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Racial Issues? 2012/8/18 07:22

So basically.. I'm planning a trip to Japan within the next couple of months, and just had a general question about race.

I'm African/Native American (but my skin tone is black), and I'm expecting looks, thats fine.. but I was wondering how I might be treated otherwise..

I know of some celebrties in Japan who are black, but I was hoping to hear from people of color who've been there, or people who've seen it up close.

Also, my boyfriend is white, so as an interracial couple will we be treated different also?

Thanks in advance everyone.
by Ericka (guest)  

Re: Racial Issues? 2012/8/18 17:48
You will be 100% fine and i doubt you will even get looks.
You are worrying about a non-issue.
100's of inter-racial couples come to Japan every year so you won't be doing anything new or different.
by Hori. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Racial Issues? 2012/8/19 00:12
You should google Karen Hill Anton she used to write a column in The Japan Times & has lived in Japan for more than 30 years. I loved reading her observations on life, Karen & her husband bringing up their family in rural Japan; read her articles on her Crossing Cultures website. This is such a great family photo from her website http://japantons.com/
She's one of the most sensible people you could read - wish she was still writing for the Japan Times today.
by Lisa (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Racial Issues? 2012/8/19 23:24
I won't say that people don't or won't experience racism here in Japan but in my opinion, the social environment that causes one to worry or plan ahead about such issues is virtually non-existent in Japan.

You may run into ignorance, some stereotyping, and just plain dumb questions on rare occasions, but for the most part the vast majority of Japan sees "English speaker" before the see "race" as it is understood in American society.

by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Re: Racial Issues? 2012/8/20 14:06
This is my second time living here. I haven't really had any racial experiences, 'cept for one situation when visiting my friend. She warned me of this lady who seems to have something against her. She's white, btw. She kept cutting us dirty looks and complaining to her friend in Japanese (but my friend has pretty decent Japanese). She did the same with me. When we were all exiting the train, I was very polite to her anyway and even let her go first, and used polite speech. Her tone was very high-pitched and polite in return, but my friend said, she did give me a look. If anything, she wasn't against me for being "African American", she strikes me as the type who just doesn't like foreigners in general. My friend and I both live in the Yamagata prefecture. Not sure if that makes a difference or not. I'm still hoping one day, that that old lady visit's my friend's fiance's family's bakery, and see her there behind the counter helping out. lol I'm sure she'd have a field day if she saw that. Oh, and if she saw me there too...lol. That family is also very nice to me. My friend's fiance's mother seemed to have adopted me and my friend as daughters (she has all sons). lol

If you do experience racism (the bad kind), it'll probably be very indirect or indiscreet. They'll probably just talk about you behind your back, since they wouldn't expect you to understand Japanese by default.

Now, the other kind of racism you may experience will probably mostly be due to the stereotyping of blacks and the lack of exposure the Japanese have of them. I'm sure most Japanese here could go their entire lives without encountering or meeting a black person at all or any other foreigners. The only exposure they'll more than likely have regarding blacks would be what they see in movies or on TV or music videos.

That type of racism is the ignorant curiosity kind. Not harmful or anything. They may ask if you like certain rap/hip-hop/r&b type artists because you are black, but may also be asked if you like other artists because you're American.

I went to a club the other night, but it was my fault for what I did there. This Japanese dude did that typical black person handshake mess. I initiated it (and probably did it wrong lol), but it was fun to see. Apparently, also, blacks are supposed to be good at dancing. At the club I went to, it was like they were looking to us (and imitating my friend and me) for like approval and trying to do what we were doing. lol

As for compliments, I've been complimented on my hair and my skin color. My hair is braided, and I'm keeping it that way. For me, it's the easiest style to wear without having to worry about sweating it out. People always ask how I do my hair and seems mesmerized by it. As for my skin color, I was told that it was "beautiful", by the kids and by adults. Not sure if they (adults) were being nice or not, but hey, it's a compliment. I'll take it!
by SSJ Jup81 rate this post as useful

Re: Racial Issues? 2012/8/20 22:44
Hello i'm a black woman and i went to japan twice and.....no problem, they are adorable.

So, it's useless to ask yourself such things, go and visit and enjoy it! It's a wonderful country.
by Patou chan rate this post as useful

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