Tag Archives: just be cause - Page 2

What on earth is he on about?

This month’s Just Be Cause is all rather complex and confusing, starting with the cartoon that seems to picture Uncle Sam giving Hans a hand job under the tablecloth. One thing I noted in particular was that this month he is not using “we Japanese” – I suspect it his rhetorical device when giving advice to Japanese; this time it features none.

For example, Japan’s pundits have already begun arguing that Japan’s disappointing performance in the World Cup in Brazil was partly down to the fallacy that Japanese bodies are smaller and weaker than those of foreigners.

Which pundits? Did the National Association of Pundits have a get-together and vote on this as this year’s excuse? Or was he just not following the football but wildly guessing that that would be a talking point? Although I didn’t follow the punditry in any depth, the only time I remember height being mentioned was regarding the 190+ cm Greek attacker. Most of the reasons I heard have been regarding a lack of finishers and a lack of pride in the uniform.

The West has largely moved on from this dangerous bunkum, thanks to the “master race” excesses of World War II and Nazi Germany’s Final Solution.

That sounds distinctly strange (and probably all wrong timeline-wise) to me!

[Regarding inferiority complexes] So instead you get isolation, loneliness, anxiety and scant sense of belonging. (I’m sure you long-termers who feel unrecognized for all your efforts to “fit in to Japan” can relate to this.)

Did he just say that Jim Di Griz and other (assuming there are any other) Japan-resident posters on Debito.org have inferiority complexes, and by implication most of the Japologists are probably free from any sense of inferiority? For once I can agree with him!

This “tradition” of ranking oneself in comparison with others, particularly in terms of degrees of civilization, has become ingrained as cultural habit and reflex.

Is this supposed to be a unique-to-Japan trait? Doesn’t much of the West see democracies as superior to the governments in many other parts of the world?

Rather, the default reflex is to see them in terms of comparative national development and civilization.


For if acceptance, recognition and superlative praise of Japan as a safe, peaceful, developed country are not forthcoming from the outsider, insult and anger almost inevitably ensue. 

I think Mr Arudou has been taken in by Jim Di Griz’ trolling.

Ugg, sore head

First, I wrote an article about Gregory Clark’s denial of the Nanking Tiananmen Square Massacre – it was all a British plot, and the protesters started it, and it wasn’t in Tiananmen Square anyway, but then my browser crashed and the article disappeared.

Next, Just Be Cause is out, but I’m baffled. Is 者 really an honorific? Why does only one gloss of 移民 have a (sensitive) tag in Jim Breen’s dictionary? This PDF says there were about 100,000 people on trainee visas in 2008. Dr Arudou states that there are “dozens of deaths per year” amongst trainees, but this table gives, if we assume the trainees are 50:50 male and female in their twenties, an annual death rate of 0.5 in 1,000, or about four dozen people. One could argue about them having harsher working conditions so an increased death rate versus having less opportunity to get in accidents due to drinking and/or driving, but I think we’d remain in the same order of magnitude for these figures.

My comment got binned again!

Just Be Cause is out again, but my comment on this:

non-Japanese residents are required to carry ID 24/7 in the form of wallet-size “gaijin cards,” nowadays known as zairyū kādo (resident cards).

where I complained that Mr Arudou is abusing the ‘g’-word again and making me feel micro-aggressed, but without being as pedantic as I was last time I complained, was not accepted by the moderator. Oh well.

However, if I wanted to be pedantic (and you all know I want to!), I could mention that if the gaijin cards are nowadays known as zairyu kado, why does he not use the new term? Why does he choose to mention “gaijin card” but neither ARC nor gaikokujin toroku shomei blahblahwaitwhileigoogleit?

On the other hand, as the article is competent and to the point – that is, it doesn’t read like an Arudou article – there’s little to complain about, and even his Japanese translations seem correct, if a little stilted. If someone has his Handbook, I wonder if they could check how much of a cut’n’paste there is?

Damn, I have to wait another week for my 初笑い


UPDATE: It turned out to be 初 :roll: .

BTW, is that a dwarfist cartoon? Let’s run down the list:

11. A link to his character assassination of Marutei Tsurunen.

10. and 9. Two deaths of people connected to Japan, but hardly current human rights issues-related. Note, if you replace these two with Donald Keene not being dead, you get a nice round ten – I wonder if his editor had a word with him?

8. and 7. Another two links to past JBCs.

6. I’d call it conceit rather than xenophobia, but who is this Hidehiko Nishiyama? The New York Times article he references (why no hyperlink to a sister paper?) does indeed call him deputy director at the environment ministry, but Google tells me he (or someone with the same name) is an ex-“successful career bureaucrat at the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry” who was ex-ed in 2011 for allegedly shagging a underling. Looking at Japanese Wikipedia, he was at that point “環境省水・大気環境局福島除染推進チーム次長”, which seems to me to be deputy team leader, not as implied second-in-command of the whole of the environment ministry.

5. More references to his own articles, but no links though. However, I take exception to this:

fiddling with definitions of “domestic violence” to include acts that don’t involve physical contact

I think most people agree that domestic violence need not be physical – Wikipedia says:

Domestic violence and abuse is not limited to obvious physical violence. Domestic violence can also mean endangerment, criminal coercion, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trespassing, harassment, and stalking.

4. Yet more links and references.

3. He gets the Miki Dezaki story all wrong. Mr Dezaki published his video after his tenure with JET finished, and in an interview he does not associate going to a Buddhist retreat with the abuse he suffered.

2. More self-references! Furthermore, I think he gets the “ethnic nationalist” label wrong – that is the bad kind of nationalist; it is civic nationalism that is soft and cuddly. Interestingly, in a recent article Eido Inoue states that it is actually the left in Japan who are ethnicaly nationalist, so perhaps Mr Arudou got confused?

1. No links to his own articles, so it must be an important point! I am of the suspicion that the new Secrets law is not particularly better or worse than the UK’s Official Secrets Act, for instance, and I await someone to do a reasoned comparative review of the Japanese statute. Mr Arudou also says:

Moreover, this law expands “conspiracy” beyond act and into thought.

Whatever next, people calling for a law to expand “racism” beyond act and into thought? Oh, and isn’t a conspiracy by definition a thought? I will note, however, that US federal and some state laws require an act as well for prosecution.

I’ve just realised JBC makes absolutely no bloody sense

First, a list of absolutes from the article:

Just step out into public view and you’ll feel it.

a Japanese student in any classroom

The Eye thus keeps Japanese classrooms quiet.

The Eye thus forces everyone to assume

By donning drab colors, effecting a sullen public mask and adopting unobtrusive behaviors like everyone else

NJ in Japan are naturally viewed as suspicious.

making everyone watch and police one another.

they’ll come back to Japan and plug right back in.

I make that eight very broad brush strokes.

if they happen to appeal to a desirable standard (e.g., tall, well-groomed, moneyed and male). They attract the attention of the Giggly Ingenue and Bored Cougar. In other words, they get “the look,” not The Eye.

From only the GI and BC, or do they 以心伝心ingly tell all The Other Eyes to switch to “the look” (surely “The Look”?) mode? Or does The Look outweigh The Eye? What’s the minimum recommended ratio of Looks to Eyes? What about for married people, gays, straight women or others who may have no interest in attention from a GI or BC?

As for the motley NJ who don’t fit that aforementioned desirable standard, The Eye eventually convinces them that they really are somehow deviant and undesirable.

He said “e.g.” rather than “i.e.”, so it’s not exclusive, but since he used “desirable” one would assume that this included other traditional measures of attractiveness like slim, full head of blonde hair, big nose, etc.

there are NJs who do “look Japanese” and can “pass” as such. By donning drab colors, effecting a sullen public mask and adopting unobtrusive behaviors like everyone else, they can escape The Eye.

Depressed zainichi goths get a free pass, but:

This time, however, shikata ga nai — there is no escape from The Eye. The only escape is to head back to the airport and exit Japanese society.

Not even the ultimate apologist’s line “If you don’t like it, go home”, but just “If you’re not God’s gift to women, go home”

This time last year he said:

And if you dare get critical? You face exclusionism, even from NJ themselves. The common retort to any criticism is, “Well, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?”

With reasoned argument debased to the level of “love it or leave it,” the “like or dislike” ideological prism effectively becomes an intellectual prison.

Mr Arudou has painted his ideological prism fuligin.

Oh-oh, I have a funny feeling about this one…

Mr Arudou has published a trailer to this month’s Just Be Cause, and my initial thoughts were that I hope the Japan Times has had a lawyer read it over…

he claimed there is no evidence that the Japanese government sponsored the program

Wrong. He disputes the details of the system, specifically the coercion element.

suggested these exploited women were (and still are) a "necessary" outlet for a military’s primal urges

The "still are" is also wrong, unless you take the view that Japan’s adult entertainment business employees are the equivalent of sex slaves. Actually, there is definitely issues of human trafficking and the Entertainer Visa, but let’s wait to see what kind of equating goes on…

He has also presented us with a case study of how to keep people like him in check

I wonder if he’ll contradict last month’s opinion on censorship? :facepalm:

BTW, searching Google, I find an interesting article on the subject from the Telegraph, written by an ex-prostitute.

Another interesting thought: can we call soldiers conscripted during wartime "murder slaves"?

Just Be Cause is back on form!

After a few months of disappointingly uncontroversial JBC’s, Mr Arudou is back on form with more ill-thought through material. The basic premise that 外国人風 is a useless and offensive term in police reports is one that I hope all my readers would agree with, however.

This is why judiciaries provide mechanisms to keep media accountable.

Hmm, that doesn’t seem quite right to me; I would say they provide mechanisms to provide redress from irresponsible media.

But what about broadcasting misleading or false information about groups? That’s a different issue, because Japan has no laws against "hate speech" (ken’o hatsugen).

We have two different issues conflated here; "All foreigners hate natto" is most certainly false, but it’s not hate speech. Furthermore, hate speech seems to be 憎悪発言, 差別発言 or just ヘイトスピーチ.

If there is a crime where the perpetrator might be a non-Japanese (NJ), the National Police Agency (and by extension the media, which often parrots police reports without analysis) tends to use racialized typology in its search for suspects.

I expect VK to pop up and explain why this use of "racialized typology" is all wrong!

Typology such as this has long been criticized by scholars of racism for lacking objectivity and scientific rigor.

:headdesk: The police and press are passing on witness descriptions, not carrying out a scientific analysis.

One might see […] the occasional chūgokujin-kei, firipin-kei, etc., for suspects involved in organized crime or the "water trade."

Tut-tut Mr Arudou. Shall I report you to your censorship police for suggesting Chinese and Filipinos are Triads and prostitutes?

1) When there is a suspect on the run, and the public is being alerted to be on the lookout, then give phenotypical details (e.g., gender, height, hair color) — the same as you would for any Japanese fugitive.

Does Mr Arudou believe that skin colour or indeed nose size is a phenotypical detail?

2) When there is a suspect in custody for interrogation (as in, not yet charged for prosecution), then it is not necessary to give phenotypical or nationality details.

3) When there is an arrest, giving out details on specific nationality is permissible

A suspect in custody by definition has been arrested. I think in 2) he means a person of interest, someone the police want to eliminate from their enquiries.

2) […]it is not necessary to give phenotypical or nationality details. Why? […] It is also not yet a fact of the case that this particular crime has been committed by this particular person — innocent before proven guilty, remember.

3) When there is an arrest, giving out details on specific nationality is permissible

3) contradicts 2).

when there is an acquittal, the police and media should mention the nationality of the former suspect in a public statement, to counteract the social damage caused by any media coverage that may have inadvertently linked criminality to a nationality.

I’m getting reminded of the Monty Python News for Parrots sketch

In addition, the police should repeatedly caution the media against any tone associating nationality with criminality.

NO, NO, and thrice NO!

Because the media must not only watch the watchers; it must watch itself.

I thought you just said that was the police’s job?

I also know that policymakers read the Japan Times Community pages and this column, because they have changed their policies after withering criticisms here.

:roll: :roll: :roll:

Anyone ready to say in public "He’s a criminal because he’s from Osaka"?

Didn’t the Asahi Weekly imply Hashimoto was a criminal because of his Burakumin roots? And people seem quite happy to ask similar questions on Q&A sites. You’ll also see similar broad brushes on Japan Today and, dare I say it, Debito.org.

First Tuesday, Just Be Cause, blah blah blah

I commented elsewhere on the site that I was losing interest in Debito.org, so now I must admit to having the same feelings about his JT column. Someone might have something more interesting to say on it, but for me it is tortured metaphors – check; thesaurus abuse – check; lack of anything positive – check. In a little more detail:

America has a Green Card as a well-known denizen (even uglier word than gaijin!) indicator but I cannot think of an equivalent in the UK. I would guess most Japanese assume we have always had a juminhyo.

If you’re planning on living in Japan indefinitely, I suggest you get your neighbors warmed up to the fact that you as a non-Japanese (let’s at least avoid the dislocated, transient trappings of the generic word “foreigner”) are not merely gaikokujin. And as of 2012, most of you now have a jūminhyō (residency certificate) to prove it.

If people are planning on staying long-term, I’d certainly hope they would have advanced from talking in English to the neighbours. So, we should call ourselves 非日本人? :facepalm:

Then spread the word through the grass roots, such as they are. Upgrade your status and mollify the binary.

Are we supposed to carry our juminhyo and wave it at people at the least provocation? And WTF is "mollify the binary"? :headdesk:

This month’s Just Be Cause

I think I’ll sit this one out here, and instead watch the fireworks that no doubt will appear in the Japan Times’ comments. I will make one comment there (if no-one beats me to it!) to correct facts, then watch and decide how or if to follow on.

I’m also feeling a bit aggrieved that I can no longer predict the URL to get a sneak preview. :razz:

UPDATE: It is here.

Do Mr Arudou a favour: don’t stop being an apologist

Here we go again – straw men and old chestnuts get knocked down.

We must now teach a sanitized version of Japanese history, or young Japanese might just find a reason not to "like" our country.

Must "we"? I think there is a common perception amongst foreigners that the early 20th century history taught in Japanese schools runs something along the lines of "There were some unpleasantnesses, then Japan got nuked", but I’ve heard enough to suggest this is incorrect.

My point is that reducing public debate to "like or dislike" is too unsophisticated for thoughtful social critique — especially when it is being enforced from above.

A great big Wicker Man.

Remember the oft-cited axiom of "putting a lid on smelly things" (kusai mono ni wa futa o shirō) to explain away censorship and coverup?

No. Can you give us an example?

How the Olympus and Fukushima fiascoes were handled are but two examples.

OK, two concrete examples. For Olympus I agree that there was self-censorship in the mainstream press when Facta initially broke the story, but the covering up by the board would not be covered by that set phrase. For Fukushima, that set phrase is too easy a dismissal of a very complicated set of occurrences and actions.

Ever notice how you are supposed to say "I like Japan" at every opportunity?

I really ought to get a Wicker Man icon for these articles.

I was even compelled to devote an entire column (JBC, Feb. 6) to what I like about Japan.

:?: I’m not sure what is the best icon to put in here.

The common retort to any criticism is, "Well, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?"


Because, linguistically, you can stigmatize and shut them up for walking on the wrong side of the dichotomy.

It sadly hasn’t worked for you. Furthermore, Debito.org is the home of the one-dimensional "Apologist!" shouters.

So do Japan some good: Offer some fresh ideas.

We’re still waiting…

Oh, as a bonus the letters page has a reply to last month’s article from:

Walmington-on-Sea, England

He probably has something else to say to Mr Arudou.