Flyjin or strawjin?


I didn’t review Mr Arudou’s latest Just Be Cause when it first came out, so let me get that done first:

:facepalm:   :headdesk:   :facepalm:

OK, that’s that complete. Now, I see he is complaining about internet bullies writing to Japan Times about it and is asking his supporters to write in to defend the article.

However, over Golden Week I thought a bit more about the whole flyjin debate and have come to the conclusion that it is nothing more than a straw man to rally support to his cause. Without his sterling efforts, the term would have come and gone in a couple of weeks, but thanks to him playing it up in that article and on his site he has his constituency whipped up into a fervour:

I could not believe Japanese news actually blames foreigners for leaving and came up with a nickname for them. WOW! If everything on your website isnt enough evidence of bias then this certainly is.


even though the Japanese didn’t believe the situation was safe, they carried on as normal because they felt there was nothing else they could do. [...] If they thought about it, they would have to make a decision, and if they make a decision, they have to take responsibility for the outcome.


I’ve always felt that us NJ were to put up and shut up or leave because “koko wa Nihon!”. We are interested in your culture, just make sure you squash any residue of it while you reside here because you are at the bottom of our caste system and below us- pretty much sums up how I’ve been treated in Japan and everybody I know.


Fortunately, the sheeple over here (name-calling is OK if it’s not racist) have been keeping tabs (thanks especially to 空) on the Debitards (Mr Arudou, you’ll be OK with that term, then, as it seems quite an appropriate analytical tool?) over there.

PS: I’ve submitted a letter to Japan Times based around this theme, specifically prompted by Mr Arudou asking to be defended. I’m also not the only one to have done so.

PPS: Also see Eido Inuoe’s letter to the JT, although I suspect that the other newspapers won’t be too interested…

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  1. Floating World

    “Without his sterling efforts, the term would have come and gone in a couple of weeks”

    I don’t think that’s true. Debito is utterly wrong in his assertion that the disaster has led Japanese to scapegoat foreigners. It’s the only angle which would help his agenda so he’s tried desperately, and unconvincingly, to spin everything that way. Actually, because he doesn’t read them, or indeed much original Japanese reporting at all, unless it has already been translated, he missed the only repulsive example which made the weeklies. Ex-coastguard & trawler video leaker Masaharu Isshiki claimed that Chinese might be doing what they are supposed to have done after the war, and laying false claim to land in disaster hit areas.

    The link for that appeared on F*cked Gaijin which apppears to be just another example of average foreigners being more vigilant and informed than Debito the inactivist. Checking around, it seems Isshiki’s ridiculousness didn’t even get much mileage on 2ch which is a measure of how little Japanese are looking to blame foreigners for anything.

    Nevertheless, the flyjin debate was doing quiet nicely without Debito and the faultines have shown up here too. There’s little doubt that some foreigners do seem keen to scapegoat other foreigners on this matter in a way I find pathetic. I wouldn’t give Debito any credit for extending the life of that nonsense, whatever line he takes himself. It wasn’t dying down before he turned up.

    The real issue here is the way Debito seems to want to describe this activity as some kind of general witch hunt against any foreigner with a criticism, valid or otherwise, of Japan. This way, he seeks to invalidate the increasing skepticism of his methods, motives, truthfulness and effectiveness.

    His belief that an overwhelmingly negative view of his recent piece reflects some kind of vendetta rather than a general recognition of how idiotic and misanthropic it was is surely the reason for his strange call to arms.

  2. Kinda a general comment on the flyjin stuff:

    I have seen criticism of some foreigners who have left and portrayed the circumstances in Japan after the quake quite falsely. I’ve also seen some mocking of the conspiracy theory nut jobs that always seem to appear at times like this (same thing with Osama Bin Laden). Both of which I’ve come across on I’ve done a little bit of mocking these people for my own enjoyment. Throughout all of it, it had nothing to do with NJ vs. J, but instead it’s been mocking the stupid. Has it gone too far in some places? Sure. For the most part the people being mocked for being flyjin were few and far between when compared to those who have been praised for their outstanding work volunteering and helping out the affected areas.

    And here’s my point about the mindset of Dave and all the people like him, they are fearful and paranoid to the point of not noticing the good stuff around them. If all you look for is the bad, that’s all you get.

    So is it a straw man argument? Perhaps. But then you’d have to ask yourself: Is Dave actually capable of contriving a plan like that? I’d say no.

  3. But we know the real motivation for all of this. Debito and his biggest fan base, 50-ish males with a connection to Japan, have a personal grudge,

    Debito couldn’t avoid bringing it up in the article.

    “I speak from personal experience. We were promised, during Japan’s Bubble Era and “internationalization” push in the 1980s, that if we immigrants learned the language, worked hard and waited our turn on the corporate ladder, we would be treated equitably and promoted just like our native Japanese colleagues.”

    “We were promised” By whom?
    Let me re-parse that to what he really wanted to say..

    We assumed that the bubble would last forever (we didn’t know it was a bubble back then) and we would have an easy life of 10,000-20,000 yen per hour free conversation “lessons”, all the girls we could handle (and Japanese girls are so submissive and in love with our blue eyes that they’d never leave us, no matter how fat, bitter, or future-less we became) plus tons of free booze at any bar just for walking in as an English-speaking gaijin who could manage to order a drink in pidgin-Japanese.

    I think that’s about it. That’s where all the bile comes from, right? They failed in Japan, but they can imagine Japan failed them, as long as they can keep finding “proof” that Japan Is Racist.

    And debito et al. didn’t even live up to ANY of the points in their side of the bargain in their imagined “promise”. Not becoming fluent in Japanese, leaving the job at a Japanese corporation after a short term citing “discrimination”, and demanding special treatment as delicate gaijin flowers, not treatment just like their Japanese co-workers.

    There are plenty of legitimate problems foreigners face in Japan. But debito et al. are just trumping up this “flyjin” issue because it’s easy and debito hopes to catch a new batch of younger supporters – a handful of “Flyjin” who are going to hold a lifelong grudge against Japan for “failing” them. Perfect recruits for the debito cult.

    Got Called “Flyjin”? Debito Wants You!

  4. I don’t really think it is a plan per se, just he has got so wrapped up in the persecution of foreigners and is convinced of the racist nature of The State that everything he sees is a manifestation of Them being out to get “Us”.

    He used to go on a lot about “othering”, but recently he’s been at the other end of the othering.

    At least today he got back to the old reliable Japanese Only theme, although he still comes up with a :facepalm:

    – People said that about one onsen in Otaru way back when too. Then it spread nationwide.

  5. Aside: Why so many searches on “Air Do”?

  6. I note that hasn’t been updated since April 21. This suggests to me that this phenomenon has reached its expiration date, for all practical purposes, since there’s really not much else in the media (either Japanese or otherwise). So now is Debito the only one attempting CPR on this corpse?

  7. There seems to be alot of name calling/chest pounding among foreigners that stayed directed at foreigners that left. I do not think it is very constructive. I wonder how many people pounding their chests actually went up into the disaster zone and helped.

    Most people (foreigners and Japanese) I met during my 2 trips up to Tohoku since March 11 could care less if people stayed or left Japan.

    People need to operate within their comfort zone. If someone was uncomfortable staying in Japan then I think the right call was to leave. A person severely distressed cannot be much help in the recovery process. If they want to come back and do something productive to help the country…by all means come back.

    If someone was comfortable staying if course staying is good, even better do something to help the recovery.

    I have not heard any Japanese make negative comments directed to those that left Japan. I think this is very much in the minority. I believe this is more of a “foreigner against foreigner” thing.

    I do not think Japan needs alot of chest pounding or pissing and moaning among the foreign community. It contributes nothing to a recovery, only divides people and makes the foreign community as a whole look foolish. Japan needs folks to do what they can to help the country get back on its feet.


  8. Exactly.

    Personally, I was angered and shocked people outside the effected areas would leave like that. I’m sure I said some things among my friends towards an acquaintance who left (and has since returned) that was a bit tough. That was in the week or so after the quake. Now that he’s back it’s like he didn’t leave. I’m guessing many like me took out some of their frustrations brought out by the disaster on the flyjin and to a degree it was unfair to them. But, like you said, the site hasn’t been updated in a while. Those emotions spurned on by the disaster have settled.

  9. I wish I could find it again, but I read a tweet by someone who claimed to have found 28 straw men in Mr Arudou’s latest article…

  10. Just for fun I started looking. Strictly speaking they are probably not all strawmen, but I’m up to 61 (yes I probably am nitpicking!) and still have seven paragraphs to go. Of course, I can’t publish them, because that would mean copy-and-pasting the entire article, and we all know how terribly wrong that would be! :grin:

    As a teaser, see if you can spot the typographical error that got through.

  11. Ah yes, I remember that typo – I don’t really want to read the article again to refresh my memory, however!

  12. And of course we are only 10 days away from Rapture;
    (Narita’s gonna be a bitch next week!)

  13. Great, I’m going to be in Genoa on that day. :cry:

  14. No. It’s not unfair. If someone does something irresponsible, it is perfectly fine to call that person on it.

    Just because 100 or 1000 or 10,000 people do the same irresponsible thing, and then someone attaches a label to them, does not mean they become an oppressed minority, immune from any criticism because it’s somehow “racist” or something.

    It is 1000 or so cases of 1000 people doing irresponsible things. Some far more irresponsible than others, and 1000 groups of (ex-)colleagues are dishing out criticism in proportion to the behavior.

    Meanwhile many more cases of responsible “flyjin” who gave proper notice, or were instructed by their companies to leave, are probably not the subject of scorn.

    As long as judgment is being made on an individual case-by-case basis in a reasonable manner, there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Being evaluated as an individual is supposedly the entire goal of But we know that personal responsibility is not part of the package for many over there.

  15. I didn’t really agree with much of Debito’s latest argument (i.e., despite what he says, Japanese weren’t really criticizing “fly-jin” very much at all in the print media or TV; it was NJ who were doing most of the criticizing).

    But to be fair to “fly-jin,” a lot of the blame should be directed at the Western media for creating the hysteria in the first place. In particular, television cable news networks like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. These three channels were among the worst offenders at projecting fear and doom. Watching MSNBC’s constant guest commentary from Kaku Michio, for example, I was convinced Tokyo was going to explode into a cloud of radioactive dust at any minute with the walking dead soon to be eating our young and infecting the world with their radioactive zombie offspring for years to come.

    I’m not kidding; that’s how ridiculously irresponsible the coverage was.

    In contrast, NHK News was nothing but professional and analytical at every stage of the game. They were calm; they were well-informed; and they were helpful.

    Is it any wonder that parents, friends and relatives overseas put a lot of pressure on their family members to get out of Tokyo? I can believe the following story about one “fly-jin” who was forced to leave because of family pressure:

    I’m not saying that everyone’s case was identical to his, but if we are going to cast blame, we should probably start with the Western cable news networks for creating this atmosphere in the first place.

  16. @Greg: Yeah, that was also my main beef during the first three weeks or so after the quake, the root cause of a lot of this overreaction by foreign resident Tokyoites: western media (many correspondents not even reporting from Tokyo offices!) and sensationalist reporting.

    I would put responsibility for one’s response to news on one’s own lap, of course — fleeing Tokyo because you believe CNN, but not NHK, is ultimately your own fault — but those news outlets definitely were not helping things.

    In many cases it was a negative feedback loop, as reporters would coax random English teachers on the street into coughing up a couple quotes about What the Government’s Not Telling You, which would in turn convince other viewers that the end of the world is nigh. There was an entire web site dedicated to the more insidious news articles: the Journalist Wall of Shame.

  17. It depends on how many “fly-jin” actually watched NHK News to know the difference. I suspect many don’t speak Japanese, and even fewer knew that there was an English-dubbed version.

  18. Hmm, that may be it.

    If one criticism of NHK can be made amongst all the accolades bestowed upon them for their masterful handling of this crisis, it would be “you guys should have put a ‘Switch to the audio sub-channel for English’ bug on your screens that day”.

  19. I do remember that they had a little blurb about English being available on NHK but I don’t remember when they started putting it on there. I don’t think it was on when it was happening (a friend called me from the Narita Express on her way to the airport to see how bad things were since they’d stopped the train so I was watching NHK).

  20. 5.2 hit Southern Spain

  21. Now we have… konai-jin?

    仙台塩釜港 外国船が抜港の動き

  22. In the end I topped 100, but I am not going to publish them since the original article was so screwed up I probably ended up contradicting myself while contradicting him.

  23. They’re debitards, but you’re unhappy with sheeple, so you’re a tepitard? tepidork? or simply a japanal prober?

  24. All in all we’re just … another brick in TEPIDO NARUHODO’S “THE WALL”

  25. We prefer torpedoes thanks.

  26. No, we’re just successful, happy gaijin. Something you rarely find at

  27. No, that wasn’t it.

  28. The burden is on you James, not anyone else.

  29. James, not my style of troll but I salute you.

  30. Jerry, me too, congratulations on a job well done, James! Your cheque’s in the post. :lol:

  31. Don’t bother posting it Tepido. Next time I see you in Sannomiya, I will stop and ask you for cash, if it isn’t raining. Would have done it tonight, but didn’t want to embarrass you in front of your son.

  32. James, my little porkchop, since you’re reading: It’s been pointed out that your email to Debito was dated 18 May. It was further pointed out that you noted the posts had ‘disappeared over the weekend’, which would be the 14-15th May.

    Are you going to explain to all and sundry why you did nothing for a week or so after seeing these alleged nasty posts? No emails to Debito, no posts on Tepido calling out Teh Evil, no screenshots? Then email Debito after the posts ‘disappeared’? (Which quite frankly is pretty much impossible – Google knows all, sees all, archives all).


  33. It’s

    Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

  34. It’s

    *Boom* – head shot


    he photo that Debito links to above is about 15 years out of date. Tepido has longer, but less hair, walks with a stoop, and although he posts like he is a teenager, is more like 55 years old.

    :lol: :roll:

    Next time I see you in Sannomiya, I will stop and ask you for cash, if it isn’t raining. Would have done it tonight, but didn’t want to embarrass you in front of your son.

    That would be an interesting event that I’d love to witness.

  36. Be careful what you wish for.

  37. 7.50pm, Sannomiya Daiei, 2F. You and your son walk to door. You go into store. Son outside struggling to fold umbrella. You come back and help him fold it. Then you enter together.
    Still laughing?

  38. Woah, this just got creepy.

    Methinks that since Debito’s taken it upon himself to call out “cyber-stalkers” it might be appropriate for someone to alert him to the fact that we appear to have one here IRL.

  39. Yup, I’m still laughing! And of course, as The American points out, you’re getting into dodgy real-life stalking; I strongly recommend that you go no further.

  40. Mr Grey. I’m some what confused. Does Ken have a reason to fear you? Your post is quite ominous. What is it that you want to say?

  41. Dude, you are one sick little puppy.

    Srsly. Seek help.

  42. @gustaf. Exactly. Mr. Grey, what are you trying to say?

  43. I’m not stalking Ken Y-N. I live in the same place as him. I can only put name to face because he has made himself a public figure and put his pic in the public domain. When I randomly saw him today, I thought ‘that’s Tepido?!?’
    I was surprised/disappointed.
    I’m not the one running a hate blog.

  44. Oh, is that all. Next time you see “me”, ask “me” for an autograph. :lol:

  45. I won’t ask you for an autograph if youre gonna freak out and call me a stalker! N.B. It is OK for more than one gaijin to live in the same Japanese town!

  46. Mr Gray sir. I find your posts uncomfortably aggressive and quite threatening. If you are disappointed by his appearance I do think you are entitled to that. My question is, what is the relevance?

  47. It is OK for more than one gaijin to live in the same Japanese town!

    It’s most definitely not OK to post details about someone living their lives with a parting shot like “Still laughing?” One cannot help but think he is purposefully being watched under sinister motives when you speak like that.

    Bringing his kid into it in any fashion is an additional MOTHERFUCKING NO-NO, regardless of whether you consider it harmless or not. If it were me, and if I were the moderator of this site, I would have no qualms in checking you into the House of the Banned so fast you would leave warp drive streaks behind.

    Red card for you, Mr. Grey. Your side plays with ten men now.

  48. Just a small note for people following this sub-thread – I don’t have any children…

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