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How are black people viewed in Japan


19 Aug 2003
I'm a black Swedish guy (adopted) who's planning
to go to Japan, I've heard that there is some serious
discrimination against black people. Is it true or is it
exegregated? I've heard from some that it's the other way
around and that blacks are quite popular. Anyone who knows
what the deal is?
//Manuel Suedenjin and Kokujin
Hello, and first and formost, welcome to the forums! I hope you enjoy your time here, and don't spam. :)

Secondly, I love Sweden, I study Swedish history, and its really great, it was a really powerful country back in the colonial era, it had colonies in Russia, Norway, and Poland.

Thirdly, in terms of Black people, I'll bring up a Pokemon example. The Pokemon Jynx has black skin, wiggly hips, and long, blond hair. Of course, Pokemon is a Japanese anime, and Jynx is a Pokemon created by Japanese people. Many Americans, when the show was dubbed in America, saw Jynx as a racist stereotype to African Americans.

Of course, it was. Japanese people aren't used to people from other countries, therefore they tend to do this. Another example is Mr. Popo (I think that's his name) from Dragon Ball Z. He looks exactly the same as Jynx, just a male form.

Anyways, nothing will happen to you if you move to Japan. People may talk behind your back, or look at you, or be rude to you, but that's it. White people will get treated the same, but if you're nice and speak Japanese well, you should be all right.
I've heard that there is some serious discrimination against black people. Is it true or is it
exegregated? I've heard from some that it's the other way
around and that blacks are quite popular.

I believe such reports are exaggerated. All foreigners are discriminated against in Japan. However usually it is not overt and there's a good chance you won't experience it.

It appears to be down right now (I hope it's not gone for good) but a good place to delve into this issue is at BLACK TOKYO .
depends on who you encounter, is my experience....

like any country, you'll encounter the racist bastard...but, if you don't act like the so-called ugly gaijin (or ugly american), then chances are good you'll be treated with a measure of respect...but japanese folks tend to be cautious when dealing with foreigners, so if you're patient, and not overly sensitive towards remarks that may/may not be racist, depending on how you take it, you shouldn't have many problems...

there are a lot of folks, especially young people, who think black folks are cool...just have to remind them that you're not a stereotyped icon from what they see on TV... and you should be safe... :D
Personally, I boycott that ice cream chain "Kurombo" for the use of the word and the Golly Wog logo they use.

As a white guy I can't say what it's like to be black in Japan, but I got my fair share of racism, believe me!
I like black people.
I like black music.
and I have a friend who is black.

We Japanese are never racists, I guess.
But I think there are many Japanese people
who have just a one sided view.
Especially old people...
For example,
some people might think that black is violent, scary,
strong. Just think so.
Exactly, there are more crimes of violence compared with in Japan.
The chance that we know black is from the mass media such as news paper, TV, radio...That's the most ways, I guess.
We'll have had bad images from that.
There are not so much foreign people in Japan.
So we can't know real black...
I think that's the reason that we have had just bad images.
I'm sorry for my wrong poor English...
and it's just my opinion.
I wouldn't worry about it too much. A foreigner is a foreigner to them. Although, I talked to a South African before and he said he didn't like it because of racism that he felt. But, one case is different from another. I think if you come and show you are interested in the culture and not too obnoxious( some foreigners can be, not just americans). You will be liked.
They are fascinated with foreigners who use chopsticks(ohashi)
well and attempt to speak japanese well! Good Luck!
watch out! Black men seem to be a novelty to some japanese women.
but that's not necessarily a bad thing :)
it's like that for every race it seems
good advice on the assimilation tactics!
First of all I want to thank you all for taking the time to answer.
So the conclution should be that there is some racism against black people, but that it's not as bad as the word goes, is that correct? Here in Sweden racism against black people can sometimes be a serious pain in the ***, especially the nazis who are infamous for their so called "scull jumping" assault (yes, there actually is a Swedish word for that now!). But that was more back in the mid 90's, now it's gotten better, at least in violence terms. How are interracial relationships viewed in Japan? is it a narrow minded or a tolerand view?
it's just like any other place on the planet: both
if asking is someone gonna attack while over there because of it? no... i hope not...

alright, i wanna ask about these swedish girls -- my boy dated one and she was real bossy and didn't wear no clothes 90% of the time ("no [eeda], i'm not hungry right now, no spaghetti for me... thanks!")...
edit: is she the "typical" girl over there?
thanks in advance for the info!
Sounds good enough, although I'm sure that it would be quite something to have your *** kicked senseless by some Yakuza guys you forgot to address with your most polite keigo.

As for the Swedish girls, the can be quite bossy. The clothes thing is something that is very individual, but there are indeed many of the bossy kind at large. They are also quite beautiful I must say, so my conclution is. The girls are quite bossy and beautiful, some of them wear clothes while some other don't. About 20...no 30 % of them are girlfriend material (In my humble opinion, kinda had my share off bossiness). But fortunately the bossy bitching kind of girl is diminishing, or maybe It's me who grew a bit older and changed my opinion. I'm gonna enter deeply into the matter.
wow! i was just joking, but for real, she was off the chain
my man left for work in the morning "she was like, i don't wanna go yet... can i stay?"
he ain't no dog, so he said yes
came back home that night, rug is all bundled up in front of the door -- inside, everything had been moved and changed around (he thought he had been broken into again!)
a lot of stuff had been stuck in the closet -- she threw some of his mags (edit: guess which ones :p ) in the trash...
she broke his vcr because she picked up the entertainment shelf to get at the rug underneath and turned the WHOLE thing over (she is only 4'-9") LOL!
he called me over to look at the damage and i thought he wasn't home -- the lock was on the bar outside the door, car not in the parking lot (he had parked 5 blocks away)...
homes was straight shook
Ooh, I know what kind of girl you're talking about. They are all over the globe and are more than familiar with the concept of being, small, compact and bloody leathal! LOL! I don't think that kind of behaviour is too Swedish-ish(I hope I spelled it wrong, if not, than there is another annoying word at large). Hey, speaking of words, I'm gonna give you the hardest word to pronounce in the Swedish language, whether you speak Swedish or not, it's a tricky one. It's the word westcoast-ish which is vテ、stkuskt [vaest cuust skt ] Say it over the phone, and people will think you are insane or lightyears from sober.
um..as I am Chinese,I tell you my opinion.

for some reasons,Asian people,no matter Chinese,Korean,Japanese..some of them thinks black people are troublemakers,or bullies or criminals..

I understand this is a very wrong image being brought to the people by the mass media,
as I've had some black people friends in the past,and they were some of the nicest people I've ever met.

racism (towards any races) exists everywhere,sad but true.

but I am sure there are many non-racists people in Japan.
so I guess you will be fine
i would say that vietnamese are the most open-minded about other races, from my and my friends' experiences
but themselves? hmm
but a few taiwanese/cantonese people do flip and trip on it -- the bachelor party last weekend was a perfect example
a small minority of a whole, to be sure
Yeah maybe you are right. Racism is every where but belive me you will never feel that you are not in place here in bulgaria. Ok there are some stupid people who maybe will tell you something but that's everywhere but the most of the bulgarian people will be happy to meet a foreigner. Some of them are really openminded and they want to observe other cultures. I really think that the problem i Japan is a different. I gues they are to ossified, to supid to understand thing like Openmind and etc.
How could someone judge me ( and the media is no excuse ) by my color ?? Haha this is ridiculous. I'm not saying that here in bulgaria you will be not judged but at least no one will think you are somekind of a criminal just from the first look. And belive me bulgarians are pretty non tolerant but they don't think that other nations are below them. Japanes do
Originally posted by Atmos_Fear
you will never feel that you are not in place here in bulgaria.

Bulgaria, cool. 'scuse my ignorance, what's famous in Bulgaria? People speak.......... Bulgarian?? How about English? I'm an ESOL teacher.. could I teach English in Bulgaria (are there many opportunities)? (I've taught in the Middle East, Japan, currently teaching in China, various other places........)
Ok i'll try to answer your questions :)

1. heh bulgarian things ^_^ I really don't know what to tell you but the most intresting think is that they say bulgarian wonams are one of the most beautiful in the world. And i can tell you bro there is something true in this. We are famous whit our hospitality and many many more things. Hristo Stoichkov 😄 He is bulgarian

2. Yeah we speak bulgarian. Funny ah :p but here in Bulgaria english is very popular as well. This is a part of our education in school.

3. i think you can teach here. This is not going to be a problem coz there are some really good places where you can teach bulgraian people but i think the payment is not very high. If you have more questions about this i'll try to find some answers for u

most of my friends from eyrope seem to be more open-minded about race... they argue about other things a lot more :) but that may be because they seem to be more honest/blunt
😌 Hello and welcome!
to tell you the truth, black people are treated just as different as other foreigners...Usually if you go to a big city (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka etc.) :) No one will give you a second glance, because there are a lot of gai-jin there anyway. :D Last two times I went to Japan I stayed in a homestay for 10 days then 2 weeks the following year, in a big town, but not really many tourist know about it you could say. Anyway in Kagoshima, I got some looks, usually from children, because they've never seen an American in person. Mind you I'm hispanic, another of my friends was black/puerto rican, and my other buddies were cuban and American/Brazilian/Jewish :D so we were quite a group of intresting faces 😎 as long as you try and speak Japanese with them and show your Japanese friends your intrested in learning, you can fit in just fine, and color of skin, or the way you look wont make a difference. :cracker:
GookanGohan I like what you wrote, Your story is soo interesting! blahh too bad I can't see pictures!! kekeke!

As for myself I attend a school that was 98% asian , my friend was the only white girl and as for myself i am mix soo I would be put in the 'other'. We didn't get any looks from anyone and everyone was super nice and thought we where soo cool XD

But yeah it's the way you carry yourself and how you act. I think Japanese people doesn't really care for what you are. As long as you are a good person, good heart.

<3 Juri
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