Outbreak-triggered fear leads to hateful crime.

With the Japanese government announcing newly discovered cases of coronavirus infection within the country several times this month, the whole country is on edge regarding the disease. That’s led to some ugly reactions, such as a Japanese candy shop banning any and all Chinese people from entering the premises, but now panic and fear is manifesting in an ugly way at a Japanese food provider on the opposite side of the globe.

French national and Japanese resident Coach_en_japonais (@Lecoachjp on Twitter) recently posted photos of Yuki, a restaurant on Paris’ Rue de la Michodière. Yuki’s signage proudly touts Japanese cuisine favorites such as sushi, sashimi, and yakitori chicken skewers, but in the photos shared by Coach_en_japonais, vandals have made some crass additions to the restaurant’s exterior design.

“Coronavirus” reads graffiti written over the side windows, with another partly illegible word underneath followed by another iteration of “virus.” Lines of graffiti have also been drawn along the front of the building, and an entire bucket of paint looks to have been thrown against the glass door of the front entrance.

“Asian French, or Japanese, are being targeted for racial discrimination because of the coronavirus!” tweeted Coach_en_japonais. “This time a Japanese restaurant has been graffitied! As a French person, this makes me so sad to see.”

While such vandalism is deplorable regardless of the hateful logic behind it, it’s especially puzzling to see a Japanese restaurant being targeted, since the coronavirus outbreak originated in China, which is also where the vast majority of infections have been confirmed. Some commenters to the thread voiced their theory that though the restaurant serves Japanese food, it may be staffed or owned by people of Chinese descent, but it’s also not a stretch to think if you’re the kind of person who would engage in this kind of hateful behavior, you probably can’t be bothered to know the difference between Japanese and Chinese food, or even cultures.

“The owners might be Chinese,” Coach_en_japonais tweeted in a follow-up, “but regardless, this is absolutely unforgivable.”

Coach_en_japonais’s tweets being in Japanese helped them quickly catch the attention of Japanese Twitter users, many of whom were furious at the vandal’s treatment of their culture. However, Coach_en_japonais, showing compassion for all peoples, was quick to add a reminder that just like two wrongs don’t make a right, two hurtful statements aren’t going to make things better.

“There is something I’d like Japanese commenters to be conscious of. These sorts of responses are also discriminatory:
– ‘Of course that’s what’s going to/should happen, because the restaurant must be run by Chinese or North Korean people!’
– “French people have no class.”

Please think calmly! Thank you.”

Definitely good advice right now.

Source: Twitter/@Lecoachjp via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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