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Being a Native American in Japan 2010/10/28 10:25
Actually read a bit about this in another question here, but I was left with some answers.

I'm an odd and varied mix of several cultures, but none is so prominent in my physical characteristics than my Native American.

I am a small percentage (3%) Yahi Native of California and about 40% or more Taino Native of the Carribean. The other 57% is a mix of western european, which i do not hold a single physical characterstic of other than a few red hairs, and Japanese.

Now, despite my 3% yahi blood, I'm proud to say that I caught a bit of the recesive gene, and combined with my Taino majority and lack of white attributes, I look very very native american.

My skin is a red/tan complexion, my hair is coarse, thick, and black, and hell, even my feet have that thing where my heels slip out of my shoes easily (its so odd but true). But on top of this, my eye shape is more japanese, though not as defined as a true japanese.
And in the end, if any Japanese national asked me "Where are you from?" or "What are you? (ethnically)" then I'd respond with a simple "Amerikajin"

As a practice of my native culture, I keep my hair long without cutting it unless expressing grief in times of mourning

Now between my overall native complexionwith its tint of japanese and my long hair, what kind of reactions will i get from people, and what sort of challenges will i face in society, the workplace, or college? (planning to study abroad) I'm also afraid of being told to cut my hair and defy my culture I am trying to preserve in a workplace in a country where federal law may not extend to the rights of Native Americans, a small and unknown culture on the international scene
by SamuraiChe  

check this thread 2010/10/28 14:31
A very similar question to yours was posted a while back- have a look here:
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

hair 2010/10/28 14:59
I just realised that you may have already seen the thread I posted- I apologise if so.

To answer your question about hair, while most open-minded employers will accept tidy, tied back long hair on men, it may be a reason for others not to hire you.

You are correct that there is no recourse here to claim your rights as a minority of another country- usually when travelling and living abroad the emphasis is on respecting and adapting to the culture of the country you are a guest in rather than asserting the rights you are used to having in your own country. If it proves difficult to come to a compromise then Japan may not be the country for you.

Japanese workplaces tend to be fairly conservative about grooming, meaning that often things like piercings, tattoos and long hair are frowned upon.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

thank you for the insight 2010/10/28 17:31
Ah thanks, I suppose thats what I mostly wanted to know about. Hopefully my skills and credentials as a proffesional in my field will cause employers to overlook my hair when I do finish school an join whe workforce.

I am proud of my native heritage, butmy plans for the future and my life do not center around this, they center around my interest in the japanese minority of my heritage, and my facination with the japanese way of life. Being a mix-breed as I am, I hope I can find some sort of balance as an american, native, and japanese national while living there.
by SamuraiChe rate this post as useful

Native American in Japan 2010/10/29 21:13
Is it possible to compromise, for example to have long hair, but not totally long, something like shoulder long or so and then a nice hair cut? Might be more acceptable for them if thats possible.
Unfortunatelly long hair in men is not only a problem in Japan.
Btw, is long hair (im asking because i have no idea, im from finland and we have no contact with native americans, the only native people we have here, the samis, dont have growing longer hair as part of their culture) a necessary part of your culture? Or is it more something that is just traditional, but you would like to preserve it? I mean, what is the significance of long hair in men?
by Mansikka (guest) rate this post as useful

Ishi 2010/11/4 04:52

Is it possiable that you are from another group of people?
by Sachem Walkingfox (guest) rate this post as useful

keep your traditions 2010/11/8 15:50
I think it is important that you try to keep your traditions as much as possible.
Japan has to learn how to live with multiculturalism. Lets be honest, this isn't just a foreign issue ... if you just take a look at how mainland japan has virtually wiped out the ryukyu and ainu cultures which are equally intricate and diverse. I hope if Japan experiences native american culture they are inspired to salvage what is left of there own indigenous cultures. Do not believe the mono-ethnic, mono-cultural Japan rhetoric spewed by politicians and NHK etc, it is all a big myth.
In okinawa I had a long chat with a taxi driver who explained how ryukyu culture was virtually destroyed by mainland japan because they saw it as a resistance to assimilation. Only in recent years the music, food dance and some other parts of culture are being revived throughout japan as a result of tourism.
When you consider that it took until 2008 for the Japanese government to recognize Ainu as indigenous it is really shocking.
by gilesdesign (guest) rate this post as useful

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