannot be 100% of course, nothing in life is.

There seems to be a problem with some foreign women in Japan who keep wanting to be seen as victims of nasty old Japan. Nobody on here said that what women do encourages stalkers etc, i merely gave good advice as a way to deter trouble while in Japan. Some foreign women are happy here and never encounter these problems or may do once or twice in a lifetime, some seem to have things happen to them often and i find that strange.

I will give an example, when younger i often went out drinking and never encountered much trouble, possibly the odd annoying drunk, my slightly younger brother though often came home with a split lip or black eye. Did he deserve violence against him? No, it is never acceptable, but it is the same with these perverts, inexcusable and they should be locked up but mostly preventable.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

CGB Spender: All just a matter of perspective. Being groped or being shot dead ... which one is safer, take your pick

.

Fantastic! So if you're groped just chill because at least you weren't shot? Can we go further with that and say that if you were raped you should probably be grateful because at least you weren't shot? How about if we say that if you were beaten stop complaining because at least you weren't shot? Or, if you were raped and beaten, consider yourself luck because, hey, at least you weren't shot? Shall I keep going or do you get the point?

Why is any type of abuse, sexual or otherwise okay as long as a person wasn't shot? If women are being groped that doesn't suggest that they are "safe" or is safety in your mind simply the distinction between being dead or alive?

Groping someone is a criminal violation and completely unacceptable in a civilized society. It's wrong. It's illegal. It should in no way be condoned, which you are doing by suggesting that it's not such a big deal because there are worse things elsewhere.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

betraythetrust:

The people on this board have shared information with you which you could learn from instead of criticizing them for supposedly wanting to be victims of Japan. None of them sound like victims to me, and I do not consider myself a victim either. We have simply had some negative experiences that neither solely define us nor our overall feelings about Japan.

To the best of my knowledge, many of the posters don't hate Japan at all but have independently chosen to live here so they don't need you to tell them how they feel about it. Just because a person has had experiences different to yours and just because someone points out that a particular place is perhaps a bit different in reality than what some people might think, neither means that they have somehow invited negative experiences nor that they dislike the place in question.

As for your advice, first, it was pretty unrealistic for the reasons already pointed out and second, it was rather contradictory since you first suggested that they had no need to worry about their safety and then went on to offer ways that they could stay safe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ambrosia, commenting on Japan that isn't stating how great it is means you hate it and have issues with it. Didn't you get the memo? If you don't only talk about how great it is, you must hate it!

And funny, I don't know any females, including my students, whom I've talked about such things with to have never had an issue. I guess all those JHS and HS girls were out drinking, walking around late at night and slagging off Japan. Naught them.

ALL of my issues have either been on the train in front of folks or when I was out with people. But hey, perhaps if I had listened to those males who've never had an issue, I could have done something to stop me from being assaulted, verbally abused, followed... LOVE the mansplaining.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Abrosia

Please read my comments again. I have never said that anyone wants to be a victim of Japan just that some seem to be by constantly complaining about it and it's people and their ways.

When i say there is no need to worry it is in the big scheme of things, of course things happen but they are rare, no point being in fear of something that is unlikely to happen.

My advice is sound, female members of my family travel constantly without incidents and if there was one it would be a one of, people do not get stalked, groped or harrassed every five minutes in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I have never said that anyone wants to be a victim of Japan

This is exactly what you said. I cut and pasted it without deleting or moving so much as a comma.

There seems to be a problem with some foreign women in Japan who keep wanting to be seen as victims of nasty old Japan.

Moving on,

Do not travel alone in poorly lit places late at night or catch a cab. Never get drunk on your own as the perverts notice this and my take advantage. Do not talk badly about Ajaan in pubs or bars, this applies to men and women,

Again, no, your advice is not sound. The majority of women I know who have been assaulted have been assaulted on trains, in well-lit public places and in the places where they work. How are they meant to avoid traveling in poorly lit places if they need to get from point A to B? And not taking a cab? Really, should women just make sure to get home before the sun sets? You do realize that many non-Japanese women live here without fathers or brothers to escort them around throughout the day, right?

When i say there is no need to worry it is in the big scheme of things, of course things happen but they are rare, no point being in fear of something that is unlikely to happen.

Well, that's not what you said. It may be what you meant but it's not what you said. What you said was:

Japan is a safe country compared to most, no need to worry about your safety.

Personally I don't think the majority of women here sit around living in fear about what might happen. Does it sound like they do to you because that's not what I got out of this at all. What I read was a lot of women, from their own experiences, trying to dispel the notion that Japan is as safe as people like to imagine it is. That is neither an attempt to bash Japan nor a attempt to suggest that anyone live in fear. It is simply applying experience to life. It is an attempt to educate women to be aware of their safety and to not be complacent about things just because of a false image other people have tried to project about Japan. If you take that as bashing that's in your head.

female members of my family travel constantly without incidents and if there was one it would be a one of...

1) There are over 65 million women in Japan so excuse me if I don't take your word on things because you claim no women in your family have had any incidents. 2) I'm sure there are plenty of men in your position right now thinking the same thing and not realizing that they don't know everything that happens to the women in their families. They may have had no incidents or they may have and chosen not to tell you because they worried about your reaction, they figured there was nothing you could do about it anyway or they were ashamed. Yes, there is a lot of shame that occurs when someone has been the victim of a sexual assault. When someone has been reasonably cautious and get assaulted anyway they they are often told they did everything they could. When someone takes the occasional chance, let's their guard slip - lives, in other words, they are frequently told that they shouldn't have been in that place at that time or wearing that outfit or talking to that person, etc. This subtle blame increases feelings of shame.

Do not talk badly about Ajaan in pubs or bars, this applies to men and women, Japanese can get annoyed when the country is criticised especially if they have been drinking

Finally, as for slagging off Asians whilst in pubs, I'd think that would be advice to give men if they don't want to get punched, not women trying to avoid sexual assault.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

tmarie: Exactly!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ambrosia

I said "want to be seen as victims"NOT " be a victim"". Totally different, please read my posts more carefully in future before replying to them.

Only trying to help women to be and feel as safe as the eomen in my family and i get negative responses.

My family dooes not hide things from each other that is why we live happy, safe lives in Japan without looking down on others and respecting others lives . Being positive and good to others seems to keep trouble at bay. Negativity and complaining brings nothing but trouble for males and females.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Betraythetrust!FEB. 07, 2013 - 04:38AM JST @ambrosia I said "want to be seen as victims"NOT " be a victim"". Totally different, please read my posts more carefully in future before replying to them.

Again, I quoted you exactly as you wrote it, cut and pasted. I disagreed with you then and I disagree with you now. I think what you said was rude and insulting and not a thing to say at all, let alone to people who've just shared their experiences with you. I'm not sure how else to put it in a way you'll understand.

Only trying to help women to be and feel as safe as the eomen in my family and i get negative responses

You've gotten negative responses from a few people so perhaps you should take that as a learning experience. The article is about the safety of women in Japan and presumably some of the negative responses have come from women who disagree with your advice and have their own experiences and ideas of what is realistic and what works. You can keep posting over and over that you're "just trying to help" or you can actually listen and learn. The choice is yours.

My family dooes not hide things from each other that is why we live happy, safe lives in Japan without looking down on others and respecting others lives .

That's very good for you.

Being positive and good to others seems to keep trouble at bay. Negativity and complaining brings nothing but trouble for males and females.

Again, with the blame-the-victim mentality. You just don't get it, do you? First, you suggested that avoiding darkly lit places, not taking taxis alone and not insulting Asians in pubs would keep you safe. Now, you're saying that if you just stay positive that'll do the trick. Unbelievable! I'll be sure to let the friend who was raped in her home by a worker and my brother who's car was stolen and the families of friends and loved ones who were murdered (see earlier post if you're at a loss for names) know that if they'd just have stayed positive and not complained the bad things that happened wouldn't have befallen them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is an attempt to educate women to be aware of their safety and to not be complacent about things just because of a false image other people have tried to project about Japan.

Absolutely correct. I don't want people, women especially, to have a bad impression of Japan before they come here, but neither do I want them to get the unpleasant shock that so many of us experience within days of arrival.

Many foreign men cannot imagine being frightened of Japan males, perhaps because of the natural physical advantages that they have over them, but also because they are not targeted for creepy unwanted attention in the way that foreign women often are.

BTW, I personally know several foreign men who were perfectly happy about living here ... until they became parents of daughters. Then their eyes were opened.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Tessa

Hey, i have been here for a while and have 2 daughters, they can look after themselves. The eldest is at the age where she is more independent. She has rules to follow and they are learnt well, she can also physically look after herself and knows how to defend herself and how to behave so as not to encourage perverts.

In any country there are perverts, come on, most of these Japanese guys are of a smaller build than you foreign women and they are not accustomed to aggression. Most of them can be flattened by a teen girl or subdued to call the police or if need be beaten.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

she can also physically look after herself and knows how to defend herself and how to behave so as not to encourage perverts.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Again with the blaming the victim mentality. Are you purposely being obtuse? Does a women covered head to toe in a burka encourage perverts? Does an elderly woman dressing modestly encourage perverts? Does an elementary school girl in a uniform encourage a pervert? Does a baby encourage a pervert? The logical answer would be no, followed with how women across all age groups and wearing a variety of clothing get attacked by perverts. That's why many courts now disallow mentioning what a sexual assault victim was wearing. Other people get it. Why can't you?

...most of these Japanese guys are of a smaller build than you foreign women ..

.

Sigh..... If that was meant as a subtle dig, stop patting yourself on the back because you're as transparent as glass and becoming quite boorish.

Heaven forbid anything ever happen to either of your daughters because I absolutely cannot imagine the double trauma of first, having been assaulted and then, having to deal with a know-it-all father who would question what she was wearing or doing to have attracted the attentions of a non-aggressive, little pervert who she should have been able to fight off in the first place. Hopefully they'll remain positive and non-complaining so that nothing bad ever happens to them because we know that's the key to making it through life unscathed, right?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

You just don't get it, do you?

No, no he doesn't.

Hey, i have been here for a while and have 2 daughters, they can look after themselves. The eldest is at the age where she is more independent. She has rules to follow and they are learnt well, she can also physically look after herself and knows how to defend herself and how to behave so as not to encourage perverts.

They can look after themselves? But why would they if they are always in groups and never out at night? Physically look after herself? Highly doubt that. No one can make such claims when attacked and not prepared.

In any country there are perverts, come on, most of these Japanese guys are of a smaller build than you foreign women and they are not accustomed to aggression. Most of them can be flattened by a teen girl or subdued to call the police or if need be beaten. Not accustomed to aggression? Is that a joke? I guess all that bullying, all those schools beatings, all the martial arts many learn here... Yes, those amazon women surely should have no issues taking on those weak Japanese boys... And now you want women to beat their attackers? Lovely idea. Because that won't escalate the issues, right? Don't slag off the place but if a guy gropes you on the train, just beat him because well, he's not used to amazon foreign women and confrontation. Classic.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

And indeed, I wouldn't wish anything to happen to anyone's daughters but it really is a number game here. I wonder if/when something happens, he'll be singing the same tune as he is with us.

I don't know why I continue to play.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I read the article and pretty much all the comments, and I must say some of the comments are rather opinionated. Japan are hardly a perfect country, NEVER WAS and NEVER WILL BE. Same goes for everywhere else. I personally think westerners have always had a negative image of Japanese and their country. And I don't think that will ever change. Westerners, especially American and Canadians are the most verbally opinionated people on the planet. The feeling of superior complex, I will not take sh*t from anyone are well documented.

I am a Asian woman living in Toronto (Canada), stands at 5"8. I have been in Toronto all my life, born and raised in Toronto and if anyone think Toronto is a safe utopia they're 100% WRONG. When was the last time you heard news of someone getting shoot at a shopping Mall in Tokyo? It's happened last summer inside the Eaton centre, this sort of thing happened all the time in Toronto. There were 54 homicides in 2012 in Toronto, that's pretty high for a city of over 3 million people.

Toronto by far are the most racist and discriminatory city in Canada, if not in North America. Any western woman ever been insulted in Japan before because of their look and color of their skin? I'm curious? I guess having a white male coming up to me and said you're very tall for an Asian woman isn't insulting right? As all Asians are suppose to be short to begin with. If only I could cash in the amount of time I was insulted growing in Toronto because of how my slang eyes and Asian looks didn't match the blonde hair and blue eyes they were looking for.

I've stalked, harassed, and been approach my white men asking for my phone # on subway many times. They think all Asian women are easy to get and easy to toy with. It's insulting. How if an Asian woman have a white male as a boyfriends, for some mysterious reason it's because ASIAN WOMEN LOVES WHITE MEN. This is one of the reason why I have never gone out on a date with white man, it's degenerating to me as a woman when a white man approach me and everyone thinks I'm the one chasing after him.

There also the fact that white men likes to talk bad about Asian men in general if they have Asian girlfriend. Which are outright disgraceful and disgusting to me. Asian in Canada are not treated with respect, they're viewed as inferiors people. There was this article by Maclean magazine a few years ago about Canadian Universities having too many Asians and therefore white kids don't want to go there. Needless to say the Asians were very upset about it.

http://www.straight.com/news/henry-yu-macleans-offers-nonapology-writing-nonstory-called-too-asian

My hearts goes out to all the western women in Japan, but if you were white women living in Toronto do you think you're have the same problems as a Asian women? Lucky for you because racism isn't a crime in Toronto, we Asian obviously can't report this to the police and tell them that someone verbally insulted us because of how we look

I'm studying Japanese now and can't way until I come to Japan, I visit Japan twice already and plans to stay much longer the third time. I have been groper once on the subway in my first visit, but for some reason I didn't feel like I was insulted the same way when white kid called me CHINK or A GOOK, that kind a pain last a life time. I pushed the Japanese away and told him to stay away, and he did. So it wasn't all bad.

I think western women who came to Japan never experiences racism and discrimination back at home expected they should be treated the same way. And if one bad thing happened on a Tokyo subway ride it's became a violation of rights, and they go home and never want to deal with that again.

Hope to meet some on you gals in the future. take care.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I must say some of the comments are rather opinionated.

Yes, comments on opinion pieces tend to be opinionated. Then you go right on to be extremely opinionated about Canada, which is your right but odd that you criticize others for doing the same when it comes to Japan.

I personally think westerners have always had a negative image of Japanese and their country.

Then most of the posters must be gluttons for punishment because many of us have been living here quite happily for years, decades even. Just because people don't like certain aspects of a country it does not mean they dislike the country or its people as a whole. I think Japanese would do well to try and understand that because even the slightest criticism of Japan is taken as hatred for the country, which is just silly. I have been here longer than any Japanese teenager has been on the earth and I have certainly earned my right to criticize what I don't like and to try and change that, within reason, as do you about things in Canada. If I didn't like living here I would leave as I'm assuming would the other posters who you've decided must dislike it by virtue of their being western.

Westerners, especially American and Canadians are the most verbally opinionated people on the planet. The feeling of superior complex, I will not take sh*t from anyone are well documented.

I have been to over 30 countries on 5 continents and lived in 5 different countries and have yet to meet a people who do not think they are superior in some or many ways to others. Yes, Americans and Canadians may be more open about it but if you think, for even one second, that Japanese do not believe they are superior to most, if not all other countries, then you really don't know your fellow countrymen at all.

if anyone think Toronto is a safe utopia they're 100% WRONG.

Did anyone say they thought Toronto was a safe utopia? The point is not whether or not other cities or countries are safe but simply that the image of Japan as a place where you never have to worry, especially as a woman, is incorrect and potentially dangerous, especially for women who may come here and let their guard down.

When was the last time you heard news of someone getting shoot at a shopping Mall in Tokyo? It's happened last summer inside the Eaton centre, this sort of thing happened all the time in Toronto. There were 54 homicides in 2012 in Toronto, that's pretty high for a city of over 3 million people.

Do you not remember the madman in Akihabara, or the guy who recently attacked kids in a school in Fukushima or the stabbings in Ikebukuro and Shibuya? Granted Japan's murder rate is much lower than that of the U.S. but it is probably not as low as you think it is. Additionally, Japan has some of the lowest rates of forensic autopsies in the industrial world, which means that if a death doesn't look suspicious it is unlikely to be looked into, making it a good place to get away with murder if you want, and which means that official homicide rates are unlikely to be truly accurate.

*****"Actually, take Tokyo for example. From what I can work out, Tokyo has just as many murders as London, and for the most part is just as much a violent city as London is. For example, from the stats I can find, in 2004-2005 the Tokyo City (23 wards) area has around 120 murders a year for a population of just under 9,000,000. Whereas greater London, a comparably sized area, in 2011 had only 117 murders. Basically it seems that on the whole Tokyo is just a violent as London, and those stats are from 2004, and have probably increased now. I think Japan's days as a low crime country are over if it ever was at all." http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1508325

My hearts goes out to all the western women in Japan,

Really, I don't get the impression you feel that way at all.

but if you were white women living in Toronto do you think you're have the same problems as a Asian women? Lucky for you because racism isn't a crime in Toronto, we Asian obviously can't report this to the police and tell them that someone verbally insulted us because of how we look

You can and you should because hate crimes are against the law in Canada

*>In Canada the legal definition of hate crime can be found in sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code”. [41] In 1996 the federal government amended a section of the Criminal Code that pertains to sentencing. Specifically, section 718.2. The section states (with regard to the hate crime): A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration the following principles: (a) a sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, (i) evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor, . . . shall be deemed to be aggravating circumstances.'' [41]

However, in Japan they are not.

Japan does not have civil rights legislation which enforces or penalizes discriminatory activities committed by citizens, businesses, or non-governmental organizations. Attempts have been made in the Diet to enact human rights legislation. In 2002, a draft was submitted to the House of Representatives, but did not reach a vote.[24] Had the law passed, it would have set up a Human Rights Commission to investigate, name and shame, or financially penalize discriminatory practices as well as hate speech committed by private citizens or establishments.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I have been groper once on the subway in my first visit, but for some reason I didn't feel like I was insulted the same way when white kid called me CHINK or A GOOK,

I have been groped and have had people say directly to me "kakko warui gaijin", "baka janai", "damatte yo" (when the same was not said to drunken businessmen or schoolgirls who were actually loud), "buta" and "kono ama". I would take the words over the groping any day though certainly neither is desirable. One is just mean and ignorant and one is criminal and thoroughly disgusting. Sadly, if other women in Japan don't find it insulting to be groped, that may be a reason these criminals think they can get away with it. I would never agree that it is okay to say such nasty things to anyone but when those things were said to me they didn't hurt me so much as they angered me. Even that was a very limited feeling because at the end of the day, I am not going to waste my time getting mad at ignorant things people who mean nothing to me might say. No, I do not mean because they were Japanese they didn't mean anything to me but because they were strangers and I do not give strangers the power to hurt me with words. Why would I? Why would any adult let a stranger hurt them with words? Who are they to you that you let them have that power over you? Mostly, I just pity them their ignorance and hatred because that kind of stuff has to be eating them up inside.

I think western women who came to Japan never experiences racism and discrimination back at home expected they should be treated the same way. And if one bad thing happened on a Tokyo subway ride it's became a violation of rights, and they go home and never want to deal with that again. Read some of the posts again. Many of the women posting have lived here for years, some of us upwards of 20 years. So much for your theory about us going home and never wanting to deal with that again, though who in their right mind would want to deal with sexual assault more than once?

Is that a bad thing to expect to be treated equally? Everyone should expect and demand to be treated equally. And, who are you to assume you know whether or not the women posting are white, black, asian, etc. and whether or not they've experienced racism in their home countries? Again, read the posts. Many of the posters have had numerous things happen to them here and yet, they're still here, which goes against the easy assumption that they hate Japan or leave as soon as something bad happens. People are usually a little more complex than you seem to be giving them credit for being.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I read the article and pretty much all the comments, and I must say some of the comments are rather opinionated. Japan are hardly a perfect country, NEVER WAS and NEVER WILL BE. Same goes for everywhere else. I personally think westerners have always had a negative image of Japanese and their country. And I don't think that will ever change. Westerners, especially American and Canadians are the most verbally opinionated people on the planet. The feeling of superior complex, I will not take sh*t from anyone are well documented.

I am a Asian woman living in Toronto (Canada), stands at 5"8. I have been in Toronto all my life, born and raised in Toronto and if anyone think Toronto is a safe utopia they're 100% WRONG. When was the last time you heard news of someone getting shoot at a shopping Mall in Tokyo? It's happened last summer inside the Eaton centre, this sort of thing happened all the time in Toronto. There were 54 homicides in 2012 in Toronto, that's pretty high for a city of over 3 million people.

Toronto by far are the most racist and discriminatory city in Canada, if not in North America. Any western woman ever been insulted in Japan before because of their look and color of their skin? I'm curious? I guess having a white male coming up to me and said you're very tall for an Asian woman isn't insulting right? As all Asians are suppose to be short to begin with. If only I could cash in the amount of time I was insulted growing in Toronto because of how my slang eyes and Asian looks didn't match the blonde hair and blue eyes they were looking for.

I've stalked, harassed, and been approach my white men asking for my phone # on subway many times. They think all Asian women are easy to get and easy to toy with. It's insulting. How if an Asian woman have a white male as a boyfriends, for some mysterious reason it's because ASIAN WOMEN LOVES WHITE MEN. This is one of the reason why I have never gone out on a date with white man, it's degenerating to me as a woman when a white man approach me and everyone thinks I'm the one chasing after him.

There also the fact that white men likes to talk bad about Asian men in general if they have Asian girlfriend. Which are outright disgraceful and disgusting to me. Asian in Canada are not treated with respect, they're viewed as inferiors people. There was this article by Maclean magazine a few years ago about Canadian Universities having too many Asians and therefore white kids don't want to go there. Needless to say the Asians were very upset about it.

http://www.straight.com/news/henry-yu-macleans-offers-nonapology-writing-nonstory-called-too-asian

My hearts goes out to all the western women in Japan, but if you were white women living in Toronto do you think you're have the same problems as a Asian women? Lucky for you because racism isn't a crime in Toronto, we Asian obviously can't report this to the police and tell them that someone verbally insulted us because of how we look

I'm studying Japanese now and can't way until I come to Japan, I visit Japan twice already and plans to stay much longer the third time. I have been groper once on the subway in my first visit, but for some reason I didn't feel like I was insulted the same way when white kid called me CHINK or A GOOK, that kind a pain last a life time. I pushed the Japanese away and told him to stay away, and he did. So it wasn't all bad.

I think western women who came to Japan never experiences racism and discrimination back at home expected they should be treated the same way. And if one bad thing happened on a Tokyo subway ride it's became a violation of rights, and they go home and never want to deal with that again.

Hope to meet some on you gals in the future. take care.

growing up asian in the u.s. & canada can be rough. i don't know any asian-american (not expats, actual citizens) friends who has not experienced racist attacks, both verbally and physically.

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The vast majority of my foreign friends in Japan are guys, so they're not exposed to the same kinds of dangers

.

I find this article accurate for the most part except for the quote above. Foreign men here in Japan are in much more peril than women. The men are at much greater risk than the women.

If being pinched on the buttocks is the worst thing that could happen to a foreign male then we could live here forever. There are so many advantages to being a woman here in Japan.

Not trying to attack the author at all. As I said I agree with the article almost 90%. It's just this one point.

If anything, it only shows how divided we minority groups are. She would never say that had she talked to some of the people I know.

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FPSRussia: I don't know. You may be correct about foreign men being in more peril than foreign women though you'd be wise to not discount some of the more "invisible" foreign women working in the sex trade who's lives are regularly in direct and indirect danger. The article is about how women in Japan can stay safe and you do yourself no favors by facetiously equating the very real dangerous of being sexually assaulted to "being pinched on the buttocks" . You'd know that's not even close to the reality if you'd read the posts.

That said, perhaps you ought to consider writing and submitting an article on the dangers that foreign men here face. I'm quite serious. It would be interesting and edifying.

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corrections: whose lives and very real dangers

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maglev101: That's very sad about the discrimination you've faced in Canada. Perhaps you and Bonsaii can find a way to get together because you seem to have had very similar experiences.

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@ambrosia. I will not discount anyone who has a story to tell. For I have seen things that do not compute.

Not going to co e at you. I'll take your advice to heart. Just keep in mind that I picked out only one thing I found to be inaccurate. I took caution not to expand on it as not to go off topic.

Thanks for your reply.

*im not turning over a new leaf. I've always been like this. You've never seen my real unedited posts.

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FPSRussia: Fair enough but again, the article is about the safety of women in Japan, not about men. The writer never says foreign women are in greater peril than men. That's something that you inferred so I'm not sure I understand what 10% of the article you don't agree with. Neither did she suggest that foreign men aren't in danger at all. To quote her, she said "The vast majority of my foreign friends in Japan are guys, so they're not exposed to the same kinds of dangers." What's not true about that? Foreign men in Japan are far less likely to be victims of sexual assault or harassed. They may be exposed to other types of dangers but that's where the words "not.....the same kinds..." come into play.

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Most Chikans are by definition the weakest kind of men in society, they dont expect most Japanese women, especially girls to stand up to them, but if a woman, Japanese or foreign, shouts at them and makes an example they will always run away terrified. Stalkers are much more dangerous as they have more time to plan their attack and are more likely to confront their victim in a deserted place. Also many weak men will feel much more confident in their own home or a private place, therefore women need to be careful about going somewhere private with someone they have only previously interacted with in public. Domestic violence is very common in Japan, but only behind closed doors. Generally though Japan is pretty much the safest place on the planet, but its still populated by humans so the same rules about being safe apply.

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Japan is an incredibly safe country, you only have to look at the murder statistics. That said there is a special problem with chikans (Im not downplaying the trauma of being groped or flashed, but its not the same as being raped and murdered), there is a special problem with stalkers and domestic violence is at least as common as many other western countries. All that said 99 times out of 100 you can walk down almost any street at 5am in the dark and you won`t be hassled much less attacked. (though I am not recommending it to lone women, just to be on the safe side), in many other countries you could virtually guarantee a mugging if not much worse.

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Honestly, I am currently studying abroad here in Toyko, and was told Japan is a safe country. But in the 2 months I've been here, I have had 1 man come at me from behind and grab me to try and take me somewhere as well as 2 incidents on the train involving men masturbating within close proximity.

The first was one of the masturbating ones, where he had his hands under his pants and you could clearly see what it was that he was doing. He then tried to cover his lap with his bag to try and hide what he was doing. No one did anything.

The second of the masturbating incidents was a bit more intense and actually made me feel extremely unsafe as well as uncomfortable and violated. I was again on the train. A bunch of people got off at one stop leaving many seats open and the train car relatively empty (about 20 people in the car, which is not a lot). So I sit down and this guy sits down directly across from me, after about 2 minutes he then gets up and moves to the door (which was right next to his seat). I thought that was a bit weird considering there were a bunch of empty seats and this was the express train. Then after texting a friend I looked up from my phone to notice he had his penis out, in his hands masturbating right in front of me, staring right at me. Again, people saw this, and did nothing. I thought that perhaps making eye contact and giving him a disgusted look would get him to stop, it didn't. So I got up and tried to move, his eyes following me the whole time. I decided to get off at the next stop (which was still far from my stop), making sure he wasn't following me and decided to just wait for the next train.

To me, I'm honestly just disgusted at the fact no one tried to help. I even dress modestly during my stay in Japan so I don't attract unwanted attention(though what I wear shouldn't be permission for such actions), but I am a blonde Gaijin, of course I'm going to get attention as much as I don't want it. After these incidents though, whenever a Japanese man looks at me I just get scared. Perhaps I just seem to be one of the "unlucky" girls who happens to experience these things by fluke, but 3 incidents in 2 months would say otherwise. And I only say 3 because I'm not counting the multiple times men have tried to get me and my friends to go home with them, who seem to get a bit aggressive when you say "No".

So from my experiences, I personally don't think Japan, or at least Tokyo, is a safe place for foreign women. And if you plan on going, try and make sure you have a male friend who is with you, and try not to go anywhere alone. Again, these are my personal experiences, I still plan on living here for the remained of my study abroad program(thankfully only 2 more months), and I'm hoping these incidents were just bad luck.

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