Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

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Lexington Books, Nov 6, 2015 - Social Science - 404 pages
Despite domestic constitutional provisions and international treaty promises, Japan has no law against racial discrimination. Consequently, businesses around Japan display “Japanese Only” signs, denying entry to all 'foreigners' on sight. Employers and landlords routinely refuse jobs and apartments to foreign applicants. Japanese police racially profile 'foreign-looking' bystanders for invasive questioning on the street. Legislators, administrators, and pundits portray foreigners as a national security threat and call for their segregation and expulsion. Nevertheless, Japan’s government and media claim there is no discrimination by race in Japan, therefore no laws are necessary.

How does Japan resolve the cognitive dissonance of racial discrimination being unconstitutional yet not illegal? Embedded Racism carefully untangles Japanese society’s complex narrative on race by analyzing two mutually-supportive levels of national identity maintenance. Starting with case studies of hundreds of individual “Japanese Only” businesses, it carefully analyzes the construction of Japanese identity through legal structures, statute enforcement, public policy, and media messages. It reveals how the concept of a “Japanese” has been racialized to the point where one must look “Japanese” to be treated as one.

The product of a quarter-century of research and fieldwork by a scholar living in Japan as a naturalized Japanese citizen, Embedded Racism offers an unprecedented perspective on Japan’s deeply-entrenched, poorly-understood, and strenuously-unacknowledged discrimination as it affects people by physical appearance.
 

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Contents

1 Racial Discrimination in Japan
3
2 How Racism Works in Japan
15
Japanese Only Examples of Racial Discrimination
35
3 We Refuse Foreigners
37
The Construction of Japans Embedded Racism
77
4 Legal Constructions of Japaneseness
79
5 How Japaneseness Is Enforced through Laws
129
6 A Chinamans Chance in Japanese Court
167
Discussions and Conclusions
269
9 Putting the Concept of Embedded Racism to Work
271
10 So What?
287
Glossary
307
Sakanakas Big Japan vs Small Japan
313
This Researchs Debt to Critical Race Theory
321
References
325
Index
339

7 From Foreign Fetishization to Fear in the Japanese Media
183
Challenges to Japans Exclusionary Narratives
245
8 Maintaining the Binary
247
About the Author
351
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Debito Arudou is author of Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan and creator of the award-winning online archive on life and human rights in Japan, www.debito.org.

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