02 November 2012 ~ 11 Comments

Conversation #6: Japanese, The Bananas of Asia

(The following conversation took place yesterday with a Chinese friend of mine.)

Me: Do you know what this is?

(I show her the following advertisement):


Chinese Friend: oh yes! BB! It’s a pretty popular Japanese foundation. Haha makes your skin white and young like a baby.
Me: Japanese Babies aren’t white…white babies ain’t even white.
CF: Haha…that’s true. But Japanese want to be like white. They call them bananas.
Me: You mean crazy? Crazy about what? Skin color?
CF: No…well, yes, kinda. They say banana because they are yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

Me: Haha (I actually crack up cuz it reminds me of what we say of blacks who want to be white: Oreo cookies) Is that what Chinese say? That’s funny!
CF: No, that’s what Japanese say! They call themselves bananas.
Me: Really? Wow, I’ve never heard that. Do Chinese wanna be white too?
CF: No! But that may change…Chinese are getting more exposure to white people these days so maybe some will want to be like them…or even like black people. Hip Hop And basketball are very popular in China!
CF: What?
Me: Nothing…just thinking.
CF: Japanese love white skin though. White equal beautiful. They think a white complexion hides many defects. They don’t like to think of themselves as Asians. They think they are better than all other Asians. Like they are the white people of Asia.
Me: You really believe that?
Me: What?


Related Posts with Thumbnails

11 Responses to “Conversation #6: Japanese, The Bananas of Asia”

  1. Fernando 2 November 2012 at 11:19 am Permalink

    Yeah, a lot of my Filipino friends used the term “Coconut” referring to Filipinos who were “white-washed.” Mostly in a joking fashion given that we were just bored suburban kids.

    Also, it seems that most every Asian community believes that pale skin equals beauty and it’s sad. I have a neighbor who goes jogging in full Michael Jackson wear for ZOE NOES the sun might might her skin darken a shade. For her, it is a racial complex given some of the ignorant things concerning race, genetics and culture that have come out of her mouth and argued against.

    These biases have been in Asia for generations before Perry though, since pale skin was a mark of a nobleman since they spent time inside while the farmers who toiled in the fields got tans.

    • Locohama 2 November 2012 at 2:07 pm Permalink

      Thanks for the shout, Fernando!
      Coconut …that’s funny

  2. Chris 2 November 2012 at 1:16 pm Permalink

    As your CF mentioned, through basketball and hip-hop “black” has made its way into Japan as well. I can only Imagine what they call themselves. Worse,I wonder what the Japanese that want to be white call the Japanese that want to be black?

    • Locohama 2 November 2012 at 2:18 pm Permalink

      Ironically, the answers to the last two questions are the same: B-Boys/B-Girls. And it’s generally used derogatorily by most people except of course the B-people themselves. But actually I haven’t seen any trying to “be” black, or even wishing they were black, just posturing, dance and fashion usually. As for basketball, I haven’t seen any trying to be black due to a love for the game. They truly to recognize that the game has gone international and no longer a black game or even an American game.
      Thanks for the shout Chris

      • Chris 2 November 2012 at 2:59 pm Permalink

        I definitely agree on the basketball point, it truly has become international sport with a world of great players of all races. (a good thing)

    • Caz 15 November 2012 at 5:44 pm Permalink

      Those banana fudge popsicle things? lol

  3. redlandcannibal 2 November 2012 at 3:22 pm Permalink

    I’ve never heard “banana” before. I thought the term was “Twinkie”?

    • Locohama 2 November 2012 at 4:18 pm Permalink

      Do they even have twinkles in japan? How would they get the reference? I’ve never seen one. Sounds something an American labeled these type of folk to me.

      • redlandcannibal 2 November 2012 at 5:20 pm Permalink

        I heard it all the time in high school (Hawaii). I guess maybe it is an American term… Twinkies and Oreos, thinking of racial issues in terms of junk food! Sounds like a pretty American concept to me! (I kid.)

        If they don’t have Twinkies (the snack) in Japan, they should! Yum yum

  4. kathryn 2 November 2012 at 7:39 pm Permalink

    It certainly isn’t anything new. Look at geisha with their white faces and apparently women from Akita are particularly admired for their white skin.

    It’s one of the things I love about Japan to be honest. I’ve been mocked all my younger years for being so lilly-white but the sun is EVIL! And now I’m older, I secretly mock my friends who spend so many years tanning who now have wrinkled old, sun-damaged faces.

    I don’t think women in Japan who face whiten want to emulate white women any more than white people who tan want to emulate black people. I’m sure some people think white skin is tops for all kinds of screwed up reasons but don’t discount pure vanity. People aren’t beautiful for the (natural) colour of their skin but sun damaged skin is ugly and dangerous.

%d bloggers like this: