Now THIS is satire!

Last month’s Just Be Cause failed to raise many laughs, although it did raise the hackles of some nikkei, but this month’s was a quite entertaining satire on the life of a researcher.

Within that contrast lies immense subliminal and normalized pressure to be humble and modest in society.

In America? :lol:

For another example, if you’re doing research, you must reference other people and refrain from citing yourself — even if you’ve been the only one doing your kind of research in such breadth and depth for decades.


You have highly trained, disciplined and motivated individuals beavering away for lifetimes getting good at something, yet unable to make it "valuable," i.e., lucrative (after all, you’re apparently not "professional" at anything until it earns you enough money).


Furthermore, consider the activists, who are at a particular disadvantage since they are not supposed to be celebrities or media hounds. They have to be self-sacrificing, fighting not for themselves but "for the cause," rarely gaining the wherewithal (especially in Japan) to make their activism sustainable.

Julian Assange and "Captain" Paul Watson spring to mind, and the recent anti-nuclear demos have spawned quite a cottage industry of professional protesters.

If due to humility (or fear of being seen as profiteering from the suffering of others) activists cannot embed themselves within a fund-raising group

So that’s why FRANCA never went anywhere! :headdesk:


I’ve noticed that he often has a paragraph starting with "Look" in his recent articles – I’m sure it’s bad English, and it always reminds me of Tony Blair. :roll:

Debito Arudou is the author of seven books

Two EFL text books, English and Japanese versions of Japanese Only, The Handbook, In Appropriate, and …? Is he counting the chapter of Fodor’s guide book? :facepalm:

Leave a comment ?


  1. @iago: I hope that link’s taking the piss…

    Back on, in the comments section, I note the Mr Arudou is not going out of his way to point out to people talking about how Japan oppresses horn tooters that his article described an incident that (almost certainly) took place in the US in English with mostly US citizens and ex-citizen present, but is going out of his way to correct someone who points out that tooting failures are down to inability to draw people out in conversation. :roll:

  2. Gervaise Brook-Hamster



    “Until the next time…”

    But after
    there wasn’t one.

  3. @Gervaise Brook-Hamster:

    Fucking hell. My eyes hurt after reading that.


    And now I’ve lost the will to live…thanks guys.

  4. @Ken Y-N: @VK:

    Unfortunately, I believe Mr Hersey is deadly serious. He’s been publishing that stuff since the ’70’s.

    I think Tokyo Weekender, with its adverts for Breitling watches and Porsche MLCs is representative of yet another class of Japan based NJ that is not AD’s core demographic…

  5. For some reason this struck me as being hysterically funny.

    Debito Arudou is the author of seven books and has been writing about Japan for more than 25 years (10 of them for The Japan Times), etc., etc.

    This read to me like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever…”

  6. Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore, et cetera, et cetera…

  7. speaking of headaches, been a long time, checked the site, apparently the vacation is over, so tried reading a couple comments in the latest crusader post.

    Ugh, that was a mistake.
    Hasimoto says something stupid and yet again it is a sign that Japan is on the brink of becoming Nazi Germany. :roll:

    Meanwhile a new full-time professor writes at length about discrimination in his new job (he is kindly ushered out of his first faculty meeting, because the foreign professors traditionally don’t attend.. I wager he didn’t read the memo), but never gets around to mentioning what his job actually is..

    I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and guess he’s an eikaiwa “professor”.

    Don’t have the duty to raise funds, handle budgets, write papers, mentor students, etc. ? Why should you have the right to give input to (and waste the time of) those who do? If you’re like, a real professor with those duties, I take it back. But as usual with these types, what’s NOT said…

    I don’t know what’s worse, the comments so racist it must be parody, or the ones who are actually serious but have a pitifully warped take on reality, seeing everything through a paranoid filter and unable or unwilling to see why they themselves just might be mistaken.

  8. @Level3:

    he is kindly ushered out of his first faculty meeting, because the foreign professors traditionally don’t attend.. I wager he didn’t read the memo

    Well, this is either bullshit, he was in the wrong room, or, in his defence, a possible legacy of many of the old generation of “I have a degree in something” full-time English university teachers doing sod all apart from teach, skipping whatever meetings they should actually attend, pulling a too-cool-for-school attitude to administration when they work in er…. :facepalm:

    In which case he should just ask if, from now on, he can attend. I think they’d be delighted if he did. I’ve witnessed/heard about several cases where the old guard retire and their successors, who actually set out to be professional applied linguists and university language teachers, discovering a mountain of non-compliance, seats on committees unoccupied, and tremendous relief from their Japanese colleagues that they’ve now got peers working alongside them and not part-timers on full pay.

  9. I was more interested in his claim to be on a special pay grade for “外国人”. He doesn’t explain if this made a difference to the amount of money he was paid compared to his colleagues, nor does he mention actually asking anyone to clarify what that meant.

    He mentions that the pay grade is classified by job description, but he’s so fuzzy about his own job description (he has a full-time job, a staff card and library privileges? So do I, doesn’t make either of us professors) that it’s possible he’s not a “professor” as claimed, but rather a native speaking “instructor”, which might make the “外国人” simple shorthand for his job description. I could be wrong about that though, and I’m willing to be corrected.

  10. Even DA himself seemed to be waving that story off with a wavy flourish of his ‘back on topic’ wand stick.

    There’s a serious disharmonious discord always permeating these kinds of stories. There’s the obligatory “20 years in Japan”, (never 19 or 21 years), the raging whimsy of the JLPT level 1 credentials, and the gagged disbelief at the inability of strangers to recognize how Japanese the arbiter really has become.

    None of this matches up with the fresh off the boat ignorance and erstwhile haplessness with which these giants of Japan are unable to deal with even the most basic logistical problems in their feeble lives.

    Wouldn’t such a fluent genius have asked his colleagues what he would be doing at the meeting or what goes on there, or what it’s involve for him. Can’t these linguistically-abled buttbags just talk to people?

    Even if all that happened were to be considered true, wouldn’t a man make inquiries about the nature of the problem itself himself? Would an able-bodied man post a whine to Debito in the middle of a thread about an unrelated topic? It just doesn’t match up. Doesn’t it sound like an English teacher introducing himself at the staff meeting? Has this guy really had 20 years experience of living and working in Japan only to be tossed around like a rag doll to wash up on Debito’s shores. It’s fake, it’s all fake, and if he’s trying to be the new troll on the Debito cockblock, it’s a false start.

  11. To be generous to him, there are still a few specialist ‘外国人’ contracts for full-time associate professors at some national universities that don’t include full faculty rights and are based on a separate pay scale (usually regular monthly pay without bonuses). These are leftovers from before the big bang reforms of 2004. Could he be referring to one of these?

    Point of disclosure: I have one of these positions, but I’m not complaining as I knew what I was applying for in the first place (and why didn’t he?). Oh, and just for the record, it is PHD level and nothing to do with linguistics, not that it matters :razz:

  12. @Pessoa

    Interesting! That seems like a very likely explanation, but if that’s the case wouldn’t he have known that before starting the job? Curious…

  13. @Rob: Yup, I felt there was a definite gap somewhere – you’d think at the interviews he’d have found out, or even after being bumped out of the meeting gone and actually resolved the problem. :headdesk:

  14. @Pessoa:

    So you could actually be seen as having a legitimate gripe, yet also knew what you were signing up for. And also know that writing to debito about it is pointless, heck, possibly harmful as he’d likely either ignore (or edit) your story, or call you a sheep-apologist and try to figure out where you work so he can call up and try to get you fired, because you have dared to post here.

    I assume the contract terms in some way justify the salary terms. (i.e. No performance bonuses if you’re not expected to meet performance targets. Maybe less pay if you don’t have proctor duty obligations and such. Or even higher monthly pay but no bonus?)

  15. @Level3

    All I can say for sure is that there are specialist posts for NJ in niche subject areas that do not come with faculty-voting rights, although they do include research and administration duties along with teaching. They are leftovers from the ‘foreign specialist’ professorships that existed in the last century which some nationals chose to retain in a new form. Pay is about the same, but will be based on the individual’s CV, so it is not so surprising that is listed separately. That all said, national universities can seem opaque, odd places: Mike Guest’s experiences as an employee, as described in his regular column, seem quite different to mine. As for this other guy, who knows?

  16. Ooh… Somebody’s research just got peer reviewed…


  17. @iago: Come on guys, tell me who is driving Fight Back, please! That was quite an epic comment that I’d like to pat you on the back for. :lol:

  18. There is definitely a marked difference in style between the two websites. Over here, there’s a relaxed and fun vibe. Kind of a nice, men softly flicking each other with towels in the locker room thing going on.
    Over there though, it’s a real mixed bag of human psychosis. overly serious and pedantic, utterly obsessive on the minutiae of deeply irrelevant data sets, and fickle and brittle with their stubbed emotions and stunted social skills. They don’t even seem to get along until they find something Japanese to hate. Maybe Fight Back is the little ray of sunshine Debito has been dreaming of, something approaching the buddy movie ethos of this site.

  19. @iLikeDolphins:
    Personally, I’d been hoping more for the Swedish mixed sauna vibe, but the girls never showed up.

  20. Right? Fight Back isn’t a wind up artist or maybe he’s just world class at his craft. But I suspect he’s losing his marbles in Japan and he needs to pack his shit up and leave because Japan isn’t working out for him. I’ve met heaps of guys and girls who were miserable in Japan but couldn’t find the courage to leave.

  21. So, I’ll assume debito and maybe some of his remaining fans are feverishly googling the other 2 random(?) people outed by debito’s reverse-stalkerish post of a screencap of the people who have checked his Linkedin profile (I’ll assume it still fails to mention anything at all about him teaching eikaiwa for 2 decades)

    Again with the hypocrisy…”This guy is stalking me! Here’s a link to my stalking of him! And the full names and jobs of a couple other people who might be guilty, too!”

    He may not have pronounced them guilty yet, but I’m sure they’re on his private enemies list until proven innocent.

  22. @Level3:

    These people have a pretty funny definition of “stalking”:

    they get upset when people look at basically a PUBLIC AD (i.e. a social network profile) that THEY THEMSELVES WROTE (not a third party with/without their permission) knowing full well that the purpose of it is for anybody and everybody (friends, strangers, and yes, “enemies”) to learn about them.

    In fact, that particular site has settings that enable the level of public visibility one’s profile has. Meaning not only did they write it, they choose how visible their information would be.

  23. Toot-toot!

    Some reading for you.

    One chapter like this is worth more than the 5,000+ essays on, and I do mean that most sincerely.

  24. @Ken Y-N:

    You are such a stalker :wink:

    I just skipped towards the end and was stunned to see a long list of references from a wide array of sources – then realized they were for someone else’s section of the book. Scrolled back to his references. No surprises.

    Cited his website 6 or 7 times out of about 20 references that are available in the preview (from C to Z, A-C are not available, thus there’s probably a buttload more under “Arudou” to get the self-citation ratio over 50% I bet, which is especially silly when none of them are peer-reviewed.) Most of the others from C to Z are websites and even an anime as a citation! And the few legit refs of newspaper articles/editorials aren’t even properly done. Issue? Vol? Date? Page number? Something?

    I have a pitiful feeling that this is the sole product of his $400 fellowship+library card, and now I’m not even convinved that he got a library card. No signs he used one. All internet (which might explain the improper refs of newspaper articles)


    Ugh, I can’t read it. There’s just no draw anymore. Too predictable. Too sad.

  25. Yasushi Super Dry


    It’s a chapter in a book, which means the only editing that occurs comes from the book’s editor. In many cases, the editor and the chapter authors have a prior relationship (coworkers, supervisor/student, friends) etc. so the vetting and editing process is much less rigorous.

    It certainly is blood-pressure-raisingly frustrating to see Arudou cite his own blog. (Thankfully he didn’t use any JBC columns. I’d be forced to abandon my faith in the scientific method if that happened.) Hopefully a journal would have rejected some of these citations.

  26. beneaththewheel

    He cited a future PhD of his, as well as Oguwa, who from what I’ve read is a guy with a lot of cool stuff to say on what it means to be Japanese. However, I couldn’t find where Debito used his work. :(

  27. beneaththewheel

    Apologies, Oguma, not Oguwa.

  28. @Yasushi Super Dry:

    Heh heh.
    “I’d be forced to abandon my faith in the scientific method if that happened.”

    This has nothing to do with science. :wink:

    It just comfirms my faith that a good chunk of the humanities field is a religious belief system posing as science, kind of like Intelligent Design. Unfortunately, this religion has a large foothold in education and mass media.

    OK, I skimmed just to look at the photos. Note he put in the Gaijinj Hanzai Secret File.
    Of course he did point out that the many of the stories and cartoons in that mook were based on real events and stats, but are just twisted with racist spin, right? (Though some of the specualtion pieces are nuts,like the story about how the CIA has 400 spies operating in Japan on pg. 96. If they had that many, surely I would be one of them. :wink: )

    Guess he doesn’t see the irony? Collecting a truly insignificant number of isolated cases from over the years and then branding an entire group of people with it…

    How about a new title for the chapter?
    “Nihonjin Racism Secret File”

  29. @beneaththewheel:

    The problem with citing Oguma, Befu and Bestor is you are flagging, to anyone with a passing knowledge of the field, that your reading of other academics is probably limited to English language translations and sources.

    That’s slightly ironic because he writes in his chapter of how Japanese social science “intellectually handicaps itself”, quoting John Philips in support, with his observation about Japanese anthropologists specializing in Africa and their “failure to interact with the wider world of international scholarship”.

  30. @Justin Thyme:

    Gold star for you. I was wondering when someone else would notice that other huge irony. Though doesn’t citing Anpanman count as a Japanese language source? :lol:

    I kind of feel sad for the other contributors. Or are they all part of the Racism Everywhere Except Among Us camp? Wow, the publication list of the editor, Ronald E. Hall at Amazon looks like debito’s core reading list. Scary.

    I especially liked this title, “Rooming in the Master’s House: Power and Privelege in the Rise of Black Conservatism” :facepalm: I believe the subtitle was supposed to be, “Successful Black Businessmen are Uncle Toms” :wink:

  31. @Level3:

    Oh and “privilege” is spelt wrong on the Amazon page, but thankfully not the book jacket. A sign of the racism inherent in the system? :wink:

  32. What an absolutely laughable contribution.

    Citing a forthcoming phd? Referring to primary sources written or produced by self with “courtesy of…” self?

    This is the type of shit I reject as a reviewer and editor way before it has a chance to embarrass the author, reviewers or publishers, and most definitely potential readers.

    A little bird informs me that there were major problems in dealing with this piece and the author. What a surprise.

  33. @Laughable: I must say I was surprised that the various copyrighted images were credited as “Courtesy of Debito Arudou”, as I would have expected them to have an © tag – it would, IMO, be fair use to paste them in without permission, but I’m surprised a publisher like Springer would let them get through like that. :???:

  34. Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    Laughable, you can’t just leave it there. How about you tell us a story about a fictional author who had fictional problems publishing his fictional “non-fiction” article in a fictional book?

    I suspect it is something to do with the fact that in an “academic” piece it all builds up to the exciting conclusion that a period in the author’s life needs to be replayed, just in case you missed it the “first” times.

  35. Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    By the way, what color should baikinman be?

  36. Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    Plus, currypanman is brown, and a good guy.

  37. Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    Oh, just read what I could in google books. The theory section offers basically no original contribution to an understanding of race as depicted in Japan, and a series of photos and anecdotes all just ripped from his blog. No wonder they didn’t want to publish something you can get for free on line.

    I shudder to think what the PhD will be like. I wonder who his supervisor is.

  38. @Chrysanthemum Sniffer:

    So it basically IS the Bizarro version of the Gaijin Hanzai Secret File, except less interesting? Well, that’s what his whole site has been all along, eh?

    A small collection of anecdotes assembled to prove gaijin are criminals is included as an item in a small collection of anecdotes assembled to prove Japanese are racist.

    This man’s irony levels are off the chart! Get the deferoxamine and start chelation, stat!


    If aneccdotal evidence is “proof”, here’s a fun disproof. Go to Flickr. Search for “Japan” and see there are 14,159,040 results.
    Those being mostly photos taken and posted by English-speakers who travelled to or live in Japan. And their cameras were not snatched from their hands by racist Japanese out to harass and expel the gaijin devils. :roll:

    Try searching for “no gaijin” – and look through the single page of thumbs that pops up and find any photos of no gaijin signs. How many?

    (and it just says foreigers must be accompanied by Japanese, I’ll wager a foreigner who can speak Japanese would have no problems.)

    Try searching : Japan “no foreigners”
    Two. (and both look like they’re in Kabukicho – my apologism again!)
    Plus 3 or 4 photos of rightwingers.

    3 photos of signs out of 14,159,040?

    My anecdotes smash yours.

    But maybe it’s (dis?)confirmation bias? Maybe there really are thousands… no, MILLIONS! of “No gaijin” signs in Japan (and I’ve somehow managed not to see any in over 10 years.. though I don’t have an obsession with frequenting red light districts), but the people who dared take photos were eliminated and the uploads censored. :roll:


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