Racism in Japan
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Posted 10/1/14
So for the last four or so years I've made it my goal to learn Japanese and move to Japan because of the vast culture, and because it just interests me after doing a project on it in the eighth grade. The problem is.. I have dark skin. I'm not one to let the amount of melanin in my skin determine what I can do in life, but after seeing that dark-skinned people are looked down upon in most of Asia, I've been wondering if it really is worth it to put myself through months of learning Japanese just to be discriminated against by the natives.



(BTW, this is not how I look. It is just a demonstration of the way black-face is used in Japan. Notably from Dragon Ball Z)
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Posted 10/1/14
One thing you need to understand is that Japan is not a multicultural society like say the USA and many areas of Europe. Mild racism exists in Japan especially on TV since TV companies only have to make shows for Japanese people they can get away with it more. This is not helped by foreigners who will do anything to get on TV in Japan playing up to racist stereotypes especially black people. It's somewhat getting better but it still exists. The second thing about the population being almost exclusively Japanese it leads to very nationalist point of views and leads to racism though Koreans and Chinese get it worse than anyone else.

That's mostly in the media though racism is not a huge part of society in general and Japan is very welcoming to foreigners especially ones who speak Japanese. There are black people who live and work in Japan many of which get along in life just fine. I think racism in the west can be much worse. Japan has a very low crime rate and a society based on politeness so unless people are drunk they generally won't shout horrible things at you and even if they do people get very upset about it. My friend in Japan got in a fight with some guy at a bar and the guy was arrested for kicking him and his boss found out about the whole thing and bought him a present to say sorry about a situation he wasn't even involved in!

Moving to Japan in general however is very difficult and a lot to get used to. Many westerners i know of who moved to Japan leave after a year or two myself included it's just a completely different lifestyle and culture than we are used to in the west. My advice is to look into some sort of study or work program in Japan where you can stay for maybe 6 months to a year and see how you feel about it. Living in a different country is a big step and you want to do your research before jumping in and spending a huge amount of money on things you will regret.
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Posted 10/1/14
I was once at a social gathering, and this black girl spoke of her experience of when she went to live in China. During her time there, she said when she would go down to the city, crowds of people would follow her around and people would stare and point at her. In front of her house, people would leave like a mountain of gifts. Theres a ton of details to this story that I don't feel like writing, It was really interesting. It almost sounded as if they were treating her as a deity.

The only thing I can think of is that it would make a really good story/movie/manga/anime.

Interestingly enough, I heard stories that in the smaller asian countries, black people are made fun{well, actually, they discrimnate against all outsiders, but black people more so). So it depends on what part of asia perhaps. But the story in the first paragraph might be an exception, or that girl was probably the first black person to ever step foot at that chinese city, I can't remember what city it was though.
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Posted 10/1/14

MrMoondoggie wrote:

One thing you need to understand is that Japan is not a multicultural society like say the USA and many areas of Europe. Mild racism exists in Japan especially on TV since TV companies only have to make shows for Japanese people they can get away with it more. This is not helped by foreigners who will do anything to get on TV in Japan playing up to racist stereotypes especially black people. It's somewhat getting better but it still exists. The second thing about the population being almost exclusively Japanese it leads to very nationalist point of views and leads to racism though Koreans and Chinese get it worse than anyone else.

That's mostly in the media though racism is not a huge part of society in general and Japan is very welcoming to foreigners especially ones who speak Japanese. There are black people who live and work in Japan many of which get along in life just fine. I think racism in the west can be much worse. Japan has a very low crime rate and a society based on politeness so unless people are drunk they generally won't shout horrible things at you and even if they do people get very upset about it. My friend in Japan got in a fight with some guy at a bar and the guy was arrested for kicking him and his boss found out about the whole thing and bought him a present to say sorry about a situation he wasn't even involved in!

Moving to Japan in general however is very difficult and a lot to get used to. Many westerners i know of who moved to Japan leave after a year or two myself included it's just a completely different lifestyle and culture than we are used to in the west. My advice is to look into some sort of study or work program in Japan where you can stay for maybe 6 months to a year and see how you feel about it. Living in a different country is a big step and you want to do your research before jumping in and spending a huge amount of money on things you will regret.


Thanks for this. I am definitely going to do a lot more research now on Japan.

Today though, for some reason, it came to me that I should think about more than just learning a different language and expecting to fit in, in a new land.
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Posted 10/1/14

PrimalX3 wrote:

I was once at a social gathering, and this black girl spoke of her experience of when she went to live in China. During her time there, she said when she would go down to the city, crowds of people would follow her around and people would stare and point at her. In front of her house, people would leave like a mountain of gifts. Theres a ton of details to this story that I don't feel like writing, It was really interesting. It almost sounded as if they were treating her as a deity.

The only thing I can think of is that it would make a really good story/movie/manga/anime.

Interestingly enough, I heard stories that in the smaller asian countries, black people are made fun{well, actually, they discrimnate against all outsiders, but black people more so). So it depends on what part of asia perhaps. But the story in the first paragraph might be an exception, or that girl was probably the first black person to ever step foot at that chinese city, I can't remember what city it was though.


That was a funny story, but one of my problems is going to be getting over being a Gaijin. One of my pals have said that natives have tried to molest them and have been stalked because she had blonde hair and blue eyes. That would make for a damn good anime though Not the molesting part O.o
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Posted 10/1/14
Haha trust me, man. It's cool to visit Japan every once in a while. I only went there once and it was freakin' amazing! However, there is nothing that would make me live there. If I had a choice, I would stay in America but if the ONLY option was to live in Japan, I wouldn't have a problem with that xD The closest reason that I could find living there is because of the root of Dragon Ball Z (favorite anime of all time) and all other manga related stuff, but we have anime-cons here in America .. to which I've never been to..
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Posted 10/2/14 , edited 10/2/14

kokokoko11 wrote:

Thanks for this. I am definitely going to do a lot more research now on Japan.

Today though, for some reason, it came to me that I should think about more than just learning a different language and expecting to fit in, in a new land.


Even if you learn the language and culture you will always be an outsider there is no getting away from that. I remember there was a foreign guy on Japanese TV who became really popular for a while called Thane Camus and he was pretty much raised in Japan from when he was a little kid and spoke better Japanese than English pretty much but because he was a white guy he was saying how people always ask him what American food is like and other stuff like that and will never view him as one of them. The upside is as a foreigner you can get away with more because people often expect you to be ignorant and stupid XD. A lot of mistakes myself and other foreigners i knew living out there were looked over where a Japanese person would get a lot of stick for it.

It's pretty easy to just fit in and make friends most people especially young people want to have a foreign friend especially if you know English so they can constantly poke you for random English words lol. The most important thing for research is simply understanding how to get by. How to pay your bills, Where to get a phone and how to use social networks, How transport works, Cost of living and so on. It's why i tell people to make a shorter trip first for a few months. You can rent an apartment for long stays and it's pretty reasonable and rent a phone too so it gives you some idea of what day to day feels like and how everything works. A vacation is fine but doesn't show you the real Japan i've known a lot of people who came to visit for a week on vacation and decided they could live out there it's a totally different situation.
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Posted 10/3/14
I live in Japan, but have never experienced racism (to my face). People have made assumptions due to me being foreign, but that's about it. I'm white, though. But most Japanese people assume that all white people in Japan are from America and speak English. Both are true for me, but I like to spice it up by replying in Spanish or German to greetings. :)

As someone who is blonde, I have had Japanese people randomly touch my hair on public transit (they think they're being sneaky) and children are obsessed with strands of my hair if they find one not attached to my head. At onsen old women want to feel my skin (e.g. touch my arm) and if I decline they offer me a handshake thinking that, due to being customary in the west, I cannot decline.

As for being black in Japan. The Japanese are more intrigued than racist. They want to touch your skin and see if it feels any different. It's different from Japanese, you see. It's not every day they see someone who is black (or white for that matter). We are exotic.

I don't think that Mr. Popo is blackface, albeit he sure looks it. Mr. Popo isn't human. He's an immortal genie.
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Posted 10/17/14 , edited 10/17/14
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Posted 10/17/14

AzazelOfNexium wrote:

great.... just wait till fucking Cancerous news network (CNN) gets ahold of this... another crusade against gamers begins


Wrong thread perhaps? Don't see how CNN would tie Japanese racism to an anti-gamer campaign.
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Posted 10/17/14

abitoutside70 wrote:


AzazelOfNexium wrote:

great.... just wait till fucking Cancerous news network (CNN) gets ahold of this... another crusade against gamers begins


Wrong thread perhaps? Don't see how CNN would tie Japanese racism to an anti-gamer campaign.


Oh shit lol. Yeah lmao
negrim 
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Posted 10/19/14
I am African American. I have been to Japan twice this year. Only time I experienced racism was when a lady dropped her sweater and I tried to tell her but being unable to say much in Japanese I think she got scared and started almost running away lol. But I also had a older lady which they say are the ones that are racist come up to me and my friend and ask us if we needed directions. I have been stopped by people just wanted to talk. I have went clubbing in shibuya several times. roppongi is the foreigner friendly club. shibuya is mostly Japanese. but I have made friends there and the young men come up to talk and dance with you and the females will talk. had girls tell me they love me. lol. It is the greatest experience I've had both times. Way less racism then America. But the life is extremely fast paced. so the route I am taking is language school for 2 years. That way I can work part time and study Japanese without the extreme stress. Don't worry about the racism though. If you live in the western countries then you will view Japan as paradise as far as racism goes. I am a young black man not a nerdy innocent black guy I kind of look like a thug although I am not.lol
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New Year cleaning! Closing threads with no new posts since 2014.
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