2014.02.02 japanese man in berlin

How would you react to being beaten up while living in a foreign country by an assailant spewing racial hatred? While most of us may be more interested in revenge, a Japanese software developer and longtime resident of Germany recently showed how to set aside anger to make the world a better place. Instead of dwelling on the attack, the Japanese man bought ad space in a Berlin subway station to ask his attacker to work on a translation project together. Click below to find out what made this Japanese man want to reach out to the man that gave him a black eye!

Last September, 46 year-old Hitoshi Yamauchi was heading home late at night when a German man attacked him near a Berlin bus stop. The German man told him in both German and English, “I don’t know whether you’re Chinese, Japanese or Korean, but I hate you!” before hitting Yamauchi in the eye. Although his eyesight wasn’t permanently damaged, his glasses broke and his eye swelled up.

Yamauchi has been living in Germany since 2000 and was quite shaken by the attack. His friends told him that it was just “bad luck” coming across a racist and violent thug, but Yamauchi wasn’t content to let anyone else to experience any more “bad luck.” Even if he couldn’t stop racism all together, he wanted to find a way to help this man overcome his hatred of foreigners.

Since the man was speaking in German and English, Yamauchi assumed that the man must have good language skills and could help out with a volunteer translation project–translating English textbooks from America into German. Yamauchi hoped that by working together with a Japanese man to create education materials for children, the attacker might learn the error of his ways.

To try to reach his language-proficient attacker, Yamauchi took out two months of ad space on the platform in the Kurfürstendamm subway station near where the incident happened. The ad shows a picture of Yamauchi with his eye bandaged and explains how he wants to work together to end hatred and racism. He asks the man to visit his website to contact him. Although Yamauchi hasn’t heard from his attacker yet, two other people were inspired by the ads and have joined his project as volunteers.

Japanese netizens were impressed by their fellow countryman’s zeal to end racism, even though many said they themselves would rather see the man arrested. Some netizens were quite cynical, and wondered if this is just another case of the Japanese stereotype of overly polite citizens abroad who get taken advantage of.

What do you think of Yamauchi’s ad campaign in the Berlin subway? Is he wasting his time or does he have a chance of actually changing his attacker’s mind about xenophobia? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Zaeega
Image: Flickr (ucscmural)