Dan E Venz has posted the chapters of his thesis? book? on japan.box.sk. It concerns the attitude to and assimilation of foreigners in Japanese society. He says:

It was further discovered that the belief that “greater immersion equaled lessor[sic] feelings of discrimination” was a falsity (opposite to what foreigners had been led to believe). When compared to other countries this situation is unique to Japan (i.e., the better a foreigner speaks English in English speaking countries, the fewer the instances of discrimination). This demonstrates that while a lot of the discrimination against foreigners in other countries can be accredited[sic] to the language ability [or lack of language ability] of the foreigner, in Japan discrimination against non-Japanese is more apt to stem from the physical attributes of the foreigner, rather than the Japanese language ability of the foreigner.

It supports many of my own impressions about Japanese society, that it is essentially, unapologetically racist. I know that it’s going to upset some people to say that, but I’d be really interested to hear a reasoned rebuttal. The only hope is that it can change. I hope, and I think, that it will. Eventually. The younger generation is more open minded. As for the older ones, well, the grim reaper will deal with them in his own time.

It’s useful and interesting to talk to intelligent, rational people (and yes, there are many of them in Japan too) about the subject. However, many many Japanese tend to fall back on the crutch of “Japan is an island”. It’s a learned, pavlovian response, not a reasoned and independently concieved thought; that much is obvious. It stands out as a brand of ignorance, at least in my opinion.

Yeah, Japan’s an island. So what? You’ve got boats, right? Where did all those Chinese characters come from? What about the Japanese people themselves—the ones who displaced the aboriginal Ainu, that is? I mean, Hawaii manages to be a bit more open minded, and it’s in the middle of an ocean. Korea is pretty close to Japan. Close enough, in fact, that the Japanese managed to invade Korea twice. Island, schmisland.

I followed some links and found the whole series rather conveniently presented here. Sobering reading.