Foreign Crime File – is all the fuss really necessary?

Today I want to talk about the “Foreign Crime Files” manga. It’s an offensive, disgusting book that tries (albeit poorly) to exploit Japanese people’s fears and prejudices. By now many of my readers will have heard about this since the Japan bloggers have duly reported it with furious anger. But my preliminary and very unscientific research seems to indicate that this book has not made much of a splash in Japan as of yet. It’s enough to make me worry that this outrage might actually be building more of a market for the book (and a platform for its fear-mongering) than it would have had otherwise.

The sole Amazon review (1 star): “Uses lots of discriminatory phrases, low level content. It seems as if the author has a major inferiority complex as a Japanese person. This will engender a bias against foreigners among ignorant Japanese people.” Also from Amazon: People who bought this book also bought “Completely Master the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1!” (a test of Japanese as a second language). Amazon rank: 1004 in books.

Japanese-language Technorati results: zero!

2ch presence: One very short thread on the “Books” board. Overview:

Thread starter: Did you know about GAIJIN HANZAI FILE, this horrible, discriminatory book?!
2channeler 1: It’s an ad!
TS: No, it’s not an ad, I just want to know why Japanese people allow this kind of thing?
2channeler 1: Well, I guess it’s more that we don’t really care about foreigners.
2channeler 2: My opinion is that people who overreact to this discrimination are pretty depressing. Just leave it alone. The fact that the foreign media has picked this up is just what I’m talking about. They understand that life and racial discrimination can’t be separated. A worldview that relates and compares issues to one’s own life is very Christian.

No mention in a news thread on the lower “foreign crime rate” reported by the National Police Agency.

Google results: The multitude of booksellers’ websites selling the book and foreign Japan bloggers’ reactions, plus one blogger/J-pop singer cocco (wiki), who explained: “It isn’t being talked about much by Japanese people yet, but one book (Foreigner Crime File) is enraging foreigners who live in Japan… I worry that this might turn into an international problem!”
According to cocco, there is a movement going on within mixi to boycott Family Mart over this book, one that debito has helped organize outside of mixi and that has in the end kept it off the shelves there as well as in other places.

It could be early to conclude that Japanese people just aren’t all that interested in this book, or perhaps they’ll just never have the chance to read it due to the success of Debito and others to get this book censored. But in this era of viral marketing and unscrupulous people, you have to wonder if all the coverage we foreign Japan bloggers are giving this awful book are giving it more attention than it ever really deserved. I feel like this book would have died a death in the sleazy porno section of the convenience stores if it weren’t for its almost made-for-the-Internet inflammatory illustrations.

9 thoughts on “Foreign Crime File – is all the fuss really necessary?”

  1. I agree that the fuss is probably good for marketing. I was tempted to get a copy so I could see if I was in it!

    But joking aside, I think the fuss is warranted. It’s not quite so bad that someone made this book–people will make books about anything. But I want to know which genius in FamilyMart decided to distribute this book nationwide. If any reputable store bought such a racist thing in the US or Europe, the buyer(s) involved would probably be fired.

  2. Anne Coulture’s “Muslim Bites Dog” thing was in mainstream publications in the USA, right? You can walk into any Barnes and Nobel and buy a book that says that Islam is evil and that Muhammed was a paedophile. Let’s face it, pundits also get away with a lot of anti-gay hate in mainstream media in the USA as well. Don’t even get me started on Eastern Europe.

    That being said, I’d like to beat the authors of “Foreign Crime File” with an 8ball in a sock.

  3. The fuss may be disproportionate – and what about this gaijin’s expectation of “purity” from the locals – but the fuss that is aimed at trying and push back in the back alleys of distribution a magazine that should belong there is a good a thing. I know one place where there is not a single racist, the Moon.

  4. in this era of viral marketing and unscrupulous people, you have to wonder if all the coverage we foreign Japan bloggers are giving this awful book are giving it more attention than it ever really deserved.

    I’m with Joe…the foreign Japan bloggers, much as we love to think otherwise, don’t amount to much anyway.

    If the movement to ‘censor’ the book had been groundless, it wouldn’t have been pulled off the shelves.

  5. Always notice the small stain on the wall.But ignore big pink elephant in the room.
    Any of you are interested in nation wide talk on 代理処罰 to run away Brazillian homicides?

  6. I was aware that the argument had been made in recent reports on foreign criminals. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to watch the wide shows so I’m missing out on a major portion of the news agenda and therefore had no idea it was making such a “nationwide” impact. But I did notice this frothing Yomiuri editorial on the topic. The conspiracy theorist in me makes me think it’s an attempt by the NPA to hammer on a minor aspect of the dreaded foreign crime to mask the drop in total foreign crimes and continue their campaign to exploit fear to pump up the agency’s budget.

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