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View Poll Results: How do you feel when a Japanese calls you "gaijin" ?

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  • "You are an outsider and will never belong to Japanese society" (exclusion)

    17 29.31%
  • "You are an outsider, ignorant of Japanese ways" (cultural ignorance)

    17 29.31%
  • "You are different from us ! Hahaha !" (childish differentiation)

    12 20.69%
  • "You are not Japanese, but I am" (opposition)

    13 22.41%
  • "You are not a Japanese national" (on the passport)

    11 18.97%
  • "You are not an ethnic Japanese" (different looks)

    13 22.41%
  • "Wow ! You are better than me !" (awe)

    8 13.79%
  • Don't know

    10 17.24%
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Thread: What connotation does the term "gaijin" have for you ?

  1. #226
    Banned ricecake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post

    The main difference again seems to be this inside/outside concept, in which most Japanese don't allow foreigners to truly penetrate into their group. Hence, why I state again, sometimes I think most of Japan has more of a 'small villiage' mentality (don't trust outsiders).


    Both Chinese and Koreans have known about this deeply-rooted Japanese cultural trait ( it's their strength ) for thousand years,finally revealed to Westerners ( BIG surprise ) !


    P/S : This is my last post in this thread,I've had enough fun.

  2. #227
    puzzled gaijin
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    They just don't get it and probably never will. It is easier to beat my head against a wall than get them to understand and admit their misconceptions.
    Which are? That Japanese don't consider other ethnic groups' feelings?

    And no, the Japanese do have expressions they use when they don't know a man's or women's name, so there would be no excuse to use gaijin-san or any of its other forms. You thought they just call other Japanese whose names they don't know 'Japanese (looking) person'? Nihonjin-san?

    Note; Talking about uses of -san is for another thread.

  3. #228
    Back leonmarino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan View Post
    But now, I say, let them get upset. I don't really care anymore. The only person they are 'hurting' by getting upset is themselves.
    I totally agree. One can either get upset and ***** about it, or one can.. Well, get on with with their lives basically.

  4. #229
    Banned forever! Crazy Russian's Avatar
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    Unlike some countries, in Russia there isnft a racial hysteria. On TV, the black can be called ethe blackf; the emigrants from Caucasia can be called ethe faces of Caucasian nationalityf. In the peoplefs consciousness, ethe blackf and ethe faces of Caucasian nationalityf donft have an offensive undertone. The black call themselves ethe blackf. As to ethe faces of Caucasian nationalityf, this expression has a kind and ironical (in the finest sense of the word) implication.

    Racists are those who become irritated because of being called, for example, ethe blackf, at the same time being aware that in the peoplefs consciousness of the country they live an expression ethe blackf doesnft have an offensive undertone and that speakers utter ethe blackf without the least hidden motive.

    Some feminists also become irritated when they are called ewomenf, because in their consciousness a word ewomanf is associated with something mediocre and second-rate. They also want men to regard women as ehuman beingsf, not as ewomenf. Though men utter ea womanf without the least hidden motive.

    By the way, in Russia many Jews become irritated because of being called eJewsf, in spite of there being no offensive undertone in the peoplefs consciousness related to a word eJewf. Isnft it idiocy?

    As to Japan, I donft know whether a word egaijinf has an offensive undertone in the peoplefs consciousness or not. If it hasnft, you can call me eRussianf, ewhite manf or egaidjinf. I donft care. Ifm not a racist.

    There is a difference between

    A. Today two Afro-Americans have blown up five cars in N. district.

    and

    B. Today two n*ggers have blown up five cars in N. district.

    Isnft it?
    Press conference at the 32nd G8 summit in St Petersburg:

    Bush: "I am concerned about the decline of democracy in modern Russia. Iraq is a good example to follow."

    Putin: "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly."

    Bush: "Just wait."

  5. #230
    Banned forever! Crazy Russian's Avatar
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    Wink

    Yep, one more thing...

    I am disgusted by foreigners who come to Japan (or any other country) and dare say, eDonft call me thus and thusf, eDonft do this and thatf, eDonft point out what I must dof, etc. Dear foreigners (or gaijins), you are just guests in Japan. You have no right to demand anything. If you donft like Japan, if you donft want to respect the Japanese culture and traditions, please, get the <censored> out of Japan.

    It is something like a manfs knocking at someone else's door and saying, eHi! Ifm going to become a member of your family. Call me c First of all, I would like to assign roles. You will do this. I shall do thatf, etc.

    Foreigners can be held in respect if they are respectful to the country, people, culture they want to be a part of.




    Sometimes it is much easier to love someone or something far apart.

    Perhaps, the first rule of love is keeping some kind of a distance.

  6. #231
    puzzled gaijin
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    No it is not the same as the people who are complaining aout this;
    work here
    pay taxes here
    may have a Japanese spouse
    want the same respect we grant to Japanese people (Hmm, maybe I will just start runnign around calling people 'gaijin-dame-san' and see if that works).
    As I have tried to explain to some others in this forum, doesn't sound like a 'guest' to me (try a hotel instead). A non-citizen resident, maybe, but that doesn't mean those people have no rights.
    Last edited by gaijinalways; Oct 8, 2006 at 00:40. Reason: typo

  7. #232
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    Do not forget that all human people have the habit of excluding people who look different from them. This has been a primitive method of gathering tribes together. Now that we are civilized, many thousands of years after tribalism, we still struggle to understand our tendencies.

    The US claims to be all-inclusive, but just seventy years ago, it was illegal for people with "Japanese blood" to own farms and land! White people could own the land, and rent it to Japanese. Even if your family had been in America for many generations, you could not own the land because of your "blood."

    It is only recently that the United States has struggled to become free for all people.

    In Japan of 100 years ago, gaijin made no sense. They had no koseki, and no real names - just katakana noises - and no real language, just grunting (English). How were Japanese people to understand them? Were they to be considered REAL PEOPLE? So, they were gaijin.

    As Japan struggles with post-tribal thinking, just like the rest of the world, there is still the habit of describing people as Us or Them. I do not see it as a defect in Japanese character - just a common human struggle.

  8. #233
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ototo View Post
    Do not forget that all human people have the habit of excluding people who look different from them. This has been a primitive method of gathering tribes together. Now that we are civilized, many thousands of years after tribalism, we still struggle to understand our tendencies.
    This is my point. Tribalism based on looks is quite primitive and, although natural to our ancestors, shouldn't be accepted in today's world.
    It is only recently that the United States has struggled to become free for all people.
    This is why we Europeans see the US as late by a few decades socially speaking. Even slavery (an relatively old issue) was made illegal almost 100 years earlier in Britain or France than in the US.
    In Japan of 100 years ago, gaijin made no sense. They had no koseki, and no real names - just katakana noises - and no real language, just grunting (English). How were Japanese people to understand them? Were they to be considered REAL PEOPLE? So, they were gaijin.
    So the Japanese entered the antique era of intercultural relations in the 20th century. Their way of calling all foreigners "gaijin" remind me of the Ancient Greek way of calling all non-Greek speakers "barbarians" (which meant something like "gaijin" at the time, and only acquired a strongly negative connotation later).
    As Japan struggles with post-tribal thinking, just like the rest of the world, there is still the habit of describing people as Us or Them. I do not see it as a defect in Japanese character - just a common human struggle.
    Actually when we look back at history it is not so surprising that the Japanese are a few thousands years backyard in the state of social development. The earliest Japanese civilisation (i.e. settled, agricultural society) only dates from the age of the Roman Empire. All of Europe had agricultural societies from 5000 BCE, i.e. 5000 years before Japan. In South-Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Greece...), it predates Japan by 7000 or 8000 years. Indeed, Japan was still in the height of the medieval era in the mid-19th century, so about 500 to 800 years late compared to Europe. It had caught up so much (5000 to 500 years) thanks to the heavy influence of China, which developed much earlier. Japan is only "developed" today because copied the West in the late 19th century, then was forced to adopt an Americanised system after WWII. But mentalities do not change nearly as quickly as systems and technologies. This is why the Japanese socio-cultural mindset still carries strong elements of ancient or medieval way of thinking by Western standards.

    I am not saying this to disparage Japan; I am trying to analyse history as rationally and objectively as possible. It may sound offensive, but to me it is just cold facts which political correctness will not change. History is history, whether it is nice or ugly, whether we like it or not.

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  9. #234
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Russian View Post
    Yep, one more thing...
    I am disgusted by foreigners who come to Japan (or any other country) and dare say, eDonft call me thus and thusf, eDonft do this and thatf, eDonft point out what I must dof, etc. Dear foreigners (or gaijins), you are just guests in Japan. You have no right to demand anything. If you donft like Japan, if you donft want to respect the Japanese culture and traditions, please, get the <censored> out of Japan.
    I seriously hope you never come to the EU, If you do I wish people look down on you and call you communist scum because you come from Russia, regardless of what you believe and why you come to the EU. The Japanese do not differentiate tourists, business people, immigrants, refugees, legal or illegal residents, permanent residents, integrated or non integrated foreigners, people who like Japan and people who don't, people who speak Japanese and people who don't. They see your face, you are a "gaijin" and that's it. You can learn the language and culture, work and pay taxes, never cause the slighest problem, happily hand over your ID card when the police request it, but you will be and always remain a gaijin.

    Conclusion, do not even try to integrate in a society like Japan, it's a waste of time, except if you look Japanese (e.g. Koreans or some Chinese). If you haven't lived in Japan, please refrain from telling other non-Japanese who have lived in Japan what they should think; I am disgusted by foreigners who talk about Japan (or any other country) and dare tell people living there "If you donft like Japan, if you donft want to respect the Japanese culture and traditions, please, get the <censored> out of Japan". Naturally if you come from a country where people used not to be able to choose their own form of government or criticise anything, I understand where you are coming from. But Japan isn't Russia, it was supposedly a free and democratic country since 1946.

  10. #235
    puzzled gaijin
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    Maciamo,

    Your explanation makes a lot of sense, though I would think if Japan readily copied the technology aspect, why wouldn't they copy other aspects beyond mere surface details (such as clothing, music, some sports)? But I suppose customs change slowly, especially in Japan (where there seems to be resistance to any real change), but that's why it seems odd they could pick up some aspects so quickly.

    So I guess I should come back to Japan in 500 years or so?

  11. #236
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I seriously hope you never come to the EU, If you do I wish people look down on you and call you communist scum because you come from Russia, regardless of what you believe and why you come to the EU.

    You guys please keep it clean and do not provoke one another. It could result in an infraction!

  12. #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ototo View Post
    Do not forget that all human people have the habit of excluding people who look different from them. This has been a primitive method of gathering tribes together. Now that we are civilized, many thousands of years after tribalism, we still struggle to understand our tendencies.
    My research also has something to do with this problem, and I've read many books on the Japanese view on the "outside", and what is "outside" and "them", opposed to "inside " and "we". In most of the books, including that one I started to read yesterday, the authors reffer to the division of the visual world on inside and outside as a basic human concept.It has developed the way Steve describes above, but they view it as typical feature of the human society even now, and give some examples how this idea has evolved in the modern world. An example I read yesterday was about bulling, and noone will deny that bulling exists in every part of this world.It has nothing to do with the problem to what extent a society has developed.
    Wanna walk like a normal human being again

  13. #238
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    On tribalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    This is my point. Tribalism based on looks is quite primitive and, although natural to our ancestors, shouldn't be accepted in today's world.
    This is why we Europeans see the US as late by a few decades socially speaking. Even slavery (an relatively old issue) was made illegal almost 100 years earlier in Britain or France than in the US.
    So the Japanese entered the antique era of intercultural relations in the 20th century. Their way of calling all foreigners "gaijin" remind me of the Ancient Greek way of calling all non-Greek speakers "barbarians" (which meant something like "gaijin" at the time, and only acquired a strongly negative connotation later).
    ...
    I am not saying this to disparage Japan; I am trying to analyse history as rationally and objectively as possible. It may sound offensive, but to me it is just cold facts which political correctness will not change. History is history, whether it is nice or ugly, whether we like it or not.
    Thank you so very much for your post, Maciamo!

    About 100,000 years ago, a group of Homo sapiens came out of Africa, and populated the rest of the world. I call them the EBA (Go) people - Everyone But Africans. That is the group that made the Swedes, Japanese, Filipinos, French, American Indians - Go.
    I believe that the Go had the tendency to exclude others who did not look the same - that is why there is so much variety in the Go branch of Homo sapiens. (The Africans may have the same tendency, but they stayed on the mother continent.)
    Therefore, the children of the Eba People have a tendency towards xenophobia. It made them associate into tribes or clans that would war against each other for small percieved differences.
    It has only been 100,000 years since we were all from the same little branch that left Africa. This is just an eye-blink in evolutionary history. And yet, so quickly, we have developed our instincts to a point where we do not recognize other Go as even human!
    I live in New Mexico. There are Native North Americans here in many tribes. People worry whether it is politically correct to call them "Native Americans" or "Indians." Ol, Ol, ѓ, ςȊOl?
    The answer is, they do not care if you say "Native American" or "Indian." They care very much about what you have to say to them. If you treat them like stupid dirty savages, they don't care what you call them. If you treat them like honored friends, they don't care what you call them.
    I work with a friend who is Navajo. They call themselves "Din&#233;" which means "The People," or "Human Beings." Everyone else is gaijin - even other Indians. My friends who are Navajo are fascinated with Japan, as the Din&#233; follow a strict ː system from mother's descent. You are born to mother's family, but from father's mother's family, and in each generation you have a major lineage from mother, and a minor lineage from father. You are not allowed to marry into the same "clan," or lineage, as mother's descent, as this is considered incest - even to ten generations!
    We are all from a tribal clan, that of the EBA people, and we are struggling to learn how not to be so tribal. All of us.
    Last edited by Steve Ototo; Oct 8, 2006 at 14:23. Reason: I whis to highlight.

  14. #239
    puzzled gaijin
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    But wouldn't you say that this xenophobic tendancy is more pronounced in Japan (and some other countries I can think that are not as developed in the economic and technological sense in Asia)? In other words, we are contrasting this behaviour across countries, yet a lot of people seem to find it acceptable behaviour if it is not violent.

    Let's face it, in that sense, Japan is a safer country. Generally your chances of being attacked are pretty low here (though that is sadly changing), but of being 'mistreated' because you are not Japanese is very common for some of the posters (the others maybe are just lucky or don't notice it).

  15. #240
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    This is another aspect of what some of you call us-them free society today.
    Last edited by pipokun; Feb 25, 2007 at 19:35.

  16. #241
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Steve Ototo,

    You are talking about prehistoric men, early homo sapiens, about 90000 years before the rise of agriculture and the first civilisations. What differentiate humans nowadays is their level of civilisation, their local culture, language, code of conduct, morals, laws, social conventions, etc. This has only really started to evolved since men live into organised states, with cities, specific jobs, social classes, laws, etc. My point is that the Japanese still behave like ancient Europeans because they have only settled in such organised agricultural societies for about 2000 years, as opposed to 7000 to 9000 years for Europeans (and all Westerners descendent from Europeans).

  17. #242
    Banned forever! Crazy Russian's Avatar
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    Cool 2 Maciamo

    Originally Posted by Maciamo:

    ecommunist scumf
    Wow! I like it! But I prefer eKommunistisch russisch Schweinf. (The Nazis called us so.) Now I know what you think of us and the Chinese.

    I really donft care how you will call me. If I it annoys me whilst being in the EU, I shall go back to the best country in the world – to Russia.



    Originally Posted by Maciamo:

    eNaturally if you come from a country where people used not to be able to choose their own form of government or criticise anything, I understand where you are coming from. But Japan isn't Russia; it was supposedly a free and democratic country since 1946.f
    Ha! What do you know about the Russians? I respect people who search, want something and try to achieve something. And it doesnft matter whether they achieve what they want or not. Europe is a big refuse pit without an aim and wishes. It is doomed to perishing. And it will one day.

    Napoleon almost created unified Europe. He wanted Europe to be the ruler of the world. I really regret his having failed. Now Europe is a big nothing. It is living the rest of its days. In Europe, I respect only France, Germany and Italy. They are pleasant exceptions to the rule. I hope that Russia will never become a member of the EU.

    As to being unable to criticise anything, you, probably, know history very bad. You, probably, donft know that those who criticised were immediately executed or died in Gulags afterwards. Stalin, for example, killed 40 million Russians.

    And what is a democracy? Nowadays, democracies are slaves to the USA. Those who are afraid to contradict the USA are called democracies. Those who contradict the USA and want to be free and independent are not called democracies. (Though there are several exceptions.) Your country has been a slave to the USA for a looooong time.

    By the way, Japan is not a slave to the USA. It is forced to be the USf ally.

    By the way, thank you for being honest. I appreciate it!

    P.S. Have you read A. Solzhenitsyn?

  18. #243
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    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    My point is that the Japanese still behave like ancient Europeans because they have only settled in such organised agricultural societies for about 2000 years, as opposed to 7000 to 9000 years for Europeans (and all Westerners descendent from Europeans).
    Thank you for the kind reply. I find that many people, even the Americans, tend towards tribalism. I think that it is an ingrained social habit in many communities, more of a common human habit, than one from current social structures.
    Americans can be just as "tribal" as anyone else. There are interstate rivalries between Texas and Oklahoma that are sometimes taken very seriously - and these states were only settled 200 years ago!
    Your thoughts are always appreciated.

  19. #244
    puzzled gaijin
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    I agree with Maciamo, that Japan acts like a very small village (we're talking most of the country. It borders on paranoia sometimes, when you hear about the dangerous outside of Japan. This and my parents don't lock their doors, even when they go out!

    Of course Steve O., you get some of this behaviour everywhere. In a rural part of Central Maine in the US, a resident who had lived in a town for over 20 years was still called "a New Yorker", even though he had been in that town longer than some of the resident kids who had gone to school out of state!

  20. #245
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    I think gai-jin is racistic slur, if there is no polite attachment in the end. There is also another word: gaikogu-jin, which does not need polite attachment, it is polite version of same word already.

  21. #246
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    I've only been called a gaijin by children, and they all seemed to have been more surprised by seeing me like, "wow, you're a foreigner!" and not really leaning towards having any negative or positive opinion.

    I voted "You are not an ethnic Japanese" which seems most correct for me personally. I'm sure a lot of people have been called "gaijin" in a rude way, unfortunatley.

  22. #247
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    to me it really just depends how its used. like saying stupid forigner is rude but it can be used like um kooo used it or it can be used to state the obveous. your a forigner. im not sure why people take so much offence to it. a lot of people in the US say the same thing to mexicans ect. and usally its not a nice thing. i wouldent take it offencivly because its true you are a forigner. deal with it. btw {im sorry but i cant spell...} soem people just bleve that people should stay in there own countrys wich is a little ignorant really but it just the way the world works. (why are there so many fourms about this genjin thing.)

    i told you i cant spell. *gaijin* sorry ill make a note to learn how to spell romanji words
    Last edited by *chelly~panda*; Dec 2, 2006 at 05:23. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  23. #248
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    Can't believe the big fuss over the word gaijin. At least they are not pursuing the American way of burning crosses on your front lawn for god sake. Why is it that some people ***** so much about so little? All you white fokes get a grip!
    "Nobody knows the trouble I have seen"

  24. #249
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    An American English professor living and working in Japan with his Japanese wife told me to just think of the word gaijin as "permanent guest". It was his way of just dealing with it. I was repeatedly called gaikogu-jin by everyone who was with me while they were talking amongst themselves. I still think any word to describe a person can be negative; it just depends on the context of how it is being used. That said, I can understand some of the frustration foreigners feel that really live there, that they are never truly accepted. The professor told me that he takes advantage of that because if he makes a mistake he can always plead that he is an ignorant gaijin that doesn't know any better. I am not saying that is the ideal way of handling things, it was just his opinion and I found it interesting and I might say a little funny!
    I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it. ~Jack Handey

  25. #250
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    You are never going to be a Japanese if you were not born Japanese. Just have a look at Lafcadio Hearn's story and you shall know. The Japanese are fascinated with being in omote and ura groups, so not only would it be difficult for them to accept foreigners as a part of them, but many times they wouldn't be able to accept fellow Japanese who they deem to be not qualified to be in their group. The term gaijin tell me that I am a foreigner of the country. It's not like I want to be a Japanese any time soon, so I have no problems really with this word. Besides there are many more words that serve the same purpose of denigrating others but much stronger in tone. As long as those words are not used, I am ok with the word Gaijin being used.

    English also has terms like "alien", which can somewhat be translated as Gaijin. The difference is that you don't hear people calling others aliens in the US (probably except Neo nazis), but you hear the word gaijin quite frequently.

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