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Arudou Debito

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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby clay » Thu 12.13.2007 5:22 pm

I'll try not to go downhill!

Again I know very little about that guy, but he just strikes me as a jerk wanting to pick a fight (even if for valid reasons). In Japan I met some Japanese who obviously didn't want me around. I also met many more Japanese who obviously wanted me around because I was a foreigner.

Yumi used to complain (jokingly) about the obaasan who ran the neighborhood bakery. She would always give me freebies but never anything to Yumi. I just take the good with the bad. Being a jerk because someone else is a jerk means you haven't learned what you should have learned in kindergarten (see previous post) :)

I mean why choose to live in Japan if all you are going to do is complain about the way Japan treats you. In all fairness shouldn't he complain about the foreigner fawning epidemic too?
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Orcrist » Thu 12.13.2007 5:51 pm

It pretty obvious he isn't trying to make Japan a better place at all. He's just a little kid that wants to rebel but be a good boy at the same time. So he overreacts most of the time. He knows so, he's an educated man. If he really fought for equal rights he would have chosen a different path instead of constantly proving those Japanese people that don't consider him an equal citizen that he is just an obnoxious foreigner.
Nonetheless I do understand why he acts like that, if you read how he got treated in the past it's only natural for him to become like this. Once you go bitter it's hard to turn back sweet.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby prep_girl_Nessa » Thu 12.13.2007 5:57 pm

I hesitate to post here, being as I've never been to Japan and can't really say I've ever experience harsh racism in my life, but I also don't like this guy. I think he's just stirring up trouble and likes the attention.

IMO, looking at the way he acts makes it seem like he obviously hasn't had much racism happen to him recently. If he's complaining about things like being asked to show his alien registration card, I would venture to guess nothing big is going on. If something more serious was going on he'd make sure the world knew it. But he complains about the little things, so there must not be big things going on.

I agree that foreigners, not matter what country and where they are from, should be treated with equal respect. What this guy is doing seems counter-active to his own point. (Hopefully you can get where I'm going, I haven't eaten anything in like 36 hours so I'm kinda out of it ^_^'')
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Igirisu_gaz » Thu 12.13.2007 6:52 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
I think that if you are a citizen of a country, even a naturalized one, you have every right (and possibly even a responsibility) to fight for equal rights under the law. .


Agreed. Whether or not this is what Debito is doing is my question. To me it seems recently he is more inclined to living life as a minor celebrity than he is to actually "improving conditions" his latest run in at Toyoko Inn seems to demonstrate how desperate he is to get some coverage. I think the employee could perhaps be forgiven for assuming that a large caucasian is not a card carrying member of the largely homogenus Japanese populace.

He is no Martin Luther King. (edited in, my initial post looked somewhat harsh on him) However his website does provide some very useful information for foreigners living in Japan and you certainly have to give him that he is very aware of his entitlements as a Japanese citizen but also aware of the entitlements of non-Japanese residents. Additionally his shot to stardom with the Otaru Onsen case was a fair claim, it was bare faced discrimination and I applaude the fact that a wrong was righted.

My personal opinion of Arudou. He is not a fraud or a sham, he IS a bonafide social activist. However, I wonder if he hasn't simply gotten carried away with the legend he's created and is more likely to stir up resentment than understanding.
Last edited by Igirisu_gaz on Thu 12.13.2007 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 12.13.2007 7:01 pm

Actually, being required to show identification cards is not a minor issue to many people. It's one of the classic ways to establish a second-class citizenship in a country; require people of certain religions or ethnic backgrounds to carry and produce identification upon request. It's understandable that non-citizens would be required to do that, but to make *only* citizens of non-Japanese descent carry ID cards is a different matter.

Nessa, imagine that in the US there were a law that women (and only women) had to carry ID cards with personal information like address and phone # on them at all times and show them upon request, not only to law officials but to store clerks or hotel managers. How would you feel about this?

What you have to remember about citizens of Japan is that they're not just there on holiday or for 1 year of teaching English. Obviously someone who has become a Japanese citizen has no plans to leave Japan, ever. When you are living permanently somewhere, issues that seem minor from the outside can be a bigger deal than you think.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Thu 12.13.2007 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby jt » Thu 12.13.2007 8:20 pm

Wow. I don't want to get into a huge political debate about this, but I think some of the comments in this thread go way too far. Say what you want about the guy's personality (which I've heard can be abrasive -- I haven't met him personally) and the way he goes about his business, but causes like opposing discrimination against non-Japanese in Japan and fighting for equal rights for naturalized Japanese citizens are legitimate ones.

Personally, I'm content to just ignore the occasional closed-minded people I meet here, but that's partly because I've had more good experiences than bad, and partly because I'm just a passive, non-confrontational person by nature. If someone like Debito sees some injustices that he believes are worth fighting, I say more power to him.

Calling him an idiot because of the Japanese name he chose (or what have you) just seems incredibly shallow.

For those of you who think that the guy is just a blowhard with no substance to his ideas, check out this (rather old) article of his:

http://www.debito.org/tsudoiadvice.html (in English)
http://www.debito.org/ebetsunihongo.html (in Japanese)

You may not feel as passionately about these causes as he does -- but I would think that anyone who's lived here and run into certain stereotypes can relate to some of the things he's saying.

Just my two cents.

(edit -- Oops, looks like my post started a new page. There are some good posts before mine at the end of the first page, so I hope people don't overlook them.)
Last edited by jt on Thu 12.13.2007 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 12.13.2007 8:28 pm

This has a lot of replies to a lot of people and I'm sorry. But I have a lot of ferverent opinions about David.

two_heads_talking
I wonder how much all this is word play to him? While it might make no sense to us, or even offend our senses, it seems he actually put alot of thought (warrented or unwarrented) behind his silly name.


Actually, I seem to remember that he said in an interview that he picked the kanji within the first year or so of being in Japan, when he didn't know much Japanese. Most people who see the Kanji will have no idea how to pronounce it, and will mostly pronounce it wrong (as it combines おん and くん yomis in the same word), thus making it kind of useless as a name. For me it just seems like 下手当て字

clay
From what little I know of him (from watching a video interview) he just strikes me as someone wanting to stir things up and damn the consequences.


That's actually the same opinion I got of him. He seems to thrive on the attention he gets from being a naturalized Japanese citizen. I've run into a lot of naturalized citizens (one is mayor of his town up in Hida), as well as seen a number on TV in interviews, and most people just shrug it off as no big deal. David is the only person I have seen that actively tries to flaunt the fact that he was naturalized, and seems to go around Japan trying to start controvercy at every turn.

And while I understand some of his points and issues for doing so, I usually don't agree with the way he goes about it, picking fights with bars and hotels just because he can.

Sometimes it seems like he's just having a bad day and wants to take it out on the Japanese contingent around him who is not used to having white Japanese citzens around.

I've been in the hotel situation that was posted on this site (requirement to see a passport) a number of times, and usually skirting this issue is really easy. You just say that you're a Japanese resident, and you're done. You fill out the form like everyone else and go up to your room. Freaking out because someone mistakenly assumed you're a foreigner is just obnoxious.

Yudan Taiteki
It's understandable that non-citizens would be required to do that, but to make *only* citizens of non-Japanese descent carry ID cards is a different matter.


Where did you get that idea? If you are a Japanese citizen, you don't have a mandatory ID. To avoid hassle, you might want to carry a drivers license that states that you are Japanese on it, but it's by no means manditory.

Now, if you want to do things like board a plane, drive a car, or do any number of other things, than yes, you do need an ID, whether you are Japanese or not. It's the same in every country.


EDIT: I just want to finish by kind of responding to what JT said:
I don't think that David (debito's) cause is a bad one -- I think it is very admirable. I just dislike the way that he goes about it. I think there are better ways to influence change than going around yelling at people.
Last edited by Harisenbon on Thu 12.13.2007 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby keatonatron » Thu 12.13.2007 11:10 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Most kindergarteners learn life's most important lesson: Life's not fair...


Is that what you would have told the African-Americans in the 60s in the Civil Rights movement?


I haven't read the other posts in between yet, but there is a very big difference here:

African Americans were kidnapped from their homes and brought to the United States a long time ago. Their beginning in this (that) country was a very poor, meager existence. The simple laws of physics state you can't make something out of nothing, and the laws of economics are very similar. :D It was important for the African Americans to fight for their rights because their rights were ruthlessly stolen from them generations before.

Arudou, on the other hand, was born in America (the most well-off country in the world, as many would say), and as a white male had the most rights of probably anyone on this planet.

Then he chose to forfeit those rights and to become a citizen of Japan.

If he had indeed been born in Japan and was fighting for the rights of all the second-generation people who are essentially Japanese but are still being classified as foreigners, I would be all for his cause. Unfortunately, I really think he chose to make himself "unequal" and is now bitching and complaining about it.

Would it make any sense for an American to go to any other country in the world and bitch and moan because they were no longer considered a first class citizen once they stepped off our continent?
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 12.13.2007 11:46 pm

If a country allows you to become a naturalized citizen, it is that country's responsibility to grant you the same rights as a native-born citizen (and enforce these rights). If they're not prepared to do that, there should be no naturalization process and only a permanent residency status.

I disagree in the absolute strongest possible way with the idea of "They're letting him be in the country, so he shouldn't complain." I also don't agree with the sentiment that at some point things become "good enough" and that you're not allowed to complain about minor things.

Would it make any sense for an American to go to any other country in the world and bitch and moan because they were no longer considered a first class citizen once they stepped off our continent?


If this hypothetical American goes through the legal process to become a citizen of another country, but is treated differently from a native born citizen, then yes.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby keatonatron » Fri 12.14.2007 9:54 am

I don't know a whole lot about Debito's other plights, but (other than the onsen thing) it seems to me like his problems mostly deal with personal reactions and not official policies. The Toyoko-inn thing only happened because the clerk assumed he wasn't a citizen; it is not their policy to require non-Japanese citizens to provide any more information than normal citizens.

You can change laws, and working towards that is great.
You can't (generally) change the way people think, and complaining about the prejudices that 99% of all Japanese have is a waste of time and energy.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Kuri » Sun 12.23.2007 9:50 pm

Throw in my two cents on Debito? Btw, I hear legally he took his ex-wife's last name. So he isn't really arudou, not that it should be read arudou anyway.

Most outstanding thing about him to me is his accent, I have to wonder if he thinks he's making a statement. It's very weird to think that a profesor at a university in Japan would pronounce japanese with english vowels.

Other than that, I'm sure he's a good guy. Gets behind just about any cause you ask him to, after he looks into it himself. And generally (not always) have a valid point, which he exaggerates.

I've read a number of his articles, mostly because I've been linked to them and then questioned about my opinion so I figured it'd've been rude not to.

Here ^^, I found the article I was looking for.
http://www.debito.org/homecoming2007.html

Probably the most personal insight about him on his site.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Kuri » Sun 12.23.2007 9:59 pm

This might be a double post but I wanted to respond to this

keatonatron wrote:
I don't know a whole lot about Debito's other plights, but (other than the onsen thing) it seems to me like his problems mostly deal with personal reactions and not official policies.


If you're interested, I posted a link where he talks about some of his own personal problems.
I think most of what he covers are actually news stories, which he feels show some bias one way or another. Hmm, that or attempting to draw attention to different causes. I remember recently there was a fund raiser about child kidnapping.

It is a blog though, so I think a number of stories about personal encounters are to be expected.


keatonatron wrote: The Toyoko-inn thing only happened because the clerk assumed he wasn't a citizen; it is not their policy to require non-Japanese citizens to provide any more information than normal citizens.


Now while they may not require more info from foreigners than citizens or not, the fact is that they looked at him and assumed he wasn't a citizen. I think if I was a naturalized citizen of latin descent checking into a hotel in california, and they asked for my green card I would be a little upset too.

keatonatron wrote:
You can't (generally) change the way people think, and complaining about the prejudices that 99% of all Japanese have is a waste of time and energy.


Long live the cold war? Can't trust those ruskis. Communism is evil.

Somehow we managed to change our thoughts about that, and a number of other things. Most people can be persuaded to think in new ways. Sometimes that is bad "Something needs to be done about the jews", sometimes that is good "We really should abolish slavery".

Either way you can change the way a country thinks about things, and at times it has been necessary to do that.

Edited for typo... probably more of them, but now that's at least one less ^^
Last edited by Kuri on Sun 12.23.2007 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby keatonatron » Mon 12.24.2007 12:13 am

Kuri wrote:
Throw in my two cents on Debito? Btw, I hear legally he took his ex-wife's last name. So he isn't really arudou, not that it should be read arudou anyway.


He did, and then he divorced her and had her family name officially erased from his record, so he is now (really) Arudou.

Kuri wrote:
Now while they may not require more info from foreigners than citizens or not, the fact is that they looked at him and assumed he wasn't a citizen. I think if I was a naturalized citizen of latin descent checking into a hotel in california, and they asked for my green card I would be a little upset too.


I was thinking about this exact same thing the other day. In America (any state), 95% of the Latin people you see will be American citizens. However, in Japan, 99.9% of white people you see will NOT be Japanese citizens. Therefore, it is horribly insulting to assume something based on race in America, but understandable in Japan. That doesn't mean that it feels demeaning and annoys even me, but you can't say it's an outrageous racial-profiling created to make foreigners feel like second-rate citizens.

Let's try this... assume you were working at a hotel when a tour bus pulls up, and a bunch of guys get off wearing "I [heart] NY" shirts, clutching little novelty American flags, and not speaking a single word of English. Would you (attempt to) ask them for their driver's licenses or start looking for their tour guide to help you ask for their passports?

That's pretty much the only way I think of someone not looking American in America :D
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Kuri » Mon 12.24.2007 2:17 pm

keatonatron wrote:
Let's try this... assume you were working at a hotel when a tour bus pulls up, and a bunch of guys get off wearing "I [heart] NY" shirts, clutching little novelty American flags, and not speaking a single word of English.

That's pretty much the only way I think of someone not looking American in America :D


That's kind of the point exactly, just because somebody looks like something doesn't mean you should treat them like that.

I can have a pretty good guess of who is poor on the street and could use a little charity, but unless they're asking for something it's pretty rude to slip a guy a twenty because his jacket is dirty and ripped.

Even with good intentions, you really shouldn't judge by looks. Actions are of course another matter.

Oh, and in the situation you proposed I would just ask for some form of ID if they needed to show it. They know well enough if it's a passport or a driver's license they need to show me.
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RE: Arudou Debito

Postby Wakannai » Mon 12.24.2007 5:14 pm

Even with good intentions, you really shouldn't judge by looks. Actions are of course another matter.


So you shouldn't treat a policeman like a policeman because he looks like a policeman? You shouldn't give that person behind the counter your money just because they look like they work there? Or if someone wearing white robes and a pointy white hat and a mask came up to you, you would want to be his best friend?

This argument is absolutely senseless. Of course you should judge people by how they look.

The image we present those around use reflects our own attitudes towards ourselves and the way we want others to treat us. People dress like a policeman so they will be recognized as a policeman. Not so we ignore them and ask everyone else if they are policeman. People dress like honorable businessman so they will be recognized as honorable businessman. Doctors dress like doctors so they will be recognized as doctors, not some bum off the streat. Bums on the streat dress like bums because they want to be recognized as bums. Gangsters dress like gangsters so they will be recognized as a gangsters. Whores dress like whores so they will be recognized as whores.

Unfortunately, all of these people above will get a negative reaction in the wrong location. There are plenty of people that despise police officers, just to use one example.

Don't pretend that people that judge by looks are the problem. If anything, it's the people that tell us that we should not use discretion in our actions that is the problem. People are free to dress however they want, but they are not free to escape the consequences of their actions, and how we dress and present ourselves to the world is an ACTION. Judging someone by their looks is judging them by their actions.

I can have a pretty good guess of who is poor on the street and could use a little charity,


No such thing exists. Unless someone is about to die tomarrow if they don't get a meal today, then they don't really need charity. An empty stomach is a great motivator.
Last edited by Wakannai on Mon 12.24.2007 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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