Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Japan watchers are probably familiar with the name Debito Arudo. Born David Christopher Schofill (surname later changed to Aldwinkle) in the US in 1965, Arudo made Japan his full-time home from the early 1990s until 2011, becoming a naturalized Japanese (and proud owner of a new cognomen) in the process. Arudo has been an indefatigable campaigner for the rights of foreigners in Japan, successfully suing a business owner in Hokkaido whose spa refused foreign guests. While Arudo has done the expat community susbstantial good, I find his unrelenting criticism of Japan and the Japanese debilitating; rarely does he have anything positive to say about the country. The activist continues to comment on the expat experience, submitting a monthly column to the Japan Times. But now that he's back stateside, he should consider human rights abuses closer to home. For starters, he might want to take up the cause of Moslem Americans, increasingly targeted by their own government in its domestic war on terror- seems to me they have a much harder time of it than expats in Japan.