Fire Racist Hitotsubashi University Professor John F. Mancuso

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Karibe Shinya
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Who We Are

We are representatives from the Anti-Racism Information Center(ARIC) , a Japanese NGO that monitors hate speech, hate groups, and other hate related activities. The first organization of its kind in Japan, ARIC was founded by students and youth researchers in Tokyo in 2015 with the goal of establishing basic anti-discrimination legislation—a requirement of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)—in Japan. Using our “Racist Politicians Database”, we monitor and expose the activities of far-right public figures such as politicians and domestic hate groups (our database currently includes about 5,800 discriminatory statements/ activities committed by far-right extremists in Japan). We also are the first member organization from Asia to participate in Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) , an international anti-racist network based in Europe that cooperates with Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Our Campaign:

We Demand the Dismissal of Professor John F. Mancuso from Hitotsubashi University for Continuing to Engage in Racist and Discriminatory Behavior.
 
John F. Mancuso, an associate professor at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan, has repeatedly used his classroom to incite discrimination against minority students. Professor Mancuso has shown that he is unfit to be an educator, and we demand his immediate dismissal.
 
On June 4th 2019, Professor Mancuso made the following statements in one of his classes (Presentation Skills in English I) in reference to a student of Korean descent currently enrolled at Hitotsubashi University. (This recording was given to ARIC by an anonymous student who recorded professor Mancuso in his classroom right before one of his classes):
June 4th 2019, 1st period  URL

  • He referred to the student as “that f**king Korean gook.” (2)
     In a conversation with another student he stated, ”I’ll teach you a new word, ‘Bakachon.’ Woo! He just heard that! He lost his mind. He just lost his mind. Bakachon? Bakachon is stupid ethnic Korean mother f**ker in Japanese. He just f**king lost his mind... It's like the N-word.”

“Gook” is a pejorative used against people of Asian descent in English-speaking countries. “Bakachon” is also a discriminatory word in Japanese used to degrade Koreans (3). In this context, it is obvious that Professor Mancuso used these words with malicious intent. (Additionally later on in the recording after comparing ‘Baka-chon’ and the N-Word, Professor Mancuso also advises the student not to use the N-word as “you don’t use that without reason to die basically,” essentially implying that a non-black person who uses the N-word is subject to be killed by blacks, another incredibly discriminatory sentiment.)
 
On May 7th, 2019 during the same class period, Professor Mancuso made the following statements(a recording of which can be accessed at the URL below):
May 7th 2019, 1st period   URL

  • Professor Mancuso states, “If you are recording this, in my opinion, Koreans are bunch of f**king idiots! You are out of your mind, Get psychological help! Just get psychological help, a**-hole.”

In the above context, not only does Professor Mancuso degrade Koreans as a whole, but in telling the student to “get psychological help” he also plays on the idea that Koreans are insane, a well- established racist trope in Japan.

Professor Mancuso’s Racist “Freedom of Speech Agreement”

In addition to making incredibly discriminatory remarks in his classroom, since 2018, Professor Mancuso has also declared his office (located in Hitotsubashi University)a “Free Speech Zone” and forced any entering student to comply with a so-called “Freedom of Speech Agreement” 

Some of the most problematic clauses are listed below:

  • 1. “Each student and the teacher (Professor Mancuso) has the right to… communicate without being told that they are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc., or violating a safe space.”

Thus students are denied their right to freely criticize any discriminatory actions that Professor Mancuso might engage in.

  • 2. “Each student and the teacher agrees that… no complaints will be made to anyone in or outside of this academic institution regarding any communication exchange.”

With the clause above, students are deprived of their right to lodge any complaints against Professor Mancuso if he engages in discriminatory behavior (such as to the “Harassment Counseling Center” at Hitotsubashi University, any human rights consultation group, or an attorney).
This “Freedom of Speech Agreement” is also included in his syllabus, which can be accessed on the University’s website. In this way, his “Freedom of Speech Agreement” is also forced upon any student who decides to take Professor Mancuso’s class. (A link to the agreement)
 
Other Acts of Discrimination Perpetrated by Professor Mancuso

Professor Mancuso has been teaching at Hitotsubashi University for 28 years since 1991 (4). Several other students have also testified about Professor Mancuso misusing his position as an educator. This list of offenses includes but is not limited to the following:
 
1. Sympathizing with White Supremacists

Professor Mancuso is a fervent supporter of US President Donald Trump who has been heavily criticized for inciting discrimination against immigrants in the United States. (See the following link for more details on Professor Mancuso’s devotion to Trump:https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2016/11/06/voices/trail-team-trump-tokyo/#.XVqz8i3AN-V)

On December 14th, 2016, Professor Mancuso stated, “I work for Donald Trump” as he attempted to obstruct a workshop held by ARIC (5). Professor Mancuso refused to reveal his identity at that time (a recording of this exchange can be found below).
At an ARIC workshop for students on December 14, 2016  URL 

Professor Mancuso threatened the students present at the workshop, telling them that he worked for Donald Trump. In this way he implied he had an international network of white supremacists backing him.

2. Verbal Abuse Against Students

Several (former) students claimed to have witnessed Professor Mancuso shouting at students while using derogatory language such as the F-word (6). It goes without saying that misusing his position as an educator to engage in coercive behavior towards students who cannot fight back is incredibly problematic and a clear case of harassment.
 
3. Justifying Sexual Harassment  

In his first and only book, Training Love Brain (sic) through English Conversation: You Choose! (published in 2009):

  • “Frankly, men are creatures who gaze at women. Genetically speaking, this behavior is justified! If you feel uncomfortable being gazed at or try to stop it, that is, from my perspective as a man, a huge mistake.” (7)

In this way Professor Mancuso justifies discrimination (in this case sexual harassment) using “genetics,” a tactic eerily reminiscent to those of the Nazis.

Hitotsubashi: A University That Refuses to Respond Appropriately to Acts of Discrimination in a Country with no Established Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Hitotsubashi University is one of the most prestigious public universities in Japan. Despite this fame, however, the university has not established a school policy that penalizes discrimination—policies that do exist in universities in the US or other countries. In addition, Japan, where Hitotsubashi University is located, is the only “first-world” country that has no official anti-discrimination laws.

While a “Harassment Counseling Center” was established at Hitotsubashi University in 2001 (8), it has continuously failed to recognize even the most serious cases of harassment as “legitimate” and has instead left victims who dare to seek counseling open to acts of retaliation by their perpetrators. As such, the “Harassment Counseling Center” is a completely insufficient and malfunctioning institution.

The Suicide of An Outed Gay Student at Hitotsubashi in 2015

The suicide of a former Hitotsubashi student who was forcibly outed (having his sexual orientation disclosed) has proven just how insufficient the “Harassment Counseling Center” really is.
 
In 2015, a graduate student in the school of law at Hitotsubashi University ended his life after being outed against his will. Although the student sought counseling from the university, it completely mismanaged his case, resulting in the family of the victim demanding restitution from the University. However Hitotsubashi had consistently declined any responsibility for this student’s suicide (9). In addition to this incident, numerous other problematic events have occurred at Hitotsubashi including inviting the racist author Hyakuta Naoki to give a keynote lecture at a school festival in 2017 (10, 11).
 
Our Demands:
We demand that every student and teacher at Hitotsubashi University work to create a safe and fair educational environment. In order to ensure this, we demand the following:

1. The immediate dismissal of associate Professor John F. Mancuso, who has repeatedly made extremely discriminatory statements.

2. The establishment of an independent, third party committeein order to implement the following measures to prevent discrimination in the future:

  • (a) A re-examination of those past incidents in which the response of Hitotsubashi University has been heavily criticized (namely the suicide of an outed student in 2015 (9), the invitation given to the racist author Hyakuta Naoki to give a keynote lecture at a school festival in 2017 (10), other human-rights violations committed by Professor John Mancuso, and other cases of mismanagement committed by the “Harassment Counseling Center” relating to human rights violations.

    (b) The establishment of an anti-discrimination policy based on the results of the re-examination mentioned above.

3. A meeting between students and the administration.While ARIC has filed numerous complaints against Professor John F. Mancuso, officials of the University have refused to meet with us about this matter. Thus, we seek to have a meeting between students and the administration in order to realize our goal of creating an educational environment free of discrimination.
 
Please support our efforts to build a better Hitotsubashi University, one that is committed to fighting against racism and other forms of discrimination on campus by signing our petition!
 
In Solidarity,
ARIC


 
References/Notes:
 
(1)  In Japanese law, a recording of any conversation (regardless of whether or not permission was granted for the recording) have been deemed as valid and admissible evidence in many cases involving harassment in Japan.As Japan has no legislation that explicitly prohibits discrimination or harassment, obtaining evidence in the form of a recording is virtually the only means that can be used to resist against discrimination and harassment. During the #MeToo movement in Japan, recording was the predominant method used by victims to expose perpetrators. The recordings of Professor Mancuso shown here were provided by an anonymous student who sought to obtain evidence against Professor Mancuso as Hitotsubashi University has continued to to be silent about Professor Mancuso’s behavior.


(2)   When Professor John Mancuso states “he,” he is referring to Ryang Yong-Song, a graduate student at Hitotsubashi University and the lead representative of ARIC (Anti-Racism Information Center).

(3)  According to Kobayashi Kenji in his book The Up-To-Date, Discriminatory Words and Offensive Words, “‘Chon’ was historically used as a word meaning a ‘foolish person’ or ‘worthless person’ ([definition from the Japanese dictionary] Kojien,6th edition), but it eventually began to be used as a pejorative by Japanese to disparage Koreans as an ethnic group. Even today ‘Chon’ is a discriminatory word that continues to chill the blood of Zainichi (Resident) Koreans in Japan.” (Source: Kobayashi, Kenji. The Up-To-Date, Discriminatory Words and Offensive Words. Ninngen-Syuppan, pp. 220-21, 2016.)

(4)  https://jp.linkedin.com/in/john-mancuso-5157405

(5)   On December 14th2016, ARIC held an open workshop titled “The International Rise of Populism: Xenophobia and Japan” at the LS/CGEE Building at Hitotsubashi University. Just before the workshop began, Hitotsubashi Professor John F. Mancuso stormed into the venue, shouting, going on a tirade in English (when it was clear these students were not native speakers of English), and threatening students there. While harassing ARIC members and other students, Professor Mancuso refused to reveal his identity. (For more information about the incident, check out: Ryang Yong Song “Harassment by John Mancuso, an Associate Professor at Hitotsubashi University” (this blog is written in Japanese): https://note.mu/ryangyongsong/m/m330e9d2f1e51)

(6)  (1)https://twitter.com/yoheitsunemi/status/1012854403647193088  (2)https://twitter.com/hideokotani/status/1012897943471337472

(7)  Mancuso, F. John. Training Love Brain (sic.) Through English Conversation. Enterbrain, 2009, pg. 21.

(8)  The center was established in April 2001 and originally called the “Sexual Harassment Counseling Center.” After April 2010, the name of the center was changed to the “Harassment Counseling Center.” (For more information about the Center check out: http://international.hit-u.ac.jp/jp/curr/support/consult.html)

(9)  In June 2015, a gay student at the department of law at Hitotsubashi University was outed (had his sexual orientation forcibly disclosed) by his classmate on a LINE (the most popular messaging app in Japan) group-chat. After the incident, the outed student, suffering both physically and psychologically, ultimately jumped to his death from a school building on August 24th, 2015. In the next year, 2016, the parents of the victim sued the university for its failure to take appropriate measures after the student had been outed. Although the student sought counseling at the “Harassment Counseling Center” at the university, it completely mismanaged his case. The University refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing, and on February 2019, the Tokyo High Court rejected the plaintiff’s claim to any compensation.
(Japanese Source: Izutani Yuriko, “Student Jumped to His Death After Being Outed As Gay, Outing at Hitotsubashi University, the Tokyo High Court Rejects the Plaintiff’s Claim Against the University,” 2019/2/27The Huffington Post Japan:https://www.huffingtonpost.jp/entry/story_jp_5c736b76e4b06cf6bb27b80b;
English Source: “Court Rejects Damages Claim Against Hitotsubashi University Over Death of Outed Gay Student,” 2019/2/27 The Japan Times:
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/02/27/national/crime-legal/court-rejects-damages-claim-hitotsubashi-university-death-outed-gay-student/#.XUp4ki3ANQI)

(10)During a school festival (the Kodaira Festival) held on June 2017 at Hitotsubashi University, the planning committee invited Japanese author Hyakuta Naoki as a keynote speaker. As Hyakuta Naoki is famous for making discriminatory statements against minorities in Japan such as Chinese or Koreans (11), the Anti-Racism Information Center (ARIC) organized a petition campaign demanding that the committee establish an anti-discrimination policy that would prevent Hyakuta from making any discriminatory remarks in the course of his speech. Ultimately, his lecture was cancelled after other student organizations, in response to the ARIC campaign, demanded that his lecture be cancelled. Enraged, Hyakuta retaliated by spreading a false rumor in media outlets such as the weekly publication Shinchothat ARIC and its lead representative Ryang Yong Song threatened the students of the festival’s planning committee (Hyakuta’s article can be found here). These false rumors resulted in a wave of discriminatory backlash against both Ryang and international students at the university. Despite this, Hitotsubashi University has failed to take any measures against Hyakuta Naoki for inciting discrimination.
(For more information check out the following Japanese sources:
(1) Sei Yoshiaki “Reportage: The Truth Behind the Cancellation of Hyakuta Naoki’s Keynote Lecture: What We Learn from the “Freedom Speech” Debate,” 2017/6/11 http://masterlow.net/?p=2989.
(2) Ryang Yong Song “How to Curb Discrimination on Campus: Examining the Hyakuta Naoki Incident at Hitotsubashi University as an Example”, The Yearly Magazine of the Study of Materialism, 23th issue, pp. 132-56, 2018.)

(11)Examples of discriminatory remarks/ historical denialism by Hyakuta Naoki :
-      In the following tweet, Hyakuta denies the historical existence of the Japanese military’s sexual slavery system: “I dare to say the obvious. The Nanjing Massacre did not happen. Korean comfort women during the war were prostitutes.” (https://twitter.com/hyakutanaoki/status/821329065659416576)
-      In another tweet, Hyakuta engages in discrimination against Chinese by categorizing them as a “brutal and savage” ethnic group: Replying to the following tweet: “Acts such as raping a dead woman’s body is unique to Shinajin [a perjorative against people of Chinese descent in Japanese],” Hyakua tweeted:“Yes! That has been a custom of the Chinese. The Japanese do not possess such a trait.”
(https://twitter.com/hyakutanaoki/status/380678326169268224)