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Trash Media and Convenience Stores February 2, 2007

Posted by fukumimi in crime, Japan, Media.
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Via JapanProbe

Whilst the convenience store isn’t the place you would go to buy any real book, this piece of publishing trash must be about as bad as it gets.

It is bad enough that porn magazines are on public display next to the normal periodicals (most of those have smutty content as well, but at least in the case of those publications, the smut subsidises for what appears to be the closest thing to published investigative journalism that the Japanese media can muster), not even an attempt to key them out of sight or reach of small children. Then there is the level of sex in comics targetted at teens and even pre-teens.

But, although I’m a firm believer in the freedom of speech, I certainly can’t agree with the distribution of a pathetic xenophobic piece of crap like the “mook” (=japanglish word for a m(agazine)-(b)ook) shown above, albeit from the well known publishers of porn featuring lots of girls wearing high school attire, Eichi Shuppan who probably account for a decent proportion of sales of convenience store magazines (especially late at night).

Eichi also publishes a bunch of magazines/mooks profiling Korean celebrities, catering for the sad but probably harmless Fuyu-no-sonata bored housewife set. How’s that for covering all the bases.

I wonder what logic drove Family Mart, Amazon, 7&Y (the company behind 7-11 and Itoyokado), Kinokuniya (the book store), Yamato Transport, and Rakuten, to name the more famous names behind the places where the title can be bought to stock these titles.

Freedom of speech is one thing, but in this day and age, I think it is a pretty dangerous strategy to stock books that prominently feature rascist caricatures of foreigners and (admittedly inside the book – sorry, mook) the n-word in huge type under the pretext of publishing “a collection of crimes committed by foreigners”. Definitely not very PC.

The scary thing is that the sentiments expressed by such provocative publications may not be too far from the privately held sentiments of many (although by no means all) Japanese, only varying in degree. It isn’t helped by the bad behaviour of a small minority of foreigners who live in Japan, and the media’s fascination for selective reporting of stories involving foreigners. There is much simmering discontent in Japan, and it is being expressed by picking on a minority. So what else is new….

Why do I draw attention to this embarrasing situation? Because time and time again, Japan, its businesses, and many of its people, have shown that, left to their own devices, they have no particular inclination to change their ways, and unfortunately only by airing dirty laundry and attracting voices of criticism from the global community, can Japan be forced to change.

Of course, that doesn’t mean everything that global pressure is trying to force on Japan is, in my opinion, good. Far from it. But rascist rubbish (and, perhaps more importantly, its tolerance by the general public and businesses) needs to be addressed, and this is an instance of a need to air dirty laundry in public.

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Comments»

1. Brad - February 2, 2007

A very well written article! Couldn’t agree more on all the points raised here! As much as I wish Japanese society would change it’s ways, it becomes more an more apparent that change will only happen with help from an outside source as seen with the under age sex law that was created in 1998 (I think) to prevent paedophilia and child prostitution.

2. Ejovi Nuwere » Racist Japanese Magazine-Book - February 3, 2007

[…] that among many other things makes liberal use of the N-word. Fukumimi expresses his outrage at the Eichi trash publication that is widely distributed across […]

3. Update on Foreigner Crime File » Japan Probe - February 3, 2007

[…] From the inside, looking in […]

4. Joi Ito's Web - February 3, 2007

Japanese racism – available now at convenience shops near you

From the Magazine. In Japanese it says:Oi Nigger! Don’t be touching a Japanese girl’s ass! Ejovi, Fukumimi and JapanProbe blog about a mook (magazine/book) published by Eichi called ““Gaijin Hanzai Ura File” or “Foreigner Crimes Secret File…

5. jarkolicious :: Japanese Racism and Xenophobia Alive and On Sale at National Convenience Store Chains - February 4, 2007

[…] story is slowly breaking out all over the place. Fukumimi, Debito (P2, P3), Joi Ito, Guardian Unlimited and Japundit are all covering this horrendous story […]

6. kumanogengou - February 5, 2007

The media focus amplifies all out of proportion the number of crimes committed by foreigners in Japan, and sets up a false duality between “foreign crime” (burgeoning, brutal, out of control, threatening the security of Japan) and “Japanese crime” (not as savage or common as foreigner crime). Neither of these poles is supported by the statistics, nor by common sense.

7. Chris_B - February 5, 2007

Hey now, you cant say you are in favor of only some kinds of freedom of speech. Thats a buncha politically correct BS right there. Eichi is just as free to publish this one as the KKK are to publish in the USA.

What I’m curious about is besides the inflammatory cover, what is the actual content of the mook? Also it doesnt help to cry about this in English. If we want to deal with the source of this foolishness, we have to speak up and speak often in Japanese. And by speak I do mean speak. Face to face, in person actions mean much more here than text on the Net.

Its only through MORE speech that we can deal with something that damn near no one in my adopted homeland wants to talk about. If this piece of crap helps get the conversation going again, then thats what it takes.

8. fukumimi - February 5, 2007

Freedom of speech and freedom from persecution are strange bedfellows, but they can and do coexist. (see European countries who manage to get the two freedoms to coexist – the US is not the only model for a civilised democracy, you know. If there is a conflict between the two freedoms, I would side on the freedom from persecution trumping the freedom of speech.)

Also, freedom of speech on the part of the author does not equate to an obligation on the part of FamilyMart or Rakuten or anyone else to handle said subject matter. Perhaps they are OK with it. That is fine as far as freedom of beliefs are concerned, but I am giving them the benefit of the doubt, as I suspect they didn’t think too much about it before putting it up for sale. In any case, I never said that these people weren’t free (under current Japanese law) from expressing the kind of beliefs exhibited in that magazine, however unsavory I find it. But I wouldn’t have any ideological problem with a shift towards the western european model.

I also have the right to protest against such organisations as much as those organisations have a right to express their beliefs through authorship or distribution, and to take all legal actions to express my beliefs.

The only reason I blog about this in English here is because this is basically an english language blog. I’ve posted my comments in Japanese elsewhere, and have discussed this issue in the real world also. I agree that it needs to be discussed

You can see a whole bunch of screen shots here:

9. Chris_B - February 5, 2007

I hardly mean to try and shut you up or forbid you from doing whatever you want about this. However unless something is done about the market demand for this, there will be publishers to satisfy that demand.

Perhaps public outcry against the retailers is the right thing, but I personally doubt it. Its my understanding that those sorts of actions are viewed as as being juvenile here. I certainly dont want to be a part of some Al Sharpton style “activism”.

Then again, to be perfectly blunt, I think the nation is overall turning back towards a Meiji style “expel the barbarians” trend so I believe were going to be seeing much more not less of this type of media

10. Dictionary Boya - February 5, 2007

If there is no “outcry”, guess what…
the racists keep thinking they are “right” and acquire more converts to their point of view.

11. fukumimi - February 5, 2007

Chris,

I certainly agree with you that something does have to be done about the market demand.

The thing is, it is a chicken an egg situation.

The tolerance of racist publications and the fact that they are freely available will lead some to belive that racism is socially acceptable. I think we do need to target public expressions of racism, and its tolerance of it.

As I wrote elsewhere:

Isn’t the fact that businesses and mainstream Japanese society on the whole are ignorant or uncaring about this kind of issue a root cause in and of itself?

Comparisons with 1930’s Germany shouldn’t be invoked lightly, but if that society had been less tolerant of the National Socialists’ racist policies and rhetoric, would history have still taken the same path?

Unfortunately if we define the root cause of the proliferation of racism as being the racist thoughts themselves, we get onto the difficult topic of “thought crimes”. I don’t think there is ever a way to regulate what people can or cannot think. (hint. slippery slope. 1984)

Given that the thoughts cannot be regulated, society can only attempt to starve such ideologies of oxygen by making such thoughts unprofitable, and preventing the virus from spreading. (apologies for mixing my metaphors)

“all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

12. Ken - February 6, 2007

Chris B,

Eichi is just as free to publish this one as the KKK are to publish in the USA.

You know that makes no sense whatsoever. The issue isn’t necessarily that it’s being published. The issue is that it’s being sold by mainstream outlets such as Family Mart, Amazon, etc. If you can show me a picture of KKK literature being sold in a US convenience store I’ll give you that point…

13. Chris_B - February 6, 2007

Ken,

Same as I said elsewhere to your counterpoint:You can still buy books on various theories of racial supremacy, holocaust denial, etc with very little effort in the US.

14. Chris_B - February 7, 2007

according to http://www.japantoday.com/jp/quote/2077 the issue has been picked up by Reuters.

15. Shantanu - February 9, 2007

Shin,

Great post… My personal take on this is that Japan (as a whole, country, society etc) needs to “open up” and make an attempt at understanding the often bewildering and endlessly confusing (not to mention very very heterogenous) world of “gaijins”…

How can that happen?

Some ideas (not in any particular order): 1. Encourage travel (from Japan – which is already significant) but also into Japan (not sure how big that is) 2. Encourage people to learn (and more importantly speak/practice) English 3. Conversely, encourage foreigners to visit Japan and learn Japanese 4. Make it easier for foreigners to come to learn, work and settle in Japan (the last bit may be a volatile issue) 5. Get rid of some of the more insidious forms of latent racism (such as fingerprinting gaijins – not sure of it still happens)…

makes sense?

16. Ken - February 11, 2007

Chris B:

As I said before, If you can show me a picture of KKK literature being sold in a US convenience store I’ll give you that point…

Waiting for the link to the pic!

17. marc - February 25, 2007

i was just listening to a piece by noam chomsky on youtube and he asks the question what was the just cause for our (US and western countries’) support of Suharto, who ended up killing thousands of East Timorese, what was the just cause in Vietnam?, etc. The just cause was it was we who did it. And you can read that in the Nazi archives too. Wake up guys we are in a totalitarian democracy.The state doesnt need force to silence unpopular opinions. Stop imitating the logic of the state by focusing on other peoples’ crimes while you are the biggest perpetrator. Your governments are using this to divert attention from their continued racist crimes in the world. And you buy into its racist discourse, one of which is “its ok if we do it, but its terrorism if they do”. Our continued racist interventions around the world are not divorced from the mindset of the average people in the US and the West. You have a totalitarian state in place in free democratic America and England.

18. Good Bye to Eichi Publishing « from the inside, looking in - April 5, 2007

[…] Good Bye to Eichi Publishing April 5, 2007 Posted by fukumimi in Japan, Economy & Business. trackback Good bye and good riddance to the publisher (link appears down) of racially inflammatory content. […]

19. chubaka - February 15, 2013

You have to buy this stuff? That’s not cool. At least make it commerically free or cool.


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