Haruma Miura, a popular 30-year-old actor, took his own life on July 18, 2020. Few Japanese hadn’t heard his name. He had starred in countless TV dramas, movies, and plays.
How bad does it have to get? I’m talking about Japan’s cruelty and meanness towards its Non-Japanese residents. How bad before people think to step in and stop it? With Covid-19, we might have an answer.
Why not just go back to your country? This simple exhortation to foreigners experiencing difficulty living in Japan captures the stark social reality for many of them.
Sparked by the George Floyd murder by police in the United States last month, street protests against official violence towards minorities and disenfranchised peoples have sprung up worldwide.
The work shutdown in the wake of the April 7, 2020, emergency declaration hit one group particularly hard: students working part-time gigs.
We shouldn’t wait for the government to deign to divvy out what it thinks foreigners want, as if it’s the omotenashi (hospitality) Japan offers any guest. Instead, NJ residents should be telling the government what they want, on their terms.
Today, we see the eight-hour workday as a social norm, albeit observed more in the breech. But workers shed blood and tears to bequeath this right to us.
Treating outsiders like contagion has consequences: Society develops antibodies, and Japan’s already-normalized discrimination intensifies.
Around Japan, workers still commute each day on packed trains and file into crowded meeting rooms. Some are told to stay home, with or without pay.
There’s an oft-used expression in Japanese: sekinin tenka. Best translated as “passing the buck,” it’s a reflex of dodging blame for one’s own actions by transferring responsibility to others. For too long, Japan has done so on the world stage with impunity—even when it affects the world adversely.