Whether you want to a quick exit to a boring conversation, you are a political shit-disturber, or you are just tired of "naughty" Japanese dictionaries that are basically just cuss words, here is the thing for you; The DICTIONARY OF AWKWARD JAPANESE. Guaranteed to bring any conversation to a screeching halt, the DOAJ is a collection of things that most Japanese know but would not want YOU to know.
Fair warning, though . . If you are American, and you start talking about this stuff to a Japanese, they will probably bring up Hiroshima or giving small-pox-blankets to the Native Americans. I mean, duh.
Most of these terms came from the book THE JAPANESE DISEASE by Declan Hayes.
創価学会 — Souka gakkai– the most popular cult in Japan. Like a Bhuddist Scientology, this cult has celebrities under its sway, sexual scandals, and even its own political party! The party is called Koumeitou.
朝鮮総連 — Chosen Soren – north korea’s advocacy group in japan. It comes in two versions. The big legitimate embassy-but-not-really-an-embassy building in Tokyo, and the underground spy/mobster version, called Gakushu-gumi.
エホバの証人 — ehoba no jounin – the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even here they are weirding people out.
アムウェイ — Amway. If telling people you are ehoba no jounin doesn’t get rid of them, tell people "watashi no amuei wo sankashitai, no?" (would you like to join my Amway?) and watch them beat a hasty retreat.
パナウェーヴ — panawave – another cult, famous for their hare krishna-like habit of parading down the street while wearing white robes. not so many white robes have been seen since they declared that the world would end definitely for sure in 2003.
梁山泊 — ryouzanpaku – – league of people who make their living cheating at Pachinko. (the name comes from a Chinese novel – the original Ryouzanpaku was a fortress where bandits gathered)
日本赤軍 — nihonsekigun – the Japanese Red Army. A terrorist group started in 1971 by Fusako shigenobu. Asking someone "nihon seki gun wo suki nandesuka?" (do you like the JRA?) is a great way to deal with anyone who asks you to give money to "those tsunami victims," or any other nuisance for that matter.
痴漢冤罪被害者 Chikan enzai higaisha -support group for people who claim they have been falsely accused of molesting women on trains. Ironically, Mitsuru Nagasaki, the head of the group, was re-arrested for a second offense. Reminds me of Joe Colombo, the founder of the "Italian Americans are NOT all mobsters" league, who wound up getting wacked during a protest.
and oh yeah, AUM.
右翼 — Uyoku – literally, "right" plus "wing." (one of those wonderful Japanese words where they combine 2 Chinese characters for the purpose of translating an American phrase) the black-truck-yelling guys. Japan times has a great series on them here–part one , part 2 , part 3 , part 4 . part 5 , and the uyoku photo gallery. Also, can’t forget the ,japanese nationalist portal page is here, in english.
青竜会 ― — seiryuukai – (lit. blue dragon gang) influential Uyoku group from Tokyo. For a laugh, ask your friends "what is the connection between seiryuukai and Tokyo governor Shintaro ishihara?"
宣伝カー — Senden ka – "propaganda car" the famous black trucks used by uyoku.
日本遺族会 — Nippon izokukai – the "association of families of japan’s war dead", a lobbying group responsible for koizumi’s visits to the yasukuni shrine.
靖国神社 — Yasukuni shrine– short of wearing your shoes inside, the easiest way to get into an argument here. And here I am going to reveal the big secret. . . . the big secret of Yasukuni is, THERE IS NOBODY EVEN BURIED THERE. In Shinto, a shrine like that is just a place where ghosts hang out. So you have a million people pissed as hell, on both sides, because of a dude in a suit saying some words at a place where nobody is buried. All for symbolism. Not even pissed about real stuff! And now I’M pissed too!! god, fuck religion!!!!!
long story short, the ghosts of the good guys (pro-contact-with-the-rest-of-the-world Japanese who died fighting against the isolationist, feudal system) reside in the same shrine as the ghosts of the bad guys (world war two assholes who impaled chinese women on spikes and made the pregnant women watch as they cut their babies out of their bellies). So the emperor can’t choose which ones he prays to, he has to pray to all of them or none. Japanese people are like, why won’t the rest of the world let us practice our religion? But on the other hand, president Bush could go to the graves of the Enola Gay pilots and pray. I mean he could do that every weekend. But he doesn’t. I wonder why?
And then there is China, who has a human rights record that Tony Montana could be proud of, trying to keep a straight face when accusing Japanese people of insensitivity. Of course, when you don’t allow freedom of speech to your own people, and those people are broke and pissed off, you have to give them an enemy to say mean things about, the same way a steam engine has to have a safety valve or else it will expode. See also, Iran and Isreal. See also USA and French people/video games / rap lyrics / pot.
任侠右翼 — ninkyo uyoku (the chivalrous right) : The unintended consequence of Japan’s recent RICO-style anti-yakuza laws. Suddenly former gansters become uyoku. The Ninkyou uyoku are opportunists, more interested in using nationalist rhetroric as a pretext for shakedowns and other moneymaking schemes.
how that works:
before: GIVE US A MILLION YEN OR WE TELL THE SHAREHOLDERS YOU BUY ANIME PORN!
after: GIVE US A MILLION YEN OR WE’LL EXPOSE THAT YOU DO BUISNESS WITH THE HATED KOREANS!
CEO: but don’t you guys buy most of your heroin from the ko–
guy: SHUT UP! YOU UNPATRIOTIC SWINE! JUST GIMME THE FUCKING MONEY OR WE’LL SURROUND YOUR OFFICE WITH OUR LOUD LOUDSPEAKER TRUCKS UNTIL YOUR COMPANY GRINDS TO A STANDSTILL!
石原慎太郎 — Shintaro ishihara – current Tokyo governor who cracks down on foreigners, sex clubs, and basically anything interesting.
Seisuke okuno – right wing politician, former education minister, wants revisionist history in schools, said comfort women were volunteers.
Yoshitada Konoike — another LDP guy. In 2003, called for the death by dragging behind a truck, of the parents of a kid that went postal. He also said that 4 elementary schoolgirls kidnapped in a separate incident might have been to blame for their fate, the teasing sluts. Oh, and the punchline? He was the the state minister in charge of youth policy at the time. Here is a great English translation of Konoike-san’s website.
Takami Eto, – this Diet member and LDP guy is fucking awesome. He’s like the Japanese Jesse Helms and Eminem all rolled into one. Homey’s specialty seems to be defending native Japaense rape gangs while calling foreigners who overstay visas murderers and thieves. Also, "that whole thing with Korea in the ’30s? they invited us." Jeez, Eto, put down Christopher Reeve’s legs!
Harigata – traditional dildo from like a thousand years ago. Nowadays they just say dii-rudo.
唐ゆき — Karayuki – 1800s word for Japanese women sent overseas to be prostitutes, back when Japan was a poor-person country.
ジャパゆき — Japayuki – foreigners brought to japan to be hookers, now that Japan is a rich-person country.
ﾊﾟﾝﾊﾟﾝ — Pan pan – post war official prostitutes, recruited by the authorities, for the specific purpose of fucking American troops.
従軍慰安婦 — Juugun ianfu – another WWII term: "comfort women"
アリバイ屋 — Aribai-ya – "the alibi store" : a service for women working in the sex industry, or having affairs. The alibai store will send fake coworkers "from the office" to accompany you to parties weddings etc. More importantly, they act as an answering service to take your messages, while you are where you are not supposed to be "hello, PretendyMcSham’s Fake not-sexual office, can you hold please?"
腹上死 － — Fukujoshi – the technical term for fucking yourself to death. Literally, death atop the stomach.
売春旅行 ツアー — "baishun ryokou tsuaa" – sort of a WWII historical re-enactment society but without uniforms. Baishun ryokou tsuaa are the infamous "sex tours" businessmen go on where a big group of them travel to Philipines, Thailand, China, etc. for cheap prostitutes and to feel like a big shot –
チンコ祭り － — Shinto festivals where people gather around huge statues of penises and ride them like a mechanical bull for fertility in the coming year. To be fair, at this point most of the people are tourists out for a cheap thrill, not people who are really super devout about dicks. But still, try finding this in another country.
親子心中 — Oyako-shinju – One of Hirohito’s more morbid ideas, the parent-child death pact, to be done n the event of dishonorable defeat. Otherwise known as, "If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.!"
一億玉砕 — Ichioku gyokusai -lit. ten thousand gems shatter. In practice it means more like, death before dishonor. another Hirohito decree, the whole nation should suicide if they lose. This is the guy the right-wingers want to bring back.
建国会 — Kenkoku-kai – The association of the founding of the nation. A group which helped the emperor start WWII.
7３１部隊 － — Unit 731 and its leader, shiro ishii — 石井四郎 –
these guys were the Japanese version of JOSEPH MENEGELE, THE ANGEL OF DEATH. unit 731 did nothing but atrocities on helpless prisoners of war, but after the war, the criminals didn’t get hunted down by Ellie Wiesel, instead they went from the prison to the corporate boardrooms of various pharmecutical companies! while regular soldiers were in Sugamo, the 731 guys were giving medical secrets to the CIA in exchange for immunity. Like for some reason the CIA really needed to know "can people survive with their liver and stomach amputated?" In fact, nothing was even mentioned about 731 during the war crimes trials. Anyway, after the war, boss-man shiro ishii got a job as president GREEN CROSS, the japanese blood bank. . . which gave like 2000 people aids!
Kin no yuri — golden lily. This was the name for Hirohito’s plan to loot gold out of Asia. When Japan started losing the war, the gold was hidden in the Philipines. A lot of this gold was also used for the M-fund.
Kempeitai – WWII secret police. A sort of Imperial Gestapo.
三島由紀夫 — yukio mishima – the John Wayne of Japan!!! An author who got a huge right-wing macho following by proclaiming that Japan should go back to the Samuai days, be more manly, and generally be an imperial power again. Then it turned out he liked him some dick. Cue foghorn! It’s like imagine what would happen if your Granddad saw a film of The Duke getting teabagged. Although maybe they could have guessed his orientation if they’d read FORBIDDEN COLORS.
盾の会 — tate no kai – the shield society. mishima’s uyoku group of flag-waving ass-ninjas.
Togo ken – the Quentin Crisp of Japan. For many Japanese in the ’70s or ’80s, he was the first openly gay man they ever saw! He was well known for entering elections even though he never won — the campaigns were largely a pretext for spreading his message of visibility and human rights. He even got on TV with a speech about gay rights.
Kobayashi Yoshinori – he’s a manga artist who uses comic books to introduce young, educated, hip people to right-wing ideology. He also does a magazine called WASHISM (me-ism!) Washism has articles such as 反米流行 — hanbeiryukou (anti-american trend).
Yoshio kodama – WWII gangster, class A war criminal, later supported by Macarthur and the CIA in helping combat communism in japan. Because he had money and also had a kickass spy network all across china from when japan ran china, he was chosen as America’s guy. He helped establish the LDP, as well as helped his yakuza buddies fill the power vaccum left by the destruction of Hirohito’s regime. He’s largely credited with helping them systematically infiltrate every aspect of commerce.
岸 信介 — former Prime minister Kishi Nobusuke– went from a class A war criminal to Prime Minister in just 9 years!! Go LDP! In return for the USA springing him out of Hirohito’s-Best-Friend-jail , he signed a treaty allowing US army guys to stay in japan longer. So at least he’s a really loyal double-crosser. Plus, he took CIA money to fight the communists in the 50s, and paid the money to Yakuza to do the dirty work. Punch-line? Homey is the grandfather of the current prime minister!
Manabu Miyazaki – author of the book TOPPAMONO, available in english. It’s the autobiography of a communist Yakuza turned journalist and muckraker. Someone at a bar told me he is also a "double-triple-informer."
ai aoyama – I can’t think of any American to even compare her to. Maybe Dr. Laura? She started out as a professional dominatrix, then spun that into a career as a self-help book author somehow, and from there it was a natural step to a hypnotherapy-plus-s/m business (to relieve depression). From there, she went to North Korea on a diplomatic mission. Not that anyone asked her to, she just went. Her book is called utsu ni makenaide (only available in Japanese).
暴力団 — Bouryokudan – (literally, violence groups). The official newspaper and government term for yakuza. Also useful for you, if you think they are within hearing distance.
yakuza slang tutorial page! it seems to be for people who, if not fluent, can at least read hiragana.
Ryohei uchida – old school late 1800s yakuza guy who helped establish foundations of modern gangs. Such as the Black Dragon Society. 黒竜会 (kokuryukai) . . . . if you even talk about this, people will flip out. HOW THE FUCK DID YOU EVEN KNOW THAT?? This works best if you are like hella young such as an exchange student.
Yamaguchi-gumi –Largest syndicate in Japan. Their Tokyo affiliate is called yamaken-gumi. I’m no expert on this ,so for information about other groups, such as Inagawa-kai and Sumiyoshi-kai. . . let’s go back to Wikipedia.
サラ金Sarakin – loan sharks
闇金Yamikin -other loan sharks
ミンボー minbou – regular old western-style extortion.
総会屋 — Sokaiya – – the famous "corporate extortion," where mobsters who own like five shares of Sony demand money, "Or else we’ll show up at the shareholders’ meeting and tell everyone about the CEO’s mistress!!" the usual method of getting money, is to "ask" corporate executives to "subscribe" to a magazine that costs like a million dollars. Can I get one of the magazines used??? email me!!
Links to corporate extortion scandals. and more of same.
地上げ屋 — Jiageya – real estate crime. If a big development is planned near Grandma’s house, her property’s value will increase vastly. So the mob makes her sell it to them, and they sell it to the developers at the inflated price.
財政投資 — Zaisei Toushi often shortened to ZAITO in Japanese. In English ,we call it the second budget. Or sometimes, Fiscal investment and loan program AKA -FLIP. There. That wasn’t too hard, was it?
Oh yeah, what it IS. It’s a assload of money. Mostly coming from the post office, which doubles as a bank. So you get a million normal Japanese depositing their life savings in this Postal Bank, and then unelected unaccountable secret government people get to use that money as they see fit. In theory the ZAITO is a flexible and fast way for the government to respond to financial crises and even out economic bumps. In practice, as you can imagine, it’s a way for the unelected unaccountable secret government people to get fast and flexible broads and snort out cocaine bumps. Koizumi promised to reform the system, but didn’t. basically if they stopped doing the bank the economy would collapse. Because -and get this – A lot of the ZAITO money goes to bailing out failing banks and companies, that have been similarly looted by OTHER unaccountable crooked beauracrats. So, there is that. Or so says Karl van Wolferen, a writer for Time Asia.
天下り — Amakudari – lit. "descent from heaven". Americans have lobbyists. Japanese have Amakudari. Basically it is the American,"guy in charge of the EPA is visited on his first day by a toxic waste lobbyist, who says "Dood, I used to work for the EPA, making 20,000 a year. Then I retired at 35 and now I work for Pollution Incorporated, making TEN TIMES AS MUCH. If you don’t enforce the EPA rules and don’t rock the boat, there is a job like that waiting for YOU when you retire." And then the EPA guy dutifully lets industry lobbyists write environmental legislation that he passes on to congress for the next 20 years, then he retires and gets a cush job working for crooks," kind of system.
But in Japan, they are more efficient than us lazy westerners so they basically eliminate lobbyists altogether, and beuracrats routinely go to work directly for polluters like 3 days after they retire. Because their post-government jobs are so filthy rich and festooned with hookers who have been dunked in cocaine and Porches full to the dashboard with Moet and panties, these ex-beuracrats are called Descended from Heaven.
財務省 – Zaimushou – (Finance Ministry) The zaimushou is a major shareholder in Japan Tobacco, 日本たばこ ,a multinational corporation which owns the Japanese rights to RJR, Winston, Camel, and Salem. This is why smoking is so widespread in Japan – because the government makes money off of it! This is a classic example of zaibatsu.
財閥Zaibatsu – large business conglomerates. Naturally, every country has them, and many are much more corrupt than Japan. Having said that, though, the particular WAY in which big business, government, and Yakuza work together at all levels, is very Japanese, as the following example will show.
Dango – a very Japanese way of bidding for contracts. Most popular in the construction industry, but done in other lines of work as well. Basically, Andy owns property and wants to build a factory. So he says, "Who wants to build this factory for me I will pay them lots of bucks."
In response, Billy, Catherine, Dave, Ed, and Francois show up and say, "OK we all want that contract!" and here the Dango system comes into play. Instead of the client deciding who to hire based on wacky Western ideas like best-service-for-least-money, Dango means that Billy Catherine Dave and Ed will have a secret meeting and fix the bidding: "Hey, Dave got the contract last time, so this time we’ll give it to Billy. Then next time Catherine, ok guys?"
To grease the Dango wheels, the winner (in this case Billy) has to pay some money to the losers to keep them afloat until the next rigged bid. In most cases this is not as obvious as big filthy piles of cash, but it’s done by inflated subcontracts. Like, for instance Billy will pay Dave $50,000 to install the lightswitch in Andy’s building.
In many ways, Dango is the most illuminating form of Japanese corruption. Because it makes the seemingly-contracitory Japanese cartel system (a weird combination capitalism and socialism) so easy to see. And make no mistake – japan is hella communistical, I guess it is their legacy of Confucian, "the group comes before the individuals" mentality combined with good-old-fashioned Western "bling bling." The best of both worlds! All the insiders in a given industry form a shadowy cabal and cooperate to screw the consumers! Haha, stupid consumers!
Anyway this process is described at length in Manabu Miyazaki’s TOPPAMONO.
another example of the influence of zaibatsu . . .
土建福祉国家 — doukafukushikouka , the Construction Welfare State
Alex kerr, in his book DOGS AND DEMONS bitches about this better than I can. Buy it. Basically the thesis is, after WWII, Macarthur said Japan is not allowed to have an army. So the power vaccum was filled by the Construction industry. Which makes sense given that USA bombed japan a lot and shit needed to be built. But, much like the military-industrial complex in the US, the doukan fukushi kokka is an addiction.
Here is how addiction works in the US–The arms industry makes a lot of money. Politicians want the money so they vote for wasteful contracts (remember the $2000 toilet seat cover?) and in return they get "campaign contributions" as well as making jobs for their constituents. It wastes money but the industry has too much political clout to be stopped. Plus if we DID stop, hella people would be out of work. So, thus, addiction. Substitute "construction" for "arms" and "amakudari" for "campaign contributions" (and, I guess "war on the environment" for "war against Panama and Grenada") and you’ve got japan. This is why there are rivers way out in the middle of nowhere with like 6 bridges within the space of one mile, and why entire mountainsides in the middle of fucking national parks have been cemented over "to prevent erosion."
Tobashi – accounting gimmick where, say, your bank makes a "loan" to some extortionist, or to your buddy from the golf range, or some dude you got hella hammered with at the hostess bar last night. Million bucks? Sure, why not. The loan is never repaid, but, financial genius that you are, you create a shell company called "FakeyMcShamCo." And you sell that bad loan to FakeyMcShamCo for like 10,000 bucks. (because in theory, if FakeyMcShamCo collects interest on the loan, they make a profit, which is why sometimes people do legitimately pay real money for loans which are let’s face it, negative money, even if it makes your head hurt to think about the logic involved). Anyway, your million dollar loss is now a ten thousand dollar gain! And you can keep doing this like over and over, until A) someone actually wants to take real money out of your now-empty bank, b) real estate prices go down, or c) you drop dead from fukujoshi.
尖閣諸島 — senkaku islands, currently run by Japan, that China wants back.
北方領土 — ho-pouryoudo. other islands – which Russia runs, that Japan wants back. Guess which islands are super important to right-wingers? I mean instead of bitching about the ho-pouryoudo, why don’t they go on a vacation to Senkaku?
m-fund . unlike amakudari or zaito, most Japanese people don’t know about the m-fund. In fact I have no idea what they even call m-fund in Japanese. Probably エムファンド。 But it is one of the coolest conspiracies since the masonic/pope/mafia / Banco Ambrosiano scandal in the 80s. Seriously, the M-fund: Lost Philipine gold, the CIA, yakuza, Macarthur, and bilions upon billions of yen, all belonging to nameless masters of the ruling LDP party. fuck yeah! sort of like if someone randomly gave Trent Lott the entire US budget. Here ya go, big guy. Orignally it was a combination of Hirohito’s stolen Asian gold plus CIA money, which was doled out by the Yankees to help LDP and their mob buddies fight the communists in Japan. (Japan: small country right between USSR and Mao’s China). but Nixon gave control of the money to Japanese politicians, and then communism broke, so now the LDP has like 500 billion dollars lying around. What the hell??
oh shit, i just found this. Japan Policy’s Research Institute’s "working paper #11"
The M-Fund is reported to have been the cause of several political murders. Many people in Japan believe that former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato was murdered, the victim of deliberate poisoning rather than a digestive upset as reported to the press. According to these widely circulated reports, Sato’s death occurred at the height of a contest with Kakuei Tanaka for control over the M-Fund. The dispute was, ultimately, settled and a major scandal averted by the payment from the Fund to Sato’s widow of a huge death-benefit of 300 billion yen.
In more recent times (former prime minister) Mr. Takeshita’s assistant, Mr. Aoki, supposedly a suicide, is said to have been assisted by persons having a vital interest in preserving the secrecy of the M-Fund. In the days before his death, Aoki, who was known to have detailed knowledge of the Fund’s operations, made the mistake of telling several friends that the Recruit scandal was a minor matter compared to another scandal that was about to become public through his impending testimony.
No idea if it is true, but again, my point is wouldn’t it be fun to bring this up with your host family over dinner?
"Hey, host Dad, pass the wasabi. By the way, was Sato assassinated by Tanaka’s LDP ninjas?"
ok, on to the more "normal" scandals. . .
the Recruit Company . . . .as mentioned in the quote above, is the Japanese version of Enron (i.e. little company gets highly-placed government connection and suddenly becomes huge company rich on government contracts, until it explodes from greed and costs the taxpayers a million billion bucks).
Locheed – this scandal , involving an American arms company, toppled a fucking prime minister!!
Fuck it, back to wikipedia’s PAGE OF JAPANESE POLITICAL SCANDALS. it has those two above plus many more. Can you believe there is a whole page of nothing but scandals? How crazy is that? Oh, wait. Nevermind.
君が代 — Kimigayo – national anthem. It is associated with WWII militarism, so there is an ongoing dispute where teachers and students won’t stand up for it in school.
天皇誕生日 — Showa holiday – emperor hirohito is mostly referred to in japan as showa. Last year, Nov. 3d, his birthday, was made a national holiday. Can you believe that shit? Imagine if germany. . . OK, OK, never mind. Anyway, if you ask most Japanese what the hell is up with that, they’ll say, oh, nov. 3 is GREEN DAY. Not anymore it isn’t. but I guess naming a day after a native tyrant rather than a foreign pop band kind of makes sense. But still, if they REALLY want to honor the emperor, why don’t they ichiokugyokusai?
北ちょせんによる ラチ被害者。 — kita chosen ni yoru rachi higaisha. kidnapping of Japanese civilians by the dozens by north korea. Oh boy. NK spies just snatch unsuspecting Japanese civilians off the damn street. Unlike most of the stuff on this list, I think Japanese people WANT foreigners to know about this. But it is still really awkward, so I’m printing it anyway.
Although japan is a rich and technological country The Pill was not legal here until fucking 1999??? Compared with the 1960s in USA. Why? Because of the typical "shadowy-cartel-of -beuracrats-and-corporations-who went-to-a-top-university-together" system. . . although in this case the corporations were medical associations, not Big Pharma. Apparently they had decided to keep Japan in the Dark Ages in order to bolster the charging-1000-bucks-for-an-abortion industry. Sorry, I don’t have a funny vocabulary word here. I just wanted to point out something fucked.
シモン病 眩暈 — SHIMONbyou (smon disease)- Caused by the side effects of the chemical chinoform, over 11,000 went paralyzed or blind between 1955 and 1970. And all they wanted was to stop their diarrhea.
緑十字社 — midorijuujisha. Green-cross – bought aids tainted blood knowingly with help from the international trade ministry. Over 2,000 hemophiliacs infected with aids.
minamatabyou. (minamata disease) In the 50s and 60s, in the port city of Minimata, mercury poisoning caused hella people to get deformed and have deformed babies, and just suffer. All levels of japanese society , from crooked doctors, crooked newspapers, crooked beuracrats, mayors, and crooked cops, worked in lockstep. . . to terrorize the victims and call them liars and complainers! There’s your saving face again. Yakuza thugs brought in to beat up shareholders who complain .
immigration bureau’s snitch site. This is something I bet George Bush or George Ashcroft wish they’d thought up: A website where Japanese can anonymously snitch on immigrants. Like you! Especially awesome is the part where the "reason for snitching" drop-down menu includes such options as "fear" and "no reason."
部落民 えた、ひにん – Burakumin and the eta-hinin – you have probably read about them already, in a real book. Along with the ethnic Ainu, the burakumin and the eta-hinin are the low-caste groups that have historically been persecuted. Burakumin are people working at jobs considered "dirty" by Shintoism, but eta-hinin are more like people that are hated on for being born to the wrong ethnic group. FYI, these terms are kind of like the n-word, so you shouldn’t really say them directly. However, if you say "burakumin sabetsu" (prejudice against the burakumin) this is considered not offensive.
Koseki — the family register, where marriages, births, deaths are recorded. Unless one of the parents is an immigrant, in which case it doesn’t count. This is important because, if a Japanese guy gets a foreigner pregnant, the baby legally has no father. Thus, no child support, no inheritance, and the child is NOT a Japanese citizen! (link (halfway down page))
Conversely, if a Japanese lady has a baby with a foreigner in a foreign country, say, france, she can bounce on the guy, kidnap the kids and take ’em back to japan, and the Japanese government will say fuck you to the guy if he tries to see his own kids. This might sound normal given how messy divorces are, but actually most countries DO have a process to adjudicate such disputes. This is because most democracies have signed the Hague convention on international child abduction – japan won’t sign it
Not surprising considering that it’s got the worst human-trafficking record out of all the developed nations. Well except Russia of course. But Russia is broke.
GENERAL SOCIETY-IS-COMING-TO-AN-END STUFF
Hikikomori – this word started to be popular around 2000 to describe young people who refused to leave their house. This is not agorophobia. For instance, they might go out at night to buy food. They were not afraid to be outdoors per se, they just were afraid to participate in society. I mean, for years and years. And the longer you do it, the more of a loser you feel like, so the more you are afraid of people judging you, so the more you refuse to leave your anime-and-used-ramen-container-infested life-hole.
Ijime – bullying. Not like wedgies or getting your milk money took. Japanese bullying has driven more than a thousand children to suicide. The hatred of anyone "outside the group" combined with the cultural ethic of "if something bad happens, ignore it," allow groups of kids to deliberately target a random kid for destruction, and the rest of the school just looks on, or even joins in because they are afraid they’ll be next on the shit-list. The schools cover it up because of that awesome Asian concept of "saving face." Did I mention how much I hate face?
It starts in kindergarten with kids being isolated and shunned. Not suprisingly kids denied the chance to develop social skills then become easy targets in elementary school. At the other end, bullying ties neatly into mob activity, with wanna-be gangstas extorting junior high school kids with organized beat-downs, and even passing part of their earnings on to their mob bosses.
If you live in Japan, chances are a lot of your friends either were bullies or the victims of bullies. Either way, the ghosts of it will affect them for the rest of their lives. In my experience, the symptoms of somone bullied to almost the point of suicide are, an inability to look at you in the eye, and a nervous laugh, and continually belittling themselves.
SUPER FREE — the most infamous of Waseda University’s systematic rape gangs. Shinichiro Wada, the leader, organized dance parties. Apparently lots of women wanted to go, becuase Waseda guys are all going to be rich and successful. But the parties were just a pretext for giving certain women roofies and liquor and dragging them into back rooms for systematic rape, and they did parties like this over and over again before one of their victims actually went to the police. In japanese, the gang’s name is often shortened to suu-furi
自殺サイト – jisatsu saito… Internet suicide clubs. like Myspace for suicidal people. Plenty of people want to die but don’t have the guts to do it. These websites exist to facilitate group suicide, as in, "Together if we try we can do it." People plan specific dates and times to do it. Because, you know, Japan loves a team effort.
Which brings us to 自殺 －－ SUICIDE. Japan’s legendary high suicide rate. The UN 2003 world suicide chart shows Japan second to ex-USSR countries like Russia, Latvia, Rmania, etc. for male suicide, but it is FEMALE suicide where Japan really shines — leaping past ALL the former Soviet repbulics, to land #2 in the world, right behind Sri Lanka. Ladies, maybe it is not an OK idea go to Sri Lanka?
教育ママ — Kyouiku mama – education mama. sort of a Stage Mom (the kind of much hated showbiz pushy mom that puts their kid on a sitcom at 8 years old, steals their money, and the kid has a rap sheet as long as your arm by 19). All kinds of weird antics are attributed to kyoiku mamas. how much is just sexist rumor, and what is fact, I don’t know. But it is a good topic to bring up with Japanese friends.
佐川一政 — Issei sagawa -Japan’s most famous cannibal.in 1981while studying in Paris, he ate a lady. Like full-on, Ed Gein-style, body-parts-scattered-around-the-apartment-in-various-states-of-having-been-cooked. He got busted but for some reason got out on a technicality. Now he’s a sort of fucked celebrity, and people read his books.
Tsutomu miyazaki – cannibal, child molester, murderer. Not to be confused with the famous communist terrorist of the same name. or the communist-yakuza-snitch. Or, for that matter, the beloved director of My neighbor Totoro.
Shonen A. Kobe 1997. a 14 year old cut a kid’s head off and left it at the school gate with a note in his mouth. In his note, taunting the police, he used "Sakakibara Saito" as an alias. In the newspapers because of his young age he was referred to as Shonen a. (John Doe A).
Kotaro Yoshisato . . . most people don’t know his name. but if you say "Asakasa okashi shougakusei shoji yuukai jiken" (the elementary school kidnapper from asakasa) then you will get a reaction. A lot of Japanese people think he was running a pedophile prostitution ring to government types. While this might seem like irresponsible gossip, the following passage from a Japan Times article makes me fearful and queasy.
Two years (before the kidnapping case), Saitama Prefectural Police investigated the man, identified as Kotaro Yoshisato, on suspicion of illegally selling pornographic videos, the sources said. At that time, however, police were unable to establish a case due to a lack of evidence.
So, yeah, they just let him and his list of shadowy influential customers go. Hmm.
援交狩り — Enkogari – the old-fashioned "badger game." Schoolgirl prostitutes post ads, guys respond to those ads, only to get mugged and lectured by the schoolgirl’s boyfriends.
as おやじ狩り — oyaji gari (old man hunting) – is a related crime; basically the same thing without the sex. just finding some random old guy, kicking him down and standing in a circle around him taunting him, and kicking him again, until you and your douchebag friends get bored.
コインロッカーベビー "coin locker babies." A 1970s phenomenon where unwed teen mothers would leave their babies in. . . .man, fuck this.
水子霊場 — Mizu-ko reijo – literally, "water baby soul cemetary." Mizu-ko is the traditional term for a dead unborn baby – whether a miscarriage or abortion. Women who feel terrible about having a mizu-ko can go to a Bhuddist priest and pay for a ritual where the priest concerates a small child-sized statue to their baby, where the ghost can hang out (rather than following the mother around haunting her). You can see literally thousands of these mizu-ko reijos around Japan.
過労死 – Karoshi. The famous "Death from overwork" syndrome.
Shinju – love suicide
密告 — — Mi-koku – secret information. As in, mi-kokusha (informer) or mi-koku suru. (to snitch)
AWESOME QUESTIONS FOR JAPANESE PALS
1) How much fissionable plutonium has Japan stockpiled? A: over 43 tons.
2) Where did blood-type-equals-personality theory come from? Nazi germany, that’s where!
3) Where was the biggest war criminal prison? 巣鴨刑務所Sugamo kemsuho – where Class A war criminals were held, is under what is now fucking Sunshine City shopping mall in Ikebukuro.
4) If a foreigner marries a Japanese citizen, gets an offical marriage visa, and they live together for 20 years, until the Japanese dies of old age, what happens next? the foreigner gets deported! Since they are a widow, they aren’t married anymore, duh.
5) Which construction company paid for its employees to attend a 3-day, 500-prostitute orgy in China? To celebrate the 72nd anniversary of Japan’s invasion and rape of that country? Hmmm . . .actually this one is not rhetorical . I really want to know! If anyone tells you, email me!
finally, saving the best for last. . . .
6 ) What did the Emperor say at his birthday speech in 2001? His family line is part Korean!
anyway that is it for this dictionary. It’s not complete, though. If you can think of anything else that you think should be in here, please leave a suggestion in the forum!3 comments