Protests in Tokyo for Kurdish man claiming he was racially profiled

This targeting of individuals based on their appearance has long been an aspect of life in Japan that continually sparks concern and anger amongst the foreign community. This weekend’s protest, spurred on by events in the U.S., shows that more individuals, including Japanese, are losing their patience with racial profiling and are now prepared to take more of a stand against improper treatment of foreigners by police.

Black Celebrity Beats Japanese Wife in Front of Children

In a news story that surprised no one that wasn’t Japanese, well-known TV personality Bobby Ologun hit his wife in the face in front of their three children. Bobby naturalized to Japan from Nigeria.

Never relax.

Gender Pronouns Explained to Japanese on National News

“It is said that mis-gendering can seriously hurt the other person’s heart.”
“In a suburb of New York, middle schools teach about sexual minorities to students. The school works to protect the sexual identity of sexual minority students. In classroom activities, they use the pronoun, “they.”

The Japanese female author then describes her visit to a radical conservative baptist church in Georgia. After asking about sexual minorities:

“I was surprised at his strong response, even an hour and a half into his sermon, the minister repeatedly criticized sexual minorities. These conservatives strongly believe that ‘sex is determined by God,’ so they say using “they” is bad. After a sermon, one male believer said, ‘The Bible teaches that sexual minorities are dangerous. Men are men, women are women, and we never use genderless pronouns.'”

“I’m Shige Sakurai, a Japanese-American who identifies as a sexual minority.
Three years ago, Sakurai, a university teacher in Eastern Maryland, obtained a license with an “X” in the gender column, meaning neither male nor female.”

“My ultimate goal is to get more people involved in this problem. I hope the more general “they” will be the first step in solving the problems we face.”

tl;dr: The article presents, to a Japanese audience, using gender pronouns as an act of love, tolerance, and understanding, while painting opponents as religious fanatics that only oppose it due to their belief in God. The author then alludes to the use of gender pronouns as something that Japan should perhaps consider use of.

Link to Article (日本語)
Archive link

Japan’s First Bill to Punish Hate Speech Expected to Pass in Kawasaki

Demonstrators protest against hate speech in Kawasaki in May 2019

The city of Kawasaki on Monday submitted to its assembly an ordinance bill to introduce criminal penalties for hate speech, the first in Japan.

Japan enacted in 2016 a law designed to deter hate speech, but it lacks provisions to ban or punish the use of discriminatory language, leading critics to call for tougher steps to eradicate discrimination against ethnic minorities.

“In order to promote the creation of a city in which no citizens are subjected to unjust discrimination, we will deepen discussions and work toward enacting the ordinance,” Kawasaki Mayor Norihiko Fukuda said.

The Kawasaki bill, expected to pass the assembly in mid-December and take effect on July 1, bans discriminatory remarks against a person from a particular country or region in public spaces such as on the street or in a park.

It calls for issuing advisories and orders to violators and disclosing the names and addresses of repeated violators while making them punishable with a fine of up to 500,000 yen ($4,600).’s-1st-bill-to-punish-hate-speech-submitted-in-kawasaki

Pope Commands Japan to Accept Refugees

The Pope is currently in Japan visiting Japanese Catholics.
In a speech at the main cathedral of Tokyo, he expressed concern that Japan has not done enough to help refugees in the recent years.
He was shocked to learn that only 42 people received refugee status in Japan, and said this must change.

I ask you to spread the arms of friendship and welcome those who come, often after great suffering, to seek refuge in your country” Pope Francis made an appeal to Japan at the meeting with young people in the Cathedral of Saint Mary in Tokyo. The Pope explained Japan’s framework of rules is “so restrictive that the number of those who have obtained refugee status in 2018 is limited to 42 people.”

Too much competition and frenzy leads to loneliness, “the greatest poverty,” the Pontiff said in a meeting with young people in Tokyo. “There are young people who do not laugh, do not play, do not know a sense of wonder and surprise. As zombies – Pope Francis used this word -, their hearts stopped beating because of their inability to celebrate life with others. And now we need to make room for God in a frenetic society focused on being only competitive and productive.”