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Thread: Cute racism a la japonaise ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Cute racism a la japonaise ?

    Racism in Japan has been the object of many recent discussions. We have seen in the thread Just Cultural Differences?, that racism had a broad meaning, and could mean fear, discrimination or prejudice against one or many ethnic groups due to a sense of racial superiority, feeling of hatred, misunderstanding or ignorance toward that group. Racism can also be expressed in 5 intensity levels :

    1) in thought/feelings only
    2) verbally expressing it (e.g. calling a Black a "nigger", or saying "these Chinese are so inferior to us")
    3) involving indirect actions (e.g. not recruiting someone because of their race)
    4) involving direct, non-violent actions (e.g. refusing entry to someone based on their race, or the police assuming people of different races are more suspect)
    5) involving direct, violent actions (e.g. beating up, killing...)

    We have noted that most Japanese associate racism with (5), and to a lesser extent also (4) and (3), but almost never (2) and (1).

    In this thread, I would like to discuss a typically Japanese phenomenon, which I will call "cute racism". Many TV programmes use Caucasians or Blacks for entertainment purpose. Caucasians may appear in serious discussions as well, but Black people are almost exclusively recruited as some kind of exotic animal made to be laughed at due to their strange appearance and behaviour. One of the most famous of them is Bob Sapp, who often appeared in TV shows and commercials, always looking as beasty as possible to please his incredulous Japanese audience.

    Today, there was a more regular Black guy asking questions to Japanese people in the street. The interviewees were quite awkward, often laughing with their hand covering their mouth as the "strange Black man" asked them a question or made some primitive grimace he was paid to do. In my eyes, making fun of a person because they are Black, and treating them as a sort of freakish attraction, is a bit racist, even if no offense is intended. This kind of programme wit Black people show several times a week, so most Japanese should be used to seeing people with dark skin. I always feel like the hidden purpose is to show how primitive and inferior Blacks are compared to the Japanese. That's what many Japanese like about it. It says "look, this strange creature is just good at grimacing like a monkey and speak with a strange accent".

    Furthermore, like in many TV programmes, there are some kind of big and colourful subtitles adding emphasis and emotions to what people say; and whenever a gaijin (esp. Black) speaks, for some reason the subtitles are all in Hiragana and Katakana. The message is clear "those primitives can't use kanji". "Of course, they are not Japanese !". In fact, I did ask several Japanese why it was so, and they did reply exactly that "gaijin can't use kanji" ! Dozens of times have Japanese people been very surprised that I could read kanji. Their common reaction is "eeeh, you can read kanji ! Sugoi ne !". I am talking about people I had know for months (some for over 2 years), and knew I could speak Japanese. It's just unbelievable for most Japanese that a gaijin could read or write kanji - even very basic ones. Kanji were one of the easiest and most interesting part of learning Japanese for me, and apparently quite a few other people who have learnt Japanese on this forum. Such assumption should in any case not become standards of how foreigners are seen on national TV. It only reinforces negative stereotypes of foreigners being unable to speak Japanese (see Assumptions that gaijin cannot speak Japanese and Should all Japanese directly address foreigners in Japanese ?). In short, no matter how friendly Japanese people are with you, and even if they pay you to show on national TV and are polite and apparently respecful and all, if they hold such beliefs, it means that deep inside them they still consider you (the "gaijin") as some sort of inferior species, a zoo animal used for entertainment.

    But what I find more insulting in those TV shows is the use of Katakana when a foreigner speaks. Katakana is normally used for words of foreign origin (including transliterations of kanji). So it's use when someone speaks Japanese may first seem like their accent is so strong that they sound like they are not speaking Japanese. In mangas or in TV subtitles, Katakana is used for onomatopoeia, insults, or angry, harsh or strident language. The normal use is just one or two words per sentence for emphasis, or for interjections (e.g. コラアァー!). It's image is typically negative. So using it in half of a sentence mixed with Hiragana (and no a single Kanji) for very normal words when a person speaks on a normal tone, it feels like the speaker is a rough, idiotic person. This makes me feel all the more that the purpose of the whole show is to make fun of an exotic animal.

    That is what I call "cute racism". "Cute", because the purpose is to make people laugh and enjoy themselves. It is a sort of racism as it is degrading for people of the targeted race. The fact that it is almost only Black people that are the "victims" leaves little doubt about that. Too bad some people are so much in need of money or want so much to be on TV, that they will accept to ridiculise themselves in this way, only reinforcing racist stereotypes among Japanese people.

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  2. #2
    Japanese Modernist Hyde_is_my_anti-drug's Avatar
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    God, I hate crap like that. It's like if someone's going to be racist I prefer them to just say it to my face but implying and hinting just for s**ts and giggles annoys me to no end. America does something similar with gays. They're in lots of TV shows yes but they're always shown as either the Raging Queen or the Butch Lesbian. As if to say, "Gay men are like Valley Girls and Lesbians will tear your head off. See isn't that funny? Teeheehee." No, it's not funny. Either that are they show gays as sex addicts who sleep with anything with the same gender as them. All one night stands, threesomes, etc. So what they're saying is "Gays are sluts!!!" which is not true.
    I hate it when people do stuff like this. Again just say it to our faces. Racism (and homophobia) is bad but putting a "cute" face on it is worse. Honesty is better then patronizing or silent whispering. If you don't like me for my race then SAY IT. But just sweetly implying it is just...agh!!! I can deal with yelling, name calling, physical violence, because I can DO something about that. But crap like this is hard to do anything about, that's what makes it so annoying and so dangerous.
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  3. #3
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    The problem is that probably don't realise that this is taboo in Western societies. For Japanese people racism involves violence or discrimination. Just making fun of other races or express a feeling of superiority is not regaded as racism in Japan.

  4. #4
    Yuyurungul
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    I'm with you both on this.

    One of the most depressing things when you start to get into Japanese culture is precisely learning the ridiculous lack of awareness about racism, and the extent to which condescending attitudes are propogated. Although this may have sprung from its relative geographic isolation and demographic homogeneity (ergo, a belief in their 'uniqueness'), for a nation so praised for its "modernization," its fundamental principles are sorely lacking to include other groups of people into their sense of community.

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    Japanese Modernist Hyde_is_my_anti-drug's Avatar
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    Well Japan's never been good with how it handles forgieners. In a way they're way behind on that. I mean wasn't it like no one besides the Japanese had set foot in Japan for hundreds of years up until the Meiji Area? Or something like that. So it's understandable that they're behind. Understandable not excusable.

  6. #6
    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    The problem is that probably don't realise that this is taboo in Western societies.
    Which makes foreigners seem all the more odd and unstable when they get upset and make a fuss about it.

    as for the katakana thing on TV, while this is rampant in the daytime and variety TV shows, it is not just for short-term foreigners. There are several high-profile talents who have lived in Japan a very long time, are married to Japanese, and are essentially what most would discribe as socially Japanese. However, they still get the katakana treatment while their spouses, sometimes appearing in the very same segment, do not.

    Compare this to the treatment of high-profile stars who are of mixed Japanese blood (esp. if they were born and raised in Japan) - they usually don't get the katakana graphics. However, I once saw a show about a foreign woman who had made her life in Japan and her struggles to continue after the premature death of her husband. She had been married to a very powerful business man. Guess what? No katakana. It is open to debate wheather this was due to her social status as widow of a powerful Japanese, or out of respect for her husband. Granted, this program was more subdued that normal TV, but there were still plenty of quotes displayed as the interview went along.

    On an even wider level, when two Japanese people get married, one of them [b]must[/b[ change their last name. But if a Japanese person marries a foreigner, the household can have two different names. Why should there be a double standard...? But this is more an example of institutionalized discrimination (don't get me started about koseki and the like) than Maciamo's adept presentation of "cute racism."
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  7. #7
    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde_is_my_anti-drug
    I mean wasn't it like no one besides the Japanese had set foot in Japan for hundreds of years up until the Meiji Area?
    The sakoku policy of the Tokugawa bakufu did limit foreign contact to a few ports and highly restricted travel within Japan. However, Japan maintained limited economic ties with China and select European nations, so while remote, Japan was not shut off from the world (hence they could see Western colonialism at work in China and so work to head off the same subjectation of Japan, among other things - but that if off topic.)

    But you are 100% correct when you say

    ... it's understandable that they're behind. Understandable not excusable.

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    Yes, that stereotype of foreigners saying "OMG, Japanese is the hardest language in the world because kanji is so difficult!" seems extremely commonplace in the media to me. So, would learning Chinese be exponentially more difficult for the said foreigners? Because if kanji is the only difficult thing in the language, then I'm sure the Japanese would have no trouble learning Chinese since they have the kanji down.

    I do remember a more recent occasion of images on tv with black people acting like normal people and the audience still laughed as if was the most hilarious thing in the world (black people are people too!? Ha ha ha!). I also recall scenes with white people (dressed up in a three-piece suit of course) tip toeing to the bathroom with his hand on his stomach, chanting out "Hold it in, hold it in. (subtitles in katakana of course)"

    So it just seems painfully obvious that they find foreigners to be funny for the sake of them being foreigners. The fact that the general audience thinks it's hilarious to see foreigners trying to assimilate into their society by doing ordinary things(in vain) is what really angers me.

    I do agree that there is a long way to go on this subject.

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    Believe it or not, but I have been on TV about half a dozen times. Of course it was always local TV. I never got the katakana treatment. Here's my thought on that.

    If a foreigner is on TV as a foreigner, in other words, if this person's role on TV is to be "foreigner", he/she will get the katakana treatment to emphasize the fact that it is a foreigner speaking.

    If a foreigner is on TV as a person, in other words, if this person is not taking the role of "forigner", s/he will not receive the katakana treatment. How many times have you seen katakana in serious shows or the news?

    On those comedy/variety shows, the foreigners are there to entertain in the role of "foreigner", and therefore they get the katakana treatment.

    It's a comic device.

    I don't think it's so bad, and sometimes funny for effect, but the problem comes, as Maciamo pointed out, from the overwhelming portrayal of (black) foreigners as wild, crazy or idiots, and no counterbalencing portrayal of them just as people.

  10. #10
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Just before I left Japan, those subtitles(or are they closed captions?) started to appear a lot on TV, and I thought they were very distracting because they only put the words that they thought were funny or need to be emphasized which I usually didn't care about.

    Those shows are awful, like most Japanese shows are.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Too bad some people are so much in need of money or want so much to be on TV, that they will accept to ridiculise themselves in this way, only reinforcing racist stereotypes among Japanese people.
    Too bad indeed. Only if they had more authority, courage, and were wiser, they could have done something different and make Japanese people more aware of how ignorant their reactions towards other races are.

    I know it sounds crazy, but I'm thinking of a show they have in the US; which could be offensive for some people but the guy(a British comedian) on the show is very intelligent and goes after politicians, famous writers, people in fashion business, torophy hunters etc. He makes himself look so unintelligent that a lot of them get upset, but you can see that it's them who are more ingnorant.

    Personally, I think it's good that more people are talking about Japan's problems, and I hope the voices will be heard by the Japanese.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandylion
    Why should there be a double standard...? But this is more an example of institutionalized discrimination (don't get me started about koseki and the like) than Maciamo's adept presentation of "cute racism."
    I turned on the TV for a few minutes and found a TV programme (on TV Asahi) about IQ tests called "世界初テストこれが新IQ驚異の全ぼう!! 脳タイプ判定で適職もわかる". I couldn't believe what I saw when they say and wrote on the screen something about "日本人の脳" (Japanese brains), explaining that they had found 4 types of Japanese brains (clearly iplying that Japanese brains were different from other races' brains in their functioning).

    So the "日本人論" (Nihonjinron, or racist "theory of Japaneseness") is still more active than we could think. It was not just a euphoric extrapolation of the Bubble Years to explain why the Japanese were so sucessful despite their "tiny resourceless country" 3x the size of England, and of course without the help from the US...

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    Your Goddess is here Ma Cherie's Avatar
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    You know from learning about Japanese society and their issues with racism and such has made me wonder. I'm guessing you all would agree that most Japanese people seem very proud of their country. But I was wondering do you think there are some deep insecurity issues? (i.e. when some Japanese people ask "do you have this in your country? or do you have that in your country?") Do you think this may be an issue of insecurity?
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    Omnipotence personified Mandylion's Avatar
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    I would argue that there is a status issue - Japan has always wanted, and arguably achieved "equality" with the great nations of the world. Some argue this was one of the important motivations behind the push for modernization, colonies etc. in the late 1800's. It may even be behind (in part) Japan's push for a seat on the UN Security Council and playing a bigger role in international political affairs beyond economics issues. It is debatable to what extent this desire extends down to the individual level and the "do you have this/that" questions. However - this is just my feeling here - there still is a big emphasis on hierarchy in Japan's view of international relations, which could influence on what terms (media, econnomic, political etc) that Japan engages the rest of the world - which in turn focus people (in part) on material things, conditions in other countries etc.

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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I agree with Mandylion that status in the international community is very important to the Japanese. I believe the same can be said of Korea and China.

    Japanese people are well-known for being insecure. I hear the word "fuan" 不安(insecurity, angst...) all the time, while there is not even a direct translation in English or French.

    That's a very good point to link questions like "Do you have this in your country" with the sense of insecurity. Now that I think about it, there is probably a strong causal link. That's also why the Japanese feel a need to tell foreigners that their country and culture are so great. One of the first questions foreigners are asked by almost any Japanese are "What do you think of Japan ?" and "Do you like Japanese food ?". Why ? Because they are anxious to get foreign approval of their country and culture. That's probably why whenever a Japanese asks me "Do you have this in your country ?" and I say yes (or worse, it comes from my country or from that other country originally), then feel even more insecure and need to ask about other stuff until finally I say "no". Then they can proudly say "haha, we Japanese have this and you don't !". Sounds very childish, but that's probably a way of satisfying their insecurity.

    What's more, the Japanese tend to have a love-hate relationship wit Westerners (which is usually reciprocal). More accurately, they admire Western people, cultures and countries so much that they want to copy everything; not just systems, and technologies, but fashion, hairstyles (even colour), food, vocabulary, and some go as far as to get surgical operations of the eyelids to get a "third fold" to look more "Caucasian". That's also why Japanes girls are so fond of Western men. This further enhance the feeling of insecurity and worthlessness among some Japanese men. The same trend is also apparent in modern Chinese cities like Shanghai or Beijing (and even in South-East Asia, but a bit differently for economic reasons).

    So racism is maybe a way for some Japanese to become more confident, by doing all they can to make "gaijins" look stupid or inferior, going as far as inventing theories such as Japanese having unique brains, being able to eat food that foreigners can't eat, or claiming that Japan is unique for its four seasons and cherry blossoms, or other narrow-minded (and deeply mistaken) nationalistic propaganda. That's also why they want to look superior to other East Asian countries, which they see (from outside) as politically and economically inferior to Western countries. Japan became a colonial power in the hope of reaching equality with the West. They still want to look superior nowadays - mostly because they measure the value of a culture or nation almost exclusively by economic success. That's why the Japan of the 1980's was more racist and arrogant than ever before, and why they fear China's economic growth, as it disturbs their status of "superior race" of Asia (eventhough they don't mind throwing away their own culture ).

    What can be done ? Tell them that racism and nationalism will only have the opposite effect and create resentment and despise among foreigners ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    So racism is maybe a way for some Japanese to become more confident, by doing all they can to make "gaijins" look stupid or inferior, going as far as inventing theories such as Japanese having unique brains, being able to eat food that foreigners can't eat, or claiming that Japan is unique for its four seasons and cherry blossoms, or other narrow-minded (and deeply mistaken) nationalistic propaganda.
    Sigh. I haven't heard the four seasons thing once here, and anyway I can't believe anyone would seek to define the uniqueness of their country by having four seasons.

    As for food - I daresay there are plenty of foods unpalatable to the Japanese from many other countries.

    I think you are drawing too many false conclusions from this limited data set. In all places I've lived or visited it is common to ask about things like weather, local food and other banalties of day to day life - especially as an ice breaker.

    When I was in Hong Kong I was frequently asked if I ate chickens feet, I don't think this was nationalistic propaganda, any more so than a Japanese person asking me if I like sushi or sashimi.

    Maybe I am just more open-minded, and don't seek to read slurs into everything to prove my point or reinforce my beliefs. I guess this may be an insecurity thing, if you feel the need to get your beliefs validated by every encounter or experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    The problem is that probably don't realise that this is taboo in Western societies. For Japanese people racism involves violence or discrimination. Just making fun of other races or express a feeling of superiority is not regaded as racism in Japan.
    Recently, a good friend of mine (japanese), who I respect for his open-mindedness, told me that he thought a mutual friend of ours (who happens to be black) seemed a bit sensitive about his colour. I asked him why he thought so and he explained that someone had made a joke about how he (the black friend) would be difficult to see in the dark... Anyway, I thought it seemed like an innocent remark, so I didn't really know what to say. In the end, I ended up saying that if you met a fat person you wouldn't make jokes about being fat - an incredibly unsatisfactory comparison I know, but I was a bit flummoxed.
    I think it's exactly as people are saying in this thread, particularly Maciamo's quote above. The use of katakana for foreigners' speech is mildly irritating, but I guess we have to try to be a bit humble about our funny pronunciation. The 'Bob Sapp' phenomenon is more worrying, I think; it would be more palatable if it was balanced by more 'serious' or 'real' black men and women also appearing on TV.

  17. #17
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijin 06
    Sigh. I haven't heard the four seasons thing once here, and anyway I can't believe anyone would seek to define the uniqueness of their country by having four seasons.
    Did you ask people's opinion on the matter ? If you don't they are unlikely to mention it, except that week of the year when the cherry trees are in bloom, and only if you start discussing about it. I often discussed about it, as I wanted to know the "best places" for cherry blossom viewing. 2/3 of the people I talked to about this asked me whether "my country had 4 seasons", and all were surprised when I said "yes, of course, like most of Europe".

    As for food - I daresay there are plenty of foods unpalatable to the Japanese from many other countries.
    Of course ! That is the irony. I never miss to ask them if they "can' eat snails, frogs, rabbit, lamb, ostrich, kangaroo, crocodile, insects... Most of them make disgusted faces and say they wouldn't try.

    I think you are drawing too many false conclusions from this limited data set. In all places I've lived or visited it is common to ask about things like weather, local food and other banalties of day to day life - especially as an ice breaker.
    These were almost always with people I had known for months or years, and met in average once a meet for one-to-one lessons. They usually knew me very well when that topic came up - as it was during the blossom season (plum included) of the year that they all spoke about it, proudly thinking the 4 seasons were uniquely Japanese - or at least rare outside Japan. And guess when I wrote my article Common Japanese misconceptions regarding foreigners and foreign countries ? Just as the plum blossom season was starting and we were discussing it for the 4th year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Of course ! That is the irony. I never miss to ask them if they "can' eat snails, frogs, rabbit, lamb, ostrich, kangaroo, crocodile, insects... Most of them make disgusted faces and say they wouldn't try.
    So you admit to doing one of the exact same things you accuse the Japanese of doing?!

    Do two "wrongs" might a "right" for you? Or just don't believe in practisicing what you preach?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lglben
    ...he explained that someone had made a joke about how he (the black friend) would be difficult to see in the dark... .... The use of katakana for foreigners' speech is mildly irritating, but I guess we have to try to be a bit humble about our funny pronunciation. The 'Bob Sapp' phenomenon is more worrying, I think; it would be more palatable if it was balanced by more 'serious' or 'real' black men and women also appearing on TV.
    Greetings from next door! (Kariya, Aichi)

    I think another aspect is intention. I do not think that your Japanese friend had any intention whatsoever to make a humiliating or demeaning comment to your black friend.

    I remember when I was in college, I was in the habit of saying, "Hey, big guy!" or "Hi, big guy!" etc. I thought nothing of it until I said it to Gene, a VERY large cook at the cafeteria. He was polite, but very offended. He was OK after I explained that I honestly wasn't referring to his size, but I think this is similar to your friends' situation.

    Actually, I did think that Gene was being a little sensitive about his size at the time, but I could understand. I think that's because in my native country, the USA, everyone seems to be sensitive about SOMEthing or another.

    In Japan, (Japanese) people seem to have less to be sensitive about, or they just don't show it as much, in my experience.

    But I don't know. I mean, I have no reservations about making fun of my "tall" nose, etc. Maybe that's bad, but I have NEVER once come across anyone trying to make me feel inferior about that or pick on me about it, either. It's not even a joke that comes up all that often.

    The question as I see it is, when is a joke just a joke, and when does it cross the border into racism?

  20. #20
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijin 06
    So you admit to doing one of the exact same things you accuse the Japanese of doing?!

    Do two "wrongs" might a "right" for you? Or just don't believe in practisicing what you preach?
    I only do it when I am asked whether I can eat sushi, natto, umebosh, etc. especially if they tell me that "foreigners usually can't eat this or that", just to show them that it's the same everywhere. I also remind them that natto is not very popular in Western Japan, and that I have met some Japanese who didn't like sushi, and that sushi ranked as the most popular Japanese dish in the 2 polls about Japanese food on JREF (and indeed sushi restaurant are the most common Japanese restaurant in Western countries). Only after that do they seem to understand that it's futile to say such nonsense as "Japanese people can eat sushi, and foreigners can't".

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    Maciamoさんの発言で大変おもしろいのは、日本人自ら ェ語る「日本人論」自体に対しては極めて否定的な見方 する一方、 なた自身が数多くの独自の「日本人論」 披露していることなんですね。
    しかも、 なたの「日本人論」は、日本人自身が語る日 本人論と同様に荒唐無稽なことが少なくないということ です。
    例えば、海外の映画やテレビのバライティ番組などで描 かれる日本人像は、ほとんど例外なく滑稽なステレオタ イプで描かれているわけですが、この点を考えただけで も、「外国人をお笑いの対象にする」という風潮は決し て「日本的」ではなく、むしろ普遍的で ることが分か りますね。

  22. #22
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    kkkktttt, in which country did you see TV variety shows making fun of Japanese people ? I have never seen such programmes (or movies) on French, Belgian or British TV. Of course, if you take the US or China as reference, you are up for surprises...

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    Regular Member anjusan's Avatar
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    Ah, was that the gist of kkkktttt's post? I was wondering if anyone would para-phrase that for those of us not quite up to that level... Unfortunately I have seen a few shows that make fun of Japanese people...I have rarely found humor in jokes based upon stereotypes... they tend to make me feel uncomfortable... for those being make fun of...

    I like Mikawa Ossan's comment "The question as I see it is, when is a joke just a joke, and when does it cross the border into racism?"

    I was born half English / half American. I got the best of both worlds, yet I am an outsider to both... Both American's and English say I have a funny way of speaking... I will use English words American's have never heard of and visa versa. The people at work think it is the funniest thing on the planet... and I just don't get the humor... but I think it may have something to do with the unexpected in an otherwise boring situation... They certainly don't intend to be hurtful...

    Comercialized humor on television is different though... they know exactly what they are doing and calculate the profits accordingly... I am not there so I cannot judge... but I have seen riotously funny Japanese shows that have only Japanese in them...

    Maciamo, I can feel the strength of your concerns through the words you use in your posts... it is almost as if you are angry... perhaps you are expecting the Japanese people you know to act a certain way and when they don't you get frustrated... thinking they should know 'me' by now... is there no one you can talk to about it there?

  24. #24
    Japanese Modernist Hyde_is_my_anti-drug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anjusan
    Ah, was that the gist of kkkktttt's post? I was wondering if anyone would para-phrase that for those of us not quite up to that level... Unfortunately I have seen a few shows that make fun of Japanese people...I have rarely found humor in jokes based upon stereotypes... they tend to make me feel uncomfortable... for those being make fun of...
    The problem is a lot of people don't really think anything of that kind of stuff. Because they think the stereotypes are actually true and therefor get very confussed when others have stronge negutive reactions to the things they say.
    Racism has become, sadly enough, deeply imbeded in people on basic levels. It's disgusting really. The fact that it doesn't cross people's minds that things could be taken that way proves how much of a problem it is. People don't even realize they're doing it which is saddening. But honestly, where do you think phrases like for example "hey, big guy" came from? Even if, typically, they aren't used or meant that way it's rather obvious that that is how they came into existance. The very fact that those phrases even EXIST at all tells you how much of a problem racism is EVERYWHERE not just Japan.
    When someone says something racist and you say so a lot of the time they look horrifide and say, "Oh, my God! I didn't think...was I really???" They don't know they're doing it. But which is worse? Not knowing and doing it or KNOWING and doing it anyway? Both are terrible. But I think knowingly being racist is far worse although unknowingly is much more sad. The one's who know attack you and the ones that don't just peck at the surface. I've had both aimed at me and neither is fun and both make you feel like shite. Racism is a nasty thing no matter what form it's in. But I think if Japan REALIZED what it's doing things might change but they honestly don't seem to know. Or maybe they do and I'm just being naive.

  25. #25
    Yuyurungul
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde_is_my_anti-drug
    When someone says something racist and you say so a lot of the time they look horrifide and say, "Oh, my God! I didn't think...was I really???" They don't know they're doing it. But which is worse? Not knowing and doing it or KNOWING and doing it anyway? Both are terrible. But I think knowingly being racist is far worse although unknowingly is much more sad. The one's who know attack you and the ones that don't just peck at the surface. I've had both aimed at me and neither is fun and both make you feel like shite. Racism is a nasty thing no matter what form it's in. But I think if Japan REALIZED what it's doing things might change but they honestly don't seem to know. Or maybe they do and I'm just being naive.
    To me, what I find really disturbing is the first example, but coupled with a certain sense of denial, followed up by a need to rationalize their racism. Doesn't the nihonjiron(?) and concepts of Chinese and Koreans as "inferior" allow for this kind of rationalization?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijin 06
    Maybe I am just more open-minded, and don't seek to read slurs into everything to prove my point or reinforce my beliefs. I guess this may be an insecurity thing, if you feel the need to get your beliefs validated by every encounter or experience.
    Apparently, this view is in the minority, so I'm not sure how "insecurity" has much to do with it if it's something that most agree is a problem. Nor do I see how this argument necessarily leads up to claims of open-mindedness.

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