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Foreigners in Japan face significant levels of discrimination, survey showsBy Minami Funakoshi TOKYO
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What I don't get about the 'Koreans' who were born and raised in Japan and only speak Japanese............why not become a Japanese citizen? Still, I too was denied accommodation a few times when I first came to Japan, because i'm a foreigner and it is pretty frustrating.
Discrimination against foreigners is deeply rooted in Japan
**1. in form of language ....in form of the skin color in all form .... in form of work place discrimination ... and many more areas**
just just pretend to be good on the face they are have lot if hidden brunt against foreigners.
Born in Japan, lived nowhere except Japan and speak nothing except Japanese.
I know what I would have done a long time ago.
One thing that really must be addressed is Japanese oyajis making a clucking noise or tsk! sound when they walk past me.
I saw an article on this today in the Guardian under top ten most viewed. My sister posted a link.
It would be nice to think Japanese people would pay it some attention. Then again, the endless stream of foreigners interviewed on TV gushing about hanami, ramen and washlets will no doubt drown it out.
This is deeply rooted in Japan but Japanese people don't understand the issue. I find being offered a fork at a restaurant that clearly uses chopsticks for their food slightly offensive. If you ask the average Japanese they just say "they are trying to be helpful".... I point out you are assuming foreigners can't do something you can, thus you are profiling.... I can never win this argument, my point is never seen.
I just experienced discrimination (racial profiling) last night. I was walking to the station, and got stopped and checked for being white in public.
"Then again, the endless stream of foreigners interviewed on TV gushing about hanami, ramen and washlets will no doubt drown it out"
Yep. I was just thinking about that kind of thing the other day when that travel programme about Japanese people living abroad was on. They highlight these 'amazing' Japanese people who live and work abroad in out of the way places. Why don't they have a programme about non-Japanese who live and work in Japan? If more Japanese people could see how well many of us gaijin fit in and contribute to Japanese society, maybe there'd be a bit less discrimination. The only time they seem to focus on non-Japanese people on TV is if they are gushing about all things Japanese (except for the established gaijin talento who just pretend to be Japanese anyway). I think they are scared we night bash Japan or something-not that they'd broadcast it!
It's getting better than it used to be, still a long, long way to go. At least I don't hear the "If you don't like it, go back to where you are from" anymore.
Ask any foreigner who's tried to get a credit card in Japan about discrimination.
gogogoMAR. 31, 2017 - 04:53PM JST
Is this the most serious discrimination that you have ever faced in Japan?
As a white male European gaijin solidly build and very good looking ;), I haven't experience much negative discrimination. I do speak Japanese fluently, I look "normal" (whatever that means) and I strive to be very sensible to local customs. The locals really appreciate this effort, and this leads to:
I am exploiting my gaijinism to the max. Being treated better simply because I am a foreigner happens on a daily basis, and honestly I'm enjoying it.
That being said, I do understand that foreigners with tattoos and piercings for example (nothing wrong with those imho) will be treated with suspicion moreso in Japan than in Europe, for example. Koreans and Chinese don't have it easy also...
Striker10MAR. 31, 2017 - 05:11PM JST
I remember, when I was in the US and applied for a credit card, they sent me a letter of refusal saying they have a policy to decline any application by a foreigner unless he/she is a permanent resident. I think the situation is pretty much the same in Japan, too.
I remember, one of my office's ex-client who was like 50 something said to me "I've never seen a foreigner as diligent as you, they're usually here for fun (which I understood he implied dating Japanese girls)". I replied "Really ? you have many foreign friends ?". He said, "no, you're the first foreigner I've ever talked to" ... I can't seem to recall what I did or said to him after that
To give them credit, they do occasionally have such programs.
It's just that the "Nihon wa sugoi!" type programs outnumber them by 1000 to 1.
But the discussion about Japanese TV is interesting.
People who have lived in Japan for a long time will remember a show about 20 years ago called "Koko wa hen da yo, Nihonjin".(roughly translates as "Hey, Japanese people, this place (Japan) is weird".
It featured a bunch of mouthy foreigners who lived in Japan criticizing Japan (or defending Japan) in regards to different issues.
It was the most interesting program on TV at that time, according to some of my Japanese friends.
I really enjoyed it too.
However, since then there has been almost nothing like it.
In fact, it's gone the other way. Almost the only time we ever see foreigners on Japanese TV now is when they are praising Japan to the high heavens.
I think it's all part of the the Japanese government's right-wing push for increased nationalism in society, in schools, etc.
I even think that the Japanese government may have coerced TV channels behind the scenes... "We don't want any more "Koko wa hen da yo" type programs... from now you will only show foreigners who heap praise on Japan".
I can't think of any other explanation for the ridiculous plethora of nihon-praising programs we have now.
It's difficult even for permanent residents. But my unemployed wife has absolutely no problem getting multiple credit cards.
Roll with it people. It's just human nature.
It's because sadly enough Japan is a country where racism isn't seen as very bad.
It's rewarding being white!!
Same as above!!
Faced those accommodations issues too in Japan. But honestly I rent my apartment back home, when it's time to chose a new tenant and I am given the choice between locals and foreigners, I tend to chose the locals. I understand it, easier to deal with non payment with locals. I guess the same applies to credit cards.
never had an issue, not with rent or otherwise , I speak almost fluent Japanese , have proper job and income and quite often in rent i get better treatment than a Japanese with no regular income would..
After years living in Japan, and other countries, I think discrimination in Japan is under the average compared with other places. And most of time is well grounded, Japanese culture have their own etiquette standards and most of foreigners haven't will to respect it.
No doubt discrimination based on race or nationality is a serious problem in Japan, and elsewhere, and needs to be tackled seriously. Which is exactly what this joke of a survey and 'analysis' does NOT do.
That's what, a 20%ish response rate!? Very, very poor. On top of that most questions are opinion-based/very subjective: most ppl think they 'deserve a pay rise', 'are fluent in ", 'haven't been promoted because they were too and not enough ___". Again this is a serious issue anywhere in the world let alone Japan and facts/data rather than 'opinions' would have had imo much more weight.
"This is deeply rooted in Japan but Japanese people don't understand the issue. I find being offered a fork at a restaurant that clearly uses chopsticks for their food slightly offensive"
That's never bothered me. Neither has the can you sit on tatami question.
I don't know why, but the "In Japan we....., do foreign people do/have/like this?" never fails to bring up a ratty, sarcastic reply from me. It's now a reflex action and I've done it at some inopportune moments. My wife called it irritable scowl syndrome.
Never had any problem getting (several) Japanese credit cards... it's the money to put into them that's posing a MUCH bigger problem... :-(
Unfortunately discrimination is a problem throughout the world in different countries, culture and communities. In other words everywhere you look, you see differences in wealth, power and status. Some groups have higher status and greater privilege than others and in this unequal social system, there is often unfair treatment directed against certain individuals or social groups. Discrimination can be based on many different characteristics like age, gender, weight, ethnicity, religion, politics etc. It's so sad that some human beings have pre-formed negative judgment or attitude and this leads people to view certain individuals or groups as inferior.
I remember, when I was in the US and applied for a credit card, they sent me a letter of refusal saying they have a policy to decline any application by a foreigner unless he/she is a permanent resident. I think the situation is pretty much the same in Japan, too
That is not correct, If on work visa like H1B, the credit card application will be successfull. Also in Japan if you have a regular job, your credit card application will be successfull.
No news at all. What strikes me (and angers me a little) is that only 20% of the foreigners participated in such a questionnaire.
discrimination in Japan!!!??? NO WAY :-/
Discrimination is a relative term. House owners don't want to rent house to foreigners, as past foreigner made trouble for all other neighbors, who complained to the house owners. It is not whether you are a Japanese or foreigner, it is more if you have adopted the Japanese culture and social norms or not. And most Non-Japanese workers do not have sense of loyalty to companies. So, companies are reluctant about offering them full benefits.
Bottom line is, previous foreigners have ruined the image of the foreigners here in Japan, and that happened for many many years. That's why the current foreigners have to earn their respect in the locals' eye.
Here is the thing, have gone through stages, yes there is discrimination.. most other countries refusing a rental because someone isn't a particular race, would be front page news.
But there is another way, it involves both the Japanese establishment and also anyone who intends to make a life here being understanding, Im not sure thats going to happen quickly, or perhaps ever.
Japan needs foreigners both in positions for labour and also for the entrepunurial side that Japan seems to be lacking.
Japan wants money from tourism, foreign students enrolling in Japanese Universities and such. And those are usually well treated. However, as far as treating foreigners living in Japan, equal rights and social justices go, Japan is far closer to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Israel or Turkey, than to countries such as Sweeden, Canada or Denmark where equal rights and integration are well established for all. Japan has not yet entered the twenty first century.
Housing has been a real issue for acquaintances and friends Nagoya. They have also struggled with employment contracts to get equal pay. Personally I have had difficulties at an Onsen, where a for some inexplicable reason a Lady of an certain age who should know better made derogatory comments as I spoke to a friend in French. And at a Restaurant that inadvertently gave priority to Japanese regulars. The most irritating aspect is their attitude as they realize you can understand. A resentful indignation as though you should just except it.
Decide how much to roll with. Roll with it too much, and you'll get rolled over. Roll with it not enough and you'll get bitter. Wherever you draw the line, accept the consequences.
Zichi my experience is similar to yours. I have been here more than 20 years and rarely experience discrimination aside from nobody sitting next to me on the train.
I even bought a house, so I suppose the bank was not discriminating against me to loan me over $400,000. I was turned down by three banks, but my salary was not great so I guess anyone would have.
However, I WAS denied a credit card by one company even though my salary is ok and I own a house and two cars. I have three other Japanese credit cards so I guess that does not bother me.
I have a feeling Japanese can sense those of us that have been here a long time. I never have people make noises when I am walking or any of these other strange stories you guys are talking about. Matter of fact, a Japanese woman came up to me in a store the other day and asked me which batteries will fit in her radio... I am American, not Asian looking at all. Maybe they just sense the foreigners that have been here a while. I have no idea. OAnother Japanese person a few years ago asked me for direction on the street in Ginza, I have no idea why me....
I look badass so i never had a problem.
That's funny...never met a barber who would not cut my hair due to language issues. Even when I knew zero Japanese I still would go into those quick haircut places and get a haircut. Not saying it was always exactly what I wanted, but as they say, beggars can't be choosers, etc.
Now that I think of it, in my home country seems 1/2 the barbers barely speak more than a few words of English to begin with.
What's this strange story you are talking about?
I never experience that.
I think the Japanese can sense I've been here a long time.
bank is more than happy for house loan..
Are you serious? The seat next to me is the last one to get occupied on a crowded train. There could be three people standing and the seat next to me is empty. When I stand to get off one of the three standing run to sit in my seat. It happens every day for years...Its not like I have long hair and tattoos, I am clean cut with a suit.
After 17years in Japan I have never faced any discrimination. The only discriminating thing I could mention was to have its ID checked st a camping ground in the countryside that was empty just because foreigners caused trouble before. It's not really what we can call discrimination. Never been to a real estate here and never had any problem with the banks except to get a loan as I did not have permanent residency at that time, but being a full time employee in a Japanese company helps, as being a European Living in the countryside I can just say that people do not think much and speak naturally Japanese while in my experience in Tokyo it is not always the case But I have heard many times from friends the refusal from real estate
As I now earn most of my income outside Japan it is inconvenient for a credit card here (I have 3 foreign cards accepted here no problem)but as for housing? Since I live in my own bought and paid for house it is no longer an issue...
Sorry... just being sarcastic.
You see, in your original post, your describe your perceived experience as "discrimination", but dismiss others peoples' experiences as "strange stories".
we have money. we have all world
"Roll with it people. It's just human nature."
"Decide how much to roll with. Roll with it too much, and you'll get rolled over. Roll with it not enough and you'll get bitter. Wherever you draw the line, accept the consequences."
Very true. I didn't roll with it when a female friend of mine was told to be careful with STD-ridden foreigners when I was on the toilet in an izakaya. That said, my friend who was the owner, was absolutely mortified when I told him why I wanted to punch an apology out of the nasty little turd who upset my friend.
For me, you shouldn't accept that kind of thing. I don't think a Japanese man or woman would accept that kind of behaviour directed at his or her partner or friend. I don't see why I should either.
Well if a man is making the tooth whiz noise when you walk by I do not think that would be discrimination, I would think you have an overzealous imagination because it is neither a pattern of behavior nor is it obvious he is doing it only to you (Many of them do the teeth whiz/click noise)
However the seat next to you open in a crowded train every day for ten years is both a pattern and obvious discrimination, hence silly story/discrimination distinction
A question for those who were denied housing, did you have a guarantor ? For most part, Japanese landlords prefer foreigners to have Japanese guarantors (with stable jobs). Some of you might find this to be rejudice and I do agree, however, one have to see it from their point of view. The main purpose of a guarantor is basically for shaming, it is easier to shame a Japanese and thus get them to pay in the event that the "gaijin" fails to pay the rent. They cannot really do this to a foreigner who (1) flight risk (2) will not be easily shamed to the point that they will pay the rent. When I was looking for apartments, I will use a housing company, also use a "guarantor" company like Recruit (there are other out there) and never had a problem - lived here for 28 yrs. I am not saying that Japan is does not have their share of prejuduces - we all do; all countries do and have experienced my share. But responding to it in "nastiness" or rudeness does not help our asituation here. I recommend, smile, say "Ahhh sou", bow and walk away. I always believe, don't want to be in a place not wanted.
Nobody ever live in Thailand? As a foreigner ... u'll pay stuff 40% more than thai people... , ocean word, park, temple, etc ... so crazy
There isn't a foreigner in Japan that doesn't face discrimination on a daily basis. There are some foreigners that do not NOTICE the discrimination, but that is a different question, and is due to their lack of understanding of the language and culture.
You guys in Japan are like the first Italians that arrived in USA. Lots of discrimination. However, the next wave of immigrants, and the next after that, will face less and less racism until Japan will become what USA is today. In 50 years native-Japanese people will be a group much smaller that it's today.
Beware the gaijin victim mentality. Work that charm and understanding y'all. The draw to Japan for most of us was the mystique of a homogeneous culture. If you are thin skinned , its game over, Rise to the challenge.
I can't say I haven't experienced any discrimination, but it's more from housing than anything else. That's the biggest case of just being refused service for being a foreigner. In many other cases, the 'no foreigners allowed' bit generally gets waived in the face of being able to speak Japanese. If you actually put the effort in to learn the local language, and you really should, a lot more doors open up. Housing remains terrible though, and I lay that at the feet of the landlords more than the real estate companies.
The rest I just chalk up to ignorance more than anything else. People continuing to be amazed that I can use chopsticks is less offensive than it just is annoying.
All that said, I am still generally far safer in Japan as a minority than I would be in many other countries. I experience inconvenience sometimes and sure it sucks, but nobody is going to physically assault me for example. There are ways that things can improve for sure, but I would sooner be a minority in Japan than in the US right now, for example.
Well, please allow me to be the first. You come across as a total merchant banker....
Jimizo: "It would be nice to think Japanese people would pay it some attention."
Exactly, and especially because it is ethnic Chinese and Koreans making up the majority of the respondents no one will care. You can bet, though, that if it were all in praise about Japan and the culture it'd make the front pages of omotenashi news.
Anyway, I haven't experienced any personal discrimination when looking for housing, and I've always had a job here, so I can't speak on behalf of my fellow foreigners except to say racism IS prevalent, it is just a little less outgoing than in some nations. The racism against zainichi and people like them, however, is above and beyond excusable, and for those saying it's a simple matter of nationalizing, that's BS. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard Japanese in hushed voices and frowning while talking about a neighbour saying, "It's a strange last name... I think they're Korean," even when they are Japanese nationals.
I understand the culture just fine, and speak Japanese well enough to run a business, do presentations, deal with clients, and translate, and I don't face discrimination on a daily basis. I face people acknowledging the fact that I'm a foreigner most days, but acknowledgement is not equal to discrimination.
I also never understood getting all freaked out when they offer a fork instead of chopsticks.
"The main purpose of a guarantor is basically for shaming, it is easier to shame a Japanese and thus get them to pay"
Easier to shame compared to whom? Chinese? Koreans? Americans? Brits? Aussies? Ghanaians? Uzbeks? Indians? Peruvians? Foreigners in general?
This is one of the few things things which really gets my back up. The mentality that 'Japanese' behave and think in a certain manner and the catch all phrase 'foreigners' behave in a different way. It's stunning how many Japanese can make outrageous generalizations about how Japanese people behave as opposed to the 7 billion non-Japanese who it seems act in a very similar manner.
I've had this at work. In my previous post, I was asked about everything regarding 'foreigners' including the dietary habits and sensibilities of Jews and Muslims ( from 3 different continents ), if 'foreigners' can eat certain Japanese foods, if 'foreigners' accept long presentations, if 'foreigners' would be offended by the certain tone of an e-mail etc. Even our long suffering Japanese-English translator wasn't spared - she was once given a document in German and asked to translate it into Japanese by an engineer who basically said "roughly the same thing, isn't it?"
Sorry about the rant.
Learn the language is point number one. commutation is ALWAYS the key.
This is moot. The situation is not going to change anytime soon. The more important items on the menu are the scandals plaguing abe and his ilk, the slothful way journalism approaches corruption is nothing short of morbid!!
That is discrimination because you could've been born there, and you would be treated as a foreigner solely based on your appearance. By the way, you don't need to speak the language to have a business there. You clearly do not understand the culture and language on a native level. It is absurd to claim any Japanese would treat a foreigner-looking person as equal Japanese.
Japan is a good place overall.
They're just not good with foreigners. They're good at other things.
That's about it really.
An individual from Korean ancestry fluent in Japanese language and culture unable to fit in seems quite bizarre. Seriously doubt the morphotype-phenotype represented in Japan is so homogeneous that any Asiatic individual could not find a way to fit in. Look a little different - from a far distant province. No family registry record - destroyed in a past fire event. Denied accesses to a store - have a handful of money out and ask politely if there is a shop near by that is willing to accept some cash. The famous social observers, Thicke and Pharrell, in their cutting edge analysis - Blurred Lines - revealed You Know You Want IT.
I can't comment on getting a job because I am an English teacher although, I have been denied a position because I wasn't American. The job was given to a Texan with a strong southern drawl, who said things like, "I seen it down the street." But, that's life! (roll eyes)
However, I can definitely comment on the discrimination in renting property. I'm actually going through the process of moving now. When I applied for the place I'm in presently there were around 20 different apartments in the area and price range I was looking for. I filled in the application and had previously arranged a guarantor. However, from the short list of 20 apartments they told me I was only applicable for two of them, one of which was 25 minutes from the station. This meant I had a choice of one. I asked them why and they told me straight up, "Because you are a foreigner. I then said, "So what! I have a good job, I'm a permanent resident, speak fluent Japanese, I have JLP2 and have lived in Japan a long time." They gave me the same answer, "But, you are foreigner!" There was no way they were going to let me rent one of their nicer apartments as a single gaijin.
Now, I'm going through the same thing moving to another place. However, this time I am moving in with my girlfriend. They asked me if we were married and I told them we were not. He then told me, it would be better to put the apartment application in her name. I asked him why and got the same answer, "Because you are a foreigner!" Again I said, "So what!" And, again, he said, "Because you are foreigner." I was a little peeved by his response and told him, "That is not a reason to reject my application." He turned around and straight up said, "But, this is Japan!" It was then my GF stepped in and asked him the same question. He went on with some garbage about how it's not company policy to rent to foreigners. I told him it was discrimination and he said, "No, it's not discrimination. It is company policy." I then had to give in and put the application into my GF's name or I would not be able to get the nice apartment we wanted. The next time somebody says, "This is Japan!" to me, I am going to break my pen off in their eye!
Now, let's talk about the rip-offs in Japanese apartment rentals. Most ask for 1-4 months rent in advance, but it is not security bond. It is a gift that you have Buckley's chance of getting back. Then, when you renew a two year lease you have to pay an extra month's rent. I asked the real estate why I had to pay it and they said, "It's kind of a gift." It's not a gift! It's a blatant rip-off! Then, when you move out you have to pay ¥80-150,000 for a 'cleaning fee'. This is not part of the key money or advance payment you make when signing the contract. That money is already in the void. This is something new! My guess is, this is why they don't like renting to foreigners because foreigners won't stand for their rip-offs. There are many articles on the net about foreigners fighting to get their key money back, but Japanese do not. They just pay it and move on. Apartment rentals in Japan are extremely discriminatory and a huge rip-off!
I don't think it's about foreigners in general. I think it's mostly about non-Japanese Asians, specifically Chinese and Koreans, based on the statistics. And come on, it's pretty obvious. A person born and raised in Japan, who can only speak Japanese is not even really a foreigner anymore, unless your ancestry is foreign then you're apparently not good enough.
It's not discrimination, it's an acceptance of what one can clearly see with one's eyes. Sure, I could have been born here. But in 20 years, I've met maybe two or three white people who were born here, and both were born on base. I certainly don't expect that the white people I've met here to have been born here, and I'm not discriminating against them. I'm evaluating them based on the circumstance that I'm used to through 20 years of experiences. I don't expect the Japanese to suddenly do something I don't.
No, but it certainly helps. And you certainly to speak the language to work with clients, do presentations, and translate.
I never claimed I did. I definitely don't speak the language on a native level, and I never will even if I live here for another 40 years. But I speak it at a very advanced level.
I never claimed that either. And I'm certainly glad they don't treat me as equal - being foreign is my advantage. It allows me to do business with them in ways that they can't do business with each other. I can make proposals, put together deals, and approach situations in which their cultural expectations of each other don't allow them to do.
Me too. It's happened to me too many times to count. In the first company I worked for, one of my responsibilities was renting apartments for our foreign staff, and they would deny us regularly. I've rented my own places multiple times, and it always starts with the real estate agent calling the landlord to find out if foreigners are acceptable or not. Last time we moved office for our company, I found a office I really liked, and they wanted six months deposit, which I thought was great (12 months is very common). Then when they found out I was foreign, they tacked on an additional 6 months, and called it something else. I declined. Which was too bad, I really liked that office.
Smile home hesitated to rent me an apartment. They changed mind when I mentioned the name of the university I teach at. I guess they are worried foreigners can't pay rent. I always refrain from telling them about my job to have an exact reading of how they would handle my application. Discrimination happens everywhere in the world. Focus on your craft and be enjoy the ride.
I think you need to re-examine the definition of the word ''discrimination''. In your first part you are claiming it's not discrimination that they treat you differently based on your appearance, in your second part you are admitting you are not being treated equally. Your first part is just providing reasons why you think the discrimination you experience is reasonable, in your second part you admit you experience discrimination.
"Discrimination happens everywhere in the world."
Yes, but that isn't an excuse for a shoganai. There are differing degrees.
Call it out every time.
Never had a problem getting credit cards here (have 3). The only time when I experienced discrimination was when trying to find an apartment (even with my salary being quite a lot above the norm). The real estate agent actually asked the person on the other end of the phone if they accept foreigners and a few said no which at the time I didn't even think about, but lost out on many nice places because of this. Frustrating...
That's a good number "more than 17%" so it's somewhere near 18 up to 100, an average of 59%, still, a surprisingly small percentage.
First I think we need to first review the meaning of discrimination. Google gives this as the top definition:
I don't think acknowledging racial difference is unjust nor prejudicial. It is simply an observation of that which is right in front of ones eyes.
You'll have to define 'equal'. In some ways, things are harder for me, and in some they are easier. I find more often than not it ends up in my favor. What exactly is 'equal'? Does it mean being treated exactly the same, in every situation? If so, then yeah, I'm not treated equal. But nor do I expect or wanted to be treated exactly the same in every situation. Or does it mean being treated as a human being of equal standing - in that case I think I am treated as an equal for the most part.
Uchi to soto.
Japan culture abides by this, and Gaijin ought respect the culture of Japan.
I think you just answered your question regarding why many Japanese landlords are reluctant to rent to foreigners.
with this type of attitude below, they are justified
The rip-off that the landlords request is the same and applies to both Japanese and foreigners based on your quote. If that is the case, then just pay the required amount even though it might be frustrating since you never had this type of system back in your home country. It might be BS and no one is forcing you to rent that place. By screaming or arguing to the point where your girlfriend had to step in, I'm sure there was enough hostility in the air. I doubt the person kept repeating "you're a foreigner" if you can speak near native Japanese and most likely you are paraphrasing the gist of his explanation.
There was a comment regarding the use of guarantor and Japan needs to make its presence more known so that foreigners have an easier time to rent properties. That would solve the landlord's worries regarding a guarantee that the foreign renter would not leave without paying. This would then help alleviate the landlord's discriminatory views on renting out to foreigners. However, the foreigners will need to understand that there were foreigners who did not pay for rent which led up to these discriminatory practices as well. One thing is for certain, acting out at the people renting out the place is not a wise decision.
How do you call treating someone differently, and assuming they are an outsider and a foreigner solely based on their appearance? It's called unfair prejudice, You pre judge someone and you treat him unfairly, as that person could have been born in your country, he could speak your language, yet you treat him as an outsider solely based on their appearance, that is what discrimination is. I am sure you will not make the case that because statistically speaking most criminals in the US are blacks, therefore its OK to assume a random black person on the street is a criminal.
Treated as equal means to be treated as everyone one, without being assumed to be an outsider. That is what discrimination is, in the US, it's called white privilege.
I have been refused entry to restaurants (after my husband or friends had gone in first and were welcomed), beauty salons and physically pushed out the door of a hairdressers when I went in to enquire about a haircut. Many people in this country have serious issues. God help any Olympic visitors, they are in for a rude awakening.
**"discrimination in a largely homogeneous society"
"immigration remains a touchy subject in a land where conservatives prize cultural homogeneity"**
"Justice Ministry could better understand what discrimination and human rights issues foreigners in Japan"
Japanese can be the most hypocritical. They exclude non-Japanese from many things, especially apartments. I experienced this several times. i made more money than Japanese at that age, permanent residency, married to a Japanese, etc. just because i was non-Japanese.
but when they visit or live in other countries, they think that it is acceptable for them to not be discriminated against. After having 2 mixed children, i moved my family back to the states. so happy i did that. Ill never live in Japan again.
I can pick these blokes out, but women are very hard to pick out, I have cope plenty over the years I been living here. Yes the Japanese male population has a large percentage of bigotry, The Onsen and train expose these bigots went confront with a foreigner sitting beside them. I have pick up on a bigots in the onsen and I will place or seat myself right next to them, And as always they move straight out of the Onsen displaying total distain or verbal me in Japanese with me display a huge grin I quite enjoy my practice of sorting the bigots In social setting or when it come to sitting on a crowded train. The is filthy look you cope went one get the opportunity to sit down next to a biggot. I always text on the train so once seated next to a bigot , I push out the elbow nearest to them. I get told off and reply with a simamasen but continue digging my elbow into them. I will confront bigotry at every opporturnity.
Interesting survey and I think it is interesting to read the replies. I do not feel discrimination in Japan on a daily basis, but I do not deny it exists. I rarely get offered a fork, however it has happened a time or two and I just say no thank you. When people do not sit next to me on the train I am quite happy to have the extra room (but this does not happen so often either). I am older and maybe as we get older (zichi has alluded to this) we are seen as less intimidating or something.
I own a business here and I am actually the guarantor of the place I live in (use my company to pay rent). Strangely enough I have not been discriminated against for housing, although I do agree this is a problem and big issue in Japan.
You can look at being a foreigner in Japan in many ways. Like a few have stated above we can use this to our advantage. I would like to give one example of my own personal experiences.
Several years back a large company wanted to hire my company for some specialized engineering services. When contract time came around they said the want to pay us using a tegata (for those unfamiliar it is a essentially promissory note which allows you to receive payment 6 months after issuance - means 7 months after invoicing). I told my sales guy to go back to them and say that I as a foreign shachou cannot accept or understand this method of payment. In the end, after a bit of wind sucking, our client (now a very long term client) said they can understand and found another way to get around this, through a factoring company. A Japanese friend of mine also runs a smaller sized business in Japan and does business with the same company. I told him about this and he said he is paid by tegata and would have a hard time arguing this because as a Japanese he should understand and accept this ludicrous practice. I guess in that case I was positively discriminated against.
In the end I agree there is discrimination in Japan and it is worse if you are from another Asian country.
Again I find the comments here more interesting and informative than the article.
I, as a foreigner, exercise the right to be discriminated against by the people of origin nationality, as long as the discrimination does not go beyond oral occurances. Thus, I concede to any and all stereotypes originating from my nationality as long as they have at least one real case of happening to my knowledge and the knowledge of the people of origin nationality and is used as either an insult or a joke, not as a solid belief in correlation to reality. Signed, me.
It might be helpful to know that any rental contract can be negotiated -it is not written in stone and even if it takes some digging to get what you want, it is worth persevering. If your language skills aren't up to it then take a Japanese along and enjoy yourselves.....
That's great, you're one of the lucky ones. No matter how well I disguise myself as an Earthling, I always get pointed out and treated as the Plutonian I am. But hey, at least there's no physical violence acted upon me.
Pity those who object to being offered a fork to eat with. It's a service, not discrimination. My local Italian restaurant, which serves only Italian food (and very good Italian food) brings to each table a little basket of cutlery that includes knives, forks, spoon and chopsticks. Should their Japanese customers feel offended by this suggestion that perhaps they cannot/prefer not to use Western cutlery? Or should they just make their choice and enjoy their meal?
It's possible to feel offended by anything and everything. You can either go through life being offended by perceived offences, or you can ignore them, enjoy your life and save the indignation for the real problems.
Looking for prejudice and intolerance is a guarantee you'll to find it, in the worst cases, it will find you.
Most is ignorance with a smidgen of idiocy. Some members of my family, both English and Japanese are jarringly non pc, age plays a part, almost to the point that a few might take offence. My own rule of thumbs is recognition that in company, conduct and behaviour should always be sensitive to a persons wellbeing and feelings, regardless of appearances.
This survey is commendable, wishing more had participated. Reading some of the comments, there is definitely room for improving, attitudes and raising awareness that one demeanour towards others counts to the perception of discrimination and can easily be misconstrued.
Hi Tokyo-Engr, really Furikomi (wire transfer) on contractually agreed date. These p-notes, cautionary IOU's I hear about regularly in J agriculture, is a method associated with discounting precursors, to alleviate the burden of ledgering. I can acknowledge, up to a point, this is an acceptable method of payment if the product quality deteriorates over recognized period of time, and the transition is limited moderate sums. some J tax offices will take note though. It a practice that raises eyebrows. to wait that length of time for settlement is unacceptable for any engineering company.
I spent years being abused for having brown skin, was called really nasty names due to my ethnic background and had many awkward experiences, but all in my "home" the UK.
I call it being human. If you live in a place where 98% are of the same ethnic group, where they all look the same, it's entirely natural to assume that someone who looks different is probably a foreigner. When I see another white person, I assume they were born overseas. And I'm not looking down on white people. I'm just seeing what is right before my eyes - a white person. And very, very few white people are born here and grow up here.
See that's where we differ. Acknowledging race does not necessarily equate to treating someone unfairly. On the contrary, often they do things for us they would not do if were were just another Japanese person.
Nope, I wouldn't make that case at all. I also think that it's not an equivalent comparison. If there were a racial group in a country, where 99.99999% of that race were criminals, then I would most definitely make the case that it would be ok to assume that when you saw someone of that race, you could assume they were a criminal. That is not the case with black people however. That's the case with non-Asian people born in Japan though.
That's your definition. I say it means to be not treated as being a lesser human being. Which in my experience is the case the majority of the time. There are of course exceptions, it's not like racism and discrimination don't exist in Japan - I think we've all been subject to it. But you're pulling the race card every single day, when it only needs to be pulled periodically.
That about sums it up.
' in a largely homogeneous society' = excuse no.1
You were not there, so do not re-interpret the conversation. There was no screaming or yelling. It was a discussion. Furthermore, the only reason he gave for not renting to a foreigner was, "It is company policy." He did agree the company policy was discriminatory, but policy is policy. This situation (policy) is prevalent in nearly all real estate companies. They do not want to rent to foreigners! And, if they do, it is under strict rules and very limited choices of apartments, usually only crappy, old or inconvenient apartments they cannot rent to anybody else. The rental market in Japan is flooded with empty apartments, but they are not prepared to change their policies to allow foreigners free range of access. Many of the apartments I've looked at in the last few weeks have been empty for two years or more. I'm going to have a look at another one tomorrow. Wish me luck!
I have to disagree with this fully. I've dealt with a LOT of real estate companies, and I've never felt they discriminated against me at all. It's the owners of the properties that discriminate, not the real estate agents. The agents want to make their commission for setting up a rental, they don't care whether it's a foreigner or not.
Ask any foreigner who's tried to get a credit card in Japan about discrimination.
Depends, foreigner's will regular full time jobs do not face any credit card issues, there savings account banks will readily offer the cc's.
For every Japanese person that discriminates, there are many who don't. For every oyaji landlord that shuns a potential foreign tenant, there's one that teaches Japanese at the local community center.
To a lot of foreigners, if you have big tattoos and piercings, people are going to think like me - heroin addict, low self-esteem, needs body "art" to show they are cool in some way, or because they can't remember their kid's name, etc.
I got a credit card well before getting permanent residency, but only after I was also denied for a card multiple times.
I suppose a lot depends on circumstances. If you are settled here with a spouse, house etc., it makes sense from the reason of keeping your sanity to say discrimination is everywhere or to downplay it - I think this goes double if you have kids. Others enjoy the siege mentality. Others leave Japan feeling bitter. Others resign themselves and enjoy throwing out bitchy, sarcastic comments.
If I'm honest, I'm part of the last group I mentioned.
You're totally missing the point. First, you're talking about an Italian restaurant. Let's see the reaction of Japanese customers if they were only given chopsticks at an Italian restaurant. Foreigners are not given the choice. Second, it's a clear example of Japanese thinking their culture is uniquely unique: they can adapt to other cultures, but foreigners will not be able to adapt to theirs--not even the use of chopsticks. Japanese need to know that using chopsticks is not a special talent inherent to them. Japanese children need to be taught how to use chopsticks just like western children need to be taught how to use a fork and steak knife. I saw a commercial the other day and the Japanese family were eating 洋食. Of course the children were wielding forks like a pro; the parents blissfully unaware of the irony. To them, if you eat western food use a fork, but they don't extend that logic to foreigners eating Japanese food. Next time, try telling a Japanese person eating pasta, " forku jyouzu desu ne!" And see the reaction. And I don't get offended, but after a million times it becomes trite. And eating Japanese noodles with chopsticks is easier than eating the noodles with a fork. And after a hard day's work, and stopping by the same restaurant that I do at least three times a week, it can be frustrating just given a fork, and not a choice.
I remember, when I was in the US and applied for a credit card, they sent me a letter of refusal saying they have a policy to decline any application by a foreigner unless he/she is a permanent resident. I think the situation is pretty much the same in Japan, too.
I applied for and received a credit card, though had lived in Japan but a year and basically spoke very little Japanese. I still have it despite leaving shortly after the earthquake. Got lucky I guess.
It was also one of the most obnoxious and annoying programs EVER on TV. The foreigners played up to all the stereotypes that Japanese have about "gaijin" and made normally intelligent looking people out to be ignorant fools!
The better one was the Canadian guy who had a spot on Sanma's karakuri-tV show. Did was smarter than hell, and embarrassed quite a few Japanese with his overall knowledge of Japan, Japanese, and damn near everything to do with the country. THAT blew a lot of stereotypes away, and more folks like him are needed.
I've been asked if I would prefer a fork (or a spoon). I've never - not once in, would you believe it, 40 years - been given no choice.
If you eat at the same restaurant three times a week and they still without asking give you a fork to eat your noodles with, I would say that is not a 'Japanese' thing so much as you're giving your patronage to a restaurant run by a plonker. The restaurants we frequent around here learned after just a couple of visits what it is the fussy blonde lady wants and doesn't want, and they're more than happy to accommodate.
OK, ask me.
I currently have 4 credit cards, three of which the bank/stores asked me to have. I don't see any discrimination there. If you're fresh off the boat/plane, have no credit history here and the visa in your passport says you'll be outta here soon, why would any credit firm offer you a card?
I think you mean non-Asians. They give Chinese people the chopsticks. And in China, I've had the exact same things happen to me - I've been given a fork instead of chopsticks, and I've had Chinese people comment on my chopsticks ability. It happened just two weeks ago when I was there even.
I see it as a sort of self-projection. Asians societies are mostly homogeneous, and they aren't as comfortable with forks and knives as they are with chopsticks, so they figure the alternative must be true as well. And as far as it goes, they often aren't wrong. Many people who come here are not good with chopsticks, and need a fork. I've had to ask for a fork for my foreign clients on multiple occasions, and for my family as well. I took a friend and his mother out for dinner when she came to visit a couple of months back, and the mother could not use chopsticks.
In real life, a lot of kids here aren't that great with forks and knives.
Fair enough about reinterpreting your conversation since I wasn't there. My point was that it is useless to discuss something that the person can't do anything about. The realtor probably doesn't have the power to change company policy so it's better if you put in a complaint to the company rather than discuss that person. I understand that it must be frustrating not being able to get a favored rental space but how about getting a guarantor as others have said that it helps getting a place. No matter what, I wish you the best in getting a nice place that you are satisfied with. Again, the Japanese government needs to put in effort to help foreigners with getting a place to live while protecting landlords from cases where they will be guaranteed that they will not be a flight risk for unpaid rent.
Should I be relieved or disappointed? I'm a blue eyed Caucasian but after 40 years of eating all over the country in all sorts of eateries, I can't recall even a single instance of being offered a fork, much less arbitrarily given one, in any establishment that normally provides chopsticks. My sudden appearance at a hostel once did cause people to make a very flustered run out to a grocery store to provide me with a "western" breakfast, unasked. Would have preferred the normal Japanese breakfast but realized they thought they were doing something nice for the first foreign guest they'd ever had.
There were a wide range of foreign people on the show including black African people, Indian people, Pakistani people etc.
Are you referring to just the white people?
The Karakuri-terebi guy was Thane Camus.
He was born in America not Canada.
His slot was called "Funniest English"
It was funny but just light comedy.
For example, some young woman who works in a department store says "I am de-pa-to girl" so Thane Camus says "Oh, you are shuppatsu girl".
Funny stuff. I liked it.
I met with some trouble involving a room application of mine which was eventually turned down some days later. Luckily I found another room in time. That was only due to luck and way too much time spent searching on my part.
Going by what the people I discussed this with (including those I was asking for help) said, no-one thinks it is discrimination to be refused a room on the basis you are non-Japanese. Real estate agents only exasperate the problem. They said to my face that no it's not discrimination when they're the ones that dragged me into the mess mentioned above.
I knew all this stuff for a long time, but I couldn't laugh about it when it was actually happening to me. It was easy when I was a student because there was a system in place with the uni being a full guarantor and all the landlords near campus were ok anyway.
Did you get that from Yushukan museum at Yasukuni Shrine by any chance? It said that there (in the lead up to the story about the independence of ethnic groups in Manchuria). Honest question.
I am exploiting my gaijinism to the max. yep know when to speak Japanese and know when to pretend you dont understand Japanese. it can save you a lot of stress in the long term. being a tall large guy with almost a skinhead I can look intimidating ( although not intentional ) I rarely get much verbal racism or dirty looks come my way, when I do a exponential dirty look straight back is enough to get them to STFU.
loool I made the wrong speech.
Yeah they and you sounds like.
Let's go, let's setup all those associations against racism, start manifestations, a tons of law for that plus a lot of lawsuit and a government specialized for foreigner protection like we have a plenty of in EU.
And inverse the integration's jobs, it's not to foreigner to be integrated for local people, but it's to the local people to be integrated to foreigner.
In summary, destroy the Japanese's life by forcing local people to accept 外人 !
oh cleo you never fail to amuse me. Coming on here spouting about how nothing ever ever ever discriminatory happens to you and your family and how everything is just so twee. Take off your rose glasses for once in a while, will you? Foreigners here are discriminated against. YOU may think it doesn't happen but it does, to a whole load of people.
Hey, understanding Japan is like the five stages of grief. You go through:
Some of you aren't past Anger and I think being barely functional in Japanese is a big reason for many.
Try being an African American male with years of education and degrees speaking business Japanese and apply for ANYTHING! I've been ushered out of places after being told "No black! No black!", pointed at and called "gorilla", had banana peels thrown at me while these yanki punks made monkey sounds while pointing at me and laughing. And if I were to rough them up for that, guess who would get in trouble? They only think Koreans and Chinese people get discriminated against?
Anytime I get the "You can use chopsticks!?" thing I just smile and say "You can use a fork!?" and generally be really jokey about it (and not serious) and it usually leads to a few laughs and we move on from there.
There were a few times where I was speaking full on Japanese with a guy, and he knew I'd been here for over 8 years at that point and he just kept saying stock phrases like "You like...COCA COLA!" "When you back home?" etc. That kind of guy, who persists on that sort of drivel, is where I get annoyed.
more than once I have sat with some older Japanese guys, (my job takes me into an industry where there has been few non-japan and a fair amount of stubborn minded older men) who seem to be ok with white guys but proceeded to tell me how disgusting Chinese, Korean, Black people and so on were, and even though I was sitting with them how stupid, noisy white people can be.
You really need to look at the world through some different eyes, why would someone stay, because this is where their job, life, house, savings and family are in many cases. Some may have been born here and have no choice in the matter.
The chopsticks one use to bug me, now I just use it as an opportunity to make a joke to shut it down.
"Wow, you are good with chopsticks"
"Well, after 10 years living in Japan, I couldn't get this fat if I couldn't use them...."
This discussion will not really go away quickly.. it takes time for changes to society but until the government puts in protections with real penalties we just have to do our best to make the best of it we can.
Look I get why some people would be anxious about renting to certain groups of people, are they going to have more people staying than the place is built for, are they going to have regular loud house parties, are they going to leave owing rent etc.. but I think the answer is to look at the current accommodation agreements and change them to suit a modern world.
Currently they are more like leases involving large deposits and making it almost impossible to remove the person during that lease. Make it more like a rental, have occupancy rules, noise rules and inspections on a semi-regular basis, and if the rent isn't payed the person can be removed.
Credit cards and cell phones are again a tough one, difficult to do much these days without them but often tough to get initially.
The one that annoys me most, and I don't really blame the desk staff, is Hotels asking for my passport, to which I say, I don't have it, I live here, they then ask for my residence card to which I tell them the law is a government issued ID and give them my drivers license.. but still once in a while they will push and say its the policy.
If only duel citizen ship was an option, would be great to answer, "Do you have your passport", "What, no, Im Japanese.." and watch the brain implosion. (to add some nuance, Im from a place where you don't assume someone isn't a citizen because of the way they look.)
Sir_Bentley, Im sorry you have had a tough time, I have seen it more than once when with friend, I get given a pass but they don't. Hope things get better!
Just finished reading my """Japan News"" paper, the censorship is this rag really grates at times, in todays propaganda they wrote about this discrimination survey BUT they only touched on people experiencing verbal discrimination....
NOTHING about low wages, accommodation issues etc etc, pure self censored BS!
If foreigners were contacted, then they are KNOWN to whoever is asking the questions & the ANSWERS each give, no way in hell would I entertain that to do this survey, could very easily be abused & come back to haunt you in nasty ways, NO thank you!
I am also very firmly of the belief that any 'discrimination' I may have faced is decidedly mild, and completely unworthy of my attention and energy.
I've certainly had a lot more positive experiences due to my 'foreignness', than negative. Probably on a factor of 20 or 30 to 1.
Stuff like the chopsticks/fork example, I'm thankful for, quite frankly. Knives and forks are simply easier to eat food with after all.
Whenever anyone makes a fuss with me about using chopsticks I just point out I am using them left-handed as well. I usually get looks of stunned amazement and then the subject is dropped.
"Of the 18,500 foreign residents contacted, 4,252 responded" 23%
BZZT. File this study under "interesting anecdotes for mention in a newspaper somewhere." Although I welcome my Justice Ministry overlords, these data, at best, amount to a casual poll. Absolutely unscientific in every way. Report the results as "Some ministry said some guy said x. Maybe." Use it to confirm your bias, and you will feel good, but you will be a lot dumber.
Was it random? What were the pool and sample? How were people contacted? Why did people not respond? Why did they respond? What language was used for the study? We know nothing about how the "study" was conducted, and any number of things would make all the difference in interpreting the results.
The "results" look like a laundry list anyway. Ugh. They "knew" this stuff 30 years ago. Please don't spend any tax money or make any laws based on these results. And hire an ambitious undergrad who can use math to design your study next time.
And oh yeah, "Further study is needed on this interesting topic."
My employer was my guarantor every time, and I've never had a move where I wasn't refused housing, including one case in which my boss had specifically gone through his brother-in-law as a the realtor.
Currently using a guarantor company as do many japanese.
Having a guarantor has never been relevant to being denied for housing for me, as it never comes up. The real estate agent phones the owner, says 'I have a foreigner wanting to look at the place, is that ok?' and the owner says no. The fact that I have a guarantor (or am willing to use a company if they prefer) doesn't even arise.
Stangerland is correct, in my experience cases where they are refusing you because of your race, marriage status or any other antiquated reason, using or getting a guarantor company makes no difference as you never even get that far.
Nessie, early on my employer organised for me and there of course wasn't any issue, its when I wanted to be independent from my employer and get a place myself where things started getting tough.
Once I was married to a local and had permanent residency most issues got much easier..
And now I own my own place.. funny how once I'm prepared to shell out that money the obstacles fall away very quickly, then it was just dealing with the death stares and "oi, dare" from tradesmen and sales guys as I went in and out of the new building, and have to explain that I own one of the places.. to which they respond with much embarrassment and many sorries..
Couple of the other residents clearly don't like that Im in THIER building but I got no time for racists, I hope its giving them restless nights and stomach ulcers..
Sounds like there are a lot of snowflakes here.
I wasn't replying to Strangerland. Never had a problem renting a place here and I am a caucasian male.
It exists on all sides - the "othering," or "us / them" mentality that leads to misunderstandings and offenses. To paraphrase part of my recent phone conversation with a person in the USA, for reserving a hotel room: She: "You speak English very well." Me: "Well, I'm from the States. I just live in Japan." She: "Oh...ha, ha, ha. How long have you lived there?" Me: "About 20 years." She: "Wow - you're just like one of them, then."
zichiAPR. 01, 2017 - 01:27PM JST
A tenant can renew a contract to rent a house on maturity, and he can renew it as many times as he likes.
See Article 26 and Article 28.
The lessor cannot terminate the lease contract even on maturity unless there are justifiable grounds to terminate.
Im genuinely happy for you that you have never had a place you wanted flatly refused, or after whispered call to the owner (外人ですけど。。。あ、あ、そうですか。。だめですか), its pretty demeaning.
To be honest I don't want to give money to someone that is like that, but again as long as I can pay and don't ruin the place, why is my origin any of their business, and yes Im in the more generally privileged white english speaking male group too.
Perhaps if I ever rent my place out I'll have a no Japanese rule.. that would make the realtors head spin, maybe that would get in the paper.
Not disagreeing but landlords are free to chose Tenants, here and overseas. Renting here is also tough for Uni Students, etc with no record.
Many friends were refused in the US and other countries.
In someways they can choose given enough applicants and so on.... but in most countries you can't actively discriminate against race, amongst other things.
For example, Federal Law of the state,s and most other developed nations are similar, most now including no discrimination sexual orientation/identification.
->Federal law protects seven groups (“protected classes”) from housing discrimination:
race color religion sex national origin disability/handicap (physical or mental) family status (a family which includes minor children or pregnancy)
So ask for proof of income or funds, ask for information about residency status, have contracts which cover noise, occupancy numbers and so on, but to flat out refuse based solely on race is wrong.
Yes, you can't legally discriminate against race so they use other reasons like lack of credit history, etc, etc.
Old news and people are still refused.
Credit history isn't protected against, nor are pets or smoking, previous bad tenant reports etc.... and they probably shouldn't be.
Of course I know in reality people find ways around it to have their prejudice satisfied.. but should we just say "meh thats the way it is" or at least hope and where we get a chance appeal for better?
IMHO, they are not really worth the hassle and effort. Who, really wants a troublesome landlord.
Met a few in my time renting in various countries.
Oh I agree and I don't want to give them my money, just I mean its a shame that there are actually anti-discrimination laws in other countries but here there isn't any so... can't do much.
Simple fact is that many gaijin, even after living in Japan for decades, refuse to fit in nor adopt local customs. A lot of them dont even speak Japanese yet are married to locals. They far outnumber those that try to fit in and respect the culture.
On the other hand, gaijin are often featured on Japanese programming far more often than Japanese/Asians are in western media. Why is that? Certainly they contribute just as much if not more, and in my experience, try a lot harder than their western counterparts to adapt and not be a 'squeaky wheel.'
How much programming in your country is devoted to Japanese/Asian expats?
I remember going with my (Japanese) wife to the bank where we both had accounts, to buy travellers' cheques for a trip to Thailand (back in the mid-90s).
We both had ID (driver's licences, I think). For her there was no problem, but I had to go back and bring my passport, otherwise they would not sell me the cheques. Using the money out of my own bank account.
Last night for the second time experienced racist treatment in a Kyoto standing bar. We will not be going again.
@choiwaruoyaji - I laughed out loud when I read your comment. I hate that. But I always look at them and make the same clucking noise or tsk sound right back at them loudly and in succession while looking at them.
goreme, why do you presume to know anything about anyone.. this is half the problem..
Sure there are people, I work with a few who have been here getting on half their lives who still struggle to have even a basic conversation, but others who have made real efforts.
It is a balance, and it takes understanding, its not black and white, but when you don't start with this mono-cultural view of everything its difficult to accommodate and accept difference.
Where Im from, there plenty of people of Asian Heritage that don't learn English to a very high level, and don't really participate that much at all in wider society, but as long as they are paying taxes and obeying the law... there isn't much more to say, but it isn't some western imperialism, its just people sticking in groups, its what we do for better or worse in many cases.
However.. those that do give it a go, are in the most part accepted and because there are many multi-generational migrant families you learn very quickly its unwise to assume anything about someone because of the way they look.
Even the layoff criteria in a Japanese company is totally different. They first looked for pure gaijin means whose spouse is also gaijin. And then they start from there. If you resist your bad days will start. HR of company start threatening you about some red marks references and that you will not get visa extension, housing, we are organized and no company will offer you job in future in Japan. I saw many of those ran out of Japan in frustration with anger.
No respect at work place, treat you like a stray DOG, still people works for so many reasons.... Natorious labour laws. Even you will not get legal help.
Worked more than ten years but still fill like I came just day before yesterday. No community, not so many friends, feel like I waisted all my good time.
@goreme - I have no idea where you get your ideas from. Most foreigners that I know DO try to fit into society. By the way there are huge areas in California where I come from that have Asians there who do not try to fit in, only hanging around with people from their own ethnic backgrounds and don't speak a word of English and have no intention of assimilating, absolutely refuse to marry or even date locals and actually, look down on those who are not Asian.
Oh, yeah as the butt of jokes. Or Japanese portray us with huge noses and speaking ridiculously bad Japanese so that you can laugh. Westerns are featured at a minuscule level compared to Asian where I am from. Um, you are one group of people. In the US TV is not multi-cultural. Try watching the news. You will see Asian, Hispanics, Whites, Blacks and occasionally Indians. When was the last time you saw that in Japan? Never. What? If TV and Movies in the Western media is not heavily focused on Asians, than it is biased? Nonsense. Could it be because Asian are a minority of the population in places like the USA that they are not all over the TV all the time, like Japanese are on Japanese TV? Hmmmmm?
Also, squeaky wheel? Nope. I know many, many foreigners here in Japan who try to assimilate and are NOT the squeaky wheel at all. The problem is that you are stereotyping WAY too much. The same can be said about Asian in other countries, but that is just ONE group of Asians, not all of them. And the same goes here with foreigners. There are many good and bad. Just like over there.
I think I need to get out more. I don't think I've ever experienced any discrimination in 18 years here. The closest I've come is when people behind the counter at McDonald's would feel compelled to attempt to take my order in English despite my speaking Japanese to them. But even that doesn't seem to happen anymore.
zichi, sounds like a tough break, but are you sure that they were kicking you out because you were a foreigner? Or is it because the rent you were paying is far lower than if they could have gotten if they remodeled the house or tore it down and rebuilt a block of units there? It may have been a purely financial decision; but instead of going quietly like a timid Japanese tenant might have done, you fought back (as you should!)
And as for discrimination in renting; I havent had any in my searching; or not in the places i have tried looking at, but then i am in Tokyo and it might be worse in smaller cities. I have asked them about landlords refusing tenants, and they told me that it doesnt really happen much anymore, and if a landlord were to make that request, they would try to convince them otherwise.
On the other hand i have quite clearly had the opposite favoritism applied to me when renting in Australia. For the last place i rented, the real estate agent told me that it was between me and a young Indian lady; but the landlord "would rather rent to an Australian like yourself". As angry as that made me, i really needed the place, so i took it. But dont assume this sort of thing only happens here.
I've had some discrimination from house owners when it comes to finding a new apartment, but other than that it's very minor things like only talking to my Asian looking friends (who don't all speak Japanese) when in a restaurant. It doesn't bother me that much though.
It seems making your own presumptions about Asians is ok just not the other way around?
Bottomline is gaijin are treated far better in Japan than Japanese/Asians are in your own country. Look up incidents of physical/verbal assault by whites against Asians in US/EU/AUS and try to find the same for gaijin in Japan.
You are totally right, in france, it's happen everyday and I suspect the father that been killed by a French policeman it was a racist act.
The Chinese community begun to start manifesting (with some violence) and Chinese in China is really upset and begun to hate us, muhahha. We will know us, French who we really are in this world.
And even arab are racist toward Asian, a Chinese girl tell in internet that an arab come to her and shout at her:Why you are her, go away, this country is ours, ching chong
It depends what you are talking about, is there some overt racism by some awful people. Yes, wouldn't deny it for a second. Should things be better, of course but Im not trying to deny there is a problem and divert a genuine issue by claiming everything is ok.
Have I personally been treated fairly well, overall yes, else I wouldn't be here, but again you are presuming you know about me, and you don't. Am I making presumptions about my own real very experience in living in this country for 10 years? Nope.
What Im talking about is the institutionalised and government sanctioned, without penalised anti-discrimination rules in place there is no protection, and that is NOT the case elsewhere.
There are absolutely things that are amazing and wonderful about Japan and the way things work, and I appreciate and respect them, but that doesn't mean the things that have been found wanting in a global community can't be improved.
Housing discrimination is the only form of discrimination I have met. I have been shown a sheet of an apartment saying, "prostitutes, pets, and foreigners not allowed." Well, at least that was honest.
I have also been refused apartments despite having a large salary (at the time), a guarantor, etc.
I don't buy the "micro-agression" story of discrimination. What can you expect from people born in Japan who have never seen a foreigner? That they assume you speak Japanese fluently, can eat with chopsticks, and know all the little rules? The little things are annoying, but you have to be realistic.
Ishiwara: "I don't buy the "micro-agression" story of discrimination."
It's there. No one is saying that it's intentional, and that's why it's called micro-aggression. There ARE times when it takes on a more passive-aggressive form of discrimination, though.
" That they assume you speak Japanese fluently, can eat with chopsticks, and know all the little rules? The little things are annoying, but you have to be realistic."
I think it would be more realistic to assume that someone who has been here for more than two decades can use chopsticks, yes (even if they refuse to acknowledge Japan is not the only nation that uses them), and that you have at some point picked up some basic greetings in that time. I mean an, "Yeah, I figured you'd be able to use chopsticks," or shock at not being able to (or make simple greetings), but knowing someone's been there for that long and saying, "Oh! You can use chopsticks?" or just asking, is a form of micro-aggression to help the person try and normalize the who's the nihon-jin in the situation and who's not.
What Japanese person in 2017 has never seen a foreigner.. (some old hermit in the middle of nowhere aside)
What Japanese person in 2017 isn't aware there are people living and working in Japan and so on.
Why are you making excuses, and to what end, I don't get it.
And there are a tons of news like that concern french against Asian:http://en.rfi.fr/france/20160904-thousands-french-chinese-protest-racist-attacks-paris http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1262038/six-chinese-students-france-violently-attacked-xenophobic-act http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37720780
And you can see that no white or any other race come manifest with Asian, it's not the same thing when the manifestation for protect arab or black people against racism come x)
hashtag blacklivesmatter ;)
All what I talking about is to approve the message of goreme that said
And the white thing is me, maybe you, all people that come from North/South America, EU, Russia and Australia.
After you call them western, oversea, but me I just call them (and me) white.
I agree with all that. But how can you tell someone is here for 20 years? Surely not if you just happen to walk into a restaurant. For all they know you are a tourist.
I believe it is not often not even about assumptions, it is about automatic reflexes. The other day I talked to an Eki-in in Japanese through the intercom, and when he came out, he changed to incomprehensible English. It is just the foreign face = English association that kicks in and overrules conscious reasoning.
Again, people do terrible things and thats terrible, and should be dealt with... no argument, and no excuses, Im not making them.
But why when something genuine is pointed out that is a real issue for people, the answer is, "well at least at least its not as bad as -insert example here-".
I think there are great things about where Im from, but others that need to be improved.
Why can't this be approached with the same attitude?
As the UN has reported several times, that the simple fact that Japan fails to acknowledge there is an issue, there clearly is an issue.
Plenty of people in Japan outside of Tokyo have never seen a foreigner, or a foreigner up close. Let alone talked to them.
I travel all over Japan all the time for work, can't say I can agree with you.
Agree, more often it is automatic without thinking.
Local Super where I shopped for 10+yrs, one guy selling fresh fish asked me if wasabi is ok after I picked up a sample of Maguro.
Told him radish is global just not green, other staff knows me and love for hot and spicy food just chuckled. I am kown as the guy that eats wasabi by the teaspoon full.
How foreigners are treated in our own countries is entirely irrelevant to how foreigners are treated in Japan.
Because Asian people are the last people in this earth that is OK to be victimized by the racism around the world and no one support them in their sadness.
Asian is the unique race that is unpopular comparing with White, black and arab and when a shit happen, nobody care and we are habit that they don't do manifestation like for other races.
And globally, I am sorry but the racism impact in Japan comparing in the rest of the world, you are just kidding me if you cry because you are victim of racism in Japan.
Oh cmon, let's not be hypocrite, it seem that you are like a newborn when you come in Japan xoxo.
And don't judge Japanese if there are some little shy of racism act because they just see of what is the consequence of multiracialism in our occidental civilization, it's a disaster !
They are just smart and are on defense before being invade by foreigner, just take a look their immigration policy, those law are certainly been setup by seeing the experience of our society to deal with multiracialism and multiculturalism
Not so sure about the overruling part, but it always puts a smile on my face when they make the effort. Yesterday at the bakery for example.
Pasm Pasm - I'm having a bit of trouble's following your logic. Are you trying to say that since Japanese people may face racism in other countries, that excuses them for any racism perpetrated against foreigners in Japan? That any racism in Japan is justified by things that happen in other countries?
So.. keep everyone out, and shut Japan off from the world? Its just not realistic, the only thing that is sure is that things will change.
Im sorry if you have experienced racism yourself, its no good, and I am aware that some people where I am from have been victims of it, and its terrible, but again are we aiming for the lowest or striving for the best.
Did I ever say I wanted unrestricted immigration to Japan, of course not.
Invade is a bit strong, still less than a percent of people here are of non-Japanese origin I think.. I agree there can be issues around integration of large numbers of immigrants all at once no doubt, but unless Japan looks to make a clear path for controlled and sensible immigration with its ageing population, thats what will happen.
No I just saying that the racism is a natural thing and it's certainly not in 2017 that it was born, it's since Human born and try the multiracialism/multiculturalism.
But apparently people don't understand that and they try to force the multiracialism/multiculturalism and bad thing happen, whatever the racism's direction, foreigner toward local, local toward foreigner.
So people should not travel or live in other countries?
I'm still not following you. Are you saying that since it's a natural thing, it's ok when Japanese people do it? Or are you maybe saying that since it's natural, we should be ok with it when it happens?
Multi-culturalism and racism are different things. It's possible to have a mono-cultural society, and also not have racism.
Not really, because me too I want to go in Japan and maybe realize my dream, live in Japan.
My solution will be more about restricted a country of all those fool, idiot of foreigner that go in a country just to disturb the life of local people and not to be integrated and impose their culture.
So a lot of control/law need to be setup and apparently Japan is good for it.
And if there are little racism (don't compared ever once time with the racism that happen in our countries), it's totally normal.
The thing is just don't react like our foreigner in our country and because each of you are ambassador of your country.
And apparently our foreigner don't understand that x)
Try South Africa(lived there during and after Apartheid rule). Ranking was english, dutch(afrikaans), zulu, khosa(mandela) other african tribes, coloured(white/african mixes), asian(indian, chinese, pakistani, etc).
nd yes my J-wife had a tough time when we met.
Even back home in my european country shouts of f#%# turk, chink, etc were not uncommon.
If everyone in this earth in every civilization have racist and those racist exist since Human born, sorry but yes it's a natural thing for me and whatever you can do against those people, you will not able to disappear racism in the world.
It's just an useless fight and remind the racism can be in that direction (I think you forgot it): foreigner's racism toward local people.
Multi-culturalism come generally from multiracialism lol are you sure that in a group of foreigner, they are all agree to deal with another culture and abandon their origin ? x)
So we're saying that we shouldn't even attempt to overcome racism? That things are good enough, so any racism that happens doesn't matter?
You want to react against racism ? ohh what a such great idea
Then it's perfect, make Japan a new USA or a country from EU, turn this paradise in hell, remove the honorific gestures and all those aspect of respect, because Japanese don't deserve it !
And let's go, let's setup all those associations against racism, start manifestations, a tons of law for that plus a lot of lawsuit and a government specialized for foreigner protection like we have a plenty of in EU.
And inverse the integration's jobs, it's not to foreigner to be integrated for local people, but it's to the local people to be integrated to foreigner.
In summary, destroy the Japanese's life by forcing local people to accept 外人 !
So you're saying we should just accept racism, and never attempt to do anything about it? That it's ok?
This is a weird thing to say - why should locals have to integrate to foreigners just to not racially discriminate? I know plenty of non racist Japanese who are very Japanese, and not foreign at all.
Again, this is a strange comment, as evidenced by the fact that the Japanese made the decision to accept us into their country on their own. They have a full immigration system, with paths to permanent residency and citizenship. No one is forcing them to do that, they've decided to do it on their own.
Even African have racist, man.
Yes ! if you do that, you turn Japanese society into a society like we have in western countries !
Then the little poor racism that you been victim will become worst and the racism will be the same in occidental countries (overreaction on overreaction (and it's in the two camps, foreigner and local people)
Is that you want ? I don't think or maybe you want to destruction of Japanese civilization.
Well in France, it's happen actually, it's to us to accept all their culture, custom and request (like force school to propose lunch without pork for muslim or force enterprise to respect hour or pray for muslim, ect)
What I said is the consequence of react to racism and foreigner in france are expert about it.
My post was removed as offensive/vulgar.
Personally and in my experience tribalism causes more problems than racism.
Gotcha! Well now we know what we're dealing with when conversing with you.
Hmm, it seems you are saying that Japanese civilization is essentially racist, and/or that it's so tied together that you couldn't remove the racism without entirely destroying Japanese civilization.
Both of which are pretty ridiculous concepts. Japanese civilization is independent of Japanese racism. The overwhelming majority of Japanese people I've met are not racists - if the two things were indistinguishable from each other as you claim, then the Japanese people I've met wouldn't actually be Japanese, since by your definition one must be a racist to be Japanese.
There is nothing wrong with being accommodating to other cultures within one's own culture. We're all humans sharing this rock. Sometimes we're going to mix, so we should all be working towards mixing with each other effectively, rather than causing division.
Did you read what Lucki Lucky from south Africa wrote (from the link) ? you will be surprise lol
I lived/worked there for 10yrs, now 20 in Japan. Very little surprises me.
I've been a foreigner most of my life. I've only resided in the country of my citizenship for 6 years of my entire life, and I've been in Japan for almost 20 years. So I think I have a pretty good handle on what it's like to be a foreigner, in various countries.
Yes because as I said, racism is a natural thing and what you must to do is to preserve the racism's level at its original state and not grow up by made overreaction like in EU.
Racism is like a Tiger, keep him safe from disturbing or maybe use a AK-47 to kill him, but you will wake up other Tiger and the fight will be without end.
It's what you think, but Human species have more experience than you, 200,000 years ago of experience whereas you have just your age as experience of the life.
Can you one second imagine that you are more intelligent that the whole history of Human specie ? ridiculous !
If our ancestor wasn't able to destroy the racism, it's certainly not you that have the magical solution.
So what you are saying is that because someone else didn't deal with it so well, we should just be satisfied with racism.
The world is the least racist it's ever been in the history of time right now. It's progressively improved since the dawn of time. I'm happy to continue with that trend with the goal of approaching no racism whatsoever.
It seems you've decided 'well, things are good enough, let's just leave it', but I'll stick with the direction we've been moving for '200,000 years'.
If you think we are as racist as our ancestors were, you're kidding yourself. And I don't have the magical solution, nor do I claim to. But I think it's something we as a species have the ability to get past.
As a European(grew up and lived there for 39yrs) got to ask what is your nationality and your experiences there? I have pretty much travelled this globe both holiday and work.
The racism that I represented as a tiger is about the racism from local people.
After the racism from foreigner toward local people, hmm I will represented it by a bulldog that have the rage, yeah good image x)
Not sure of what you talking about, out of my understand of English, but yeah as you said now we know what think the other.
Are you sure ? you certainly don't know the probability law, there is no reason that what we have as idea at the moment didn`t exist before, and more when it's about social field.
The missus says it, almost every day.
Japan does have racism but not as vocal and open(in your face) as in many european, etc countries.
fight with the help of your community toward local people*
Pretty much an extremist/radical viewpoint IMO and little good will come from it.
Maybe travelling for a few years will mellow it. On the end everybody has to work together.
I now see myself as a citizen of the world, granted still hold citizenship and many views from my birthplace, family covers many nationalities, religions and cultures.
After indeed, we need to end of this foreigner delinquent that disturb the social peace and the law of retaliation is not an efficient way, need to make law and then the justice can apply his hammer special foreigner treatment on those people.
But this kind of law don't exist or is not apply (or very rarely) even for local people :/
Well maybe, but this protection against foreigner's aggression is precious and can be use to understand in which world we are, too, not only your way, but my way too I think.
You can't fight fire with fire. Laws should equally punish everybody the same.
Having different rules for x and y groups is a right-wing attitude and was tried by the nazi and other oppressive regimes across the ages and all failed.
You really think that ?
Did you know Japan have different treatment if you are a Japanese delinquent or a foreigner delinquent ?
I heard some people that make Vlog of Japan, stories where they knew foreigner than been kicked out of Japan and they was forbidden to come back.
But I am search other source of info about that.
Foreigners here and elsewhere are being prosecuted and deported for crimes commited including Visa, etc violations.
Do more research into those cases.
Wow cool, but you said that it was not fair that foreigner and local are not treat equally, but you said that foreigner are deported ^^
And when you said elsewhere, it make me a little smile lol, because in France, it's not the case :D
Or yeah the government rarely said that they deported 250 HAHA
But what about a person that born in Japan, have foreigner parents and have Japanese nationality ? I hope he will be deported too
Japanese can't be deported, my son right now has dual nationility but will have to decide soon as neither allows dual citizenship. Not sure about france as my french grandfather has died years ago.
Deportation also is different for visa and permanent residence holders.
You can only deport someone to the country they hold a passport to.
Yeah indeed, I miss that this Japanese delinquent need to lose Japanese nationality first before being deported in the country of parent's origin.
After I just hope that the denaturalization is same stronger than Japanese justice against delinquent foreigner.
French one is soo weak, that's why I begun to hate my country when I see the other reaction of countries about this case.
Ah :/ it was too beautiful for be true in all the cases lol
And in France, you can have multiple nationality.
You are still young, your generation can still change your country.
Or can accept another nationality and drop your french one. Easy on paper but deep down you will always have french roots regardless of what your passport sez.
I am not happy with much of what goes on in my home-country, but still involved with groups, etc to get more votes for a better direction.
My buddhist religion helps as we are getting stronger back home. Be the change you want to see in others
Else I am curious of how I will react toward racism when it will be my tour to be a foreigner in a country, it's kind exciting if all what I build since now in my mind is enough to respect the rule that I setup since begin.
And it's at the moment that I can be a concrete example of how foreigner need to act toward racism in a foreigner country.
I hope you will act wisely and within the law, but you won't really know till it happens.
Travel and exposure helps as did military service and fighting in various theaters.
All the best on making france the country you want it to be. Short term solutions( ex right-wing)might not work out in the long run though.
Japan has its problems internally with Foreigners, even if they are born here and are "Native" speakers (as required on many Job Adverts!). Certainly for me, it has led to an appreciation of the issues faced by Foreigners within my own "home" Countries.
However, Outside of Japan (especially within Asia) Japanese also face disrimation from various other Asian Countries - especially within the online Gaming Communities - where anonymity facilitates such behaviour. Simply by being a member of a Japan associated OnLine Community, I have been subjected to many Racial taunts which were so weird, - they meant nothing to me, though were I to really be a real Native Japanese person, then may have had some impact.
Racism exists everywhere. I guess you could look at it from a Football Supporters perspective, you could call the other Teams' Supporters a load of "Loosers"/"Morons"/etc... and you wouldnt be looked too badly upon, though if you went out and hurled Bricks at them, and fought with them on the streets, then you'd be considered a Hooligan. Racism, in some circumstances is no different, though in others - needs to be considered and dealt with more seriously.
Jeez.. yeah.. do you remember Zomahon? The most colourful character on that show...
He's now the Ambassador to Japan for the Republic of Benin!