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20 Mar 2003
Hello 🙂

I am a newbie to the forum and I have been reading a few posts corresponding to the relations between the Japanese and those of African heritage or decent who have been to visit Japan. Most of the comments I have heard from those who I know and have visited Japan (mainly White British citizens) say that they have been very well recieved in Japan.

Are Black British visitors treated much like White British or quite differently??
Hmm... interesting question you raise and although I am not of African descent myself, I have had a few acquaintances who are and were living in Japan the same time as myself. From what they have told me they were accepted just as much as any other foreigner and I have never heard of any occasions where they were singled out due to their ethnic backgrounds. I have heard that some Japanese consider those of African descent to be more "exotic" than your average foreigner but i'm not so sure if that's necessarily meant as a negative connotation. Good question though, I wish I had more of an answer for you.
Konnichiwa modelbehaviour-san!
Welcome and Hajimemashite.🙂
The Japanese treat foreigner without distinction of race. It is not important, black or white. But the Japanese distinguish between foreigner and Japanese.
Race, nationality, religion, politics, it is not important to the Japanese, The most important matter is the Japanese or not.
You may be refused to rent a flat in Japan. But it is not a relation with skin color. Because many Japanese owner of apartment dislike a foreigner.

Nangi, I wish that were true but that's not always the case. Just as everywhere else, there are ignorant Japanese as well. Otherwise you wouldn't see stories like this:

Indian man wins damages over skin color harassment

SAITAMA (Kyodo) The Saitama District Court has ordered a Toda real estate agency and one of its employees to pay 500,000 yen in damages to an Indian man for asking him the color of his skin when he phoned to rent a home, court officials said Wednesday.

That being said, you are likely to experience less outright discrimination in Japan then you would at certain places in Britain or America. For the straight talk on this subject, though, you really need to check out BLACK TOKYO
Konnichiwa Mdchachi-san!

I red the report about skin color harassment. I think that the Indian man has very good fortune. Because many company and owner of a rented house don't ask skin color, and they only say "Are you foreigner? Sorry, this is Japanese only"(It may be that they don't say directly, but they dropped hints of their ideas).
Of course there is a skin color discrimination in Japan. But foreigner discrimination is more serious. For example, there is Zainichi Chousen-jin in Japan. Zainichi Chousen-jin is a Korean living in Japan. Young Zainichi Chousen-jin are grow up to be a man in Japan. They speak Japanese, know Japanese custom and has Japanese looks. They are the same as Japanese. We can not distinguish between Japanese and Zainichi Chousen-jin actually. But they don't be treated as same as Japanese. Because their nationality is not Japan, even they are born in Japan.
Racial discrimination in Japan is different from America. Usually American(and other country people) discriminate by reason of a skin color(or race). But Japanese discriminate by reason of Japanese or not. Racial discrimination is only of secondary importance. Black, White and Yellow, all of race are discriminated in Japan.
The Japanese are prejudiced against foreigners. But it is not all of Japanese. It is same as America, all of American don't discriminate against nonwhite races. There are many friendly Japanese with foreigner in Japan. But sadly, there is a prejudiced Japanese as many as friendly Japanese.
Is Japan a international country? No, Japan is the rural country in the Far East. Because the Japanese are afraid of foreigners.

I know for a fact that some Japanese can be very prejudiced against blacks. I don't know why, exactly, but I have heard it first-hand.

My Japanese friend--who's also the daughter of my husband's boss--told me that before she came to the U.S., her grandmother told her very sternly that it would be okay if she married a caucasian American, but that they would disown her if she married an African American. In fact, I've heard all of my husband's co-workers make comments about their black employees or comments about blacks in general, and being from the South, I know they don't sound much different from any other bigot from around here about the whole thing. Maybe they don't use the same foul language and racial slurs that those rednecks would use, but still, the idea was the same.
One of my friends from my undergrad days married a Zimbabwan (she's Japanese) and I know that they've had their fair share of difficulties from both sides of their respective families in terms of one not fully accepting the other. It's a shame really that people just can't put aside their personal prejudices or biases especially when it comes to family and the ones you love. At any rate, I also agree with what Nangi-san said about there being very little distinction (for the most part) between being prone to discrimination against gaikokujin or foreigners in general and singling out those of African descent.
While Nangi raises some good points, I would have to say that skin color can be a big issue. I have had friends of Iranian decent (US Citizens) racially profiled and questioned by police and customs officials. Skin color, especially if it resembles the groups that are considered troublemakers by politicians, can be a big issue for ex-pats. It all depends on the situation you find yourself in.

On a lighter note, one of my Iranian friends once went through an exchange like this;
Customs Officer: ツ。テ?hat is this (holds up object from my friendツ。テ? bag)?ツ。テ
Friend: ツ。テ?tツ。テ? my toothbrush.ツ。テ
Customs Officer: ツ。テ?hツ。テ? You can go now.ツ。テ

Good Luck modelbehavior-san, hope you find the info you seek.
I can remember when I was in China (ok, china isn't japan)
but when I was there with a group of only whites and one friend of mine who is black, we were treated all the same.....
but when I got in deeper contact with the Chinese people
I was really shocked how they discriminate against blacks.
They don't blame her in her face. But behind her back,
all of them! was making jokes about her.
And when the Chinese group came to 2 Germany, every time
they saw blacks on the streets. They did like: eeeeh! Ugly!
I don't bullsh*t u! it happened just like that.
I think it's just because in East Asia, the people think
as brighter the skin as prettier the people...
stupid, isn't it?
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this may sound silly, but one of the reasons is this:
in the iconography of many asian religions, including buddhism, the demons are black ... i heard this is specially embarrassing in Nepal, but i know this sentiment exists in China aswell. so it's part of the education, hence a cultural thing.
i believe it will only be a matter of time while the country gets used to foreigners, so don't take it too personally
Konnichiwa Minna-san! ^-^
I'm a newbie here too, I just joined up here last night, and I'm so happy I did. Ok, enough of my babbling. I have a question myself. What about Indian girls? How are they treated in Japan visiting or living there?... Just out of curiosity, you know -^_^-; I was hoping to visit...someday T_T I'm of Indian background, but I was born in the USA.
You'll be treated with indifference, curiousity, or respect 99% of the time. I can guarantee you will find it much more difficult to take a walk by yourself through New Delhi than to do pretty much anything in Japan.
Yeah, I'd agree with you there mdchachi,
even though I'm not from the New Delhi part originally ^^;
But getting so caught up in the Japanese culture for a long time now, sometimes I feel like like I'm more Japanese (culture wise) than Indian o________O; But then when I visit Kerala or my local 74th street, (a little India in Queens) I feel more American @____@
The Japanese seem to have much less gawking curiosity toward foreigners than they used to. The explosion in foreign travel and the number of English teachers here over the past 20 years probably explains that. As for race, there are certainly some basic prejudices at work. The Japanese generally don't have a problem with judging people by the reputation of their group. A black American person for example, might be expected to dance well and play basketball.
But you think if someone learned the language, used chopsticks (without being crude), and totally immersed themselves in the culture they would be treated with way more respect? o.o I just heard this from some gaijin site...I forget x_x;; ugh!
"A black American person for example, might be expected to dance well and play basketball".

Well, I still think that's considered pretty stereotypical, I mean, you still see that in anime.
Originally posted by DarkLadyRei
But you think if someone learned the language, used chopsticks (without being crude), and totally immersed themselves in the culture they would be treated with way more respect? o.o I just heard this from some gaijin site...I forget x_x;; ugh!

Sure. Japanese like foreigners who take an interest in their customs, and try to behave "properly" while in Japan. But that isn't all that their respect would be based on. You will get a lot of the superficial, polite sort of respect as a foreigner in Japan. But like anywhere, to get real respect you have to be an individual who is worthy of it.
i can remember when i wuz in china (ok china isn't japan)
but when i wuz there with a group only whites and one friend of mine who is black we were treated all the same.....
but when i got in deeper contact with the chinese people
i wuz really shocked how they discriminate blacks.
they don't blamed her in her face. but behind her back
all of them! were making jokes about here.
and when the chinese group came 2 germany everytime
they saw blacks on the streets they did like: eeeeh! ugly!
i don't bullsh*t u! it happened just like that.
ツ・think it's just because in east asia the people think
as brightlier the skin as prettier the people...
stupid isn't it?

True. One of my Mandarin teachers is Mexican. He is light-skinned. He teaches Spanish to recent Chinese immigrants to Monterrey, Mex. The Chinese people once saw my teacher's baby and they were all like "Oh, she's so cute, so white." Man, I almost burst out laughing. It was so sad and unreal it was kind of strange and funny to me, hahaha lmao.

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