Should Germans Be Japanophobes?

In the following op-ed, Henryk Broder contrasts the bullying behavior of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the total decorum of his Japanese counterparts, and explains clearly why there is no danger in Japanese parallel societies as opposed to Turkish ones.

Now the question: Is anyone in the ruling elite reading this?

Many thanks to JLH for the translation from Die Welt online:

Why Japanese Parallel Societies Don’t Bother Anyone
by Henryk M. Broder

Not just Turks, but Japanese as well live in Germany in parallel societies, and they teach their children Japanese first. Nonetheless that makes no one nervous.

This week I was traveling by taxi in Düsseldorf. I was tired; I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

When I woke, I was in Tokyo. Or Kyoto. It could have been Osaka. Anyway, everywhere I saw banks and hotels with Japanese names, Japanese supermarkets and restaurants that were called the Kikaku, MoshMosh, Nippon-Kan and Sushi-Taxi.

It was a few seconds before I realized: I was in Düsseldorf, and in Düsseldorf there is a large Japanese community. Not as big as the Turkish one in Kreuzberg, but not to be overlooked.

I have a nuanced attitude toward Japan. I drive a Japanese car, take pictures with a Japanese camera and watch my DVDs on an apparatus made in Japan. But I can’t stand sushi. I do not understand the enthusiasm for raw fish and soups that taste of sewage.

On the other hand, I do not have one single electronic product from Turkey, and yet I love Turkish cuisine (the only thing I have in common with Claudia Roth). And I find the extroverted and noisy Turks more likable than the uncommunicative and quiet Japanese, whose mood you cannot read by looking at them.

So I wonder why we have a problem with the Turks and no problem with the Japanese, not even in Düsseldorf. Nobody inquires after their birth rate. No authorities are putting interpreters at their disposal. There has not been a summit on Japan — or Asia — with the ministry of the interior. There has been no Christian-Japanese working group on Protestant Church Day. We don’t even know what religion they belong to. They make no secret of it, but they don’t make a big fuss about it either.

There must be other reasons. Could it have something to do with the fact that no Japanese has gone to court to sue for a prayer room in a school? Or that no Japanese has refused to stack drinks in a supermarket, which his religion has forbidden him to drink? Or that the Japanese are under-represented in the ranks of multiple offenders and over-represented among those who have graduated from secondary school? The Japanese, too, live in parallel societies, marry among themselves and teach their children Japanese first and then German.

However — Never has a Japanese minister come to Germany to tell his compatriots what they should do and not do. The government would forbid such a thing as interference in the republic’s internal affairs. Unless it is the Turkish president.

6 thoughts on “Should Germans Be Japanophobes?

  1. The Japanese in Germany appear to be a good example of integration as against assimilation. They maintain their language, their culture, their sense of community, but they also obey German law and during working hours contribute to the German economy and society. And they’re not trying to turn Germany into Japan. It would be interesting to know whether these people have put down roots into German soil, or whether they are just there because of work opportunities (or being posted by their Japanese employers). There’s likely to be a fair number like that–but still they fit in.

  2. Spot on, Salome.

    Most of them are expatriates for Japanese companies. Almost all of them see Japan as their home and hope to return one day. A few of them are married to German nationals and have therefore taken roots, but still remain Japanese.

    All of them, and I do mean 999 out of thousand, pay their own way and would never suck on the public teat.

    Why do I know this? My wife is Japanese, we know many who live and work in Germany.

  3. Successful or not. Detrimental or not, all “parallel” societies are a sign of a indolent indigenous culture. It breeds cosmopolitan interest against local loyalty and induces a shallow go along to get along attitude. You can see its most prolific consequences in urban areas where first the similar societies are accepted but soon the powers that be expand the limits and not surpriseingly you end up with the present result in all of the Western world. Gettos of degenerate cultural fodder.

    Unfortunatly this article shows that many anti islamists dont want to change the ideological recipe even though they cant stomach what they’ve baked.

  4. Elan-tima, spot on. Most anti-Islamists mind Muslims only because they’re not PC enough – that’s about their only objection to immigrants. And the West is some void of soul civilization that anyone can be part of since well, the West is just universal human rights, egalitarian legal codes and individualism aka not a real culture and not a real people, just a bunch of people living on the same territory and you’re a welcome member as long as you make nice cars and video cameras, while being just a PC sheep.

  5. Both Muslim and Japanese communities are local culture-phobes, Germanophobes in this case. The Japanese have a symbiotic peaceful relationship with the rejected culture whereas Muslims predictably correlating with their increasing numbers are a larger and larger painful thorn. The Japanese way is the lesser of two evils but neither is ideal for the host culture that has that many fewer citizens promoting it and in the one case actively working against it.

  6. There is one important point that these commentaries seem to have forgotten.
    These japanese do no cause trouble to people and society around them. They don’t gangrape underaged girls. They don’t suck on welfare, and pay their taxes. They don’t spread terror and unsecurity aroud them.
    Reason why most islam critics are against immigration is not because they are nationalist, but because massive negitve impact islamists have to western society auround them.

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