The citizens, and being one of the more “welcoming”

The Dark in The Land of The Rising Sun When one thinks of Japan, they think technology, bustling cities, lush gardens, and the unique culture of modern and past times. When World War 2 ended, Japan did a 180 in terms of world prominence. It has a reputation of being a leader in future technology, having sincere citizens, and being one of the more “welcoming” Asian countries. However, not all is as it seems in the Land of the Rising Sun. In fact, rampant discrimination against foreigners, and other non Japanese asians have forced the country to start addressing its underbelly.Discrimination and racism is nothing new to Japan. It has been around for hundreds of years, starting with the caste like system put in place during the samurai years. Overtime, discrimination moved from being directed at peasants to foreigners, and other non Japanese Asians. This became very obvious during the 20th century, and extremely obvious during the second World War. In fact, during the war, mainland Japanese people heavily discriminated against Japanese citizens from the island of Okinawa. Many believed that men from this island were savages, violent, and that they could not control their liquor. It was also during this time, that the Japanese people took over many asian countries such as, Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, and parts of China often citing that they were inferior. When Japan was defeated, they started to modernize and develop an alluring culture. Many saw the nation as reborn and tourists started to flow in. Many Japanese citizens were welcoming and accepting of the many different kinds of people and lifestyles that came to their home. Overtime, however, visitors from other nations started to become a nuisance. Many people cite their actions as being rude, disgraceful, and low class.  While racism and discrimination will never be fully eradicated from society, most people in Japan tolerated the behavior for awhile with only slight undertones of hostility. However most businesses started to reach their limits. The first signs, both in a figurative and literal sense, appeared when restaurants, hotels, and other shops put up “JAPANESE ONLY,”  signs. Another kind of sign that one might see is, “MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A JAPANESE PERSON”  For some, seeing these signs is a shock. When one thinks of these kinds of signs, they more than likely think to the United States history of  “Whites Only” or “Colored Only” signs from the 20th century, and would not expect to see them in the modern day. The main problem with Japan lies it’s heavy mono-centric culture. Japan throughout history has been invaded, ridiculed, and underestimated. This caused  the nation and its people to believe in only themselves and have a strong distrust of anyone not of Japanese descent. In Japan’s post World War Two politics, discrimination has carried on, and even has become very straightforward. In 1999, a politician by the name of Shintaro Ishihara was elected governor of Tokyo. Ishihara gave a speech that directly said foreigners would cause civil unrest if a disaster were to happen. He also called them derogatory names, and in general drove up fears and hostility towards anyone not of Japanese descent. Despite many calling for him to step down and or apologize, Ishihara dismissed the backlash and won reelection multiple times before resigning. Another politician promoting racial policy ideas is Ayako Sono. Sono is a prominent supporter of Apartheid like policies that were employed in South Africa from 1948 to the 90’s. Sono believes that foreigners are necessary to help with Japan’s declining labour force, but thinks that they must be separated from Japanese citizens. She even wrote, ” It is next to impossible to attain an understanding of foreigners by living next to them… It is best for races to live separate from each other”. Tomomi Inada is yet another example of people in high power holding racist beliefs. Before she was elected in 2016 to defense minister, it was revealed that she took money from the Zaitokukai, a group that is extremely anti-Korean. She was also seen with Kazunari Yamada, the leader for the National Socialist Japanese Labour Party, who also is a major fan of Adolf Hitler and his policies.  For foreigners living in Japan, life has become very difficult. Not only are  they discriminated at the supermarket, but they can be discriminated at school, on public transportation, and even their place of residence. Since there are little to no laws that forbid landlords from discriminating based on nationality, or race, many foreigners are denied a place to stay or live. In the education area, schools are allowed to reject students if it is deemed that it would become cumbersome to teach them. As a result, thousands of foreign students are struggling with how to speak, or write in Japanese since they are being rejected left and right. Discrimination even rears its ugly head in the workplace with applicants and coworkers being rejected because of their race or nationality. It is even more severe in governmental positions with almost anyone not of Japanese descent being rejected because they don’t “look” Japanese. In addition to general racism and discrimination against foreigners, Asian foreigners are in some cases discriminated against even more. In Japan, there are multiple groups that are anti-Korean, Chinese, and Philippine. These tensions date back primarily to World War Two, when Japan invaded and massacred tens of thousands of asian people. Japan has yet to formally acknowledge some of its war crimes, and this particularly causes tensions between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Calls for Japan to accept its past have made many Japanese citizens upset and in turn greatly dislike Koreans. Even Japan’s own citizens can’t escape discrimination from themselves. Back when the Japanese caste like system was in place, a group of people were responsible for “death work”. This work included butchers, executioners, and grave diggers. These people were given the name of Burakumin, or ” hamlet people “. In Buddhist and Shinto religion, Burakumin were considered spiritually tainted, and ” impure “. In modern times, people of Burakumin descent are discriminated against and even threatened. Residents in the Yao district receive hate mail very frequently. The mail usually states that people will not forget who the Burakumin were and thus will also see them as less or even sub human. Even people who are not of Burakumin descent, but have jobs that originally were given to Burakumin, are very scared to describe their work for fear of being labeled a Burakumin.Despite the rampant, and in a sense obvious discrimination, little progress has been made to actually outlaw discriminatory practices. Little progress has also been made to educate the outside world of what’s going on in Japan. It was only recently that the Japanese government started to introduce laws that outlawed, or made it extremely difficult for shop owners, landlords, and school districts to discriminate against non natives. However even with these news laws, many people will continue to discriminate against foreigners. This issue, while being swept under the rug right now, will eventually be thrust into the spotlight when Japan hosts a couple multinational events in the coming years. The question is, will Japan be able to welcome everyone with open arms and genuine hospitality; overcoming its addiction to racism and discrimination, or will the country continue to be hostile towards them, and breathe a sigh of relief once the event is over.