Guest post: They calculatedly choose a woman they think will keep quiet

Originally a comment by blondeintokyo on Dude, just grab her.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking Japanese women are weak or somehow submissive. How a woman would react would depend on her personality. I’ve seen Japanese women yelling at, hitting, kicking, and running chikan (subway gropers) off trains and chasing them down the platform.

I saw one woman determinedly hanging onto a guys coat as he hit her about the head and shoulders in an attempt to break her grasp and escape before the transit police could arrive and grab him. So don’t judge Japanese culture by that one video – I find it highly likely that some women DID hit, kick, or yell at him, but he just didn’t publish that footage.

And keep in mind- you can’t judge these girls’ reactions through the lens of your culture. You have to understand that in Japan it’s considered to be immature and shameful to act out in a way that bothers others or otherwise draws attention to yourself in public. It’s considered to be “meiwaku” and is generally scorned. For this reason, you won’t usually see people being loud, confrontational, or causing scenes in public places- they’d be embarrassed or ashamed to draw that kind of attention to themselves. Unfortunately, not calling attention to yourself includes not reacting in a visible way even when something happens, like being groped. This is actually the sort of frozen, stoic reaction that the chikan count on to keep women quiet. They calculatedly choose a woman they think will keep quiet, a woman who won’t want to cause a scene and embarrass herself. They depend on her shame to keep her quiet- sound familiar? It’s really not that different from what happens in the US or other countries. These guys pick on those they perceive as weak, as no doubt this guy did.

(Which by the way, is also why the chikan pick on western women…they assume that they won’t be able to speak Japanese and so won’t be able to report them.)

I also think the girls’ confusion and giggly reaction was at least partly due to that guy being a foreigner. People here really don’t speak English all that well, and these girls likely had no idea what he was saying, what to say to him, or how to deal with him. The general public honestly isn’t used to dealing with foreigners, and this sort of gives foreigners a kind of invisibility cloak and lets them get away with behaviour that a Japanese could never get away with – no one wants to confront the scary foreigner. I’ve seen it happen in all kinds if situations, from being drunk and loud in public, to getting out of speeding tickets. It always irritates me when I see foreigners take advantage of the Japanese tendency to be non-confrontational, but this guy in particular really galls me. It’s abhorrent behaviour and he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. I only hope that next time someone has the presence if mind to call the cops, because this would be covered under Japan’s sexual harassment and public nuisance laws. If caught, he’d be arrested and spend at least a month in jail. And I would dearly love for this guy to spend time in a Japanese jail.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    blondeintokyo’s comment reflects my experiences in Tokyo.
    and I would be pleased to buy him a beer next time I’m there.

  2. blondeintokyo says

    Her. 🙂

    And I accept! As I always say, beer is not a vice; it’s a daily discipline!

  3. says

    Ah. As I thought, this is in response to some nonsense from a guy named RossR, who was saying:

    Do Japanese women not study martial arts? I would so love this guy to get on the wrong side of a karateka !

    and, when I pointed out to him that women aren’t here to act out his revenge fantasies

    I was rather hoping they would take action themselves if assaulted. Too many women, no doubt including some Japanese women, were brought up to be “polite”. Personally, I would simply kick the guy very hard in as painful a place as possible.
    I do sometimes despair of men learning to treat women decently, let alone as equals. At my age, retribution (not revenge) is the best I can hope for.

    I’m glad someone came back to respond. Notice how, in his comments, it’s all about HIM. Japanese women should fight back, not because it will help them, but because it will make him feel better. They should do what he would do. Because he, some old (presumably, based on his comment about “at my age”) American guy really has a handle on what is safe and helpful for Japanese women to do when being sexually assaulted by a foreigner.

    Seriously men need to stop this bullshit. Just fucking stop. STTOOOOPPPP.

    Sorry, I’m grumpy and hung over. I don’t have it in me to be any more eloquent than that.

  4. Ysidro says

    “Do Japanese women not study marital arts?” WTF? Does that guy think Japan is a giant Chanbara film or something?

  5. blondeintokyo says

    You guys might be happy to know that thanks to social media, the video has gone viral here and the Japan Times picked up and ran a story on this today. Lots of people are coming out in condemnation of this guy, and due to public pressure, the venues in his first two cities in Australia cancelled his events, and his entire Aussie tour is likely to be canceled.

    He was scheduled to come to Japan Nov. 15th, but if we keep up the pressure no venue here will give him space, either.

    Thanks to Ophelia for posting this video and bringing it to our attention. 🙂

  6. Ysidro says

    @John Morales

    Hah! Be fair to me, I’ve been worrying about my spouse’s health lately!

    That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

  7. anbheal says

    I lived in Tokyo for two years, and there’s a corollary to the unwillingness to call out gaijin misbehavior, or, that is to say, the misbehavior of gaijin MEN. Japanese men can be absolutely UGLY to gaijin women, particularly if they are blonde and buxom, neither of which are particularly common there, and they clearly harbor a cultural media-fueled belief that anything blonde and buxom is equivalent to WHORE. And not just the chikan, but any random sarariman (businessman) on the street or in bars or on the subways. They assume the woman doesn’t speak Japanese, and will say things about her, calling out to complete strangers, other sararimen sitting across from them, suggesting all the things they might do to her, and what positions she might like best. And if the Western woman understands it, and calls them a small-dicked dandruff-drenched pig, they just look at her in incomprehension, and return to reading their underage anime porn in public. The one constant here, across the cultures, is that the men never have to worry about it. There is zero psychosocial penalty for being a pig in public.

  8. blondeintokyo says

    I have to say, that’s been my experience as well. It happens at least once or twice a month; I’ll be minding my own business, taking the train, eating lunch at a cafe, having a beer with friends, or waiting for friends, when a Japanese man directs a lewd comment at me. These comments usually focus on my breast size, and whether or not I “like to sex with” Japanese men. Often they’ll say these things to each other, thinking that I don’t speak Japanese and thus won’t understand them. I’ve even been asked, more than once, how much I cost. I have no issues with sex work (I’ve dated sex workers) but they DO- so clearly, this is meant as a form of slut-shaming.

    I think the portrayal of blonde western women in the media plays a part in this, but so does racisim, in the form of “othering” foreigners and thus not seeing their full humanity.

    Once or twice I’ve taken the time to try to explain to these guys why their comments are so dehumanizing and degrading. I’ve yet to succeed, since the type of guy who does this is, generally speaking, unwilling to really listen.

    My Japanese female friends who’ve on occasion witnessed this behavior are always surprised and horrified. They’ve told me that men don’t generally do this to Japanese women. They’ve all experienced forms of misogyny and sexism, but seldom in such a direct way. And, as you said, there’s little if any social stigma related to sexual harassment. Not that long ago, a female government to minister was cat called during her speech by members of the LDP, PM Abe’s party. After some fuss, mostly in the international press, one man was scapegoated to take all the blame. But he refused to resign, so there were no real consequences. Sexism is entrenched in Japanese culture, and it’s going to take quite a long time for progress to be made.

  9. chigau (違う) says

    if you can actualy do this 日本語で

    explain to these guys why their comments are so dehumanizing and degrading

    I am awed.
    I am considering taking the Level 5 Test.
    Maybe in a year or so.

  10. Blanche Quizno says

    blondeintokyo, back to your original comment (up top), which is excellent. I wanted to comment on this part:

    So don’t judge Japanese culture by that one video – I find it highly likely that some women DID hit, kick, or yell at him, but he just didn’t publish that footage.

    Julien Blanc is marketing a product; of COURSE he’s only going to present the testimonials and videos that serve to promote what he’s selling. Much more so than other products, say a subpar toaster or tap water marketing as fancy bottled water, Blanc’s product actively damages society.

    A certain Elliot Rodger* (remember him?) was a fan of Blanc’s and a devotee to his Pick Up Artist (PUA) “methodology” (for lack of a better term). If anyone watched Rodger’s selfie videos (remember those?), he pointed out that he’d done everything he was supposed to – the expensive car, the good haircut, nice clothes, $300 sunglasses. He had followed the recipe, in other words, and it sounds like he followed it to the letter. He did his part, but he didn’t get the result. The cake didn’t rise.

    So what was the problem? It wasn’t HIM – he’d conscientiously adopted the methodology and done all the requirements. I think we can have some degree of confidence that Rodger was attentive to the details – he really wanted what Blanc was selling. It couldn’t be the PUA methodology itself – just look at Blanc’s and others’ glowing testimonials of how well – and how reliably – it worked! Besides, Rodger wasn’t willing to allow that the PUA methodology was flawed to any degree, so that wasn’t allowed to be the problem. Rodger desperately wanted it to work – the intricacies of human relationships were beyond his ability to comprehend, and he knew what he wanted. Problem was, he didn’t see how to get from here, where he was, to there, the image Blanc presented, so he sought out Blanc’s PUA methodology as the guide to something he couldn’t figure out for himself. He really couldn’t see any other options. And Blanc advertises that, if men do as he says, they’ll get all the wimmenz.

    So what’s left? The women. Somehow, they appeared immune to the PUA manipulation! The magic spell wasn’t working! Were they made of kryptonite or something?? It was THEIR FAULT for not doing THEIR PART and succumbing to the image Rodger had so carefully crafted, based on the PUA instructions. Because THEY were not falling all over him and rushing into his bed, THEY had to be punished. Rodger was going to teach them all a lesson about failing to uphold their side of the social contract he had developed within his mind, fashioned after PUA principles.

    So this isn’t just cute or funny – it’s pernicious and toxic and actively harmful to us all. I’m glad Australia’s slamming the door in Blanc’s sick smirking face.

    *I’m not willing to let go of the #YesAllWomen campaign quite yet 🙂

  11. blondeintokyo says

    Oh, I definitely remember Eliot Rodger. I knew he was a PUA, but didn’t know he was specifically a fan of Julian Blanc. Who, by the way, we have just made a petition against to prevent from entering Japan. We’ve contacted immigration because he very likely doesn’t have the visa required to do business in Japan, and we’ve also contacted the police because some of his actions on the video would be illegal and considered sexual assault under Japanese law:

    If you guys are so inclined, sign the petition and help us out by spreading it on social media. 🙂

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