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  • Non-white Gaijin

    Im currently a high school student from the Chicago area who went on a two-week trip to Japan through our high school with some friends and two high schools in Japan. Im a fair-skinned Filipino-American and most of my friends that were with me were Caucasian, with the blonde hair and blue eyes . While in Japan, it felt as though I was "looked over" or not as important as the other students. I would walk around with one my hakujin friends and japanese students would run up to him and want a pic with him and jus kinda look at me funny. Im not really upset about this particular experience in Japan, but I wonder if im seen as less of an 'American'. I study Japanese and a I aspire to live/work in Japan someday. What is it like to be a westerner but not exactly 'appear' to be one?

  • #2
    Dragon;
    First let me just say welcome. You answered your own question in the post. You asked what it's like to be a non-anglo/saxon looking American in Japan and then described what happened when you came. They even regard Japanese-Americans as something strange and not quite Japanese.
    Of course they don't intend to disqualify you as an American, but if you don't look like Tom Cruise or Leonarudo Decapurio they will see you as an American transplant. Not nearly as exciting as meeting the "real" thing.
    The good news is if you have solid goals when you come over here, it won't matter. You'll just miss out on being treated like a token. There's some sport here in putting hakujins on pedastals and then knocking them down, and it's better to avoid that altogether.
    Cheers

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello Non-white Gaijin

      Would this happen to be in Tokyo? I'm not really knocking Tokyo jin. In fact, I do have quite a number of friends there (Nihonjin jousei, I might add). Anyway, I think I might know how you feel. I am from Southern California. I'm a Mexican American, living in the Osaka area. In my opinion, I find Osaka jin a little more friendlier and open than Tokyo jin. I am sure that in many parts of Japan, dark and non haku jin are just as attractive. And I'm just starting to find that out for myself. Just look your best and be yourself. That's all!

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      • #4
        Good points

        Dragon,
        First, don`t let this even deter you from coming to Japan, there`s a big mix of nationalities in Japan now and it`s an encouraging sign. One of my good friends is from Australia but is third generation Chinese, in other words he looks Chinese but speaks only English. He even looks Japanese, and we get amused by his situation but try not to let the confusion deter him in any way. Often, people will speak Japanese to him, only to realise that he isn`t. Some can notice that he doesn`t look Japanese but may still believe he can speak Japanese since he looks asian. The good points are that you will be able to live without noticing any noticeable looks or stares of curiosity. This bugs some people until they get used to it. You won`t have this to deal with. The point to work on will be how to approach people the fact that you look less that an American, a good way to improve on your Japanese quickly.

        peace.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ummm, Koizumi, U R getting weirder than me. Keep up the good work.

          The rest of you: Nice. In particular, Ageless' story seems quite common. A good sense of humour certainly can't hurt. They are after all, a weird people. Almost as weird as the people where I come from. And that blending in thing would be nice. (He says hypocritically, having spent large parts of his adult life trading on his tragically white self. )

          Dragonboy,
          There have been a few other threads on this site about similar topics, so take a look around. Probably the Coming to Japan section??
          Last edited by The ONE; 2004-11-06, 12:46 PM.

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          • #6
            "Tell you what, I'll make a deal : I' ll stop using ___ the moment Japs stop calling me 'gaijin'. Fair?"

            For a mullet-sporting shemale who likes to get liquored up and pretend to be a neurotic woman, you do have a point there son.

            In other news, Bluedog claims back Japa's pocky and runs off to start his own forum called Jappot.com, a meet and greet site for Japanese with a penchant for online bingo.

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            • #7
              Hee Hee Hee.

              All your Pocky are good for tang. You have your own ____, so no extra.

              Did you reery say Bingo??????????

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              • #8
                dragon,
                Let me give it to you straight up, no chaser.

                If you look Filipino, you will likely not be mistaken for someone who speaks Japanese so I don't think you'll find yourself in any of those "amusing" situations that Ageless described. I don't think you'll be in many amusing situations at all....

                There are many Filipinos here but the vast majority of them are in the "entertainment" industry or have menial jobs. In the hierarchy of gaijins in Japan, you should know that Filipinos are near the bottom.

                As you are an American, however, your ethnicity shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not you succeed here. I'm just saying that it might be a good idea to always wear an American button or drape yourself in red, white and blue. (You can probably get away with that in Japan; I wouldn't advise in most other countries.)

                The hard truth is that people will prejudge you and you won't pull as many chicks as the Anglo types. But people's prejudices can be overcome, at least locally. And I'm sure a lot of hotties will fall for your exotic charms.

                "War of words..."Sounds ridiculous actually. Nobody dies on this forum so what we say has very little import. So let's all chill. It's Happy Hour...Time for me to fly.
                Last edited by The ONE; 2004-11-06, 12:47 PM.

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                • #9
                  But what if the Asian is half-Korean/half-White and looks like a White American? In other words, how do Japanese people treat someone of an unclear race or nationality?

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                  • #10
                    sincity,

                    If stealing them will convince him to rally together with all of the sane-minded to lick the giant bush... then he can have them. I can always get new ones.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      the same question

                      Originally posted by Brown_Recluse
                      But what if the Asian is half-Korean/half-White and looks like a White American? In other words, how do Japanese people treat someone of an unclear race or nationality?
                      Im with u Brown_Recluse. I am 75% black and 25% white. (My father is mother is black and father is white). So even here in america people have trouble telling what i am. I am not dark skined and am often confuse to be puerto rican. So i also ask the same question how do Japanese people treat someone of an unclear race or nationality

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wonderful
                        Im with u Brown_Recluse. I am 75% black and 25% white. (My father is mother is black and father is white). So even here in america people have trouble telling what i am. I am not dark skined and am often confuse to be puerto rican. So i also ask the same question how do Japanese people treat someone of an unclear race or nationality
                        There are only two kinds of people in japan:

                        japanese and "gaijin" i.e. non-Japanese. there are many different kinds of gaijin (Korean-American, caucasians, Filipinas, Arabs, but we are all the same in the eyes of Japanese and dont make a big deal over your hybridness. They will know you are gaijin and foreign and thats it. There are black people, brown people and white people and all shades in between. Japanese only really seem to really just make distinctions between Japanese and non-Japanese people.

                        FWIW I have two mixed-blood kids, the older passes for a browned haired Japanese and the younger one had light brown hair and western features. They look 'mixed' but have no problems whatsoever being accepted here.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by paulh
                          There are only two kinds of people in japan:

                          japanese and "gaijin" i.e. non-Japanese. there are many different kinds of gaijin (Korean-American, caucasians, Filipinas, Arabs, but we are all the same in the eyes of Japanese and dont make a big deal over your hybridness. They will know you are gaijin and foreign and thats it. There are black people, brown people and white people and all shades in between. Japanese only really seem to really just make distinctions between Japanese and non-Japanese people.
                          This runs counter to a few conversations I've had with Japanese people. According to many, there is actually some distinction between the gaijin, and many Japanese, especially of older generations, tend to dislike black people more than others. Why? I'm not sure exactly, but I have talked about this to a few natives. For example, some parents who are ok with a mixed marriage might not be quite as happy with a marriage to a black man. Not so much of a problem in the younger gen though.

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                          • #14
                            Views

                            Well, I went on different sites and it was said that black are great for having fun with but not someone who you would marry. Others viewed blacks as lazy and are not willing to work hard. I had a chat with a japanese guy and we talked about all kind of things. I even showed him a picture of me but when I told him that I was biracial. He was completely shocked. He told me that he had no idea that people like me thought like that and said he found me quite interesting. I ask the question because I was wondering if I would be viewed the same way when I come to Japan next summer.
                            Last edited by wonderful; 2004-09-28, 11:46 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Well, it's all in who you meet anyway. I mean, do you want to become friends with people who stereotype in the first place? In any culture there will be people who stereotype, and people who don't. Avoid those that do when you can. If it's someone like a landlord, it can make your life difficult, but in terms of meeting friends it shouldn't be a problem.

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