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Jap or Jpn?

Tachi

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I disagree. The term "Oriental" is not offensive in the USA, any more so than the term "Causasian", or "Indian". But I think that you were getting at something else: Basically, any term CAN be offensive, if we want it to be! The opposite, I think, is also true. In my case, for example, I was so totally fascinated by just about everything that was Japanese, or Japanese related, that no one ever took offense at my mistakes, etc.! (GRIN) I am still that way, actually. I cannot get enough of Japan, and probably never will. So, I may always be a "gaijin", but my heart will always be "窶愿コ窶怒ツ人ツ”.

Regards,
Tachi
 

akemi

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I have noticed that there is a trend among American's to refer to people as 'Asian', rather than 'Oriental'. I am comfortable with both terms, but find the former too general.

In normal British usage I think that 'Asian' denotes people from India, Pakistan and the surrounding area. It would not usually be applied to someone from Turkey or China, which are geographically part of Asia.

The term Oriental, which historically has been used to describe the 'exotic east' from Turkey right through to Japan. Has in modern British usage come to mean someone from China, Korea, Japan and the surrounding area.

I have good Indian friends who describe themselves as 'Asian', but me as 'Oriental'. Which is also how I am described on the EQUITY (British Actors' Equity Association) list.
 

TomAsInfinity

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Heya

I have read that some people do take offense at the word "Oriental" when it's used to describe a person in the USA. I often read "a rug is 'oriental,' a person is 'asian.'"

Everything akemi said is true over here in the UK though... the word 'Asian' is often too general. I usually get referred to as "Asian-Oriental" because the word "Asian" evokes Indian, Pakistan, Sri-Lankan, Bengali, etc... It's weird, now that I think about it, in literature (such as the newspapers) when an 'Oriental' person is described, they are usually referred to in terms of their origin (i.e. "the Japanese couple") but if someone from India/Pakistan/etc. is described, they are referred to as "the Asian couple. " Weird, but I slightly think it's because there are many more Asians from India and its surrounding countries here in the UK compared with SE-Asian and far-eastern Asians that the term "Asian" has become synonymous with "originating from India/Pakistan and its surrounding countries.

P.S. Off topic, but it's cool that you're in the EQUITY. I think I might have gone down that path if I didn't have such a passion for so many other things. Are you a "career actress?"
 

akemi

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Tom,

The EQUITY membership is for insurance reasons mostly. I classify myself as a teacher/lecturer, but I am often called on to present cultural events and perform aspects of traditional Japanese culture, such as the tea ceremony, calligraphy and so on. EQUITY provides five million pounds of public liability insurance, which covers me for any unforeseen accidents during any performance related activity. For lecturing without any cultural demonstration I am similarly covered for two million pounds by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

Moving quickly back on topic ;-) Quite recently I was featured in a British television programme (Collectors' Lot on Channel Four). In her introduction to the section on my kimonos, the female presenter said - "The British have always admired the style of the French and the Italians, but today we are going to show you that for real elegance you can't get much better than the Japs."
 

akemi

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Incidentally, there is a programme on British television called 'Banzai', which is a Japanese themed 'home betting show'. It features situations that people at home can bet on the outcome (either among their friends or via the interactive button on the TV). It is often slapstick and rude, but not really offensive.

I don't watch the programme, but my daughter told me that in a recent edition the presenter, himself Japanese, referred to the notion among foreign people that, "The Japanese are a nation of slanty-eyed, sandal-wearing goldfish lovers." Apparently he was quoting from a well-known film.

Would such a reference be allowed on American television?
 

Tachi

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Ouch! ".... you can't get much better than the Japs!" That hurts. You would think that people in the media, in the public would be more knowledgeable than that, or at least, would check with someone who knows before making such comments. I have the same feeling about newscasters, et al, who miss-pronounce people and place names, etc. If it were me, I would certainly ask first! I mean, if I were invited to see the Queen, I would most certainly inquire about the proper etiguette, etc. before making a fool of myself. Wouldn't you think?
 

larry_s

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Proper etiquette probably just doesn't sell, think of British tabloids. People get what they deserve (or what they can intellectually cope with).
 

TomAsInfinity

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True... you cannot educate the whole world, but you can educate yourself. For some, ignorance will always be bliss.
 

kyujuni

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Hello, I just signed up for these boards this morning. I'm from Canada and have had an interest in Japan for years now (and I just returned from my first trip into Asia... Thailand though (It was a school trip)... anyways, from the research I've done, Gaijin originally meant something similar to "Barbarian", (If you look at the full title of Shogun, you'll notice that it contains the words gaijin (or gaikokujin), and that the title means "General who conquers the Barbarians" or something similar to that)... regardless, as someone has said before about themselves, I have adopted the term for reference to myself, I feel more at home in Asia then I do in my native Canada.

I hope I haven't left anything else, and I hope this is understandable...
 

donathanrm

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I am japanese american/amerasian/whatever the appropiate 'title' is. My mother is Japanese and my father is American. We moved to the United States when I was a couple months old and ALL my life I have been called Jap, Nip, Chink, Slant eyed, Gook, etc. Even though I am very pretty some people hate because of the color of your skin or what nationality you are. So, yes, I take offence when someone calls me a Jap. Funny thing is, people cannot even insult me right because I'll get called racist names that don't even pertain to my nationality! But I still get insulted because that meens that they think asians are all the same.:angryfire
 

moyashi

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hehe all foreignors look the same in Japan.

I feel sorry for the Europeans because they get assaulted by the English conversation talkative folks.

Interesting though I've been approached by other foreignors in Japanese due this effect.

I highly recommend any person from a majority to move to an area to try out the minority side once.

I grew up with American Indians .... uni. was the big shock for me. Many of the other students were just like me ... blond hair and blue eyes.

@oriental
In California, oriental had the conotation of being exotic thus the nono on the usage.
In New York, jap also referred to Jewish American Princess (hmmm didn't I post this somewhere here too? -- oh well)
I never did like such words.
 

larry_s

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It seems that some Japanese do not have scruples (?) to use the term "jap". Check jap.com. ;)
 

donathanrm

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I also get offended when called oriental because my mother always preached "oriental meens an asian thing, etc. not to be reffered to as an asian person"
shelly
 
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yes checked out jap.com, and I would even find that offensive, mad:


I agree with the suggestion that we should try out the minority side at least once in our life to see how many different names can be attached, I had the distasteful pleasure of doing this once, and the name-calling and the way I was referred to was not nice, it made my whole family very protective of our identity and our friends from the simular position, to this day at times I tend to protect who I am and react quickly to the slightest hint of a distasteful remark, which in most cases I'm so wrong and be left with a red face,🙂
 
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Tachi

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After reading all of these comments from everyone, it would seem that no matter what we do, it is easy to offend some people, even when not intended. I do think some people over react, or are too quick on the defensive. I know that I tend to be OVERLY careful of what I say, and still worry about whether or not I might have offended someone unintentionally. Most of my adult life I have mingled with many different cultrues, races, people. I have always considered myself fortunate in that regard, but it can also make one a bit too sensitive, too, perhaps. Hard to say.

Here in Tucson, we recently had an incident that I thought was an example of over reaction. The City of Tucson was hyping a campaign for some Summer activities, and the logo they came up with was a cartoon characterization of a city bus in a siesta position with a large, Mexican sombrero (hat), taking a nap against a wall. A group of people (not Mexicans, mind you) raised hell about stereotyping the Mexicans, implying they are lazy, etc. The City pulled the logo. Interviews with several prominent Mexicans in the area demonstrated that, as usual, no one was offended.

Similarly, the sexist campaigns of recent years to eradicate the male/female designations in just about every walk of life. Mailman must be Mailperson, for example. All of the school books had to be re-written to get rid of sexist material. Give me a break!

Regads,
Tachi
 

moyashi

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ughhh oh true!

hehe ... I've put my foot in my mouth more than once. I wonder if I'll ever learn.

@sexist material
Japan side.
All nurses (male/female) are now called KANGOSHI previously they referred only to the female KANGOFU.

States side.
Problem is that grammar use he as the defualt.
he <> she ....
male<> female
man <> woman ....

I'm really peeved that manhole cover was never changed. Figures!
 

tosh

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What would you call it..."Underground service hatch" or, "Underground access hatch"? ...Speaking of such, i'm just about ready for the booby hatch.
 

Tachi

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How about "personhole" cover. That makes as much nonsense as "mailperson". Personally, I think we should change the words, if for no other reason then in hopes that others will begin to realize how stupid this all is.
Sometimes you have to go to the ludicrous to get some of these so-called intellectuals to realize what they have wrought.
 
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Hear hear!


we cant check every word that comes out of our mouth for fear of implying something that might offend or insult someone, but we can speak with care and compassion and only hope that it will be taken with the best intent, 🙂
 

moyashi

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If such things could only happen, at least we have started here and now.
 

jus_defy

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Being Japanese-American that term does offend me as does all those other slang terms for other asian ethnicities...the Koreans, Vietnamese, Chinese etc. I do not believe the term "jap" will ever go away as long as every December 7th newspapers across the country relive the bombing of Pearl Harbor and flash those nasty headlines across the pages. Hopefully, it won't get used as much but it does bother me a lot when I see or hear the term.
 

Kjeld

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WWII leftovers

I discovered about 18 years ago the bad taste 'Jap' leaves in the mouths of many Japanese. I would never use the word verbally, but used it in my personal memos the way I use Eng for English, Wed for Wednesday. Just the first three letters of the word, no insult intended, and only in memos to myself.

One day oe of my secretaries happened to see such a memo and was extremely upset to discover the letters 'Jap', which she interpreted as a word instead of just the first three letters of Japan or Japanese. After that I changed to JPN.

I think a lot of it comes from the terrible hate campaign the United States waged during WWII. Very understandable of course, given the times and the circumstances, but still rather crude. I must admit being shocked each time I see a poser from that time with the horrible cartoons of ugly and mean looking characters that supposedly are Japanese.

There was a lot of discrimination against Asians in most places around the world way before WWII (just read the diaries of people visiting Japan in the late 19th century--incredibly condescending in most cases), but it reached its high point during the 40's.

The Japanese at the time were very well aware of it, and clearly just as bad themselves. But ever since, the word 'Jap' touches an extremely raw nerve here.

It seems to me that it is this heritage of that cruel war that makes this word rather different from words like 'mailman' and 'manhole'.

Kjeld
iKjeld.com
 

Tomoko

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Originally posted by moyashi
true true.

The Germans were also referred to as Krauts.

hmmmm but I thought JAP also referred to Jewish American Princess?
ewww I've always hate such letter combinations.

Live it to the human to find a way to ridicule it's own species :(

Although I am a caucasian, born and raised in the USA, I also disagree with people using the term JAP, even as an abbreviation. When I was young, my two best friends were Japanese, and I know using that term in any way would probably make them feel uncomfortable, to say the least. I am one person who thinks that all slang terms for other races should not be used, and the people who use them are normally ignorant....

And you were right Moyashi, JAP does mean Jewish American Princess sometimes in the US, but that probably isn't appropriate either! But is WASP, in your mind, an inappropriate term? (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) Most people use that term in a negative way as well!

enorwark
 
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@ enorwark

I've never seen or heard of the term (WASP) White Anglo Saxon protestant. This confuses me!!! Maybe it's just a case of where I live? and Being "Catholic or Protestant" is enough (WHITE ANGLO SAXON really isn't part of the problem).
Ahhh!! Off on another tangent!! SORRY!!
All abbreviations of a nation are unacceptable to that particular nation. We have plenty here lolol🙂
 

thomas

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While we're at it: don't forget the DINKs, double income no kids. Probably that's just a synonym for yuppies. hehe.
 
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