Tokyo Ramen Restaurant Won’t Allow Foreigners Because Of Coronavirus

Tokyo Ramen Restaurant Won’t Allow Foreigners Because Of Coronavirus
Screenshot: <a href="">東上野さんじ</a>

Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, is only allowing Japanese customers due to COVID-19 concerns. The owner (pictured) claims that this is not discrimination but his duty to protect his family, his employees and his loyal customers.

There have been around 75,000 cases of people infected with coronavirus in China, followed by 104 in South Korea and another 87 in Japan. Internationally, coronavirus has led to incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia. However, the same is also happening within Asia towards Chinese people:

At Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, an English language sign was posted reading, “Sorry!! Japanese Only Sorry!!”

The above tweet reads: “Starting today, as a countermeasure to the coronavirus, [this restaurant] is Japanese only. I have a responsibility to protect my family, my staff and Sanji junkies. Please understand that this is not discrimination.”

On Twitter, people replied in Japanese that this was in fact discrimination and even hate speech. Others pointed out that viruses don’t pay attention to nationality.

Considering that Japan has the third most cases in the world of the virus, with Japanese nationals infected with coronavirus, Ueno Sanji’s proclamation seems especially odd.

Wrote one Twitter user in Japanese, “If you are really worried about the coronavirus, then you should refuse all customers.”


  • While I can understand being scared of a fast spreading disease that we don’t have a vaccine for, it is pretty messed up locking out foreigners and acting like Japanese people can’t be carriers.

    Smells of equal parts an attempt to drum up publicity even if its garbage and Japan’s usual schtick of moderate racism.

    • I think part of the problem is that they don’t have the same sense of what is racist compared to the west. we are inundated every day with claims of racism. some wilder than others. this forces us to consider to varying degrees our understanding of what it means to be racist.

      for japanese people it doesn’t really come up. it’s not a topic of every day controversy in the news. therefore their understanding of it is wildly different from our own.

      • Good reply. Japan is the most racist country i have lived in. But it’s the type of racism you would expect from a closed and homogenous society/culture. In my it’s a racism rooted in ignorance rather than hatred.

        • Hahaha Asians are racist man, most don’t even like other Asians let alone the other race. But the bottom line is how Japanese act in a society. When foreigner cough or sneeze they just do it with their mouth open or at best use their hands, which then they used to touch everything. Japanese sniffle/cold out comes the mask.

  • This adds little to the conversation but I went to this shop about six months ago and their crab ramen is insanely delicious.

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