February 7, 2007

Journal of an American in Japanese prison


Ever wonder what is like to be prisoned in a foreign country like Japan? I guess almost everyone in the world has this impression that Japan is a well-mannered and very organized society. But it's simply bizarre to know that the police system in Japan is very different from other civilized country.

Here's a journal written by an American while spending a few weeks in a Japanese Ryuchijyo ("Prison for people that haven’t yet been convicted of any crime"). It's written by "George" (not his real name) a 36-year-old American living in Japan with his wife and two young children.

After a grueling day mentally and verbally jousting with the DIC [detective in charge] I entered cell #6, which would become my home for the next 22 days. Walking through the cellblock seeing each cell with 3 or 4 men lying on their futons, I had a strange feeling like I was in a movie. As I entered my cell I briefly caught the eye of a bulky looking Japanese man (who the next day I immediately recognized as non-threatening) and also another man who the next day I would find out was in fact Chinese. He also seemed okay based on the half-second eye contact we had. The day of anxiety finally ended when I closed my eyes and drifted into a deep sleep in my 10 foot by 15 foot cell with two other “suspects” of other crimes, exhausted and happy to have a futon to give me comfort. I laid my futon out near the door as I didn’t want to intrude and I slept remarkably well despite the stress and despite the lack of food other than a horrid cold bento at 10:20pm, and after my signature and fingerprint was logged on my official statement. I was entered into the detention center as inmate number 14 and handed a pair of slippers with my number neatly stenciled on top.


You can read more about this journal here : Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

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