Debito (nee Dave Aldwinckle, Japan’s most prominent foreigner rights advocate) has already been at it on his blog about it, after a busy day yesterday over at BigDaikon where the topic of discussion was ã€Œå¤–äººçŠ¯ç½ªè£ãƒ•ã‚¡ã‚¤ãƒ«ã€ or the Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu – a publication consisting of information about foreign criminal activity in Japan. I picked up my copy at the convenience store on the way to work this morning.
The front cover features awesomely grotesque caricatures of foreigners and the back has a helpful chart informing us that of the 47000 crimes committed by foreigners in Japan this year, none of them were committed by Americans, Canadians, Australians or Europeans. Perhaps a little premature on the part of the publishers. It also provides a handy rating of how hazardous each country is with China coming in first at 14, with Korea trailing at 9.
Inside pictorial features and comics thoughtfully let us know about the dangers of foreigners with real photos (that totally weren’t posed or sourced from other countries at all) labeled with helpful captions.
This is the bit where I editorialise : To be fair, whilst Japan is an ethnically homogenous society I’ve never personally felt discriminated against – nobody told me I had to sit at the back of the bus or anything. I work in an average city in an average part of semi-rural Japan with average schools and average students. In the magazine the word å¤–äºº (gaijin) or ‘outside person’ is actually used as opposed to the correct term å¤–å›½äººã€€(gaikokujin) or ‘outside country person’ – gaijin can actually be construed quite offensive and generally only used when someone is insulting (a) foreigner/s.
Whilst I find the concept of publishing a magazine specifically singling out foreigners and crimes they commit quite discriminatory and offensive, I can’t help but laugh at the closemindedness that produces it. For example, in order to make their case they’ve pulled together a decent number of pages featuring Japanese girls and foreign guys kissing, hugging, etc in public but the majority of these photos seem to be taken from outside Japan – it’s Japanese girls hooking up with foreigners in Europe/America, etc. Strangely absent are the photos of the foreign girls hooking up with Japanese guys.
Moreover, countries that have quite pronounced anti-discrimination laws/racial vilification laws (such as America, Australia, Canada, Europe) aren’t on the ‘Dangerous Countries’ chart on the back.
I should finally make it clear with this article that I’m not politicising HD or anything of the sort, but I did find this magazine to be in outrageously amusing poor taste and that sense of humour is responsible for at least half of my purchases at Comiket. If you’d like your very own copy, Amazon.co.jp have it in stock. Or if you’re in Japan, enjoy the look of abject confusion on the face of the convenience store clerk that sells it to you.
Shipon lives in Northern Japan and is glad to live away from the foreign crime wave that is apparently enveloping Tokyo. Thanks to Steve [via Debito’s blog] for scanning the images so I didn’t have to.