Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

The Otaru Onsen Case: Ten Years On

September 24, 2009

September 19th marked the tenth anniversary of human rights activist Debito Arudou’s first visit to the Yu-no-Hana Onsen in Otaru, Hokkaido and the first of three times he and some of his companions were turned away due to an explicit “Japanese Only” policy that turned out to be, according to the explanation offered by the management of the onsen, a “Japanese-looking” Only policy.

As most TPR readers or listeners know, after trying many other avenues of reconciliation, Arudou and two other plaintiffs filed and won a civil suit against Yu-no-Hana, as well as two appeals. The first and only decision against the plaintiffs was in a civil suit before the Supreme Court against the City of Otaru for negligence.

The case generated more publicity and hardship than Arudou or his co-plaintiffs had anticipated and wound up launching Arudou down a new path of human rights advocacy, on which he continues to this day. (more…)