20 August 2017 ~ Comments Off on Are Blacks and Japanese Still Allies? Understanding “Blackness” in Japan

Are Blacks and Japanese Still Allies? Understanding “Blackness” in Japan

The latest #BlackEye is up and atcha! This month we launch a series on who is teaching “blackness” in Japan, as well as the how and why.

We start appropriately with an academic beast! The author of the groundbreaking book 20世紀の日本人―アメリカ黒人の日本人観 1900‐1945 (Afro-American Views of the Japanese: 1900-1945), an educator whose experience in Japan dates back 60 years to the US Occupation of Japan: Dr. Reginald Kearney


Here’s an excerpt from my conversation with the esteemed scholar:

During this 45-year period, black Americans thought of the Japanese as “champions of the darker races,” and some of the greatest black thinkers and activists in American history, like W.E.B. Dubois, Ida B. Wells and James Weldon Johnson, viewed Japan as an ally in the struggle against white supremacy and inequality. The title of the dissertation’s Japanese translation, published in 1995, was “Nijuuseiki no Nihonjin: Amerika Kokujin no Nihonjinkan.”

Kearney is of the mind that though relations have deteriorated quite a bit since before WWII, our differences are by no means irreconcilable. On the contrary, he sees promise in the fact that Japanese people are “educable.”

“I don’t see Japanese as racist in the way (the term) is used in the U.S.,” says Kearney. “In the States they ought to know better but the Trumps and the like, they insist on being ignorant. I think it’s more accurate to say Japanese are cultural chauvinists. But things have changed considerably over the years. 

For more of Kearney’s fascinating thoughts on Japan, check out the rest of the article HERE

And thank you for your continuing support of Black Eye. It means the world to me that it’s grown so much over the past several years, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of readers like YOU!

Best Regards,

Baye McNeil

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