Miki Dezaki, a second-generation Japanese-American teaching in Japan, is apparently under attack from the Japanese netizenry for giving a lesson to his students on Japanese racism and discrimination (HT to James).

Wait, I thought hypernationalist netizens fucking with foreigners who criticize their host nation was something that didn’t happen in Japan.

Anyway, I didn’t know about the “bakachon camera” thing—apparently, some Japanese refer to disposable cameras by a term that means “a camera so simple even an idiot or Korean could use it.”

The comment discussion on the WaPo link is quite interesting. I certainly feel for the guy—nobody should have to put up with getting hounded by online mobs of radical nationalists. How’d you like to get this phone call?

But the outrage continued to mount, both online and in the real world. At one point, Dezaki says he was contacted by an official in Okinawa’s board of education, who warned that a member of Japan’s legislature might raise it on the floor of the National Diet, Japan’s lower house of parliament. Apparently, the netouyu may have succeeded in elevating the issue from a YouTube comments field to regional and perhaps even national Japanese politics.

That few of his students thought there were racism and discrimination in Japan but nearly all thought it was a strictly American phenomenon was probably telling, too—reminds me of the story (perhaps apocryphal) of the Chinese student who said there was no racism in China because China didn’t have any black people.

That said, there’s also merit to the argument that as a guy hired to teach English, he shouldn’t be holding social science lessons, especially on controversial issues. If he spent his days preaching about Japan’s perceived social ills rather than teaching English, I’d say there’s a problem. Sometimes, though, you present controversial topics to students in English conversation classes to get them talking. I have no idea what this lesson was, and from what I can gather, his school actually liked whatever it was before the 2ch brigade started calling.

PS: Apparently, not everyone thinks racism is a problem in Japan.