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09:40 AM on 05/04/2009
Am I reading this right? Japan now blames google for japan's past?
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Tax the Rich
10:55 AM on 05/04/2009
I think you got it right, thanks for clearing that up for
11:03 AM on 05/04/2009
It would seem so - or at least they hold Google responsible for embarrassing them with their past - which usually means the class-ism is ongoing. Most Americans are not "embarrassed" by the fact that our country, once-upon-a-time, gave Indians blankets with small pox on them, thus committing the first known act of genocide using a biological weapon of mass destruction, because we stopped doing it ... I think. Of course that truck load of Pendletons that the BIA recently sent to Foxwoods Casino might prove me wrong.

09:20 AM on 05/04/2009
The problem is, America/Europe has spent the last fifty or so years focused on its past sins, and we can't imagine other cultures that don't do that. Not just Japan. Go to any country that has an educational institution and see how much of its time is spent focusing on past sins. Generally, most cultures celebrate their past and tend to de-emphasize the bad - if they mention the bad at all. It's a uniquely European/American phenomenon to start every conversation with, "Hello, I'm and American, and boy do we suck!"
08:22 AM on 05/04/2009
There is no place on this earth to escape from prejudice. Japan's burakumin ghosts are laughing now as they watch the children of upper caste decedents commit suicide by the thousands. If you treat people who sweat for you like dirt than you will be covered in mud, and eventually you will sleep in it come the end of your days.
We are one. The sooner we get that through our thick skulls the better.
02:47 AM on 05/04/2009
Interesting; I had never heard of this... phenomenon.
But I'm confused. How is it that "modern locations of the old villages are largely unknown to the general public" when, for example, "such neighborhoods have lower property values than surrounding areas?" Don't the rows of leather shops et cetera make if obvious? And if people don't know where they were, how do the b|gots know where to graffiti?
rf dude
01:47 AM on 05/04/2009
The only maps that really matter

are the ones with the little " 2-fer " coupons

good for drinks with purchase of

one from corrum-A and one from corrum-B...
03:47 PM on 05/04/2009
That was very insensitive and hilarious at the same time.
12:01 AM on 05/04/2009
I don't think that there is any race, country, ethnicity or political party that doesn't have their fair share of racists and bigots. No single group is exempt and no single group has a monopoly in this matter even though many like to pretend otherwise.
09:29 AM on 05/04/2009
One of the best summaries of the post. I would only add to that 'ideologies.'
03:50 AM on 05/05/2009
Except some groups have the power to deny other groups jobs, civil liberties, and even lives to other groups. So no, it's not exactly an equal playing field of bigotry out there.

Any burakumin resentment towards other Japanese pales in comparison to the consequences of hatred towards burakumin. It's not even comparable.
I'm nicer than I appear in print. :-)
10:41 PM on 05/03/2009
I had never heard of this. The closest to any type of institutionalized racism or stigma in Japan I'd heard of was there used to be (and may still be) the documentation of families of survivors of the bombs. That was wrong, but at least understandable in that families feared birth defects or other health concerns.

This? They eat meat don't they? Wear leather shoes? Would like to a have a place to lie when they pass? Those are jobs that people do, services offered. The stigma doesn't make much sense to me.

But go figure any kind of marginalization. I've always liked to think my own culture is more evolved than that, but we found out from the McCain campaign rallies and the Tea Parties that it's alive and well here in the good old USA. We're not really in a position to judge Japan.

I will never understand this sort of thing. Ever.
10:53 PM on 05/03/2009
Really? And what about the tea parties proved to you that marginalization still exists in America? Or was it the marginalization of the people who actually participated in the events that you are speaking of?

Really, I'd like you to explain that comment, if you could.
I'm nicer than I appear in print. :-)
11:12 PM on 05/03/2009
The racist signs of course. The signs equating our President to every "ism" known to man. The newly found rage against the government missing during the last 8 years as long as their was a white Republican in office.

There's your explaination. The place was packed with racists there for that reason only and they weren't fooling anybody. So if you're needing to plead victimhood because you were marginalized - look for another shoulder to cry on. Racists deserve it.

Throwing yourself a tea party or a pity party. Either one doesn't matter to me.
11:51 PM on 05/03/2009
"We're not really in a position to judge Japan"

Is anybody in the position to judge anybody? Or is it only ok to judge someone if they have a different viewpoint?

In this case (as in many others) Japan is using the "R" word to divert attention away from them knowing that once it is said the accused is in the position of defending their innocence.
I'm nicer than I appear in print. :-)
12:11 AM on 05/04/2009
Hi CrzyRussell. I'm trying to follow what you meant here.

Well in terms of judging being okay, when it comes to judging somebody I don't think it's a question of a different point of view when it comes to racism. Racism isn't a point of view. It's just an artificial air of superiority. Though I am always ready to listen when someone like Jim Webb goes deeper to something more telling and even useful. Such as his thoughts that racism in Appalachia is actually a misapplied grievance based on politicians pitting poor people of one race again oppressed people of another race. They're both victims of industry and politicians teaching them to blame each other instead of the actual culprit. Something healing might actually come of that.

But what do you mean more specifically by your last paragraph? I think I know what you mean but say more if you feel like typing.
10:36 PM on 05/03/2009
Those offended at Google should instead turn their anger at the history of their own country, and if they want justice, they should demand it from their courts and politicians, not their websites.
burned out attorney, flaming liberal
01:38 AM on 05/04/2009
In the mean time, people living in those areas may be vulnerable. See?
10:09 PM on 05/03/2009
Casts, races.....people use different excuses to discriminate and establish their superiority. Basically it's all about ego and greed.
09:36 AM on 05/04/2009
Brief, but true. I'm afraid that no matter how good the intention, it can be warped and twisted by people to keep others down. .
08:51 PM on 05/03/2009
I tried to adopt a child from Japan but was told, "There are no Japanese children in our orphanages". That is because if a baby or child is thought to be mixed race, often Philipino and Japanese, they are not considered a Japanese citizen even if they are born in Japan to a Japanese citizen. So the parents leave them with social services and they are considered "without a country". Disgusting.
09:42 PM on 05/03/2009
Okay, I'm not going to deny this happened to you, but there a lot of people on this board who are blowing things WAAAY out of proportion.

Children of mixed heritage ARE Japanese citizens. There aren't swarms of orphanages filled with "half-breeds" or anything of that nature. Some elements of Japanese culture, not Japanese law, do still hold this attitude. The children you are speaking of are almost always a mix of a Japanese citizen from "high society" and a citizen from another country. Another option that takes place is that the child is sent to relatives in one of the provinces, like Okinawa or Hokkaido.

I repeat, a child born to a Japanese parent is a Japanese citizen by law. Certain elements of Japanese society will shun a mixed heritage child. Not pretty, certainly, but not the legalized racism that you are implying.
03:01 AM on 05/04/2009
Jake, you really need to study up on this. Japanese law in this regard is very paternalistic and without a man claiming paternity - the foreign mother of a child born out of wedlock in Japan cannot petition for automatic citizenship in Japan - this ain't the USA. This is a serious problem in Japan that was only recently addressed in the courts with any success- however minor.
10:55 PM on 05/03/2009
It has to do with whether the child is registered on the family's "juminhyo" or family registry. My husband is Japanese and we have two children. Since I am Caucasian our children are of mixed race. The first is considered a citizen of Japan because he was registered on my huband's juminhyo. Since our second was born on the US, hubby never got around to registering him so technically our second son is not a Japanese citizen.

In Japan, as in the US, immigrants from certain nationalities are regarded differently. In Japan, those from the Philippines and Korea have a stigma, while Americans and Europeans are favored.
08:01 PM on 05/03/2009
The Japanese fancy themselves as somewhat sophiticated but they need to be aware that their caste system does not belong to the 21st century. it is time to grow up and dump these retrograde practices. And far from them being sophisticated, they are barbaric!
burned out attorney, flaming liberal
01:44 AM on 05/04/2009
It's part of human nature. Every civilization has its class structure. No sense railing against it. Just try to make life as good as we can for as many as we can.
07:32 PM on 05/03/2009
Shoot the messenger.
07:22 PM on 05/03/2009
OK, so an entire civilization has a dirty secret of bigotry and prejudice that is still going on but would like to "keep it on the down low".

And they blame the tech company that simply reprinted existing maps and made it available for everyone to view (more easily because they were already on the Internet).

Isn't this a case of denial and shooting the messenger?

I think Japanese society has a problem it needs to admit to. The map isn't the problem, the culture is.
08:48 PM on 05/03/2009
This is not news. Japanese society has alway had problems dealing with other cultures. Its comics and animated movies have alway been racist, to both indigenous non-japanese cultures as well as foreign cultures. Japan has a history of denying and/or playing down the history of Japan in regard to the history of Japanese aggression against other asian peoples during the 1920s, 10930s and the 1940s.

This is not a practice that is unique to Japan. Many, if not most nations, have a myopic view of their history, We suffer from that as well. This is a problem that all of us must understand. History is written by the last group to win. It is written to justify what happened, what was done or not done, to defame an enemy as well as enhance oneself or ones allies. It is hardly ever neutral. It has an agenda.
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10:20 PM on 05/03/2009
Of course you are correct. The Japanese are overly sensitive in this area. Hopefully the younger generation will overlook this. But with the Japanese, one never knows.

And Americans also have their blind spots. How many know about Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, or the Trail of Tears?

Or will admit that the USA is among the countries that have broken the most treaties?
Overeducated woods worker.
07:00 PM on 05/03/2009
Very interesting piece. I am surprised Google caved and removed the labeling. The deep racist attitudes in Japan are a huge secret in plane sight. Using a data base to go back 100 years to determine if a person's ancestors worked with leather or was a butcher seems totally arbitrary, especially since there is no ethnic distinction. It seems humans will find ANYTHING to make an "other".
07:22 PM on 05/03/2009
They caved in to China as well. Looks like they fear the Asians.
07:32 PM on 05/03/2009
Or simply cater to the consumer as all smart businesses do.
08:22 PM on 05/03/2009
I think you probably meant "plain sight".

Unless, perhaps, you were referring to the maps being an aerial view. :-)
06:07 PM on 05/03/2009
If I read the article correctly, the hubbub by the Japanese isn't that the maps exist. Nor does the Japanese government seem intent on prosecuting companies who still discriminate against the burakumin (although, to be fair, the article mentioned it's source as not wanting to mention the name of the company that routinely does background checks for this ancestry and won't hire them - ostensibly because they don't want the bad publicity - or maybe there are laws against it - but perhaps poorly enforced because it's not enough of a concern for the company to actually stop the practice). One has to know that this company's discriminatory practices pre-dates google's "enhanced map services." It's just supremely confusing to me how, since the discrimination has gone on, does go on, and the Japanese apparently don't prosecute companies for doing it... the only pressure appears to come from what would be our equivalent of a rights group... who objects to the maps showing locations in historical context.

So, I'm confused. It's clear Google did not create this situation. So, how does Google posting a historical map make this situation worse? The maps are obviously already easily accessible by other means (see quote from source from company that discriminates).

It is the discrimination that this covert, denied, obfuscated that is the truly malignant form. Overt is still hurtful, wrong, heinous, and malignant. But covert discrimination is one that can indoctrinate, subvert and infect without detection.
08:20 PM on 05/03/2009
I believe the maps are NOT shown in historical context, which is what angered the Japanese. It would be like showing an overlay of 1850's America and not explaining that things had changed just a trifle in the last 160 years.

That doesn't negate the fact that this is still an issue in Japan. However, to be perfectly honest, it is Japan's problem, not ours. I always love to see people get self-righteous about an issue that is really none of their business. And yeah, you can throw me into that mix because I got caught up on this topic just as much as everyone else here.
10:57 PM on 05/03/2009
I read it the same way, Jake. And I agree with you on your second point, too. :-)