@toshiko: I did not mean to attack you personally and my apologies if my comment came across that way. It's just frustrating to see Japan ranked so highly in such ratings, since anyone, especially non-Japanese, who's had first hand experience with the Japanese judicial system knows the extreme corruption which exists at every level. One has to wonder about the integrity and methodology of such rankings.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
Japan's judicial system may have ranked highly in the past, but just wait until I expose the shenanigans of the Japanese judges, court clerks and lawyers in the way they treat foreign litigants. I assure you Japan's judicial system will not rank as highly when the truth comes out.
-1 ( +2 / -3 )
Anyone who has worked for a Japanese company knows that one of the reason companies cannot increase wages of their productive employees is because they cannot fire the oji-sans who spend all day surfing the internet of having meetings.
You are make a false assumption that by easing rules to dismiss workers, companies will fire the unproductive oji-sans while hanging on to younger and more productive workers. I think, if anything, the reverse will be true. The older highly paid oji-sans are the ones in power and they are the decision makers about who stays and who goes. Do you honestly think that they will eliminate their own cushy jobs first? Fat chance of this ever happening, since these oji-sans usually have a delusional sense of their importance and a real sense of entitlement.
What is much more likely to happen is that the oji-sans will crack the whip even harder at the younger workers, since it is these younger workers who's status will be changed from regular to non-regular workers. This will give the old oji-sans even more power to bully, harrass and make them work un-paid overtime, since the younger workers will have even less job security than before.
1 ( +3 / -2 )
Me thinks robots are much better than foreign household helpers. It is much easier for robots to adapt and fit into society, than it is for foreign household helpers.
Robots always obey orders, they never question or complain, they never expose family secrets to outsiders, there is no risk of them stealing or lying, they do not eat funny smelling food, they don't mind working overtime for no extra pay, and one can always scream at them or hurl things at them to take out one's frustration after a hard day at the office.
I don't understand why anyone would chose foreign household helpers over robots.
-2 ( +3 / -5 )
It's not that old people are ruder, it's just that as people age their real personalities become more obvious since the facade wears off.
It's more likely that these grumpy old obaasan were grumpy young women once, but their grumpiness was well disguised under heaps of makeup and "kawaii" lacy, frilly frocks.
Likewise, these rude and dour ojiisan were probably always arrogant jerks, but confined it to their office where they spent every waking hour, so they were comfortably separated from the outside society. Now, as retirees, they have no interests, no life experiences, no social skills, nothing worthwhile to share, no friendships and no family bonds, so they resort to dumping on society as a whole.
The problem of ill-mannered obaasan and ojiisan begins decades earlier as kids who are arrogant, narsisstic, selfish, self-centered, and who are lacking human connection, empathy and compassion for others.
-1 ( +3 / -4 )
"Bureaucrats" and "cool" anything can never go together. They are like oil amd water, amd the two just don't mix. Anything the Japanese bureaucrats touch is doomed and is bound to become "uncool" instantly.
Even the private sector in Japan is way behind the times when it comes to "cool". Has anyone seen the program "Channel Japan", which airs on Nikkei CNBC and is supposed to show the world how cutting edge and cool Japan is? No matter how hard I try, I can never stay awake through the entire hour-long program (and it airs in the morning or daytime!). It reminds me of TV shows in the West from thirty years ago. Everything about it is boring, dowdy and depressing, including the visuals, show content and presenters. It's like having to sit through a really boring lecture in class from an uncool and dorky teacher at school.
2 ( +4 / -2 )
@Kobe White Bar Owner
Q:Master whats your hobby? Ans:Hmm no real hobbies i do like thinking and problem solving Customer: hahahah that just like a child Me: Next
LOL! My experience, exactly.
One of the commenters above wrote that non-Japanese here should try harder to fit in and earn the respect of the Japanese, if they want to be treated better in Japan. Little hard to do this, unless you want to dumb-down all conversation to what's your hobby, what's your blood type or I like/dislike XYZ food. Besides, "earning respect" is a two-way street, where you can't dole out respect to the Japanese, unless they deserve it.
1 ( +4 / -3 )
@Kobe White Bar Owner
Take a deep breath let it out while thinking oh the small minded fool, how i pity you. Works like a charm.
Good point. This is exactly how I think too! I have actually never let the microaggressions, racism and discrimination in Japan get me down, and I always find a way to dish it back. Having said this, I think it's important to acknowledge that these problems exist in Japan, so that non-Japanese don't act naively and are not caught by surprise when it happens to them.
2 ( +4 / -2 )
As one posted here- Japanese dont need foriegners or need to speak English. They dont need to rent an apartment to you either. Basically they dont need you at all in their country
The thing is that, as long as I am in the country legally - which I am; as long as I pay the same taxes as a Japanese person - which I do (probably more so than the average Japanese); and, as long as I follow Japanese laws - which I do, then I think I have a right to ask Japan to not violate my basic civil rights and to not discriminate against me. The United Nations charter, to which Japan is a signatory, guarantees me these rights. If I am denied these rights, then I feel that I and others have the right (and indeed, an obligation) to demand these rights and demand that Japan honor its treaty obligations as a member of the United Nations and the global community.
1 ( +4 / -3 )
Japanese society will only change on it's own terms.
Japan has a history of accepting change only when there is a crisis, when there is external pressure, and after a situation becomes really dire and extreme (examples: the black ships, WW2). This does not seem to be a very smart way to bring about change.
I had a really good professor at university who used to tell us that it is much better to anticipate change so you can shape it in the most beneficial manner, as opposed to change being imposed on you by someone dragging you while you are kicking and screaming. I think the time for Japan to anticipate change is now, as the country's population plummets and its debt skyrockets.
0 ( +3 / -3 )
Japanese dont need foriegners or need to speak English. They dont need to rent an apartment to you either. Basically they dont need you at all in their country; they just need you to buy their stuff and supply them the materials to do it. They want full access to your markets and universities
The most disturbing aspect of Japanese racism is that the reality of racism which the non-Japanese and Japanese racial minotities face in Japan is quite different from the image of the country that Japan wants to project to the rest of the world. The Japanese economy is extremely dependent on exports, so Japan projects an image of tolerance to the outside world, but the reality of daily life for racial minorities in Japan is quite different. I guess, it's this contradiction that bothers me.
Just in the last year, Mr. Abe has made numerous foreign visits to various foreign countries, including Middle Eastern and other Asian countries, to promote Japanese exports to these countries. It would be nice if he would take some initiative at home also to protect the rights of Japan's foreign residents, to go along with his efforts to sell Japanese products to their home countries.
0 ( +3 / -3 )
Child-A plays by the playground, he doesn't want to be bothered, he built his toys and amenities around him with a bit of effort and time, then the teacher(society, UN) forces him to play with Child-B(outside people) when in reality he doesn't want share to but accepts the teacher policy because the authority sets the norm.
The only problem with this analogy is that Japan has built most of its wealth due to two factors - (1) the US that helped Japan rebuild its economy after the WW2, and, (2) exports of Japanese products to foreign markets in other countries. So you see, Japan did not accumulate all these toys on its own. This is why it is wrong for it to practice racism against foreigners, since Japan has built its strong economy on the back of these same foreigners.
4 ( +7 / -3 )
You can expand this topic into a lengthy discussion, like some have attempted, but Japan isn't in any way more 'racist' than European countries and North America - to name the places I've known. Don't agree? You know the button. But it might just be you, not the culture you'd chosen to live in.
It's hard for me to believe how you can deny the obvious fact that Japan has a huge racism problem. You do not have to take my word, or the word of other commenters here for this. However, you should at least trust the findings of the UNITED NATIONS that racism in Japan is "deep and profound", since the UN is independent and impartial.
The United Nations has been telling Japan for many years now that it has a big racism problem, which the government needs to address. According to an INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION conducted by the UNITED NATIONS, "racism in Japan is deep and profound, and the government does not recognise the depth of the problem".
After its investigation of racism in Japan, the UN report stated that, "Japan should introduce new legislation to combat discrimination.", and, "racial discrimination is practiced undisturbed in Japan." You can do a Google search yourself to read the findings of this UN report. How much more proof do you need about the problem of racism in Japan?
0 ( +3 / -3 )
In MY experience, most people do not like criticism about their own country, especially when spoken by someone from another country. Heck, my American girlfriend got angry when I said apples taste better in Japan (and I'm American!)
I would suggest that you read newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Economist magazine, and watch one of the many programs on CNN, BBC, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News, etc. You will find that these news outlets are full of very honest debate, discussion and criticism of the social, economic, racial, religious and moral challenges and difficulties facing their respective countries. Many times the criticism is levelled at the problems of the country by the program's foreign hosts and foreign guests. For example, CNN's show "Piers Morgan Live" is hosted by a British host, who is often critical of his host country of U.S. Another of CNN's popular shows, "Fareed Zakaria GPS" is hosted by an Indian-American, who is also often quite critical of the U.S. Perhaps your experience of living overseas was in Iran or North Korea, where such things are not tolerated?
There's no right or wrong way, just different ways.
So, you are saying that things like sexual harrassment, racial discrimination, gender inequality, prejudice and hate speech, etc., are not wrong, but are just "different ways"?
4 ( +6 / -2 )
I think its a difference in people thats the issue here.
I think you make some excellent points! I have travelled and lived in many countries around the world, and what makes Japan different is this - whereas, in other countries I have always found a diverse range of natives who are willing to express different opinions and criticisms of their own country, in Japan, every single Japanese person I have ever met seems to think that offering the slighest criticism or opinion that diverges from the norm is a form of blasphemy against Japan.
I think this is rooted in two factors. One, is the Japanese concept of "kata", or "correct way to do something", which leads many Japanese to feel that there is only one correct way to do something. The other is that in the absence of much formalized religion, the Japanese culture and norms take on an almost religion-like importance for many Japanese. When people start to think of their country and culture in such rigid terms, this creates intolerance and prejudice, which leads them to discriminate and commit racist acts against outsiders, such as foreign residents of Japan.
3 ( +5 / -2 )
Moreover, Ishihara was the guy who brought the Tokyo marathon to town, and all of the foreigners that this brings as well. He knows that there is money to be had from opening up, and has exploited the opportunity.
By bringing the Tokyo Marathon to town, Ishihara accomplished two things. First, it gives the world the impression that Tokyo is an international city. But, this is just about creating a perception of Tokyo as an international city, since it does not change the reality that Tokyo is in fact not a very international city. The second thing it accomplishes is that it brings foreign tourists to Tokyo, who then spend money in its hotels, restaurants and shops. And best of all, from Ishihara's perspective, they LEAVE Tokyo after spending their money here. This Ishihara can live with. However, it is quite a different story for foreigners who want to create a life in Japan, since they are the ones who encounter racism and discrimination in housing, schooling and employment, etc.
I think the key for me is hate driven racism - of which I find VERY little in Japan. The rest I would put down to ignorance (in the politest sense) which can usually be resolved by education AND people like us flying the flag of "goodness" to prove that we aren't all that bad after all.
I hear this argument about attributing Japan's racism and discrimination to ignorance, but I'm sorry I just don't buy it. If the Japanese are ignorant about racial discrimination, prejudice and racism amidst them, then it is because they are choosing to be ignorant about these issues and because it suits them this way. The Japanese are among the world's most well educated and wealthy people. They have the largest circulation newspapers in the world. The country was the world's second largest economy until recently, and is still the world's third largest. Their companies sell Toyotas and Sony products around the world. Given these factors, ignorance cannot be used as an excuse for Japan's racism and discrimination against its racial minorities and foreign residents.
3 ( +5 / -2 )
Based on the above I believe that Japanese are not racist
I think you have a pretty poor understanding of what racism means, if you are basing your opinion on this one interaction you had with a Japanese guy at a bar in Shibuya while you were out drinking. There is plenty of racism and discrimination in Japan against foreign residents, when it comes to things that really matter, such as, racism in housing, schools, employment, businesses, application of the law, and discriminatory treatment by the Japanese police, courts and lawyers, etc.
0 ( +2 / -2 )
But then I compare to the UK, and political parties like UKIP, NF and other groups that actually have a chance of getting some power thanks to an evolving hatred of immigrants into the UK. It is really ugly, and gets worse each year. I don't see that style gaining momentum here just yet.
Not sure this is true, since the likes of Ishihara and Hashimoto have held considerable power and support. Don't forget that as Mayor of one of the world's largest cities, Tokyo, Ishihara built his career on racism, xenophobia and badmouthing Japan's foreign residents.
There is no shortage of such politicians among Japan's parties. Japan's xenophobic party Ishin Seitou Shinpuu (Restoration Party New Wind) candidate Yoshiharu's political slogan recently was, "More than foreigners, Japanese are first!" (Gakokujin yori nihonjin ga daiichi!). You can see his campaign poster with this slogan at the party's Website: http://www.shimpu.jp/chihon/senkyo/tokyo_katsushika/kaneko73101001.jpg
0 ( +2 / -2 )
How to do so is another matter but smiling won't hurt your cause.
That's where you are wrong, since smiling too much CAN hurt you in Japan. The Japanese do not smile often, and they actually have the stereotype of the always smiling, goofy looking, bumbling foreigner, as compared to the stoic looking image the Japanese have of themselves. If a foreigner laughs or smiles too much, he or she will not be taken seriously by the Japanese, so you are shooting yourself in the foot. While in Rome, do as the Romans do. I laugh and smile a lot when I'm back in the U.S., but foreigners should act more guarded in Japan, lest they want to be stereotyped and caricaturized.
Have you seen the Japanese bow to each other? The one who has the lower rank always bows more deeply. It is the same with smiling and laughter in Japan. The person with the lower social rank smiles and laughs more. By telling foreigners in Japan to smile more, you are asking them to take on a subservient role that subconsiously plays into the racism foreigners encounter in Japan.
5 ( +8 / -3 )
What would be more interesting, is to document any "Official" Government 'sponsored' Racist activities, since that, would, reflect poorly upon the Japanese Society as a Whole.
What exactly do you mean by the "Government"? The government is generally made up of the executive branch, the legislative branch, the judiciary, and the country's institutions. By this definition, the Japanese government is definitely complicit, approves of, and condones racism and discrimination.
The most obvious proof of this is that the Japanese government has steadfastly refused to enact any laws that make racial discrimination illegal. Since Japan does not have anti-discrimination laws, landlords routinely refuse to rent real estate to racial minorities, companies refuse employment opportunities to racial minorities at the same terms as ethnic Japanese, companies get away with violating Japanese labor laws when it comes to non-Japanese employees, the judicial system and the courts refuse to uphold labor laws in the case of non-Japanese workers, and the list of discriminatory actions against racial minorities, women and non-Japanese residents goes on and on.
The role of the government is to protect the human and civil rights of all residents of the country, and to enact laws to insure that the country offers basic protections to its residents. I don't know what your definition of official government sponsored racist activities is, but it is clear to me that the government's looking away when discrimination is taking place in plain sight under its nose, by denying that discrimination occurs in Japan, and refusing to pass any legislation against discrimination, is akin to the government sponsoring racist activities.
4 ( +6 / -2 )
Compare to Japanese being more open about the a racial prejudice, a more serious flaw could be the fact that in most Western countries racism is so taboo than many people will hide their intolerant views and lie to the questioners. Americans are conditioned by their education and media to keep these sorts of racial preferences private, and lie about them. Westerners just hides their prejudice better.
I think you have this backwards. In Western countries, especially the U.S., there is often very direct and open debate about racial prejudice. A case in point is the recent George Zimmerman trial in Florida, where he was acquitted of killing a black teenager. Western news media, such as CNN, BBC, New York Times, CBS, ABC and NBC, etc, covered the "racial prejudice" angle of the killing and trial for weeks. This kind of open debate is very constructive and healthy in the West, since the first step to solving any problem is to first acknowledge that a problem exists. This is why there are robust laws in the US against racism and discrimination.
Compare this to Japan, where the society is in denial that racism and discrimination exist. The problem is either swept under the rug, or it rears its ugly head by means of the "black trucks" spewing racist venom through loudspeakers and the large scale demonstrations through Korean parts of Tokyo and Osaka where hate speach against Korean residents is commonplace. There are no laws addressing discrimination against racial minorities in Japan, which makes the problem worse.
I think contrary to your comment, most mainstream Japanese are much better at hiding their racist prejudices as compared to Westerners, due to the Japanese concepts of Honne and Tatemae.
3 ( +6 / -3 )
Compare to Japan, how many immigrant minority CEO is in fortune 500 companies in the U.S?
You seem really misinformed about the U.S. The fact is that 40 percent of the top 500 companies in the U.S. were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants. The top ranks of the largest and fastest growing American companies are full of minorities, foreigners, immigrants, women and gays (including CEO and President titles). This diversity at the top is one of the main reasons why American companies are so much more successful than their Japanese competitors.
4 ( +6 / -2 )
@ Phil Stilwell
Good article. Essentially, Japanese desire predictability. Where personalities are less than predictable, there you see and aversion express towards those personalities.
I'm sorry, but this is a pretty lame argument. It is the same flawed argument that was used by people in America who opposed the abolition of slavery - the boogeyman of who know's what those unpredictable black slaves will do if they are set free to roam freely in society unchecked. This argument was wrong back then in the context of American slavery and it is wrong now in the context of foreign residents of Japan.
-2 ( +1 / -3 )
The key difference between Japan and other developed countries is that, while other developed countries may have people who are racist, in Japan racism and discrimination against non-Japanese is systemic, institutionalized and ever-present. If you have ever had to deal with the Japanese courts and lawyers, you will be shocked at the extreme and blatant form of institutionalized racism and discrimination that exists in Japan.
4 ( +8 / -4 )
When it comes to cleanliness (or, rather lack thereof), one just needs to visit a men's public restroom or toilet. I see fewer than one in ten Japanese men wash their hands after using the toilet (even after doing a number 2, or taking a poop). Even then, they usually do not use soap and only run one or two fingers under water for about half a second, just in case someone is looking.
I think there's a reason why Japanese people do not like to shake hands. They don't trust the cleanliness of the other person.
9 ( +15 / -6 )
Reality is indeed stranger than fiction!
I had to check my calendar, just to make sure it wasn't April 1, and this article was not someone's idea of an April Fool's Day joke. I still couldn't stop laughing while reading the news and was amazed at the sheer audacity of this. Then the seriousness of it hit me, which made me stop laughing abruptly.
A couple of sentences really stand out in this story:
The article states that an official at the Japanese foreign ministry said that Qatar and Kuwait have shown interest in Japan’s nuclear safety technology.
Furthermore, it says that a Japanese official said that Qatar and Kuwait are therefore concerned about a possible accident and any environmental impact that might be inflicted as a result.
Really? While they are at it maybe, they should also ask for North Korea's expertise in non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, Egypt's expertise in creating a democratic society, Putin's expertise in fostering a free press, Syria's expertise in peaceful coexistence of its citizens, Israel and the Palestinians' expertise in conflict resolution, Saudi Arabia's expertise in giving women equal rights, Yemen and Pakistan's expertise in combating terrorism, Iraq's expertise in nation building, and Iran's expertise in creating a modern and liberal state.
These are just as logical and will make just as much sense as Japan's "expertise" in nuclear safety technology, prevention of nuclear accidents, and its ability to manage the environmental impact of nuclear accidents.
Whatever happened to the famous Japanese sense of modesty and humility?
7 ( +12 / -5 )