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Blacks in Japan Opine About Blackface

perry blackships and blackface
With 112 comments on the Japan Times article, Time to shut down this modern-day minstrel show, Black Tokyo (BT) readers are not commenting on the BT blog using their FaceBook or Google+ accounts. However, BT has received opinions (Jiro707 supporters) to blackface in Japan via private messaging, twitter and email. The support for or commentary against Japanese artists performing in blackface can be found via the Japan Times article and links to Loco in Yokohama‘s blog. BTW, if you’re having difficulty posting comments on the BT blog, let me know and I will change the blog’s comment settings.

Jiro707: Inconsistencies contained within Baye McNeil’s article are:
I. Author mentions that he wasn’t going to write about this article but then says that a white person suggested that he should. Did that same white person suggest that you start a petition?
II. How can this be compared to Blanc when Blanc’s intentions were malicious by sexually harassing, demeaning, and assaulting women? The movement against Blanc started in the United States where he was shut down in several countries, not just Japan. Blanc moral intentions malicious versus Rats & Star non-malicious intentions. The correlations does not compute.
III. A more fair comparison to Angelina Jolie biographical movie not being showed in Japan would have been the recent Sony movie “The Interview” not being showed in the United States. An even better comparison are both of those movies together versus the uproar about the movie DJANGO. Guess which movie still got played which is one of multiple movies where the black voice was dismissed.
IV. The ANA response is not a new concept, it is often said in America and it happens throughout America. Consider the various ethnic groups and how for the most part they live within their own communities. Formal or Informal, isn’t this segregation? Look at the American Military with Officers versus Enlisted, another form of segregation which comes with the label of fraternization

(Black Female, mid 20s – Tokyo)
Well if there’s one thing that Baye is good at it’s contradicting himself on articles.
He’s always flip flopping in his articles but comparing that to Blanc…. smh and people are gonna eat that up too cause that’s too extreme!

mimicry is a form o flattery

(Black Male, early 20s – Tokyo)
I can see why black people would be offended by Japanese wearing dark make up on their skin to try to resemble black people. I think so far most black people’s reaction on this has been emotional rather than analytical. I do think Japanese people can be racist at times and in Japan. I believe there is a hierarchy of gaijin, but for this instance I would say that this isn’t a case of racism but then Japanese people needs to be more mindful of others. As for calling it a minstrel show, that is over exaggerating the situation. Minstrel shows in America during the early 20th century portrayed black people in negative ways and produced many stereotypes that were made up just to make black people seem inferior or completely ignorant.

Ufu and Mufu Black Sambo image in Japan

(Black Male, late 40s – Kanagawa)
You are on point. This is what I learnt a while back concerning all that is wrong with our world: Discrimination, poverty and ignorance. Discrimination you solve with love, poverty with kindness, and since ignorance is a derivative of both, it is taken care of when the first two are fully addressed. Well it looks like they got their Clarence Thomas. Find out if he has a drug problem then…lol.

(Black Male, mid 50s – Kanagawa)
You put it very clear but you seem to be in a discussion with a closed-minded single-view processing person. Keep in mind how the world is, one should not be willing to change for every ignorant person’s opinion. There would be no progress for the world it that were the case.

yamamba girl

(Black Male early 50s – Tokyo)
In my 25 yrs. experience here, I’ve heard/read about blackface since I got off the plane. The music groups/comedians bring attention to this in some form yearly. Let’s not forget the gangoro girls and orange tans. With all the resources these artists, networks, production companies have, they have no interest or respect towards anyone’s culture/religion, ethnicity, etc.
This scenario is far from new. We just have new African-Americans here experiencing it perhaps for the first time. I applaud the efforts of the writers/thinkers on this matter. I see girls in brown face in Shibuya all the time. This country is the champion of cosplay. They have a failure of a school system, so there is no effort to understand anything outside their own borders.
This blackface issue goes on all over the world under the guise of showing some sort of appreciation to African people. I’m probably more concerned about the escalated efforts by black people to “out-black history month” each other for 28 days every year.
Zwarte Piet
We all, as Africans should not waste a chance in our daily endeavors and interactions with other cultures, to impart some African American experience to them—truthfully and honestly its yours…
As well as each of us knowing who we are surely, when the conversation arises we need to spread it around to those less familiar with our struggle. The Japanese haven’t posted one thing, one program, one forum on Black History Month as it relates to those of us living here. They sing Stevie’s happy birthday not knowing its historical message. More importantly, the Japanese have something we are still searching for and most of us run away from… language, history, culture and geography.
one love
This blackface thing is not like the KKK marching down Main Street. Overall in this country nobody will pay their little act much attention other than amusement. I hardly imagine any Japanese watching their performance with pause and think that this seems offensive to blacks. Hmmm! We all know how much black history they soak up in schools and universities.
BTW, I find the fact that no one has questioned the Softbank brother how he feels being fathered by a white dog, with an Asian mother and sister. Maybe the mailman or milkman, no! they’re Japanese too! He’s a brother who plays second fiddle to a dog, who acts like a well-trained dog by the way, and yet the brother has to act all Japanese with a WHITE dog. I’ve never heard anyone question his role or the networks who air Softbank’s ads nor challenge the mighty Softbank (because ni##az too busy standing in lines to get their Softbank phone and sign a two-year wage slave contract).

I previously posted a response to an article published by an university president in Japan. He believed that “Japan girai” — dislike of Japan — is an allergy that seems to afflict many Westerners living in Japan.” His preposterous statement that: “It is time “we” admitted that at times the Japanese have the right to discriminate against “some” foreigners. If they do not, and Japan ends up like our padlocked, mutually suspicious Western societies, we will all be the losers. I am not sure who the writer refered to when he used “we” since “those people” in the gaijin ghettos may not clearly understand his rhetoric flowing from his seaside abode. Doesn’t he know that not all of “we” opened or went to war with Japan? If the Japanese are mutually suspicious, it could be for “other” reasons! So much for individualism, I guess collective racism is easier to promote.
Using a quote from university president’s Japan Times OpEd piece: “Too many opinion and policymakers either too biased, bought or ignorant.”
I queried, “Which are you? As an accredited successful scholar hating or loathing equality (a.s.s.h.o.l.e. in layman’s terms), you should not be allowed to mold the mind of a young student seeking to better him/herself before entering a world which requires an understanding of international and cross-cultural relations. Speaking Japanese, Chinese or Russian does not replace having core competencies in communicating with others. A person can be equally as smart or dumb in all languages utilized.”
Which leads to this: Are the opinions above a common reflection of those of the African Diaspora living in Japan? Is an implicit bias at play when it comes to portraying Blacks in Japanese media? According to a Standford University study: “Psychologists believe that the content of our implicit biases are learned from the society in which we live. From a very early age, we are exposed to certain ideas over and over from the people we interact with and from the media. Over time these ideas become so ingrained in us that they are activated automatically without us realizing it.” And lastly, is it important in the bigger scheme of things when living in Japan?
As always, feel free to comment below!

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