Friday, August 25, 2006

Racism in Japan

If you've seen the Japanese movie called Densha Otoko, or Train Man, you probably remember the one scene where he's walking around on the street, and somebody is advertising for a company that sells something called Men's Water by giving out samples of it to passers-by on the corner. This is a common form of advertisement in Japan. When the main character gets to the corner, the girl giving out the free sample retracts it suddenly. Only later on, after he has gotten an extensive make-over, cut his hair, and purchased an entirely new wardrobe, is he offered the sample. His first rejection is an overly obvious attempt to show his undesirability and ostracization from the rest of Japanese society. It's the most blatant form of rejection, the Train Man is so reprehensible companies don't even want his damn money. This exact thing happens to me every single day. When I told my ex-girlfriend about this (she's Japanese), she was angry. Her immediate response, and this isn't paraphrashing here: "just because you are gaijin (a foreigner) doesn't mean you're not human being. you have a hand to take!"

At a sometimes wavering attempt at academic remove, I face racism on a daily basis here in Japan. It's rare that I will face it in overt forms, such as direct confrontation, but it's something that's on everybodys' lips. Generalizations are waiting to come out, words like, "that's how Americans think." People leaving seats empty on either side of me, in otherwise cramped subway cars. People trying uncomfortably to avoid eye-contact, or, alternatively, staring at me openly as if I was the first white person they've ever seen. Even those things don't bother me too much though, what gets to me is when I pass the workers on the street, trying to advertise their beauty salon or their spa or whatever, and they offer a little packet of napkins or a flyer to every single person passing except me.

Sometimes I don't want to understand it more deeply. I just want to say fuck it, and be mad at people. But that is not a fair response. At least, that's not a mature, and reasonable response. I try to train myself to avoid the knee-jerk response to events in my life. When I hear about terrorists, I don't instantly think they should all be killed, or even think that's possible. I think that the mechanism by which terrorists are being created, the real issues and grievances they have that may have radicalized them and caused them to choose their current path however reprehensible it may be, and, believe me, I in no way attempt to shift guilt for a reprehensible act such as terrorism, regardless of the factors that motivated it, are what need to be investigated, and eliminated, so as to reduce the production of more terrorists. (because let's be honest, saying "let's kill them all," and bombing tiny villages somewhere only produces more hardship, parentless children, and, in short, factors that will make a new generation hate the west even more, turn radical, and seek to destroy it) In the same vein, I seek to resist my urge to respond to racism in kind. That is a shallow and unproductive impulse. Instead, I try to understand what creates this situation, and how I can defuse it somehow. Often, I make the effort to bridge the gap, offering help or smiling, and trying to present an open and approachable image.

Japan for Japanese

The thing about Japan is that it's full of Japanese people. To clarify, ethnic Japanese comprise the vast majority of the population. Further, the sense of Japanese identity in Japan is very strict. There is a very large population of Koreans living in Japan, who were born here and, in some cases, who have parents that were also born in Japan, and yet still possess Korean passports. These are people who couldn't speak a single word of Korean. Japan is the place they know. Japanese is their language. I was having a really great conversation about this with one of my friends.

Some background: my friend grew up entirely in Japan. She went to an international school, which is sort of a segregated school. Full Japanese students can attend, but they face heavy tuition fees, as opposed to the children of international parents. International students are admired, at best, and often end up famous in different ways, my friend notices people she knows when she walks through a clothing store and sees pictures of models. At worst though, you can depend on the fact that international students are at times envied, ridiculed, and made to feel apart from the rest of Japanese society. Unfair attention, either positive or negative, is racism.

What my friend described to me was pretty horrible. She is half Portuguese and half Japanese. Her face looks fairly Japanese, although she has naturally brown hair. When walking around Japan, people assume she can't speak her own language. They are scared of, mistrusting, or reluctant to approach her, assuming that she is a foreigner. In her home country, the people on the street passing out flyers and product samples won't give her anything half the time. When I was talking about it with her, I noticed she ended up using the word "they" often. In response to the generalization she faced, the entire Japanese "in-crowd" became a generalized object to her, one that she was not a participant in.

So what can be done about things? I don't really know. Japan as a society is in the ongoing process of change, playing a role in the global economy and also having to deal with the influx of foreign labor as a result of the low-birth rate. In order to hasten the process, or at least make it somewhat easier, the only thing I can think of is what I personally try to do. Every day, I try to ignore those hardships I face, understand the situation that creates such hardships, and reach out personally to others. If enough people were to think this way, I don't doubt that the majority of the world's problems could be easily solved.

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46 Comments:

At 3:51 AM, Blogger 0r4cl3 said...

very very good commentary. I would love to hear more of your daily life in Japan...

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger bart said...

dude, I've lived in Japan for 7 months now, and I really don't understand this "they won't give me flyers coz I'm a gaijin" thing. First of all, this somehow rarely happens to me, I get all the crap they give out on the street and I'm usually too kind to refuse or I just wanna help a pretty girl by taking it so that she can finish this chore sooner. My pockets are full of beauty salon flyers when I come back home from work. Second - be happy if you don't get that crap, it's actually an advantage and it's not racism -- maybe they assume you're a tourist, you can't read Japanese, whatever. Most of the time something that may seem racist in Japan comes from the fact that Japanese are afraid of confrontation, humiliation and generally being put in a situation when they cannot do their job properly.

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Satomi said...

This crap about japanese being shy or polite is bull. They are the first to stab you in the back when you least expect it. they harbor bitter anymosity towards you.in the office, they will definitely talk about you behind your back so watch yourself...the rascism here is endless...i hate the way they recoil as i walk by them handing out their flyers. That just shows you what kind of right-wing propaganda the government teaches them. but no worries, the economy here is screwed and their ship is sinking.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Suejung said...

I'm a Korean, living in New York, still a student. I agree that Koreans living just about anywhere, do not know the language, shamefully. All the Parents care about is their future, and such. Therefore, forcibly, their kids work their asses off and get into "Great" American Schools. I'm just saying this because, it's just a fact, and in case you were wondering how a large amount of Koreans live in Japan.



Although you are facing the racism in Japan, Korea is first worst, of racism. It's Korea, then Japan, that has terrible racism, most likely in the world. Japanese people, look down on any race. Due to their history, with other countries, it's all a competition. Due to that competition, they think "Hey I can beat up on that guy/girl". Also, since you've mentioned the large Korean population, especially the Koreatown, Japanese people are bigots. They look very down on Koreans, due to their domination, years ago. They can just pick on Koreans in Japan, and it won't seem to be "so bad" to them. It's just them though.




So, thank goodness there's other places in the continent besides Japan. By the way, to the bigotted Japanese people, to Koreans, "Drink your miso soup, live long, die, and taking away a piece of Korea's tiny island, wouldn't do you no good, especially not admitting what you've done wrong, especially in Japan."

Thanks for posting this entry.

:) Hope all is better, soon.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger kolimpah said...

Racism in Japan, terrorism breeding grounds have their genesis in the same place. Religious/Cultural training and indoctrination. If you want to change or address root causes, you have to stamp out hateful ideas created by generations, even centuries of lies, predjudice and fear. This not a problem caused by recent events or todays societies.

In the end, If you can figure out a way to do this without killing those who kill us or threaten us with extinction, then you are more than a human.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger dugald said...

I travel regularly to both Korea and Japan. I would have to agree that Koreans first and Japanese second look upon foreigners with great disdain. I have as yet not experienced in Korea what is so common in Japan; being greeted at the entry to an establishment and politely told by someone with fingers crossed "no gaijin". Oh well the other Asians make up for them both with their warmth, welcoming attitude and curiosity to foreigners. Taiwanese, Thai, phillipinos, Indonesians etc are just great!

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger zapp said...

Living in Japan sounds quite bad. That they don't seem to understand that policies which exclude people on the basis of ethnicity is wrong, is not a good sign. That their government openly supports exclusionist policies is just pathetic. Although historically they seem unable to admit to wrong doing of any sort. So it's not really surprising.

Come to Taiwan. I've lived here for 4 years and had no problems regarding racism. They people are friendly but quite shy, and are not racist.

 
At 4:57 AM, Blogger tarasheena77 said...

if you have such a problem with japan, why are you there!!!?

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger Ivi-chan said...

I learned to tune shit out like that. When I offered to take it, some would like ignore me or some seem grateful I take their stuff.

Getting stared at. I say meh to that. My husband is a 6 ft Japanese man and I am a 5 ft Hispanic gal. So we kinda stick out LOL. We get stared at and we don't care. We expected it anyway, so whatever. Especially if we are on the train standing together,and he's holding me close and he gives me a quick kiss...scandalous haha!

I did think your commentary was en point on many things,but we are strangers in a strange land.

SOmetimes you gotta say ''fuck it''

 
At 5:57 PM, Blogger wonsop said...

Suejung wrote:

"Korea is first worst, of racism. It's Korea, then Japan, that has terrible racism, most likely in the world."

You are out of touch with reality to say Korea and Japan are most likely the most racist countries in the world. I"m also Korean and live in the United States. Racism is overwhelmingly far more greater here than both those countries by all races. It's deep-seated and manipulated causing it to be subtle most of the time. Same for most western world and their colonized countries/land.

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Jansen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger Jansen said...

The 1st chapter of the official Korean history book (for grade 7 or 8) says "Koreans should be proud of being the most ethnically homogeneous country in the world. In original text: 대한민국역사의 장점중 하나는 세계에서 유래가 없는 단일민족이라는 점이다. 중학국사교과서 1단원에서"
Well...I'm a Swedish guy (White)and I have a Korean girlfriend. When I went to Korea with my girlfriend, we were offended by so many Koreans, and 2 guys (in only 1 week!) even said "Go Home YANKEE! YOU WHITE TRASH is all perverted! FXXX 씨발 양키새끼들 우리나라 여자 따먹지 말고 니네나라 가라!" And even my korean girlfriend said Korea is the most racist country in the world.
We live in Japan now, and we never have such "racial" problem in Japan. Maybe it's because we're living in Tokyo, but we feel that Japan is, at least, much more multi-cultural than Korea.(And my Korean girlfriend, who was quite anti-Japanese, even agree with this.) Japan is, at least, better country for white and black people than Korea. (I think Japan is similar to Malmö (Swedish city) in terms of ethnic diversity and its openness)
My point is, Koreans shouldn't deny the fact that Korea is one of the worst countries in terms of racism.

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Hey There. Interesting points you have made. I have spent a couple of months in Japan over the last couple of years. My wife is Japanese and we have a daughter. (I'm Aussie / kiwi). I know what you mean by people just blatantly staring at you as you walk down the street or people just laughing in your face because you can't speak any Japanese. If you were to act like that to someone in western culture it would seem as though you were looking for a fight or simply being publicly insulting and I think that is why westerners in particular find some Japanese habits very rude. On the other hand, some of the most friendly and generous people I have ever met are native Japanese who have never spent any time abroad. I've found if you mess around or just try to have a bit of fun with the people being racist toward you they quickly drop their guard and forget all that crap....... so yeah, I don't take it too seriously.

 
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At 12:55 PM, Blogger kerry said...

I am about to go teach English in the JET programme in Japan and OMG I cannot believe what I have read and what I have heard from expats.

I am extremely open minded to cultures but come on. I am a Jamaican born but live in Barbados. I am dark skinned..It as clear as night and day and I would prob have to say F IT because I will have to make it work
My thing is, how do I make friends. I dont know Japanese but I do know a lot of their culture.

What am i to do?

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger Mark said...

My wife was buying viagra online there, because is cheaper.But when she came back home She was angry about the less respect Japanese people have with the immigrants, and tourist. She told me that everything there is wonderful, except population.

 
At 10:46 PM, Blogger msdaif said...

The worst day in my life. 8-8-2010. I'm an international student in Osaka, Japan since October 2009. Today, I went to a bicycle shop to check the tire pressure. The repairman seemed to be the shop owner and while waiting he talked nicely and joyfully with the last Japanese customer. Then my turn came and so I asked him in understandable Japanese ''Check shite kudasai'' which means ''Please check''. Then he went on interrogating me and speaking very fast Japanese that I never learned in my Japanese class. So I said ''Sumimasen. Haiai Nihongo o wakarimasen. Ima gakusei desu. mainichi benkyoshimasu'' which means ''Excuse me. I cannot understand fast Japanese. Now a student'' Then racism started. He spoke faster and ridiculed me saying angrily ''Wakarimasen? Gohan o tabeta?" First I did not understand it as racism but as he went on, I knew it was RACISM. So I had to intervene and told him that I wanted the tires checked only and I am a customer. ''Check the tires only. ok?'' Then he realized he was wrong and said sorry in the end. But I kept my temper and thought of reporting him to the police BUT he said sorry so I quit. He was the worst person I ever met in Japan!

 
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At 4:02 AM, Blogger Glowing Face Man said...

Ehh, I don't think racism in Japan is all that bad. It's more a case of "guestism". You're a guest, you're not a regular member of the household... that limits you in some ways (a guest doesn't get to decide what posters go on the walls) but it's good in other ways (guests get preferential treatment and don't have to pay part of the electric bill).

Here's the article I wrote on the subject: Racism in Japan

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Papageno said...

I was just staying for 2 months in Japan with my gf (she has a chinese background and is working there), I am white, originally from Austria, now living in Canada. I can only say that I personally have never experienced a country thus racist as Japan. They insult you on the street for just walking by, they threaten you physically when they think you are argueing with your "Japanese" gf (until they realize we are both foreigners and worthless), they change seats on the subway just to not sit beside you. For two years, they have been filling up my gf's mailbox in a Tokyo apartment building (expensive neighbourhood) with garbage to tell her to leave. They drive around with hate busses yelling the worst racist propaganda everyday and the flag of the imperial army (they fabricate their own history about WW2). So, I admire your generosity and forgivingness, but I am back to Toronto now and getting me a new car ... the last thing I would buy is a Japanese car!

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Papageno said...

I was just staying for 2 months in Japan with my gf (she has a chinese background and is working there), I am white, originally from Austria, now living in Canada. I can only say that I personally have never experienced a country thus racist as Japan. They insult you on the street for just walking by, they threaten you physically when they think you are argueing with your "Japanese" gf (until they realize we are both foreigners and worthless), they change seats on the subway just to not sit beside you. For two years, they have been filling up my gf's mailbox in a Tokyo apartment building (expensive neighbourhood) with garbage to tell her to leave. They drive around with hate busses yelling the worst racist propaganda everyday and the flag of the imperial army (they fabricate their own history about WW2). So, I admire your generosity and forgivingness, but I am back to Toronto now and getting me a new car ... the last thing I would buy is a Japanese car!

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Papageno said...

I was just staying for 2 months in Japan with my gf (she has a chinese background and is working there), I am white, originally from Austria, now living in Canada. I can only say that I personally have never experienced a country thus racist as Japan. They insult you on the street for just walking by, they threaten you physically when they think you are argueing with your "Japanese" gf (until they realize we are both foreigners and worthless), they change seats on the subway just to not sit beside you. For two years, they have been filling up my gf's mailbox in a Tokyo apartment building (expensive neighbourhood) with garbage to tell her to leave. They drive around with hate busses yelling the worst racist propaganda everyday and the flag of the imperial army (they fabricate their own history about WW2). So, I admire your generosity and forgivingness, but I am back to Toronto now and getting me a new car ... the last thing I would buy is a Japanese car!

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Have lived in Japan for over 12 years, and have experienced some racism during my stay

but recently had a bad experience, I was in a Super market and there was a man in the next line, and there was another non-Japanese behind him, it looked like the man had said sometime to the other non-Japanese, and than he looked over at me and says: にあわない!which literally means unsuitable..

 
At 3:15 AM, Blogger logotiposbrasil said...

Hello, I have found your blog quite by chance. Very good written and I think you have a point.
On the other hand, I have lived in japan for two years and never experienced any kind of racism.
Detail, I am a black man and have found much more racism in my own land which is Brazil.
In my own land people used to change sidewalks as they saw me. And seeing a police car is still such a frighting experience.
The kind of bad experiences I have never found in Japan.
It is good to listen to your story, and other posts here.
It is just that there isnt a place on earth free of this plage.

Unfortunately I must say, my own country is full of this problem. That is why I have plans to move back to Japan.

 
At 3:15 AM, Blogger logotiposbrasil said...

Hello, I have found your blog quite by chance. Very good written and I think you have a point.
On the other hand, I have lived in japan for two years and never experienced any kind of racism.
Detail, I am a black man and have found much more racism in my own land which is Brazil.
In my own land people used to change sidewalks as they saw me. And seeing a police car is still such a frighting experience.
The kind of bad experiences I have never found in Japan.
It is good to listen to your story, and other posts here.
It is just that there isnt a place on earth free of this plage.

Unfortunately I must say, my own country is full of this problem. That is why I have plans to move back to Japan.

 
At 3:16 AM, Blogger logotiposbrasil said...

Hello, I have found your blog quite by chance. Very good written and I think you have a point.
On the other hand, I have lived in japan for two years and never experienced any kind of racism.
Detail, I am a black man and have found much more racism in my own land which is Brazil.
In my own land people used to change sidewalks as they saw me. And seeing a police car is still such a frighting experience.
The kind of bad experiences I have never found in Japan.
It is good to listen to your story, and other posts here.
It is just that there isnt a place on earth free of this plage.

Unfortunately I must say, my own country is full of this problem. That is why I have plans to move back to Japan.

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger logotiposbrasil said...

Hello, I have found your blog quite by chance. Very good written and I think you have a point.
On the other hand, I have lived in japan for two years and never experienced any kind of racism.
Detail, I am a black man and have found much more racism in my own land which is Brazil.
In my own land people used to change sidewalks as they saw me. And seeing a police car is still such a frightening experience.
The kind of bad experiences I have never found in Japan.
It is good to listen to your story, and other posts here.
It is just that there isnt a place on earth free of this plage.

Unfortunately I must say, my own country is full of this problem. That is why I have plans to move back to Japan.

 
At 7:15 AM, Blogger ur210 said...

There's racism everywhere, especially in white europe. Asians are discriminated against in white european countries so it's only fair that white people are mistreated in aisan countries. I wish that there would be racist organizations like the white kkk in japan that attacks whites. If I take a vacation to China, I would partake in such discrimination.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Augure said...

So truth is: there is racism anywhere.

BUT, that's not the same kind and importance of racism.

Western white people have killed billions of people with the Inquisition, Colonisation, America, Holocaust, Wars, Nukes etc...

I take it that in Japan, or in Asia in general, there's the exception of the uni-etchnicity: there's not much foreigner/immigrants living in these countries.
Most people are white japanese so you can understand that you are weird for them.

But if I look at other places where it's the case like in Africa or South America I perfectly understand the hate if you are white: Japan was a peaceful & advanced country two centuries ago although they had fight with their Chineses and Korean neighbors (but it's just regular neighbor country war). Then a completely foreign force came, the American, they sold fire weapons to both Japanese and Chinese. Some times ago they allied with the white Nazis and were nuked by Americans before being humiliated by americans after the war was over.

In Africa it was colonisation and today wars.
In South America it's the same.
In fact in pretty much all South and South-East Asia it's also the case.

The History makes it that white people are unwelcomed in most parts of the world, and it will be more and more the case, because when other countries look at our movies and medias they can see how they treat their own immigrants.

 
At 4:29 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Japan has a problem facing the truth of their history. The Chinese and Koreans would be glad to help them to face it! As an American with two half Japanese grandsons, I do not want them to feel bad about their heritage on either side, but I am not worried about them learning the truth. What is a problem is their Japanese mother is a screaming, verbally abusive. We are wondering if this is cultural, or just a personality disorder.

 
At 2:25 AM, Blogger eeeja said...

This post was very helpful. Recently, I experienced a negative cultural experience also.
There was a recent wave of Chinese immigrants in Vancouver, Canada. I began tutoring one such immigrant in physics. Last night, I received a call from my boss saying that the girl's mother called her and said that I covered too little material in the allotted time. The mother said that she wanted another free trial session with me (I had already volunteered 1 hour to work with her daughter). If I failed to meet her standards, she would fire me and find someone else.

I found the entire experience distasteful since I was able to clarify many concepts to her daughter AND her daughter told me herself that she enjoys my tutoring. Furthermore, the mother's extortionist approach stank of other experience I've had with Chinese immigrants.

I was angry and I wanted to "say fuck it and be mad at people". But your post reminded me that such a response is indeed quite immature. By the way, I hope your experience as a foreigner in Japan has improved.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Dweebbasher said...

I been in Japan too long, but Japan isnt racist like in Eurpope USA etc, its based on a heirarchy and if your gaijin your dogshit

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Dweebbasher said...

I came across this, seems to sum up what I have experienced, you often wonder whats behind it all, perhaps this is it?--


wasted youth means that Japanese never develop past the adolescent stage, hence the ‘group mentality’ as an alternative to teenage ‘gang mentality’ that the Japanese never have the opportunity to grow out of. This leads to a obsessive compulsion to conform to ‘the group’ that means that in situations where even unspoken guidelines for behavior exist, the Japanese are extremely polite, whilst in situations where there are no guidelines (or an expectation that the second party does not know these guidelines, ie; is a gaijin) then there is no need to control one’s behavior at all, and the Japanese can be extremely rude.

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger 天誅 said...

I like how minorities who live in the United States try to state, whenever somebody mentions racism in other parts of the world, that racism in the United States is the worst. Hello, are you fucking stupid! The U.S., out of all of the American countries, had the least amount of slaves (http://www.slaverysite.com/Body/slave_trade_1650-1860_b%20-%20www.slaveryinamerica.org.jpg) brought into the country. Yet we were the first to recognize human rights. And we are the leader of all nations in protecting people from discrimination of all forms. None of the other America's had a Martin Luther King. We did only because our openness to human kind afforded it. I've lived in Japan for 6 years now. Trust me, I speak Japanese very well. I can hear Japanese talk shit right when I walk by them. They say some of the most horrific things only because they think I don't speak Japanese. No matter how well anybody speaks Japanese or Korean, they will never be accepted as a member of those societies. Just like even though they are born there, they can never work in any government jobs. However, as soon as you fly into LAX you are greeted by minorities working federal jobs as immigration officers. Now tell me, how can this be if racism is the worst in the United States. If you don't like it, stop speaking English and take your ass back to your homeland.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger 天誅 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger 天誅 said...

Stop buying Japanese! Seriously! Don't buy anything made by Japanese or Korean companies. I know this is hard, but honestly after living in Japan for 6 years, after I go back to the U.S., I will never buy Japanese or Korean products again. I am pro Americas and European products.

 
At 9:05 PM, Blogger CBC said...

It's hard to put up with but easy to understand. After Japan won World War 2 all of our countries have to be an ethnic matrix. As victors their lucky enough to be the only first world nation where Islam is not the fastest growing religion. And we buy their little Suzukis over here.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Everybody agrees by now that
If your a visible minority, you WILL encounter racism and POM will treat you like a subhuman, there is no denying for it. Based on history and personal experiences, US is the most racist country and next is AB province (Canada)

1. US
2. Province of AB, Canada
(cow town, too many rednecks)
3. European(especially, UK&Russia)
4. South African
5. Brazilian
6. Korean
7. Japanese
8. Mongolian

...and Chinese is the most peaceful human being you will ever meet. That's a fact.

 
At 6:32 AM, Blogger Mark Souse said...

Im half Korean/German. I came to the United States when I was 8, I lived in Fort Lewis at first and learned English relatively quickly in under 5 months due to an excellent ESL teacher and because of the shock to my system I pretended not to understand, it was just too much to digest and I did not feel like speaking to anyone, I did not want to leave Korea. I have had old men yell at me for Vietnam and... I found it interesting really, they all had their reasons I guess. Anyways, being that Im mixed I never really fit in anywhere, I believe mixed people have a better understanding of racism than non-mixed because I feel like an alien most of the time. Let me break it down for you. Racism is a sad fact of life, it doesn't matter where you go. Simple-mindedness knows no color boundaries and it doesn't care, racism spreads like an infection. You get offended by someone who is from _____ and suddenly now you don't like them and everyone like them, you become them and write blogs/seek out blogs seeking agreement from others, very rarely do you ever hear someone speak of "racism" as a topic genuinely to understand it, to examine it for what it is, they only mention it when they've experienced it. Its clings to us, so it spreads. One person to the next. Somewhere inside each of us while we are at our most vulnerable (when fatigued or overcome with negative modes of thought due to outside stimuli, etc) these ideas penetrate and leave a lasting effect. The question is, why? Why did we let it effect us? It is that very thing that enables each and every one of us to become racists ourselves, it is the need to feel pride. Everybody is equal but we want to feel superior at times. We want to feel superior the most when we do ignorant things, its funny. Its a hall of mirrors we willfully go into in our own minds because we lose sight of the obvious. You have to live with YOURSELF, you live and you die and you go alone, remove hate from your heart and mind and focus on bigger things because we both know racism in and of itself is a waste of time and you're better than that. If someone is racist to you then its their problem, not yours. They're afflicted by it and because it is so hard to get a grip on their only solution is to spread it. If a person/group is racist to you then its just a small number, its not the entire country they come from. To take your frustration and multiply it a million-fold is nothing short of idiotic, this is how racism works, it infects the mind and spreads to every corner and if left unchecked it will spread person to person. If your state of mind is stressed then its because you let it reach that point, realize that it is not beneficial to you in any way shape or form so let it go. It is reflective and blinding, it is overwhelming, you are punishing yourself. The solution is simple: recognize that you're only looking at yourself when you're dealing with racism and turn away from it, its a trap. You are better than that, smarter. You're only as smart as the problems you choose to acknowledge and wrestle with so understand that the whole concept of racism is barbarous. I hope my words reach those who need reaching. Thank you for reading and I wish you a pleasant day.

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger TheJapanRants said...

Wow
Well written and a good view to have on things. I think that your point of committing to not just saying "fuck it" and giving up is a really important point. All too many people do this any end up screwing themselves out of great experiences.
Others tend to go too far in the opposite direction.

If you get a chance, check out these posts:

http://www.thejapanrants.com/blog/hottest-brand-in-japan/

http://www.thejapanrants.com/blog/js-story-make-the-best-of-it/

Thanks again for the article.

 
At 4:52 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

@ Mark Souse

"ignorance is a bliss" that's the way to summarize your point.

the way how you say sounds to me you do not want to face your reality but to avoid if at all cost, since you try to define racism and justifies that way, all I can say is "what a convenience"
You see, racism DOES exist, whether or not its just a social construct, when you bring yourself back in the 60's, are you seriously going to tell Martin to just don't bother; its a waste of time !? of course not ! I can not sit idle while racist is tampering with my freedom of speech and rights. Whether you like it or not, if your not going to deal with it, then the reality will eventually catch up to you.

Have you guys ever heard a Halloween Yamanote Train incidence ? check out this site:

http://www.japanprobe.com/2009/10/14/yamanote-halloween-train-2009/

So how did peaceful Japanese folks resolve this issue ? Since they don't like to deal with conflict when it involves "gaikokujin" ??
well meet our notorious "Japanese social activists"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiN2mWsMVY8

So, Have they now become racist towards gaikokujin ? YES!, Is it wrong to stand up and fight for their right cause ? YES!
Does these criminal offending gaikokujin deserve to be Shunned by society and treated as an outcast ? YES! Are you still going to ignore all these facts and steer clear out of the trouble, because these are just the reflection of your own mind ?
Take the Red pill and wake up..!

We need to realize that when there's any sort of conflict, one always seek out the shortcut solution..scapegoat. Blame who doesn't "think" like me or who doesn't "conform" to my way of doing things. No wander there is a growing sentiment against irresponsible person....
You see racism doesn't always has to be in a context of "you look different from us" because the motive behind it is not always tied to one's physical attributes, but its more rooted in social psychological, political, and cultural issues. Sometimes its a MIX of everything. The feeling of one's hate and superiority is just the effect of social issues. You need to realize that racism is a part of age old social issues that has never been fixed. Looked at Japanese or Korean immigration policy, looked at how they treat people who are not Japanese.

Wishful Suggestions on how to reduce racism:

Education and Political

Education - We need to start introducing curriculum that teaches both young and old on the notion of "Open mindedness" not "seclusion" or "inclusiveness" and to entirely shift away from the "us vs. Them paradigm" the attitude we get so attached to every time we can not maintain our norm-equilibrium. We will teach how to be open to and respect our differences on UNCONDITIONAL term.

Political
first phase: - local authorities needs to come up with a mandatory policy for people to come out and join their community services, this may compromises certain level of individual autonomy, but rather it's an opportunity to get a sense of collective consciousness, shared beliefs and moral. A sense of community that world is not just only for yours but for your friendly neighbor as well..

Phase II:

After applying Phase I policy, we have been taught to remove nationalistic sentiment and to move forward into BOARDER-LESS, sort of a Utopian society (dystopian). Take your blue pills and everything is JUST FINE !

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

@ 天誅

You talk all BS, but offer no suggetion(s) on how to resolve the racial inequalities. Forget about which country has the least slaves and all the nonsense talk, so just come out and do something, join the community services ! but whatever it is, just stop the nonsense talk. Are you a Chinese who hate Japanese ? hi nice to meet you, my name is Tamura and I'm a Japanese.
how can I help you to relieve your misery and stress.

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger Justin said...

I know this post is several years old but I wanted to comment on it. I have been working in Inuyama Japan for several weeks now (6 and it will be quite a few more before I'm done). My co-workers have been nothing but a complete joy to work with although I have no idea what they say about me behind my back. They are very curious about America and ask me many questions. However walking around the streets and going to the various stores is different.

I'm fairly tall, 6'3 and not white white but I'm still pretty Caucasian and definitely not Japanese. People stare at me like I'm a bug eyed monster from mars. I've had cute small Japanese girls hide their purses from me and walk a little faster than normal across the street. Again no one is ever rude but you can tell there is a level of distrust and I often feel a bit unwelcome in stores. At first I just chalked it up to me being different but after being here so long it's not that. There is some subtle racism against any kind of foreigner here. I've visited many countries and not felt like I do here.

 
At 1:04 AM, Blogger singsong said...

racism has its roots in sin. Racism exists because of PRIDE hate and fear, not love. Love abolishes racism. Our Creator loves all races. A man who died and came back, and witnessed events, Harry Pittman, said people in heaven have no nationality, age, race and no gender. This is backed-up in the Bible, which states that there is no respect of persons with God. Our bodies are "gloves of different shapes and colors". The contents , which is the soul and spirit of a human, is the same. When the "glove" comes off, there is no appreciable difference, although each individual remains unique. I know this is the way to view all people , because it is the truth and is the way God sees us all as it is stated in the Bible, which is with love.

 
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