The level of discourse around foreign immigrants can be bad in the UK, but it’s worse in Japan. There’s a lot of casual racism: one example that always used to annoy me was the poster in one station on the Osaka subway warning passengers to beware of pickpockets—illustrated with a blond-haired, big-nosed caricature of a stereotypical gaijin (foreigner). To be fair, though, most of it is driven by ignorance.
What you see below, however, is not ignorance, but malice. It’s from a magazine being sold at convenience stores and bookshops across Japan, called 『驚愕の外人犯罪裏ファイル』 or ‘Shocking Foreigner Crime Secret File’. I snagged the cover image from Amazon Japan, who are also selling it.
Among other things, the cover warns the reader that ‘Anyone could be a target of foreigners’ crime in 2007!!’ and asks, ‘Are we going to let foreigners trample all over Japan?!!’
Here’s a sample of the contents:
It says, ‘Oi, n****r!! Don’t touch that Japanese lady’s arse!!’
Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not paraphrasing the insult: it literally says ‘n****r’, rendered phonetically in Japanese katakana.
Here’s another excerpt. The caption reads, ‘Hey, this is Japan! Go back to your own country!’
It makes the Daily Mail look like the voice of liberal multiculturalism, doesn’t it?!
There’s a pretty big outcry about it, unsurprisingly. (See Joi Ito, Ejovi Nuwere, Fukumimi, Japan Probe, Arudou Debito and the Guardian, among others.) The depressing thing is that people involved in commissioning, producing, ordering, and stocking the magazine apparently though that it would be acceptable.