Good foreigner, bad foreigner

I’ve noticed several English-language articles on foreigners in Japan lately: Tony McNichol takes a trip to Tokyo’s Indiatown in Nishi-Kasai, the Japanese government’s PR machine coincidentally also dips into the Indiatown well (English-language video report here) and dedicates a whole magazine issue to portraying multiculturalism as a “force for change” moving Japan “toward a multicultural society”, and Joseph Coleman sees some similarities between Brazilians in Oizumi, Gunma prefecture and the dissaffected Africans in Paris.

Why all the interest now, when no major government reports have been recently released or any groundbreaking events are taking place? Beats me, but remember: there is one thing we can all agree on:

“Everybody, I think, is agreed on one thing: We want to attract the `good’ foreigners, and keep out the `bad’ ones,” said Hisashi Toshioka, of the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau.

While this statement, taken out of context, begs all sorts of questions, I am fully prepared to take it at face value. Bad foreigners not only need to be kept from coming to Japan, if they make it to the country they need to get stomped. My favorite case in point? This drunken sod who gets his ass beaten by a garbage man in Osaka:

That’s bad. Thankfully my youthful carousing occurred in a time before cell phone cameras.

17 thoughts on “Good foreigner, bad foreigner”

  1. In any language, in any country, you don’t mess with the garbage men. They’ll beat you up _and_ get you arrested.

  2. I don’t understand why the headline for the Coleman’s piece is “Japan mulls Importing foreign workers”.
    “Loser gaijin barfly bitches Japan” sounds more appropeiate to me.

  3. And Gregory Clark in that magazine as some kind of model gaijin figure! Bad gaijin,verrry baad!

  4. Gregory Clark isn’t a bad foreigner, just a pathetic one. BTW, forgive me for feeling a sweet pang of joy at seeing that guy get his ass beat. We all do silly things when we’re drunk, but spitting on bike seats and attacking garbage cars is idiotic. That entire thing played like a movie scene, with the first guy yelling at the honky showing up in the final scene to deliver a big, “I told you so!”

  5. The part that really makes me sad (or very amused, I can’t tell which) is how that ass, in miserable Japanese, tries to act like a victim when the cops show up. He’s lucky the driver didn’t think that he was worthy of a closed fist.

    I don’t know very much about Gregory Clark – what did he say/write to get you guys pissed off?

  6. “I don’t know very much about Gregory Clark – what did he say/write to get you guys pissed off?”


    Go see the NBR on-line forum Japan-U.S discussion, for gregory clark.and go to Sankei’s 古森義久’s blog for counter argument.
    Funny thing is there are more Australians and Chinese than Japanese at this “U.S-Japan discussion”.And some how the moderator interrupt any discussion shifting to criticiize the U.S while there are free-for-all Japan bushing on, the other hand.And you know what?Japan pay some of the budget for this from our tax.

  7. Maybe they’re feeling out the water…see what public opinion is on the issue. Remember a couple of years ago when they decided to build the Japanese search engine that would rival Google and Yahoo? That’s not going anywhere either.

    I tried looking for something in t hat magazine site about Gregory Clark but couldn’t find anything. It’s damn near impossible to read anyway.

  8. I read some of Clark’s posts on NBR and have not seen anything that really bugs me. His arguments that Japanese need to spend more on big ticket items to get the economy going is pretty “one pattern”, however. In other parts, he seems to defend the Japanese government stance quite often. He seems to think that a crackdown on criminal foreigners is justified and necessary and he has even gone so far as to argue that shopkeepers are within their rights to kick out foreign “window shoppers”. Hard to pin the guy down, sometimes he comes off like Ishihara.

    Is there any specific thing that he said that pissed you off (Ace or Curzon)?

    In any case, I have a hard time getting into the discussions on NBR. Most of it is very economy-centric. It seems like there is little effort to discuss how any of it has an impact on the real lives of real people…. Some of the posters over there also seem to be so into the economic explanations that they deny that Japan has a “culture” (I know that the culture argument is easy to abuse but some of those guys seem like they want to minimize differences to paint Japan as a disfunctional economy and nothing more).

  9. “he seems to defend the Japanese government stance quite often. sometimes he comes off like Ishihara.”

    He had some interaction with Ishihara back in the days.and there are some real freaks in NBR,I’ve got a feeling either they can’t read newspaper in Japanese or doing every effort they can to ignore it,even Clark has to come to correct the fact from simple guessing.He was some board member for Monbusho too You know.
    And I’m not interest in economy but on secuirity and diplomacy and the war crime related arguments.They too get resonable share in NBR too.And the discussion there,with full of factual errors to my eyes,just turns me off.

    “Is there any specific thing that he said that pissed you off (Ace or Curzon)?”

    I don’t know about Curzon,so I’ll speak for myself.
    1)He said abduction by North Korean were “bogus”.
    2)He also said Tibet had always been integral part of China,”If you think it’s wrong ,just ask Kuomingtang”

    And they are just tip of the iceberg.

    He is a diehard panda hugger. that alone is nothing wrong about for we too have same species here in Japan.But saying China is from Venus ,so they can do no wrong, But Japan is because they are from Mars,So the world should watch out and be cautious is really really irritating.Now if he is working some where in China or in His home country of Australia.I’m not going to say anything.
    But he is doing this here in Japan as somekind of Japan expert,In the leading English newspaper of the nation, which is ,well ,Japan Times…..while working as a deputy dean in Japanese university,Akita international University that is, where the top happens to be the most anti Beijing sinologist of the country,Nakajima Mineo,and say nothing of the sort that freedom of speech is protected nor political tolerance exists in Japan ,but something completely reverse,and anybody come up against him will be labeled as a right winger and latest proof of Japan-goes-backwards then I’m pissed off.and I think I have a right to be so.

    I have read what he had been saying about Japanese foreign policy from 80’s.So I KNOW his criticisms are always done WITHOUT considering the continuity of the policy and Japan’s own interest and security.
    With a man like this in a respectable and responsible position in the Japanese society and preaching cosmopolitanism for over 30 years,How could you believe a simple Japan folk will be trusting any foreigners as a card carrying member of the nation?
    OK,now I’m typing like troll in 2ch,I admitt.but to me getting drunk on Saturday night and throwing somebody else’s bycicle is nothing ,compare to Clark’s open and hostile “betrayal”.

  10. Ace – Thanks for the comments. I’ll keep an eye open for some of Clark’s stuff.

    I know that Akita International University has a very bad reputation.

  11. They seem have some interesting prof,though.
    Ken Quinones,the North korean specialist at the State Department and Nuclear crisis negotiator during Clinton Administration.a very informed man.
    and Willy wo-lap Lam,ex-China specialst at South China Morning Post(said to be kicked out by the owner and Malaysian billionair Robert Kuok for being trouble maker with CCP)and also in CNN.a friend of Nakajima.
    And AIU do hire quite a lot of foreign prof.Ivan.P Hall,now in Chiang Mai must be envious to see that .
    So I don’t know where the bad reputation you here comes from.But perhaps you know something that I don’t know about.Like teachers have to endure the life in snowy Akita or living under tyranny of Nakajima.

  12. M-Bone:
    I believe Debito has a fair bit to say about Clark, though not sure if a condemnation by Debito is all that powerful, given that Debito tends to condemn anything and everything and write about it at tedious length. He does refer to the time when Clark stood up for the ‘rights’ of shopkeepers to be racially/ethnically discriminatory, for example.

    Clark of course has his own home page, which outweighs even Debito’s in the sheer mass of opinionated verbiage therein, and as usual with people like this, I find myself in agreement as well as disagreement (I also find the same with Ishihara Shintaro. Hell, I even find the same with Ishihara Kanji for that matter…). Anyway, that’s at and should provide you with more than enough info on the guy.

  13. Good for you, stupid fuck! I enjoyed the garbage man kicking your ass, but would have enjoyed it more had he not held back. I’ve know some Aussies, and would have expected much better of you. You’re a disgrace to your countrymen, you are.

    Bob in San Francisco,
    No need for the likes of you to come around

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