Police Harassment


Here's a history of times in Japan that the police stopped me on the street and demanded to see my Residence Card. The short story is... The cops come up to me and demand to see my passport or Residence Card. But only foreigners have those, and the only reason they think I'm a foreigner is my skin color. It's pretty obviously racist. However, the law is ambiguous, and getting arrested would be horrible, so there's very little I can do except document the badness and share it with others.

2010-07-28Narita AirportWalking to the check-in counter to see Toby off.
2010-07-28Narita AirportTwo hours later while sitting on a bench.
2014-05-29Musashino (Musashisakai)Walking to dance class after work.
2014-06-18Tokyo Metro (Kayabacho)Escorting students on a school trip to Tsukiji.
2014-07-07Musashino (Musashisakai)Walking to the coffee shop.
2014-09-05Musashino (Midori-cho)Walking to dance class after work.
2018-08-24Musashino (Midori-cho)Walking home from work. YouTube.

Each time it happens it's scary, and it doesn't get any better over time. Each time they come up to me, there's a chance I could have forgotten or lost my Residence Card, and then I'd be arrested and thrown in jail. Also, once you realize that you're the target, because they'll harass you when you're simply walking down the street, your perspective on the police changes. They see me as the likely criminal. In their eyes, I'm a danger to society. And all because I did ... nothing at all.

I live here and go about my life normally. I work a job and pay my taxes, just like anyone would. If I'm not doing anything suspicious or breaking any laws, I just want the cops to leave me the fuck alone. They don't, and it sucks, and it's sad.