Why are there many Iranians in Japan?

For a while, in exchange for an increase in oil imports, the Japanese dropped all visa restrictions.

I probably never would have been aware that so many of the Middle Eastern looking people in Roppongi were Iranians (I can spot the other largest group, Turks, as I still speak enough Turkish from when I lived there to at least spot when it is being spoken) if a friend of my wife wasn’t married to an Iranian guy. Now that I’ve looked into it, though, I’ve found a couple of great links that I think would be of interest to anyone:

A short story about Iranians in Japan from The Iranian

Wikipedia on Iranians in Japan (surprisingly detailed for such a seemingly obscure subject)

For Japanese people, now that the fake phone card dealers are long gone from the parks the only famous connection to Iran is Yu Darvish, the half-Iranian baseball player who is apparently good at this “sport” and apparently good looking. Can’t make a judgement on either count I’m afraid, you can judge for yourself here. What I can now tell you is that he probably shouldn’t be in this post at all as his parents met in the states, making his father far from a typical Iranian in Japan.


Why is going over your boss’s head such a huge crime in Japan?

A real question this one, although strangely from a Japanese friend of a friend…

This is never popular in any country, because it takes away some of your boss’s status. The additional element in Japan is that managers and prospective managers are being judged overwhelmingly on their ability to keep the peace, so any indication like this reaching your boss’s boss could well ruin their promotion chances forever. For more details on this, see the fabulous book “Office Ladies and Salaried Men“, the complete guide to what really goes on in the Japanese office.

Another factor might be the fact that such hierachies were written up in Tokugawa period law (if you went over someone’s head to report their wrongdoings, they might get punished but you almost certainly would as well for stepping out of your place), but I think that is less important in this case.