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Half of foreigners in Tokyo have experienced discrimination: survey

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Japan has forced itself into multiculturalism.

2 ( +17 / -15 )

My experience would be mostly positive but yes, there are some occasions when it's been unpleasant. And not just from Japanese. Ignorance is universal, sadly.

Stop hating each other, people. Let's have more love, please.

32 ( +38 / -6 )

Only half?

Depending upon the situation I do not see how being asked to speak in Japanese and not another language as being discriminatory, if one is at work, or dealing with customers, (all based upon the situations at the time) I dont see how it is discriminatory. HOWEVER if it is in a private setting, hell yes.

It's the same as English teachers here being asked NOT to speak Japanese around their students, it's the reason they were hired.

-14 ( +21 / -35 )

Recently I get the impression that many foreigners who come to Japan now a days are a hell of a lot more sensitive, thin-skinned, and extremely touchy about the littlest crap, and scream "Im being discriminated against!"

Cripes, I do not think they would have survived the BS that far too many of us had to put up with even 20 years ago.

The word "discrimination" gets tossed about too easily, sure there are plenty of instances where it occurs, but much of what people think is discrimination, is just plain ignorance on the part of the person they are dealing with.

I would also recommend ANYONE coming here, grow a thicker skin, and leave your sense of entitlement on the seat of the airplane, when you get off!

14 ( +46 / -32 )

How many of those who felt discriminated against, themselves discriminated against another? I know I have, and I regret it. But it happened. Discrimination goes both ways. Of course, not to deride attempts to educate and minimize...

18 ( +22 / -4 )

I worked for many years with Americans, but in my life, I have never been to U.S. and I did not feel like knowing that they have strong racial discrimination. Discrimination is every where even among Japanese - education, professions, wealth, where they live etc. etc.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

Since there aren’t any laws on discrimination in Japan,then not renting a dwelling to a foreigner on account of nationality or being barred from shops will continue.

For a country that is dependent on exports and presently more and more on tourism along with many sectors of the economy not being able to recruit Japanese then it seems ludicrous that laws to outlaw discrimination are not in effect!

15 ( +24 / -9 )

Recently I get the impression that many foreigners who come to Japan now a days are a hell of a lot more sensitive, thin-skinned, and extremely touchy about the littlest crap, and scream "Im being discriminated against!"

How do you know what the rest of us have experienced? Personally, I've deliberately not gone into detail, but I can assure you that friends being harassed for sex because they are foreign, is hardly a trifling matter.

6 ( +22 / -16 )

There were also cases where foreigners had apartment rental applications rejected. Some said they were denied entry into stores, but none of the respondents took their case to a public office dealing with such issues.

This is also ignorance upon the part of the people taking the survey. These folks have no idea what it is like having to deal with the "public office" that deals with these issues.

I challenge THEM to try, going there, getting treated like YOU are the problem, and having to tell your life story, to get some assistance?

The people who took the survey have their heads in the sand as well!

Some working as retail shop cashiers said customers asked for Japanese cashiers, according to the face-to-face questionnaire survey conducted in February and March in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward.

Once again "Tokyo-centric", get your butts out of Tokyo once in a while when you want to find out how the "other" half lives, and what people have to deal with outside of Tokyo!

11 ( +18 / -7 )

I don’t think theres a single place on earth that is discrimination free. But Japan is improving.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

There is a lot of discrimination in Japan. Its an open secret and Japanese people think they are more superior. It is sad but true. Unless Japan's status as a developed country is reviewed, nothing will change. And I think that day is not far with the economy faltering.

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

Overall there is very little outward discrimination in Japan... at least that I've seen in the Tokyo area. Every once in awhile I do get some idiot make some remark while I'm out walking but that is like once a year and I chalk it up to his ignorance more than anything else. More than discrimination what bothers me are all the petty rules and regulations that stifle any sort of business growth.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Among them, a Nepalese man who works at a drugstore said one customer told him that he or she does not like to see a foreigner working as a cashier and asked for someone else.

I've seen this several times, where old guy just get angry over nothing because seeing foreigner working as cashier, sometimes store manager need to intervene just to stop this.

A Chinese respondent who works at a convenience store said that a colleague told the respondent not to speak Chinese when the respondent was asked for directions by a Chinese-speaking customer.

Sometimes foreigners can end up with really strange colleague, in this case of course Chinese speaking customer would prefer to talk in Chinese. That much more faster and can save time rather to speak with another language. That customer might be a tourist, what language that colleague want they to speak ? Japanese?

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Some working as retail shop cashiers said customers asked for Japanese cashiers, according to the face-to-face questionnaire survey conducted in February and March in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward.

There should be giant poster inside the store, near cashier and big one "No discrimination" it will be for both customer and worker. No discrimination against customers and no discrimination against workesr.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

For many people here Japan is the only country they have lived outside their own - the only point of reference. Japan compares rather well with the countries I have had resided, including my own. Which doesn't mean there is room for considerable improvement.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

"The government should conduct a survey to show what kind of discrimination foreigners face," 

Every foreigner who has lived in Japan for an extended period of time has faced many different kinds of discrimination. How many times have you sat down on the train and the Japanese person next to you has stood up and walked away mumbling some crap about gaijins? How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant? Going into a shop and having the staff pretend they don’t understand your Japanese. Having Japanese people stare at you as if you were some kind of criminal. Going to a city hall and finding no support in any other language. The list goes on and on. TIJ!

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Only half?

In a country where apartment owners openly accept pets but not foreigners?

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Discrimination is a fact of life. We all discriminate on a daily basis. We discriminate by choosing one food over another, one restaurant over another, we discriminate by choosing who to be friends with, and most of all, we discriminate when it comes to dating and marriage. All of you here have discriminated against other countries by choosing Japan. Some people only date certain kind of people, others only befriend certain kind of people and so on.

The discrimination based on nationality or race is no different than the others i just listed above. The basis for all discrimination is the same. Discrimination based on nationality or race will weaken only when the number of people from different nationalities or race increase. Even in the US which is a country of immigrants there is still discrimination. Even in cities like London where half the population is foreign born, there is still severe discrimination. The foreign born population in Japan is about 2 percent, i don't know the exact figure for Tokyo, but it's tiny. You can't seriously except to NOT be discriminated against.

I expect things to get much worse before they start improving. What i strongly suspect is going to happen is that, up until now, the groupism in Japan was Japanese/non-Japanese, and therefore discrimination against non-Japanese was fairly equal. But as the foreign born population increase, sub-groups are going to start appearing. They will start dividing the foreigners into even smaller groups similar to how Europeans do, i.e. there will be discrimination against certain nationalities only, but not against others.

Groupism, group stereotypes and group thinking is really the core issue. There is no way you can stop discrimination unless you deal with the core issue.

-10 ( +8 / -18 )

Over 25 years I think I experienced some kind of serious discrimination about five times. The most recent opening a MUFJ bank account when I was first told they didn't accept foreigners. After a strong protest I was allowed to open up but the experience left me shocked and upset. Another time a landlord said because I was a foreigner I would not be able to afford is rent which was only ¥50,000/month.

I have experienced more kindness from the Japanese people and probably less discrimination than my Black friends had everyday back home in Britain.

The number of foreigners has increased to 2.7 million including Korean and Chinese.

There should be laws to protect the rights of laws with equal opportunities.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

Only half?

In a country where apartment owners openly accept pets but not foreigners?

That's exactly what I was thinking. My guess would be the number is a lot higher

8 ( +12 / -4 )

How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant? 

Maybe those people smell bad? There have been many times a person (Japanese as well as foreign) has sat down next to me on the train and smelled bad. I got up and left. Should I claim smell harassment? Or should they claim they were discriminated against by my olfactory senses? I don’t see that as discrimination.

As as others have said, people need to stop tilting at windmills so much; just live your life, and stop pointing your finger at others. The other three fingers are pointing right back at you.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Every foreigner who has lived in Japan for an extended period of time has faced many different kinds of discrimination. How many times have you sat down on the train and the Japanese person next to you has stood up and walked away mumbling some crap about gaijins? How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant? Going into a shop and having the staff pretend they don’t understand your Japanese. Having Japanese people stare at you as if you were some kind of criminal. Going to a city hall and finding no support in any other language. The list goes on and on. TIJ!

excellent excellent point!

7 ( +14 / -7 )

In the survey conducted by the Anti Racism Information Center,

I trust this group (well really, just one guy) about as much as I’d trust the KKK (took my daddy away), which is never.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

People, I’m sure we have all had different experiences living in Japan. Some of us have been discriminated against perhaps more than others. I experienced it mainly when I went to real estate agents looking to rent an apartment.

With the Olympics next year and more foreigners coming to work and live in Japan I think it is imperative that Racial Discrimination laws be introduced and enforced. I know racism exists everywhere but the issue is whether those affected by it have protection under the law. In the case of Japan, I doubt it.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

@Do the hustle

In nearly 20 years here, I have never experienced any discrimination as you mention.

The only time I felt it was when in a camping ground in the middle of nowhere and nearly empty, I was asked for my ID while my Japanese wife not. I complained and the guy replied he was asked because foreigners made some noise and have trouble before.

One of my friends was telling me people do not want seat close to him in the train. Well I did not feel the same. I do not mind if they do not want to seat. Maybe, it is just the lack of space or something else, my friend was thinking too much I guess.

But never seen anyone leaving the seat in the train after I seat, never been refused in any shops, etc. If not the adult industry or any “member clubs or member shops”, no problem.

As long as we can speak a decent Japanese, no issues.

And for small issues, better to let it go and just put the blame on ignorance.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

There are many examples of discrimination in every day life in Japan. As mentioned above, the discrimination in the home rental industry is rife! I rented an apartment by myself a few years ago and from the twenty or so apartments that were in the area and price I requested, there were only two that would accept foreigners and they were pretty crappy apartments to boot. Then, they told me I had to pay three months rent in advance and two months ‘key money’ despite the ad stating it was key money free and only one month in advance necessary. That explained it was because I am a foreigner, which I told them was discrimination, but they were not going to be swayed. I ended up getting a Japanese person as a guarantor and was able to choose from the other 20 or so apartments that wouldn’t allow foreigners. That is blatant racial discrimination. They stated it was a fear of communication, despite me being able to negotiate in Japanese and read the contract. The communication thing was just a way of trying to cover their racism

Another example is connecting the gas. If I put the gas in my name, I had to pay a ¥20,000 deposit. However, to put it in my Japanese partner’s name the deposit was only ¥10,000.

TIJ!

15 ( +17 / -2 )

I suspect most of the commenters on here are white males, who will have a far different experience with 'discrimination' as Chinese, or Indians or Africans. I feel like it would be a much tougher experience for non-white foreigners here :(

18 ( +22 / -4 )

I know racism exists everywhere but the issue is whether those affected by it have protection under the law. In the case of Japan, I doubt it.

This is the key and most important point of all! Well done sir!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Last December rented a new house near the beach in Tatsuno, Hyogo via a housing company. Great house, great location and very good rent. When I visited the housing company they were very happy for my custom so much so I even wondered if they had realised I was a foreigner.

Everything went very smoothly and owner accepted my application without question. We have never met. I did need the standard rent guarantor but I was ready with that.

First foreigner to live in this area and have received so much kindness from the local people. Children trying to practice their English with me. We are very happy with our move after 16 years living in Kobe.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Zichi. That's the real Japan. There's sometimes some renters that might be jerks but you don't need to shop with them. There are plenty of others that are willing to take your money.

This article is such a non issue it makes me made that they are trying to stir something up.

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

One only has to look at the case of Carlos Ghosn to see that discrimination is alive and kicking in Japan and they really don't give a monkeys uncle whether you like it or not or that it is on the world stage for everyone to see. With that attitude nothings going to change soon. Thats at the top end of the scale.

At grass roots level and bottom end of the scale I have found the Japanese, once they have met you and seen who you are and have had a chance to assess you, as we all do when we meet anyone for the first time, have all been very welcoming and inclusive. I can't really blame them for being overly suspicious of us. Japan, nationally has always been cautious of outsiders and this has formed a national psyche of us and them.

One only has to look at 6 month old Japanese baby who when surrounded by other people immediately stops dead cold when they see me and either won't take there eyes off me or will immediately burst into tears! My wife and I always laugh because it happens everything single time without fail and I don't take offence. Thats how strong their national identity is that it is genetically deep rooted in the same way we know at birth to recoil at a snake even though we may never have been told they are dangerous. So give the Japanese a little break in that they are fighting both a genetic and a national psyche which is to fear the unknown and unfamiliar.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Having seen immigration staff treat some Chinese like dirt then I can say that there is certainly discrimination in Japan against non whites too.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

"In the survey conducted by the Anti Racism Information Center, a group organized by scholars, activists and university students,"

Do you really the "Anti Racism Information Center" could conduct an unbiased survey on racism? Really. It would be like Chinese communist party conducting an opinion poll about Xi.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

The most recent opening a MUFJ bank account when I was first told they didn't accept foreigners. After a strong protest I was allowed to open up but the experience left me shocked and upset. 

Never had this kind experience with banking in Japan so far. Yes, sometimes they like to made up things. What was your protest that they finally accept your application?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant?

This is considered racism? Come on, grow a thicker skin.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Do you really the "Anti Racism Information Center" could conduct an unbiased survey on racism? 

If it's conducted by Govt usually the number will be lower compared by the third party.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

And the other half are lying.

My own complaint is going into a shoe store or shop in Tokyo and the clerks will actively walk away to avoid me.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Of course there is discrimination in Japan. Who would have thought that a country that had a homegeneous culture for 2000 years or so would ever do such a thing.

As some people have said, this article is a non-starter. They interviewed 340 people? Out of the over 500,000 that live in Tokyo...

On top of that, discrimination is such an objective thing. Getting up when a foreigner sits down next to you is far from discrimination. Perhaps they just don't like sitting next to you. I've done the same thing to people of the same race as me on public transit. You gotta be pretty thin skinned to get annoyed by that.

How do you know what the rest of us have experienced? Personally, I've deliberately not gone into detail, but I can assure you that friends being harassed for sex because they are foreign, is hardly a trifling matter.

Hardly a trifling matter, yes. Racial discrimination? Not even remotely. It's just some people being sexist pigs. This is exactly my point, people seem to misunderstand what discrimination is and use it as a catch all for almost all situations they deem to be unsettling.

As far as I'm concerned, being denied a rental apartment because you're a foreigner isn't that big of a deal. Plenty of fish in the sea, and its completely regardless of whether you can read and write Japanese fluently. The rental agencies just see a footnote on the rental contract pertaining to foreigners. It's not like the actual landlord is talking to you face to face, so the easiest way for them is to just say, "I don't want to go through the trouble of interviewing all foreigners to make sure we can communicate, so just reject them all." It's perfectly legitimate. My previous landlord owned 70 buildings around the country and lived in Saitama, I rented in Sendai. Do you think they would've had time to interview me personally to find out I speak fluent Japanese?

Don't like it? Find a different place. As for not having access to apartments without a guarantor... -facepalm-

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

I'm sure that number is much higher, and they might want to include other cities and towns in Japan, too. I'm sure we all can relate.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Discrimination: I’ve had my share of it. Whether it’s jobs that decline my resume because of my look while completely disregarding my actual experience and ability.

Or the time I walked into Lacoste and when the lady asked if I am looking for a gift for someone else and I told her no, for myself, she tells me nothing will fit me because of my size. Then when the shirts actually fit she tells me she’s surprised.

When waiting staff at restaurants won’t even acknowledge my existence.

Or when people are surprised by my intelligence. My masters degree in derivatives market didn’t just fall out of the sky.

There is a lot of discrimination here.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

How many times have you sat down on the train and the Japanese person next to you has stood up and walked away mumbling some crap about gaijins? How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant? Going into a shop and having the staff pretend they don’t understand your Japanese

Sure. Happens to all of us. I'm not saying it's right but there's worse discrimination happening here and as I said, it's not just from the Japanese.

The question is - do we bicker amongst ourselves, do we turn on ourselves or do we unite against bigotry?

The vast majority of Japanese (at least, those I've met and conversed with) are welcoming, helpful, friendly and jovial. Don't let the few eejits spoil it for everyone else.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Its really no different than anywhere else. Some people are not nice. But you gotta understand, Japan doesn't have the racial diversity that we do in the west, so if you aren't Japanese, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

I think the most usual places where discrimination happen have been mentioned though, real estate and banks. As far as real estate, I don't think they should be able to even know the tenants name until the contract is finalized. The get to see your salary, that should be plenty.

Banks, sure, I wouldn't give a bachelor foreigner who has been in Japan 3 months a credit card, no way.

Empty seat on the train does not bother me at all. If nobody wants to take it, they usually do take it, then I get extra arm room.

I've never been asked to leave an onsen, and I have plenty of tattoos (if anything racial profiling has helped me here).

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I really don't care anymore. In my early days here I was denied apartments and refused service at a food place once but my life here is generally great and I won't let some idiot upset my day like that.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

yubaru:

Depending upon the situation I do not see how being asked to speak in Japanese and not another language as being discriminatory, if one is at work, or dealing with customers

I don't know whether anyone has called you out on this (too many comments to read), but did you really read the article properly? The example given was not about two Chinese colleagues gossiping with each other next to Japanese colleagues. A Chinese customer was asking the staff member a legitimate question in Chinese and since they are both native speakers, it makes sense to respond in Chinese. I've seen it happen in my local supermarket (the customer wants to know where the chocolates or beef, etc is). I don't whether the customer, who looked like a tourist, spoke any Japanese, but I had no problem with them speaking in Chinese. Not my business.

How are you going to communicate with most tourists from abroad if you only spoke Japanese all the time?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I don't mind at all if a racist won't sit next to me on the train. He can stand and mutter to himself whilst I enjoy the extra space.

The most recent opening a MUFJ bank account when I was first told they didn't accept foreigners. After a strong protest I was allowed to open up but the experience left me shocked and upset.

I have never encountered anything like this (but I don't have a MUFJ account). You should have told them where they could stick their bank account.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have lived here since 1991 and I have to say discrimination today is MILD compared to then...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Couldn’t have said it any better. In a nation that is only 2% foreign what do you expect?

That 2% from over 100 million, will makes over 2 millions and under new visa scheme they expect to bring 300 thousands more.

So expect equal treatment for sure, if you let discrimination happen you'll end up becoming second class citizen or even worse.

They have population decline, need more labor so their can run their economy , need students so universities can meet with their enrollment number, need people to pay tax so government can run and need people to pay pension so they have money to take care their elderly people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yeah, I spend 2 yrs in Osaka while training and found that the further away from Tokyo you get the more chilled and accepting people are, Tokyoites are pretty uptight and too busy to bother with pesky Galin. Down in Osaka, Kyoto it’s more Cosmopolitan. The Japanese are pretty polite but I suppose it’s what their saying behind your back that matters.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What else is new.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant?

Interestingly, I find this doesn't happen to me anymore in Japan.

However, it still does in a certain, more southern, Chinese-speaking neighbor of Japan and quite often. Which is hilarious when you think about it.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

While I have experienced a lot of discrimination here. I do also know it is my choice to be here. Also, most discrimination tends to be from a genuine lack of knowledge. I’ve learned that most Japanese simply accept what they are told or see. Very few actual take it upon themselves to learn knowledge outside of what they are told.

Also, most of the bad discrimination seems to be more from the higher ups than the general people.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I suppose discrimination happens in most countries, in Australia most Aussies won’t sit next to an Aboriginal and we do make nasty comments about them when we’ve in a group, so Japan isn’t Robinson Crusoe on this type of thing.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

There is one place in the world that does not have discrimination - Antarctica. Although, I heard penguins might give you the "cold" shoulder.

If you are white, and wearing a suit, you should be OK.

If you are Asian, or at least a pale-skinned Asian, then speak only Japanese so people can imagine you are perhaps Japanese - despite the name tag thing giving your ethnic background away.

Basically, wear a suit. You will be treated with a lot more respect.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Half isn't all that bad. In the US, almost all non-whites living in the US at one point in their lives faced discrimination.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

When apartment hunting, of course. That is openly racist.

Avoiding sitting next to you on the train or bus. Racist.

I have heard the excuse of Japanese are embarrassed of their poor English ability so they avoid situations where they may have to try English. But that would mean all assume no foreigner can speak Japanese. When you think someone cannot do something by their appearance or where they come from that is racist.

I am at the point now when even a cashier looks at me, then tries to fumble through poor English.. I call that racist. Not accommodating. Try using Japanese first. If the person doesn't understand. Try English. Simple.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Scrote

I have never encountered anything like this (but I don't have a MUFJ account). You should have told them where they could stick their bank account.

I have three other bank accounts and several Japanese issued credit cards. I needed to open a MUFJ account so that I could deposit a check from the USA. The other banks have stopped dealing with checks and the MUFJ will also stop from the end of May.

I went with my Japanese wife but even before I could inform them what I wanted, they handed me a sheet stating they could not open an account for a foreigner. I was shocked since the MUFJ is both the largest bank here and also international with branches in America and Europe.

I demanded to speak with the manager who at first also stated the same. Whipped out my iPhone and starting making a video and informed them I would post it on YouTube and also photographed the "unofficial" paper. That got them going so I said if they opened my account I would delete the videos.

I found the experience disturbing and upsetting especially since so many foreigners visit Himeji for the castle.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

What would be the word I would use to describe the opposite of racism? Like being overspoiled for being a foreigner. Everything from getting out of tickets, random people buying me beers at Hanshin Tigers games, given free tickets to events that person decided they couldn't go and spotted me walking towards the venue, free beer at izakayas and many more things that have I have fortunately experienced.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I lived in Japan for 3 years. It's pretty **** racist. They openly post signs that say "No foreigners" which is a violation of national and international law. I am white male and worth my weight in gold there, but when I traveled with my two friends who are Taiwanese-American, man, the crap they got. We rented rooms in this place and the owner worshiped me and treated them like animals. We should have left, but we paid for the whole summer.

A lot of grief came from the old people. The younger people were a little better, but still plenty of racism.

This is the ugly side of the Japanese. They still carry this aura of being a superior race and look down on the rest of the ASEAN nationals as second or third class citizens . No different than how they treated the Filipinos and other Asians during WW2.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

 a colleague told the respondent not to speak Chinese when the respondent was asked for directions by a Chinese-speaking customer.

This is the kind of discrimination I don't think English speakers experience so much here. And it is discrimination. We only have to imagine the reverse - when people speaking Spanish, Bengali, or Polish in an English-speaking country are told to "speak English or go home!"

Telling people not to speak their native tongue when it is most natural (and sensible) for them to do so, as with the convenience store colleague, is imperialistic bigotry.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I've experienced racism and the so-called "microagressions" countless times in Japan, and I'm still alive. Like water off a duck's back. My overall experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Back in Canada, many of my friends had immigrant parents who still had the traditional ways of thinking, so I learned to live with negative racial attitudes and still was able to keep up friendships, and even got some of the parents to trust me.

The examples in the article are pretty sad an stupid but totally believable. Nothing life-threatening though, and having a friend to laugh with you about such idiocy over a pint should be enough to keep it from building up.

Over the years, I've met quite a few people here that couldn't deal with it and ended up taking the next flight out. Their loss. Generally, they seemed to be harboring their own feelings of racial superiority over the locals.

Racism sure isn't a good thing, but we're not living in the Jim Crow era. There will always be idiots out there, but Japan is slowly and steadily coming around, and the vast majority of Japanese have no ill intent, which, in the end, is the most important thing.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

One thing I do find to be racial profiling is "shokushitsu" or "stop and friske" routines from the police. In a suit, I've NEVER been stopped but in casual wear, that is another story. The reason why I think this is blatant racial profiling is because of the laws Japan has created to make this acceptable. If you are a Japanese national, you are not required by law to carry identification but you are required if you are a "gaijin". So, what if my son who looks extremely Caucasian but actually has Japanese citizenship is asked to show identification by a police officer who has little experience and doesn't know the law (yes, most of them don't) and then is illegally detained because he refuses or can't show it (because he is not carrying it) and they think he is lying to them about his nationality? Is this racial profiling or harassment? This is the main problem Japan will have to get accustomed to, as the number of citizens with mixed nationality is growing.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I've noticed that a lot of the racism in Japan is a sort of "soft racism" or even "positive racism". I think it's rooted in Japanese society's need to categorize and/or stereotype everything and everyone.

Everyone from a specific country behaves the same way!

Everyone who went to a specific university is smarter and better than everyone else.

Everyone from a specific area in Japan is loud or quiet or cheap or whatever.

Just look at the way characters are portrayed in TV doramas. Writers have messy hair. College professors wear tweed. Etc.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As a foreigner who just returned from Japan 2018/01/02, all I can say is I have always been treated nicely. This last trip was my sixth and looking forward to my seventh after the olympics :)

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

I can deal with discrimination from individuals, even the train thing when there's aways an empty seat next to you. Does not happen to me that often. My Japanese wife is always surprised when I'm in Osaka or Kobe and a Japanese person stops me to ask for directions. Love that one.

I do get upset with institutional discrimination.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Black Ships have come: the international community. Welcome all! Now I’m feeling a little more at home. It’s meant to happen.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have three other bank accounts and several Japanese issued credit cards. I needed to open a MUFJ account so that I could deposit a check from the USA. The other banks have stopped dealing with checks and the MUFJ will also stop from the end of May.

I went with my Japanese wife but even before I could inform them what I wanted, they handed me a sheet stating they could not open an account for a foreigner. I was shocked since the MUFJ is both the largest bank here and also international with branches in America and Europe.

Conversely, I had that issue with Mizuho. But, was able to open an account at MUFG! (A textbook example of YMMV.)

I was also able to open an account at JP Bank, without batting an eye. They were very helpful. But, I did need a translator. Seven Bank is also foreigner-friendly.

But, I don't know about any of their check acceptance policies, as I don't think anybody in Japan uses checks.

(I just deposit them into one of our US accounts using the phone app.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sure. There's discrimination here. But, there's discriminatation of some sort in most, if not all, of the world. You're coming from your home country where you've never had that problem. So, it is an eye opening experience for sure. Just have to do your best to change people's mind & be the best citizen you can be.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I lived in Japan for 3 years. It's pretty **** racist. They openly post signs that say "No foreigners" which is a violation of national and international law. I am white male and worth my weight in gold there, but when I traveled with my two friends who are Taiwanese-American, man, the crap they got. We rented rooms in this place and the owner worshiped me and treated them like animals. We should have left, but we paid for the whole summer.

This is the perfect example of what I was referring to in a previous post. 3 years, and already the opinion is "pretty *** racist" and then calling it out as "violation of national and international law".

My in the hell does anyone think that they should be treated like they are "worth their weight in gold" HERE?

Calling out the entire country for the possible actions of one person!

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Since the laws in Japan have been designed to protect their own, the most obvious solution is to acquire Japanese nationality -- which is not as difficult to do as many people think -- and then file an aggressive lawsuit against the person engaging in the discrimination. Even the media takes notice and reports on situations like this.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I'm pretty sure racism is far more prevalent, in-your-face and, at times, fatal, in most Western countries.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant?

This is considered racism? Come on, grow a thicker skin.

Interesting. I wonder why people would consider this almost daily routine to be 'racism'. Now why would that be? Hey, why not think a little harder about it... or even a lot harder because ya still got a wayz to go...

I've been told to go home a few times. Refused service/entry. All of the above, and more. I don't have the facility, or lack of awareness, to pretend that Japan is not highly discriminatory.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Half of foreigners in Tokyo have experienced discrimination: survey

And most of them never actually know what discrimination is, especially the way the minorities find it in their own countries.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I'm pretty sure racism is far more prevalent, in-your-face and, at times, fatal, in most Western countries.

Discrimination comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but its still discrimination.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@roughneck

And most of them never actually know what discrimination is, especially the way the minorities find it in their own countries.

Precisely. No discrimination should be tolerated, but let's get some perspective here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There are so many times that I have experienced discrimination that I just stopped counting. I stopped counting before I even moved to Japan from the U.S.

I honestly think that people need to have a thicker skin if they plan to get along with their neighbors that don't look like them.

If people think adults have it rough, they should ask foreign kids what they are going through while growing up in Japan.

I have two half American and Japanese kids. They look Japanese but they also look like foreigners specially next to me lol. My wife and I decided to use my wife's family name. My kids have slightly different Japanese and American names because of the Kanji. That helps them blend in a little.

Anyways, back to the topic. If you're an adult and get discriminated, try acting like an adult. You're not a child at a school sorrounded by your peers where you have to return to day after day.

Try smiling and calm down a little. Tell them gently that it's your mistake or that you misunderstood. Also, try to look at it from their side. Are you a celebrity? If not, then you aren't special. You are in their land. You're not in yours.

Japan can be a great place to live or visit. It all depends how people handle discrimination when it pops up.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

A Chinese respondent who works at a convenience store said that a colleague told the respondent not to speak Chinese when the respondent was asked for directions by a Chinese-speaking customer.

Hey, isn't that advantageous for the convenience store or any other establishment, since some of their staff could act as a translator for those who have trouble speaking in Japanese?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'm pretty sure racism is far more prevalent, in-your-face and, at times, fatal, in most Western countries.

Maybe. But that doesn't suddenly discount it everywhere else.

And it's not necessarily cut and dry as to which is better. My black American friend said that in America racism is often there, but the people keep it quiet, and give you the runaround. Here, they'll say it straight to your face. More direct, but gets it out of the way. Which is better? Hard to say.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My Japanese wife discriminates. She's a lovely, generous woman, and I hate to see her do it, so we've had several talks about it - but she has said that it's so deeply ingrained that she just cannot resist reaction.

But she's progressed from where her father was, and her biracial, multicultural, polyglot children will further the cause. Time is required.

BTW, one thing I hate is meeting mothers at the park (I have a dog) and they immediately erupt into conversations of English education. Then again, in the States, everyone wants to take my wife to a Japanese restaurant.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Well I don’t want to start with negativity, discrimination is everywhere that is true but people of color and Hispanic people are facing more discrimination problems here linking them to chimps asking them if they color the have is because of their suffering and so on but people like me those things don’t disturb me my problem is when will Japanese people try to know that they are not the only human on the planet?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In the survey conducted by the Anti Racism Information Center,

I trust this group (well really, just one guy) about as much as I’d trust the KKK (took my daddy away), which is never.

Indeed. If the survey concluded there was no (or very little) discrimination, then the group would cease to exist, or it would at least be very difficult to get funding...

It's in the group's interest for discrimination to be a major problem.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The word discrimination is largely meaningless. We all experience discrimination and we all discriminate in every aspect of our lives. The question is whether the discriminating choices being made are justified or not. This is usually a matter of personal opinion. Most people being discriminated against tend to believe it is not justified, while those doing the discriminating are likely to feel that it is.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Regarding the Trains.... a friend of mine who had been in Japan for about 2 years. He said, nobody sits next to me and I said "because you're doing it all wrong". As he sat there with his legs wider at the knee than at the hip... I said "you need to take the width out of your sitting posture. I'm on the fatter side... but people sit next to me right away all the time. Why? Because I make myself as small as possible, which is what a lot of Japanese people do themselves. It is only the bums that sit there with a wide posture. So if you think they're getting up because you're a foreigner.... you're probably wrong. It is because you do not give them space like others do.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Recently I get the impression that many foreigners who come to Japan now a days are a hell of a lot more sensitive, thin-skinned, and extremely touchy about the littlest crap, and scream "Im being discriminated against!"

When I hear “discrimination” the first things I think of are refusal of some restaurants to seat foreigners (happened to me) and the refusal of real estate companies/ property owners to rent to foreigners (happened to me in the company of my Japanese spouse). This is real discrimination and is a matter for the law.

Having the empty seat next to me on a train occupied last or remaining unoccupied while people are standing is an expression of someone’s personal preferences. It doesn’t bother me. However, that and similar minor issues are now considered “micro aggressions” by some. To me such a categorization is BS. I agree that some people have thin skins and it wouldn’t surprise me if many of them are newly arrived millennials with freshly minted university degrees in “Victimhood Studies”. Lest it be assumed than I am an “ageist”, one of my best friends is a millennial.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I have been in Japan going on 20 years. I have never experienced discrimination. Mainly, because its not in my nature to [ care ] about the opinions of how others view me. My own opinion of myself is the only one that matters. You are all wonderful people in a land that requires international people to assist in the healthy globalization and beautiful transformation of Japan into the next Reiwa (令和). Now, lets have a nice day!

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Pick your poison, blatant in your face racism or subtle behind your back whispers?

I’d take the former, but I understand that Japanese racism is also an act of kindness. They care enough about you that they don’t discriminate against you to and in your face. This is a form omotenashi kindness. The Japanese are so kind.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I can understand that some positive souls mention that there is discrimination all over the world,and this is a fact.

But this is also a very generalized statement,there are many kind of racism and they come in many degrees.

Having lived in 5 different countries including mine I can say that Japan is generally more discriminating to diversities,after all we have to think that this is a homogeneous country,and also we can't forget how Japan opened it's borders to the world,basically from the westerner pressure,otherwise the isolationism of the Edo period would have for sure be longer.

There are many good people here but also so many prejudices,I would say that foreigners here are categorized.

They all come after Japanese,and then they have a generic ranking,with westerners at the top and then Asians Africans etc.

It is really sad but it's a fact.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Discrimination is discrimination, it’s everywhere. Doesn’t mean it should be tolerated and if you think so ur an ass.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Good, at least "Japan Today" not discriminated to publish this news.

Thank you Japan today.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@zichi

I went with my Japanese wife but even before I could inform them what I wanted, they handed me a sheet stating they could not open an account for a foreigner

More than 30 years ago I opened an account at MUFG (then just Mitsubishi Bank) without even a name stamp. I still have the account (now with a registered name stamp). Perhaps after all the mergers policy has changed.

Let me note that I have a considerable amount of money in Shinsei Bank yet they refuse to even discuss investments with me as I do not meet their Japanese fluency standards (nor can they explain what that means). They say that they are obliged by law to fully explain the risk related to investments. Not even the offer of my Japanese spouse, a professional translator, to translate moved them. Discrimination? Company policy? All the same to me. My money won’t be there much longer.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan has forced itself into multiculturalism.

I think you will find that big business fat cats have forced the Japanese people against their will.

my two cents worth considering, and as usual, this is a very small sample group...

if im Japanese, living in japan, I have a right to be served by a Japanese language proficient staff member in my own country. If I have a question about the difference between ampage and wattage for a lightbulb in a combini, how do I ask a part-time Nepalese staff from a mountain village on a short term student visa?

the discrimination I have experienced is mostly related to telling my life history to officials, while my japanese partner doesn’t.

as Japanese people are shy, reserved and conservative by nature, millions of graffiti scrawling, drunk, loud, obnoxious tourists eating food and smoking while the walk along the streets probably shines badly on us foreigners who live here and have successfully assimilated.

What makes me angry is the reverse discrimination. I’m going to Kanto/Tohoku tomorrow from Kansai for about 5 days. I live/work/pay tax here but don’t have a Japanese passport. I estimate my train fares at around ¥70,000. If I was a foreigner, I am, a foriegn passport holder, I have, but didn’t live or pay tax here, I can get the same tickets for ¥20,000. My japanese partner will also have to pay ¥70,000.

.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

When I go to buffet restaurants by myself, all the Japanese women seated near me shoulder their purses when they go to the buffet. When I go to buffet restaurants with Japanese people, they leave their purses at their tables. Why? Because there are foreigners that take advantage of Japan's culture of trust and will steal when given the opportunity. So, I don't mind at all when purses are shouldered around me. I sympathize with those women. Also, I put my wallet in my front pocket, not the back, because there are foreigners in Japan. Most of the actual annoying "discrimination" is from grumpy old Japanese men. But they're probably unpleasant with everyone.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

On the plus side there is no physical racism here. On the minus side Japanese companies do not want to employ us.

When I first arrived here 19 years ago taxis wouldn't stop. But where I come from try being Muslim or Black and see how nasty life can be. But there are still issues here.

Even though my wife is Japanese and so are my children, an estate agent told us last year that a prospective landlord would not accept foreigners, despite me having a higher salary than most salarymen and a Japanese family. And I'm sure that reason is illegal.

And my advice is never work for a Japanese company. You will end up as a translator instead of doing the job you are supposed to do. Always find work with an international company if you can.

I see a couple of posts about people not sitting next to us on trains. Take it as a bonus, I always smile when the row opposite me is crushed and I have room either side. But the post about foreigners manspreading is nonsense, the Japanese do that more than us.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

one thing I hate is meeting mothers at the park (I have a dog) and they immediately erupt into conversations of English education.

While I wouldn't say hate, this does grow old. It's a daily occurrence on my private railway. In my case it's mostly JHS kids who do it. See a white guy, of course he must be a Yank, and suddenly turn to a discussion of your English lessons. It'd be like seeing a Mexican in San Diego and start raving about the fish tacos. With housewives, I simply think they're incapable of discussing anything beyond food or their child's education.

I have lived here since 1991 and I have to say discrimination today is MILD compared to then...

Generally agree. Twenty years ago, during my first stint, my mates and I got a lot of batsu arm gestures when trying to enter shops, onsen, bars etc. But as a white guy who's pretty well off, living in a nice area, married into a good family, I also realize I'm privileged. The Vietnamese and Nepali kids I teach have stories to share, let's put it that way.

I really don't care anymore. In my early days here I was denied apartments and refused service at a food place once but my life here is generally great and I won't let some idiot upset my day like that.

This is the great way to look at it. And if your biggest complaint is the empty seat or people not helping you in the shoe store, or as above, nice kids on the train using your presence to segue into discussions of Eigo, why not? Clearly, it's not nearly as benign for the growing underclass of foreigners the government is doing little to integrate or protect.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

*Most of the actual annoying "discrimination" I experience...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anonymous

well yes, never had any problems with other banks and in this case it might have been just the Himeji branch. Certainly changes in mergers and also last years changes in law especially about the overseas transfers of money hence the ending of accepting checks but wire transfers ill be alright.

I also have a Shinsei account and have never had a problem with them except because of Citi bank are also no longer able to process checks. The conditions at Shinsei have changed like no more free ATM withdrawals.

I guess somedays its just about who you end up dealing with.

On a final note over the MUFJ(Japanese) or MUFG(English) I discovered a bank account could be opened online without visiting the bank.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese are "better" than other asians..

Actually, I have been told by some Japanese that Japan is not an Asian country (and others have said that opinion is ridiculous). Some Japanese do seem to have an image in their heads of Japan as being an island off the coasts of Italy and France, not China and Korea. Lol

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Here goes my own list then after 10 years here:

-3 months after arriving, with a 3 year visa and work contract in hand, tried to open an account at Mizuho with a Japanese friend and ended up stopped by the front desk staff : "it would be very difficult to do" (but we have all the necessary papers and letter from his employer aswell !) "yes but you need many more papers" (which ones?)"ah...quite many" (well wich ones?)"ah...it's better to try a different bank" (could we please see a clerk?) "ah...they are quite busy, you really should try another bank"....(hopped to SMBC and it was done in 15mn)

-stopped counting the number of times when people have either stood up or not sat next to me on crowded trains (and yes, I smell very nice, keep my legs together and don't speak to other people)

-been singled out by policemen for ID check when cycling while other japanese cyclists go by without problems numerous times

-been told twice by agencies that they didn't have rentals for foreigners or that they had to check with the owners if they accepted foreigners

-went to a Jazz bar with a friend, walked in and the staff rushed to tell us it was a private party (all the while another staff member was putting a sign out for happy hour and only 2 patrons were sitting at the counter)

-seen constantly the attitude of the people I work with change drastically when they had to deal with Chinese customers

And the list goes on.

BUT I've never had any problems with administration staff or shop staff or post office staff or doctors...etc. They were always accomodateing and willing to find a common way of communicating. And lastly,the best thing is that it has made me realize my own prejudices and forced me to work on them. Having never been faced with racism directed towards me, I am now far more alert when it's directed to others .

11 ( +11 / -0 )

@TigersTokyoDome

I see a couple of posts about people not sitting next to us on trains. Take it as a bonus, I always smile when the row opposite me is crushed and I have room either side

I agree. However, sometimes I have the opposite problem. I'll be in a train car that has only a couple people on it, so I put my bag next to me, tucked under my arm and using 1/3 of the seat next to me. An old Japanese guy boards the train and makes a bee-line for the seat next to me, wanting me to move my bag. ROGAI In that case, I give him the seat with a "Douzo" and move to another seat, placing my bag next to me again. They grumble, but stay put.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Regarding transportation, I guess much depends on attitudes of locals. I took a bus last night for the first time in a while. It was packed, so I stood by the door. Two seats opened up, and the young woman next to me (my daughter's age) declined my gesture to sit. We fell into conversation, and as elderly entered/exited the bus, we pointed them to the seats - and no one else tried to take them. Neither did anyone treat me as any other than a person on a crowded bus.

But then, this is Kumamoto.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The word "discrimination" gets tossed about too easily, sure there are plenty of instances where it occurs, but much of what people think is discrimination, is just plain ignorance on the part of the person they are dealing with.

I would also recommend ANYONE coming here, grow a thicker skin, and leave your sense of entitlement on the seat of the airplane, when you get off!

I’m not going to call ingrained discrimination from people in Japan as ignorance. It’s is anything but that! If someone is going to profile me and act subhuman to me because I’m not Japanese then they are the problem and it’s called being a racist. Sense of entitlement you say, yes I am entitled to not be discriminated and entitled to be treat like a Japanese employee doing the same job. I find it insulting that you think foreigners working in Japan should just grow a pair and put up with discrimination.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I lived in Japan for about a year and I experienced on opposite side - respect and a very nice preferable gaijin treatment. My wife who is japanese was always surprised what nice and favorable treatment I get. I remember a very interesting case. My wife and I were at a kushi restaurant in Ropongi Hills. While we were enjoying fantastic kushi, I noticed Naomi Watanabe and her assistant entered the restaurant. I pointed that to my wife, however she did not believe me saying it's probably somebody who looks like Naomi. I insisted that this was Naomi Watanabe. I asked our waitress to offer drinks from us to Naomi and her assistant. The waitress came back and asked what can she offer to Naomi. I said, anything they like. After about 15 minutes Naomi and her assistant came to our table to thank you us. Everybody in restaurant were watching and were puzzled why Naomi is saying thank you to us for about 15-20 minutes. I even joked to Naomi that she is saying so much thank you like we gave them a million dollars. After we got out of restaurant I met Naomi second time in the hall and I joked to her that she is probably following us. Naomi smiled and asked if we would like to take pictures together. I still have the pictures, if somebody likes I can email them to you.

So, I am very surprised that half of foreigners in Japan experience discrimation...

I asked a lady in street how to find an address, and she went out of her way for about a kilometer to show to me the way because I did not understand in Japanese and she was not able to speak English... I don't remember any case during 12 months I lived in Japan when I was discriminated. I always was given preferable gaijin treatment...

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

When I go to buffet restaurants by myself, all the Japanese women seated near me shoulder their purses when they go to the buffet. When I go to buffet restaurants with Japanese people, they leave their purses at their tables. Why? Because there are foreigners that take advantage of Japan's culture of trust and will steal when given the opportunity. So, I don't mind at all when purses are shouldered around me. I sympathize with those women. Also, I put my wallet in my front pocket, not the back, because there are foreigners in Japan.

I hate to break it to you, but the vast majority of criminals in Japan are Japanese.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

renting in Tokyo is pretty much impossble for foreigner. Vast majority of landlords will outright reject foreigners even if they are permanemt residents with 10M+ annual salary in large company.

Only places which are left are super expensive places where you pay 300k yen for a 1 bedroom or 100k yen for a very very old apartment (before 1980)

It is impossible to find a 1LDK which is built within 15 years which would rent to foreigners for Japanese prices of 150k-200k

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I am Sicilian American have lived and in Tokyo since the 1970's, worked for years with police to eradicate video piracy, never had a problem, never experienced discrimination until 2006 when I was assaulted by a Japanese guy who attacked me from behind as I was walking home causing permanent injuries. Then it reared its ugly head. Meguro police failed all procedures to protect the perp, prosecutor failed to investigate, summary court, district court, high court judges showed incredible leniency to perp, treated me disrespectfully and ultimately ordered me to pay assailant court fees. I have been at war with the gov't ever since and will never give up.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

macv

Sadly, in Japan, whenever there is an altication between Japanese and Non-Japanese in Japan, it is always the fault of the non-Japanese.

I think this stems back to the occupation period after WW2 when General McArthur passed legislation of 5 years imprisonment for an GI who strikes a Japanese person. It got ingrained into the system.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@Do the hustle

Thankfully, these things have never happened to me in my 30+ years in Japan. At least not that I noticed.

How many times have you sat down on the train and the Japanese person next to you has stood up and walked away mumbling some crap about gaijins?

How many times have you been seated on a busy train and the seats next to you remain vacant?

Going into a shop and having the staff pretend they don’t understand your Japanese.

Having Japanese people stare at you as if you were some kind of criminal.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I am Sicilian American have lived and in Tokyo since the 1970's, worked for years with police to eradicate video piracy, never had a problem, never experienced discrimination until 2006 when I was assaulted by a Japanese guy who attacked me from behind as I was walking home causing permanent injuries. Then it reared its ugly head. Meguro police failed all procedures to protect the perp, prosecutor failed to investigate, summary court, district court, high court judges showed incredible leniency to perp, treated me disrespectfully and ultimately ordered me to pay assailant court fees. I have been at war with the gov't ever since and will never give up.

This is probably the other big thing that Japan gets wrong with discrimination, and like my previous post, it revolves around the Japanese legal system. Foreigners will lose court battles every time if assault is involved, even if you are the victim. The exception is murder. If you are attacked by a Japanese citizen, you are better off running or keeping quiet about your injuries (of course you should seek medical help). I'm sure most people are aware of the way Japan's "excellent" prosecution rate, they might not be aware of Japan's "excellent" capability to play deaf dumb and mute as well though.

BTW, of course I think all discrimination is wrong but, I think discrimination exists everywhere and moving to Japan to escape discrimination is laughable. Being shocked by the discrimination that exists in Japan is a joke to me. Turn on the TV, its clear as day. That isn't to say all Japanese discriminate, in fact I think its uncommon. Even being called "gaijin" just makes me laugh because it sounds incredibly stupid (both in Japanese and English). What is very wrong though, is that the discrimination that can affect your life, your freedom, and your rights mostly exists within the legal system of Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You know what : when communication for Japanese is half the language and half the manner/behavior, if you decide your way is the right one, you are wrong.

Example :

Each time I was arriving at the customs 20 years ago not speaking Japanese and looking gaijin attitude (not standing very still and straight), I got inspected.

Now I speak a bit Japanese, bow very slightly my head for acknowledgment, never been inspected for the last 15 years.

If you speak and know how to do, you get into the inner circle of Japan group.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Going into a shop and having the staff pretend they don’t understand your Japanese.

I've never had that happen.

I did on the other hand go into shops and try to speak Japanese, but wasn't as good as I'd hoped, and the staff were unable to understand me. But once I got past a certain level, I stopped running into issues where they could not understand me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Been here 25 years the list is too long...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I have experienced the complete opposite - I am a treated like some kind of god here. I've had many Japanese men approach me, looking for English speaking friends and I have an abundance of female attention here. Just yesterday a girl at my gym asked for my Line ID.

However I realise that my experience in Japan will differ to other foreigners, especially other Asian foreigners. I am a 6,5 muscular/atheltic, white guy with sandy coloured hair and blue eyes - so needless to say I stand out in Japan.

If I were Korean, Chinese or black then my experience would be completely different. Japanese see white men as being top of the food chain and will treat most of us differently, especially white men like myself who can speak fluent Japanese.

My girlfriend tells me that most men here are intimidated by my size and physique so I guess I have it easy. The most difficult thing here is finding clothes and shoes that fit me!

On one occasion, Police were doing random gaijin card checks with a group of Chinese girls at a train station, yet the officers never asked me for my residence card. They simply walked past me.

I know I am privileged here but not blind to the difficulties others face.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I was assaulted by a Japanese guy who attacked me from behind as I was walking home causing permanent injuries.

Where I am from, you would have a lot of people on your side to help you find justice. Possibly be mentioned in the news (a sickening racially motivated attack). The community would be outraged, bar the few redneck racists in it - which are minority that meets stiff opposition.

I used to spend a lot of time and energy speaking for the Japanese nationals living in 'my country' - making them feel like a welcome and equal, valued member of society. Many of those Japanese were employed in good jobs, with opportunities open to them the same as citizens. It's illegal to discriminate based on ethnicity or nationality - and those laws are well ENFORCED.

How many foreigners are able to get good jobs here outside the stereotypical teaching or IT related jobs? How many foreigners become seishain? I'm talking about foreigners with skills and experience. Another incredible waste of manpower in Japan...

The small-minded attitudes and micro-aggressions add up and can become quite de-humanizing after years of it. A lot of this is fed by the media. If you have only been here for a short time, you are probably not yet aware of it. Perhaps you still believe people are nice to you because they like you...

It will dawn on you yet.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

in my 20 years, the only thing actually cared about is the Japanese ability, once that is confirmed, there is no further difference or discrimination.

Besides, all the examples I see are purely made up, simply, figure that you are foreigner in a homogeneous society and learn what to expect accordingly, and no dont expect Japanese to bend over for you if you cant master basic Japanese.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@AgentX

Perhaps you still believe people are nice to you because they like you...

Agreed. Japanese are often polite, but not sincere.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

We should not push any person to do as they wish. We are all free aren't we? So who are we to think that only the way we do things are perfect and above it all! If they do not wish to rent to someone for whatever reason, you can't force anyone. Maybe they do not like the terms and you generally think it's discrimination. It could be a language barrier. My son had a heavy friend walk to a store in Europe and got insulted when they said, there is nothing in here for you. They did not explain that she is heavy and the things they carry are only for skinny people. They were trying to save her time. Instead his friend found it discriminatory and they did not want her in the store; which was far from true.

Maybe they have had experiences where a foreigner who rented in the past did not pay and just left the country and trashed their place. That word gets around fast and it scares them. Culturally, they are very disciplined and neat. Having traveled back and forth to Japan, I am learning that they leave restaurants neatly, and even return their chairs after eating the same way they found it. They put away their dishes or stack them to the side ready to be picked up. We tend to just stand up and make the dining area like a tornado just passed by. Their streets are so clean. Their subways are very clean. It is obvious they do a very clean job when they clean.

I have also observed they do not make rambunctious noise in stores and streets. They are generally quiet.

In fact they go out of their way when you ask them anything. If you ask where your train is, they will go out of their way to take you exactly where the train will arrive to your destination. After a while my son immediately realized we were inconveniencing them so he asked me to stop asking where everything was. They may not be able to explain how to get to point B so they would take you all the way to the point where it is easiest for you to navigate thereafter to get to where you want to go.

We have friends who planned to take us around. They first did a dry run for the trip to make sure it would be smooth and enough time to do a lot in one day before we arrived.

Maybe talking in another language at work makes them feel you could be talking about them. After all, if you want to live in another country to work, you might as well speak their language. By speaking their language while at work helps you to become more proficient in their language. Soon, you would speak like a native. As they say "when in Rome, do as the Romans do".

As for those who want a native Japanese helping them out instead of a foreigner, maybe they have a hard time understanding the foreigner speak their language so they are asking for someone who speaks the language without an accent so they could understand them.

As for losing things, we've left an entire suitcase on the sidewalk in the heart of Shinjuku that looks like Time Square and yet got it back still sitting in the same spot when we traced our step back. I have left my expensive teapot in a gift box on top of a counter near the TSA area by the garbage can. An hour passed while inside our gate and we realized we forgot the teapot in the box. I went to the Airline counter and she went back to get it. Yes! They found it! And another time, my other son forgot a big shopping bag in the restroom. He went back to get it and and they gave it back to him!

Here, I just dropped a child's book 2 blocks away and we hurried to get it and it was gone. And my granddaughter left her little doll in a suitcase at a bus stop and we immediately got off the bus to walk back and it was gone.

So far, my encounters have been very pleasant and I feel I could relax when I travel to Japan. It feels safe and the people have been very helpful.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Besides, all the examples I see are purely made up, simply, figure that you are foreigner in a homogeneous society and learn what to expect accordingly, and no dont expect Japanese to bend over for you if you cant master basic Japanese.

I know you guys keep like to say "but we live in a homogeneous society". But the truth is, there are many people with dual citizenship that should be able to do many things very easily but they are harrassed and given a hard time because of the way they look (non-Japanese) or their name. Believe me, language ability isn't everything. Perhaps for you, as a foreigner, you've made a career for yourself by "mastering basic Japanese" or whatever, and that's great but there is still a difference. I am very skeptical that you would become the manager of a team of Japanese in a "nikkei" company.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How many foreigners are able to get good jobs here outside the stereotypical teaching or IT related jobs? How many foreigners become seishain? I'm talking about foreigners with skills and experience.

Not many, but some companies are more forward thinking than others. I was a seishain in the last company I worked in before starting my own, and I managed Japanese staff as part of that job as well. It was a fully Japanese company.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@foody holic

You talk about cleanliness, I'm OCD about my cleanliness, wayyyyy more than my Japanese wife (although she's pretty clean too). So from the poor example of one tenant, all gaijin should be assumed to be dirty pigs? You can't really mask it the way you have tried. I always clean up after I eat, where as the salarymen across from me may happen to leave their table a wreck, with cigarettes laying around, food on the floor, etc. Each individuals habits vary, some Japanese are very dirty, some are very clean. Same goes for foreigners. What do you think would happen if a landlord in America said they weren't going to rent to blacks because their opinions of them were ruined by the last black family that lived downstairs who happened to be slobs?

Of course, most Japanese are very kind and considerate. Its a safe country, you can often find your lost items, people may go out of your way to help you (this happens all over the world), etc. And as a tourist, you seem to have had great experiences here, and I'm happy for that as I like Japan too. But excusing discrimination due to the habits of one tenant/guest/customer is pretty weak.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Not many, but some companies are more forward thinking than others. I was a seishain in the last company I worked in before starting my own, and I managed Japanese staff as part of that job as well. It was a fully Japanese company.

Not very common, good job landing that!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Scrote

I hate to break it to you, but the vast majority of criminals in Japan are Japanese.

I hate to break it to you, but my 15+ years in Japan has taught me that Japanese usually don't commit crimes such as grabbing someone's purse from a restaurant seat. If there was a problem with Japanese pickpockets, guys wouldn't have big wallets, stuffed with cash, dangling out of their back pockets.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@Foody Holic

I had the same view when I first came to Japan, but that is the view the society in Japan works to show to the people on the outside. Once a person is considered a threat to the hierarchy and social norms, then the bullying and discrimination comes out to put you in place - especially foreigners.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There will NEVER be any race wars on the island of Japan because ORDER comes first, it always has and it always will. When individuals, foreign or domestic, go against the will of the group, the hammer falls equally.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

When individuals, foreign or domestic, go against the will of the group, the hammer falls equally.

Hmmm, this is coming from what information? Even the law in Japan holds foreigners to different standards than nationals. Not to mention there are plenty of case examples in which a Japanese national received much different punishment than a foreign immigrant. Now, keep in mind, I'm not saying deportation is discrimination, it's not. I'm talking about other things, like fines and jail time, etc...Biggest one being, judgement. I pray you never find yourself assaulted anytime soon.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The vast majority of Japanese - once they MEET you - won't discriminate. I did have an experience that made me laugh, just last weekend. At my son's basketball game, a lady (from our team) asked me "not to cheer so loud" - I explained that I was only cheering at about the same volume as the others around. She then explained that because people couldn't understand what I was saying, some "others" assumed it was probably "negative". I smiled, shook my head, and explained that I was simply cheering for my son - who COULD understand what I was saying.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Kathleen Foster

There will NEVER be any race wars on the island of Japan because ORDER comes first, it always has and it always will. 

Why would there be a race war?

When individuals, foreign or domestic, go against the will of the group, the hammer falls equally.

What if the will of the group is a racist one? And they see foreigners as a threat to "order"?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I am not white and I'm not a male. I don't consider myself thin skinned.

The discrimination in Japan is bad. I never experienced similar in America. I would say I have experienced worse discrimination in Japan over America. My experiences here have been mostly positive, but the bad ones really stand out. There are so many great things about Japan but I'll be glad to be back in America.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ok, I would be surprised if a foreigner here had not experienced discrimination, to be expected I would say.

And while it is getting better over time, it is very slow.

What I would like to see is some legislation banning discrimination, because until there IS, it means discrimination in Japan is defacto LEGAL!

Also toss is some bits about age & sex discrimination as PLENTY of Japanese are discriminated in the work place, yes Japanese are more than happy(sadly!) to discriminate a fair bit amongst themselves as well!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

there will always be the expected "there is discrimination everywhere" or "I have never experienced discrimination here!" response to this survey.

Ive been in Japan for many years, and I have experienced some hard core discrimination, from fights on the train, company bullying, relationships, police, traffic accident, dwellings etc etc. Ive applied all the NJ feel good advice; learn more nihongo, etc. Doesnt work out so well for me.

where I differ than others is how I deal with it. I first, recognize it for what it is. I dont deny or self blame; its discrimination. Im not Japanese, dont look or act like one, therefore Im the target of his/her hate. Then I fearlessly check it, sometimes with obnoxious and D baggery activities right back at ya, in a very non violent, confrontational way of course. Problem solved. Its a binary logic society; civility and shades of grey dont exist when it comes to people here, they see us as others or outcasts. They cant stand to be shamed in front of their peers. And I dont care what their peers think either.

I then get through my day with no issues. Its not a reality I prefer. When Im in the US, I notice that nobody cares about others like they do in Japan. People just get on with their life because they are free. Japanese are not free but bound by all sorts of ridiculous and meaningless society rules. They are taught by their elders that non Japanese are unclean and uncivilized.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I’m quite dismissive. Life’s too short to waste my time even thinking about the reasons behind certain behaviours - malevolence, racism, ignorance, shyness etc. Who cares?

There are friends to find here and so many more people to dismiss with a straight red without a second thought. Don’t bother with yellow cards or regrets.

This is a country with a huge population. Don’t fret about writing most off.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hey how about this..?

It would be nice for Japan to treat foreign guests/residents in the same way they (Japanese) would like to be treated overseas.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yubaru

Recently I get the impression that many foreigners who come to Japan now a days are a hell of a lot more sensitive, thin-skinned, and extremely touchy about the littlest crap, and scream "Im being discriminated against!"

Telling victims of racism and discrimination to be less sensitive and grow a thicker skin screams ignorance about this problem. How about instead everyone else move with the times and be less discriminatory to people of different backgrounds and nationalities?

The good old days of what you deem acceptable discrimination, are over.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I've heard foreigners working in Roppongi (like Roppongi Hills) say about the situation for foreigners in Japan: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, blame racism".

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, blame racism".

Yeah I like that. So all the Fillipinos etc working in old folks home, making bentos or at the conbini, are not doing?

Oh you mean the bankers etc? they are doing but the rest of us cant?

I dont blame racism for anything. When I see it, I check it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Walked into rental house office, the guys face dropped, refused to rent to me.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well I would have to say that after being here over a quarter a century I just don't care about stuff like this now. I bought a very nice house and have a very high salary. My life is very comfortable and enjoyable. Why should I care about what a few think about me??

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@AustPaul

It would be nice for Japan to treat foreign guests/residents in the same way they (Japanese) would like to be treated overseas.

That's the Golden Rule, right? If I like to be spanked, can I spank other people? I just want to do to people what I like done to me. ; )

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My Japanese brother-in-law tells me that I get treated better than him when we go out eating and drinking. He may be right. I tell him that it's because he's from Osaka but now living in Saitama. He tells me I may be right about that.

But I imagine where one comes from makes a difference. I've heard more discriminatory remarks towards other Asians than towards westerners such as myself. I think that's of concern.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I found myself facing more problems when I lived in Shizuoka. The police would harass me for my alien card every time they saw me on my bike and I ended up nearly being killed for being a gaijin. Not hyperbole either - a ten hour operation, a two litre blood transfusion and six weeks recovery in hospital.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Half hearted Jumper

That lady was totally out of place to shush you. You outta wait two minutes, walk over to her and ask her to cheer more quietly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An interesting subject.

1.) Justified or not, Japanese have a bit of a reputation for being rude to foreigners.

2.) On the other hand, my mother went on long tour of Japan, including Tokyo, and came raving about how well she was treated.

So, I guess it is dangerous to generalize.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@TIJ

Not sure if you’re trying to take the Mickey. In any case my comment was simple really, not rocket science.

The things that happen in Japan regards to discrimination (and it exists everywhere I understand) would not happen as much in Australia due to our laws, period.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Welcome to globalization.

I think gender discrimination here is a far worse problem such that to some it is an ingrained behavior.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

DISCRIMINATION: "the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex."victims of racial discrimination"

One of the comments here was about some gaijins choose Japan for work other than countries, and that is DISCRIMINATION. PLEASE get your facts straight.

Some people choose Japan because of other reasons like visa reasons, work offer and etc. And I think that's mainly CHOOSING not DISCRIMINATION.

I experienced discrimination, but well, just shook it off, because UNDERSTANDING matters, and that is DEFINITELY A SKILL.

And to all gaijins, assess yourself first why you get such discrimination at some situations. As long as you do what Romans do, I think you will be fine. Manners matter most.

SPREAD LOVE.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Japanese have a bit of a reputation for being rude to foreigners

I’ve never heard it put like that. The one I’ve heard many times is that Japanese ‘welcome’ foreigners but don’t want them to stay.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan is a lovely place to live but there is an underbelly. I am a white American Male and living in Tokyo for 6 years I experienced discrimination on a daily basis from having rental applications being rejected, to people avoiding sitting next to me, to getting away with social faux pas, to being treated like an idiot at work even though I have 20 plus years engineering experience (domestic project), to being asked for ID at hotel while my J colleague sails through checking in. You do get thick skin or leave knowing that it will be several more generations before discrimination is not the norm.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Naomi smiled and asked if we would like to take pictures together. I still have the pictures, if somebody likes I can email them to you.

Naomi Watanabe faces discrimination herself because she is not pure Japanese. The Koreans are so afraid of being discriminated against that they don’t say they’re Korean.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

To put it mildly, Japan is full of itself. Living here this long (over 30 years) has made me see how I don't want to be treated (like a pariah or a persona non-grata) and how phony many people can be (bow politely while telling you you are not welcome, if they even speak to you at all). Been to over 40 countries and have lived in several but this place is the capital of discrimination, bias, prejudice, etc in my eyes.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Mocheake,

I agree, Japan seems to be unique in its discrimination. When I visit the US Im expecting to see and feel the horrors of racism that I hear the media and some Japanese describe but Im surprised to see many ethnic types working in hotels gas stands retail etc, and nobody stares, nobody cares. Its like everybody knows they are free, with certain rights. They dont need be concerned with all the othering and ridiculous racism you see in Japan. It seems every week there is some show on Japanese TV about the mysterious gaikokujin. Or teach me English show. Usually a gaijin clown ( there are about 5 well known tarento gaijin clowns) to help navigate and assist the Japanese host sensei, and all the panels reaction with the annoying "ah sou nano?" when it comes to learning about them mysterious gaijin.

I sometimes check my jaded attitude with the "well its their country" retort to myself, but I watch Japanese abroad and how they act. The whole discrimination act seems to suddenly disappear and they break out in perfect English. Im like, why cant you act that way all the time?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Very interesting to see posts are flooded with foreigners who lived there for over 10 years saying they have had nothing but love and welcome from living in japan. and then you have the group who had experienced difficulty and harsdhip. somehow if you fall in the catagory of not fitting in or if you had problems, then you should go off yourself or there was something wrong with you. but in the same sentence they want to say spread love...?? its the modern superficialism running rampant. I personally feel the ones who had experienced hardship and difficulty are far more realistic and true. As it seems, japan has always welcomed certain foreigner, and the ones the japanese let stay longer or join their communities recently were the ones who fit their mold and were not a threat to their sovereignty. it didn't matter if you were a handsome and had justice written on your face who were a messenger of God, they have a mold they want filled in. maybe the same said of any place high-jacked by evil. i guess which explains why most of the foreigners who were on tv were always made out to look foolish or stupid while making the japanese men look good, even though most of the men in reality in japan act childish and stupid. i remember going to an 'international' party looking to meet a nice j-girl who would hopefully be 'international' at heart, but they all were into the most stupidest characters of men, foreigner and japanese a like.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

At the real estate office:

Agent ( on the phone to an apartment owner ): "... I have a customer here interested in renting your apartment... He is American... oh... I understand... sorry to bother you, goodbye."

Agent: ( to me ): "Sorry, the apartment is unavailable."

This happened more than once.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

" but this place is the capital of discrimination,"

Yet you have lived here for 30 years??????

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Agent ( on the phone to an apartment owner ): "... I have a customer here interested in renting your apartment... He is American... oh... I understand... sorry to bother you, goodbye."

Agent: ( to me ): "Sorry, the apartment is unavailable."

This happened more than once

I had a funny one at a bar in Shimbashi ( pretty cheap and not hostess ). My old Japanese coworker was waiting inside for me but the guy the door handing out discount coupons gave me the crossed arms gesture. When I told him my coworker was inside and pointed to him waving at me, the hawker beamed a smile at me and welcomed me in.

I’ll never forget the flippant and unapologetic way his manner switched to come in dear sir.

My coworker was far angrier than I was. I thought it was hilarious.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I guess all of us who have been living here for more than 10 years realise and know for a fact that Caucasian foreigners are treated different than non Caucasian foreigners.

And as far as the survey goes discrimination exists everywhere, not just in Japan. Japan however, is more tolerant and welcoming than every other country I have been, and the long list also includes the country of my origin. (Before everyone starts pointing fingers I would like you all to know that I am of Indian ethnicity and by default we are discriminated very rudely, everywhere except here in Japan).

That being said, one will always find all sorts of people everywhere and thankfully there are very less of the discriminatory kind here than one comes across in other more so-called advanced and welcoming places/countries.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

 i remember going to an 'international' party looking to meet a nice j-girl who would hopefully be 'international' at heart, 

Uhh....wait...what?....say that again please?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Try to get a Saison credit card and you will experience discrimination. There are many other companies in Japan that will give you a card, but Saison, Nooooooo...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Me.... I'd rather be a Foreigner in Japan than have to abide by all the Cultural Norms the Japanese have to put up with. You ever wonder why so many Japanese are shut in's? Because Japanese Society and Culture is hard!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I have lived in Japan most of my life (and I am old). I am also a Japanese citizen...I remember when the entire topic of "discrimination" was either incomprehensible ("racism is a white people's problem") or taboo. Japan is vastly open and tolerant than it was years ago...But that's not an interesting or satisfying story, especially if one heeds to appeal to non-Japanese readers. So...Report on some survey of highly dubious scientific validity, clearly intended to "prove" what its compilers already want to believe.

I could claim that I've suffered "discrimination" in every country in which I have lived--and I have quite a list. So what?

It's encouraging, I must say on the other hand, to read posts reminding us that Japan is, on the whole, a lovely country in which to live.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Having lived in Japan on and off for around 20 years, I have definitely faced discrimination. But only when trying to rent an apartment (that I'm aware of, at least). I don't think this is any different now compared to when I first arrived in 1992.

The advantages, living in Japan as a foreigner, far outweigh the disadvantages in my case. Not having to conform to the scrutiny and rules that native Japanese have to makes life quite comfortable as a foreigner.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Try to get a Saison credit card and you will experience discrimination. There are many other companies in Japan that will give you a card, but Saison, Nooooooo...

I've got two Saison cards - a regular mileage plus, and a Saison gold card.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The advantages, living in Japan as a foreigner, far outweigh the disadvantages in my case. Not having to conform to the scrutiny and rules that native Japanese have to makes life quite comfortable as a foreigner."

we all have to conform to living here, thus the reasoning for their discrimination..."they are not Japanese, therefore we can do unto them as we please"....they think we are freed up inside and many cant stand that, as they arent allowed so they want to crush you.

Cant make sense of your post, sorry.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The advantages, living in Japan as a foreigner, far outweigh the disadvantages in my case. Not having to conform to the scrutiny and rules that native Japanese have to makes life quite comfortable as a foreigner.

That’s how I’ve always felt. Sure the discrimination is wrong and sucks. But living here is great nonetheless. I wouldn’t want to be Japanese living in Japan though, it would be rough.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I remember an American friend of mine once went into a bar that an amazingly beautiful japanese woman invited him into as she was standing in the entrance of it texting a friend. Long story short, turns out she was sharing a table in that bar with some dirt bag looking mafia type j-men. One of the men grabbed his croch and said, 'Oh,..very big!' and when my friend face palmed the guy into the wall, the guy thrown into the wall and his henchmen all started doing the whole rolling their 'r's' and yarrro ' surrounding this guy by himself saying 'this is japan! and if you dont like it, get out!'..Man, the stuff they did to that guy was unbelievably against all human rights that if anyone saw you'd think differently of the place. In a way, the whole concept of katakana is kind of a way of not wanting to 'get the hands dirty touching something from the outside' in a way.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I lived in many countries, however just Japan and China gave me the worst customer service experience.

Here, in kombini if you asked in English, more specific men, they are angry and rude, continue speak in Japanese without any inclination to help you.

If you ask " could you help me? " He shrugged and go away.

All people today have a smartphone with Translator.

Other Asians countries have a totally different approach: most people,when see you are Foreigner, open immediately the phone and translate.

One of my friends said " I only learned Japanese because I hate when they speak in front of me with ironical smile"

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Before the term “Japan” was applied to this country it was sometimes referred to as “the Japans”. Having read so many posts I think that the latter term is more applicable. The posters here have come into contact with a wide variety of people of every socio-economic circumstance. The variety of responses to the question of discrimination well reflect this. The psychology of respondents also is diverse in the same way. This has lead to interesting exchanges and opportunity for venting and praising.

I wonder if any minds have been changed or at least attitudes softened.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I would like you all to know that I am of Indian ethnicity and by default we are discriminated very rudely, everywhere except here in Japan).

well dude thats not saying much when you have a society that is based on a caste system. What about the dalits in your country? True, Japan has nothing compared to that, but its own caste system was borrowed and modified from India.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yes there is discrimination in japan.almost 80% japanese people believe in discrimination.im a indian boy.i staying here for 2 year.i mate many japanese persons in my part time work place.almost 80% japanese thought foreigners came here as labour.i saw that japanese people like chinese foreigners.even im fluent in japanese language than chinese.atlast i realized that japanese peoples not like those foreigners whose skin colour is brown or average colour.thats why japanese people not like nepalese,bangladeshi and indian people.why japan calling foreigners???for slavery or for discrimination????yes obviously we foreigners came here for earn.but japan forgot that for come in japan,a visa needed and which was given by japanese immigration in my country.judge people by there character,by their skills,by their talent,by their education.not by their colour.im 28 year old.i know 5 international language.maybe there will be very few japanese who can challenge me.but i have no value here.because my colour is brown.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

it didn't matter if you were a handsome and had justice written on your face who were a messenger of God, they have a mold they want filled in. maybe the same said of any place high-jacked by evil. i guess which explains why most of the foreigners who were on tv were always made out to look foolish or stupid while making the japanese men look good, even though most of the men in reality in japan act childish and stupid. i remember going to an 'international' party looking to meet a nice j-girl who would hopefully be 'international' at heart, but they all were into the most stupidest characters of men, foreigner and japanese a like.

You ok? Sounds like you're blaming a personal problem on Japanese men...

If you're looking for a "nice J-girl whose 'international' at heart", I would suggest looking for a girl who is not Japanese. Also, isn't the point of an international party to introduce foreigners to Japanese, share culture and what not? Not to nanpa? I dunno, never been to one (admittedly I am an absolute loser). I think what you have described is less about discrimination and more about a simple lack of confidence. I know plenty of foreign guys who look like they've got stage 4 elephantiasis but they have smoking hot "J-wives". Don't give up, just feel confident, love isn't discriminatory!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Also, isn't the point of an international party to introduce foreigners to Japanese, share culture and what not? Not to nanpa? "

Most of them (Japanese and foreigner) do go there to nanpa. Sharing culture and other niceties, they aint so interested in all that. How long you been in Japan?

Also, the best Japanese women, IMO, are the ones who have lived abroad. They have a more realistic view of the world and have had the immigrant experience. Some of my best Japanese friends, well actually my only Japanese friends, are the ones who spent time abroad. Its just common sense if you think about it; they also must experience all the micro aggression and experience whats its like to be a foreigner abroad.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Some of my best Japanese friends, well actually my only Japanese friends, are the ones who spent time abroad.

All of my Japanese friends fit into that category despite the fact I speak Japanese.

That said, I have met a few who came back with a real chip on their shoulder and compare everything abroad unfavorably to Japan. They are as annoying as anybody.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Jimizo,

True, there are those who develop a hate for the country they resided in, then project that hate once they return home to all the NJ they can find

kind of like some of us gaijin in Japan :-)

I recently met a Japanese lady who spoke good English, I asked her why she spoke so good English, she replied that she worked for a US airline. I said, "wow, thats rare in Japan, must be so great!" She replied she didnt like it, something about she must pay her own insurance etc. I said "Well, go work for a Japanese airline" She replied "I hate Japanese companies"

Many of them want their cake and eat it all too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

167 people in Tokyo responded to this survey. That’s really a miniscule subset of foreigners in one city. Hardly an in depth finding nationwide. Mail the same survey to everyone with a residence card and lets get some real answers. Everything else is histrionics.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I've definitely experience discrimination in Japan as a foreigner, and yes it made me angry at the time. But you know what? I don't let it bother me in the long run because it's how I react to it that matters. And compared to REAL discrimination, it's nothing. If someone is rude to me or denies me service based on arbitrary reasons I basically tell them where to stick it and take my patronage elsewhere. Plenty of people here who are NOT racist or discriminatory who treat you just like anyone else. At the end of the day, I don't let negative stuff get to me because it's MY choice to be offended by something. I don't want negativity in my life so I just end up pitying them instead. Makes my day a lot better.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

UFJ Bank Tokorozawa branch told me i cannot open a bank account with them because i cannot speak Japanese. She said " the bank policy is strict, and as a foreigner who cannot speak Japanese, you cannot open an account here"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The discrimination part, if you recognize it for what it is and dont blame yourself, is something that can be dealt with. Long term, Its not a healthy lifestyle, dealing with that everyday, but you can develop a sort of immunity to it and check it when it arrives. The problem for me, as one poster said, is the "mold". Many Japanese feel the foreigner must act and think a certain way in order to be safe. I guess they do it to each other in more extreme ways, but its a line thats very difficult to walk or navigate for me. On one hand they want the sunny, cheery gaijin, on the other that character must be subdued or controlled. Some Japanese have used me as a sort of lifeline, only latter to throw me away, at their convenience. Its why I really dont recommend living here long term. If you come from another mother, you cant really teach these people that there is an alternative way of doing things or life.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I once bought a pair of ski googles from Rondon Sports in Kanda. When I got home and excitedly tried on I noticed the sticker said "asian fit" on the frame. Anyway I took them back a few days later and gave the staff a decent spray for selling them to me in the first place. Sadly they thought this was a great joke and started muttering and chuckling incomprehensively to each other. I have not set foot in that store since and really hope it is not still operating to be honest.

I was also told by an ex g/f many years ago that Japanese guys were a better "fit" for her and it was one of a few reasons for her breaking up with me.

A third example I remember was mistakenly pulling out some Australian banknotes from my wallet to pay at a hostess bar and one of the local patrons noticed me doing so and said "what is that note or is it a napkin ?" to much amusement of his colleagues. I must admit though that I was quite impressed with his wit which is unusual for Japanese.

So yes I strongly believe this kind of predjudice rears its ugly head in many shapes and forms.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@the long termer.

I hope you keep posting on this site and fighting the "Japan is not racist" narrative. As well as the "Japan is racist, but everywhere is racist so stop complaining" narrative.

I have been in Japan on and off for 20 years. I speak Japanese well enough to enjoy Japanese movies, read Japanese novels without giving myself a headache, and run a business with Japanese clients. But I have few Japanese friends who have not lived overseas or have non-Japanese family.

The reality of being viewed through a stereotypical lens and being expected to behave in a certain way every time you meet new people can be harsh. As can being denied credit cards and housing, which are two examples of discrimination you cannot just forget about and get on with your day.

As you say, you need to recognize it is not on you and that those people saying "speak Japanese, learn the culture, you will fit in" are just basically gaslighting and refusing to recognize the source of the problem. Interestingly, it is often the people who have made the most effort to learn Japanese and fit in who end up feeling most alienated (and then have to put up with people who have made less effort to integrate denying that there are any issues, mainly because they cannot understand what is going on around them and are happy to be feted as a perrenial guest).

A large section Japanese society (I will add the obligatory "not everyone" here..., don't want to be accused of hypocrisy... ) has massive issues with pigeon-holing, generalizations, people believing rumors at face value and widespread acceptance of unscientific nonsense when it comes to sociology, anthropology and culture.

I agree with your posts. It is not us. We must not be gaslighted. We must not internalize blame. We must stand up for our right to observe the obvious.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@jpn guy

excellent post. Its basically a personal struggle, and I dont care what others think anymore. If somebody loves Japan, then I say let them be and believe whatever version of reality they are deluded by. There is usually something behind that belief if you make the slightest effort to explore, but I concern myself with what affects me; no need to argue or convince anybody otherwise. Certain experiences and changes in life will bring you to this conclusion, its not something that can be taught. Sometimes I even find myself agreeing with people, just to get them away from me. I can tell they are annoyed by it, but its something I learned to do from their host that they so eagerly desire to be loved by.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I suspect that a lot of the former foreign staff at Simul Corporate Training, a Benesse subsidiary, who were all thrown out of work on March 31st last year, would agree that discrimination exists in the Japanese workplace.

The last working day before Abe's Five Year Rule would have granted them the same eligibility for permanent status as the Japanese staff, Simul closed down their Corporate Training Department (the only department to beat its profit targets), found work for the Japanese staff (some of whom had been there for less than 3 months) and threw the western staff out of their jobs.

Some would argue that's discrimination.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To Bad , So Sad !

Its Japan and thats their ways...

If people dont like to be discriminated there

Then go somewhere else.

And congratulations on telling the UN to shove it !

Last thing yar need is a criminal organization telling any country how to run their country. ...

Well done Japan !!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Half is a good number. In North America almost everybody experienced discrimination one way or another regardless of skin color.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

To the people speaking about MUFG not letting them open an account. They are doing you a favour because they suck! Take your money elsewhere and don't waste time worrying about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Half is a good number.

Half of those responding to the survey. 360+?

I hope the “Anti Racism Information Center” isn’t similar to the SPLC which has been exposed as a very successful fear-mongering donation mining operation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If people dont like to be discriminated there

Then go somewhere else.

That's only a simpleton's way of thinking. For many foreigners, it is impossible to just pick and leave. Families, careers, real estate, business. Same as it it difficult/impossible for the Japanese living the good life overseas to just leave.

You're going to have to think a little harder, my friend. Or just refrain from commenting unless you have something of substance to say.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Robert pearce: "If people dont like to be discriminated there Then go somewhere else."

THat's how racists often defend their actions, INCLUDING abroad, if you can believe it. It's a nonsensical argument that does nothing to address the issue.

In any case, I've experienced racism here on a number of levels, but I think most racism in Japan is underlying and at the level of some of what we read above -- people being denied rental contracts, being unable to vote, and the like. The more blatant "I want a Japanese cashier" is rare, and I'm betting mostly targeted towards other Asians (whereas they'd be thrilled or amazed if it were a white person).

That said, the country does need to change its mentality in a lot of ways, and stop seeing people who live and have lived here most or their whole lives as foreigners simply if they look a little different, and stop the whole BS idea that Japanese have some unique way of thinking and resorting to, "You don't understand because you're not Japanese" as a reply to valid questions and/or criticisms about things. That's one thing I experienced the other day when answering a question to someone who clearly wanted a different answer. The guy's son has been living in Holland for more than 20 years. I told him, in the same way his son likely has studied and knows more about the culture and history of where he lives than many locals simply born there, so do I. His face got red and he left, but I sensed a "if you don't like it, leave" near his lips. All I'm saying is that you have to start by stopping any idea of cultural superiority and/or entitlement; and that goes for anywhere. But hey, I know what Japanese critics will say to that idea.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@smithinjapan,

those kind of people who say "if you dont like it, leave it," will always exist, no use in paying any attention to that, instead focus on your own self worth, esteem and sanity, as its most important long term.

I have reached the conclusion that its best to check discrimination when you can, with your own strategy. For ex. there was a shop register lady who would avoid me or take extra long when I was in line and show extra kindness to the Japanese patrons. She clearly did not like me, because sometimes I would say "got somewhere to be, so hurry it up" well once I arrived at the regi and she refused to serve me so I checked that with "get the manager now!" He came and apologized and serviced my transaction in English. Of course I thanked him and praised his Eigo in front of Miss Rudeness, and explained that she should also aspire to that same level of service and English. Well, the other staff seemed amused so everytime I came to this shop, I always praised them for their English ability and outstanding service while condemning the other rude woman. Seems now, Miss Rudeness has changed for the better when I arrive. Now I know she didnt change out of any remorse for me; she instead lost face in front of others, and this was the catalyst for change that she so needed. You see, you have to sometimes let the Japanese themselves do the heavy lifting for you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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