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What do you think of the various foreigners who appear on Japanese TV? Do any of them make you cringe? Are there any whom you think do a good job?

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I think most foreigners here feel like they do a good job of dumbing themselves down and acting the fool. I've seen some awful examples though. Remember billy the Nigerian guy who was always on TV? They had him speaking and acting literally like a madman, speaking Japanese with a monkey voice. Other times they act as emissaries, validating opinions on talk shows etc. The half Japanese who speak for foreigners and like to talk about internationism are sometimes pretty bad as many of them are totally Japanese in their mindset and don't even speak English.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

@thepersoniamnow. I think you mean "Bobby." His last name is Olegon or something like that.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The "pet gaijin" on Japanese TV are one of the reasons we don't have a TV in the house.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

It's not a foreign thing - they expect pretty much everyone on TV to be high energy, which usually means somewhat goofy. After all, who wants to see someone all serious and boring on TV?

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

I think Atsugiri Jason has done wonders in breaking down stereotypes of Americans.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I think Atsugiri Jason has done wonders in breaking down stereotypes of Americans.

He's definitely shown that white people can speak and read Japanese. Often he knows kanji that the Japanese people on a show don't.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Sam watters

Yes Bobby is the one I was talking about. Honestly, I returned to Japan after leaving when I was little and don't watch much on my own as it doesn't interest me. But for many people here Bobby was the most famous African they knew and he was so obviously speaking dumbed down and heavily accented Japanese. He was definitely told to behave eccentric and act too.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

He was definitely told to behave eccentric and act too.

He was. I met him one time, he was a pretty normal dude.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@strangerland it's not necessarily a "foreign thing" but that doesn't mean that there's a different standard in how they're perceived. If a Japanese person is dumb and wild on TV, that's just TV. There are plenty of counterexamples in the real world for people. But if a foreigner is dumb and wild on TV, many people think (consciously or not) that all foreigners fit into that category. It reinforces stereotypes if all of the foreign people on TV act that way, since there aren't as many examples of normal people in their actual lives.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

if a foreigner is dumb and wild on TV, many people think (consciously or not) that all foreigners fit into that category. It reinforces stereotypes if all of the foreign people on TV act that way, since there aren't as many examples of normal people in their actual lives.

I agree.

But having plain, or low-energy people on TV doesn't make for good entertainment, and that's what TV is - entertainment. That's why its important that those of us living here show Japanese people that we aren't like the people on TV.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Knowing a kanji that the locals don't, and making that obvious, is a recipe for instant unpopularity.

Some things are best left unsaid.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

I see stereotyping here that all Japanexe think that all foreigners are like the ones on TV. Show me the data that verifies this assumption.

I can say (only anecdotally) that I've never met a Japanese person in the 24+ years I've lived in Japan say that they thought all foreigners are like TV talents.

Every Japanese person I know thinks that Bobby is very smart and clever, carving out a good living with his TV "character."

Dave Spector, the pioneer of foreign TV "talento," has never acted like a fool and always impressed people that his Japanese vocabulary was better than the average person.

Some of you are worse than the people you claim are doing the stereotyping.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Peter Barakan (sp?) has been great for a long time. Knowledgeable, low key, intelligent, fluent.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Peter Barakan (sp?) has been great for a long time. Knowledgeable, low key, intelligent, fluent.

I don't know who that is, does he appear on TV?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

one question: where are the "Koko ga Hen da yo Nihonjin (ここがヘンだよ日本人?, This doesn't make sense, Japanese people!)" like shows??? Unfortunately I came too much late to Japan, when all you have on tv are silly shows trying to exaggerate everything "good" in Japan, making a point to call foreign professionals (pilots, doctors) to make them tell to the japanese how wonderful Japan is. Can anyone imagine this kind of show anywhere else??? So many dumb-stereotyped foreigners on tv that the only person I can think about now is Patrick Harlan, at least he actually comments on serious talk shows.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

where are the "Koko ga Hen da yo Nihonjin (ここがヘンだよ日本人?, This doesn't make sense, Japanese people!)" like shows???

That's Atsugiri Jason's whole shtick isn't it?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I just can't help it - commercial justifications or not - they mostly make me cringe, and have done so for the best part of 30 years. I feel several have lost all self respect. And I cannot count how many times I have been told I physically resemble this or that performing foreigner who I feel I have no resemblance to at all. It's not a compliment. And I do wonder if these people provide body templates do they also provide behavioural stereotypes?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

They all make me cringe. Worst is "Bobby".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

https://www.japantoday.com/category/arts-culture/view/music-stalwart-peter-barakan-looks-back-on-his-illustrious-career

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do any of them make you cringe?

Only one makes me cringe and that's Nicholas Edwards.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I remember a Japanese friend telling me that the gaijin on TV usually made him cringe. I think he took it too seriously. I'd do the performing seal routine if they paid me enough. I'm pretty sure these people go home laughing to themselves with the thought they are actually getting paid for this crap. Good luck to them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

They all make me cringe and are a horrible representation of the gaijin community in Japan.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Well, plenty of the Japanese folk on Japanese television make me cringe as well.

On the other hand, there are also several good news and debate programs with serious foreigners, experts, businessmen, academics and so appearing and speaking in Japanese.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Simple way to shut down anyone trying to compare you to a foreign tarento:

Japanese person: Hey, you look/sound/act like XYZ chan!

You: Who is that - never heard of him/her/it?

Japanese person: You know, XYZ chan on XXXterebi, you must know it!

You: I don't have a TV and haven't watched TV since I moved here.

That ends it quick.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

ah strangerland we can always count on you to come to Japans rescue when it come to discrimination, racism and stereotypes. Japan loves the assimilated gaijin , they can stand up for them in their native language, and it doesn't cost them a yen.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

wtfjapan. you got that right!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Can't stand most of the talent and Celebrities on TV may they be foreign, Japanese or whatever, for some the channel changes fast like Sanma-San.

Nor am I interested in their lives if they marry, get divorced or whatever, just useless junk for the great unwashed(King Tutt comic reference).

Often I rather grab a book and leave the Idiot-box switched off.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Atsugiri and Bobby both make me cringe. One acts like a madman, the other like an ape.

The only foreigner on TV who I respect is Dave Spector. This is a guy who has not sold himself out, has not behaved like a lunatic, and is just as skillful in Japanese as that clown Jason is. My hat off to Spector.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Nearly every single one I've seen has been cringeworthy, adopting a Japanese tarento style personality that makes them extremely repulsive

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Don't pay them much attention any more: gaijin on TV here are just part of the wider popular culture which does not excite me at all any more.

It is a bit like being asked to 'help' with an English text book or dictionary used in schools - sure there is a little money at times but lots of teachers I have met cringe at seeing their names attached to a (crappy) product that is not what they had first imagined nor how they had been led to believe it would appear.

For the gaijin involved, in both cases, just to consider it as a job is enough - any more and it does your head in.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Dave's Japanese is much better than Jason's. Jason is still pretty darn good though, especially as I don't think he has been in Japan that long. Many foreigners should be taking his language skills as something to achieve, rather than belittling him.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Harvard-educated Patrick Harlan is really the only gaijin talento on TV who doesn't make me cringe. I truly respect him.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/09/04/our-lives/patrick-harlan-american-can-make-japanese-giggle/#.V-iRwfl951s

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I'll take Patrick Harlan, even Thane Camus to an extent, over Dave Specter any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Can't stand that guy. He's not the worst by far, but I don't understand how he evidently doesn't make some of you cringe.

8 ( +9 / -2 )

kawachiSep. 26, 2016 - 12:12PM JST

Harvard-educated Patrick Harlan is really the only gaijin talento on TV who doesn't make me cringe. I truly respect him.

Stop trying to make the guy sound intelligent. He got a degree in religion.

The guy's a first rate tool with those stupid monkey expressions, every time he's asked to comment on something and that silly voice, which drops down two decibels, when he bursts into Japanese, makes me cringe.

They're all pretty cringe worthy in their own, apart from Peter Barakan, who has really gone out of his way to avoid the gaijin panda roles.

Bobby Olegon is a disgrace to his race.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

agreed, peter barakan is a class act. Bobby olegon is a disgrace.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

They all make me cringe and are a horrible representation of the gaijin community in Japan.

I certainly don't consider myself part of any "community" here.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@Performing Monkey: The Japanese do, with or without your permission.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Bobby has such an irritating voice, but they want him to sound that way.

Peter is extremely intelligent and smooth talking.

Dave Spector annoys me as he says so many things that are not true, but everyone Japanese thinks he is telling the truth and spouting facts.

I think Becky is cute. Bring her back.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I enjoy watching them.

Don't listen to the curmudgeons and haters who have nothing good to ever say about anything.

It's nice to see foreign faces on Japan, many of them who speak the difficult language fluently.

You just don't see that kind of diversity in other Asian countries' entertainment channels.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

I like Robert Campbell and Robert Feldman. "Bobby" Ologun may be cringe-worthy, but he's probably laughing all the way to the bank.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Most of the goofy ones are in the entertainment shows, i don't really mind, the ha-fu have been popular the last few years. And there is that guy in the docomo smartphone commercials where the father is a dog, yeah a dog, makes no sense. What i find hilarious are the commercials done by foreign stars some of them are very funny, like Boss with Tommy Lee Jones.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My fav gaijins on J tv (by far) were the beautiful young women who were part of the live studio audience on some shows. The Brenda, Cindy, Olga, Charlotte etc of this world. (perhaps more Olga than Cindy though as they did look fairly Slavic, Baltic etc).

Very much agree with domtoidi's post though: many/most J ppl don't expect gaijin to be as crazy, silly, eccentric etc as the 'gaijin caricatures' they see on tv. If your J friends, colleagues, neighbours etc see you as a weirdo don't blame "bobby", Patrick, Bill etc for that. Chances are you are weird.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Bobby has made bank here, and I can certainly respect that. For the person who said that he's never come across someone who stereotypes foreigners as TV caricatures however, I would challenge you to ask any black person who has taught children, particularly during Bobby's heyday. For years, 9 out of 10 children I met in a class under 10 (and several intentionally disrespectful ones in junior high school) would refer to any bald black person as Bobby. The other 1 in ten would go with Bob Sapp. TV impressions DO matter. Particularly in a country that tries on so many levels to differentiate itself as uniquely special in the world.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

its so embarrassing to watch japanese tv adverts with non-asians. but i find much much worse USA reality tv, such as keeping up with the cardisheeans. which makes me freel that japanese tv aint so bad, with or without non-asians.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There's one show where a Caucasian bloke and woman basically wander around eateries getting excited about noodles and what have you. One time in Japan I was asked if I liked my lunch and said yes... the waitress was surprised that I didn't get excited about it. At the time I found the question odd, then I saw THEM on TV, acting as if eating noodles was an orgasmic experience.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Bob Sapp! What a blast from the past!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Atsugiri Jason, without a doubt an embarrassment to the foreign community in Japan.

Yes, he speaks the language very well. Does that excuse him from the screaming and yelling his producers demand? At the end of the day he only strengthens the cliche that foreigners are loud buffoons that don't understand the nuances of the Japanese language.

Coupled with the fact he threw all foreigners under the bus last year when faced by racism at Taiji fish market, I can't wait for his 15 minutes to expire.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Not a fan of Japanese TV.. I saw Bobby beat a real K1 fighter a few years ago so he moved up in my books... the Peter guy Mentioned above had a great morning show on Saturdays on NHK radio and I think he does the American award shows for wowow. Personally I don't think the gaijin guys are any worse than the Japanese nuts that rule the evening hours. The Dave guy always rubbed me the wrong way... I switched to cable years ago so the only time I even see anything is if my kids are watching. I usually walk away and bite my tongue:) love Netflix

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Atsugiri Jason, without a doubt an embarrassment to the foreign community in Japan.

Absolutely Agree with clamenza - People often say but their Japanese is good......My Japanese is good as is many other peoples but we dont act like mentals on TV or in public. I went to one of the big English education seminars in Tokyo once and a Japanese educator was talking about how to teach kids - her example was a foreigner dressed up kinda like a clown and shouting......half the people just got up and left.

My point is that we foreigners are like Jedi...most people only see or meet one and that one can influence what they think about us. If they first interaction is with a monkey like Jason then they will think all foreigners are like that.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

On the other hand I like Patrick "Pakkun" Harlan (from Harvard), but he is a rare exception.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Been here 30+ yrs and more or less do not watch TV anymore (thought family does, a lot). I'd say 99%+ of TV foreigners as representative of their cultures and (ugh) 'halfs' for that matter make me want to throw something at the screen. Barakan - very low key - is fine, which is why many Japanese are confused by him. Years ago a bloke named Kent Delicate was okay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BL%%DY spell check - Delicott.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Rik

Double %%!

Derricott

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have to say I'm a fan of Peter Barakan, but I don't think I could bare to watch Japanese television shows like dramas and cooking ones most of the day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is a guy on Wowow tennis events his name is Forent Babadie or something like that. This guy comments on grand slam tennis matches. He makes the strangest facial expressions and knows nothing about tennis. They showed him trying to play tennis once and he couldn't play. One of the most cringe worthy dudes I've ever seen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Peter Barakan is by far the best of the non Japanese broadcasters.He is both eloquent and erudite and no way is he into self aggrandizement .It's a pity that the only time he appears on TV is in the early hours of the morning when very few people are watching.In my opinion the reason for this is that he's not a 'henna gaijin' and doesn't fit the loud,excitable and eccentric foreigner stereotype.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The worst are the Cool Japan shows. I mean, for goodness' sake, give the script in their hands to read instead of hiding them from sight! Does anyone really think that those are all spontaneous opinions? I have been here for 10 years and from day one I was expected to provide some sort of Gaijin Monkey Show. When we were taken on a homestay, otosan literally carried me around the village in their convertible and I was promptly instructed to wave to people. A year later the uni took us to an elementary school where we were supposed to demonstrate that gaijins are human, too. I almost fell over with laughter when upon entry we were given a sticker with our names on, a tiny colourful monkey circling the nametags. What goes on on TV is a blown-up version of these grassroots stereotypes. Mind you, it would be difficult to decide which is the chicken and which one would be the egg. And frankly, I sometimes find it easier to pretend that I cannot speak Japanese or read kanji: demonstrating knowledge on an average daily basis freaks the hell out of some of the locals as if they were violated by the odd foreigner who chanced upon a secret code of entry into their culture. That is the very knowledge these TV personalities downplay when acting like outright idiots.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The only foreigner on TV who I respect is Dave Spector. This is a guy who has not sold himself out, has not behaved like a lunatic, and is just as skillful in Japanese as that clown Jason is. My hat off to Spector.

Spector is good but check out Robert Feldman and, of course, Peter Barakan.

Harvard-educated Patrick Harlan is really the only gaijin talento on TV who doesn't make me cringe. I truly respect him.

Harlan has nothing of substance to say. His talent is saying nothing of consequence in very fluent Japanese. Spector has a really sharp brain under the goofy hairy style. If you listen carefully, you can hear him making some seriously cutting comments.

Years ago a bloke named Kent Delicate was okay.

Do you mean Kent Gilbert? He's still around. I regularly see him on one of the more right-wing talk shows.

And, is there no one here who remembers Edith Hanson? She was very big in Japan in the 70s when I first came here. She was particularly striking because while her Japanese was native speaker level, it was Kansai dialect, not the Tokyo Japanese typical of most foreign tarento.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Spector has a really sharp brain under the goofy hairy style. If you listen carefully, you can hear him making some seriously cutting comments.

I like him myself.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Do you mean Kent Gilbert?

The two Kents overlapped. Gilbert was a lawyer with an MBA from Utah and never played the goofy gaijin; Derricott did occasionally. Neither, if I recall, spoke in a goofy accent to emphasize their foreign-ness but Derricott was more likely to scream Oishiii!! after eating anything.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tommy Lee jones is good in the ads.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yep, most are cringe worthy sadly playing the role of a panda or clown or both at the same time. If it was just on occasion, but its constant, hell I even cringe watching Japanese acting the fool which is on the idiot box somewhere the entire day, its a BIG reason I try to avoid but the mrs will have it on when she is around so impossible to escape....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why do people (at least two) need to mention the fact that Patrick Harlan went to Harvard?

Replace that with "Todai" and the reaction'll be pretty swift and pretty damning.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Bobby is a comedian guys, why so serious?

I like the gaijin singers here like Chris Hart, May J, Jero.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBBbecA8Z08

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zsh3oZrKGDM

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bobby is a comedian guys, why so serious?

I like the gaijin singers here like Chris Hart, May J, Jero.

Bobby is not a comedian, but he is used by Japanese TV for comedic effect. The guy is understandably trying to make a buck, but I'm not sure if he's aware he's being laughed at and not with. The way he is portrayed by the producers here is quite frankly racist.

May J is not "gaijin". She was born and raised in Yokohama.

And lastly, lucabrasi is right. Patrick Harlan, for all his wonderful Japanese proficiency, is another hack mugging for the camera trying his best to parrot Japanese mannerisms.

He has even been spotted on a few political discussions as the "Foreign Perspective". Like Atugiri Jason, he knows not to rock the boat by saying anything of substance, but will furrow his little brow and mutter only a "大変ですねえ〜”。

Then again, with a background in religion, thats probably for the best.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Monkey Majik's two front members whose also brothers are from Canada.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_kadOV171A

Def Tech's Shen is from Hawaii. They performed in Kohaku before.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWGDt0pBbXQ

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The obvious frustration of Eric Jacobsen's 20 years as a kids' entertainer on NHK's eigodeasobo is a sight to behold. Poor guy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you mean Kent Gilbert? He's still around. I regularly see him on one of the more right-wing talk shows.

@bullfighter

Kent Gilbert is in pretty deep with Japan's right wingers and the anti-Okinawa peace movement brigade.

His very public views are along the lines of "Texas Daddy" who generated a raft of negative comments when an article about him appeared in JT. Here are Kent and Texas Daddy on the cover of Japanese nationalistic magazine "Japanism": https://goo.gl/gBrpsh

Here is a video on his YouTube channel titled, "The Truth about the "Peace Movement" in Okinawa(Kent Gilbert)" complete with scare quotes around "peace movement": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T3MG5YJiRQ

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not all foreigners have to act like clowns on TV here and I've seen many examples. Those that were mentioned work with comedians for a comedic show so you would very much expect they would pull jokes trying to be funny. I've seen many that are genuine and just be their real selves on TV. Just saying.

Chris Hart

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VxhxFRibBI

Monkey Majik

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S9tvAjV0sY

Def Tech's Shen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFuNy2zZi20

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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