lifestyle

Asian foreigners give their thoughts on what life is like being Asian in Japan

7 Comments
By Evie Nyan, SoraNews24

Often, foreigners in Japan report encountering different situations as a result of how they might initially appear to Japanese people. For example, while Western-looking foreigners may get preferential treatment in some areas (or they may get ignored in others), Asian-background foreigners may find they naturally encounter an entirely different set of experiences from their Western-looking friends. With different expectations placed upon them, they can find navigating life in Japan to have various unique benefits and challenges. YouTuber That Japanese Man Yuta recently uploaded a pair of videos taking a look at the perspectives of both female and male Asian foreigners living in Japan.

Let’s start with the ladies.

A major issue for both gender groups was the difficulty encountered in describing their particular backgrounds. Japan is an ethnically homogeneous nation, and simply being born in Japan is not enough to grant Japanese citizenship, since Japan, unlike some countries, only recognizes jus sanguinis (right of blood), and not jus soli (right of soil). As a result, it can be a challenge for some people raised in Japan to fully grasp concepts such as “fourth-generation Japanese American” or “American-born Vietnamese”.

Language issues were also discussed by the ladies, with one interviewee saying that restaurant staff exclusively focus on her even when she is with Caucasian friends who speak better Japanese (a concept that we’ve discussed before).

And now on to the men.

One significant difference the guys discussed in detail was how they are held to higher expectations when it comes to speaking Japanese. While some Japanese people may be quick to praise Western-looking foreigners for mastering basic Japanese greetings, Westerners of Asian appearance can find their language skills either overly scrutinised, or celebrated less.

Another key difference is in approachability. Some of the interviewees stated that they felt Japanese people were “more at ease” around them, especially when it came to speaking English. Additionally, one U.S.-born interviewee whose parents are from Pakistan said that he felt Japanese people were more at ease speaking English with him than they would be around a blond, blue-eyed, tall and more “stereotypical-looking” foreigner.

The interviews certainly raise some important issues that occur when living in Japan as a foreigner who doesn’t fit the typical mold of a “gaijin”. What are your thoughts?

Source: YouTube/That Japanese Man Yuta

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

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7 Comments
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Wow! That girl is hot! I would love to speak to her in Japanese.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Reckless Today  12:26 pm JST

Wow! That girl is hot! I would love to speak to her in Japanese.

How long have you lived in Japan bud? She is average at best. I am not saying she is ugly but far from "hot". Other than that, "hot" is just visual. I have had relationships with hot Japanese women but i will take average to above average that is a good wife and mother over "hot". Life lessons are the best long term.

Well, I have to admit if Haruka Ayase were to give me a chance, I would trade most of my wealth to have that chance. However, she seems a genuinely hard working and good woman so it would be a calculated risk for me." :)

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I thought Japan was in Asia. Isn't it?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@HaiDesu, getting up in age myself, a young beauty like that nears being a 9 in my book. also living in tokyo with so many old maids and haggard middle age workaholic ladies, a young smile is so refreshing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan is part of Asia when it suits it. It is if Japan wants to be the leader of the pack. It isn't if it's being compared with Korea and China, and with other Asian countries where people have darker skin.

The Japanese seem to have a hard time accepting the fact that not all Americans or Europeans are white.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Pukey

Yep. Just like England and the UK. Or the UK and Europe. Part of a greater whole when it suits, or a plucky outsider when it doesn't.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is because when we see the face of the gaikokujin especially someone with blond hair and blue eyes we associate them with advanced western nations and we become more nervous. We feel that we are being judged. We want to make a good impression and show the westerner that Japan is a good country, that we are culturally rich and an economically advanced nation. We do not want to lose face. Whether right or wrong, unfortunately many of us Japanese tend to look down on other asians so we become judgmental towards them and their ability to adapt to Japanese culture. Japan has to change this attitude but I think it is a problem with the Japanese mascomi and advertising that promotes the gaikokujin as having blond hair and blue eyes and being fluent in English. In reality the gaikokujin come from all backgrounds.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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