View Full Version : What connotation does the term "gaijin" have for you ?

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Dec 27, 2006, 00:00
I have just found out that ancient Germanic people also had a term like "gaijin" (Japanese), "wairen" (Chinese, same kanji as in Japanese), "farani" (in Polynesia), farang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farang) (Thai), farangi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farangi) (Persian), firang/farang/farangi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firang) (in India), goyim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goy) (Hebrew). It is Walha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walha).

It seems that the "farang" and similar words that are used from Iran to Polynesia to refer to a Westerner or foreigner originally means "Frankish" (in the case of Persian) or "French". The Franks would have called them back "walha". :blush:

I think that because those terms of exclusion are so old in origin, it can reasonably be said that the original meaning was never to say that someone had a different nationality (very recent concept, less than 100 years old). It seems to mean that the different ethnicity and being an outsider to a society/group are the main meanings.

Dec 27, 2006, 05:19
lol... this thread is still going on...?:snore:

Jan 2, 2007, 08:08
Hm...though my username uses it, I don't really like the term "gaijin" the way it's used. It seems to reveal subconcious racism when used on television. For example, in other countries a news story would focus on what a person did, not where they are from. Where a person is from seems much more important to the Japanese.

Jan 2, 2007, 13:17
gaijin literally means foreigner,not a Japanese

Jan 4, 2007, 19:52
This poll has really caused a stir! Excellent.
I ticked all the boxes because at some point or another in my seven years in Japan I have felt all those things. I also ticked 'I don't know' because quite obviously to me, when someone else speaks the word gaijin they are expressing their thoughts not mine and I am not a mind-reader. I can only interpret what they may have intended to say/mean from my own personal experience.
My own personal experience, however, is that most westerners have very little true understanding of how Japanese people think or feel. This is often just down to ignorance, sometimes down to arrogance and other times down to stupidity.
I suspect that the author of the poll has had similar experiences to myself and probably wanted to hear the opinions of other westerners, or wanted their feelings confirmed (it clearly wasn't intended for the Japanese audience). The mistake I feel is that it does come across a little as sour grapes.
I think it might have been wiser to publish a poll that asked the Japanese members here what they mean when they use the word gaijin. And instead of offering a very limited and subjective choice simply allow native Japanese speakers to explain in their own words the meaning of the word as they intend to use it. Perhaps then we (non-Japanese) may be more careful about expressing our distaste (?)

Mar 12, 2007, 19:26
What exactly is the English Translation for the words. I am confused as to what it actually means. Or... wait... is that what this poll is about? Somebody help me! My brain hurts! :clueless:

Mar 12, 2007, 19:33
I might suggest that you read through the thread for a bit more background, this one and a few others like it discuss at great length and in inifinite detail what some people think about the word and how it is used and it's relation to themselves while being here in Japan.

Short definition, the word gaijin means outside (gai) person (jin)

or in otherwords foreigner, plain and simple.:-)

Mar 12, 2007, 19:37
Ah. Thanks a lot. That helped. I wanted the actual definition. Thanks. :-)
I'll read through the thread more for actual connotations.

Mar 20, 2007, 12:59
At least they are not pursuing the American way of burning crosses on your front lawn

Maybe I'm feeding the trolls here, but...

What the hell do you mean, "the American way"? Do you actually believe every American is raised to think that burning crosses is ok? This is extremely racist and stupid. Crawl out of your hole and look at the world around you.