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Gaijin or.......

thatsme

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I observed that whereever Japanese national live always use the "Gaijin word" obviously they don't mean to discriminate, they probably don't realise that some none Japanese national feel uncomfortable with the "Gaijin" term, not that I mind.

But I was wondering what other words in Japanese would you use?
It just get too complicated, so I draw my simplistic conclusion.
There are not alternative!!!
Would people in other countries just for argument sake (English speaking country), would use "foreigner" as the word?

For example if I want to talk about someone from different origin I would'nt use "foreigner/foreign" probably I would say, a guy I met, or something else, but not foreigner.

I guess is the same all story, for the people that feel offended by the "Gaijin" term must be the way they say it.
Basically the eye of the beholder thingy.

Peace to all
 

nice gaijin

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the slightly more formal version of gaijin is "gaikokujin," though the meaning is pretty much the same.

There are countless other options to use, if you bother to learn anything about the person. In any language, generalizing foreigners as one single group of people in the same figurative boat does no one any good. Everyone has a different story.
 

Homerduff

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For example if I want to talk about someone from different origin I would'nt use "foreigner/foreign" probably I would say, a guy I met, or something else, but not foreigner.

I guess this is the result of the fact that foreigners in Japan are rare. If you talk about someone you met to your friend, you will probably talk about the first thing that comes to your attention.

I've never really understood what is so offensive about the usage of 'Gaijin'. Isn't it literally the translation of 'foreign person' but only shortened (leaving out 'koku' what stands for 'country' ?)
 

thatsme

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the slightly more formal version of gaijin is "gaikokujin," though the meaning is pretty much the same.

There are countless other options to use, if you bother to learn anything about the person. In any language, generalizing foreigners as one single group of people in the same figurative boat does no one any good. Everyone has a different story.


I should have known!!
it does"t matter how careful you try to be.
sorry if I haven"t used the proper Japanese term>
and thanks for reminding me that.

As for generalizing, you are right!!

Again sorry.
It does'nt matter how you try to express your self in the cyber world, human species might take it in the way you did not mean you wanted them to take.

OOps is Human a sweeping generalization? is it is I apologize again.
Thanks for your patience.

I am very sorry If I have started a pointless issue.

I guess this is the result of the fact that foreigners in Japan are rare. If you talk about someone you met to your friend, you will probably talk about the first thing that comes to your attention.
I've never really understood what is so offensive about the usage of 'Gaijin'. Isn't it literally the translation of 'foreign person' but only shortened (leaving out 'koku' what stands for 'country' ?)

It may be,
But what about their vocabolary?
I really mean it, is there any other Japanese word?
That was my initial question really.
Probably I did'nt make my self clear enough.
 
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nice gaijin

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I've never really understood what is so offensive about the usage of 'Gaijin'. Isn't it literally the translation of 'foreign person' but only shortened (leaving out 'koku' what stands for 'country' ?)
A literal interpretation of gaijin would be "outsider" (outside person) whereas gaikokujin means "foreigner" (outside country person).

OOps is Human a sweeping generalization? is it is I apologize again.
Thanks for your patience.
Not sure if you were just being facetious, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. The usage of the term has been called into question many times before, but I've been thinking about it myself lately, especially in comparison to similar terms in other countries. For instance, how can someone have no problem with "gaijin," but be bothered by another term like "farang" (from Thailand, with almost the same connotations as "gaijin").

Maybe it's a matter of exposure; your experience with a word greatly affects the reaction you have to it. To someone that grew up with only one term for everyone that isn't Japanese, it's natural to stop there and not worry about any distinction beyond "not Japanese/gaijin" while someone from America or Germany or Korea might take issue with that, since they feel that their identity is more than just "not Japanese."

As for catch-all terms for foreigners/alien, there isn't much beyond gaijin/gaikokujin, but there are more specific terms that can identify someone without putting them into the ultra vague category of "outsider." Just think of the words in English: Immigrant/emigrant, study abroad student, migrant worker, tourist, American, Chinese, Canadian, German etc.
 

kameron

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Sometimes they say "gaijin-san" which in my view is quite polite. It does seem a bit strange if talking to someone online that they ask "gaijin-san desuka?", I try not to take it too personally because they really aren't trying to be rude.

The only time I met someone who used "gaijin" in a very intimidating way was with an Italian man, let's just say Australians make him want to choke himself for some reason. Racism really pisses me off...

Oh to properly answer the question I have thought that, yes, the use of the word "gaijin" is okay. Just like how we would say "foreigner" whereas "gaikokujin" could be translated as "foreign national". Usually I tend to say "People from overseas" instead but when I think about it, it has the same meaning as "gaijin" (outside person).
 

thatsme

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A literal interpretation of gaijin would be "outsider" (outside person) whereas gaikokujin means "foreigner" (outside country person).

Not sure if you were just being facetious, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. The usage of the term has been called into question many times before, but I've been thinking about it myself lately, especially in comparison to similar terms in other countries. For instance, how can someone have no problem with "gaijin," but be bothered by another term like "farang" (from Thailand, with almost the same connotations as "gaijin").

Maybe it's a matter of exposure; your experience with a word greatly affects the reaction you have to it. To someone that grew up with only one term for everyone that isn't Japanese, it's natural to stop there and not worry about any distinction beyond "not Japanese/gaijin" while someone from America or Germany or Korea might take issue with that, since they feel that their identity is more than just "not Japanese."

As for catch-all terms for foreigners/alien, there isn't much beyond gaijin/gaikokujin, but there are more specific terms that can identify someone without putting them into the ultra vague category of "outsider." Just think of the words in English: Immigrant/emigrant, study abroad student, migrant worker, tourist, American, Chinese, Canadian, German etc.

No I was'nt.
And yes it has been covered billions of time.
Still my question remain, what other word in japanese would you use instead?

And yeah in every country in each respective languages the listener can take offence.

We can talk about each country another time, now I just would like to focus on the country that we human have decided to call "JAPAN"
 

orochi

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>Still my question remain, what other word in japanese would you use instead?

If you wanted to avoid using gaijin or gaikokujin, you could use the country the person came from: furansu-jin, doitsu-jin, etc.

Or you could just call them by name. That would be the most normal way to go about it I think.
 

nice gaijin

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Still my question remain, what other word in japanese would you use instead?
And yeah in every country in each respective languages the listener can take offence.
We can talk about each country another time, now I just would like to focus on the country that we human have decided to call "JAPAN"
I thought I already answered:
As for catch-all terms for foreigners/alien, there isn't much beyond gaijin/gaikokujin, but there are more specific terms that can identify someone without putting them into the ultra vague category of "outsider." Just think of the words in English: Immigrant/emigrant, study abroad student, migrant worker, tourist, American, Chinese, Canadian, German etc.
But if you don't like my advice, you could listen to what orochi said.
 

thatsme

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I thought I already answered:
But if you don't like my advice, you could listen to what orochi said.

thanks,
Sorry if I sounded kind of pedantic.
My point is, it is just natural as I mentioned on my first post for the people in their own country to use a word that might offend people from other races.

So in conclusion even though there may be other way to call someone from a different race, like orochi suggested, people in general will stick to the same term.

Either you get use to it or argue about it.

Thanks again.
 

nice gaijin

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And as I suggested, the reason it seems natural is because of the exposure people have to that word; growing up in an environment where everyone in an "out-group" is lumped together under a blanket term, it's easy for someone to claim that the term itself is innocuous and "natural." The trouble arises from the underlying way of thinking where the distinction between in and out-group is the only one that matters. By limiting the vocabulary used to identify people, it limits the person's own perception of the world. In a sense, one could go as far as to say that the endemic use of words like "gaijin" is natural in the same sense that racism is natural; they are both acquired through the same processes.
 
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I observed that whereever Japanese national live always use the "Gaijin word" obviously they don't mean to discriminate, they probably don't realise that some none Japanese national feel uncomfortable with the "Gaijin" term, not that I mind.

But I was wondering what other words in Japanese would you use?
It just get too complicated, so I draw my simplistic conclusion.
There are not alternative!!!
Would people in other countries just for argument sake (English speaking country), would use "foreigner" as the word?

For example if I want to talk about someone from different origin I would'nt use "foreigner/foreign" probably I would say, a guy I met, or something else, but not foreigner.

I guess is the same all story, for the people that feel offended by the "Gaijin" term must be the way they say it.
Basically the eye of the beholder thingy.

Peace to all

I can't agree buddy..

I believe it is a rude term for Japanese..

I was called Gaijin-san at the airport by the customs officer, my wife abrubtly corrected the jerk and his face went red.

I've been called a Gaijin by an old man riding his bike past me with obvious intentions..
 

Davey

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I was called Gaijin-san at the airport by the customs officer, my wife abrubtly corrected the jerk and his face went red.
This is very rude in my opinion, and it's nice that your wife said something about it.
I've been called a Gaijin by an old man riding his bike past me with obvious intentions..
Being called gaijin by an oji-san would bother me that much, and I neither think you should care about that lol. :)
 
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This is very rude in my opinion, and it's nice that your wife said something about it.

Being called gaijin by an oji-san would bother me that much, and I neither think you should care about that lol. :)

You are right DB .. I didn't really care, although It was more to prove the point on the topic afterall, I guess us Gaijin already know most things..

I often wonder if things are the same in other parts of Japan..

I only lived in Kyoto although travelled within to a few places..

I found the people for example in Kumamoto to be totally different to Kyoto and a lot more casual and friendly..

I lived in a Kyoto town named Fushimi-Momoyama, very famous historic place, and I swear the local community knew me by face..

I did get used to it and never really harboured any bad feelings being the good and understanding guy that I am.:)
 

thatsme

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I can't agree buddy..

I believe it is a rude term for Japanese..

I was called Gaijin-san at the airport by the customs officer, my wife abrubtly corrected the jerk and his face went red.

I've been called a Gaijin by an old man riding his bike past me with obvious intentions..

Like I said, it might be rude to other, in this case you, nothing wrong with that, it is normal to feel offended.

But if they don't know where you are from, how would you like to be addressed then?

Would "Anata" be ok instead?, everyone will feel offended in different ways, without the speaker aknowledge that, It is a grey area and not a black and white one.
Enjoy mate.
 

nice gaijin

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But if they don't know where you are from, how would you like to be addressed then?
Since everyone has their own preference, wouldn't the polite thing be to ask people what they would prefer before we address them with a possibly inappropriate label?
 

thatsme

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Since everyone has their own preference, wouldn't the polite thing be to ask people what they would prefer before we address them with a possibly inappropriate label?
Yeah I would agree with it.
But in practice is not that easy.
Human are not that simple in many fields.
it is not just the word it self the might annoy other people but also how it sounds.

You don't want to go there!!!
I had in the past those kind of situation, and explained that it might be offensive, not to me, but to other, it may help to tell them but you can't guarantee that they will change their habit, after all, the majority of human use words that might offend other out of habit and not purposely to offend others.
Cheers
 

jaytee

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Personally i really don't like the term 'gaijin' being used. In my experience it is a word which carries a negative meaning.

When i lived in Japan last time, my girlfriend used to stop people mid sentence and tell them to correct themselves and say gaikokujin, and the person would apologise for having used 'gaijin'.

And in another experience that stands out, was when i referred to my Japanese friend who was studying in my country as a 'gaijin' and immeadiately she interrupted and said, "I'm not a gaijin!" and she looked offended by the word. So i then asked her, as to why she referred to non-Japanese people as gaijin when they are in her country, and she started laughing, saying she had never thought of it like that.

However, i do still hear it being used by many people including my close friends, and i know they mean no harm by saying it, the Japanese love to shorten words, and i believe it's just another case of the simple fact that the word is faster to use than 'gaikokujin'. I just really don't like the kanji for 'gaijin' though.
 

centrajapan

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Gaijin is not rude Gaijin san is not rude either. It depends more how the word is used than the word itself. Gaikokujin is probably better to use than gaijin but to be honest these are just small irrelevant small things which are blown out of proportions.
 

Euro_Hapa

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I don;t think Gaijin is racist. It's basically a term used for caucasian looking people or black ppl.

For example. chinese, koreans or indians are not called gaijins.

but Caucasians, Latinos, Blacks and Arabs are called gaijin.

Even half Asian are considered gaijins in my experience..
 
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What about using,

"aitsu", "soitsu" .... this guy, that guy (this girl , that girl) or this fellow, that fellow.
"ano hito" , "sonohito" This person, that person.
"kare" , "kanojyo" Him, Her.
"ano kata" , "sono kata" Polite form of "this person, that person(or this gentleman , that gentleman, this lady, that lady.
Use what ever is appropriate for the situation as levels of politeness is required.
 

Capster78

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I don;t think Gaijin is racist. It's basically a term used for caucasian looking people or black ppl.

For example. chinese, koreans or indians are not called gaijins.

but Caucasians, Latinos, Blacks and Arabs are called gaijin.

Even half Asian are considered gaijins in my experience..


Actually, it depends on how the word is used and the connotation behind it. You mention many examples of how the word Gajin is used. In your example you say that Gajin is mainly used for caucasians, latino's, blacks and arabs. While it is not used for other ethnicities. If you were to say that it is used for all forigners then your argument that it is not racists would be correct. By choosing which races they are used for can be seen as racism. It also has alot to do with how the japanese view the word. If the general concensous is that Japanese do not like forigners then it is negative.
 

grapefruit

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What do you guys think of the case when a Japanese person living in a foreign country using the word "gaijin" to refer to a non-Japanese? For instance, a Japanese exchange student in the US referring to an American in his conversation with his Japanese friend who is also living in the US.
 
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Just a sporadic thought,I still can't understand why some gaijins have such a big hang-up or fixated to one simple word.
 
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