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Japanese society begins to grapple with microaggressions

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By Dave Hueston

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Japanese society begins to grapple with microaggressions

That just a way to do bullying but indirectly.

11 ( +34 / -23 )

Researchers say that microaggressions -- usually unintentional or casual hurtful words or actions -- made toward members of marginalized groups, including ethnic and sexual minorities and women, are commonplace.

They don't necessarily need to invent a new word as microaggressions are one of stereotypes/stereotyping.

Note that "positive" stereotypes are also a source of misunderstanding and troubles. Just like saying, "You Japanese must be smart and hardworking" is not considered a praise.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

I fail to see the point of this article!

12 ( +35 / -23 )

Or, people could just not be so sensitive instead of demanding others acquiesce to their imaginary needs

3 ( +30 / -27 )

It wasn't announced at the time, but it has since come out that the Japanese girl who got knocked back by Yoshinoya with the "we're not recruiting foreigners" comment was judged to be foreign because she had a katakana surname.

As mentioned above, the word "stereotyping" would cover what is going on here. However, if renaming it to "microaggressions" leads to it being taken more seriously, then it might be a good thing. On the issue of only certain people "looking Japanese", "sounding Japanese", "having a Japanese name", at least.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

This is an advancement, microaggresions go unrecognized in Japan and can lead to completely unnecessary friction and problems in personal relationship. The point is not to make a society where people are afraid to offend others by every word but to recognize that some ways of acting or speaking can be felt as negative by the person receiving them so those that do not have that intention can avoid doing it, and the person that is subjected to this can understand that a lot of times this is done unconsciously.

1 ( +21 / -20 )

Increasing awareness about unconscious bias

Its true that unconscious bias/prejudices/discrimination is very common in Japan.

However...conscious bias/prejudices/discrimination is also very common in Japan.

An interesting study would be to question if xenophobia in Japan is really just a superiority complex disorder.

Or if the male dominance is really just a weak mindset .

-4 ( +17 / -21 )

The term "microaggression" is said to have been coined by psychiatrists in the United States in the 1970s in research on racial issues and mental health.

The Good Son to return Home.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Alan

I fail to see the point of this article.

I suggest you read the article again .

-7 ( +20 / -27 )

If schools had debate teams, even if your team is given a topic you distain you job is to justify your teams point. It teaches critical thinking, cause and effect. This myopic culture where you expect to be told what to think not 2022. It’s a long road for Japan, the first step is shedding the idea of conformity and obedience to someone who has their position on age not skill.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

"Microaggression" - possibly one of the stupidest words to enter the English language in recent memory. And it has a lot of competition.

12 ( +31 / -19 )

A Japanese friend I hang out with can't speak a word of English. Salespeople and others to whom I speak will often direct their answers to him; he'll turn to me and repeat word for word what the person said in Japanese, I'll answer in Japanese, and he'll repeat that back to the salesperson. That will continue until the conversation finishes - the salesperson never seems to catch on.

Used to annoy us, but now it just makes us laugh.

38 ( +44 / -6 )

A Japanese friend I hang out with can't speak a word of English. Salespeople and others to whom I speak will often direct their answers to him; he'll turn to me and repeat word for word what the person said in Japanese, I'll answer in Japanese, and he'll repeat that back to the salesperson. That will continue until the conversation finishes - the salesperson never seems to catch on.

I've had non-Japanese Asian staff members, and we'll go out for lunch. I do all the ordering in Japanese, then they turn to my non-Japanese-speaking staff member and confirm the order.

15 ( +24 / -9 )

Seems like another example of victimhood, encouraging people to feel slighted when there is no reason. People are not perfect and will not always say things the right way or use the right words, but it doesn't mean there's ill intent.

5 ( +21 / -16 )

I've had non-Japanese Asian staff members, and we'll go out for lunch. I do all the ordering in Japanese, then they turn to my non-Japanese-speaking staff member and confirm the order.

This used to get to me. Now, I just order—in Japanese—but I just look and say it to my wife right in front of the server. Then wife repeats what we all just heard me say.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

A couple is out shopping for an expensive item, but the store clerk addresses only the man. A person of ethnic Korean descent but born and raised in Japan is complimented on their impeccable Japanese. Someone from the LGBTQ community is told by a friend, "You're going through a phase. You'll be cured one day."

The article is trying to give the phenomenon a modern ethnic or gender bias slant.

But microaggressions are baked into a society built on minute hierarchies like Japan.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

You want to make Japan an even more uptight, confused nation that already walks on eggshells even more distant from each other? Then keep pushing this agenda. Micro aggressions, give me a break. Worked in the hotel industry for ten years as a youngen back in the 90s and got to work with quite a few ‘old school’ gays ( always impeccable with their appearance and manners and often gravitated to the hospitality industry ). As a young lad what impressed me about them was just how tough, sharp witted and funny they were. They gave back just as good as they got, and they were better at it than most. In fact that was their ‘thing’, they world made them tough and no one could mess with them , and trust me no one would ever dare!

The modern strategy that we see on offer in this article does more harm than good. We all deal with these so called micro aggressions here in one way or another. A bit annoying at times, but certainly under no ridiculous notions that we can change the entire population to cater to our sensitive feelings. Just weak. Wear your differences with pride and dignity. Done .

1 ( +16 / -15 )

The degree of offence taken should be proportional to or less than the degree of offence intended.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

By these measures it would be a 'micro aggression' any time one of us is told "Wow! You can use chopsticks!!!".

It gets annoying, but I'm not going for tryouts in the Victim Olympics...

12 ( +21 / -9 )

There is the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

It happens to be true. Those victims who suffer from these "microaggressions" are actually doing it to themselves.

There is nobody who can upset you as much as YOU can!

7 ( +21 / -14 )

Is a microaggressor a small, aggressive person? I know some kids who'd fit this definition.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I used to think micro aggressions were a bigproblem, and I have changed my mind, One problem with this is the phrase “micro aggressions “

the very phrase insinuates the person is being “aggressive”. Phrases maybe annoying but it isn’t aggressive.

I even started to switch off to them because they aren’t meant to be harmful.And if we go around telli mg everyone they’ve done something wrong and they are eg racist, homophobic we could actually in return be not MICRO AGGRESSIVE but MORE AGGRESSIVE, and not in a nice way.

The psychologist is paid to look for problems. And as we tell everyone they have a problem it may increass anxiety and stress, because they want to be friendly, and kind and now we have total strangers jumping down their throat shouting, that racist,.

political correctness isn’t wrong, but just a polite way of talking to someone, but now it’s got to a point where we don’t know how to refer to a group, eg black, African American ( even though they’ve never been to African) and when they leave the USA they can’t refer to their own nationality without thinking about what do they mean by African, when they’re actually American. Now we want to call them micro aggressive.

Maybe we could do better dealing with the BIG stuff, than the “ would you like a fork”

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Microaggressions will always exists as there is always someone who will find something offensive.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

People who unironically use the word "microaggression" make me want to perform macro aggressions.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

Not to excuse racism, prejudice, bigotry and discrimination in japan, but microaggressions in any society is normal. It's called being human.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Never mind micro aggression, many, I included, have experienced macro aggression. Micro is nothing

6 ( +7 / -1 )

One of the best features of Japan is that most people don’t think at all about microaggressions.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

One of the micro-aggressions that constantly bothers me is the use both in print and conversation of the word "foreigner" by Japanese to refer to non-Japanese, rather than "expatriate" or "foreign resident." Foreigner in English has a very strong nuance of disdain, exclusion and dislike (e.g., "there are too many foreigners in this town"; "you can't trust foreigners"). Whenever I see the word or hear it, I have a twinge of dislike. I know this might seem too sensitive, but when you are living here (a "foreign resident"), the resentment builds up.

We could at least start talking about this.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

" to unsettling experiences such as an empty seat next to a foreign-looking person remaining vacant even on a crowded train.

Best thing ever!

from the assumption that a Japanese biracial child whose father is black is "athletic"

my kids ARE athletic though.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Just ignore the micro-aggressors and move on. They are silly and superficial people. Not worth the time of day.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

And yes when I pay the izakaya bill in cash nearly every cashier returns my change to the Japanese person I’m with.

we all have a good laugh about it when I say “yo, that’s ore no okane!” And we move on….

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Blacklabel, top shelf! Humor wins.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The expression is nothing new and microagressions are one of the most frustrating parts of life in Japan (or anywhere else while being visibly different).

But Japanese exceptionalism will keep it inconceivable for most that someone born elsewhere can navigate society almost as well as a native. It's like a man condescendingly praising a woman for being good at a typically "male" job like construction work. There's no reason she shouldn't be able to other than prejudice.

Another example, if you're a westerner, you're not necessarily a native speaker of English. If you use English for work, you have to try twice as hard as someone with a US passport to even be considered for a job. If, then, people keep throwing in English words in otherwise Japanese communication, it becomes annoying to the point that you'd rather not interact with that person. But little can be done. TV celebrities do it to look "cool", Japanese English teachers do it. If you try to point out how annoying it is, you'll be the weird one. The English language part seems quite hard to understand to some of my native speaker friends as well.

The "kindness" behind microagressions is the main problem. It's much easier for anyone with basic empathy to recognise hate speech as wrong. But because microagressions are "meant well", pointing them out will only lead to some nonsense answer like "the flip side of Japanese kindness" or dismissed with strange mental gymnastics that make the most glorious and unique nation also the innocent and naïve island nation that doesn't know any better.

Either way, I don't expect people to understand my annoyance at strangers approaching me and asking me where I'm from while I'm just trying to mind my business.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Blacklabel, top shelf! Humor wins.

Every time!

lady sat next to me on the train after no one would. She suddenly blurred out to me that I smell nice.

I said that’s good to know, better than stinking. and that’s it’s because I can afford detergent -and- softener thats the key. I do her laundry sometimes now if ya get me.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Let’s look for a minute at “microaggression” in a business context.

Earlier this year, an executive with long experience in nonprofit disability services addressed microaggression in an article written for Forbes. Andrew Pulrang is known as an advocate for encouraging others to understand the dilemmas faced by disabled people.

On this occasion, he delved in microaggression in a disability context.

In the first of three types of microaggression facing individuals with disabilities, he listed words that “nobody should use.” Words like “retarded” or “retard,” and “moron” or “idiot” were listed first. Then he said that “handicapped” was outdated, and “differently-abled,” “special needs,” and “mentally / physically challenged” were “off-putting. He also identified “wheelchair bound,” “confined to a wheelchair,” and “suffers from” within this context, and then told of the ongoing debate within the disability community over whether to say “person with a disability” or “disabled person.” He acknowledged that the above were not necessarily “equally despised or controversial,” he nevertheless said that they have potential to offend a “particular disabled person.”

He continues:

[D]isability language never stops evolving. At the moment, it’s moving mostly away from overwrought and fussy euphemisms once considered “politically correct,” like “person with a disability” and “special needs,” towards simpler and more widely-defined use of “disability” and “disabled.” So while some words are clearly insulting and off-limits, others may be more fairly thought of as merely off-base and unfortunate . . . Hearing offensive terminology hurts. Hearing outdated terminology can be a clue about the speaker’s level of understanding about disability. Hearing cheery euphemisms feels nauseating and condescending. And it’s all tiring for disabled people who hear troubling terminology like this constantly. Even the least picky disabled person can’t escape at least some annoyance.

Second kind of microaggression is condescension and sentimentality.

Of condescension, he writes of it as the habit of speaking to disabled people of any age like they are immature children.

It’s using an uncharacteristically soft, slow, high-pitched, cooing voice when speaking to disabled youth and adults. But it’s not just about tone of voice. It’s also the assumption that disabled people are less self-aware, less able to know and manage their own needs, less able to understand things.

Of sentimentality, he describes a thought process of thinking of disabled people

as elevated innocents, people who carry a special moral goodness somehow connected with their disability. It’s confusing gushing, doting praise with empowerment, or wonder and amusement with respect and love.

The third microaggression he write of is “harmless” disability jokes; little quips, remarks, and witticisms that are offensive by themselves. He provided two examples: “Hey, you got a license for that thing?” Popular when non-disabled people see someone in an electric wheelchair or scooters; and “At least you’ve always got a place to sit!” Used against those with mobility aids, that "can literally ruin a disabled person’s day."

In summation:

Anyone who cares at all about how disabled people are regarded and treated, should make themselves aware of disability microaggressions.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewpulrang/2022/02/26/5-disability-microaggressions-and-why-they-matter/?sh=53e53c897e17

Let’s say for a minute that you are corporate human resources director (my congratulations AND condolences). Being human resources means that you teach and advise the company over best practices; so what will you now do differently, considering the above, if anything?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

This makes the 95% of people who don’t care about this nonsense not want to even speak to or interact with anyone who is unknown.

which is an unintended negative consequence. You don’t talk to get to know someone and you don’t get to know someone because you don’t talk.

It’s really sad. The most ways and tools to communicate in the history of the world but can’t risk it.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo neToday  07:40 am JST

Increasing awareness about unconscious bias

Its true that unconscious bias/prejudices/discrimination is very common in Japan.

However...conscious bias/prejudices/discrimination is also very common in Japan.

Same are very common in every country everywhere.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

'Microaggresions' haha a term that most Japanese never heard about and don't care to know, but used in the article like if it was commonly used here perhaps to make the yamato seem more western.

Anyway, what about toughening up and accept that life is not perfect nor revolving around us and our feelings.

empty seat next to a foreign-looking person remaining vacant even on a crowded train.

Why is this an aggression? I hate when people sit next to me especially on forward facing trains.

you must not really be able to speak Japanese, 

You can always take advantage of this to gaijin-smash your way through. I do it often despite having become a naturalised citizen.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Hey gaijin you really good with chopsticks!

yep, you work that fork pretty well yourself buddy. See that spoon, my people made that. How you eat soup or cereal with chopsticks, homie?

it’s fun and done.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

There is no spoon.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hilarious to see people preaching to toughen up and not be sensitive while literally posting angry comments under an article about something that supposedly doesn't affect them. Triggered by others getting triggered. I can't be the only one to see the irony.

An interesting study would be to question if xenophobia in Japan is really just a superiority complex disorder.

Or if the male dominance is really just a weak mindset .

I agree it would be interesting, but I suspect there are way too many factors at play to draw any conclusions. Nationalism, usually, involves quite a bit of insecurity, be it about past wrongs, a threat from outside or both. Also, toxic masculinity can be an expression of a weak mindset, but the term 'weak' itself is so broad that I wonder what examining it would leave us with.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

There is actually a positive side to Microaggression if you a white foreigner. For example, “you must wear a mask”. In English “sorry I don’t understand”. When I first meet a Japanese and they touch my big tummy and state the obvious that I’m fat, I point to their private part and say, “ wow, that’s so small”. When the guy in the bar tries to hit on my partner, I ask him if he wants to meet me at a love hotel.

just turn these things around to your advantage. Don’t be shy.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

@Randy Johnson

Microagressions are normal

It's not normal for everyone tho is it !

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

I would have killed for a fork or a spoon in a restaurant back when I came to Japan. You had to ask and half the time they didn’t have one.

now it’s a micro aggression, mocking people for their assumed lack of chopstick ability. Which is often true and they were 5 seconds away from asking for a fork anyway.

What a world.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

The degree of offence taken should be proportional to or less than the degree of offence intended.

I fully agree.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

unsettling experiences such as an empty seat next to a foreign-looking person remaining vacant even on a crowded train

Unsettling? This never bothered me. I heard quite a few reasons why this happened from Japanese people and others - Japanese think foreigners stink, they worry that you’ll start a conversation in English, Japanese people just don’t like foreigners etc, Not people you’d waste a second of your time on or thinking about.

There are Japanese people worth your time - spend your time with them. I met some fantastic people in Japan.

I have limited sympathy for foreigners complaining about things known about countries they move to. It doesn’t make it right or that it can’t change, but you should expect it.

Do your homework.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

If you live in Japan and the discrimination bothers you too much then i suggest you leave Japan.

Japan has it's differences from other countries and it's hypocritical to not accept Japan's ways and not be bias in doing so.

Agree to disagree and live and let live.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

A new name for something that has been around for decades!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Kyo wa heiwa dayo ne

I mostly agree with your takes, but not this one.

First of all, microagressions and prejudice are not at all unique to Japan. Many, myself included, face both in their countries of origin, so even if "going back home" (potentially quite a hateful comeback) was feasible, it might not solve the issue that some people's behaviour is just bad.

And that's kind of the root of the problem. If someone is treating you badly, the only meaningful way for you to deal with it is to address the bad behaviour, especially if they're doing it unconsciously. You can't possibly ask someone to just uproot their lives like this. Not only is it not fair, it's also not the way for society to move forward. And these things affect people with roots elsewhere (albeit by far not exclusively), so we're the most likely and suitable ones to address the issue.

Japan is not unchangeable, no matter how star-eyed Japan fans and "conservatives" alike would like it to be. Every society evolves and if dialogue gets shut up with "this is how we do it, don't ask any questions", this society deprives itself of opportunities to adapt to changing times worldwide and within its borders. Many aspects of Japanese society have been fading into irrelevance exactly because of this attitude.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I’d like to see a poll of Japanese people in which they are asked if being addressed in a foreign language is a microaggression… or if being addressed in poor Japanese is a microaggression… or if being addressed in an inappropriate politeness register is a microaggression.

If I may hazard a guess, the response will likely be “What’s a microaggression?” A question well asked.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

O-hashi ga jouzu desu ne!

Seriously, people get worked up by having things like that said to them? Pffft, Westerners

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Hilarious to see people preaching to toughen up and not be sensitive while literally posting angry comments under an article about something that supposedly doesn't affect them. Triggered by others getting triggered. I can't be the only one to see the irony.

Will take this one. The fact that contrary opinions are ‘hilarious’ is also an interesting, an common theme with these type of discussions. The intellectual superiority of those fighting for justice, the ‘savior’ types, is often where things start turning nasty, and round and round we go. By nature, some people prefer simple practical solutions over complex ideologically driven ones.

Is it wrong to question the utility of trying to force people en masse, in a negative and derogatory way, to cancel perceived negative or derogatory behavior? Isn’t that itself ironic? It almost guarantees kickback, especially from the ones that you are supposed to be targeting! We have ample evidence seen from the culture wars happening in the West that this is true. So much wasted time, angst, combative mindsets and energy spent for what exactly? Overblowing the problem , demonizing those that agree to disagree, all while selling solutions to what we may well be unsolvable problems. Bigoted, mean spirit people will always exist, human nature will never be cured of certain types fearing people different to themselves. If the cure is everyone has to walk on eggshells all the time, then I think most would prefer not to. The humor method works much better!

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions! “

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@Anonymous

Most Japanese people I've met abroad justly didn't take too kindly to being told "ni hao" by strangers.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I can relate to most of the comments here about the japanese proficiency, but dont consider them micro "aggressions" eye-rolling .

People will always turn to my wife to confirm everything like "would you like to pay in full?" after I hand my own credit card to the staff.

Dont need to waste time being annoyed by these bs, but sometimes I need to resort to wearing a cap whenever I want to get things done quickly, like going to the city hall/post office to ask about something very specific. You just wear your cap and all the answers and interaction will be pretty straightforward, zero time wasted with staff speaking very slowly etc.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Shouldn't this article's title be "Interview with Kayo Fujiwara," since there are no other resources offered on the topic of microaggression and whether they exist?

"...people need to learn the appropriate response."

Rather people need to learn how to forgive and to forgive themselves.

The answer is not learning pat responses or walking on eggshells to the point that we no longer interact deeply.

The answer is forgiveness.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

> Salespeople and others to whom I speak will often direct their answers to him; he'll turn to me and repeat word for word what the person said in Japanese, I'll answer in Japanese, and he'll repeat that back to the salesperson.

Check out the movie bananas by Woody Allen. There’s a scene exactly like this using the Spanish language. It might give you a chuckle

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese society begins to grapple with microaggressions

Begins? Thanks for the satire. Passive aggression is a sport here.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Japanese society begins to grapple with microaggressions

A news article to glorify what is essentially overt passive-aggressive behavior.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

The fact that contrary opinions are ‘hilarious’ is also an interesting, an common theme with these type of discussions.

My amusement isn't at the different opinions. It's at the contradiction of people telling others to calm down while displaying visible anger. If you think people "just need to calm down", posting long and/or angry posts on social media might not be the best way to communicate that.

The only ones constantly bringing up terms like "culture wars" are either media that thrive on outrage or people whose lives are comfortable and to whom talking about oppression is just an abstraction and nuisance. To many, oppression is a nuisance at best and a threat at words. Microagressions, as harmless as they mostly are, are a reflection of that.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

The problem with trying to grapple micro aggressions is their too small and hardly worth the effort anyway !

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Yotomaya is also hypocritical to discriminate others in jest in a bias manner.

Amusing to some yet insulting to others.

Thankyou for your perfect example of micro aggression.

I doubt you even knew you were doing it !

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I think that Japan is still better than other countries because there is no violence in hate activities.

https://www.remitly.com/gb/en/landing/where-the-world-wants-to-live

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@Kyo wa heiwa dayo ne

I'm posting a comment on a public discussion forum. That's hardly discrimination. But yeah, good job showing how to deal calmly with people saying things you don't like.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@yotomaya

I never said prejudice was unique to Japan ! ! !

The article is addressing unfair profiling in Japan and that's what the discussion is about - " in Japan "

Why try to twist my words to fit your agenda.

I suggest you read the comments again and try to pay attention to details better

Iam sorry your sensitive about the prejudice issues being discussed here .

Oh well .

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Ha ha .. try living in New York or Lagos or Chicago where there are ‘macro agressions’

Japan isn’t grappling with a thing…

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Start with the macroaggressions first...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Most Japanese people I've met abroad justly didn't take too kindly to being told "ni hao" by strangers.

Did they scream “microaggression” in response? It depends on how things are said.

Citing microaggressions is a declaration of hypersensitivity. Unfortunately, Social Justice Warrior (Warbler?) types promote this condition.

However, “macroaggression” ought to be responded to immediately. I think most mature people know the difference between micro- and macro- and know that the former ought to be met with a shrug at most and the latter with some “back in your face” (if safe enough to do so unless you’re willing to declare war and serve in the frontline.)

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Japan absolutely does NOT need to be focusing on microaggressions. Overly caring about things like microaggressions will only turn your country into one dominated by political correctness/wokeness/cancel culture. This is exactly what started to happen in the United States eight years ago and now it is unrecognizable from the country I grew up in.

Instead, Japan should ideally move to end discrimination and xenophobia. People should have access to jobs or housing on the basis of merits and good behavior, not ethnicity. That is an actual solution. Once that is taken care of, peoples' attitudes will change.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

If the person who is giving offense is not aware of it, then it isn’t an aggression at all. It is an annoyance, and the person is thoughtless. You can’t fix thoughtless. Just move on with your day.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japanese and British are very similar actually. The level of their tolerance and "microaggressions".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I totally agree but you will actually go insane trying to change this country. Avoid the bad ones is about the best you can do.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I can deal with little annoyances like the cashier slowly miming out the word card everytime I go to the store. I'd explode if I let all the little things bother me.

It's not wrong to have these conversations but I think there are bigger issues to focus on.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Micro aggression is the Japanese people's second instinct /right of passage.

They just live for it...

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

A chinese girl working at Asakusa said to my daughter; Why do you speak Japanese?

I laughed at her, and said, in Japanese, Why do YOU?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I was in the past frequently asked why did you come to Japan. I answered it was a mistake. It usually gets a laugh. I think the reason they ask that is based on inferiority complex. Americans would not even think to ask that in the US.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

I thought micro aggressions were a part of Japanese culture and Japanese language in general?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Reckless:

The next time someone asks me, I'm going to say;

"I got on the wrong plane"

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

U cannot help UNEDUCATED people.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

A Japanese friend I hang out with can't speak a word of English. Salespeople and others to whom I speak will often direct their answers to him; he'll turn to me and repeat word for word what the person said in Japanese, I'll answer in Japanese, and he'll repeat that back to the salesperson

Similar story to when we were buying our house. One RE Agent was only talking to my wife. The other RE Agent, a young lady, talked to both of us. I said we will not buy from him and asked her to draw up the loan papers for us in my name. It was quickly approved and she got the sale. The other RE Agent just got dismissed and sent back to his desk in front of all his work mates.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This is too, too funny! When I was told by a member of a Japanese family that considers me a member of that family that my handling of chopsticks was exceptional, I didn't consider it a 'micro-aggression'. I actually laughed and said that every Sunday morning for too many years to count I went to a Chinese restaurant for dim sum. And at least twice a month went to a Japanese restaurant for sushi. Then I picked up the last grain of rice in my bowl, put my chopsticks on the little holder next to it and asked his mother to pass the Scotch and ice.

People, in general, really need to lighten up. There are worse things waiting for all of us than 'micro-aggressions'.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Microaggressions, silly word. How about tackless comments that do not get corrected and so get repeated cos correcting said faux pas would be seen as aggressive in such a culture… just a thought.

people need smarter mouths and thicker skin imo

4 ( +6 / -2 )

kokontozaiToday  12:51 pm JST

I think that Japan is still better than other countries because there is no violence in hate activities.

The hate laws in japan which protect victims of hate crime in japan beg to differ.

As one who has been attacked physically and verbally with absolutely no provocation, I can easily attest that, yes, there is hate crime in japan which largely intentionally goes unreported in japan.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

TARA TAN KITAOKAToday  04:07 pm JST

U cannot help UNEDUCATED people.

Ummmmm.......

The irony in this comment is staggering.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Logical_Fallacy_KillerToday  04:09 pm JST

A Japanese friend I hang out with can't speak a word of English. Salespeople and others to whom I speak will often direct their answers to him; he'll turn to me and repeat word for word what the person said in Japanese, I'll answer in Japanese, and he'll repeat that back to the salesperson

Similar story to when we were buying our house. One RE Agent was only talking to my wife. The other RE Agent, a young lady, talked to both of us. I said we will not buy from him and asked her to draw up the loan papers for us in my name. It was quickly approved and she got the sale. The other RE Agent just got dismissed and sent back to his desk in front of all his work mates.

Some people just have to learn the hard way.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

i would not give the term, “micro aggression,” but it did happen before to my college friend who was Caucasian and female and spoke fluent Japanese. When I lived in in Kyoto, I met her as she was moving to Kyoto for a year stint for graduate school to stock up her apartment. I was accompanying her to an electronic store and the store clerk kept on asking me instead of her what she wanted. I finally politely explained to the clerk to ask her as I would not know what she needed. Let’s just say the clerk became offended and embarrassed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@yotomaya

Yes exactly and as i clearly revealed you most definitely were being micro aggressive and still refuse to admit it.

This is exactly what the article is all about.

Some people just don't get it !

Oh well !

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

No violence in hate activities

There are most definitely violent hate crimes and hate speech crimes in Japan.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@Tara

The article is about bringing awareness of unconscious micro aggression into view by education people about it.

To discriminate uneducated people is pointless.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Nihon wa heiwa dayone

Ordinary people cannot afford to mumble all day long day in day out.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Heck. none could deny the fact there are so many , yes, so many of those , some of them are even Japanese citizens, pretend unable to speak Japanese , or throw slanders in their language to Japanese .

That is intentional macroaggressions.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

In Japan, for ethnic Korean residents, or "zainichi," who were born and raised here, being told, "You speak great Japanese" is one example of a microaggression that is particularly hurtful because the potential hidden message is: you are not a person from this country but an outsider and "you must not really be able to speak Japanese, she says.

What a ridiculous insertion, really. If you are media, you can go this far right?

Who the heck doesn't know about Zainichi? There are many of those who can't even speak Korean.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

...empty seat next to a foreign-looking person remaining vacant even on a crowded train.

It never bothers me. Actually I like to have more space instead of someone sleeping on my shoulder. Of course, I make sure to leave some space and not to sit with legs wide open :)

On then other hand I say to myself: well if a dude doesn't want to sit next to me but prefer to be squeezed while standing then be it. Good for me

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I find some of this bizarre. Yes, telling an obvious foreigner that their Japanese is good, or being surprised they can use chopsticks (which is even worse if they are Asian), and what not may be micro-aggressions, but saying it to someone who is zainichi is just plain ignorant and possibly racist. And the "You're just going through a phase" to an LGBT person? That's not a micro-aggression.

I think that for many Western people, being asked if you like something Japanese, or people feigning (or actually being) surprise you can use chopsticks, is simply an "in" for them to start a dialogue. But there are an astounding number of people who use them out of insecurity (intentional or not) and to indeed pit the person as an outsider. And the absolute ignorance... it boggles the mind. I'm generally not offended by the micro-aggressions because a) it is usually not intended, and b) getting offended by them only causes the people making them to retreat further into their bubbles of insecurity. Like, do they really not know chopsticks are not native to Japan and are used all over? Do they not know sushi does not come from Japan either, originally? That someone born and raised here, or that has even been here for some time, is probably going to speak like a native?

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Anonymous: "Did they scream “microaggression” in response? It depends on how things are said."

I agree with you, for the most part, but to reply to your question because I've heard the story of Japanese being mistaken for Chinese often, they talked about how shocked and insulted they were -- which is far worse. When I am constantly mistaken for American I never get upset or insulted, because it's an honest mistake based on the fact that most people's ideas and exposure to Western culture is through the US, for better or worse. But, what makes that even worse part yet again worse is that often a Japanese will tell the story of such encounter or other parts of their trips and slip in the word "foreigner" when talking about the people native to that nation while THEY (the Japanese) are traveling.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Simple fix for dealing with a Japanese person who makes ignorant statements to you:

Tell them they look Korean or Chinese, and flip the script about how well they speak Japanese.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Look at the leaders,it a general reflection of the rest of society

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kayo Fujiwara, specially appointed at the University of Tokyo's Center for Barrier-Free Education said: ‘I would like to spread awareness of microaggressions from the perspective of creating a just society where people from different backgrounds are each respected and can live truly comfortable lives.’

Yeah, yeah, blah blah blah, what a load of predictable superficially redundant platitudinous buzzword b*llocks.

TT

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Don't go down this road, please.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Fujiwara attributes the increasing awareness about unconscious bias to the impact of overseas struggles for equal treatment such as the Black Lives Matter movement 

BLM and unconscious bias--that's a new tilt.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Like the cultural appropriation circus, the concept of microaggressions has been manufactured as a backhanded attempt to control society and citizens. It is woke fascism. Ignore it.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The idea of microagressions is real. But applying that name to it immediately adds a barrier to dealing with the issue, as the people doing these "microagressions" are of course going to respond with their hackles up if you accuse them of aggression, when they are not being aggressive. It's a stupid a naming as "defund the police".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese "microagression" is a lot better than ACTUAL Aggression that goes on in the rest of the world. Not to say it doesn't happen in Japan but Japan is still safer, than say, the Middle East, china and NYC.

The only way to be "perfect" and be free from "microaggression" is to deal with robots/androids, etc.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

So many examples of this while living in Japan.

One that sticks out is I used to frequent a Tonkatsu restaurant and every time I went the owner asked if I needed a knife and fork even though she knew I had lived in Japan a long time and she had seen me using hashi.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

When I speak Japanese to restaurant/shop staff and they respond to my Jp wife my wife ignores them or just looks at me.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

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