13 March 2009 ~ 43 Comments

おーい、日本人のみなさん、See how beautiful I am…And be ashamed!

おーい、日本人のみなさん、おれら黒人をみると避ける人がいるが、避けられるたんびにすごく悲しくなるんだ。おれらもみんなといっしょなんだ。仲良くやりたいんだよ。

Roughly translated it means something to the effect of:  “Hey, Japanese People! When you see us black people do not avoid us. Every time you do it we get very upset. We are all the same! And we want to have a good relationship with you.

My friend, , after reading Lighten up Loco, was inspired to write an article on his blog about the black man’s experience in Japan as well as  instruct me to say the above to Nihonjin. Unfortunately I don’t have many Japanese readers that I’m aware of and I’d be too embarrassed, humiliated to say it in public.  So, I’m not exactly sure how I shall go about using the above except to post it here and share it with my readers.

If you can read Japanese and you want to read the rest of the post it’s available on ‘s Blog. It’s well written and passionate. A great article! , I would love to respond to you in Japanese but my skills are just not where they ought to be (for various reasons I won’t make any excuses) and I feel that would be seriously detrimental to my communication ability. Sorry.

But, not for nothing, and though I’ve lightened up, I would like to say something…

The purpose of the lighten up loco article was to address my concerns about the attitudes of some of the gaijin who live here…not so much to admonish nihonjin. I think I’ve done enough of that throughout my blog. As far as being avoided is concerned…you know… if Nihonjin* simply avoided me I would be fine with that. It would bother me a little, but you know what, too bad. People have the right to avoid whomever they want. It’s just the way they* go about it that pisses me off sometimes.

But, no, my issue is not with avoidance. To be honest, that’s one of the lesser issues I deal with on a regular basis. Hell, my co-workers avoided me for 2 years. What I have an issue with is something I’m afraid may be primal and beyond redress. It’s the look in a nihonjin’s* eyes when he or she unexpectedly finds himself in my vicinity. It’s the terrified parent’s yank on their children from anywhere around me with a cry/yelp of ‘ABU~NAI’ (danger!), it’s the purse clutching and wallet pocket-shifting, and the turning of their* backs to me, and the placing of elbows, shoulders and briefcases between us on trains as to avoid any contact whatsoever, and the conspicuousness, the blatancy of all this…shameless, SHAMELESS…There’s absolutely no shame in their game at all. Dehumanizing and humiliating me is like common sense to Nihonjin*.

That’s why I said primal.

You know, sometimes when I find myself walking behind a nihonjin* I change my path quickly just to avoid the inevitable fear reaction I will cause (and the feeling of anger it will trigger in me- anger I don’t like to feel for nihonjin* everyday) or, if I must continue in the same direction, I pray they don’t turn around…and if they do I try to time their look around with the turn of my head, just like Japanese do (Geez, nihonjin ni nachau) My point though is if I don’t turn my head and pretend that I haven’t noticed the person at all, they’ll speed up, conspicuously so, or race away a distance then look back to see if I followed…and I watch them…I watch this nutty terrorized fucking behavior daily….there’s no shame that they had created this dramatic stalking episode in their minds, no question that they might have been wrong about it. No nothing. Just a “Phew. I made it! I’m safe! My quick reaction must have deterred him!” And I bet they’ll go home and tell their children or maybe their grandchildren someday in the future about how they escaped a close encounter with a hostile black stalker…and the children will sit there enthralled and terrified at the depiction of me, embellished with fabrication no doubt.

This is not avoidance I’m painstakingly trying to describe for you. This, my dear friend, this kind of thing cannot be addressed with a message as subtle as yours, I’m sorry…I’m also sorry that you feel the need to even say it. That, in and of itself, is a shame. This should go without saying…to feel the need to plead to your people for common decency, for them to treat people like they themselves would want to be treated…you must feel awful! I commiserate and I sympathize.

Nevertheless, I’d be happy to help you revise it…From what I’ve been able to glean over the past 5 years here, shame (and avoiding it) is a hell of a motivation for Nihonjin* so if you could somehow show them the shamefulness of behaving in such a way, maybe you’ll have a chance. I know…but it’s the best I could think of. Hell, it worked in America, to an extent. Thanks to people like one of my favorite writers, Langston Hughes. He wrote a poem called “I, too, sing America” which I think contains a message that is close to what I would like to say, but not quite. The poem goes a little something like this:

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

Yes, Langston Hughes was quite brilliant.  Most of this poem I don”t think applies to the situation here. Just this stanza stands out as relevant to me:

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I know that shame is asking for a lot. But if you really want to compose a message to your brethren* then use that stanza as your inspiration and you probably won’t go wrong… I’m sure you have a much better idea of how to reach the minds and hearts of your people* than I do. If you come up with anything I’d be all too happy to read it. maybe we can put it on a T-Shirt (-;

And thank you again for caring. It’s really encouraging to know that there are people like yourself willing to stand up to the masses and say: “Alright, enough is enough!” I commend you 空さん、頑張って下さいね

Loco Lite (-; Tastes great, Less Feeling (-;

* The asterisks is for you “others” out there just dying to say something in defense of the Japanese (for some reason) who were thinking as they read this ‘he doesn’t like stereotyping yet he stereotypes Japanese’…just so you guys know: I don’t mean ALL Japanese people. Just the vast majority of the ones I’ve encountered who participate in said behavior. The Japanese otherwise are the salt of the earth and God’s gift to nature and all that good stuff.. (-:

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! LOL

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43 Responses to “おーい、日本人のみなさん、See how beautiful I am…And be ashamed!”

  1. justin 13 March 2009 at 11:53 pm Permalink

    "You know, sometimes when I find myself walking behind a nihonjin* I change my path quickly jsut to avoid the inevitable fear reaction i will cause or, if I must contnue in the same direction, I pray they don’t turn around…and if they do I try to time their look around with…"

    That's really intensely paranoid and SICK man, just SICK,… to have something like that on your consciousness every minute of the day when you are out and about… And I have got to say it REALLLLLLY made me chuckle!!!! Cause I got the same affliction but for something else, chinese English Bandits.

    A new bread shop opens next to my apartment and I go in to get a pineapple delight bun. I know people 60+ and who look like farmers are safe, anyone fashionable or educated looking is possibly on the prowl ready to attack me. So I approach the counter to check out with a granny at the register and a way-to-fashionable looking shaven headed probably the store owner sitting looking at me from his nearby stool. I winced and contorted my head to avoid him being able to see the front of my face… I found comfort and safety in the 60+ woman's age… and then the guy just thanked me after I paid, no English attack… *sign of relief*

    So, yeah man, maybe they are just like me — scared you'll speak English to them??? hehe just kidding. :) If only!

    You know when I read the very first line up top in Japanese I was guessing what this entry is going to be about, and I was thinking "oh I know! He's going to get it printed on a shirt, isn't he?" I mean you know there are the geeks with 日本人彼女募集 shirts and they don't feel no shame, … what about getting a shirt printed up??? "Educate" them effortlessly!!

    • Kermit 3 September 2012 at 6:59 pm Permalink

      There are a number of points made here that I take exception to, but first of all, non-confrontation is NOT one of those Japanese virtues that the world should emulate. I would go as far as to call it a dangerous ideology, this holding up the avoidance of conflict as a unique cultural trait that the Japanese should take pride in. We are talking here about a code of conduct that favors aggression. What is amounts to is the passive acceptance of abuse, something that, no doubt, makes for a peaceful society, but I don’t think that anybody, including the Japanese, would call Utopian.

      I fail to see how addressing wrongs can be wrong. Not doing so, in my book, is simply immoral. I say confront away, but don’t expect to win any merit badges for it. The INITIAL response to anger, in Japan or anywhere else in the world, is going to be anger. It is afterwards–perhaps years afterwards if you make yourself memorable enough–that some good might come out of it. The key is in picking your battles.

      I don’t think that being all prickly and hypersensitive is going to win hearts and minds anywhere. Except on rare occasion the wise course for foreigners in Japan is just to grin and bear it. But I do think that foreigners here should draw the line somewhere.

      • Locohama 3 September 2012 at 8:32 pm Permalink

        What are you reply to man? You got me confused :-S

        • Kermit 4 September 2012 at 12:01 am Permalink

          Not the first time I’ve confused people. Somehow must I got crossed up. I thought I was at the bottom of the thread. I, however, was responding to JahC:

          “Sora-sans’ (空) prescription fits in with the concepts of shitsurei shimashita, Honne and
          Tatamae…utilizing these concepts would make a larger impression on Japanese
          than a good old fashioned protest, or Western style confrontation.”

          The non-confrontational approach, in my opinion can be SELF-SERVING. It is not going to make anybody popular. But if opening minds is the goal, I believe that “a good old fashions protest” works just fine.

          I’m all for acceptance of cultural differences, but this harmony thing is a burden for everybody. If I didn’t make my original point clear, it gives licence for all kinds of abusive behavior. It is always going to be in retaliation that harmony gets disturbed.

          • Locohama 4 September 2012 at 12:39 am Permalink

            You seem to be sitting on the fence on the issue in question…I really can’t see where you stand…one sentence you say one thing the next you say the opposite. Anyway, thanks for the comment yo! Not sure how to process it though. Maybe I’m just tired. I’ll revisit it tomorrow

          • Kermit 4 September 2012 at 4:01 am Permalink

            As I apparently haven’t made myself clear, I’ll give this one more shot. Perhaps the confusion is over whether I am speaking of dealing with strangers or with Japanese who know me. I always assume that the Japanese around me are at least familiar with my face. I’ve lived in the same apartment here on the outskirts of Yokohama for some 25 years now, and rarely venture far from where people know me.

            What I’ve been trying to say is that anger and confrontation work for me, but I DO believe in using it selectively. And I believe it works best when it is considered out of character. (When a guy like Louis Armstrong weighed in on integration, people listened.) Nobody is going to pay attention to man who is relentlessly angry even when he has a legitimate beef.

            Just a personal observation. I often say things that people vehemently disagree with at the time I say it, but with the idea planted in their minds, they often come around to it some time later, though they may not recognize the source of their new beliefs Force of intellect? I don’t know. Have to say that the force works better on people who operate in a vacuum and less well on thoughtful people with a mind of their own.

            By the way, I have the same problem, as you, of Japanese being startled when I walk up to them unawares. Drives me crazy. One fellow worker in particular–who has since left the workplace–over something like a ten year period, was forever yelping anytime I got near him. Over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of standing at a distance and announcing my presence before walking up to ANYBODY. I try to do it in a pointedly facetious way in a (probably futile) attempt to force them to pause to reflect on what what an irritant this must be to put up with on a near recurring daily basis.

            I like your description of the reaction to foreigner as a primal fear, though dealing with such matters is about like a spider trying to reason with people with arachnophobia. (I literally have have fellow workers who complain that I am in the habit of creeping up on people.) I say that even the most banal nonthreatening day-to-day activities imaginable sends some of my fellow workers into near hysterics.

            In the face of primal fear, I say a foreigner is pretty near helpless. My beef is with ideologies. Active existential choices. Belief systems which are burdensome and a source of friction with the world outside of Japan. I believe that the apotheosis of 「和」 into uniquely Japanese, and thus moral trait, a is a prime example. A source of general misery which Japanese nevertheless sometimes point to with pride. (Consider the suicide rate in Japan) Ruth Benedict in “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” considered the conflict of harmony and Samurai values of honor as creating an irreconcilable conflict in the Japanese psyche.

            In any meaningful conversations I have with my Japanese friends, they are perfectly willing to commiserate over the never ending recriminations that they have to put up with in workplace. Often they cling to the belief in a better world outside of Japan where people actually enjoy their work. (Many of them HAVE worked overseas) I, on the other hand, usually use this opportunity to complain about American politics

            What works for me as an antidote to the indignities I have to put up with here in Japan is holding on to memories of treatment I have received in the USA. I find it interesting that we share the same frustrations, though I expect that life was less a picnic for you, a black man than a white guy like myself. Wouldn’t presume to compare discrimination in the two countries. Would say that the odds of you waking up to a burning cross on your lawn is considerably less in modern day Japan than it was in the town in the rural South where I grew up.

          • Locohama 5 September 2012 at 7:24 pm Permalink

            “I like your description of the reaction to foreigner as a primal fear, though dealing with such matters is about like a spider trying to reason with people with arachnophobia. (I literally have have fellow workers who complain that I am in the habit of creeping up on people.) I say that even the most banal nonthreatening day-to-day activities imaginable sends some of my fellow workers into near hysterics.”
            So true…
            “What works for me as an antidote to the indignities I have to put up with here in Japan is holding on to memories of treatment I have received in the USA. I find it interesting that we share the same frustrations, though I expect that life was less a picnic for you, a black man than a white guy like myself. Wouldn’t presume to compare discrimination in the two countries. Would say that the odds of you waking up to a burning cross on your lawn is considerably less in modern day Japan than it was in the town in the rural South where I grew up.”
            Why compare then? Like Yoda said, focus, “on where you are, what you are doing!”
            Thanks for the shout Kermet

  2. ponta 14 March 2009 at 1:36 am Permalink

    一在日黒人さんの訴え
    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/bb5214eb82f

  3. Grant 15 March 2009 at 11:16 am Permalink

    I keep reading about all the nice people in Japan who try to behave politely so they don't reinforce the negative stereotypes many Japanese seem to have about Americans, but it doesn't seem to be doing any good. I say do a 180 and have fun with it. Stalk anyone who tries to avoid you for at least a block or two, and make loud announcements like "Children are very tasty." Or just sprinkle people liberally with shichimi togarashi and lick your lips. Enjoy!

  4. jaredinnakano 17 March 2009 at 2:44 am Permalink

    I would definitely buy and wear that t-shirt!

  5. ItAintEazy 17 March 2009 at 6:37 am Permalink

    All right, here's my amateur translation of the blog post (currently with no comments). I apologize for any errors:

    =======================================================================

    So I decided to sneak a peek at Loco-san's blog after a long while. It was the one that introduced me to THAT (当) Blog and this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyBoLPrjqFw ). Although he has had this experience back in NY, in Japan he has it much worse, saying that he goes through this terrible thing ten times a day, every day. The purpose of this article is to raise the problem of how he cannot hold this kind of dissatisfaction with Japan, especially in light of the fact that foreigners exist throughout Japan we find this type of behavior strange. There is much to learn from the blogs that allow open comments and don't block opposing opinions since there are a whole lot of opinions to be had.

    Of course, such dissatisfaction is good to say and must be said. However, you must take care on how you say it. If you made the same video, you would just get more antipathy in Japan since the seeds of fear for black people have already been planted.

    If you are going to relate your opinion, you must stress that such avoidances makes you unhappy. Also, a good shortcut is for black people to make the impression to more and more Japanese people that they really, really want to speak Japanese normally with them.

    The Japanese have made firm opinions that all black people are the same as Westernized black people, based on the actions of some black folks, and this is wrong. There are good and bad images of black folks available. Hollywood films and foreign newscasts will show black people as the same and over blow unusual characteristics. Because of that, there are negative opinions about black people in Japan. There are a whole lot of people that have not met a real live black person.

    I think that even if there wasn't such a history concerning Westerners, if black people in Japan were to give the impression that they are against Japanese people, then this new image will just take hold again. If the discussion among the population spreads, as well as the cultural exchange, then a lot of the images might change, however, the opinion that Japanese people have of black folks will probably remain low for the years to come.

    Recently, Mr. Loco made a post that included a videos his students graduating from middle school. The way he made his greetings without seeming bewildered was pleasant to see. This is the way black people, or any people for that matter, should relate to these kids. This goes for relating to adults as well.

    However, cursing them and calling them hicks won't open those doors.

    Please say the following to the Japanese in their own language: "Hey, Japanese people, if there is anyone among you that looks at us black folks and runs away, doing so will make us very unhappy. We are just like you and we just want to get along." Because I believe in the Japanese, I think just doing this alone will change things.

    It would be good if the government or the administrations would do this, I think, the government and administrations are not as quick to act as we wish. Since we can't see through a Westerner's eyes, these tragic events will continue to accumulate. Of course, the media neither investigates it or pays attention to those incidents.

    It all starts with a small voice. I'm sure that people that will cooperate will come. From that small voice they will gather into a bigger voice.

    However, you must first get the Japanese people to join you. You must appeal to the hearts of the Japanese people. What you did will only inflame the passions of the Japanese people and turn them against you.

    Because of that, the calls to cooperate from Debito's blog are no good. Because of the reasons that can be found here ( http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/b06c3f2855a… ) and the other things that he has written, and his is the only blog that is willing to cooperate, the sincerity and fidelity to this issue is held in doubt. It will just give another reason for all of Japan to hate the foreign-born.

    In order for the Japanese society to someday be able to understand, or if possible, to be able to bring about the effect that you desire, by all means, work hard at studying the Japanese language because we really desire that.

    ===========================================================

    So what this dude is saying is that he also thinks Japanese folks should be mollycoddled when being called out on their racism and ignorance? Fuck that! If they won't stand for that bullshit themselves (unless they do) then why should we stand for it?

    All right, I guess I'll make a deal. At first, I'll get on the teevee, get all weepy and pull a Rodney King "treating us like criminals makes me saaaad! We're just like you, can't we all just get along?" and see if that sort of groveling to be treated as a human being actually works. If it doesn't, then it's back to kicking asses again, whether they like it or not.

    Fuck, I shouldn't wake up mad like this.

    • Locohama 17 March 2009 at 8:24 am Permalink

      YO EZ! My Man, 50 Grand! Thanks for the translation!!!! Otsukaresamadeshita… WOW!
      Yeah, you said it, man, it's a call for more mollycoddling. But, you know what…I've been doing some thinking (yet again, long and hard) and I've decided that I'm not going to fuel my anger, or allow them to fuel it anymore…enough is enough. The Iceman has cometh! I'm going to re-focus my energy on something more productive and let them be. I know it won't be EZ (-; This issue is very complexed, and I'm hardly in the emotional shape to tackle it head on as much as I'd like to. I think my issues here are as much a result of the racial trauma I experienced back home as it is anything the Japanese have done, so for the time being I'm just going to deal with my own trauma, and if i can resolve that then I'll be in a healthier state and better able to see the issues I'm having with nihonjin clearer, you know? I mean I sat back and read a little James Baldwin (perhaps the most eloquent and intelligent man to deal with such issues) and Langston Hughes and WEB DuBois and then re-read some of the things I've been writing and I noticed some similarities but a big significant difference. They mostly came at the challenge the way Sora-san suggested. They Mollycoddled white people, sometimes. And sometimes they threw haymakers with the force of a Typhoon. It was all about timing, and knowing yourself, and knowing your target very well. Plus they were driven by the kind of passion that can only be derived from fighting for one's home. And, while I live here, and pay taxes and have vested myself as much as one can in a place that one has no idea when they will leave, this is not home. The truth is, though I've been living here a few years, and i think I know Japanese people well, maybe I don't know them as well as I should. So, I've decided to take a pause for the cause. Of course I'm going to continue writing…I love this too much to give this up…but, I too hate waking up mad. It's bad for my digestion and my constitution and my general disposition, and so I've decided to go a lighter path for a while.
      It's funny though…I came to this epiphany a couple of days ago and I actually feel different already. I saw the same shit on the train today and my body tensed up but my mind was like "Yo, Dude! Chill!" The words actually almost came out my mouth. And you know what? I didn't act out (well I did elbow this one asshole who was determined to keep his briefcase between us regardless of my efforts to avoid it coming in contact with me) I didn't plot my literary assault (something I'm prone to do I'm sure you know) I simply chilled…and told myself something to the effect of "it must be a bitch being Japanese: intimidated by anyone and everyone, afraid of people who are not like you, stuck on a rock in Asia because your culture has made you unsuitable to survive off of it, afraid to look at or stand near a woman for fear of being accused of being Chikan, afraid of not being early for work and not staying late and not going drinking afterwards for then you may be labeled uncooperative…"etc etc. I looked around me and for the first time since I've been here…THE VERY FIRST TIME…I felt pity. It's an awful feeling, feeling sorry for people, and I hated it. I've never really felt pity for people before, at least not healthy people anyway. But, maybe that's it. Maybe I just realized that they are not so healthy, and neither am I. They've been traumatized by their society the same way I've been traumatized by mine. Mutually inclusive trauma…They see danger in my black skin…I see racism in their black eyes… They're afraid of what they don't know, and feel secure within the folds of the familiar, and I'm afraid of being persecuted and dehumanized for that's what enabled the atrocities that have occurred throughout my life and our history in the US and I feel secure fighting against evil even if in some cases it's only a delusion of persecution…
      Yeah, EZ, I'm at a point right now where I just want to step back and NOT see what I want to see, or what I don't want to see, but simply see what it is…and deal with it one moment at a time.
      It's the damnedest thing. I'm even having trouble articulating it…but I will, you can count on it. Whatever this is I'm going through, it's changing the way I view myself and the people around me, for sure, and I think in a healthy, productive way.

      But it could be that spicy (tasty) ass Ramen I ate last Friday…who knows (-;

      Loco

      PS: And thanks again for breaking down that post for me…
      You are the most righteous…or you got too much free time on your hands between filling prescriptions and what not LOL

      Peace

  6. ItAintEazy 17 March 2009 at 8:58 am Permalink

    Nah, I ain't filling no prescription yet, just applying to pharm school. If that 98th percentile PCAT score doesn't put me in, then I'll apply as a JET.

    But you are right, though. Being an underemployed bum that I am, I do have too much time on my hand :D

    But shit, though, wow. Hear you talk, you must have achieved the enlightenment of a Jesus or a Jackie Robinson. I don't know if I'll ever be that strong, I'd probably be binging at Roppongi bitching and pissing with the Army brothers stationed there.

    • Locohama 17 March 2009 at 9:08 am Permalink

      Tempting…bruh…tempting…sometimes the call of Roppongi (or shibuya or Kabukicho) is like a Siren's cal lol

      Shit, 98 Percentile??? you should be in no sweat.

      Loco

  7. 20 March 2009 at 11:17 am Permalink

    あっ、翻訳してくださったようで、ありがとうございます。ただ、誤訳もある。
    私の下手な英語も誤訳があるかもしれませんが、一応翻訳を参考にさせていただき、訂正しておきます。

    since the seeds of fear for black people have already been planted.
    これはちょっとちがいます。

    黒人は怖いというイメージを植え付けるだけだろう。
    it will plant the seed of the fear for black people

    Also, a good shortcut is for black people to make the impression to more and more Japanese people that they really, really want to speak Japanese normally with them.
    これはちょっと足りないところがありますね。

    また、黒人の方々がごくごく普通に日本人といっしょに日本語でしゃべったり、同じ目標にむかって作業している姿をより多くの日本人にみてもらうことが近道だろう。
    Also, a good shortcut is for black people to make the impression to more and more Japanese people that they really, really want to speak Japanese normally with them and black people and the Japanese people working together for the same purpose.

    Hollywood films and foreign newscasts will show black people as the same and over blow unusual characteristics. Because of that, there are negative opinions about black people in Japan. There are a whole lot of people that have not met a real live black person. 

    これもちょっと違います。

    ハリウッド映画や海外のニュース映像を通じて、共通するものもあるだろうが、異なる部分も大きい。そして、特に黒人の人の場合、日本における人口の絶対数が極端に少ない。生で見たことがない人もかなりいる。

    Though we might have the similar images of black people through Hollywood films and foreign newcasts, there are also big differences. 
    And black population is extremely few to such a extent that there are a whole lot of people that have not met a real live black person. 

    you must stress that such avoidances makes you unhappy
    英語のunhappyのニュアンスがわかりませんが、やはり、これは、sad、悲しみ、なのです。悲しみ、というのは日本人に非常に訴えるものがある。

    I think that even if there wasn’t such a history concerning Westerners, if black people in Japan were to give the impression that they are against Japanese people, then this new image will just take hold again. If the discussion among the population spreads, as well as the cultural exchange, then a lot of the images m the opinion that Japanese people have of black folks will probably remain low for the years to come.
    これもちがいます。

     むしろ欧米の場合とちがって歴史がないだけに、今現在日本で生活している黒人の方々がこれからの日本人に対して黒人のひとってこんな感じ、というイメージをこれから新たに作っていっていくのだ、と考えていただいた方が手っ取り早い。
    人口が増えて、交流も増えれば、そうしたイメージもいろいろ変わっていくだろうが、しかし、多分、日本では黒人の人の人口は当分は少ないままになるだろう。

     Because Japan, unlike western nations, has little history with black people , it might be even safe to say that black people living now in Japan are the people who will create images of black people in Japan. If the discussion among the population spread, as well as the cultural exchange, then a lot of the images might change, however,the population of black will remain low for the years to come.

    The way he made his greetings without seeming bewildered was pleasant to see.This is the way black people, or any people for that matter, should relate to these kids. This goes for relating to adults as well.
    これもちょっと違います。

     中学生の子供たちが撮影者のLoco氏になんのとまどいも見せずに、挨拶している姿は微笑ましい。
     要するに黒人でも何人でも、知り合ってしまえばあんな感じなのである。大人だって同じだ。
    黒人でも何人でも、知り合ってしまえばあんな感じなのである。大人だって同じだ。
    It is pleasant to see students greeting Mr Loco without bewilderment. In other words, they will act like that toward any people, black people or not once they know each other. That holds for adults too.

    However, cursing them and calling them hicks won’t open those doors.

    う~~ん・・・・

    ただ、英語でとやかくいっていもてらちがあかない。
    However, complaining in English won't get you anywhere.

    Since we can’t see through a Westerner’s eyes, these tragic events will continue to accumulate. Of course, the media neither investigates it or pays attention to those incidents.
    これもちょっと・・・・。

    欧米の例をみるまでもなく、悲惨な事件が大量におきてようやく腰をあげるのである。そして、メディアだってやはり事件にならないと注目しないことが多い。
    We don't have to look at the examples of western nations to see how slow government and administrations start working on the problems; they won't start working on them start until tragic incidents happen.

    What you did will only inflame the passions of the Japanese people and turn them against you.
    これも・・・・

    ただし、日本人の協力者をえること。日本人の心に響く言い方や反感を買うやり方、というものがある。

    But you must first get the Japanese people to join you. There are ways which inflame the passions of the Japanese people and turn them against you.(Japanese people know them.)

     いずれにせよ、日本社会を理解したり、あるいは、なにか影響を与えようとするなら、どうか、日本語の勉強の方を頑張っていただきたい、と切に願うのである。
    In any case, if you want to understand Japanese society or want to make differences in Japanese society, I hope strongly that you will study Japanese language .

    このように双方に誤解がおきやすい。(私の英語も間違っていたらなおしてください)。
    そして、日本人にとって、外国人との接触を不安にさせる一つの要因が日本語以外の言葉をしゃべらなくてはいけないだろう、ということなのです。なるほど、すべての外国人が日本語が話せないわけではない。けれど、日本人の出会ったほとんどの外国人の方々は日本語をしゃべらない。日本語で語りかけるようにすべきだとは思いますが・・・・なぜ、英語で話しかけるか、と言えば、それが日本語以外で知っている唯一の国際的に通用するだろう言葉だろうからです。

    いずれにせよ、ここでも言ったように、やはり、日本語で対話した方がいい。アメリカでも人種間の対話が言われていますね。
    日本でもやればいい。しかし、やはり、日本語でやってほしい。

    翻訳された方の誤訳の方向性というのもおもしろい。黒人の方を日本人は一部の欧米人のように憎んでいるのではないか、という思いがあるのではないでしょうか? ここに書いたように、ある種の偏見をもっている日本人もいるでしょう。しかし、大抵のひとにとっては他の大概の外国人と同じように未知の人種なのです。だから、そこに不安と好奇心が混在する。私の印象では、どうも一部の外国人の方々は祖国での偏見、祖国での人や社会の見方をそのまま日本に持ち込んでしまう人がいるように思います。歴史や文化の違いがある。祖国でのものの見方をもちこんではいけない、というわけではないですが、外国に住むということはもう一つのものの見方の地図を手に入れる機会だと思います。そして、その地図の大半はその国の言葉で書かれています。だからこそ、その国の言葉を学ぶことが大事なのだと思います。

    どうか、ひろく日本人と対話を申し出て下さい。私のブログでもいいですし、学校の同僚の先生やJETの職員なんかでもいいんではないでしょうか?

    また、よろしくお願いします。m(_ _)m

  8. 20 March 2009 at 6:14 pm Permalink

    読み返すと間違いがありますね。

    また、黒人の方々がごくごく普通に日本人といっしょに日本語でしゃべったり、同じ目標にむかって作業している姿をより多くの日本人にみてもらうことが近道だろう。
    Also, a good shortcut is to let people see black people and Japanese people talking casually and/or working together for the same purpose.

  9. 20 March 2009 at 6:28 pm Permalink

    あらら。追加もあります。
    they won’t start working on them until tragic incidents happen, and neither will the media pay attention to the problems unless an incident happen.

    それと、Debitoブログとの協力は駄目です。理由はここや他にも書いていますが、あのブログと提携するとそれだけで、真実性や誠実性が疑われる。 在日外国出身者が嫌われる理由を日本人に与えているだけである

    As a side, to cooperate with Debito’s blog are no good. Because of the reasons that can be found here and the other posts (on my blog), and working with his blog will put people in doubt as to the truth of your claim and your sincerity . It will be just creating another reason for Japanese to hate the foreign-born

  10. 20 March 2009 at 7:48 pm Permalink

    ついでに
    So what this dude is saying is that he also thinks Japanese folks should be mollycoddled when being called out on their racism and ignorance?
    もちろん、そんなことはないですね。
    主張はすべきである、と投稿でも書いています。しかし、日本語で、とも、

    “treating us like criminals makes me saaaad! We’re just like you, can’t we all just get along?” and see if that sort of groveling to be treated as a human being actually works
    感情的に書かれているのかもしれませんが、しかし、アメリカでも人種間の対話の必要性が語られていますが、対話なしにどうしたい、とおっしゃりたいのですか?
    日本人を罵りたい?
    . If it doesn’t, then it’s back to kicking asses again, whether they like it or not.
    すみません。どうも理解しくいのです。アメリカの黒人の人権活動というのは、対話ではなく、(その国の人がわからない言語で)罵るか、、おべんちゃらを使うか、の二つの選択しかないのでしょうか?

  11. Qcue 20 March 2009 at 10:00 pm Permalink

    Sora or whatever your username is, Since the White race is the dominate race they are accepted everywhere. BET, Media, Military, and Roppongi incidents scarred the african name/image in Japan. A guy in what some may call "hip-hop clothing" who sings ENKA cannot alternate their impression. Neither can a educated looking man doing softbank commercials, or President OBAMA of the USA. Since it made the news it will be forever in peoples minds….at least the negative cases. Few are trying to call this blog a hate website but all Locohama is doing is typing based on his experiences in Yokohama. Since this world is not a paradise, someone or something has to be on rock bottom in this society. Your translations are amazing Sora and Itainteazy. I can use those for language studies.

    • Locohama 23 March 2009 at 6:33 pm Permalink

      Qcue-san, thanks again for the shout.
      I don't agree that the white race is the dominate race. Why do you think such a thing? I think that kind of thinking is as much a part of the problem as anything else. And it simply isn't true that white people are not accepted everywhere. No one is accepted everywhere. I think people's blind trust of the news is also part of the problem. It's safe to say that most news is propogandized, and anyone that doesn't recognize that fact is…well, too trusting. I think the key is to get your information from more than one source. Also, I think it requires a bit of common sense. All races are capable of good and bad. No race has a stronger propensity towards evil than another. PERIOD! Anyone who doesn't believe that is…well…"scarred" as you say. And trust me this was not an easy state of mind to come to because I was raised in an environment where this was not the common knowledge. The common knowledge was, of course, the White man is the source of ALL evil in this world so they must be devil spawned. Sounds ridiculous, right?
      Black people in America spent hundreds of years trying to prove to white people that we are just as "human" as they are. Sounds ridiculous right?
      Perhaps this is where your notion of dominance comes from…the fact that people feel they have to prove something to white people… Well I don't feel that way…not anymore. My ancestors have done all the work for me. Proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not the 3/5 human that the US constitution suggested. And I'll be damned if I'll disrespect their sacrifices by coming to Japan and acting like what they've done never happened. If Japanese people have a question about the humanity of black people (which their behavior indicates) then all they need do is read a few books and voila they'll see that their behavior is not unlike the behavior of the white power structure in America before they were forced to recognize.
      So, at this point, I'm inclined to say "fuck you" to anybody who even suggests in the slightest way that I, or any black person the world over, still has some "proving" to do. The people who choose to dehumanize are clearly ignorant by choice. The truth is self-evident! Only a person trying not to see it or too lazy to see it will miss it.
      This response is mostly for Sora-san, though. Not for you Que (-:

  12. 21 March 2009 at 11:03 am Permalink

    Qcueさん

    Jero やオバマ大統領はあるいは、ソフトバンクの出演者は日本人に黒人のよいイメージを植え付けていると思いますよ。

    日本人がもっているかもしれない、黒人さんのイメージって悪いのを探せば、それは沢山あるかもしれない。(いいイメージも悪いイメージもある、とともに、実際に接触した人が少ないので、未知の存在=好奇心と不安の対象であろう、という意見です。実際、私も英語の記事などを読まなくては、黒人の人に対する、英語のracial slurやステレオタイプというのを知らなかった。)
    しかし、戦略としては、やはり、こうした黒人の人々のプラスのイメージを増やすことの方が、否定的なイメージについていうことーーーそれも重要でしょうがーーーを言っているより重要で、かつ、効果的ではないでしょうか?

    それにはやはり、日本人と日本語で対話する、そして、そうした姿を多くの日本人にみてもらう、ということが重要だ、ということが私の主張です。

     私はlocoさんのブログをhate websiteとは思っていません。私の投稿などを紹介していただける、開かれた態度からしても明かです。それについては私の投稿でも記しました。
     他文化で生活というのは誰にとっても大変なことです。そして、ロコさんがいろいろ格闘されている姿は見て取れる。
     たしかにこのブログはロコさんの経験の話でしょうが、しかし、純粋な経験というものはなく、経験は常に、解釈や理論(祖国の文化が世界を解釈する枠組み)に汚染されている。他文化に暮らすということはもう一つの枠組み、もうひとつの感受性を身につける、ということではないでしょうか?もしそうだとすれば、自国文化の枠組みで見られた日本での経験が日本人の行動や考えを表現するのに適切でない場合もある。それは、かつての白人の人々が理解・解釈する黒人の人々の行動や考え方に、かつての(あるいはいまでも)黒人の人々が違和感や反発を感じることがある、ということを想起していただければ、わかりやすいかもしれません。

     私はだれも責めてはいません。アメリカの黒人の指導者の方が言っているように、対話をすべきだ、といっているだけなのです。日本にいれば、それは日本語で、ということになるでしょう。その対話を通じて、誤解をはらしたり、あるいは、解決策を探ったりしていく、そして、日本人と黒人が気楽に、公平に、知的に、そうやって日本語で話しあっている姿をより多くの日本人に知ってもらうことが、黒人の方のよいイメージをふやしていくことにつながる、というのが私の意見です。

  13. 24 March 2009 at 12:47 pm Permalink

    This response is mostly for Sora-san

    ありがとうございます。
    ほとんど同意しますね。
    どんな人種でもいい人も悪い人もいる。才能のある人もいれば、才能のない人もいる。
    そして、私も黒人の人がなにかを証明しなくてはいけない、とは言っていない。
    ただ、日本人の態度については同意しかねますね。 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqHbX2h9HdM&fe
    たぶん、ロコさんもご覧になり、また、コメントもされているようにおもいますが、私は、この方の意見に違い。
    日本における黒人さんの位置というのは外国人の一人であって、一部アメリカ人が黒人の方にもつような根深い偏見はない。
    むしろ、ある村にあたらしく入ってきた人たちを不安と好奇心でみつめるような眼差しに近い。
    新しく入ってきた人たちに対しては好奇心を持つ人もいる。
    逆に、不安や疑念が強く働くひともいる。その不安が昂じて失礼な態度をとるものもいるかもしれない。誤解がある。

    たいていの日本人が黒人のひとと遭遇したことも話したこともないのです。
    たいていの日本人が一部日本人が黒人の人に対してとったという失礼な態度を知らないのです。
    たいていの日本人が一部黒人の方々抱える問題がなにかさえわからないのです。

    だからこそ、公開の対話が必要なのです。黒人の歴史が深い現代のアメリカの黒人指導者の方でさえ、いまでもそういっているではないですか?
    日本での生活に不満のある一部在日黒人の人々が日本語で公開の対話をしない、できない、というのが不思議でならない。
    私は、一部アフリカ系アメリカ人の方々に一部欧米人に似た傲慢さをたまに感じることがある。
    日本人との日本語での対話を躊躇しているところに日本人に対する恐怖感phobia があるのではないか、とさえ思うことがある。
    一部日本人がむしろいやがるのは、むしろ、アメリカの文脈で通用するアメリカの価値観をアメリカの言葉で日本に押し付けようとすることです。
    差別がいけない、とか、個人に人権がある、というのは共通の価値観です。そして一部日本人が黒人の方に失礼な態度をとったことがある、というのも事実でしょう。
    しかし、黒人の人に対すると偏見とか、黒人に対する関係の歴史とはおおいに異なる。
    そして、通用する言葉は英語ではなく、日本語なのです。

    対話を始めようじゃないですか?

  14. 25 March 2009 at 10:39 am Permalink

    私は、この方の意見に違い→
    私は、この方の意見に近い。

  15. JahC 26 March 2009 at 3:47 am Permalink

    This is all very interesting!

    I feel that Sora-san (空) is offering a very unique perspective. He seems to be offering a solution from a Japanese point of view, which would of course be very different from a Western perspective. I certainly won't dismiss our struggle–from slavery to Jim-Crow, to the civil-rights movement, to finally arriving where we are with a president of color…however, I don't think we can apply that perspective wholly to the situation in Japan. Because of the historical and cultural differences, I feel that Sora-Sans' (空) prescription would be most effective because it seems that:

    1. That would be how a Japanese would approach a solution to a problem they were facing.

    2. In Japan-a Buddhist/Shinto culture, humbling oneself to any situation would generate the
    most sympathetic response and be seen in a much higher light.

    3. In that same view, anger and defiance would only fan the flames of ignorance and create
    a much more difficult environment to create dialogue.

    4. Sora-sans' (空) prescription fits in with the concepts of shitsurei shimashita, Honne and
    Tatamae…utilizing these concepts would make a larger impression on Japanese
    than a good old fashioned protest, or Western style confrontation.

    5. Creating dialogue in Japanese would go a long way, not only in explaining your perspective,
    but also in showing (not proving!) your love and admiration for Japan and Japanese culture
    (which I know you feel, after reading your amazing and heartfelt postings!).

    Loco-san, you said:

    "If Japanese people have a question about the humanity of black people (which their behavior indicates) then all they need do is read a few books and voila they’ll see that their behavior is not unlike the behavior of the white power structure in America before they were forced to recognize."

    We in the US have a very unique perspective too. We are civic-minded, conscious of our equality and proud of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. I feel we would be hard-pressed to assume that people from other cultures, especially Eastern cultures share the same mind-set as us (I'm not saying that they don't have democracies or constitutions, I'm just talking about the mind-sets/valuations that we have based on our own unique conditions). I fear that merely reading a "few books" would not be sufficient to fully convey the same understandings that are second nature to us.

    Anyway, I wanted to humbly offer this perspective to you and your readers…Best Wishes!

    JahC

    • Locohama 26 March 2009 at 4:30 pm Permalink

      JahC san, once again, thanks for the shout, and a most thoughtful one at that! (-:
      Well, I do agree with Sora-san, to a certain extent.
      Living in Japan you come to learn that, in the Japanese world, there are two countries, two cultures, two types of people: Japanese and outsiders. This perspective taints and paints all dialogues with nihonjin. When you arrive here you'll see what I mean. As far as opening a dialogue with nihonjin is concerned, my WHOLE life is a dialogue with nihonjin. On a daily basis I am interacting with the people and the culture, at home and outdoors. Depending on my relationship with the particular person, like a nihonjin, they may see my honne (real intent) or tatamae (public face). Most people see the latter, the Loco that goes about smiling and ignoring, pretending not to see, responding appropriately to incessant questioning about what Americans think and do and feel and what black people think and do and feel, etc…trust me, I am a model foreign citizen, an Ambassador extraordinaire. The handful that see my hon'ne have either entered my "circle of trust" (LOL- that's from Meet the Parents) and thus I share my feelings with them, or have provoked me with some unacceptable assault on my good nature.
      I could give a damn about fueling flames at those times. And I'm sure that some Japanese person witnessed my hon'ne and said "Yappari" and labeled me and anybody that looks even vaguely like me a bad person worthy of dehumanization. Sorry! A huge step back for gaijin / nihonjin relations I guess. But for every mile of good will I pave I might lose a step and to me, considering what I have to deal with, that's an acceptable ratio.
      I honestly don't feel that people from the East should feel hardpressed to acknowledge another race's humanity. I'm not trying to shove "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…" up their asses. I'm really not! I'm just saying let's have this conversation with the foundation that we are both members of races capable of great wonders and great atrocities…you know, EQUALS.
      Sora-san's perspective is not so unique, JahC san. Most every thing most Japanese do is from a Japanese perspective. Most know no other (which is true of most countries) which is the typical excuse for their behavior. Every other perspective has a…the Japanese call it Iwakan (違和感) Basically it's a feeling of wrongness, incompatibility, not belonging, etc…This is the reason (I want to say excuse) given for their behavior. If a foreigner is in the vicinity then iwakan ensues like an instinct and they start acting all creepy uncontrollably. Throughout my blog I have chronicled this behavior and my feelings about it, but I have arrived at a point where I see it for what it is. And it is something that no dialogue can really address. They only cure for Iwakan is probably experience. They need to talk with or interact with a foreigner (and of course emerge unscathed) and maybe next time their iwakan will be diminished a bit.
      ALL of my Japanese friends have had such experiences and thus that Iwakan Wall between us has been torn down, as it has with my kids at my job and most of the teachers and I suspect it has with Sora-san, as well. But with the VAST majority of nihonjin it hasn't and probably never will. And I think perhaps because of the contrast in colors or because of the image many Japanese have of people of color, that Iwakan is a bit more intense for us. That's a fact of life in Japan. Is Iwakan racism? No. Not really but kinda. Is it Xenophobia? No, not really but kinda. Is it prejudice? No, not really, but kinda… I mean, I'm provoked by willfulness…but Iwakan has this feeling of helplessness. Like how a deer might respond as you approach it in the woods, with or without a gun. It doesn't matter if you're a hunter or PETA, that deer is going to take flight. Would you say that deer is prejudiced against people? Hell he wouldn't run if another deer was approaching, now would he? And, is his response to humans the same as when his nostrils encounter the scent of a lion or a hyena? Anyway, I won't drag out that metaphor. I'm sure you get where I'm coming from…
      Also, the necessity, for most nihonjin, to confront and deal with these feeling does not exist. Most will never come in contact with foreigners, so why be bothered caring about such things. Understanding this has made my experience here much easier to endure, and my understanding of Japanese people and culture more substantial.
      I don't know if Buddhism or Shintoism are related. Maybe they are. However I don't believe humility is an exclusively Eastern thing no more than civic mindedness or consciousness of equality are American or Western. I don't even think they are second nature to us. These are things that are learned through one's experience and education. Yes, reading a few books was an gross understatement but my point was that the information is available if you care to understand. Just as you're taking the time to study about the Japanese mindset and the language before you come here. Are you saying the desire to understand other cultures is a western thing? Perhaps. But why? Is that connected to Shinto / Buddhism too?
      Man, this is turning into a post. Sorry. You caught me on vacation and I have time to kill (so to speak) (-;
      I'm not done. This response is sort of scattered, I know. I'll probably highlight your response in an upcoming post…
      Thanks for taking the time, energy and effort to do so!
      Loco

  16. 27 March 2009 at 2:26 am Permalink

    JahCさんLocohamaさん、
    貴重なご意見ありがとうございます。
    大部意見が近づいてきました。JahCさんのまとめについては大方同意します。
    Locoさんと意見の違いもかなり縮まってきたように思います。

    ALL of my Japanese friends have had such experiences and thus that Iwakan Wall between us has been torn down, as it has with my kids at my job and most of the teachers and I suspect it has with Sora-san, as well.

    私の意見はこれをもっと拡げていけばよい、ということです。そして、その方法として公開での日本語の対話がある。その対話の中で、ロコさんのあった苦い経験を話せばよい、ということです。そして、そうすることで、問題の理解も深まり、また、知的な議論を通じて、より多くの日本人の聴衆者、読者に黒人の方々のいいイメージが定着するだろう、ということです。
    政府はマスコミが取り上げてくれるのはずっとその後になるだろう、ということです。

    私が言うのもなんですが、アメリカの黒人の歴史を見てみて下さい。人間は平等だとうたう憲法ができてから、何年経って平等を勝ち得てきたのですか?いま、それが達成していますか?いまだにヘイトクライムの被害者になり、雇用差別、昇進差別、不動産差別、否定的な固定観念の被害を受けているのではないでしょうか?
    日本にはまだ、日本での黒人の歴史というものがないのです。これからはじまるのです。
    日本にはまだ、欧米の人たちがもっている黒人に対する固定観念がないか、かりにあっても、定着していないのです。
    日本人のなかで、黒人の方に失礼な態度をとったひとがいるかもしれません。しかし、それに一部欧米人がもつ黒人の人に対してもつ軽蔑や憎しみの類を、日本人に読み込むのは、必ずしも正しいとは言えない。

    一体、公開の対話以外の方法で、どうやって日本社会を変えていこうというのか、そこがわからない。
    こういっては申し訳ないのですが、奇妙な日本人論を英語で論じて、オバマ大統領に一言、日本に対して苦言をていしてもらおう、ということなのでしょうか?

    私が思うには、あるメンバーの一員になろうとすれば、そのメンバーたちの使う言葉を使って意思伝達することが最低限の要件だと、思うのです。
    海外からアメリカにいく日本人たちの大半はそうやっています。そうやって、片言でも、その国の言葉で自分を主張し、自分の仲間を増やし、アメリカの社会に溶け込もうとしています。日系アメリカ人の歴史をみてもそういうことになっている。そうやってアメリカの友人たちを増やしてきたのではないでしょうか?それでも、平均的なアメリカ人にとってアジア人というのは「外人」「外国人」として認識されることが多い。移民国家アメリカで、ですよ。

     現状では、例えば、アメリカに行った英語を話せない日本人が、そのアメリカでの経験から奇妙なアメリカ論・アメリカ人論を構築し、アメリカ・及びアメリカ人に対して日本人のなかまうちで、日本語で愚痴をいっているのと近いのではないか、というのた正直な印象なのです。しかし、それでは、社会に影響を与えるということはできない。また、待っていたら、アメリカ人の英雄がやってきて、日系日本人、日系中国人移民のアメリカの歴史を学んで、その日本人にあうような社会を構築しようと、言ってくれるような日がくる、とも思えません。

  17. JahC 27 March 2009 at 4:32 am Permalink

    Loco-san,

    You probably have much better things to do than indulge my ramblings…especially on vacation! I will keep this short and again, I'm so honored to have met you and receive your great counsel.

    Thank you for your response and wisdom. I have much to think about and I truly appreciate where you're coming from…it's so much easier to be an armchair quarterback, especially when you've never been on the real playing field. You truly do live it everyday. Reading your response, I can think of no one better equipped to represent! Thank you, my brother.

    A couple of things. In response to your query as to whether or not I believe the desire to understand other cultures is a western thing….I would have to say no, in my case it's more personal. Most people think I'm a crazed madman for locking myself in a room to study Hiragana and Kanji, buying out all the used textbooks I can get my hands on and listening to the umpteenth conversational CD. Most of my friends shake their heads in a confused but somewhat supportive way after I turn down the 5th request to go bar-hopping because the latest Rouroni Kenshin or Bleach just came out. Don't get me wrong. Many of my associates love different cultures, but that love can only take up so much time, usually only enough to order a teriyaki chicken bowl (or sushi for some of my braver friends!) But really, that's where it ends. I've finally accepted the fact that I'm a bit different, but no surprise there. Being the only person of color all throughout my childhood, adolescence and most of my adult life, a Swiss stepfather, Spanish mom who just took her Bodhisattva vows, practicing yogi, ex-punk, symphony attending freak such as myself, it really shouldn't be a surprise. So no, Loco-san, I feel that my desire to understand other cultures is really related to my need to further understand myself. (haha, now I'm rambling!)

    One more clarification. While I still do think that Sora-San has some valuable insight (and I'm glad that you agree here too), I can also see more clearly the difficulties of not having a Western perspective to temper that insight and make adjustments when necessary. This again leads me to you and others who have been there for a while and who are thoughtful and conscious enough to actually reflect on some of these dynamics. I recently saw a very interesting study on Japanese identity from the perspective of dual-nation students–another group that is in a unique position to see both sides of the coin, yet still (oddly enough) stand on the outside (yes, they are also considered "Gaijin") of Japanese society. It was very powerful. Here's the link.
    http://ameblo.jp/labrys/

    Your "deer in the woods" metaphor was really powerful too. But clearly, some of the deer don't fear us!:) I'm an optimist and I want so much to believe that all of our corners of the world can change for the better…three steps forward, two steps back is still progress. I'm very glad I met you, Loco-san, talk to you soon!

    JahC

  18. JahC 27 March 2009 at 4:39 am Permalink

    Oh….there are multiple stories on that web page that I gave you the link for….the story that I was mentioning is on the top of the page….called "We Japanese". It's divided into several parts, I really enjoyed watching the whole thing.
    http://ameblo.jp/labrys/

    Peace!

  19. 27 March 2009 at 1:39 pm Permalink

    んんん。やはり多少意見の違いがでてきましたね。対話の必要性を感じる所以です。

    I can also see more clearly the difficulties of not having a Western perspective to temper that insight and make adjustments when necessary.

    これはどういうことでしょうか?
    対話という手法はアメリカにはないのでしょうか?
    例えば、http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-paris5-2009feb05,0,984331.story
    あるいは、ホルダーさんもhttp://www.usdoj.gov/ag/speeches/2009/ag-speech-090218.html?loc=interstitialskip
    対話の必要性を主張をしているのではないでしょうか?

    As far as opening a dialogue with nihonjin is concerned, my WHOLE life is a dialogue with nihonjin. On a daily basis I am interacting with the people and the culture, at home and outdoors

    なるほど、これも対話の一つでしょうが、しかし、interacting とdailgue はやはり、異なる。現状ではむしろmonologueにちかいのではないでしょうか?
    ロコさん、JahCさんの間に意見の違いもありますが、しかし、私はおふたかたの発想に日本を「他者」としてとらえる発想がないか、危惧します。
    共通するところと相違するところをしっかりとらえることが文化の理解の重要な局面だと、思います。違うところを同じだと、思い、違うところを同じだと思う、のはやはり誤解である。

    私の意見ですが、
    例えば、差別はいけない、個人に人権がある、という点は共通した価値です。
    しかし、黒人の人々に対する偏見のあり方は、アメリカと日本では異なる。黒人に対する歴史も経験もかなり異なる。

    JahCさんの引用されるWe Japanese というビデオは綿のブログでも取り上げました。インタビュアーの偏向もありますが、私もおもしろく拝見させていただきました。外見が外国人風のひとは、外国人にみられる。そして、それが若きハーフたちのこころを傷つけている。私の投稿に対して、ハーフの人からコメントもいただきました。
    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/a6ecaf7e5ff6d745d504bb3986708e97
    ビデオにもあるようにハーフのひとはすごい、とか、かっこいい、とみられることも多いのですが、仲間はずれの感覚を与えてしまうことも多い。
    そこで、こうした問題は日本人がしっかり受け止めて上げる必要がある。(なお、当該投稿のコメント欄参照)
    さて、こうしたことですが、これは日本に特有でしょうか?
    例えば、イギリスの場合、

    ハーフに関して

    He added: “Ten years ago at the New Nation [the black newspaper] mixed relationships were a massive thing, one of the most controversial topics we could write about, but now we don’t hear about it so much. Some people are still totally against them, and some people in mixed relationships are seen in a derogatory light, but nowadays less and less. People don’t care.”

    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan/e/a6ecaf7e5ff6d745d504bb3986708e97
    また、外国人に関して
    White, English-speaking? Come on in. Poor, Asian? Get lost
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/05/race-immigration

    アメリカでは、
    典型的なアメリカ人は白人で
    Does Your Subconscious Think Obama Is Foreign?
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/12/AR2008101201873_pf.html
    アジア人は外人・外国人

    “The next logical step from someone taking out their frustrations against a foreign car is, someone could take out their frustrations against a person who looks foreign,” said Wang, whose group was formed after two laid-off autoworkers in 1982 killed Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American who the men mistook as Japanese and blamed for the loss of their jobs

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008812160375
    なんと、黒人は外人・外国人以下、
    Discrimination Against Blacks Linked To Dehumanization, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207163811.htm

    みながそういうわけではないでしょうが、そういう傾向がある、ということでしょう。

    で、このように外見の違いで、区別し、かつ、距離をおく、(外見の似たものは近い仲間、違うものは遠い存在)という傾向は、日本でもアメリカ、イギリスでもあるわけです。

    で、違いは、といえば、日本では、従来の日本人中国人風の外見の人が圧倒的におおく、英語でいう、white brown blackの人々は極端に少ない。とくに黒人の人が少ない。それで、町であえば、びっくりする人もいる。在日外国人の人で、他のwhiteやblackの人に町で遭遇するとビックリする人もいるくらいです。white brwon程度は、従来の日本人にも近いひとがいる。しかし、黒人というのはテレビや映画でしかみたことがないひとも圧倒的に多い。そこで、以前お話しした未知のものに対する態度がでてくるわけです。
    また、黒人の人々に対して、ヘイトクライムがない、という違いもありますし、偏見や固定観念も共有しない。例えば、欧米人がやるような、黒人から猿を猿から黒人を連想する習慣は日本にはないのです。コマーシャルで黒人と猿が一緒にいると抗議をうけたり、Eモバイルの猿がアメリカの大統領を演じることに抗議を受けても、そもそも連合がないから、なぜ、抗議を受けているのかもわからないのが大半で、逆に、抗議をうけて、そういうことだったのか、と黒人から猿を連想する人がでてきてしまったのではないか、と危惧するくらいです。

    ちょっと、話がずれますが、例えば、米軍基地のそばの飲み屋にはJapanese onlyの店がある、という話を聞きます。(私はみたことがない。)。想像するに、基地の軍人さんの一部が店で無礼をすることが多かったのかもしれません。で、店の主人が、アメリカ人は全部ではないが、ほとんど無礼者である、彼等の個人主義が、彼等の西洋的発想が、彼等のキリスト教的な発想がそうさせているのだ!!!などといったらやはり見当違いでしょう。

    ぼくは今回のような議論を日本語で公開でやることを勧めているのです。より多くの日本人に問題意識をもってもらい、ロコさんらの問題を知ってもらうには、われわれのできる一番てっとり早いことではないでしょうか?

    (ところで、なぜ、日本人が英語で話しかけるかも、かなりはっきりしてきたのではないでしょうか?日本語で対話をしようという在日外国人が圧倒的に少ない。もちろん、日本語がペラペラの在日欧米人もいますが、やはり、圧倒的に少ないのです。そして、日本人が欧米人に通用すると思っている言葉が英語なのです。もちろん、英語の練習をしたい、英語ができることをみせびらかしたい、と思っているひともいるでしょうが・・・)

    いずれにせよ、こうした議論は非常に有益だと、思います。双方の誤解もはっきりしてくる。日本語ができればぜひ日本語でやっていただきたいのですが、しかし、英語でも構いません。

  20. 27 March 2009 at 10:48 pm Permalink

    違うところを同じだと、思い、違うところを同じだと思う
    →違うところを同じだと、思い、同じところを違うと思う
    m(_ _)m

  21. JahC 28 March 2009 at 2:44 pm Permalink

    Hello, Sora-san!

    Please forgive me for not answering in Japanese. My statement about "Western perspective" was poorly expressed. I meant to express this: Having never been to Japan, I cannot fully understand what Loco-san is going through other than what he tells us. Therefore, I accept the way Loco-san chooses to deal with his situation and his life.
    Also, if I go to Japan in the future, who knows? I may have a complete different experience. As a matter of fact, I most definitely will have different experiences–we're all individuals, after all!:)

    My knowledge of Japan is only academic…I have Japanese friends, have seen Japanese movies, read Japanese books and eaten Japanese food. However, I have never actually experienced Japan itself. Loco-San has experienced the West and also experienced Japan through his own eyes.

    It's kind of like describing the taste of an apple to somebody who has never eaten one…you can explain it in all kinds of details, but until that person actually takes a bite out of that apple, they cannot fully experience it.

    That story about Paris, Texas is interesting! It reminds me that even though I'm American, I can still live worlds apart from others experiences in my own country. Even though I am of mixed heritage, I have never experienced overt racism or hostility (knocking on wood, here!). It is my wish that we all live in a world that is free from anger, despair and frustration.

    Nice to talk with you, Sora-san…and thank you, Loco-san for providing this great forum!:)

    • 28 March 2009 at 6:21 pm Permalink

      JahCさん、ご意見ありがとうございます。

      Having never been to Japan, I cannot fully understand what Loco-san is going through other than what he tells us.

      これは全くその通りだと思います。
      そして、実は、大方の日本人もそれがわからないのです。日本にくればわかると思いますけど、そもそも黒人の人と遭遇することが少ない。そして、ロコさんの体験されているとおっしゃるような、微妙な人種差別は目立つものではないので、当人以外の人は気づかない。そして、やっている当人もどういう気持でやったのか、もわからない。
      だからこそ、こうしたことは、日本語で公開し、日本人との対話のなかで、問題は何か、問題の解決策はなにか、ということを話合えばよい、というのが私の意見です。
      で、私はこういうことは、問題が深刻化する前に問題意識を広く公衆に共有させることが重要だ、と考えます。

      I may have a complete different experience.

      おっしゃるように人によってかなり違うかもしれません。
      ご存じかもしれませんが、KhatzさんのVlogです。 http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/racism-

      異文化で暮らすということはいずれにせよかなり苦労する。Khatsさんも苦労されているとは思いますが、なんとか頑張っておられる。本当にすばらしいことだと思います。
      ロコさんが非常につらい経験をされているのもひしひしと伝わってくる。ロコさんの投稿のいくつかは、そのつらい経験をなんとか理解しようとする格闘の過程の一部なのだ、と思っています。ロコさんにも頑張っていただきたい、と願ってます。

      It is my wish that we all live in a world that is free from anger, despair and frustration.

      全くですね。
      で、例えばJahCさんが、「怒りも、絶望も、イライラもない世界で過ごせたらいいですよね」と穏やかに発言する。すると、日本人の読者は、その言葉の意味を了解すると同時に、「やっぱ、黒人の人もそう思っているのか、フムフム」「ああ、やっぱ、黒人の人ってやさしいんだ」とか、なんとか、間接的にいろいろな黒人の人に関するよいメーセージを送ることになっているわけです。そういう意味でも知的で穏やかでざっくばらんな対話というのは重要だと思うのです。

      逆の場合もある。例えば、「お前ら、日本人は黒人を人間だと思ってないんだ。だから、あんなひどいことができるだろ!!!」と怒って言ったとする。アメリカで、これと同じような発言がどのように受け取られるかわかりませんが、日本では、多分、「黒人のひとって近づかないほうがいい、怖そう」「わたし、黒人のひとってあったこともないのになああ、そんなこといわれる筋合いないわ」などといういう印象を与えるだろうと思う。

      Nice to talk with you, Sora-san…and thank you, Loco-san for providing this great forum!

      こちらこそ、ありがとうございます。ロコさんにも感謝しております。
      私の方のブログもコメント欄はいつも開かれていますので、ぜひご利用ください。

  22. Yasu 30 March 2009 at 12:18 pm Permalink

    私はアメリカに10年以上住んでいる日本人ですが、アメリカの白人に人間以下のように扱われるのは日常茶飯事です。しかし、アメリカの黒人やヒスパニックの人たちにそのような扱いをされた覚えはありません。彼らは一般的に私に対してとてもフレンドリーです。私は「アメリカ人は日本人を見下しているもの」と思い込んでいたので、差別されたとしても別にふさぎ込むこともありませんが、逆になぜマイノリティーの人たちは自分を差別しないのだろうか、と不思議に思っていました。どうしてでしょうか。きっと、アメリカのマイノリティーの人たちにとって、「日本人は白人に差別されている仲間である」という意識があるのかもしれません。

    さて、そういう仲間意識を持ったアメリカの黒人が日本に来た場合、当然日本人も自分たちにフレンドリーに接してくれるだろうと期待したとしても不思議はありません。しかし、期待とは逆に日本人に避けられてしまった場合、かなり失望することになるのではないでしょうか。

    日本人に対するこのような期待は、空さんの言葉を借りれば、「アメリカの価値観を日本に持ち込んでいる」ことになるのでしょうが、私は、アメリカの黒人の方々が前述のような期待を日本人に対してもっていてくれるということは、それはそれで日本人にとってとてもありがたいことではないのかな、とも思ってしまいます。もちろん、それが原因でコミュニケーションが妨げられてしまっているとしたら、それは問題ですけれど。

    私はメキシコに行ったとき、現地のメキシコ人から、アメリカの白人よりもっと露骨な差別を受けました。アメリカのメキシコ人はあんなにフレンドリーだったのに。アメリカの日本人とメキシコ人という文脈とメキシコのメキシコ人と日本人という文脈の違いでしょう。このときは、アメリカでの経験から、メキシコ人に対して好感を抱いていただけに、かなりショックでした。

    locoさん、差別問題はとても複雑です。いろいろ困難があると予想されますが、是非前向きに考えて、アメリカの黒人の素晴らしさを我々日本人に伝えるように努力してください。私もできる限り協力したいと思います。

  23. Locohama 4 June 2009 at 11:26 pm Permalink

    Yasu san, i just realized i never responded to you. Honto ni gomen nasai.
    Thank you for taking the time to respond and so thoughtfully. I too hope we can learn to communicate…language being only a small part of that struggle.

    ganbarimasyou ne
    Loco

  24. カエル 2 September 2009 at 5:42 pm Permalink

    I just came upon this article now. I was quite surprised by it because my impression was the other way around. My impression was that (at least here in Fukuoka), Black people seem to be looked up to (not just literally). In fact, I noted to myself that black people are more accepted in Japan compared to the problems they have to face back home.

    I guess I was not seeing through it deeper. Thanks for sharing your experience. I never imagined such things really happen in Japan. I hope it changes.

    • Locohama 3 September 2009 at 12:01 am Permalink

      Yeah カエル we get pretty deep in these parts (-; I just re-read it myself and I'm kind of surprised myself at the incisiveness of my vehemence. I still feel the same but I feel I would express my feelings a little differently now and that was only a few months ago.
      Thanks again for reading and taking the time to comment…

  25. Ru 2 June 2010 at 9:32 am Permalink

    Holy molases. You guys amaze me. The breadth and depth of the articles and comments that follow really are a tribute to your slick minds at work. I thought “it must be a bitch being Japanese: intimidated by anyone and everyone, afraid of people who are not like you, stuck on a rock in Asia because your culture has made you unsuitable to survive off of it,” Was profound. It’s a very succinct yet concise anaylse.
    It’s been really interesting for me watching my Japanese wife integrate into New Zealand society after leaving ‘the rock’. She’s always been fairly a-typical but watching her having her eye’s opened was…enlightening for me too. She makes us both laugh by telling stories of her views previous to leaving Japan 3 years ago (which admitedly is a short time, but much can be learnt in that time), and astounds herself with her self-confesed ignorance.
    We often chat on matter like this, the culture differences, the conflict and clashes and issues that arise between Japan and other cultures. She chalks it up to ignorance, i.e a lack of education rather than some inbuild racism or assumed racial superiority.
    So Loco, you might have read this already but here’s the link justincase: http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/the-gaijin-12-step-program Earlier in the comments Sora posted a link to the site and I found this to be an enjoyable read and possibly helpful to anyone trying to rid themselves of the whole taking-it-personally attitude of the Japanese public to their fine gaijin selves. I’d be interested to hear your opinion on this one mate, I found it quite decent, in a kind of ‘Don’t be stupid, STUPID.’ kind of way.
    Anyways.
    Warm cheers,
    Cold Beers.

    • Locohama 2 June 2010 at 9:52 pm Permalink

      Thanks Ru, I peeped that link. And i think I had a read it before but at the time I was still a rank complainer so the tone had rubbed me the wrong way. Didactic and presumptious. (sort of like me sometimes, or the me I try no to me in writing lol) This time I felt a little different. Funny how that happens. Thanks for the shout!

  26. Chris 22 December 2012 at 5:47 am Permalink

    Loco,

    I have traveled all over Asia; to Thailand, Korea and Japan. I’m a tall, lighter skinned brother. What I’ve learned is that in Korea and Japan, the only exposure Asians have to us Blacks is though television. In Korea, everyone asked me if I was a rapper or athlete.,,and they were serious. It seems as if they assume as if Blacks in America have only those 2 occupations.

    That said, part of the problem is the selling of a certain image that the American hip-hoppers do. In EVERY music video there is the ghetto backdrop, the menacing looking Black man with gold teeth and chains and the White police officers (white supremacy). So, even here in America, I run into the problem all the time. My neighbors of 12 years STILL clutch their purses when they see me. lol. They have been conditioned by images of Blacks in the media that all Blacks are menacing.


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