The Japanese government has just released their crime statistics for 2006, which show crimes by non-permanent resident foreigners in Japan are down 16.2% from a record high logged the year before. Unfortunately not everyone was impressed with these figures. A few days ago word broke out on foreign activist and anti-racism campaigner Arudou Debito’s site of a new very racist, and particularly “anti-gaijin in Japan” magazine called 外人犯罪裏ファイル (gaijin hanzai ura fairu), which has been variously translated as “Shocking Foreigner Crime: The Undercover File” or “Secret Files of Foreigners’ Crimes”. The magazine was widely available in convenience stores, book stores and online.
The magazine is subtitled “The 2007 White Paper on Foreigner Crime” and the general theme is that foreigners in Japan are largely responsible for the crime rate. Throw in a bit of bad language and a bit of racist slang and you’ve got a pretty good idea of where this is going. The book is littered with crude caricatures of foreigners, photos of shattered glass (which may or may not have been caused by bullets,) and pixellated photos which purportedly show foreigners caught in the act.
Many of the stories seem to focus on Japanese girls wanting to be with gaijin guys – Jealousy?
While I get the impression the magazines goal is to stir up fear of a foreign crime wave, the editors seem to be easily distracted. Several stories, as pictured here, are focussed not on the foreigner crime wave, but instead on interracial dating, prostitution on and around US military bases (just the buying end), and Korean and other Asian prostitutes in Tokyo (just the selling end.) Outrage over the magazine has been widely vented, including in The Times and in Yahoo News.
However, the editorial director of Tokyo-based publishers Eichi, Shigeki Saka, has defended the magazine and insists that it is not racist, despite several references to black men in the magazine as “nigger (ニガー、niggaa).” He justified the publication by saying that “This is not a racist book, because it is based on established fact.” He continued that “if we wanted to be racist, we could write it in a much more racist way,” and then explained that the word “nigger” was not racist because it is not considered offensive in Japan. He refused to issue an apology, justifying himself by saying “If you read the magazine, you’ll see there’s no single discriminatory phrase, so I don’t know why should I apologise.”
According to an update posted by Debito the magazine has since been recalled by Family Mart, who has now issued an official apology on their website for stocking the “不愉快な (fuyukai,unpleasant)” magazine at all. Here at Stippy.com we had to make an emergency dash to the local WonderGoo to pick up the last copy before they were removed there as well.
A bit of research though indicates that it is still available on Amazon.co.jp, and they apparently have no intention of pulling it. Amazon said that they believe “… it is censorship not to offer for sale certain titles with repugnant or distasteful content” and insisting that “… [they] will continue to make controversial works available in the UK and everywhere else, except where they are prohibited by law.” Looking at the list of other recommended books at the Amazon.co.jp page though indicates that it isn’t necessarily Japanese buyers with a fondness for racism lapping them up. In the “Customers who bought this item also bought…” section it lists mainly Japanese language texts, including one for “Reading Comprehension for Level 1 Japanese Proficiency Exam”. It seems that it is largely foreigners who are searching for the books online, if not in the shops as well. Either that, or the young uyoku kiddies are working to brush up their Japanese a bit before they sit for their scooter licence exams.
Some of the comments by Amazon customers are comforting to see, basically slamming this magazine for the xenophobic and racist propaganda that it is:
Amazon.com Comment 1 – 日本人の恥: この本は海外の有力新聞で紹介され、日本人がいかに人種差別を容認しているかという証拠物件のように扱われています。ハッキリ言って日本人の恥です。戦前のナチスドイツで似たような内容の本がユダヤ人について出版されていたと指摘されています。実際、日本の犯罪のほとんどは日本人が行っているわけだし、世界的に見ても日本は外国人による犯罪が極端に少ない国であるわけだから、こういう本が出版される正当性はありません。しかも、外国人の犯罪を問題視するのなら、どうして日本人女性をナンパする外人まで同列に扱っているのでしょう？ナンパは犯罪ですか？単にダメな奴らのヒガミじゃないんですか？
Amazon.com Comment 2 – 人種差別本: 差別用語を頻繁に用い、内容が低レベル。著者には日本人として多大な劣等意識があると思われる。無知な日本人には外国人に対する偏見を植えつけてしまう。
Of course, it’s impressive to see that a strong campaign by foreign activists was able to get some stores in Japan to reconsider stocking this tract. Nevertheless, I’m curious about how many of those complaining had actually read it. The sites listed above do have links to pictures of a couple of pages scanned from the magazine, and of course the content looks terrible, but it is not easy to get a good idea for what the articles are actually advocating.
For this reason, the team here at Stippy.com has decided to perform a bit of a public service and fully translate some of the articles for those who either can’t get their hands on the mag, or for any non-Japanese speakers here who would like to know what all the fuss is about. We’ll start today with a rough outline of the contents, and if there’s any particular story you’d like to know more about leave us your vote in the comments.
“Gaijin Hanzai Ura File” – Table of Contents (Which would you like to see translated on Stippy??):
- p2, Tokyo Lawless Zone – Whether it’s Chinese and Black people in Shinjuku, Iranians in Shibuya, or multicultural carnage underway in Roppongi, foreign criminals are taking over all of Tokyo. What will happen next!?
- p10, The Kidnapping Incident of a Shibuya Women’s University Student – Foreign criminals are starting to co-operate, and someone is going to get abducted!
- p18, The Murder of a Brazilian Mother and Child in Yaizu – Murdered by a foreigner, of course.
- p30, The Heinousness of Robbery Gangs – A gang of lethal outlaws is targeting Japan!
- p32, Why is Japan Being Targeted? – An academic explains.
- p46, Interview With the National Police Agency : We are going to go after foreign crime with everything we’ve got! – Actually, it’s surprisingly restrained and politically correct. Someone should have done a better job of misquoting them.
- p49, The Top 10 Major Foreigner Crimes That Horrified Japan – Including a story about the “Chilean Geisha”, who seems to be guilty of receiving gifts bought with money embezzled by a Japanese Government Official!
- p60, The Crime Business of North Korea : An evil nation in a league of it’s own. – Perhaps it’s not quite relevant, but according the policeman at the local koban the North Koreans stole my last scooter.
- p65, The Murder of a Family of Four in Fukuoka – A gruesome story of murder by a gang of Chinese foreign students, expertly simplified into a six page manga story!
- p73, The Kidnapping Incident of a Women’s University Student in Shibuya – Another six page manga, but this time with a happy ending. A true tale of heroism. Possibly slightly exaggerated.
- p79, Interview with a Former Metropolitan Police Department Detective : “The age where everyone is a target” – Apparently a well-planned, well-organised, unbelievable incident beyond your wildest imagination will occur sometime after spring. What could this ambiguous incident possibly be!
- p82, Murder on a Pig Farm in Chiba – Another manga, this time four pages, documenting a murder, committed by a foreigner, on a pig farm… in rural Chiba Prefecture.
- p88, A History of Foreign Cults – You never know when a foreigner might force you to believe in a crazy religion against your own will!
- p96, What the CIA is Doing in Japan – Are they a friend or an enemy?
- p97, Shocking Photo Scoop! : A top secret facility for foreign sex workers in Kabukicho – Not very top secret anymore, I’m afraid.
- p108, Cracking Down on the Asian Prostitution Trade – Tales of forced prostitution in Kabukicho, an otherwise family friendly safe haven.
- p110, Korean Prostitution in Uguisudani – Including answers to eight questions you always wanted to ask about Korean prostitutes. Do they practice safe sex? Do they hate the Japanese? And what is that Kim-chi smell?
- p113, 2006 Foreigner Crime Database – 13 pages, with all you need to know about 187 evil deeds committed in 2006. Kind of what you would expect in a newsprint version of “America’s Most Wanted,” except perhaps not quite as intellectually stimulating.
- p126, Trends and Countermeasures for 2007 – Will you be able to protect yourself?
Let us know which you would like to see translated in the comments, and why! (You’ll have to convince us to get of our bums and translate..!)