“The only people who think culture shouldn’t be shared are racists like you.”
With the controversy over the model’s Vogue photos ongoing, has anyone bothered to check on how Japan feels?
A Taiwanese-born New Zealander has had his passport photo rejected by his own government due to “closed eyes”.
Foreigners complained that chefs at a restaurant in Osaka added up to two times more wasabi in their sushi when serving non-Japanese customers.
A Kirin “Rich Green Tea” ad teaching Japanese people the appropriate way to greet foreigners attracted some criticism online, with some calling it racist.
Qiaobi detergent promises to fight stains and wash away any faith in humanity you might be feeling at the moment.
While Tay, Microsoft US’s deep-learning AI chatbot, devolves into a horrifying racist, Microsoft Japan’s Rinna has other things on her mind…
The promotional poster for the new entry in the Star Wars franchise appears to omit or downplay non-white actors.
“All Asian people look alike” is something that many Westerners are bound to have heard at some point in their lives. While some people argue that such a statement is an example of racial discrimination, one man is out to challenge the view by arguing that not being able to tell people of certain ethnicities apart is not equivalent to being a racist.
British YouTuber GradeAUnderA recently posted a cheeky video titled Racism Test–See How Racist You Really Are!, which has already spread around the world during its short existence. In the video, he attempts to call out people who are hypersensitive to racism by daring his viewers to pass a five-round quiz in which they have to identify the ethnicity, vocation, and so on of certain people based solely on their outer appearances. Many Japanese net users have so far found the quiz to be extremely difficult–how will you fare?
Soccer fans all over Japan have been enjoying the recent start of the J. League’s 2015 season. In the fourth week, however, an incident of dirty play has highlighted the need to stamp out dirty play in the game, but has also incited some quite severe racial tension in the soccer world.
With expressions ranging from happy to sad to ironic, emoticons serve as a kind of virtual extension of the self on online messaging platforms. As a result, many rejoiced when Apple decided to import Japan’s Emoji keyboard back in 2011, eliminating the need for app extensions. Yet something was still missing. “Where’s the diversity?” asked everyone from Tahj Mowry to Miley Cyrus, addressing the notable lack of non-white cartoon faces.
It looks like Apple has been listening closely to these concerns, with plans to implement a more racially and socially diverse set of emoji for iOS 8.3 later this year. Problem solved? Not quite. As Apple unveils its most recent developer betas, a furor has broken out in China regarding what some regard as a prejudiced depiction of Asians. While one can certainly make a case for this position, Apple claims the startlingly yellow emoji at the heart of the uproar doesn’t depict a normal human face at all.
J-pop-cum-doo-wop group Rats & Star have been active for decades in Japan singing soul tunes and doing the occasional electric slide. It’s a style of music that they have embraced whole-heartedly. In fact they are so into the sound that they paint themselves black during shows to look the part.
Their act had continued without major incident for quite some time until one of their singers Yoshio Sato posted a promotional image of them with idol unit Momoiro Clover Z on Twitter for an upcoming TV appearance, nearly all with faces painted black.
As you might expect, many Americans are up in arms over the image, but what do Japanese people have to say about this?
In the wake of the protests in the US over the controversial Ferguson decision and subsequently President Obama’s unfortunate choice of words galvanizing anti-immigration sentiments in Japan, the Chinese are facing a racism scandal of their own, but this time by their own people.
A Beijing store recently came under fire when they hung a sign outside of their shop proclaiming: “Chinese not admitted. Staff excluded.” Just so we’re clear, this is in China.
There have been several commercials pulled off the air in Japan that some have dubbed “racist” and plenty of online banter to add to the debate. But we’ve also seen anti-anti-Korean protesters in Tokyo willing to stand up against truly hateful right-wing activists and many other examples of Japanese citizens whose actions seem to show that Japan is not as xenophobic as some may believe.
Air France has come under fire this week after its latest promotional ad campaign, which consists of a series of 18 photos featuring mostly caucasian women dressed and made up to represent countries the airline serves, depicts Japan as the land of giant-haired geisha.
It’s hardly the most offensive ad ever – and it’s certainly better than ANA’s big-nosed white men commercial from earlier this year – but critics are calling for it to be pulled, with many suggesting that it is “stereotypically racist” and in poor taste. Fortunately, net users were on hand to “fix” Air France’s photos, and make them that little bit more Japanese…
Much ink has been spilled about the supposed homogeneity of Japan and the dangerous idea of racial purity that goes along with it. Some expats have made entire careers writing — or ranting — about the problems of discrimination in Japan. And yet, the number of foreign residents has more than doubled in the last 20 years and international marriages in the country have been steadily rising, so it can’t be all that hostile either.
So how racist is Japan, really? Here’s my take—admittedly only one perspective—on where things stand.
A Taiwanese man who was walking in the Alishan National Scenic Area in Taiwan was mobbed by a group of Chinese tourists after he cautioned them not to spit or throw their cigarette butts on the ground, Taiwanese media reports. The incident is believed to have taken place on September 9 when one Mr. Chin, himself a Taiwanese national, was enjoying a stroll with a female friend. The accused Chinese tourists, however, maintain that it was in fact they who were assaulted.
For the past couple of weeks a certain video has been making rounds on the Internet and invoking deep rage and controversy in its wake. The one-minute clip depicts a pair of Western men shaming and abusing a woman at a Korean night club. The woman is talked about as if not even present and manipulated as though less than human. On its own, the video is enough to incite rage on behalf of women and any others falling victim to those of a Eurocentric mindset. However, it seems that there is an even greater truth that the clip does not reveal.
Despite the enormous popularity of K-Pop, Korean food and beauty products, relations between Japan and South Korea have been strained for quite some time. In recent months, however, right wing groups have become increasingly vocal, with anti-Korean protests occurring more and more frequently, especially in areas where many Koreans congregate and live.
On 31 March in Shin-Ōkubo — a town situated just a couple of minutes away from Shinjuku on Tokyo’s Yamanote line and the location of a large Korean ethnic neighbourhood — hundreds of anti-Korean protesters marched through the streets carrying signs reading “Go back to Korea!” and labeling Koreans in Japan “cockroaches”. Thankfully, equally large numbers of liberally-minded Japanese also showed up to protest the protest.