Can Japan Deny Entry To a “Pickup Artist” with a History of Racialized Sexual Violence?

Yesterday, the Australian immigration services announced that it had revoked the immigration visa of an American named Julien Blanc who was hosting a series of ‘pickup artists’ seminars that aim to teach men how to manipulate women into sexual intercourse through psychological, emotional and physical violence. Blanc, who openly brags about his violent history that includes placing women in chokeholds, was deported from Australia overnight.

The movement to deport Blanc was spearheaded by feminist activist Jennifer Li, who started the twitter hashtag #takedownjulienblanc over which much of the organizing was conducted that led to a series of hotels and other venues canceling his scheduled appearances. It was also over this hashtag that activists shared information about the Blanc’s violent history as well as the misogynistic company he represents, Real Social Dynamics (RSD), which bills itself as a “dating coach company.”

However, Blanc reportedly has further RSD events scheduled in Tokyo for Nov. 15-17 of this month (though I have also heard reports that the events are scheduled for Nov. 25-27, so there is still some uncertainty on the specifics).

When we discuss this man’s history here in Japan, it becomes difficult to overstate what a truly disgusting individual Julien Blanc is. In video footage of one of his previous seminars, Blanc talks about the “happiest [he has] ever been,” when he was celebrating his chickenshit pickup artist culture at Tokyo nightclubs by grabbing Japanese women and forcefully shoving their faces into his crotch. And no he isn’t just talking about it, video footage exists not only of him engaging in this behavior, but also of him grabbing a convenience store clerk over the counter in what appears to be a forced sexual embrace.

In his seminar, Blanc advocates that a violent white male misogynist like himself should yell, “Pikachu!” when he grabs a Japanese woman to shove her face into his crotch.

While it remains unclear whether Blanc’s deportation from Australia will affect his November schedule for Japan, the issue has begun to attract local attention and a bilingual petition has been raised demanding that the Japan Department of Immigration deny him entry to the country. The petition has already received over 22,000 signatures (please add your own signature here). A widely shared video has also been created by popular vlogger Rachel of Rachel and Jun:

I also note from the schedule on their website that RSD has three further events scheduled for Tokyo during the dates Jan. 15-17 of 2015, including one of their pickup artist “bootcamps” designed for idiot heterosexual males who feel the need to psychologically degrade women because those men have no redeeming qualities for which any woman would ever genuinely be attracted to them.

In the meantime, I hope that feminist activists and allies here in Japan can begin trying to find the scheduled locations for these events and attempt to have the venues canceled. Here I think we can take courage from the example set by Jennifer Li and activists in Australia who experienced phenomenal success at pushing not only Julien Blanc but also another RSD employee out of Australia.

Indeed, the organizing conducted on #takedownjulienblanc ultimately led to a dramatic real life standoff on Thursday evening, when Blanc was planning to give one of his pickup seminars to a group of men on a boat (apparently as an alternate location after one of the original venues had canceled). Blanc himself didn’t show (maybe he was already in custody at that point, or maybe he had just chickened out), but his RSD buddy showed up to give the presentation in his place. Protestors surrounded the boat and some attempted to board it in order to disrupt the event; eventually police and the operators of the boat came to an agreement such that the male participants were led off the boat as protestors chanted “Walk of shame!” at them.

Let’s hope the only walk of shame happening in Japan will be the violent misogynist Julien Blanc being walked back onto the plane.

And by the way Julien, as a proud American expat in Japan, I have it on good authority that Pikachu despises everything about you.


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Savannah is a queer trans woman and physicist who was unleashed into the cosmos from the great state of North Carolina. She has been active on LGBT diversity issues in physics and also writes on trans feminism and other social justice issues on her blog leftytgirl, preferably while listening to metal. Savannah presently works at a university in Osaka from where she misses her amazing cat Zinfandel back in North Carolina very much. Follow her on Twitter.

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17 Comments

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      This petition is full of inaccurate and misleading accusations. Julien and RSD coaches *never* encouraged *any* form of violence or racism against *anyone*. The author is so mistaken it’s not even funny.

      Julien Blanc and RSD members are self-improvement coaches who are focused on helping men to become better with women and life in general. They focus on helping them achieve their best self by becoming more confident, social, outgoing and empathetic with people in general. They give genuinely good advices in the area of dating to help men have more fulfilling relationships with women.

      The reason so many people believe Julien is evil is because of a big misunderstanding about his attitude. He has a dark sense of humor and is likely to say anything if it can make people react. Everyone who knows him is perfectly aware to always take what he says with caution, because most of his provocative tweets are meant to chock his audience and should not be taken literally in any way.

      The feminist Jenn Li got offended about a video he made in a seminar in Japan. In that video, his words were taken out of context and labeled as racist, misogynistic and encouraging violence towards women. Let me tell you straight off that Julien and RSD *never* encouraged *any* form of violence against *anyone*. I know all the RSD teaching, I’ve watched all of their videos for years, and I know some of them personally. They have genuine good intentions, are really empathetic towards women and teach men how to give women the best experiences. I’ll repeat, they would *never* promote *any* form of violence.

      Now I’ll take the time to explain some of the misunderstandings about his seminar in Japan :

      – “At least in Tokyo, if you’re a white male, you can do what you want.”

      Many people interpeted “whatever you want” in the wrong way. He actually meant that if you are in Japan, you don’t need to change your behavior to interact with girls simply because their culture happens to be more socially reserved than, let say, the american culture. His message is that you can be yourself, express yourself freely, be outgoing and confident and girls will still like you for it. You don’t need to « shy yourself off » in order to fit in the local culture, a Japanese girl can love an American man even if their habits and ways of expressing themselves are different.

      – “I’m just grabbing girls’ heads, just like putting it on the dick, yelling “Pikachu” with a pikachu shirt.”

      Taken out of context, this may sound like an assault on the girl. But when you see the whole interaction, you realise that she laughs, giggles, enjoys his company and that it’s just part of the fun they have together. Julien is highly aware of a girl’s emotional reactions, he has a high sense of social acuity and will always adapt his behavior according to her reactions. If she reacts badly or seems uncomfortable, he will always adapt his behavior by switching to a more accurate rapport with her, for instance a casual conversation. He does that all the time but always in consideration to where she stands emotionally.

      Yelling ‘pikachu’ has been interpreted as being racist. Let me tell you that Julien would say any cliché, from any country, anywhere in the world, if he feels like it doesn’t hurt her feelings and adds more fun to the interaction. In the video, he laughs about it and if you feel the general vibe, the energy, you can sense that it’s not a serious prejudice. Every culture has its clichés and he’s perfectly aware of it. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, it’s just part of the fun. If you feel bad about someone throwing a cliché at you, it’s your problem because you are in charge of your own emotions. Nobody has power over you unless you give it to them.

      – At a store, he gets close to the cashier and whispers in her ears or try to kiss her on the cheek, while she seems uncomfortable.

      It’s obvious that any cashier, anywhere in the world, would appear shy and intimidated if a stranger tried to kiss her while she’s at work. Julien is aware of that and the only reason he’s doing it is because he had thousands of good experiences like that where he met girls around the world and got tremendous success. He’s confident in his own ability to make her relax and at ease with it. That allows him to push the limits of what is considered to be socially acceptable by society and to offer an interaction that is unique for the girl and steps out from the other ones. If she doesn’t like it, he will always back off and switch to a more casual conversation. That’s called calibration. He would *never* force *anyone* to do something they don’t want to.

      Another example of extreme provocation is his « choke » move when he puts his hand on the girl throat while smiling. When he does that, he always has a playful smile on his face, and he explained many times in his videos that as soon as he senses that the girl isn’t comfortable with it, he will stop immediately. He only does that if she seems at ease with his playful challenge. Julien never takes that seriously, it’s always to amplify the emotional range of the interaction, giving her an emotional rollercoaster, while being ready to back off anytime if necessary.

      Many other examples are his tweets and facebook statuses that are meant to chock and provoke strong emotional reactions from his audience (like the Duluth model, a graphic about domestic violence posted on his Instagram, which was over the line in my opinion, but is still aligned with his sense of humor if you understand it). He should add a disclaimer that it’s not to be taken at face value, but who would reasonably think that this guy is serious about it ?! Thousands of people apparently… I can’t believe you and the media bought into this misunderstanding so easily.

      If you want more information instead of disinformation, watch some of his videos.

      – “Chuck Norris can suck my bawlz” in which he addresses some common challenges about being a man and social conditioning in today’s society (http://youtu.be/5oWEefexcaE)

      – “Retard Player Who Tanks VS Genius Player Who Fucks”, between 3min50 and 7min30, you’ll see that he has more understanding about his influence on people than you assume (http://youtu.be/_oIoEgpfnaA?t=3m49s).

      There are many other videos, freely available, which have lots of insights about the dating life. All of their teaching have been freely available on Youtube for years. They only charge for private coaching or for special events if you want to go deeper.

      I really hope that some of you take the time to understand my point and honestly try to look into how far this misunderstanding went. It’s a shame to see so much arguments from genuinely good people and mislead articles simply because of a lack of understanding of each other.

      Peace to you guys and have a nice day.

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        The cashier woman at the convenience store is obviously uncomfortable and should never have been put in that position in the first place. As someone who lives in Japan and actually knows something Japanese culture, I recognize that she wants to escape the situation but she is shy and doesn’t know how to express herself in a way that will end the encounter… she probably worries that if she does the ‘wrong’ thing then it will just make it worse. In Japanese culture people are taught to repress their own feelings in order to avoid making others uncomfortable, and, even if only on an intuitive level, Blanc (or whatever the coward’s real name is) is aware of this and is manipulating her shyness just to show off how he can push her around. And that’s the really sad thing– she is actually thinking of his feelings and trying to avoid making him uncomfortable, while he is doing everything he can get away with to emotionally degrade her.

        And that’s what pickup culture ultimately is– men who can’t be content simply seeking out a balanced, healthy relationship, but instead need women to push around and grovel at their feet to feed their stupid fragile male egos.

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    His website is in serious need of a proper graphic designer, I’ll say that much.

    But I doubt any are willing to stoop low enough to work for him.

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    I live in Tokyo. I really, really hope that he’s denied a visa – apparently, he can’t be charged with a crime unless one of the women he’s assaulted goes to the police, but he still has himself on video committing a violent crime punishable by ten years in prison. Immigration could deny him a visa, and immigration is fickle about visas.

    If he is allowed into the country, I will be among the protesters when he presents. This city is my home and a scumbag like him isn’t welcome to come here and preach sexual violence.

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    As an Australian and a woman, I was delighted when I heard that we had deported this piece of garbage. Especially given that we now have such an appalling Federal Govt.

    Good Luck Japan, I’ll be voting with you.

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    I’m very surprised that there are people PAYING HIM MONEY to learn the secrets of sexual assault. Here I was thinking that if you wanted to be a sexual criminal you just went out and did it.

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