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Interracial marriage & children in Japan 2008/12/16 12:42
Hi everyone!

There has been a lot of posts concerning interracial J-guy/girl marriages but I still haven't found the answers to my questions.

I was wondering how a J-guy's parents would feel about him marrying a white American girl. I have heard that J-girl's parents can be strict on partners and marriage for their daughter, but I wasn't sure about J-guy's parents. In modern times, do J-guy's parents think that it is best to keep marriage within the race?

Also, aside from the parents acceptance, how do people in Japan generally view these interracial marriages?

My other question is what do people in Japan think of mixed children coming from a J interracial marriage? My reason for asking this is because I have a friend who has a mixed cousin (Japanese American) and when she visited Japan, she was treated horribly because she was not full Japanese. I wanted to hear some responses on this, since I refuse to generalize all Japanese people off of her experience alone.

Any responses are appreciated and I hope people from Japan could help answer my questions too, as I am asking about these things taking place in Japan!

Thanks in advance ^_^

by Curious  

parents 2008/12/16 13:22
Ive got a feeling though never having been through it but having brushed many anecdotes here and elsewhere, that it is not really a good idea to pre-empt someones parents reaction to the bi-racial thing, whether it's Japanese parents or a few others you could reel off around the world, where you MIGHT encounter resistance.

I'd cautiously suggest this: resistance in Japanese parents would not be among the most unusual.
Also, there are such things as different levels of resistance. There is overt resistance and behind the scenes where the outsider cannot at first see it, resistance.
The boy should know himself what to expect from his own family, not just throw the girl in at the deep end like everything is just fine, if it is not.
by Patrick rate this post as useful

. 2008/12/16 13:24
I know I won't be able to cover all your questions, but here is my personal experoence.

When we visit Japan, my daughter always receives nice remarks from adults (strangers). They almost always notice she is half Japanese and half Caucasian, and say how pretty she is. Children tend to be shy at first but after a while they play together fine. As for my parents and relatives, they love her for how she is. I don't think what she is is a big deal for them.
by . rate this post as useful

2 cents 2008/12/16 13:25
Bottom line, it all comes down to the individual parents, the relationship and communication between the son and parents, and so on.
That said, I would have to say that most parents would probably feel less comfortable with a foreign daughter in law than with someone Japanese, because of the language difference, the logistics of the marriage, and more than anything because most families just aren't used to foreigners in their daily life.
Kids, as you can probably imagine, will always pick on the "different" ones no matter where you are, so the child is bound to encounter some friction sooner or later...but again, inter-racial marriages are becoming less of a novelty these days (especially in urban areas).
I'm guessing the biggest obstacle will be your own cultural acclimation to the country (assuming you're going to live in Japan).

Good Luck!
by NODNOK rate this post as useful

Language 2008/12/16 13:47
As the above posters said, depends on the individual families and people invloved.
Learning each others' language makes an incredible difference. Learning a language means understanding not only communication but a culture and its people. People usually feel more comfortable when being able to actually communicate with a foreigner as it shows much more understanding.
by Smoke rate this post as useful

depends on... 2008/12/16 19:24
I have a jbf and he always says "I'm marrying you not my family", which is true. As long as your bf loves you AND can deal with any possible negativity from his family or others, then all is good. But it really depends on his family. If you are polite and a good person, they can't hate you forever!Don't change who you are by ANY means, but if you can be super polite by this I mean, helping MIL around the house w/o her asking and such when you first meet them, it may help. And also if PILs see how much you love their son, they should understand why you two are happy together.

I have also heard that having kids changing any bad feelings. One friend of mine, her Japanese family literally disowned her b/c she married an American. Even though they stayed in Japan, her parents "would have nothing to do with her", but once grandkids came and the parents saw pictures of them (from other relatives), they were inclined to apologize. I think her husband accepted their apology, but it did take a while for him to warm up to them.

As for kids being accepted, I can't say on that. I have some Black Japanese friends who grew up here and said they had the hardest time. They hated not "belonging" or looking Japanese enough, but then again on tv everyday I see interracial models and stars like Suzanne, Jun Hasegawa, and Marie.

I think times are "a-changing" and people are starting to be more open-minded. Hoepfully your bf's family will support this and be welcoming to you. Be strong and confident, but at the same time a positive, polite person can never be disliked!

Good luck!
by kel rate this post as useful

From my experience... 2008/12/16 21:00
I'm in pretty much the same position as you. My boyfriend is Japanese, I'm American. I used to be REALLY worried about what his parents (and grandparents!) would think of me, and I'm still worried about how mixed children would be treated in Japan.

I agree with the others about the parents. It's really up to the individual parents. However, I will tell you that I had a REALLY positive experience with my boyfriend's family. He lives way out in rural Kyushu so I saw maybe 2 other foreigners in the 3 weeks I spent there. They were so sweet and so accepting though, and I'm pretty sure they're expecting marriage.

Another thing that sort of surprised me was that people, even in rural areas, didn't really seem to mind us being an interracial couple. I expected many more disproving looks but overall people were extremely open-minded. I didn't expect everyone to be like that, of course, but from stories I've heard I expected a few.

So, it's up to the individuals but, basically, don't sweat it. The vast majority of people there are very nice and don't judge as much as you seem to expect it. But, like I said before, I have no idea about how mixed children would be treated. I'm interested in that myself.
by Kim rate this post as useful

interracial cildren 2008/12/16 23:44
your not alone! i've been with my jboy for a year and marriage is something we have been thinking about.

I think that bullying does happen especially in elementary school. however i think once the children get older they start to accept people for who they are.

The think is i want my children to be in a situation where they wouldn't be the odd ones out at their school. There are actually many international schools in japan and they have children from all kinds of backgrounds.
by sakuraneko rate this post as useful

Arigato gozaimasu! 2008/12/17 06:18
Thanks so much to everyone who has helped answer this question for me so far!

I expected that these things would depend on the individuals, though I still
wanted to hear what everyone had to say about it, if they had any personal experiences, etc.

This was something that I was very curious about. I do not have a J-boyfriend, and I never have had one before. My dream is to someday find one though! Not because he is Japanese, he has to be the right person for me. I am just generally attracted to asian men. I love Japan and the culture and my *fantasy* is that I will someday live there, get married and have mixed children. Because I think that when two cultures come together, it's the most beautiful thing in the world.

Again, thanks to everyone so far! Any other responses will be appreciated =)
by Curious rate this post as useful

thoughts 2008/12/17 12:04
Generally speaking, I doubt that "not full Japanese" people are treated badly compared to, say, "full Caucasian" people, but a lot of posters on this very forum, myself included, admits that foreign people tend to be treated differently from locals. It is often quite difficult to become "one of them" in Japan, especially when you come travelling from another country all of a sudden.

But my son has a couple of friends who are half Japanese, and everybody is cool about it. The kids have been everyone's buddies since they were little. None of his friends treat them like they're foreign, and they themselves are cool about their roots and are natural about going to school and doing things with all the locals. These couple of friends in particular are in fact quite popular at the schools they've attended here in Japan, and have achieved top-class grades.

But I have a friend who is a mother to half-Japanese-half-Caucasian children who have been doing well in Japan and are grown now, and when I tell her these things, she says, "You might think they're cool about it, but inside, they're probably not." I'm not sure if this is true, but that's what she says. But then, hey, everybody is not cool about a lot of things in their adolescence.

Another thing that comes to mind is that when you grow up as a sort of an expat and you visit your roots for the first time, you suffer some kind of a culture shock. For example, I was just watching a movie on the Chinese descendants who were born and raised here in Japan and went to a Chinese school in Japan. When they grew up and visited China for the first time in their lives, they sort of expected to be welcomed as one of the Chinese. The truth was that they are viewed as being Japanese. So they sort of end up not knowing where they belong. I guess you call these things "identity crisis." Some suffer this, and some are okay.

I'm not sure in what way the OP's aquaintance was "treated horribly," but I wonder if any of these informations will give her a clue.
by Uco rate this post as useful

By the way, 2008/12/17 14:51
Suzanne (mentioned above) isn't inter-racial, she's pure Japanese...
by NODNOK rate this post as useful

... 2008/12/17 18:55
I heard American parents who refuse bi-racial marriage. so?

It just depends on parents, and your partner, if he is one care about you most and not under his parents thumb, then go for it. who cares about his parents reactions.

I didn't care when I married my wife, she didn't even tell them at first, later told them, I still didn't meet all of them, just her mother. so what? my wife thinks it is ok, then it should be ok. it's her parents, not mine.

his parents are his problem, not yours.
by Man rate this post as useful

parents 2008/12/17 19:09
^Its just that some people are very close to their parents. And i think most want to keep them happy.
by sonny rate this post as useful

Another question 2008/12/18 05:58
Thanks again for more responses!

Uco - my friend didn't tell me either how her cousin was treated horribly, she just said that she was disowned by the locals.

Someone mentioned international schools in Japan. I was wondering then if it is better to have interracial children go to international schools or regular ones?
by Curious rate this post as useful

Depends 2008/12/18 16:11
Depends on the mother in law dont like female foreigners. She calls me gaijin gaijin all the time & talks rubbish about how her son "my husband" copes with such a strong wife like I am invisible, Advice for you...dont tell them anything just agree.
by A.Osaka rate this post as useful

personal experience 2008/12/18 19:25
Hi Curious.
I was very impressed by A.Osaka, her mother in law calling her "gaijin" is very rude, but fortunately this seems to me to be a very rare case, by seeing the situation of all my friends married to Japanese. I'm married with a Japanese man too, and I must say I feel very loved (not only accepted!) by his family.
I do think it depends on the family and the person... If you behave correctly and demonstrate affection, then no ethnic matter gets in... in most cases, at least.
One important point: in my case, my husband's behaviour was very helpful. He has always been ready to explain possibile cultural differences to his parents in order to avoid any misunderstanding, so as he's always been supportive to me when I happened to be surprised by his family's behaviour, or when language troubles came in.
A bit more patience than usual is required in inter-cultural marriages, but nothing that cannot be solved by some patience and understanding.
by xyz rate this post as useful

people care 2008/12/19 08:44
"parents, and your partner, if he is one care about you most and not under his parents thumb, then go for it. who cares about his parents reactions"

I dont think it's that simple in real life as "who cares" what anyone's not really a teenager going through a rebellious phase here, it's a bigger picture and reality than that. Most people will care, doesnt mean they submit to a mothers or parents wishes, but most will care unless they already had a very distant relationship with their parents.
Bear in mind that race is not the only area where a parent may disapprove of their sons choice of partner.
Bear in mind disapproval in some cases besides race may not be completely unreasonable or a one-sided story only.
But in our arena here, I think the greatest nightmare is a "mummy's boy" blithely leading a girl into a bi-racial marriage , being aware of their parent/s hostility, never bringing it up with their partner in advance to heads-up them, never confronting the parent to have it out one way or the other, not having any policy besides shrugging their way through it passively, the girl herself never asks any direct question in advance about the parents attitude to such matters, or does ask but gets an evasive dismissive answer which they accept ...all is revealed after the wedding etc...and the boy basically goes on like its really not his problem..
leaving the girl's a*8e waving in the breeze as it a foreign country, hostile MIL/FIL, and husband playing neutral.
But I dont think it's as simple as "who cares".
by Patrick rate this post as useful

international schools 2008/12/19 19:48
OP writes on her latest post;
"Someone mentioned international schools in Japan. I was wondering then if it is better to have interracial children go to international schools or regular ones?"

I think it depends.

Parents who hope to have their children attend international English-speaking schools hope so, because they (A) believe it will encougage the children to be bilingual and multi-cultural, (B) believe it will encourage them to catch up on English studies which should help them when they go back to their English-speaking home countries and (C) believe that their children might feel more at home or experience less bullying. Now, I'm talking about international schools, because for mono-cultural schools like British schools or Chinese schools it's another story.

Parents who choose ordinary Japanese schools choose them, because (A) they believe that the children should experience an ordinary Japanese school life, (B) they find no reason for the children to go to special schools, (C) they can't afford international schools and (D) their children were not accepted to international schools.

Personally, I feel that bullying can exist in any place where there are people, and that just because it's a public Japanese school it doesn't mean that different kids always suffer. Also, note that as far as I know, English-speaking international schools do not accept children who cannot speak English well enough.

As for the children, as I've mentioned before, a lot of interracial children are doing fine in public schools. But then, those who've attended international schools say it was a good chance for them to become bilingual. But I also know a graduate who says that all his friends remember that the teachers were horrible, so you never know. It really depends on the school and era, I suppose.

As for being different, I think that depends on the child, too. Some hope to seek those of your own kind, some have no problem with being the only one different, some enjoy being the only one different.

Personally, I don't think there is any right or wrong in education. I just think that there is education that suits you and education that doesn't suit you. A kid or parent might think that experiencing hell is nothing but a nightmare. But then, after many decades you might realize that the hell was something worth while, or you realize that what you thought was hell turned out to be heaven.

All in all, once you're about 16 or 18, the child will be old enough to judge for him/herself what kind of education he/she should have. And once the child has matured to that level, I don't think parents should stop them from getting the education they want. In other words, until that age comes, it is pretty much up to the parents to decide education matters, and whatever wrong choice they choose, the child would hopefully adjust it once they're old enough.

Am I making sense?
by Uco rate this post as useful

To Uco 2008/12/21 08:59
Yes, Uco, thank you ^_^

And thanks to everyone else who responded. I think I have a much better idea now
by Curious rate this post as useful

new ideals 2008/12/29 15:50
I want to say thank you to all the people who posted above...

I have a aunt who had a party. Her friend was half-japanese and caucasian.

I meet a japanese girl 3 years ago and have visited her family in tokyo 1 and stayed in tokyo again just this last year.

I told my aunts friend how nice the people of japan are..

and she said they are nice and kind to foreigners until they want to marry a japanese person.

I felt angry and very frustrated.

we have had a hard enough time staying together and keeping strong without people dashing our dreams away...

her family was like my second family and have been the kindest people in my lives.

I dont belive they are so raciest as she made them out to be.

her mom wanted her to marry a japanese man and was disapointed in her so I feel maybe she hasnt grown up in the present japan and had some bad parents.

I dont belive that people who are so kind could be so blind.

Thank you everyone I will never give up to my persuit of happyness.

Michael J. Ellis
by michael rate this post as useful

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