Debito Arudou

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Debito Arudou
Born David Christopher Schofill
(1965-01-13) January 13, 1965 (age 49)
California, USA
Nationality Japanese
Alma mater Cornell University (B.A.) 1987, University of California San Diego (M.A.) 1991, Meiji Gakuin University (Ph.D.) 2014
Known for Human Rights Activism
Home town Geneva, New York[1]
Spouse(s)
  • Ayako Sugawara (divorced)
Website
http://www.debito.org

Debito Arudou (有道 出人 Arudō Debito?) (born 13 January 1965) is a newspaper columnist, author, researcher, and activist with Japanese citizenship who was born and raised in the USA. Formerly a tenured associate professor of English as a foreign language at a Japanese university in Hokkaido, Japan, he was also an affiliate scholar at the East-West Center.[2] He received his Ph.D. from Meiji Gakuin University in International Studies in April 2014.[3]

Background[edit]

Early life[edit]

Arudou was born David Christopher Schofill[4] in California in 1965.[5] He was raised in rural Upstate New York (Geneva) in a 140-year-old 10-room cobblestone house on over 3 acres (1.2 ha) of land.[6] In the 1970s he became 'David Christopher Aldwinckle when adopted by his stepfather.[4] Describing his childhood and teenage years as a “horror story” characterized by “frequent parental physical and mental abuse, horrible breakups with girlfriends and consequent near nervous breakdowns,” Arudou saw himself as a “driven person—with the irrepressible urge to do whatever is necessary [to] get as far away as possible as quickly as possible.”[7] He attended Cornell University, first visiting Japan as a tourist on invitation from Ayako Sugawara (菅原 文子 Sugawara Ayako?),[8][9][10] his pen pal and future wife, for several weeks in 1986. Following this experience, he dedicated his senior year as an undergraduate to studying Japanese, graduating in 1987.[11] Aldwinckle moved to Japan and taught English in Sapporo, Hokkaidō, for one year, then decided to return to university in the United States to study.[5] He entered the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), but deferred from the program to return to Japan and spent one year at the Japan Management Academy in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture. Aldwinckle married Ayako Sugawara in 1989. In 1990, he returned to California to complete his Masters of Pacific International Affairs (MPIA), and received the degree in 1991.[12]

Aldwinckle then joined a small Japanese trading company in Sapporo. He contends that in this job, he was the object of workplace harassment.[5] Rather than formally resign, Aldwinckle said he chose to be terminated by the company in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits.[13] In 1993, Aldwinckle joined the faculty of Business Administration and Information Science at the Hokkaido Information University, a private university in Ebetsu, Hokkaidō, teaching courses in business English and debate. He was an associate professor until 2011 when he left the university.[14]

Japanese naturalization[edit]

Aldwinckle became a permanent resident of Japan in 1996. He obtained Japanese citizenship in 2000, whereupon he changed his name to Debito Arudou (有道 出人 Arudō Debito?)--a "Japanese-sounding name"[15] that is a "garbleization of his old name".[16] To allow his wife and children to retain their Japanese family name, he adopted the legal name Arudoudebito Sugawara (菅原 有道出人 Sugawara Arudōdebito?)[10] — a combination of his wife’s Japanese name and his new transliterated full name.[17]

Family and divorce[edit]

Debito Arudou and Ayako Sugawara have two daughters. Arudou has described them as one being "viewed as Japanese because of her looks" and the other as "relegated to gaijin (foreigner) status, same as I" because of physical appearances.[18] According to Arudou, when he took his family to the Yunohana Onsen, the establishment stated that they would allow one girl to enter the onsen but would have to refuse the other on the basis of their appearances.[19]

Arudou petitioned the Japanese Family Court for a divorce in the spring of 2004, which was granted through court mediation in September 2006.[20]

Activism[edit]

Arudou v. Earth Cure[edit]

The original sign

Arudou objected to the policies of three bathhouses in Hokkaidō, Japan, in the late 1990s that had posted "No Foreigners" or "Japanese Only" signs on their doors.[21] He was ultimately one of three plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against the Yunohana Onsen (owned by parent company Earth Cure) in Otaru, Hokkaidō. Yunohana maintained a policy to exclude non-Japanese patrons; the business stated that it implemented the policy after inebriated and unruly Russian sailors scared away patrons from one of its other facilities. After reading an e-mail posted to a mailing list digest complaining of Yunohana's policy in 1999,[22] Arudou led a multinational group of 17 people of various nationalities (United States, Chinese, German, and Japanese) to enter the bathhouse[21] and test the firmness of the "No Foreigners" policy posted on its door.[15]

These walk-ins were attempted twice.[21] Between 1999 and 2001, Arudou stated that several participants attempted to negotiate with the bathhouses resulting in the removal of two exclusionary signs from Osupa and Panorama hotpsrings.[23] Arudou returned to Yunohana in October 2000 for a third time as a naturalized Japanese citizen, but again was refused entry. The manager accepted that Arudou was a Japanese national, but refused him entry on the grounds that his foreign appearance could cause misunderstandings for their Japanese customers, who would assume that Yunohana was now admitting foreigners[24] and take their business elsewhere.[10]

Arudou and two co-plaintiffs, Kenneth Lee Sutherland and Olaf Karthaus, in February 2001 then sued Earth Cure in district court pleading racial discrimination, and the City of Otaru for violation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a treaty which Japan ratified in 1996. On November 11, 2002, the Sapporo District Court ordered Earth Cure to pay the plaintiffs ¥1 million each (about US$25,000 in total) in damages.[25] The court stated that "categorically refusing all foreigners constitutes irrational discrimination, exceeds social norms, and amounts to an illegal act."[15] The Sapporo District and High Courts both dismissed Arudou's claim against the city of Otaru for not creating an anti-discrimination ordinance.[26] It stated that "issues such as which measures to take, and how to implement them, are properly left to the discretion of Otaru."[21] The Sapporo High Court upheld these rulings on September 16, 2004,[27] and the Supreme Court of Japan denied review on April 7, 2005.[26]

Secret Files of Foreigners' Crimes[edit]

Secret Files of Foreigners' Crimes

In February 2007, Arudou participated in a protest against an over-the-counter Japanese-language publication titled Kyōgaku no gaijin hanzai ura file - gaijin hanzai hakusho 2007 (Secret Files of Foreigners' Crimes).[28] The magazine highlighted alleged crimes committed by foreigners. Arudou, calling the magazine "ignorant propaganda",[29] argued that "[the magazine] fails the freedom of speech test because it a) willfully spreads hate, fear, and innuendo against a segment of the population, b) fortifies that by lacking any sort of balance in data or presentation, and c) offers sensationalized propaganda in the name of "constructive debate".[30] Arudou posted a bilingual letter for readers to take to FamilyMart stores protesting the sale of the magazine.

Other protests[edit]

In 2003, Arudou, along with several other long-term, non-Japanese residents dressed up as seals and formed a protest after Nishi Ward, Yokohama granted Tama-chan (a male Bearded Seal) an honorary jūminhyō (residency registration).[31] The protesters said that if the government can grant jūminhyō to animals and fictional animation characters, as was the case in Niiza and Kasukabe Cities, Saitama Prefecture,[32] then there was no need to deny foreign residents from having jūminhyō. At the time, non-Japanese residents were required to be registered in a separate alien registration system.[33] Arudou's demonstration was featured in major media, including the Asahi Shimbun[34] and Newsweek Japan.[35]

In June 2008, Arudou lodged a complaint with the Hokkaidō Prefectural Police, claiming that its officers were targeting foreigners as part of a security sweep prior to the 34th G8 summit in Tōyako, Hokkaidō.[36] This followed an incident where Arudou asserted his right under the Police Execution of Duties Law to not need to show identification when requested by a police officer at New Chitose Airport. After meeting with police representatives at their headquarters, Arudou held a press conference covered by a local television station.[37]

In August 2009, Arudou—acting as the chair of FRANCA (the Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association)—began a letter-writing campaign in protest of a promotional advertisement by McDonald’s Japan featuring a bespectacled, mildly geeky, 43-year-old American Japanophile known as “Mr. James”—a burger mascot who proclaims his love for the fast-food outlet in broken katakana Japanese.[38] Writing in The Japan Times, Arudou argued that the “Mr. James” campaign perpetuates negative stereotypes about sensitive non-Japanese Caucasian minorities living in Japan, and demanded that McDonald’s Japan withdraw the advertisement: "Imagine McDonald’s, a multinational that has long promoted cultural diversity, launching a McAsia Menu in America featuring a deep-bowing, grimacing Asian in a bathrobe and platform sandals saying 'Me likee McFlied Lice!' or 'So solly, prease skosh honorable teriyaki sandrich?'"[39] Time Magazine’s Coco Masters concluded: ”To protest Mr. James as a stereotype of a minority population in Japan because the Ohio native fails to speak or write Japanese fluently, dresses like a nerd and blogs about burgers only ends up underscoring the fact that there really aren't a lot of foreigners who fit the bill running around Japan.”[40]

Arudou was described by the Washington Post as emerging "as the Outraged Man, tilting at uncomfortable truths about Japanese racial discrimination",[16] as the “quintessential indefatigable civil rights campaigner” by the The International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun,[41] as an "outspoken man [that]] rejects the notion that there's one Japanese way of doing anything" by National Public Radio,[42] and (self-deprecatingly) as a “loudmouth with an Internet connection” by himself.[43]

Alex Kerr has criticized Arudou for his "openly combative attitude", an approach that Kerr thinks usually "fails" in Japan and may reinforce the conservative belief "that gaijin (foreigners) are difficult to deal with".[44]

Publications[edit]

Following two EFL textbooks — Can We Do Business: Introduction to Business English (1996, 2000); Speak Your Mind: Introduction to Debate (1996) — Arudou wrote a book about the 1999 Otaru hot springs incident. This was originally published in Japanese; an expanded English version, Japanese Only — The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan (ジャパニーズ・オンリー―小樽温泉入浴拒否問題と人種差別 Japanīzu Onrī - Otaru Onsen Nyūyoku Kyohi Mondai to Jinshu Sabetsu?) (ISBN 4-7503-2005-6), was published in 2004, revised in 2006, with a 10th anniversary ebook in 2013.[45] The book is listed in the Japan Policy Research Institute's recommended library on Japan. Jeff Kingston (Temple University Japan), in a review for The Japan Times, described the book as an "excellent account of his struggle against prejudice and racial discrimination."[46]

Arudou's next book, published in 2008, was coauthored with Akira Higuchi (樋口 彰 Higuchi Akira?) and titled Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants and Immigrants to Japan (ニューカマー定住ハンドブック?) (ISBN 4-7503-2741-7). This bilingual book provides information on visas, starting businesses, securing jobs, resolving legal problems, and planning for the future from entry into Japan to death. Donald Richie of The Japan Times said that out of the guides for new residents in Japan, Handbook was the fullest and consequently the best.[47]Handbook came out in 2012 in an updated 2nd Edition[48] and an ebook version in 2013.[45]

Arudou has written a monthly column for the Community section of The Japan Times entitled Just Be Cause since 2008, and has contributed occasional opinion columns to the newspaper since 2002.[49] He was also a columnist for the Japan Today[50] news website and has been featured in The Asahi Evening News.[51] [52]

In 2011, Arudou self-published via Lulu.com his first novella entitled In Appropriate: a novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan. The novella tells the story of an international marriage, culture shock, and child abduction. Book reviewer Kris Kosaka of The Japan Times panned the novella, stating that “Arudou's underwhelming style insults the seriousness of international child abduction, the literary form itself, and any reader expecting something more than sludge.”[53]

Arudou has also published twice in Fodor's Japan Travel Guide, in 2012 [54] (Hokkaido Chapter) and 2014 (Hokkaido and Tohoku Chapters).[55]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Brooke, James (2004-05-12). "LETTER FROM ASIA; Foreigners Try to Melt an Inhospitable Japanese City". The New York Times (Sapporo). Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  2. ^ "[1]". Editorial statement by The Japan Times, 07 February 2012
  3. ^ [2]. Editorial statement by The Japan Times, 04 June 2014
  4. ^ a b Arudou, Debito. "Holiday Tangent: My Schofill family roots include Cherokee and lots of American South skeletons". Debito.org. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  5. ^ a b c Arudou, Debito. "A Bit More Personal Background on Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle". Debito.org. Retrieved 2011-09-07.  (Archive)
  6. ^ Arudou, Debito. "Building a House in Japan: Credit and Chicanery". Debito.org. Retrieved 2011-09-07.  (Archive)
  7. ^ Arudou, Debito (2007-06-14). "Homecoming 2007: Cornell Reunion and Facing My Demons". Debito.org. Retrieved 2012-09-05.  (Archive)
  8. ^ Arudou, Debito (1997-09-27). "The Juuminhyou Mondai: What It Means to Be 'Legally Nonresident' in Our Country of Residence". Debito.org. Retrieved 2011-09-07.  (Archive)
  9. ^ Arudou, Debito. "Wife". Debito.org. Retrieved 2011-09-07.  (Archive)
  10. ^ a b c "French, Howard W. (2000-11-29). "Turning Japanese: It Takes More Than a Passport". The New York Times (Nanporo). Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  11. ^ "Authors". Cornell Alumni Magazine Online (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Alumni Association) 107 (5). Mar–Apr 2005. Retrieved 2006-12-13.  (Archive)
  12. ^ A brief biographical sketch of Aldwinckle and other 1991 UCSD IR/PS alumni is available at the official university website. See: <http://irps.ucsd.edu/alumni/class-notes/class-of-1991.htm Class of 1991>[dead link]. Retrieved on 2006-12-13.
  13. ^ Archive of Background reference at the Wayback Machine (archived May 30, 2013).
  14. ^ "[3]" Hokkaido Information University. October 25, 2011. Retrieved on October 25, 2011.
  15. ^ a b c Webster, Timothy (Summer 2008). "Arudou v. Earth Cure: Judgment of November 11, 2002 Sapporo District Court". Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal (University of Hawaii) 9 (297): 297–321. 
  16. ^ a b Struck, Doug (2003-07-04). "In Japan, U.S. Expat Fights the Yankee Way". Washington Post (Sapporo). Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  17. ^ Arudou, Debito (1999-08-24). "What's in my Name? Japanese Naturalization Update". Debito.org. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  18. ^ Aldwinckle, David (1999-01-28). "Daughters". Voicenet.co.jp. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  19. ^ Arudou, Debito (2004). Japanese Only: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan (1st edition ed.). Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, Inc. p. 23. ISBN 4-7503-2005-6. 
  20. ^ Arudou, Debito (2006-12-02). "How to Get a Divorce in Japan". Debito.org. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  21. ^ a b c d Webster, Timothy (Fall 2008). "Reconstituting Japanese Law: International Norms and Domestic Litigation". Michigan Journal of International Law (University of Michigan Law School) 30 (1). Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  22. ^ Arudou 2004, pp. 14-29.
  23. ^ Arudou, Debito (2006). Japanese Only: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten Inc. pp. 9–276. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 
  24. ^ Arudou, Debito (2006). Japanese Only: The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten Inc. pp. 272–276. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 
  25. ^ "THE WORLD; Japanese Court Ruling Favors Foreigners; Bathhouse must pay three men who were denied entry." Los Angeles Times. November 12, 2002.
  26. ^ a b Newswire (2005-04-07). "City Off the Hook for Bathhouse Barring of Foreigners". The Japan Times (Tokyo). Retrieved 2011-08-21.  According to the Sapporo High Court ruling, "The convention has only general, abstract provisions recommending appropriate measures to eliminate racial discrimination, and the Otaru government does not have any obligation to institute ordinances to ban such discrimination."
  27. ^ Kyodo (2004-09-16). "Court says city not remiss for letting bathhouse bar foreigners". Japan Economic Newswire (Sapporo). 
  28. ^ Biggs, Stuart; Kanoko Matsuyama (2007-02-07). "Japan Store Withdraws `Foreigner Crime File' Magazine". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  29. ^ Ryall, Julian (2007-02-07). "JAPAN: Magazine's focus on crimes by foreigners sparks outrage". South China Morning Post (Tokyo). Retrieved 2011-09-05. 
  30. ^ Arudou, Debito (March 20, 2007). "Gaijin Hanzai Magazine and hate speech in Japan.". The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  31. ^ Matsubara, Hiroshi (2003-02-23). "Foreigners seek same rights as seal". The Japan Times (Tokyo). Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  32. ^ Chapman, David (2007). Zainichi Korean Identity and Ethnicity 17. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-42637-5. [dead link]
  33. ^ Asahi Shinbun, 22 February 2003
  34. ^ ""Watashitachi nimo juminhyo o"". The Asahi Shimbun. 2003-02-22. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  35. ^ ""Zainichi Gaikokujin wa Tamachan ika?"". Newsweek Japan. 2003-03-05. p. 13. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  36. ^ Kyodo (2008-06-26). "G8 Summit 2008: Police questioning 'discriminatory'". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  37. ^ STV News. June 25, 2008.
  38. ^ Houpt, Simon (2009-08-21). "Dispatches from the World of Media and Advertising". The Globe and Mail (Canada). pp. B4. 
  39. ^ Yang, Jeff (2009-09-02). "McRacism in Japan?". San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco). Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  40. ^ Masters, Coco (2009-08-25). "Not Everyone Is Lovin' Japan's New McDonald's Mascot". Time Magazine (Tokyo). Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  41. ^ Murphy, Paul (2002-11-23). "Profile: Crusader of Sapporo shrugs off threats in defiant push for change". The International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun. p. 33. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  42. ^ Anchor: Robert Siegel, Reporter: Eric Weiner (2003-07-03). "Naturalized Japanese citizen David Aldwinckle". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. All Things Considered. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1319816.
  43. ^ Lev, Michael A. (2003-05-08). "Crusader-Citizen Takes on Japan". Chicago Tribune (Sapporo). Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  44. ^ McNicol, Tony (2005-10-25). "Japan sees beginning of change: Tony McNicol talks to 'Dogs & Demons' author Alex Kerr". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  45. ^ a b Arudou, Debito (2013). "Japanese Only 10th Anniversary Edition". Akashi Shoten Inc. Retrieved 2014-08-07. .
  46. ^ Kingston, Jeff (2005-01-30). "Bathhouse pushes a foreigner into the doghouse". The Japan Times (Tokyo). Retrieved 2011-08-19. [dead link]
  47. ^ Richie, Donald (2008-04-20). "Helping newcomers settle in Japan". The Japan Times (Tokyo). Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  48. ^ "Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan, Second Edition". Akashi Shoten Inc. 2013. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  49. ^ "Writer: Debito Arudou". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  50. ^ [4]". Japan Today columns archive, accessed 21 August 2014
  51. ^ Aldwinckle, David (July 7, 1996). "Intransigence bad for your health". Asahi Evening News. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  52. ^ Aldwinckle, David (April 27, 1997). "Dodger catch Nomo pitches no morals". Asahi Evening News. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  53. ^ Kosaka, Kris (2011-07-31). "Literary sludge insults child abduction issue". The Japan Times (Tokyo). Retrieved 2011-08-15.  (Archive)
  54. ^ Arudou, Debito (2012). "Fodor's Japan Travel Guide". Random House Inc. pp. 5, 764, 876. Retrieved 2014-08-20. .
  55. ^ Arudou, Debito (2014). "Fodor's Japan Travel Guide". Random House Inc. pp. 5, 712, 758. Retrieved 2014-08-20. .

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