Some thoughts and investigations by a resident of Sapporo, site of the contentious Argentina-England match.

(Index Page)
July 29, 2002

I will state my perspective at the start, so that readers can decide immediately whether they want to read on:

I believe that co-hosting a World Cup was premature for Japan. South Korea, with its deeper experience of both the game of soccer and of crowd control, was far better suited as a society for the festive atmosphere that comes with the world's most popular sport. Japan, in contrast, allowed its police and domestic media to overstate the prospects of hooliganism and poured cold water on the carnival (outdoor screens for the public to watch the game were banned in Japan, shops were told to close and miss out on the economic opportunities, translators made a roaring trade on producing exclusionary signs). Consequently, this stoked the endemic fear and mistrust that many Japanese have of outsiders, strangers, and the unknown and unpredictable (which made it difficult for international residents of Japan who look foreign to escape the conflation with criminal elements).

I write this page as a naturalized caucasian Japanese citizen living in Sapporo, who, for the first time in his fourteen years of Japan residency, felt so excluded that he at times even wanted to leave the country. Furthermore, the lack of follow-up self-reflection by the Japanese media and police (a simple "gosh, we overreacted, and we apologize for making life uncomfortable for the international members of Japanese society" would have worked wonders) raises questions with this author whether in the end Japan learned anything from this.

My thoughts follow, for what they're worth, as they developed during the event in real time:

ESSAY ONE (June 4, 2002)

ESSAY TWO (June 6, 2002) UPDATE:

ESSAY THREE (June 10, 2002)


FINAL UPDATE (Nov 16, 2002)


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Copyright 2002, Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle, Sapporo, Japan