Real estate agent clicks on gaijin setting

A foreigner inquiring about rental properties in Tokyo today spotted the real estate agent quietly clicking on gaijin settings.

Once selecting ‘gaijin’ in the popular options list, around 80 per cent of properties vanished from the screen.

“One minute I’m seeing a lot of good properties in my desired location, then ‘bang’, two properties left – both asking for key money,” said Gary Carter.

Pre vs post gaijin settings
Pre vs post gaijin settings

Key money is a monetary gift reluctantly collected by landlords who respectfully require tenants to pay for the privilege of occupying their land.

Many of these landlords worked extremely hard to be born into a wealthy family.

The real estate agent had nothing personal against the foreigner, Gary just had to take full responsibility for all gaijin as a whole, both past and present.

Gary made the right decision, however, to be born as a Canadian rather than Chinese, as the ‘Chinese’ setting would have resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in available properties.


  1. There’s good ways and bad ways to look at key money. I choose to look at it as your rent is x/26 and you’re required to pay 2/26th up front and 1/26th every month for the next two years. As for not renting to foreigners. Foreigners are far more likely to party, be loud, not separate the trash correctly, and then toward the end of their stay stop paying the rent and leave the country. So if you want a reason why people won’t rent to foreigners blame other foreigners for ruining it for your rather than landlords that gave it a try and got screwed over

    • Not only are you right, but there is another reason I can think of : Japaneses seldomly invite people in their house, but foreigners will probably use their housing to have their foreigners friends when they come to visit Japan, or sub-rent their apartment with services like AirBnB. In that aspect, too, Japanese appear to be much safer clients.

      • yup agree coz right now airbnb is getting popular in Japan n we need to respect the japanese way of life dats y we live in Japan..we stay in Japan coz we love japan n our love ones who r also in Japan so we want to give Japan a good clean impression of foreigners staying in Japan..

    • yup agree japanese ppl r just trying to maintain good healthy environment n we have to meet the requirements n i do not blame the japanese ppl nor the real estate ppl

    • No, foreigners are not more likely to be loud, or anything else.

      Those rules weren’t put in place because of foreign tenants. They were developed before WW2 to deal with rowdy Japanese tenants. Considering that we are only around 1% of the population, and that includes children as well as the foreign spouses of Japanese, the likelihood that the noise coming through the wall is a Japanese person is around 99.5%.

      But for the sake of argument, even if foreign tent ants WERE noiser, that doesn’t excuse blatabt racism.

  2. As for not taking internet comments seriously, Internet commenters are far more likely to make casually racist generalizations. So if you want a reason why good people won’t take internet comments seriously, blame the simple-minded internet commenters who ruined it for the rest of us.

  3. Im sure if the “foreigners” paid the key money, they’d have no problems in finding apartments. It’s not like the real estate demands key money only from the foreigners. The Japanese pay them too. If you don’t want to pay the key deposit, then live in a share house. I’ve lived in a share house in Tokyo with the advanced security deposit of just 20000 yen. That’s it. I didn’t want to pay the key money of 20 万so I opted for a share house.

    • I’m curious about your definition of “no problems”. Because it seems you’ve never been denied an apartment due to your name being written in katakana, despite being willing to pay the key money.


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