Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination
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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2 How Racism Works in Japan
Japanese Only Examples of Racial Discrimination
3 We Refuse Foreigners
The Construction of Japans Embedded Racism
4 Legal Constructions of Japaneseness
5 How Japaneseness Is Enforced through Laws
6 A Chinamans Chance in Japanese Court
7 From Foreign Fetishization to Fear in the Japanese Media
Challenges to Japans Exclusionary Narratives
8 Maintaining the Binary
About the Author
April archived Article Arudou Debito Asahi Shimbun bathhouse Burakumin Bureau CERD chapter Chinese civil claim Court criminal culture Debito.org differentiation discrimination in Japan domestic Embedded Racism enforcement ethnic example exclusionary sign February foreign crime Fukuoka Gaijin gaikokujin groups hanzai Hokkaidō human rights ibid Immigration inter alia interviews issue January Japa Japanese citizens Japanese citizenship Japanese nationality Japanese society jinshu July jūminhyō June Kōfu kokumin konketsuji Koreans koseki Kyodo labor look Japanese Mainichi Shimbun March Ministry of Justice nation-state Nationality Law nese Nikkei non-citizens non-Wajin November October official Onsens Otaru Otaru Onsens phenotype police political population Prefecture race racial discrimination racial profiling racialization processes racism refused registry reports residents rules sabetsu Sankei Sankei Shimbun Sapporo social status tion Tōkyō Trainees visa regimes Visible Minorities visual identification Wajin Yomiuri Shimbun Yunohana Zainichi Zainichi Koreans