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The Uni-Files

A candid look at EFL life and lessons from a university teacher's perspective.

October 29, 2010

An "interview" with controversial human rights activist Orudo Debiru

Today- a Uni-files interview with the controversial activist and newspaper columnist Orudo Debiru
(For those who don’t know, Orudo Debiru is a naturalized Japanese citizen, originally from the U.S. His main claim to fame is his activism for human rights, especially the rights of non-Japanese in Japan. He is also wholly fictional and if he happens to resemble some actual person from say, Hokkaido, that’s because you, dear reader, made an unwarranted connection. Today he joins us with one of his most ardent, and equally fictional, supporters- Jay Newbie).

Uni-files: Debiru, in a recent newspaper article you argued that even non-Japanese living outside Japan, including those who have never set foot in Japan, should have the right to vote in Japanese elections. You also argued that they should be eligible for all the public and social services offered by the Japanese government, including pensions and welfare benefits. This seems to be a bit radical don’t you think?

Debiru: No. Otherwise you’re discriminating between Japanese people and non-residents. Why should only Japanese have access to the benefits of ‘Team Japan’?

Newbie: Japan owes something to the world. It can’t just always be take, take, take. Japan has to give in return.

Debiru: Japan is the only ‘developed’ county that doesn’t provide the vote for it’s non-citizens who live elsewhere.

Uni-files: Really? No country in the EU does that, nor do Canada, U.S., or Australia.

Debiru: What other countries do is irrelevant! What’s right is right! Are you saying that it is right for Japan to be discriminatory?

Uni-files: Debiru, you and your supporters often mention that some attitudes, policies, or states of affairs occur ‘only in Japan’ among developed countries. It seems that you buy into notions of Japanese uniqueness or exclusivity. Do you?

Debiru: Not at all! The notion of Japanese uniqueness is a nationalist myth!

Newbie: Of all developed countries, only the Japanese think of themselves as being unique. It seems to be part of the Japanese mentality. They believe whatever the government tells them. You won’t find this type of belief in Western countries anymore, only in Japan.

Uni-files: Ok. Let’s move on. You've also blogged about “how the Japanese authorities plan to incarcerate all foreign residents as a precaution against the foreign criminals”. I haven’t come across any such policy statements. Can you ground this?

Debiru: Well, I was scouring the internet looking for anything that might prove my preconceptions about the ulterior motives of the Japanese authorities when I came across another blogger who talked about how his upholsterer in Inaka Prefecture thought he had overheard a conversation at a vegetable stand about the local district council becoming more vigilant about registering foreigners for social services and helping them with securing housing. And I can substantiate it too- with a link to my blog. Anyway, to me, being told to ‘stay in your house’ in this manner is equivalent to incarceration. And the registration is clearly a way of rounding up the foreigners- just like a criminal dragnet.

Newbie: In any civilized country this would cause mass rioting in the streets. But because the Japanese are such compliant sheep, not to mention the blatant racism here, no one will stand up for us. The Japanese just pretend that foreigners don’t exist. They stare at us like we’re from another planet.

Uni-files: That must be tough for them to do, both ignoring your existence and staring at you at the same time!

Debiru: This is just the start of the whole racist process. Next thing you know, your pension is declared null and void and your 'ha-fu' kids are kicked out of school for not being Japanese enough.

Newbie: Wow, Debiru. That was your best answer yet!

Uni-files: Let me ask about these racism charges a bit. For example, I know that you oppose the fingerprinting of non-Japanese at airports but can this really be called racist? After all, it is based upon citizenship, right? For example, Debiru, you are racially Caucasian but, as a Japanese citizen, you don’t have to be fingerprinted. And someone who is racially ‘Japanese’- although Japanese isn't even a racial category- but doesn’t hold a Japanese passport still has to be fingerprinted. So while it may be other things, how can you say it is ‘racist’?

Debiru: Don’t feed the troll, Newbie. Don’t feed the troll.

Uni-files: Ok, next question. Regarding a specific recent blog entry of yours... You recently criticized the city of Sonzainashi for exploiting non-Japanese. Apparently, the city authorities had developed a ‘Welcome Foreign Guests’ plan in which selected hotels, hot springs, eateries, bars and so on offered English information and services and had started a promotional campaign that actively encouraged non-Japanese to visit. So, what was the thrust of your criticism?

Debiru: When they carry out this facile, deceitful put-on for non-Japanese they’re only doing it because they want their business. “Let’s take the foreigner’s money away from them” is the real motivation. 'Yohkoso Japan!'- Yeah, right!

Newbie: I consider it a form of robbery; another way of victimizing us, the weakest members of this society.

Uni-files: You guys seem to be very negative about anything to do with Japan, even when Japan scores an apparent success.

Newbie: That’s because Japan places everyone into an us and them paradigm. They do it all the time. They have institutionalized the formula. They use it to justify oppressive policies. We would never do that in the U.S. We have laws that forbid it and an education system that teaches us not to do so.

Uni-files:So, given that Debiru is Japanese, would you put him among that number?

Newbie: Well, I mean, he’s not really a Japanese in the same way they are. (Debiru stares at Newbie). Well I mean, like, he’s not exactly Japanese like them. So to speak. He’s a different Japanese from all the other Japanese. (Debiru continues staring at him). Well, of course he’s just the same as them in that he’s a Japanese citizen. But Debiru is more…ummm... progressive. (Debiru smiles).

Uni-files: OK. Back to the point. Wouldn’t you at least agree that public order and efficiency here is quite excellent?

Debiru: Japanese public order is maintained by coercion and implicit threat. It’s fifty years behind most other countries in this regard.

Uni-files: OK. How about robotics? Or even toilet technology?

Newbie: Robotics here is 36 years behind every other country in the world. And Japan is 23 years behind as far as toilets go.

Uni-files: On what basis can you make such bold claims?

Newbie: Three months ago in the U.S., before I came to Japan, I visited another state for the first time. And their toilets were better than here. Not as xenophobic.

Uni-files: Ok. How about manga and animation? Surely Japan’s ranking in these…

Newbie: You sound like a Japan apologist, acting as if racism never occurs here. Like nothing ever happened in Nanjing!

Debiru: Speaking of which, China has overtaken Japan as the world’s #2 power so Japan can’t possibly be leaders in those fields and therefore must be on the decline in all catgories. And it is this frustration at being a washed up, has-been society that it causing Japanese to lash out at foreigners.

Uni-files: Really? How so?

Debiru: It happens all the time. Read my blog.

Uni-files: I don’t doubt that there are individual cases but I don’t see it as systemic.

Debiru: If it isn’t systemic, why would I have so many blog posts? That’s all the proof you need! Anyway, just on our way over to this interview the taxi driver spat at us, called us ‘Dirty foreigners’ and told us to ‘Get out!”.

Uni-files: Wow! In twenty years in Japan I have never even come close to experiencing anything remotely like that. Can you elaborate? He spat at you?!

Debiru: Well, he was making disgusting sucking sounds with his teeth so that you could hear the saliva washing around. To me that’s spitting.

Uni-files: I wouldn’t call that spitting…

Debiru: Stay on topic! The point is he would never have done that if the passenger was visibly Japanese.

Uni-files: I see. And he called you a ‘dirty foreigner’?

Debiru: Well he called us “gaikokujin no kata”.

Uni-files: But that’s a very polite way of just saying ‘foreigner’! Where’s the ‘dirty’ part?

Newbie: Well we already know that the Japanese are racist and xenophobic so we can safely assume what he must have been thinking.

Uni-files: And the ‘Get out!’ part?

Newbie: He asked us where we wanted to “get out”. (awkward silence) It's semantics.

Debiru: Not only that but I am not a foreigner. I’m a Japanese citizen. (starts sniffling) I was… racially profiled!

Newbie: (patting Debiru’s slumping shoulders) There, there. Now you are a racial profiling survivor!

Debiru (brightening up): If Japan had an anti-discrimination law with any teeth he’d have his ass hauled off to jail.

Newbie: Exactly. And you know what, you’ll never see the weak-kneed Japanese media or the history textbooks pick up on stories like this either. They don’t want to hear about these high-octane truths.

Debiru: This is precisely why we need laws against racism, xenophobia, being opposed to immigration, questioning multiculturalism, and other wrong and hateful thoughts.

Uni-files: So you’re in favor of more state authority and policing over what people think?

Debiru: Are you kidding? The police and judiciary here are totally inept and corrupt. They should stay out of people’s lives… ummm…except for the lives of those people who hold unhealthy views.

Uni-files: One more thing about this case. You say that you were racially profiled because the taxi driver believed that you were a foreigner, which by the way, is a mistake that most non-Japanese would probably make as well. But how do you know that the driver was in fact Japanese. Couldn’t he have been ethnically Korean or Chinese? In other words, didn’t you profile him equally?

Debiru: (closes his eyes) Don’t feed the troll, don’t feed the troll.

Uni-files: Ok. Last question. I’m wondering how you chose your Japanese name.

Debiru: It’s the closest phonetic approximation to my previous name. In fact, I asked to have a different, more suitable name first but was refused by the [iyami deleted] Japanese authorities.

Uni-files: And what name was that?

Debiru: Martin Luther King.




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Comments

Dude.Please do another interview this time with part-time vice president of country side university and full-time internet forum commentator Glegoly Crark.

Is this the kind of trash that eigotown promotes - no wonder english teachers in japan have a bad rap.

Thank you very much for this "interview"! I laughed a lot and it provided me a large amount of catharsis. I do appreciate you, who can observe the situation objectively, despite of the negative campaign against the Japanese society and its people by many English media.

As a "native" and "domestic" Japanese guy, I have been irritated and frustrated by the terrible stereotyping of Japanese people, especially males, by some Western media. According to them, we are all nationalist, racist, xenophobes, chauvinists, misogynists etc. etc. etc. Such facts, as that Japanese as well as Germans are the least patriotic people in the world, that hate crimes here is not so severe as elsewhere and
that sexual crime rate of Japan is lower than other developed countries, are always ignored by them.

I would say such prejudices originates in Japan, namely, the Japan Times. Many correspondents from anti-Japan Western media such as NYT and BBC seem to lack literacy of the Japanese language and depend on the newspaper for (Western-)"gaijins." In the end, fishermen in a small village are bullied by entire the world only because of their unique culture of diet. The director of the anti-Japan propaganda movie "The Cove" even condemned the dolphin hunting in Taiji as the same degree of a crime against humanity as Auschwitz!!

http://www.cyzo.com/2010/03/post_4071.html (in Japanese)

Yay! Finally we are supposed to be Nazis! There are no extermination camps, no gestapos, no plans of wars, but we are still sons of Hitler! How fair the Western media are! It's even as objective as "Pravda" and "Worker Times" of North Korea.

It's very sad, really sad. I do hope this kinds of demagogue will perish as soon as possible....

Too funny. And spot on. Especially the part about "Need proof? Check my blog!"

Thanks for the comments.

@jb-
First- it should go without saying that Eigotown promotes nothing on these blogs but merely provide platforms for some EFL practitioners to express themselves.

Second- If you want to avoid taking a seat in the "Your blog sucks" School of Critical Discourse I suggest that you drop the hyperbole and non-sequiters. Hey, I'll even provide you (nice guy that I am) with some ctrical prompts that would give your opinion more credence.

How about:
1. "I don't think Eigotown's blogs, and the Uni-files in particular, should be used to post socio-political ripostes unrelated to English teaching or the university scene in Japan"
I'd listen to that.
or:
"I don't think your parody effectively hit the intended target because..."
or still:
"I didn't find the 'interview' funny/amusing/well-written because..."

All of these would catch my attention. But instead...

@Aceface- Interesting suggestion. I'd have to catch on to Clark's ouevre more though before attempting it.

@day-bee-toe

I certainly agree with you regarding some (but not all) Western media reporting on Japan. It seems that they just don't have their hands on the pulse of what's going on here, what the ethos and attitudes are. Perhaps this is due to lack of language skills but also because there seem to be a lot of young muckraker types who think of 'real journalism' as exposing the seedy underbelly 'which confronts the 'sanitized truth' (and some even rely on Debito as an insider for this, ahem, truth). It comes across to me as sophomoric.

There could be legimitate stories of worth that are critical of some Japanese institutions that may give Japanese and non-Japanese alike a reason to reflect or take action, but these journalists seem instead to rely heavily on cliches and popular prejudices. This has lead me to question the accuracy of similar feature reports on countries that I am less familar with.

As for the dolphin hunt controversy, I would say that the activist emphasis upon the feelings of the animals and the fishermen's arguments about food culture are both over-simplistic but I won't go into depth on that issue here.

I would however caution against using the word 'unique' to describe the dietary habits of the fishermen in Taiji (and many other aspects of life in Japan). I don't think these are particularly exclusive behaviours, but even if they were, claiming uniqeuness doesn't serve as a justification for any action- Western, Eastern, personal or whatever.

I enjoyed your faux-interview. One of the best things about satire is that it usually rings true. In this case, your description of Debito's antics is accurate.

It's likely to be circulated and discussed.

I am surprised that few readers of his website noticed the largest ironies in his situation. Why does someone who deplores stereotypes (of NJ!) spend so much of his free time hunting down obscure "Japanese Only" signs that are clearly not systematic or representative of Japanese business practices and Japanese attitudes at all? Why does someone who advocates free speech (for himself!) want, if given the chance, to take that right away in print from those with whom he harbors deep disagreements? Why does someone who wants to build a better life for himself in Japan feel the need to alienate his employers, his family, and his friends so that building a better life becomes difficult? And the biggest irony of all: why would someone who claims that his "activism" is for the sake of his family and children, subsequently leave his family and children?

It's a testament to reader gullibility and intellectual laziness that so many of his followers take what he says at face value.

Mike,

I generally like your columns a lot, but this is irresponsible and deceptive. Yes, you change the name and make him a caricature, but this sort of mockery is beneath you. Why not address the issues seriously? Why not actually interview him? This is disappointing to read.

John Spiri
P.S. And I don't necessarily disagree with some/many of your criticisms of Debito.

The satire was original and well-written.

I would ask John Spiri what he thinks would be added by interviewing Debito Arudou for the nth time. A simple Google search with the keywords "Debito Arudou" and "interview" yield so many hits that an additional interview is almost redundant. Some of the interviews seem to be serious attempts at understanding his "activism," opinions, and controversial internet behavior. Other interviews seem to be more superficial, asking the same softball questions over and over again and getting the usual cliches for answers.

Given Debito Arudou is now a public figure by his own making, there is nothing wrong with satire. In fact, it's one of the last avenues left unexplored.

Hi John. Your comment deserves a considered reply.

First, there aren't THAT many things that are beneath me (-;
However, I could put a few items in that category. Intellectual dishonesty is one, unbalanced polemic, especially on what you will surely agree are serious issues, being another.

For example, I know that you and I have very different opinions on some socio-political matters but I respect your intellectual honesty and willingness to deal with these issues reasonably. I sense that you are not just thrashing out at perceived enemies with a pre-ordained agenda or a chip on your shoulder.

Frankly, I cannot say the same for Debito. Here is someone who is not only very publicly dogmatic, but also relentlessly one-sided and often biting in his attacks (and these attacks of his are invariably opening salvos- setting the rhetorical stage).
BTW- In case anyone is ready to call irony or hypocrisy on me at this point, I admit that I can be pointed and biting antithetically in response to what I consider to be intellectually dishonest but I don't think I can be considered dogmatic or an ideologue in the thesis stage, in the same way that Debito is.

Anyway, what I am getting at is that he is setting himself up for retaliation. His own blog is definitely not a forum for reasonable debate or discussion and I haven't seen him open for balanced discussion/debate elsewhere (and even 'live' he doesn't come across as somebody you'd want to or expect to earnestly engage).

Moving on, I can't say that my parody post is 'deceptive'. It's pretty obviously a parody- and when you parody you put words into people's mouths and exaggerate. This is the accepted idiom of doing a parody. The parody doesn't work if the words or exaggerations don't mimic the style of the target- but I wouldn't call that 'deception'.

Actually, I'm pretty sure he doesn't give a rat's ass about what I or others think. However, I would like some of his followers to consider how he, or they, come across. If the whole debate on Debito and his supporter's part were more balanced and considered, not to mention so damn eye-rolling predictable, he would not be a target. He might even be more effective.

Finally, as for propriety, I can do the 'academic thing' where academia is the mode. I can do the reasoned debate thing where that is the schema. But I can't put Debito's blog or other writings into either of those categories.

I suppose I could just ignore him, not take him seriously- as many among my number do.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know your thoughts.

Hello Mike,

I usually enjoy reading your observations, but this is one case where I have to agree with John Spiri overall.

I have to admit that I know Debito personally (though not you, unfortunately), so this does affect my perspective, but I find him to be far more nuanced and thoughtful in his approach than you or most of his other detractors allow.

As an example, one of the teachers I employ was denied an apartment three years ago simply on the basis of being foreign. (We were specifically told that reason by three separate real estate agents in regards to the same apartment.) The apartment was by far the best unit at the best price in the area. Debito spent a good bit of personal time on the phone with me to help devise a response that would be both effective and not overly confrontational. Thanks to his help, the teacher was able to get the apartment and my school now has a very good relationship with the landlord.

I have also spoken with Debito personally in other situations and seen him in dialogue with those whom he feels should change some aspect of what they are doing. In none of these situations has he come off as 'dogmatic' or as an 'ideologue'. My honest impression is that most of those who attack him (not those who simply disagree) are more likely to have pre-ordained agendas than is Debito.

All that being said, there are definitely areas on which he and I disagree.

Hi Ryan.

It's interesting to hear your story, and if Debito spent his own time and effort to help you out- well, who can fault that? Fair enough.

To be fair, I've heard a few people say he's a much nicer guy one on one so, yeah, maybe he is someone I could share a beer and a laugh with (as I have withseveral people whom I do not share worldviews with). I certainly hope he's not on 'debito.org' mode all the time- although I've also met people who are always stuck on the one channel.

Unfortunately he doesn't come off as a nice guy or very personable in print, nor in meetings where I've seen him 'live'. If he has a genuinely pleasant, caring, good guy side it would be nice to see that shine through in his writings. (I have to make sure that I apply this to myself too).

Please note that I did avoid making personal assertations about 'Debiru' in the parody- it was all his politics, rhetoric and the online/JT persona.

It's interesting that whenever I read a defense of Debito Arudou's work, it usually involves people prefacing their remarks with "I know Debito personally and...."

I'm not sure knowing someone personally has ever been used as a compelling argument that the defense of someone's work is somehow more objective.

What is far more unusual is someone who isn't friends with Debito, but who actually defends the quality and substance of the work, public persona, and tactics.

I was trying to think of respected third-parties who have published public odes to his books and articles. I'm drawing a blank, but maybe someone out there can think of a name. Probably the closest and only time I've read a positive assessment from a respected third-party was book reviewer Jeff Kingston in the Japan Times; and even with Kingston it wasn't a detailed exploration and defense of Debito's arguments and tactics. It was the usual type of book review that one reads in the Japan Times: long on description, short on critical feedback.

I've had some time to sum up my thoughts- based upon the comments above.

Has Debito helped people who were unduly discrminated against, using his own and time and effort? Yes, it seems he has.

But...
Has Debito helped prepetuate negative and false stereotypes about the Japanese and Japanese society? I'd have to say yes.

Has Debito fostered mistrust, and thererby widened the bridge of understanding, between a segment of the NJ community and the Japanese through (wilful?)misinformation and exaggeration? I'd say most definitely.

Has Debito harassed or attacked agencies or individuals, using the labels of racist/xenophobe etc. unfairly? Yes.

Has Debito provided a forum in which supporters regularly make discriminatory statements, easily classifiable as racist/bigoted in many cases, against the Japanese people in general and certain segments of Japanese society in particular. Yes. (And when people do so they are including my wife, kids, neighbours and friends in that number)

Does this allowance of often extremely derogatory comments serve as a tacit endorsement of those worldviews? It seems that he encourages them, yes.

Does Debito welcome a serious, open, balanced debate of the issues of import? Clearly not on his blog.

I have trouble believing that people who are truly concerned about NJ-J relations and the issues of discrimination etc. haven't noticed these... problems.

In summary- he seems like a prime candidate for satire or parody to me.

And you know what? The parody does deal with issues! Just look at the first item about Debiru claiming that NJ everywhere, regardless of citizenship or residence, should be eligible for Japanese social services. It brings to light the reductio ad absurdum problem of using 'discrimination' alone as a criteria for recommending political actions. The rest of the parody makes similar points.

Maybe this isn't the correct forum for such a parody/satire but I cannot escape the conclusion that people should actively oppose a good chunk of what this man says and this blog entry was one way of doing so.

MIke, I think you way overstate Debito's sins in your last message. I think he's actually done the exact opposite on his blog of what you've stated, chastising those who make unsubstantiated claims, for example. Could you please give some concrete examples of your myriad criticisms? You make some fairly serious accusations.

Ryan, I could fill a phone book with examples of what I'm talking about. There is a reason why a LOT of people consider Debito to be unfair, unbalanced, and quite radical- that he scares off as many people who would like to see change as he attracts (if not more).

Anyway, I will just point out all the nonsense from a single thread that is currently playing at Debito.org.- that of the very unfortunate suicide of a 12 year old Filipina-Japanese girl from apparent bullying. Again this is just dealing with ONE recent thread.

Please look at the original articles from the Mainichi, which Debito has included. In the second article, the father of the girl says that her mother being Filipino MAY have been ONE OF the reasons for the suicide. The father then points out a case in which some students teased her about her mother's appearance 2 years ago.

Let me say this again: the article says that the father THINKS it MAY be ONE OF the factors. That's a pretty strong hedge. And you know what? If your or my child did the same thing, that thought would cross our minds too. But it would be speculation, not an NHK news factoid.

However, that doesn't stop Debitoland from now wanting to generate a write-in campaign chastising NHK because they didn't explicitly announce that racism caused the suicide.

Ummm- maybe it's because there was not sufficient evidence to claim this as the cause? But not in Debitoland. People there, urged on by Debito, have decided for themselves what must have spurred on this poor little girl. It's like they WANT it to be a case of racial discrimination, they're eager for it to be so. And in the future, no doubt people in Debitolandwill refer to this as a textbook case of someone being racially bullied to death- even though any such evidence is completely unsubstantiated at best. Yet, it will become a 'fact' that can be 'linked' and 'referenced'.

It's both exaggeration, if not outright falsifying information in order to provoke a campaign. And provoke it has- the usual follow-up grandly generalized (racist?) claims about Japan.

Look at post #17 from AJ:
"The Media is once again proving itself a lackey to politicians and censors. What do they teach them in journalism courses here?
Any worthwhile, non racist, non fear mongering news source would be shouting from the rooftops.
The powers that be foster, then ignore the consequences of, systematic societal ignorance about the “other”.
It does not help that many adults in Japan are no more intelligent, no less immature and no less bullies and no less fearful racists than these children. It’s very “The Lord of the Flies.”
Anyone who has had children “kancho” you, and wondered by such disgraceful antisocial behaviour runs wild all over this country, only has to consider that grown Japanese men inflict the same infantile bullying behaviour on kohai colleagues and friends in the adult workplace...."

endquote.
No comment or rebuke from Debito, as usual- because of course he is tacitly encouraging this type of person and their ill-informed, crassly generalized, insulting to Japanese, response.

Look at response #7 from Tepid Blue:
"I know Japan generally seems to pay little mind to the plights of foreigners, but I should hope nobody’s cold enough to turn the other cheek when a 12-year-old has hung herself because of racism.
Japan as a society needs to take this case (and others like it) very seriously, and take a good long look in the mirror and realise that something is very wrong with this picture. Enough is enough."

endquote
It's already been decided that the cause is 'racism', that it's a Japan-thing because, Japan doesn't care about the plight of foreigners.

Look at response #19 from Joe Jones. (This is part of the letter he sent to NHK in protest because NHK didn't mention that the suicide was caused by racial discrimination)::
"The Mainichi Shimbun has reported that a major cause of the suicide was the foreign ethnicity of her mother, yet NHK has made no reference to this in multiple broadcasts. ‘.....Racial discrimination is a specific issue which has negative effects all the time. But if news organizations do not report the fact that it exists, nothing will be done about it."

Note that the father saying racial bullying MAY have been ONE of the causes has now become A MAJOR CAUSE. A few lines later Joe Jones declares this to BE a case of racial bullying. And he wants to chastise NHK for not making the same speculative report that came from Mainichi. Why? Because in Debitoland they have already decided that the Mainichi report, hedged even though it is, MUST be the correct one.
(BTW- If Joe Jones, who is usually very careful in his wording, can justify his argument then I urge him to comment here)

Debito has explicitly endorsed this letter.

So much for balance and objectivity. If it turns out that in fact racial bullying was a significant factor then that's very sad and we should consider how we can help youngsters avoid being on either side of this equation. But blaming 'Japan' and going from hedged speculation to being sure of what's going on, a conclusion which happens to fit their agenda.., well this is just typical Debito hogwash.

It's ill-informed, prejudicial B.S. and wilfully used as a starting point to spur impressionable readers on to make ignorant, discrminatory comments about 'Japan' and the Japanese. So much for racial/national harmony. How any of this nonsense is supposed to help improve NJ-J relations is beyond me.

Thiis occurs on nearly every thread at Debito.org. As I said, I could write a whole 19th century Russian novel sized tome on this stuff. And I'm far from being the only one.


In my lengthy reply above regarding Debito.org's ahem shortcomings I neglected to mention post #12 (in the 12 year old girl suicide thread) where Debito now believes in an official GOJ-Media 'cover-up' because NHK did not mention (the highly hedged, merely speculated) racial discrimination motive behind the girl's acts.

Sheesh.

You know, this stuff backfires on NJ rights advocacy. It's easy to imagine NHK (or other GOJ) officials coming across this stuff, rolling their eyes, and consigning it to the same rubbish bin reserved for the missives from 2ch hacks.

Thank you for your reply.

As for the usage of the word 'uniqueness', I meant 'something which may seem unusual or even offensive to others but not necessarily bad or wrong' by it.

I partly agree with your (and some other NJs') claim that being a part of a 'culture' is not enough justification of it, but I would like to mention one thing: when 'we Japanese' use this term, they imply 'You may dislike it, but you don't have the right to forbid it only because of your emotion. We're fed up with your holier-than-thou attitude. Leave us alone!'. Actually, this word is generally used in this context, when he/she thinks they are unfairly blamed by a massive number of ignorant people.

Anyway, I have found that your entries other than this are very interesting and thought-provoking. I try to read all of them, partly for my study of English and partly as an antidote for some English media/blogs. Thank you again for nice posts!

Hi again DBT.

Usually 'uniqueness' refers to something that is distinctly true of only one person or group and no one or nowhere else. Things that may seem unusual or offensive to others are not necessarily unique. (Sorry, I'm playing my English teaching role here).

I agree that when people use emotion or unexamined ideas that arise only from the contexts of their own cultural norms to criticize others, it can be annoying- and I do think that this happens more with people of my (Western, Anglo) background than with many others. But you could say that making judgments is a 'unique' part of our culture too so--don don meguri...

But what about criticisms that are examined, well thought out and display cultural knowledge of the target? In other words, it should be OK for someone to have a philosophical objection to an act or behaviour without it being reduced to a 'your culture vs. my culture' paradigm. We cannot discount legitimate, well-thought out criticism merely on the basis that the speaker/writer is from another culture, or else that response itself would be prejudiced and culturally discriminatory.

So, it is important to separate cross-cultural ignorance and naivity (of which there is much) from legitimate philosophical/ethical criticism from others. I, for one, would be happy for a Japanese person, or anyone of any other cultural background, to make a criticism of my native culture- if it is well thought out and knowledgeable. Listening to good ideas from outside is how cultures, and even individuals, develop and grow.

Unfortunately, it does seem to me too that some of Debito's fans are culturally myopic and inexperienced, very much locked into a single, narrow way of viewing Japanese society. On the other hand, Debito himself is Japanese and is reasonably knowledgeable about certain aspects of this country. So, I don't think the "don't attack our culture" response applies to such a person- but questions of fairness, balance, accuracy and even motivation do.

Evening Mike,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. In the end, though, I think you are quite unfair to Debito and those who agree with him.

In your post you state, "that doesn't stop Debitoland from now wanting to generate a write-in campaign chastising NHK because they didn't explicitly announce that racism caused the suicide." Debito's blog entry, however, clearly states, "NHK completely ignores issue of Akiko’s ethnicity as a source of her bullying in multiple reports." Your claim is a significant distortion of what Debito wrote.

It is true that some of the comments make some unsubstantiated generalizations, but I don't think they can be held out as examples of "Debitoland" as a whole. Joe Jones's English version of his letter is also sloppy in directly connecting the mother's ethnicity to the girl's suicide, but the Japanese letter to NHK that Debito posts in the next entry clearly states--correctly--that a parent insists that one cause of the bullying was the girl's mother being Filipino: "イジメの原因一つはフィリピンの母であるようです、と親が主張しています。" There is nothing factually incorrect in his Japanese letter. You seem to be cherry picking specific posts and ignoring the overall picture in order to make your argument. For some reason, you really appear to have a knee-jeark reaction to Debito and his posts. Only having your other writings with which to make a judgment, this seems to be out of character for you.

While I believe Debito sometimes goes too far, I believe he serves an important purpose. I believe that foreigners living in Japan are better off as a result of his work; I know I have personally benefited from many of the issues and debates posted on his blog, many of them containing information I would not otherwise have encountered. I do also feel he often answers posts on his blog that go too far in making generalizations about Japanese people as a whole, though I know you disagree. In the end, it appears we're simply going to have to agree to disagree on Debito and his way of addressing perceived problems in Japan. I do feel, however, that your criticisms paint a distorted picture.

I should add, Mike, that I do agree Debito goes too far in suggesting an official coverup by the media, as he does in his response to post 12.

Hi Mike. I was very disappointed with the Arudo parody. I felt it was just plain rude and it has diminished this site considerably. I enjoy your English teaching / theory articles, however. They are usually bang on.

'Let me say this again: the article says that the father THINKS it MAY be ONE OF the factors. That's a pretty strong hedge. And you know what? If your or my child did the same thing, that thought would cross our minds too. But it would be speculation, not an NHK news factoid.'

I have no dog in this fight. i have no kids and certainly never had kids in japan. but i totally disagree with your paragraph above.

the father just lost his daugher and is japanese. he's in mourning. even if he is dead certain that his daughter was targeted by the bullies how likely would he be to want to blame anybody at this point and get personally involved in argument? the fact that the father says anything at all in this circumstances indicates to me that me thinks it's extremely likely that he thinks it's the case. that's speculation but makes a ton more sense to me than your speculation.

Again, i don't have kids at all, but since we all know that being different can make you a target of ijime, it's not hard to imagine that a large pct of 'half' or pure gaijin kids in japanese schools might have problems.

It's easy for me to imagine that some schools in japan are very bad at dealing with the problem and sweep it under the rug rather than deal with it.

It's easy for me to imagine that parents deal with this and some are very unhappy about it and have problems with their kids being bullied and the schools denying it's a problem.

In that case it's actually a political issue that NHK totally ignores what is an huge and most troubling problem for foreigners living in Japan. Do you think that NHK never protects the establishment framing of issues? Since the father did talk to mainichi, i doubt that NHK is protecting the father and mother in not bringing up the race issue. I'm quite sure NHK would welcome you having their back on the excuse that nothing is proven with certainty. What a coincidence that it also fits the see no evil speak no evil, "japanese racist, oh no, no, never" social norm.

Nobody is likely to go back and hold legal hearings on what went on at the school. If they are, I sure do not expect NHK to cover it. The mainichi articles painted a picture which was very clear to me that the poor girls problems started immediately after her mom showed up and continued to the day she died.

I'm a white guy, so to the extent there is racial discrimination in japan, in my 8 years there i was the beneficiary of far more a prior undeserved respect than negativity. If you live in Japan and have not noticed strong japanese racial bias AGAINST blacks and other asians, I don't know what to tell you.

Do you think racism gets better and heals itself when you sweep it under the rug?

Steve, good post. In all my time in Japan, I never met a biracial child who said they had never experienced any bullying based on race. I include idiotic statements by teachers in this. That's also bullying in my opinion. There are those in positions to influence public opinion among NJ who would deny the problem exists. That's what is truly scary, the level of denial. Debito is someone who stands up for others, takes his hits, gets back up and soldiers on. No one else performs this service for foreigners in Japan. He's a great guy, albeit human like all the rest of us.

Debito can be a bit moody, he often post then deletes allot of my comments. You, however, seem to have a slant towards defending the Japanese-Gaijin subordinate relationship, probally due to your position in academics. If you work in the "real" Japan, youll see that allot of what Debito post is real world stuff. At least we got somebody out there to represent. Life in Japan can be brutal, and this story need exposure. You seem to take the all-ro-nothing approach, like show examples, this is what you imply, however Japan is not that kind of country, everything is done in the shadows. What is mine is mine and yours is mine also attitude, they own you.

The last few posts have been critical. Let me deal with them one by one...

@Ryan,
It seems that you prove my point for me. In posts #20 and 21 of the thread in question, Debito supports a write-in campaign against NHK for not dealing with the alleged racial bullying which culminated in the suicide. As you noted, Debito uses the word meaning "insist", in "the father insisted that...".

But this is exactly the type of exaggeration I was talking about. The father clearly did not "insist". The father said he 'thought' it 'may be' 'one of' the reasons, based upon one cited incident. A hedge is a hedge is a hedge and Debito (and others) are rewriting the script to suit their pre-judgment of the situation.

If we want to just leave the factual statement at the level that 'the father stated that at one time he noted some racially-based bullying" that would be one thing but clearly Debito et al are taking it much further. If not, why would they feel that NHK is obligated to mention it in terms of a suicide case?

I'm also wondering what these 'multiple reports' are. Only the Mainichi interview is listed.

@ Mark Hunter
I think some people are 'disappointed' because they agree with Debito in general. If I parodied David Cameron, I'm sure conservatives would also be 'disappointed' in me. But Debito has a very public character, goes out on a limb and makes very strong (often inaccurate and unfounded) public statements, and can certainly be rude, sarcastic, and bullying. So I think he sets himself up for parody (in fact, if anything he's almost too easy as a target).

By the way, I heard that you wrote that I was an 'Orientalist' on Debito's site. Now I'm not sure which one it is, but eaither your grasp of orientalism is tenuous or your understanding of my position/viewpoints is so.
Orientalism is the habit or practice of exoticizing another culture, often with the intent to present that culture as a complete other. I've written academic analysis critical of this habit re:Japan and you certainly won't find me using the 'culture' or 'uniqueness' canards anywhere on this blog (or elsewhere). Yu can even see my response to a Japanese reader above in this same comments thread.

In fact, one thing I agree with Debito on is that the undue emphasis upon cultural diffrences, and the further use of this as justification for questionable acts of practices is unhealthy and intellectually shallow. And you know what? I know (via hearsay) that Debito has to grit his teeth when some of his supporters inadvertently buy into the 'unique Japan' paradiigm by attributing certain characteristics to 'only Japan', a tacit admission of the 'othering' Nihonjin-ron thesis. So I may be many things (a Crysanthemum sniffer?) but I am by no standard or means, an 'Orientalist'.

@ Steve
It seems that you don't want to take the father's words as face value, that you can take it upon yourself to speculate on what he meant to say. This is further predicated upon a dubious belief that grieving people don't blame others. They most certainly do (I used to be a Counselor so...).

Using this questionable basis you then follow up with ergo... "It is not hard to IMAGINE" "it is easy to IMAGINE", "it is easy to IMAGINE" - three slippery slopes of imagination resting on a foundation in which you ignore what the father actually said and reintepret his words to suit what you already believe.

Not exactly a strong foundation to support a point. In fact, you come off just like Jay Newbie in the parody, deciding what the 'racist' taxi driver must have meant because 'we already know that the Japanese are racist'- you've decided that this must be a racially motivated case because there are or have been other cases of racial bullying in this country. You've pigeon-holed this society and are using that to make further judgments on an individual case. It's called prejudice.

Your ending is also a bit of a straw man. Disagreeing with Debito's approach, even his integriity, does not mean that one is in denial about racism or wants to sweep it under the rug. I absolutely abhor more visceral cases of racism and I certainly find the more subliminal kind to be annoying and an (often unintended) affront to dignity. So, how should we deal with cases of possible/potential racism? I have two suggestions.

Follow the Biblical principle of not criticizing the speck in others' while there is a plank in your own. Debito's site is chock full of hateful, overblown, unfounded, broad paint-brushed venom about the Japan and Japanese society. Monolithic sweeping demonizing comments are made by people who have no idea about what they are talking about- "No one here cares about X", "The Japanese just ignore Y", Japan this, Japan that- almost always unfounded, generalized negative missives, fired at Japan as a whole. Go through Debito's site and imagine in each case where Japan is mentioned, how you would react if this were a Japanese site saying the same thing about, say, Anglo-Saxons. You'd be apoplectic with accusations of racism. So, my advice to Debito supporter is to buck the hypocrisy and reverse racism. I'm willing to bet that Debito himself would breathe a little sigh of relief if you did- although he himself does it too and occasionally explicitly endorses it.

The other way in which to react against racism is not to call out every 2 year old child who lingers on your Gaijinesque visage for more than a few seconds, as being racist, or their parents as being racist (I exaggerate only sightly using this example- to make a point). Crying wolf means that people stop listening. A woman who cries 'rape' because a man looked at her askance belittles actual victims of the crime and desensitizes her audience. People who could effect some positive changes in the system will become inured to cries when they are applied willy-nilly. The equation then becomes not "What are we doing wrong- let's reflect upon that" but "What's YOUR problem, Buddy?". That's why Debito's credibility is very limited among people who can effect change, but rather appeals more to those who seem to feel a cathartic at his waving a fist at windmills or oppression and injustice.

And all of these poiints are adressed in my parody.

@eyeinthe sky
Uh yeah. I see. I stand corrected.

A general note about universities and ''intellectual bubbles' or Ivory towers: Debito works at a university and has similar academic credentials to my own. So do some of his ardent supporters. Therefore, using this is a basis for trying to discredit me can equally be applied to Debito. Anyway, it's not really an argument but an ad hominem. "He works at a university, so he won't know what's going on". Yup- in my twenty years in Japan I've never left my office or interacted with 'Japan'. Again guys, this is precisely what is meant by the word 'prejudice'. It doesn't come off as being very, shall I say, convincing.

Hi everyone.

I didn't notice the discussion was still continuing.
Let me join.

As for the Mike's post, I enjoyed it. That's a good parody of how Debito's followers do things.No?

@ Ryan

"There is nothing factually incorrect in his Japanese letter."

There is something factually incorrect in his Japanese letter.

It says "改めて、人種・身元によるイジメであったことも報道して下さい。"

Now it might have been better for NHK to report what the father said, but still any journalist cannot conclude from what he says and report categorically that it was a bully due to race (and "mimoto?"--whatever that means in this context). But that is what he is demanding here in Japanese.


And note that even in the case that might have been related to the race, it is not uncommon not to mention this factor in the report.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=4651180&page=1

"While I believe Debito sometimes goes too far, I believe he serves an important purpose."

Debito goes too far but no member try to stop it, blocking the comments form people with common sense. that's the big problem.

To illustrate the point, take syukenkaifuku no kai for instance.
It has a good purpose for some people ; Restoring Japan.(Japanese Glen Beck) There are some elements of the truth in what they say. But overall they went too far, filed with lies and hyperbolic statements.

You said,
"
I do also feel he often answers posts on his blog that go too far in making generalizations about Japanese people as a whole,"

I take it that you mean generalizations with negative tone about Japan and the Japanese people by "generalizations".
In other words, he often makes negative stereotypical and hyperbolic statements.

And there are many factually incorrect comments. Even on the post in question, there is a false statement such as NoriK's (#23)

Nobody check it, and he blocks the comments as he likes.

So just as sykenkaifuku no kai is looked upon as an hate group regardless of upholding a good cause, Debito's blog tend to be regarded as a hate blog.
Mentioning a good cause does not make it a good discussion.

We might agree to disagree, but that's what I take his blog. And my hope is the relation between the Japanese and people from some other nations goes well. I think he is deteriorating it rather than promoting it.

@ Steve
”It's easy for me to imagine that some schools in japan are very bad at dealing with the problem and sweep it under the rug rather than deal with it.

It is easy for me to imagine that some school in any country are very bad at dealing with the problem and sweep it under the rug rather than deal with it.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/TheLaw/school-bullying-epidemic-turning-deadly/story?id=11880841

http://abcnews.go.com/US/kids-mom-shed-jail-save-bullying-schools/story?id=12130835


”Nobody is likely to go back and hold legal hearings on what went on at the school. If they are, I sure do not expect NHK to cover it.”

I am not sure why you think so.

ijime has been a big problem in Japan just as in any nations.


中野富士見中学いじめ自殺事件
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%AD%E9%87%8E%E5%AF%8C%E5%A3%AB%E8%A6%8B%E4%B8%AD%E5%AD%A6%E3%81%84%E3%81%98%E3%82%81%E8%87%AA%E6%AE%BA%E4%BA%8B%E4%BB%B6

In this case the parents sued the bullies and Tokyo and they won the compensation. And there were a good deal of news on it.

I wonder why people who claim to live in Japan so long like Debito
cannot answer the question such as AJ's (# 33)

" If you live in Japan and have not noticed strong japanese racial bias AGAINST blacks and other asians, I don't know what to tell you."

Perhaps you don't know what to tell because you are not ready to back up your claim?
You are projecting your own prejudice upon Japanese people. No?
I am not saying there are no prejudice against these people among the Japanese, but honestly it really depends and I can say there are less prejudice against black people partly because the we have much less history with black people. I'd say the Japanese prejudice against black people comes largely from Hollywood and some media from the West. So it is safe to say the set of prejudice is much smaller than the set of prejudice you have.

@Mark

In all my time in Japan, I never met a biracial child who said they had never experienced any bullying based on race.

How many biracial chidren did you meet?

Sure I have read the cases where there are ijime due to race, but there are cases where the kids claim there were no ijime due to race.


@eyeinthe sky

"Debito can be a bit moody, he often post then deletes allot of my comments"

That is the big problem.
And that is why fewer and fewer people with common sense like to post a comment on his blog.

You correct the false or misleading comment based on the fact, Debito block it.


You post an dubious anecdote accusing Japan, it comes through.

And that'll make the blog more look like a hate blog.


In any case, I'll invite all the people here and all the posters on Debito blog to my blog.
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/a386be80de88b9d74679e7efa195fb05

I also often deal with problems of racial discrimination in Japan as well as in other parts of the world in my blog. I'll welcome your comments and criticisms.
I won't block the comment unless it is against the law of the land.

Make sure you tell it to your friends on Debito org.

And please participate in Japanese society, discussing with the Japanese people in Japanese.

People will forever treat you as gaikokujin as long as you are only talking to other gaijin in English cursing Japan and the Japanese people.

I'm glad to have the chance to discuss this with you but i really don't appreciate your demeaning comment "In fact, you come off just like Jay Newbie in the parody, deciding what the 'racist' taxi driver must have meant...". Are you so insensitive that you don't think you insulted me when you say "you sound just like the idiot character i just made up"? Or is your idea of having a discussion for you to demean any commentors with whom you disagree?

Again you are so wrong about who introduced the idea of racism into the Akiko Uemura case. That is a main focus of the mainichi article.

“I think the fact that her mother was a Filipino was also one of the causes of the bullying,” he [the father] said.

There is *no* 'maybe' in the direct quote. That does not sound very hedged to me. You misread the article because the direct quote shows the father's words. The the paraphrase with the 'may have' is mainichi's hedging of what the dad said.

" A man who says his 12-year-old daughter’s suicide was triggered by bullying at school has told the Mainichi that his wife’s Filipino nationality may have been one of the reasons for the bullying."

continuing in the same article:

Uemura said that when his daughter was in the fifth grade in 2009, her 41-year-old mother went to her school for a class observation day for the first time. At the time Akiko’s classmates teased her about her mother’s appearance, and after that she started to be bullied.

For sure here they have the father claiming casuality between kids seeing the mother and the bullying starting.

In the 2nd article:

It was after her Filipino mother visited the school on parents’ visitation day in 2009 that Akiko’s classmates began commenting on her appearance.

After Akiko began sixth grade this past April, classmates started saying that she smelled bad and asked her if she bathed.

Mainichi, not "debutoland" is the one pushing the racist angle very hard.

"you stink. you don't take a bath". That is obvious nasty nasty code for "you're not japanese" to anybody who knows what the word "ofuro" means.

Sorry if i was mistaken in thinking you were denying racism. The mainichi article clearly emphasizes the racial angle, hence I did not understand how you could have not gotten that unless you were denying racism even goes on. I have zero connection to Debito, and neither debito nor i invented the idea that racism was behind the ijime, that was mainichi.

I did not even try to address 'what to do about racism' with you. Your rant to me about debito's site, why their approach is all wrong etc comes a bit out of the blue as I did not address those questions. You managed to conflate me pretty well in your mind with debito on the basis of my arguing with you about what the mainichi actually said, whether there was actually basis to assume a racial cause to the ijime, and if so why it would have been very appropriate for NHK to mention it and why it seems to amount to NHK sweeping dirt under the carpet that they failed to do so. We can speculate but it seems lame to me eg it could be that NHK never interviewed the father. But given what the mainichi quotes dad as saying it's not just a little doubtful that he failed to say the same to NHK. unless the father and/or mainichi made up the whole racial angle, which is certainly not what you were arguing.

IMO you are busted on where the claim of racism originated -- with the father, and mainichi place a strong empasis on that part of the story.

I'd love to read your reply but i can do without a ton of ad hominem towards myself and you've already gotten a ton of shots in at Debito too, but go ahead and use another reply to me as an excuse to bash him yet again if you want to.

I think you are way over the top on your bashing of Debito and i've got some ideas of why. I never mentioned debito, only agreed that NHK strangely dropped the racial angle that mainichi was clear about. But you still went off in reply to me about Debito this and that. Obsession does not generally aid logical thinking.

So let's see what reply the above gets me before I even try to address your 2 longs paragraphs of debito bashing in the name of replying to me the first time around, if you're still up for continuing this discussion.

Hi Mike. Thanks for the comments and clarification. It helps to understand your position. I still think the parody was totally unnecessary. Debito has done so much to help promote the human rights of foreigners that it would take pages to list it all. Here are some where I've seen genuine change in Japan:
Carding gaijin at hotels. Through his letter writing and encouragement of others to do the same, the annoying passport requests of resident foreigners have dropped considerably. Abuse of Asian workers. Through Debito's promotion of a documentary revealing the abuse of Asian workers ('Sour Strawberries') thousands of Japanese students and adults have been made more aware of this problem. Child abduction. By encouraging and helping fathers of abducted children to not give up, Debito has helped to sway political opinion to have the Hague Convention upheld by Japan. And on and on. I fail to see why any of these kinds of results would be alienating to anyone, unless they were in denial about the extent of the problems that need addressing. Just being nice and beige in tone won't improve a whole lot.

@ Steve
I don't want to demean anyone but if people set a certain rhetorical tone then pointed comments may be expected. As you can see on this thread, and some others, people have disagreed with me (and likewise) wihout any sense of animosity. I do like a well-founded, balanced challenge.

As for the girl's case I'll let you have that last word but I'll add an analogy here.

Imagine if a serious crime was committed in Japan and an eyewitness said that "I think one of the perpetrators may have been a foreigner" and further, that this was predicated on the fact that "a foreigner was convicted of a similar crime here a while back". Now let's imagine one news outlet reports this 7foreigner' comment. But another news agency chooses not to because it lacks veracity at this time.
Now, some ultranationalists on 2ch start to petition the news agency that didn't mention the 'foreigner' angle, claiming that they are covering up foreign crime.

Debito and supporters would be aghast at this behaviour, correct? But it follows the very same principles extant in the case I've been discussing.

I'm talking about maintaining consistency in principles in order to bolster the veracity of the claim. But my wider point was, and has been, that these infelicities seem to infuse almost all of Debito's threads.

Anyway, earlier in this thread John Spiri stated that it was beneath me to get into this and perhaps he had in mind some of the uptake that results from taking a parodic shot at someone.

So let me move on to...
@Mark

Like Debito, you have a srong sense of injustice and the need for redress- but again I don't think this should always be focused upon 'them'. I do think 'beige' and 'niceness' can go a long way- just as attacking the mistakes of English students will usually not lead to language acquisition or internalization but just generate fear of the teacher and formal compliance to avoid being shouted at. People respond better when they think they are not being deliberately targeted, when the complainant shows understanding, and when the issue is not dealt with using machine-gun like relexivity.

I also think that you overstate what Debito has achieved. I could cite some cases where Debito's discourse has lead to stonewalling the discourse or other problems but I think getting into this will just go around in circles.

I don't imagine Debito is reading this as he probably has better things to do than read my blog but here's what I'd say to him:
Debito, you're a smart guy and an effective communicator. You have a lot of energy. How can you make the best use of these skills? Are you? I think you could elevate your discussion more- not being elitist or intellectual per se but by choosing your fights, your summarizing of issues, and your wording better. You'd be more effective if you displayed rhetorical finesse. A lot of people eho can effect behaviour in some small ways have been alienated by your approach. While you are clearly trying to appeal to the average guy it seems that your role is now widely seen as providing a catharsis to the type of person who would like to throw a rock at the principal's window.

Maybe I can 'do better' than writing a parody. But maybe you can do better at framing your outrage and managing your responses to these cases. It would probably benefit you, and the issues you'd choose to deal with, as well as how your supporters respond to these.

Wouldn't it be good if more people claimed, like Rysn H. did earlier in this thread (paraphrasing) "Debito is actually a good guy who has helped others. Hiis thought and tact is more nuanced and complex than you think". Because I don't think this is in evidence to many readers right now.

Hi Mike. I appreciate your response. However, I guess we just have to agree to disagree. I think you are way off the mark in your criticisms and you actually come off as cold and uncaring, almost unsympathetic to the plight of those who suffer from a myriad of injustices. If you gave some suggestions on how some of the injustices that Debito attacks might be addressed in ways more to your liking, then you would have a lot more credibility when you attack his activism. That said, I have never sensed any overarching insensitivity in your writing before and your articles on teaching (even though we have disagreed on occasion)and learning show only a very caring, logical, thoughtful teacher. This is one reason I was so shocked at the parody. For me, I will continue to give my full support to people like Debito who are willing to put it on the line to help others in distress. Any negativity Debito generates is so far outweighed by the good that it is trivial, in my opinion.


@ Steve

”when his daughter was in the fifth grade in 2009, her 41-year-old mother went to her school for a class observation day for the first time. At the time Akiko’s classmates teased her about her mother’s appearance”


I am not sure this is the right translation.

Japanese article says:

"フィリピン出身の母が授業参観に訪れてから一部の同級生に容姿の悪口を言われるようになった。"

Some classmate started teasing her about her appearance since her mother of Philippines origin went to her school for a class observation day.

When I read the Japanese article, I assumed "her" meant Akiko not her mother.


"you stink. you don't take a bath". That is obvious nasty nasty code for "you're not japanese" to anybody who knows what the word "ofuro" means."

Sorry, but that's sort of Cliché Japanese bullies use against the target, Japanese or not.

And I have no idea what you are reading into the word " ofuro"


The point is that the father's claim does not necessarily mean things were as he described.

We don't know whether the teasing started before or after her mother's visit to the school, we don't know whether her mother being Filipino caused the teasing.

It might or it might not.

The reasons I assume it might not are as follows.

1)there were ijime case due to nationality in the past. In those cases, news agencies didn't hesitate to mention it.

2)mainichi are relatively sensitive to racial issue, but after this article, it stopped mentioning it.

But really we don't know which is the case.

Given these facts, it might be reasonable to ask NHK to report what the father says like mainichi, but it is not reasonable to conclude and categorically report despite the lack of evidence that ijime was due to race.


@ Mark Hunter

I am afraid you overestimate what Debito achieved and underestimate the possible damage he is doing under his activism.

"the annoying passport requests of resident foreigners have dropped considerably."

Reading Debito's blog, there were many cases where the foreigners were not requested to have their passport or gaijin card copied in the first place .No?

"Through Debito's promotion of a documentary revealing the abuse of Asian workers ('Sour Strawberries') thousands of Japanese students and adults have been made more aware of this problem."

Huh? Do you mean there are so many Japanese readers of Debito org and decided to watch 'Sour Strawberries'?

And yet there are few if any Japanese posters on Debito's blog who comment on his blog in Japanese?

The truth is that there are not many Japanese readers of Debito's blog and he blocked many comments in Japanese from the Japanese.

Somebody says on his blog. "
Ever wonder why we all agree with Debito?"

Because he blocks the most of comments he disagree with :much more the comments in Japanese from the Japanese.

Besides, I am not sure how many Japanese really watched the film
And do you know how many Japanese watched it through Debito's blog?

The truth is if Japanese are aware of the plight of asian workers, there are aware of it through Japanese media.

" Child abduction"

By insinuating one way or another to employ the ex-military officer to abduct the child by force.
That is scary.

And it is this kind of extremism (and baseless negative tone about Japan and the Japanese) I am against.

His exclusionism and extremism and the lack of passion to seek the truth through dialog do more harm than good.

False comments,dubious anecdote and misleading comments will not help people of foreign origin and haafu in Japan.

If somebody still wants to use Debito's posts such as it is, I suggest s/he should set up comment section free from Debito's control that also accept the comments from the Japanese people in Japanese.


Nice comment there Mike, although I'd disagree about the "effective communicator" bit...

As to what I think Mr Arudou should be focusing on, you note I do have a "Passive Activist" category on my blog - there are too many police stops of people looking foreign (describing it as "Walking While White" seems such a trivialisation of what black people in the UK suffered under sus law, for instance, but I digress) and although he does provide a useful breakdown of the law regarding how to deal with the situation, how is he trying to resolve the situation?

Take the Narita example: someone needs to sit down with government ministers from the police or/and tourist agencies and make it perfectly clear to them that getting stopped right after exiting immigration leaves a bad taste in visitors' mouths, and demand statistics on how many people get stopped, what they do with the recorded info, how much is being spent, and whether they have ever actually detected any crime; see the UK and Section 44 - 100K stops, zero arrests. Individually whinging to the police officer or writing to Narita Airport is obviously not getting us anywhere, and screaming "racial profiling" I would guess just alienates certain gaijins and Japanese, and I feel that kind of ineffective response to complaints fosters the anti-Japan hatred that often bubbles up on debito.org.

it seeems mainichi changed the translation to my interpretation.

It was after her Filipino mother visited the school on parents' visitation day in 2009 that Akiko's classmates began commenting on her appearance

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20101105p2a00m0na005000c.html

MIKE'S ADDITIONAL COMMENT-
The discussion on this particular case may have run its course.

@Mark-
Don't conflate criticism of Debito's tactics with not caring about the issues or the people affected by them.

MIKE'S ADDITIONAL COMMENT-
The discussion on this particular case may have run its course.

Okay let's move on.

@ Mark

The followings are the latest comments from Debito's blog.

"
Getchan Says:
November 16th, 2010 at 9:00 am
One of the main problems is the status kids have in Japan’s legal system, which regards them as property of the parents (mostly of the mother), instead of human beings who have human rights (as the right to both parents!!).
Just look at recent cases where mother have killed their kids, or neglected them to death, and compare the sentences to perps who have killed others’ kids. While the latter get severe punishment (justifiedly so!!), mothers who kill their own offspring get much lighter punishment, as if it were “destruction of property”…"


This is as offensive to the Japanese people as misleading to foreigners in Japan.

There is no Japanese law which regard children as property.


"Kevin Says:
November 16th, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Debito, no offense, but is HO a handle you created to try to create, or push, discussion? I mean Ho makes such blatant ignorant remarks. I really can’t believe anyone can be this dense on purpose."

The regular readers of Debito org all know HO has been bullied beyond reasonable criticisms. If you say they are not bullies, perhaps you must say that the classmate's behaviors against Akiko were also just healthy criticisms.

Either regular posters have turned a blind eye to them, or Debito has blocked the comment, criticizing the bullies.


"
Adamw Says:
November 16th, 2010 at 2:11 pm
Ho,

dont know what youve been reading but according to her own sworn statement,the childrens mother knew she was going to be divorced when she went to america."


As far as I know, this is misleading at best or false at worst.

THE COURT: And she clearly understood that when she was coming to the United States, she wasn’t coming here to reconcile . And it was clear she came here knowing that her husband was involved with another woman, and she came here knowing that he wanted a divorce
 And the proof, as I recall, was that she was served---let's see the pleading in fact may indicate that the paper were filed on June the 18th 2008, I don't know you can glean it from the file but I believe that was in fact the day after she got here.
(pg 122)

THE COURT: Now that does not mean emotionally she was accepting of that;that does not mean she came here and her head telling one thing and her heart telling something else.that does not mean that when he remarried in Feburuary 2009 that didn't drive her to finality of the divorce and the finality of the termination of the relationship. Just because parties got a divorce in December 2008 , that does not mean that that ends the emotional attachment between the two of them.
In terms of Dr Savoie, his emotional attachment ended long time ago, in terms of Ms Savoie I am not sure her's ended even as she sit here today

Noriko・
pg 79

“It’s just heart breaking. The memory of our marriage we have been married for 14 years and we knew each other for 18 years we had very good times most of the times for most of the years. And all of sudden I am・・・”

It is the judge who reasoned that Noriko knew he wanted a divorce.


http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/9f7c45242a20483f7bb62516c1175b30

The blog is filled with these comments, with adult posters ignoring these comments, or Debito blocking them.


You said,

"
Debito has done so much to help promote the human rights of foreigners"

Mentioning a good cause does not make the discussion noble.

Do you think this kind of activism promote the human rights of foreigners?

And I notice some of the posters on his blog claim they read and write Japanese and some of the anecdotes presuppose they understand Japanese.
I wonder why they hesitate to join the discussion in Japanese.

I welcome you to my blog.


To the poster who signs with kanji, you have no idea what you are talking about. Do you even know about all the public speaking, meetings attended, and other work that Debito does, separate from the website. Check your facts before spouting nonsense. One simple example, Debito helped advertise 'Sour Strawberries', therby facilitating many educators and others buying the DVD for classroom and other uses. The fact that some foreign residents have not been asked for passports at hotels does not negate the fact that many have. Faulty logic in the extreme. Elementary.

Hi Mike. Some suggestions as to how one might spread the word about injustices and how to tackle them would be very useful.

Mike, i just want to say that there is nothing in my original email to you that was snarky, except maybe for the last line, i guess that could be taken as a snark.

Maybe you had an emotional reaction to what i said. As far as i can tell i gave you no reason to turn into a major a-hat like you did.

I probably would not say that if you had taken any responsibility at all for trashing me other than to blame it on me.

And this is the internet, so who really gives a shit, but I'm just saying, we're still people, and I for one was attempting sincere dialogue.

If you're thinking 'don't be so sensitive' pls reflect that you were the first to react.

@ Mark Hunter

"To the poster who signs with kanji"


→It reads Sora or Kuu, meaning the sky and the emptiness.

"you have no idea what you are talking about."

Do you even know about all the public speaking, meetings attended, and other work that Debito does.......

. One simple example, Debito helped advertise 'Sour Strawberries'



It is not other work that Debito
does.

You are repeating the same example.


And I know other works he does for foreigners in Japan.

Otaru onsen lawsuit long time ago, and yes he promoted the DVD "sour strawberries" , which a few Japanese might have watched and he also promoted the posts such as "don't go to Japan" , " Japan condone the murder of foreigners by its own citizens", "put up a big sign out front proclaiming “No Japanese”" and he supported a foreign rapist by blocking the truth, revealing the real name of the Japanese rape victim against her privacy , advised not to marry, not to have a child in Japan, etc..

(Correct me if I am wrong)


And sorry, but you are not answering other questions I raised.


@ Mark & Steve
MarkさんやSteve さんは日本語がおできにならないのですね。
そうした方々が有道氏のブログを参照にするのは非常に危険だとおもいます。

So you two don't understand Japanese, do you?

I say it will be harmful for people to read his blog for help for the reasons I told above.

For other readers;


Notice Mark posted a comment on Debito blog.

Mark Hunter Says:
November 17th, 2010 at 8:27 am
(UK Guardian compares South Korea’s relatively open-minded future with Japan’s possible “Second Edo Period” of insulation)
,promoting an interview of Debito
on CBC---(Any of us can talk about the immigration, but surely we won't call it activism)----

,without mentioning my suggestion to talk and discuss on my blog.

I am suggesting to discuss with Japanese people in Japanese and raise awareness through the discussions.

I am not saying you must do it on my blog--- I'll be more than happy to welcome you if you come, though--- but it is vital to do it in public so that many Japanese people realize the problems you are facing, to show that it is possible and useful to hold dialog among people from different backgrounds, to examine the problems together for the best solution.

The posters on Debito org have been rejecting the suggestion while blocking many comments from Japanese and others.
(Isn't it racism by their own standard?)

Many of them can't read nor write Japanese in truth but talk in English about his or her experiences and conversations with the Japanese in Japan.

Many of them have no will nor ability to discuss the problems in Japanese with the Japanese people but they are willing to rant with no passion to the truth.

So please read the blog with a grain of salt if you still want to read it.

Keep the nature of the blog in mind;It is like a Japanese hate blog about Korea, posting a negative news about Korea, with a lot of lies, and exaggerations about Japan on the comment section, fueling the hatred.

Don't be misled by the cause they are upholding. Many of them have no will to participate in Japanese society as one of us, residents in Japan.

I hope you'll join the Japanese society and talk with the Japanese people;The Japanese people are not monsters you should be afraid of discussing with. I know how hard to live in a different culture:it might be good sometimes to rant and let off steam on a hate blog, but keep in mind that it has a destructive aspect as well.

@Sora, you english is very good, glad you have this chance to use it.

I have nothing to do with Debito. I think there was an issue at his site some time back about allowing commenting in Japanese. If that is what you are bringing up here, I was never involved and am not involved with debito or his site. Why are you trying to rehash that or any other argument about debito wrt your comments there with me?
Completely irrelevant to me.

I have not replied to you because I don't want to argue with you on basic questions about whether my or other gaijin's comments indicate we are prejudiced or hate japan. That's just not an argument i'm interested in at all, and as far as i can tell any exchange i had with you would involve my wasting a lot of energy to try to explain my basic reasons for discussing issues concerning Japan, eg why are we interested in racism in Japan when there is plenty of racism in the West as well etc etc. I am just not interested in trying to explain to you how discussing these issues does not mean i dislike Japan or want to bash japan etc.

You are wrong, i read japanese, at least i can read the shimbun pretty well, tho it has been over 15 years since i last lived in Japan. Writing is much more difficult and since i never had to use it much that skill lags way behind my reading. Perhaps i should be less lazy and make a strong effort to write to some Japanese blogs etc. But you are not my nihongo no sensei, so please don't continue to try to advise me on that.

I think this comments thread has gone about as far as it can go. Everyone has made their points.

Participants are welcome to join in comments on other threads in this blog.

@Mark Hunter
I will write a blog post in a few weeks that deals with ways of handling social issues of this type, but I will be tying it into a university context- in keeping with the blog's flavour.

steve
Thanks, since Mike says this is as far as it can go, I'll stop it here.

Read my response to you on my blog if you are interested.

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/73a2d6f2db12f86097e88d6d07fb0903

Hi Mike. Thanks. I look forward to your suggestions.

Hi Sora san. Debito travels extensively throughout Japan attending seminars, speaking to groups, and promoting the human rights of Japanese and Non-Japanese alike. You are misinformed.

Sora-san. In fairness, I completely agree that discussion in Japanese is essential to a true resolution of these issues. I do speak and read Japanese, but my writing is weak, so maybe others better than me should contribute to Japanese online discussion.

Hi Mark Hunter-

You sent a few more messages to 'Sora' via the Uni-files but I'd like to close that discussion here. You can pursue it on Sora's blog if you wish- as he provided the links.

Mike

Wow, I can't even begin to get caught up on the comments, but will take Mike's first.

Mike wrote "Frankly, I cannot say the same for Debito. Here is someone who is not only very publicly dogmatic, but also relentlessly one-sided and often biting in his attacks (and these attacks of his are invariably opening salvos- setting the rhetorical stage)."

That may or may not be, but to me, the fact you feel that way means you should be *more* measured in your criticisms. Perhaps I *am* too serious, or lack a full understanding of the art of satire. The main intent of your post seemed to be to mock Debito by putting absurd words in his mouth. I love Jon Stewart, for example, but with his satire he lets his targets speak for themselves, then he shows the contradictions or absurdities of what they say. That's fair game. Why couldn't you have done that, using Debito's actual statements? It is said that we despise what we see in ourselves, and your criticisms can be savage (about TLT's David Peaty piece comes to mind). Because he is not open to debate does not, in my view, justify cheap shots on him.

As far as not being able to earnestly engage him, I don't think that's fair. Yes, I know him personally (just a fact worth reporting) and think he is remarkably similar to 99% of males I know: he has strong opinions which he probably defends too fiercely. I don't recall making much headway with you about Bush and the Iraq War (and the same can probably be said for me). Being more open to alter our convictions is something we all should strive for. Lead the way. Show him, and us, by example. Don't demonize the man. To me, Debito takes points about discrimination and justice to an extreme. They're essentially good points, taken too far for some people's tastes.

As for the nature of parody, perhaps, but isn't this an academic blog? It didn't feel right, again, since it was meant to mock not illustrate a point or even primarily to entertain.

Greg, a tough interview with his adversary would have been great. How many of those have you read?

Thanks for reading!

John Spiri

I really hope to end this discussion here, folks.

John- Each item in the paqrody was based on something from Debitio's blog written by the man himself or one of his supporters. Some are based upon regular Debito themes. Maybe we can talk more at JALT or Thai TESOL if you're attending. I can even give you concrete examples of the above without dredging things up again in this thread.

BTW- Should anyone be confused about the Bush/Iraq reference above, the issue John refers to was about using one's own political slant on current issues as an EFL classroom teaching tool, including the chance for a teacher to give opinions on
that (now dated) topic. I hope John doesn't think I was in any way supporting those political acts, just questioning the viability of using the EFL classroom as a means of expounding one's political views (left or right) to EFL students.

But that's a whole different topic.

Wow - a whole parody devoted to that opinionated guy in Hokkaido!!! He must be soooo flattered!

Mike - I just found this thread today. This is the first time I have read your blog, or this site, and I am awestruck.

Unlike the majority of the Japanese people that you live among, you have taken pointed offense at debito.org. I cannot help but wonder why? You admit that most of his transgressions are against "them" (Japanese people and institutions), yet you have unilaterally taken it upon yourself to represent all the parties involved, and give Arudou a taste of his own medicine - how is that working out for you?

What I get from debito.org is that there should be a level playing field. That laws should be applied evenly, not based on race. I looked for anti-Japanese sentiment on debito.org, but failed to find any. Could you point out where it is?

What I get from your site and this parody is that debito.org is flawed, incorrect, racist, it fosters fear and worsens the NJ-J relationship. WOW!!! I have met people like you many times, in many countries - you have a good thing going, your are comfortable, and you do not want anyone to rock the boat... you REALLY should get out and meet some of the less advantaged NJ - the Filipina bar girls, Brazilian factory workers, etc. to see how they are treated.

In your response to Mike (November 16, 2010 12:14 PM you say:
"Take the Narita example: someone needs to sit down with government ministers from the police or/and tourist agencies and make it perfectly clear to them that getting stopped right after exiting immigration leaves a bad taste in visitors' mouths, and demand statistics on how many people get stopped, what they do with the recorded info, how much is being spent, and whether they have ever actually detected any crime; see the UK and Section 44 - 100K stops, zero arrests. Individually whinging to the police officer or writing to Narita Airport is obviously not getting us anywhere, and screaming "racial profiling" I would guess just alienates certain gaijins and Japanese, and I feel that kind of ineffective response to complaints fosters the anti-Japan hatred that often bubbles up on debito.org."
- Are you going to contact the gov. ministers & police and have this talk? If not, why? You eagerly point out where debito is lacking, but you fail to step up and be the leader - so what, really, is your point?

One of the pages on Tepido.org is a rant against debito's "Japanese Only" signs. Hmm. How many of these signs would you say are acceptable? Is it ok for these signs to be on establishments that you do not want to enter? What if they are "No Brazilians Allowed" signs? Are these ok, since you are American??? By your condescending tone, it seems that you think that these signs are not worthy of mention.

I realize I probably do not fit your target demographic, but a response would be much appreciated.

Cheers!

@Mike Guest

Hmm.. Debito hates the Japanese? So much so that he married one, has Japanese children and took Japanese citizenship.

The worst aspect of your pig-ignorant article is the way you play down discrimination against NJ, sure a lot of "White" NJ have a pretty good existence here (as long as, like yourself, they are happy to limit their aspirations to English teaching, or are unable or unmotivated to do anything else in life), but what about the vast majority of Asian NJ? You obviously are completely naive to their existence or the terrible difficulties many of them face.

Instead of whinging with pathetic attempts at humor such as your article above, why don't you get off your backside and do something productive and positive?

I may not always agree with Debito myself, but at least he has made considerable efforts and sacrifice to help others. Why can't people like you get it through your thick skulls that someone can love Japan, become a Japanese citizen, but still want this country to strive to improve itself?

It's amazing people like you can spend 20 years in the country and still have the understanding and ambition of a day-tripping tourist.

Grow up!

Frank

” I looked for anti-Japanese sentiment on debito.org, but failed to find any. Could you point out where it is?”

I am not sure how you define anti-Japanese sentiment.
But here is what I think can be taken as an example.

"
there’s no way I would ever trust them or I would ever believe them again..."

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/c877898d6097a4f7079e00636db0ad63


You want to find more "anti-Japanese sentiment" on Debito org, I find annoying, visit my blog.
I'll welcome your criticism.


"you REALLY should get out and meet some of the less advantaged NJ - the Filipina bar girls, Brazilian factory workers, etc. to see how they are treated."


Nobody is denying some Chinese workers and other immigrants are exploited.

Has Debito done something about it?

Oh yes, he "dropped about 17,000 yen on pleasant chat, beers with two very friendly Filipina staff, and a rousing round of karaoke on the stage" at Rizal, the Filipina bar.

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/59a93321b2a46b2bbb42f6ddfe4b9ab8

Is that what you are talking about wrt helping Asian workers?

Chris B

"Debito hates the Japanese? So much so that he married one, has Japanese children and took Japanese citizenship."

We don't know. Does the fact he divorced will affect your argument?

"The worst aspect of your pig-ignorant article is the way you play down discrimination against NJ, sure a lot of "White" NJ have a pretty good existence here "

I didn't read the parody that way. It is a good parody of how debito followers do things. No?

The best counter-argument is that "that is the way we do things, " rather than ad hominem attack against Mike.


"what about the vast majority of Asian NJ? You obviously are completely naive to their existence or the terrible difficulties many of them face"

Are you Asian NJ?
Vast majority of Asian NJ exploited here in Japan don't read English articles.

" why don't you get off your backside and do something productive and positive?"

That is a good idea.
why don't you start doing something productive and positive?

As long as it is not extremism, exclusion-ism, as long as it is based on accurate information, and open to NJ as well as J, I'll help you.

"he has made considerable efforts and sacrifice to help others."


I disagree. If you are interested in the reasons for the disagreement, read
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/a5ac5a9b4d9e53937cf21de5989075f2

In any case, Mike said he wanted to end the discussion.
I'll welcome the discussion and dialog on my blog.

I wonder why debito followers have been rejecting dialog, even the help to improve this country.

Mike should parody this aspect of debito's followers the next time.
Keep in mind that just because Mike parodies the way Debito followers act, it does not mean that there is no racism in Japan nor does it mean there is nobody else who want this country to strive to improve for NJ as well as J.


The best counter-argument is that "that is the way we do things, " rather than ad hominem attack against Mike.

→The best counter-argument is that "that is not the way we do things by showing how you are doing to change the situations, not just ranting parodied by the post " rather than ad hominem attack against Mike.

Earlier, I had decided to stop discussion on this topic but since Debito has posted his, umm, response (which I expected after word of my parody reached his site) and some of his supporters want to vent and I want to let them have their say. I'll add a rejoinder here.

First

It's quite late in the discussion to be adding anything that hasn't been mentioned before. I do wish to state, however, that I was very disappointed not only in the tone and inappropriateness of your article, but also in the immature levels you, Mike Guest, stooped to in order to grind your axe.

I look to the uni files for insight, advice and thoughtful discussion in the field of English language education. What you offered in this last bit was something I'd expect to read in the jock section of the high school yearbook. It was childish, mean-spirited and amaturish in writing style. And, I have to assume that you did this knowing full well that Debito would indeed be reading your attempt at parody, (and of course following up on it.)

I'd also like to add that your saying that you doubted he would be reading this is highly suspect. Since you appear to be very well- informed in regards to Debito's style and character, how on earth could you expect that he would not read an article that mocks him so openly? Methinks you craved a public debate as well as Debito's response in order to add a little spice to the uni files.

Next time, please don't resort to such base and childish methods in order to air a personal grudge and gain a bit of notoriety. Stick to what you do well, ie; writing informative and thoughtful articles in your career area.

Sarah Mulvey,

Nagoya

@ Mike Guest.

Did you graduate from the University of British Columbia?

A simple yes or no will suffice.

I had originally wanted to stop the discussion here (apologies to Mark Hunter) but with the fallout resulting from Debito's response to my article, I think it is better to let some people come here and vent. I won't block anything unless it violates ELTNews' terms.

I can't respond to every item but I'll make a few points clear below.

Jason- No. My bachelor degree is from SFU. I have one Master's degree from Aston U. (this is the one relevant to ESL) and a Master's from Regent College.

Regent is a Theology School located on the UBC Endowment Lands. Many facilities are shared. If you want to do a Master's degree in Theology you go to Regent, because UBC can't offer Theology courses. Several credits I took as part of this Master's I took at regular UBC classes (mostly linguistics) since some courses are cross-transferable. I also did an EFL teacher training course at UBC.

These details are well-known and documented by those who hired and interviewed me (which is also how Debito knew of my Regent Master's- because the information is posted).

So why did I say 'UBC'? To tell the truth, I thought Debito was asking for my credentials (which of course also include workplace, publications, current position, as well as academic background) in order to quibble with the content of my presentation. I didn't think I'd have to go into detail about an unrelated degree in response to a question from the audience after an EFL presentation. After all, this wasn't a job interview or a court of law. Silly me- he did score a point there.

In fact, it didn't even occur to me until well after Debito confronted me that saying UBC might be seen as trying to 'up' my credentials. I just thought Regent wouldn't resonate with anybody outside the world of theology (where it has a good standing, I may add), particularly in a post-presentation Q&A, so I glossed- and Debito jumped on it. I do regret saying that now because it did give Debito a weapon, although credentials are immaterial as far as my, or anyone's, criticisms of Debito, are concerned (although Debito made it very, very clear that he had an Ivy League undergrad degree).

Sarah- Duly noted. I have received support in favour of posting the parody here by many and chided by an equal number who felt it was inappropriate for this website. ELTNews feels that it was OK, but I'm more interested in EFL anyway so that's where I'll continue to focus. To tell the truth I was very uncertain myself about posting it here but then how does one criticize Debito? What legitimate forums exist for doing so?

Did I think Debito would respond? I really wasn't sure. He gets a lot of flak here and there, but ignores most, and I thought he might be more concerned about one of his human rights cases and just dismiss me. Fine. But I was also ready for a response (including the type of comments you can see from some of his supporters) and through listening to the grapevine began to expect it more and more as time went on- I just didn't expect it to be foused upon business I've described to Jason above.

Anyway, back to EFL content soon and I hope you'll continue to read that. I just need a week to get going again because I've been very busy.

Frank and Chris B.- I'll give you a legitimate response. Give me a day though as I expect a few similar comments may be headed my way.

Note- Sorry to Frank for not posting this earlier. I honestly thought he had intended to post it to Sora's website
Mike


空君へ

空君へ、

お前って、本当に英語がうまいですが、nuanceあんまり理解出来ていないらしいですね。それか、在日英語人についてなんか、コンプレクスないのかな。。。下記のコメントを良く読んでくださいね。差別はどこでもあるから、探せば、すぐ出って来るもんです。気をつけて。。。”差別だ”って言いやすいけど、下記のように言い間違えた後、誤るべきです。

After the comment you quoted:
K.A. June 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm
"there’s no way I would ever trust them or I would ever believe them again..." which, by the way, was written by a commentor, not by debito, comes the following comment, scolding the commentor (K.A.).

Please see below:

Icarus, June 9, 2008 at 11:05 pm
K.A., you really should have stopped at the first paragraph. Everything you said after that is just hogwash. Not only is it inappropriate to classify a whole group of people based on generalizations and stereotypes, but you’re doing yourself a disservice. What impersonal mass are you talking about? What “shared” are you talking about? I meet individuals every day. I don’t meet a giant walking blob of goo with a Japanese name tag. I say hello to the old woman working at the convenience store, I say thank you to the man directing traffic on the sidewalk? Do they fit in with the masses? Are they gunning to discriminate against you? Why is this so hard to understand? There is a strong sense of unity amongst Japanese people, but that is the same EVERYWHERE. Traditionally Japanese culture has frowned upon those who differentiate from the norm, but that is just on the *surface*. Japan has wonderfully unique individuals everywhere – artists, engineers, athletes…if you feel the need to perpetuate the stereotype of “Hi, my name is Japanese” go right ahead ***– just keep in mind you’re wrong.***

So, the comment you quoted DID happen. And it was immediately blasted by another commentor. In the same thread, Debito says he talked with the shop, and they agreed to change their sign - so, "problem solved" - but you are so focused on the negative, you do not mention that.

So, by your logic, you are responsible for everything on your blog? Do you really want to go there?

Your comment "Nobody is denying some Chinese workers and other immigrants are exploited."
Well, to reference just the above thread, about a "Japanese Only" sign on a store in Akihabara, actually, when a sign says "no foreigners allowed" it means ALL FOREIGNERS - all Chinese too. The sign was in English, so I assume it was targeting English speakers. In English, "Japanese Only" means just that.

Do you ever hear about "No Japanese Allowed" signs? I have not, but would it bother you? What if there were only a few, and they were posted at businesses that you don't want to enter anyway? Would it offend you? I think it would.

You reference Debito's divorce - you really should show some class. Don't talk about other people's private lives. I was not there, I have no first-hand knoweldge, and neither do you. LOTS of Japanese men divorce Japanese women every year in Japan, so by your logic, do they all hate Japanese people too then?

Your comment "Are you Asian NJ?
Vast majority of Asian NJ exploited here in Japan don't read English articles."
That is your answer? Well, YES, I AM ASIAN NJ. So there. LOTS of AMERICAN citizens are Asians, and they read English articles. Also, the mombusho requires foreigners wishing to study in Japan to be proficient in English. So what makes you think that there are no Asian reading this article??? And what difference does it make if Asians read this article, or other articles in English? And what difference does it make if the comment was posted by an Asian NJ??? Unfair Japanese laws are still unfair, whether someone reads English or not. You are being evasive.


Your comment " why don't you get off your backside and do something productive and positive?"
How do you know that the person you wrote this to isn't doing something productive and positive? You don't, and neither do I. But we do know that someone is making an effort (Debito), and others (you included), are trying to belittle his efforts to enable change. Is Debito effective? Hard to say. Is he INFORMATIVE? HELL YES. Is he wrong sometimes? SURE! But I don't read about you contacting businesses with "Japanese Only" signs and educating them, now do I???

If I was in trouble in Japan, and I had your phone #, Mike Guests #, and Debito's #, I would actually expect to get some help from Debito, even though I have never met him. By the tone of his writings, he seem friendlier than you and Mike G. By the tone of your writings, I think you would not help a NJ stranger. By the tone of Mike Guest's writings, I also think I would not receive help. This, in part, is what many comments on Debito.org are talking about when they say Debito is helping them.

I do not consider myself a "follower" of Debito.... but I think you consider anyone who defends him to be a follower... sad. That severly limits the parameters of the discussion.

I an still looking forward to Mike Guest's rebuttal.

Sarah Mulvey,

Nagoya

I noticed you also posted on Debito org.

debito.org/?p=7850#comment-213241

Do you happen to believe Debito's post is also " childish, mean-spirited and amaturish in writing style, retorting" to "base and childish methods" and Debito " comes off as a grown man with a frat-boy mentality, as well as an amateur at his craft"?

Or are you just one of blind defenders of Debito followers tactics?

I wrote a post about Mike's article and Debito's article on my blog.

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/0aa0ef0dea10290cb21b8b5f15c1646b

If you are interested, please visit and feel free to criticize.


@Mike

Your explanation above is open, honest and perfectly reasonable.

Thanks, and regards.

Hi. I have a response to Frank (and indirectly, Chris B.) below.

Before that two notes: Thanks Jason. As a BCer perhaps you are familiar with the Regent-UBC relationship.

Sarah- I agree with Sora's comment. If you want to critique my article in the manner ou did it seemsappropriate that you should say something similar to Debito- I don't think anyone can deny that a lot of what you said about my one post can be applied to Debito with regularity. I've also noticed that people who are politically sympathetic to Debito are having 'ethical' problems about me mocking Debito but are silent or even cheer when Debito mocks or belittles others. I'll leave it at that.

Frank (and Chris B.):
I'll  start my response to you by agreeing with one thing- I do not and cannot know how guest workers or illegal workers feel, what they face every day. I can only imagine. But if that's true of me, as a 'privileged' white Westerner (btw I'm not American) then it would also be true of white Ivy league educated people, like Debito.

There are people who are genuinely trying to help the status of such people. Many are Japanese, some of whom are in official capacities. Some individuals and organizations are from the same countries of those affected. No one denies that such people may have their rights denied and be used or abused by employers.

But I did not write about such people and in fact Debito spends much more of his time writing about the type of (alleged) discrimination that all NJ face- which is obviously something I can legitimately respond to. He also spends an inordinate amount of time trying to de-fang or discredit his critics. In fact, if he had responded to me by pointing out that he was busy handling some affairs for the downtrodden it would have been a better rebuke.

Second point- When George W. Bush set out to invade Iraq there was a lot of protest. Do you remember how Bush's circle responded? They said that those who criticized Bush's tactics and plans were 'soft on Terrorism' or 'unpatriotic', even 'anti-freedom'. They so associated Bush with anti-terrorism and American freedom that any invasion critic was identified this way. Of course these critics weren't ignorant of the threat of terrorism or 'against freedom'. They simply didn't like Bush's methods, rhetoric, and plans. They felt Bush didn't tell the whole truth.

Well, it's like that with Debito. A criticism of Debito's tactics, rhetoric, results and loose interpretation of the truth (and yes I know he's trying hard to deflect this back at me now) is in no way a denial of certain cases of discrimination or the plight of those who are true victims. But do I think Debito exaggerates the situation? Yes. Do I think his tactics accurately frame the problem and provide the best solution? No. In fact, I think his tactics can actually be harmful in the pursuit of developing a good dialogue between Japanese and non-Japanese. This is in fact something that even people who are politically sympathetic with Debito have argued.

Third:
So- I should get off my whining arse and do something, right? Well, how do you know that I'm not or that I haven't ? Shouting on the internet is not the best way to achieve understanding between J and NJ, I agree- but that also applies to Debito.

I have taken part in a strike against a Japanese Ministry when I felt it was the best option. I have worked in various capacities with Japanese people in my community. I have written about excesses of some authorities on this website (look for my post on 'Marching and Morality' and one on Anti-Nationalism. You might also come across several Yomiuri articles (read by many J English teachers) where I offer up ideas to both J and NJ teachers about how to bridge cross-cultural misunderstandings, interactions, and relations (Debito even posted one of them once) . I actively work on developing an understanding of NJs with my own students, including classes that have focused specifically on that issue.

I should also add that I come from a working-class family (on welfare at times) in which I was the first one to have a chance to get a university education. And when I came to Japan, I had no money and just the vague chance at a basic teaching job at a Senmon Gakko. I haven't been sitting in a university office all these years.

What have you done to bridge the gap of understanding? I hope you are doing something other than finger-pointing or complaining about authorities. And if you are in a situation in which you are being discriminated against I wish you the best in how you deal with it- but there are many ways, and Debito's may not be the best option. It's up to you. I'm sure I haven't changed your mind about Debito, but now you've heard my 2 cents.

Last 2 minor points:
1. Frank- you posted something that seemed to be a response to Sora from his blog with quotes that are not from here. It didn't connect to the dialogue here, so I haven't posted it. Actually, it was a bit hard to follow except for the part where you state that you are awaiting my reply.

2. Since this website is called ELTNews it would not be a good idea for critics to make fun of English teachers. It is a modest profession to be sure, but since 95% of rthe eaders here are English teachers you won't be getting much sympathy in doing so.

Sora & Mike,

In calling the parody base and childish, I had hoped it would be clear that I found it so because of WHERE I was reading it. The uni-files (and ELT news) does not strike me as the place to stretch the writing muscle much past the areas of English language teaching in Japan. Debito's forum, on the other hand, is a place where grievances, both serious and not-so-serious, are bandied about in a much less formal or academic matter.

To make it crystal clear (as I am at fault for not doing so in the first place) I was disappointed in Mike's choice of forum to share his brand of parody. To me, it was indeed frat-boyish and came off as silly considering the core audience is looking for insight into the state of teaching in Japan, and how it affects them.

Debito's forum? He represents himself, not an umbrella group or anyone else. Should he choose to be petty or mean-spirited, people go to the site knowing full well what to expect.

That is all. If it is still unclear, I'll have to let it go at that. I will continue to read the uni-files for insightful articles in the area of EFL education, and I'll continue to read Debito to keep up-to-date on events that may affect me as a foreign resident of Japan.

Sarah Mulvey,
Nagoya

Sarah Mulvey

Thanks for the reply

"In calling the parody base and childish, I had hoped it would be clear that I found it so because of WHERE I was reading it."

Understood.
I still reserve the judgment on this point,though. Because I am not sure what to expect of Unifile.(I am not a regular reader)


As for your evaluation of Debito's post. to be honest I am disappointed.

The Debito's blog claims to be human right activism for foreigners in Japan.

I thought just as you thought Mike's post was " childish, mean-spirited and amaturish in writing style, retorting" to "base and childish methods" because where you were reading it, by the same token, you would think Debito's post about Mike is " childish, mean-spirited and amaturish in writing style, retorting" to "base and childish methods" because where you were reading it.

" I'll continue to read Debito to keep up-to-date on events that may affect me as a foreign resident of Japan."


As you please.

But as a Japanese citizen, I suggest you to check the facts and advice on his blog with your Japanese and non-Japanese friends with common sense who has sound knowledge of Japanese law, Japanese institution, Japanese practice.

Thanks.


My dearest Mike – what are we going to do with you?

You allowed Kentanakachan's entry in its entirety, but deleted my (quite good I thought) rebuttal.
Now, you post a “response” of sorts, but don't really address my questions to you, and apparently attribute comments made by others to me..

In good faith, I will attempt (once again) to add my opinion to this thread – you did start it, after all, and I am only trying to respond. Let me start by saying that I am wholly uninterested in the accuracy of your resume – I also think it was highly nitpicky of Debito to harp on this, and I hope to never read about it on any site ever again.

I never called you privileged or white. I think both of these labels, even if true, have no bearing on one's ability to understand, well, anything. If you can or cannot understand how S.E. Asians/guest workers/illegal workers/other racial groups are treated in Japan, it will have nothing to do with your race or background. It will have everything to do with your mindset and outlook. Please stop limiting yourself and others. We all can be so much more, we should not be limiting ourselves based on race or background. The Kennedy's in the U.S. Spoke to the needs of poor minorities – but they were neither poor nor minorities.

You say that if you ARE a 'privileged white westerner”, then so is Debito. This is the first of many areas where I take issue. In Japan, almost any discussion of discrimination in Japan will lead a Japanese person (or a Japan apologist) to say “its worse in your country” - which, while certainly true in many cases, is irrelevant to the issue being discussed – which, of course, is discrimination in JAPAN! You employ the same tactics...

Were you a snitch in school? Have you been using this tactic for a long time? It is time to quit it. Man up, challenge yourself – you will be better for it. When someone accuses you of something, own it, confront it, challenge it head on – but don't counter the claim that “you sir, are a thief” with “well if I am a thief, Debito is a bigger one” - you are an educated man. Act like it – whether Debito does or not. If you like, call it taking the high road. Your parody was a good example of the low road.

I will send my criticism of Debito TO DEBITO. I will send my criticism of you to you. You neither require, nor deserve “equal negative comments” about Debito. For many reasons, some people can get away with certain behavior – while others doing exactly the same thing cannot. Yes, it is not fair. Neither is life. Deal with it.

You used a G.W. Bush reference. I will counter with a Clinton one: Clinton, while President, and “commander in chief” of the U.S. Armed Forces, had sex with a woman who was not his wife. Then he had the audacity to get caught, AND he got caught lying about it under oath – AND he is an attorney, and attorney's know not to lie under oath. Democrats LIKED Clinton, so they wanted to give him a pass, and let it slide. Republicans DID NOT LIKE him, and so they wanted maximum legal punishment. BTW – are you aware of the U.S. Military code of conduct? If ANY married member of the military has an affair, it can be grounds for dismissal from the military. So, in fact, the Republicans were holding Clinton to the same standard that all members of the U.S. Military are subject to.

But the purpose of using the above example is this; Your supporters will be more likely to forgive your imperfections/transgressions, while the people who disagree with you will be more likely to be unforgiving (AND unrelenting) in their criticism of everything you do.

How does this relate to you? You, and your supporters, will most likely NEVER agree with Debito, his actions, or his motives. And the people who agree with/support Debito will almost NEVER agree with you. The two groups have different cultures/values, and this IS the difference. He sees one “Japanese Only” sign, and says it is “one too many”, while you see 100 signs and say “it is not a significant problem, and does not merit attention just yet”. Your respective actions to the perceived problem (or lack thereof) only serve to exacerbate your differences.

Moving along.
You say you think Debito exaggerates the situation, and that it is actually doing more harm than good in regards to NJ-J relations. Ok – that is your opinion, I do not share it, but if that is the way you feel, I understand. To balance this, have you asked your Japanese friends to to contact the local right-wing Japanese patriots, and point out that screaming “Koreans go home!”, “Russians, give us back our islands” and “NIGGA-don't touch our Japanese women” etc., are not helping the J-NJ dialog improve?

Would you also agree that if all class A war criminals were removed from Yasukini Shrine, Chinese-Japanese relations would improve? You want to improve NJ-J relations, but you keep coming back to Debito. Do you even know why? You feel that being similar ages, with similar appearance, his actions negatively affect you, so out of all the offenses and offenders you could choose from (it is a big, evil, dirty planet), you chose him. He has become like a fixation for you, what with the parody website, and most recently, this parody.

Q: If Debito says or does something that you disagree with, and you DON'T say anything about it, will anything really happen? Will the sun not rise? Seriously, you have tried mockery, and now parody/humor, and the hole is just getting deeper. What if you ignored him?

“Get off your whining ass...” Actually, I would prefer that you just stop bitching about Debito. MOST of us, for a variety of reasons, are unwilling/unable to effect change on a large scale, or even attempt to do so. It is not a contest to see who has saved the most souls, it is just life. I am disappointed that you felt a need to list your efforts/activities. By comparing your actions to those of Debito, you look not only jealous, but desperate. Debito is Debito. You should try to be the best MIKE you can be, and leave being Debito to Debito.

Did you know that in Japan and the U.S., whistle-blowers are generally shunned? Think about it – they snitch on cheaters, save the government money, and sometimes even save lives... but after they reveal information, most people do not want to work with them... It is not fair, but it is reality. Your whole site is one big snitch - “he said this” or “he did that”. MOVE ON. Don't be a snitch. It won't make people like you.

“What have you done to bridge the gap of understanding? I hope you are doing something other than finger-pointing or complaining...”
Wait – that is what YOU ARE DOING!!!! You mock Debito's words and actions, and offer no alternative. How do I know this? Because after all these years, if Debito was failing, and you were succeeding, THEN HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD LEAVE HIM, AND FOLLOW YOU!!! BUT THEY ARE NOT. And you cannot understand why. To your thinking, you are doing everything right, and he is doing everything wrong.... and still he has a following much larger than yours. AND he gets more attention than you.

Here is why: You have PASSION, this is clear. But flawed as he is Debito has COMPASSION (OR, he is just really good at faking it). Whatever he is doing/saying, he is speaking to his audience, and they think he is mostly on the right course.

If you really want the attention/accolades currently enjoyed by Debito, you are going to have to LEAD.
HINT #1: If you lead, and no one follows, you are not in touch with those you wish to lead. If this is the case, you will have to change your message, in order to appeal to the group you are trying to lead. This is just like getting the girl you like to return your affection – a two way street. Currently, you are upset that so many mindless fools are following Debito. Which begs the question “If you think they are fools, why do you want their attention?” But I digress. If your sole motivation is that you just can't stand Debito getting all that attention, and you really just want to muck it up for him (you know, in order to improve the NJ-J dialog), well, you are on the path to failure. If you truly believe in what you are doing, then right or wrong, the people will follow (wait, that's Debito). Be true to yourself.


HINT #2: No leaders should EVER (openly) devote time and energy to mocking their competitors' shortcomings, because when you belittle your opponent, it makes you look... little. So the website Tepido.org (or at least your open involvement in it) HAS TO GO! And the spillover to your other site (eltnews.com) was really in bad form. Wrong forum, wrong audience. Whoever is advising you, fire him.

--This ends the response portion of my writing. --

There is one more thing that I need to address.
On January 14, 2010, you penned a topic entitled “Japan- Love it, Leave it, 'Change' it, Or...?”
I found this highly offensive. Let me tell you why. If you take this idea, about whose opinions carry more weight, and whose are less valid, and move it to say, Vancouver B.C., and replace “Japanese” with “Canadian”, then I assume that lots of Canadians would be calling you a racist right now. You are essentially telling newcomers to “shut the f**k up”, that their opinions don't matter, are not valid, and yes, they don't have permission to have an opinion.”

Who do you think you are? How dare you tell anyone that their opinion is less or more valuable than your own. And your ranking system? You have been in Japan too long. You are seriously out of touch with your roots. As I mentioned above, I would like you to repost the article, but change all references of “Japanese” to “Canadian”. Then, send links to people in Canada, a few Canadian newspapers, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Canada, and several foreign student unions on the UBC campus, for starters. Tell them that as newcomers/immigrants/exchange students/foreigners in Canada their opinions carry less weight than the natives.... and wait for the fallout – it won't take long.

The fact that you wrote this is unfortunate. That several readers agreed with you is disturbing. But most troubling is that you do not understand the exclusion-ism represented in your writings. Canada, your country of birth, practices inclusion, while you, living in Japan, are telling people that some people's opinions are more valid than others – based on a seniority system.

You have become a hater, and a bully, of sorts. Stop hating others, stop hating yourself. For the time being, if you feel the urge to write about non-English teacher issues, DON'T.

I hope I have made an impact on your world outlook. I hope I have been able to change you for the better. I hope you find the courage to publish this.

Like I said earlier, you are a smart, well educated person. You obviously have passion – you just need to direct it properly. If you are successful in channeling your energy and intelligence, I believe you will prosper. It is up to you.

I wish you the best of luck, and much happiness.

Debito is a joke. The guy's pissed off because he's never been able to been able to make money off his so-called fame. However this is understandable because the guy just isn't very likeable. He's got a huge chip on his shoulder and had it when he arrived in this country.
[cut]

*Edit note from Mike:
Although I'm obviously not a fan of Debito, I ask that critics refrain from making references regarding Debito's workplace and other personal information.
Thank you.

The deceptions continue.  Mr Guest writes:

"Regent is a Theology School located on the UBC Endowment Lands. Many facilities are shared. If you want to do a Master's degree in Theology you go to Regent, because UBC can't offer Theology courses. Several credits I took as part of this Master's I took at regular UBC classes (mostly linguistics) since some courses are cross-transferable. I also did an EFL teacher training course at UBC."

http://www.eltnews.com/columns/uni_files/2010/10/today_a_unifiles_interview_wit.html#comment-1447

"Regardless, if you want to do a Graduate degree in Theology at UBC you have to attend Regent or Vancouver School of Theology. Both are on the campus but are required to issue their own degrees as religious institutions. At both you can take classes and get cross credits from the standard UBC curricula and have full access to all UBC facilities. I used this to take linguistics courses- which were not offered at Regent. I also did a further ESL certification course at UBC."

http://tepido.org/more-handbags/187#comment-1288

COMMENT:  Let's cut through the fog.  Nowhere on your degree from Regent College, the one you cite as part of your academic credentials, does it say "University of British Columbia".  They are not the same institution.  Claiming UBC on your employer's website and at JALT, and insinuating as such online, does not change that.


*Edit from Mike-
Frank's post wasn't deleted, it has been posted but was delayed as I thought he had made a mistake in the sending. I do respectfully ask however that in-depth discussions with Sora be done on his blog. Thank you.

M.G.

Frank

"
You allowed Kentanakachan's entry in its entirety, but deleted my (quite good I thought) rebuttal"

Why don't you post on my blog? I won't block your comment.

”I will send my criticism of Debito TO DEBITO”

But you didn't send your criticism to me, my blog. I'll be waiting.

And Debito didn't print your criticism on his blog, did he?
Could you cite your criticisms against him on his blog?


"have you asked your Japanese friends to to contact the local right-wing Japanese patriots, and point out that screaming “Koreans go home!”, “Russians, give us back our islands” and “NIGGA-don't touch our Japanese women” etc., are not helping the J-NJ dialog improve?"


You don't have to contact right wingers directly just as you don't have to contact Debito directly to object to him.

Just as there are voices against Debito on the internet, there are voices against right wingers on the internet.

"Would you also agree that if all class A war criminals were removed from Yasukini Shrine, Chinese-Japanese relations would improve? "

I for one don't think so.
Just look at the recent senkaku issue. Do you think they will settle the problem if all the class A war criminals were removed ?


Q: If Mike says or does something that you disagree with, and you DON'T say anything about it, will anything really happen? Will the sun not rise?


"” Actually, I would prefer that you just stop bitching about Debito.



I don't care if you keep bitching about Mike. It just goes to show how poorly Debito followers handle the criticisms against their tactics.


"MOST of us, for a variety of reasons, are unwilling/unable to effect change on a large scale, or even attempt to do so. It is not a contest to see who has saved the most souls,""

You could do better. Why don't start writing in Japanese to make difference and stop blocking the comments unfairly.


You mock Debito's words and actions, and offer no alternative. How do I know this? Because after all these years, if Debito was failing, and you were succeeding, THEN HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD LEAVE HIM, AND FOLLOW YOU!!! BUT THEY ARE NOT. ”

That is scary, but are Garrett DeOrio and Ken Ken Worsley on TPR still active members?

And you are coming here and writing against Mike because Mike might be gaining the lead?


"AND he gets more attention than you"


And that is why he draws many criticisms. There is nothing wrong with that, isn't there?
Because he draws attentions, more people read his articles, and the more people read, the more there are people critical of them. That is the risk the person who draw attention must take.

And keep in mind one of the reasons his blog draws criticism is precisely because it is intolerant about dissident opinions, not open to the people, unfairly moderating.


"HINT #1: If you lead, and no one follows, you are not in touch with those you wish to lead. If this is the case, you will have to change your message, in order to appeal to the group you are trying to lead."


But even if you lead, someone follows, and you are in touch with those you wish to lead, it does not mean your activism is good. A cult group is like that.

"HINT #2: No leaders should EVER (openly) devote time and energy to mocking their competitors' shortcomings"

So are you insinuating Debito is not a leader? why don't post the comment on his blog?

In any case many of problems you raised here are already addressed on Tepido org.
Why are we doing all this on separate blogs.The answer is simple; Because Debito followers can not set up comment section as The Dude has suggested.
http://tepido.org/more-handbags/187#comment-1292

@Debito

(Sigh) I think it is evident to even Mr. Arudou's most ardent supporters that he is seeking to discredit me because of the parody and, in doing so, is deflecting other criticisms that have been directed towards his blog in the follow up.

Regardless, I have been quite forthcoming regarding my academic background since Mr. Arudou called one aspect of this into question. One can see this in in my frank response to Jason above (logged Nov. 25th 4:07 PM) in this thread and also in related threads on tepido.org

I don't think Mr. Arudou knows the actual connection between Regent and UBC, at least not in the same way one who took classes at UBC and conducted research on the UBC campus for three years as a Regent Master's program student would, anymore than Mr. Arudou knows about other peoples' work contract status. He does however know about my height- it is true that I am not a physically imposing person.

But yes, indeed as Mr. Arudou says, the Master's degree issued by Regent does not actually say 'UBC'. So, I will duly ask that the parenthetical reference on my workplace data page (the one in which, I might add, Mr. Arudou learned that I had a Master's from Regent College in the first place) be deleted. This may take a week or so since I am not in contact with the person who can access this information right now.

Also, in the unlikely future event that someone in the audience at an EFL post-presentation Q&A asks for my credentials, I will duly attempt to provide every detail and nuance, including research undertaken, publications, positions in academic societies, current position held, and all previous educational credentials in depth, lest that person-in-the-audience be searching for any possible infelicities in the record. Of course that would put the audience who came to discuss EFL issues to sleep but we can't be too careful now, can we?

空へ、

You and I began on this blog. Your comments above are on this blog. You are evading my questions, throwing other people's quotes back at me, and replying for Mike Guest - all on this thread.

Why on earth would I want to visit your blog, and comment there, when we are both here? *I visited your blog, and was rather disappointed. You probably speak English well for a non-native speaker, but your lack of insight, perspective, even-handedness and depth leave me stunned.

Mike - In my earlier post, I was addressing a claim that 空 made above - since he made the claim (that debito.org is racist based on one visitor comment) on your blog, I addressed the inaccuracy on your blog. If you would correct him or others when they make erroneous statements on your blog, I would not feel the urge to correct them on your blog.

PS - I appreciate you keeping this thread going. I have a feeling that 空 has a lot more thoughts that he still needs to get off his chest.

@Mr Guest

... but we can't be too careful now, can we?

It's not a matter of being careful. It's a matter of being truthful. You were not. And you were caught.

Now live with the shame of masquerading as an alumnus of a university you did not graduate from. And may that inform your research and presentation of data on everything you publish in future.


Mr Guest wrote:
... we can't be too careful now, can we?

Mr Guest, it's not a matter of being careful. It's a matter of being truthful.

You were not truthful. And you were caught.

Stop trying to pass this off as a mere technicality. Live with the shame of being found out as a person who masqueraded as an alumnus of a university he never graduated from.

And let that shame inform the accuracy of your future research and publications.

You did wrong, Mike. Face the music like an honest man.

Frank

thanks.


"Why on earth would I want to visit your blog, and comment there, when we are both here? "


→Because in respond to your comment, I made a reference to my blog.

"You probably speak English well for a non-native speaker"



Can you read and write Japanese?
Mark in Yayoi said many regulars on Debito-org can.
http://tepido.org/handbags-at-dawn/180#comment-1353


" but your lack of insight, perspective, even-handedness and depth leave me stunned."

Readers should note the way he criticize my blog.

No citation, no quotation at all.

"he made the claim (that debito.org is racist based on one visitor comment) on your blog,
"


Wrong.
Reread my comment again at November 25, 2010 3:02 AM

quote

” I looked for anti-Japanese sentiment on debito.org, but failed to find any. Could you point out where it is?”

I am not sure how you define anti-Japanese sentiment.
But here is what I think can be taken as an example.

"
there’s no way I would ever trust them or I would ever believe them again..."

http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/c877898d6097a4f7079e00636db0ad63


You want to find more "anti-Japanese sentiment" on Debito org, I find annoying, visit my blog.
I'll welcome your criticism."

endquote

I made a reference to my blog for more instances.

And you quoted your own word wrong.
You said, "anti-Japanese sentiment."

I showed instances that could be counted as such.

Did you really read my blog?
Cite a specific phrase you want to criticize.
Or you can't read Japanese but you said you read my blog?
Or you don't know how to criticize someone's writing in the first place?

Be sure to visit my blog and leave the comment there as you said,"I will send my criticism of Debito TO DEBITO. I will send my criticism of you to you" , logically you should send criticism to my blog.

I don't see why you are afraid of posting on my blog.

" I have a feeling that 空 has a lot more thoughts that he still needs to get off his chest."


Not that I need to get off my chest, but I don't like Debito followers trying to silence criticisms just as they are doing on his blog.

But yes I am willing to respond to you as much as you want as long as Mike allows.


But isn't it way better if you answer my questions and criticism to you if we want to keep a civilized discussion?

Or probably is it the case that my criticisms hit the nail on the head so hard that you can't respond to it?

After all this post is about the parody of Debito's followers's tactics and rhetoric,

Let's make it a constructive one so that we can make the situations for foreigners in Japan better.
That is what they say they are doing, No?

If Mike's criticisms fit, take it. That will make their activism
better and consequently the situations for immigrants in Japan better.

If you don't agree, point it out.

If you want to engage in ad hominem attack just as some of Debito's followers are doing against Tony László, Ken Jospeph etc. go to Debito org; that is their regular business, isn't it?
We all know that.

(Posting this for the third time. Will keep posting until it gets through. You might as well let it through, Mike, for as you know I can be quite persistent.)

Mr Guest wrote:
... we can't be too careful now, can we?

Mr Guest, it's not a matter of being careful. It's a matter of being truthful.

You were not truthful. And you were caught.

Stop trying to pass this off as a mere technicality. Live with the shame of being found out as a person who masqueraded as an alumnus of a university he never graduated from.

And let that shame inform the accuracy of your future research and publications.

You did wrong, Mike. Face the music like an honest man.

I have been reading this post for a while... and it is fairly obvious that Mr. Mike Guest is just "jealous" of what Debito have achieved and contributed.

Not to mention, the questionable degree from UBC. If someone is trying to impress people by putting UBC in the old resume... I guess we can get an idea what kind of person he or she is.

If you really hate the someone, you will have "reasons" to smear anybody... I am not religious but you can even smear Jesus if you really want to.

PS: I'm thinking of going to University of BC. And, maybe I will learn a thing or two.

I think everyone who is following this discussion knows what Mr. Arudou thinks regarding this credentials business- he has used words such as “fraud” “masquerading” and similar epithets. I suspect he will use them again.

First, there are inaccuracies in his subsequent attack upon me on his site.

First is the screenshot of my UoM CV.
This page is ten years out of date and is a dead link. It misidentifies me as a ‘visiting lecturer’ (外国人教師) which I am not. I am 順教授 (Associate Prof.). Subsequently he also misinforms his readers of the nature of my contract.

Next is his claim that I ‘challenged his credentials’ (which he uses as a justification to start his assault). This never happened. I believe he is referring to the quote below (logged on the Uni-files site Nov. 15th 1:11 PM) in which I wrote:
“A general note about universities and ''intellectual bubbles' or Ivory towers: Debito works at a university and has similar academic credentials to my own. So do some of his ardent supporters. Therefore, using this is a basis for trying to discredit me can equally be applied to Debito”

This is clearly not a challenge to his credentials. It is making the argument that if one ascribes ivory tower-type comments to myself (as some of his supporters had), then that would apply equally to Mr. Arudou. In fact that much more so if, as he adamantly maintained, his credentials are superior to mine.

The third regards my recorded response regarding the relationship between Regent College and UBC. I state that it is affiliated with UBC but Mr. Arudou responds that it is not. Yet this affiliation is clearly stated in the email posted on his website from Regent College itself. One can see the relationship between Regent and UBC outlined in the links below. It is on the UBC campus. It is not comparable to the (non) relationships like that of Cornell U. and Cornell College (a liberal arts college located in Iowa)- the analogy that Mr. Arudou draws on his website.
here and here.

The relationship between Regent and UBC is similar to those of Trinity College and U of Toronto, St. Michaels College (not the prep school) and U. of Toronto, and (to some extent) King’s College and Dalhousie U. I’m not sure if similar relationships exist in the U.S.

Beyond this is the fact that I did study at UBC as a UBC student, taking several linguistics courses and completing an ESL education course while I was finishing up my Master’s at Regent. I mention this because I believed this relationship and further study justified the parenthetical reference to UBC in the CV Mr. Arudou cites. The person who approved of this, who was fully informed all of my credential and specifics therein, also thought that it was OK. Readers can make up their own minds as to whether or not this makes me a fraud or violates a scared oath. I argue that he is overstating his case and that it is apparent as to why.

Finally, in regard to my saying ‘UBC’ upon being asked my credentials by Mr. Arudou in the Q&A session following my presentation at JALT. I was aware of who Mr. Arudou was and that he was present at the presentation. I also believed that he might want to exact some revenge upon me at that time. Since he asked my credentials at the end of a presentation of an ESL topic I (wrongly) suspected that he might quibble with the presentation content. The BA (SFU) and Master’s (Aston) he cannot quibble with but regrettably, rather than saying ‘I hold a Master’s from Regent College” (which would have drawn a blank from everyone- not because of quality issues but because of size) or even, “I graduated with a Master’s from a theological school called Regent College, which is on the campus of UBC and is affiliated with UBC. I also completed an ESL teaching program at UBC and studied linguistics there as part of the Regent Master’s degree” (all completely accurate but much too wordy for a Q&A response) I opted for the UBC gloss. I thought that it would be sufficient as an answer to a question from the audience (after all, this was not a job interview or a questioning from Ministry of Education) but I admit that this was the wrong thing to say and that some people have taken this as an attempt to piggy-back on the laurels of a more well-known institution (again, Mr. Arudou will surely use different terms). I have since admitted clearly (both on uni-files, and tepido.org) that Regent issues separate degrees from UBC and that I did not graduate with a Master’s from UBC.

These are the facts of the situation. Readers can decide for themselves whether this warrants all the epithets that Mr. Arudou has aimed my way. Readers can also decide for themselves the veracity of Mr. Arudou’s blog in general, including the items I cite above.

I'm not sure how much I can add to this.

I'd be interested to know if Amy Petroelje, Inquiries and Housing Coordinator at
Regent College knows that Debito posted her email to him online for all to see.

I'd also like to see Debito's email to her. How did he phrase his question? Ms. Petroelie seems to think he is a prospective student.

Mike Guest wrote about John Spiri's comment regarding the Iraq War: "BTW- Should anyone be confused about the Bush/Iraq reference above, the issue John refers to was about using one's own political slant on current issues as an EFL classroom teaching tool, including the chance for a teacher to give opinions onthat (now dated) topic. I hope John doesn't think I was in any way supporting those political acts, just questioning the viability of using the EFL classroom as a means of expounding one's political views (left or right) to EFL students."

No, that was not what I had in mind. One evening after hours you, Ed Rummel and myself discussed the Iraq War itself. As I recall--and believe Ed would corroborate--we were very surprised at your defense of George W. Bush and his war of aggression. And I think our other discussion was about the role of global issues in the EFL classroom more than "expounding one's political views" although that came up as well (but as I recall, the point was whether a teacher should or shouldn't even *reveal* ANY views, not just political, but it was a wide ranging debate, I'll grant that).

John Spiri

Frank

Sorry I didn't notice your comment.


空君へ、

お前って、本当に英語がうまいですが、nuanceあんまり理解出来ていないらしいですね。それか、在日英語人についてなんか、コンプレクスないのかな。。。下記のコメントを良く読んでくださいね。差別はどこでもあるから、探せば、すぐ出って来るもんです。気をつけて。。。”差別だ”って言いやすいけど、下記のように言い間違えた後、誤るべきです。

I think I barely understand your Japanese, perhaps. but could you ask Mark in Yayoi or somebody else who is proficient in Japanese to rewrite it in Japanese? It is hard to understand exactly what you are saying.

For those who don't understand Japanese, it sounds like saying;

To sora kun

"You ass are really good at English, but you don't seem to understand the nuance. Or is it a case that you have an complex about English language people (---There is no such a word 英語人 in Japanese---) Read the following comments carefully. There is racism everywhere, so you look for it, soon it will be popping out(????) It is easy to say racism, but you should make a mistake (probably he meant "you should apologize") like the followings below after you speak wrong.



After the comment you quoted:
K.A. June 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm
"there’s no way I would ever trust them or I would ever believe them again..." which, by the way, was written by a commentor, not by debito, comes the following comment, scolding the commentor (K.A.).

Please see below:

Icarus, June 9, 2008 at 11:05 pm
K.A., you really should have stopped at the first paragraph. Everything you said after that is just hogwash. Not only is it inappropriate to classify a whole group of people based on generalizations and stereotypes, but you’re doing yourself a disservice. What impersonal mass are you talking about? What “shared” are you talking about? I meet individuals every day. I don’t meet a giant walking blob of goo with a Japanese name tag. I say hello to the old woman working at the convenience store, I say thank you to the man directing traffic on the sidewalk? Do they fit in with the masses? Are they gunning to discriminate against you? Why is this so hard to understand? There is a strong sense of unity amongst Japanese people, but that is the same EVERYWHERE. Traditionally Japanese culture has frowned upon those who differentiate from the norm, but that is just on the *surface*. Japan has wonderfully unique individuals everywhere – artists, engineers, athletes…if you feel the need to perpetuate the stereotype of “Hi, my name is Japanese” go right ahead ***– just keep in mind you’re wrong.***

So, the comment you quoted DID happen. And it was immediately blasted by another commentor. In the same thread, Debito says he talked with the shop, and they agreed to change their sign - so, "problem solved" - but you are so focused on the negative, you do not mention that.


But notice I am answering your question."” I looked for anti-Japanese sentiment on debito.org, but failed to find any". I have answered it. You've found "anti-Japanese sentiment" in the statement above, no????

And how about other examples I cited on my blog?


So, by your logic, you are responsible for everything on your blog? Do you really want to go there?

→No.That is why I don't go there.
The comments are censored, even truth, even helpful comments are oppressed.
(if you want know more instances, go to tepido org)
I have no idea why you think I want to go there?



Your comment "Nobody is denying some Chinese workers and other immigrants are exploited."
Well, to reference just the above thread, about a "Japanese Only" sign on a store in Akihabara, actually, when a sign says "no foreigners allowed" it means ALL FOREIGNERS - all Chinese too. The sign was in English, so I assume it was targeting English speakers. In English, "Japanese Only" means just that.

Do you ever hear about "No Japanese Allowed" signs? I have not, but would it bother you? What if there were only a few, and they were posted at businesses that you don't want to enter anyway? Would it offend you? I think it would.


Sorry, I don't understand what you are trying to say. Could you rewrite it ?


You reference Debito's divorce - you really should show some class. Don't talk about other people's private lives. I was not there, I have no first-hand knoweldge, and neither do you. LOTS of Japanese men divorce Japanese women every year in Japan, so by your logic, do they all hate Japanese people too then?


I came to know the fact through Debito org. It is open and well known.
And keep in mind that it is Chris B who mentioned Debito's private life first.


Your comment "Are you Asian NJ?
Vast majority of Asian NJ exploited here in Japan don't read English articles."
That is your answer? Well, YES, I AM ASIAN NJ. So there. LOTS of AMERICAN citizens are Asians,


Good.

But we are not talking about Asian Americans. We are talking about, say, Chinese people exploited in a sweatshop. Most of them don't speak English. Am I not right?



Your comment " why don't you get off your backside and do something productive and positive?"
How do you know that the person you wrote this to isn't doing something productive and positive? You don't, and neither do I.

→My comment " " why don't you get off your backside and do something productive and positive?" is the exact quote from Chris B's comment, You didn't get the satire, did you?


But we do know that someone is making an effort (Debito), and others (you included), are trying to belittle his efforts to enable change.


To be exact his followers tactics and rhetorics are criticized.


Is Debito effective? Hard to say. Is he INFORMATIVE? HELL YES.

I disagree.
Debito is not effective. His blog is often misleading. I discussed why on Tepid org. Please refer to it.


Is he wrong sometimes? SURE! But I don't read about you contacting businesses with "Japanese Only" signs and educating them, now do I???

kwaiso. So you are misled to believe like Jim on Tepido org that “Debito is about the only one out there trying to change it for us"

I DID contact the business with Japanese only sign and educated them.
You didn't read my blog, do you? To borrow the words from Debito, "Live with the shame of being found out as a person who" lied. (^_-)

And there are other Japanese and non Japanese who put down the sign Japanese only. Didn't you know that ?

”If I was in trouble in Japan, and I had your phone #, Mike Guests #, and Debito's #, I would actually expect to get some help from Debito, even though I have never met him. By the tone of his writings, he seem friendlier than you and Mike G. By the tone of your writings, I think you would not help a NJ stranger. By the tone of Mike Guest's writings, I also think I would not receive help. This, in part, is what many comments on Debito.org are talking about when they say Debito is helping them.”

→It is up to you.

>
"I do not consider myself a "follower" of Debito.... but I think you consider anyone who defends him to be a follower"

→No.

.. sad.
→Your presupposition was wrong, so you didn't have feel sad.


That severly limits the parameters of the discussion.

→Your presupposition was wrong, so is your conclusion.


Get off your chest, Frank. I'll be waiting here and on my blog.

Sora,

Yeah, whatever... I still do not see you responding to my comments, but I will address your comments in the order you wrote them. If you cannot answer my questions this time, then I will no longer respond to your posts.

CAN I READ AND WRITE JAPANESE? Yes. I wrote several sentences to you in Japanese in an earlier post. Did you not see it? Or can't you read Japanese?
How is this relevant?
I do not know Mark in Yayoi.
I am not a regular visitor to Debito.org.
What does reading and writing Japanese have to do with anything? Is my opinion more or less valid if I do or do not?

YOUR BLOG seems extremely one-sided. You found a comment on Debito.org. The commenter (K.A.) said he could no longer trust “them” (all Japanese people). You cited this as an example of anti-Japanese sentiment on Debito.org. Fair enough. My points regarding this are:
1)This comment was not made by Debito.
2)The comment AFTER this comment challenged it, and said that not all Japanese people are the same, AND told K.A. that he was WRONG for saying that about Japanese people...
3)I obviously misunderstood you. You included any comment, by any person, on Debito.org. I was only looking at the comments by Debito.
4)I think this is unfair. If a comment on eltnews or kentanakachan says something that you disagree with, but you (or Mike Guest) publish it, is it then ok for me to quote that comment as an example of your site's bias? I don't think this is a fair standard. I was judging your blog by your comments only. I used the same method for Mike Guest and Debito Arudou.

YOUR BLOG.
Yes, I read part, but not all.
Specific phrase cited above and in previous post.
Again with the “you can't read Japanese” line? Don't you get tired of this?
On your blog, you over simplify complex issues. As detailed above, you take one negative comment, disregard other comments that might show a different point of view, then use it to show that the issue is black and white – and on your blog, you are always right, your opponent is always wrong... It is childish, immature, and rather a waste of time. It reads like it is the work of someone who is biased, and then looks for evidence to support that bias. I think you are extremely closed minded, and I don't see any value in contributing to your site.

I do not consider myself a Debito.org follower. There are many areas where he and I disagree. If you have a problem with his followers, I suggest you take it up with them, and not me. Again, your comment above was clearly addressed to FRANK, yet the majority of your comments/questions are meant for others.

This thread was originally about a parody, but it has grown to include a much broader subject, thanks in no small part to you.

FOREIGNERS IN JAPAN.
Debito is a Japanese citizen, yet many of the obstacles he faces are shared by long and short term foreign residents. I do not read Debito.org enough to know if your claim that “(they) Debito.org is trying to make the situation better for foreigners” is true or not. Again, you are asking me to comment on someone else's motives – I am just me, so I will refrain from trying to answer for other people.


AD HOMINEM ATTACK:
Um, what? I don't know who most of these people are, and again, you are asking me if Debito.org's regular business is attacking them. I have no idea.

Now that I have addressed your questions, I believe it is your turn to reply to all of mine, above and below.

*** You seem to have a problem with Debito.org, his tactics, and the tactics of his followers. I, conversely, have found his site to be informative. And while I disagree with the way he goes about things sometimes, I would not, as you continue to do, criticize his efforts because I do not agree with his techniques.

Let me give you some examples that I learned about on Debito.org;

1)Sumo. The Japan Sumo Federation wants to keep interest in Sumo high, so they regulate the number of foreigners who can participate. When several foreigner Sumo players naturalized and become Japanese citizens, they changed the rule to exclude naturalized Japanese citizens. I think it is natural that this bothers me, my question for you is why this does not bother you? If, somewhere in the world, there was a “No Japanese Allowed” sign, would it offend you? I have asked you this before, and you never answer. Please answer.
2)H.I.S.. HIS was charging foreigners more than Japanese people FOR THE SAME TICKET. Does this bother you? What if United Airlines charged foreigners MORE than Americans?
3)EKIDEN. The ekiden limits the number of foreigners who can participate, and in which order they can run. Does this bother you? If the shoe was on the other foot, would you care?
4)Hello Work and Rental Apartments openly say whether foreigners can apply/live there... What if you were in Canada, and the apartment you wanted to rent said no because you are Asian? Would this bother you?
5)When a foreign parent abducts their child, the J-media call it “rachi” (kidnapping), but if the Japanese parent does EXACTLY the same thing, the J-media call it “kikoku or tsuretekaeru” (going home). I know this unfair treatment does not bother you, but what if it were the opposite?
6)Some hotels in Japan say “no foreigners”. What if a hotel in the U.S. Said “no Japanese” - would this bother you, even though you live in Japan?
7)外人犯罪裏ファイル – all of it.

.... to name just a few. What could I have learned from your site?

Good Day!

--First is the screenshot of my UoM CV. This page is ten years out of date and is a dead link.

First, the link is not dead. It is what is up at your university's public home page as your qualifications. Go to
http://www.med.miyazaki-u.ac.jp/about/f_serch.html
go two pages deep to get to the faculty search zone, then plug in your name as ゲスト (Provided of course you can read Japanese. You even rendered your own position as 准教授 incorrectly). It'll pop up. It did a few minutes ago.

Second, it doesn't matter if it is "ten years out of date". It could be 100 years out of date, but it does not change the fact that these are the credentials (which unlike "Visiting Lecturer" do NOT change over time) that you mistakenly reported to your university to make public.

It does not change the fact that you lied about your credentials back then. And that you lied about your credentials last week aurally at JALT (is that too now "out of date"?). Now you're lying about the substantiation being out of date and the page being dead.

Lies spreading on lies, Mr Guest. If this were such an ignorable issue, you would have let this go by now. But the fact that you keep slathering on layers of lies to cover this all up, well, "Qui s'excuse, s'accuse," as they say. Or rather, "Thou doth protest too much, methinks", dear sir.

Hi John.

Sorry, but I think either your memory of that discussion is faulty (we'd all had a few drinks)or you misunderstood me. I never was or have been a supporter of Bush or the Republican Party or the Iraq invasion. Period. I did question some claims made about that situation with you and Ed that I thought were over the top but I definitely have never supported this war. I'm sure that Trevor Sargent can back me up on this.

I DON'T THINK ANYTHING CONSTRUCTIVE CAN BE ADDED TO THIS DIALOGUE.

I am now closing it with certainty and finality.

Thank you.

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