If anyone thinks this is Japan bashing, that is not the case... (snip)
As one of those Gaijin who spent a lot of time working with some very obnoxious Japanese "leaders" I say "here here"! Speaking the language and understanding the customs just puts you in a position of being distrusted at a higher level. Being married to a Japanese wife opens you up to a great deal of jealousy and interpersonal "battles" as the WD struggle for their own form of supremacy.
I recounted before how a Japanese leader once commented about how awful the American system was because it supressed minorities. I later asked him about he "burakumin" and he wasn't at all pleased with that question being asked.
Years later, in retrospect I can only agree strongly with what is being said here. There is a very large Xenophobic aspect to the Japanese psyche'. These days they don't have any more local wars to supress the Ainu or the Koreans, so they focus that energy into their own inflated image of themselves.
Recall Ikea's naked picture at the shohondo that got him censured by the temple. There is a pretty dark side to these sweet, smiling people besides the "sank you belly much!!"