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Osaka in Olympic spotlight, but biracial Japanese face struggles

106 Comments
By Katie Forster

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106 Comments

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At least the Omuro and Braithwaite families have homes, as I am sure Osaka and Hachimura do too.

In 2020, I sold my nice house (owned) in Tokyo and moved to a nice apartment (rented) 30 minutes from central Tokyo. We looked at a lot of apartments over many months, and about 25% of real estate agents immediately questioned whether we were Japanese and informed us that the landlord would not rent to non-Japanese. That’s an insanely high percentage in 2020!

23 ( +27 / -4 )

Having a biracial Japanese light the torch should be viewed as what it is: progress.

Is there still a ways to go? Sure, but the fact is they chose her, above all other Japanese to represent them. Let's not forget how momentous this is, in our criticism of things that still need to be improved.

16 ( +32 / -16 )

How quickly one forgets Ariana Miyamoto and a host of others before these who went through far worse and continue to go through the pain of growing up biracial in Japan.

It isnt just black either!

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Sadly around that time, the immigrstion office (then, there was only one in Tokyo) recruited some very low calibre officers, who were just disgusting , xenophobic, and racist. (Un-educated trumped up nothings put into a uniform). The damage began then.

You are quite wrong! The "damage" you claim that started 40 years ago, goes back even further, it REALLY was a hell of a worse for those biracial children who were born to Japanese women, following WWII.

I have a number of friends who grew up in the 50's here in Okinawa and Japan, and many were literally beaten to an inch of their lives, because their fathers were American.

40 years ago was "heaven" compared to then!

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Symbolism is good but substance is better. Just look at all the people who were fired or resigned because they didn't understand nor cared about an inclusive culture. And what of the ethnic Koreans who live in Japan? Still a long ways to go Japan.

13 ( +22 / -9 )

So seeing Hachimura and Osaka represent Japan on the global stage is important, said Torngren.

"Even though it might be token, it does matter."

Yes, as a Tokyo 2020 official said, "We hope the selection of Naomi Osaka will improve the image of Tokyo 2020."

Sadly, the official made no mention that the opening ceremony used the music of Koichi Sugiyama, the notoriously homophobic and ultranationalist Japanese composer, and the previously-fired Yoshiro Mori is returning as an "honorary advisor". One step forward and two steps back, straight into a bucket of hypocrisy.

Again, where's attempt to discover the process through which Osaka was selected and by whom?

13 ( +21 / -8 )

Might be a good start to help the discussion if we could start avoiding using words like biracial as if they described some deep factual differences other than surface melanin. Racism is the only word describing an existing phenomenon, and it’s racism that gives legitimacy to words like biracial. Differences in skin color do not define different races. Racism does.

11 ( +28 / -17 )

She is vulnerable, has her own struggles with mental health, is honest and open about it. Does not try to project an air of invincibility or arrogance nay top athletes. I thing all things given, is a good choice, a role model. Japan society can certainly do with its OK not to be OK.

10 ( +19 / -9 )

Not only biracial but also people who are Korean or Chinese

10 ( +16 / -6 )

How many of you posting actually have skin in the game?

I am Japanese, albeit caucasian and hawaiian too.

Always interesting but also odd to hear a bunch of foreigners or Japanese people weigh in on our experiences growing up here or elsewhere.

Theres people claiming theres no such thing as a mixed race person now?

Basically, you know what its like to be totally different than everyone while being in the only home you know.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

All people should be considered individual and unique. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before we live in a colourblind society.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

We get these articles regularly but they ALL avoid the Elephant in the room.

The government!

Law regarding discrimination are lacks and rarely enforced, the "shoganai" attitude by those incharge make most of the discrimination possible without consequences.

When my daughter was in her final year of public junior high school her teacher was a right wing nut the kind that would go ballistic if he noticed anyone teacher, student parent not properly standing or singing the Kimigayo.

He would regularly tell my daughter and other mixed children they were a contamination of the purity of the Japanese blood.

This was going on at the same time my wife was dying from cancer the only woman my daughter ever had that cared for her.

The school and city's reaction was " shoganai" "is old nothing we can do about it he will retire in a few more years".

He went so far as to try and stop her from getting accepted into a public Sr high schools by going against the school rules and sending a letter saying not to accept her. Luckily other teacher found out and the assistant principal and another teacher went to that school and corrected things.

But this man was permitted to continue teaching the next year.

When she was about to graduate university, she was called into the student orientation office and verbally given a list of companies not to apply to because they will not hire mixed people, the same thing was done by my son's university.

Seems everyone knows these companies but no one cares say it out loud.

Many mixed that have western parents regardless of colour chose to leave Japan because even if discrimination exists in their other country at least they have a better chance using the laws to counter it.

I love Japan as do my children pointing out a serious flaw in the system doesn't make use haters it is just pointing out a problem that needs to be addressed.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

There is no such thing as biracial-one human race only-thanks

I wonder if I should tell my biracial kids that.

8 ( +22 / -14 )

Go Naomi and Rui, breaking down barriers, seeing more and more bi-racial kids in Japan of all races! Plenty of more work needs to be done, but it's a start and far better than many other Asian countries.

8 ( +21 / -13 )

A good article however Katie Forester had to make it all about a subset of mixed heritage (Black) of course, further dividing people. All of our mixed race children will or do suffer this issue. Half Korean, Chinese or south Asian being groups that will see a fair amount of the 'ignorance' as the article puts it. All of us long time residents (tax payers) also suffer this regardless of color, so let's stop dividing us, at least this is something we all experience and can empathize with.

Things need to change, starting with the horrible word 'halfu'.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Then you don't have to wish they're going to stop doing something they're not going to stop doing.

And it's the same as keeping one's head in the sand as well!

Only problem is that articles like this, wont hit the mainstream JAPANESE press.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Symbolism is good but substance is better.

This is substantial. There one one spot open for one Japanese person to represent Japan, and they chose a biracial person. Very substantial.

Still a long ways to go Japan.

Yes, that as well.

7 ( +19 / -12 )

I couldn't give two hoots about Naomi Osaka's genetic makeup. I wouldn't care if she was half Martian and half from the Seychelles.

All I see when I look at her is a superb tennis player and a massively disingenuous person who's happy to parade a social message around on a court but too "sensitive" to talk to those mean journalist people.

She deserves absolute success in tennis for the former and absolute criticism for the latter.

7 ( +21 / -14 )

Many mixed Japanese are doing very fine. Why make it appear as though everyone are suffering. Blanket statements.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

Strangerland

Oh yeah renting is ridiculous.

As a foreign looking Japanese I used to always get the arms crossed into an X by a staffer sent out by the manager.

Of course the horror show comes later when they realize I’m born and bred Japanese.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@cleo

One very big difference between your experience and mine.

You had a Japanese husband and they knew that.

I was a single Gaijin father with no backing from a Japanese spouse and even if I did the difference between how they view an angry Japanese man and an angry Japanese woman arevnigh and day.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Now, more people of Black and Japanese or mixed Asian heritage are "raising their voices and addressing their experiences of discrimination or racism".

Interestingly, yesterday (Saturday) somewhere between 17:00-18:00 did a TV channel (TBS?) run a piece about Kawasaki-shi which seems to have a sizeable zainichi Korean population and the (still ongoing) issue of hate speech in the neighborhood and what the local community was doing to fight it.

The program was most likely linked to the Olympics, but it was nice to see a follow-up on the topic.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

How many of you posting actually have skin in the game?

I have two skins in the game - my kids.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Unfortunately racism is probably everywhere and has a long history. One of the reasons I left England in the '80's with my Chinese wife and two kids for Australia was a concern about the possibility racism. But when my son went to a primary a school near where we initilly rented, he was racially taunted, ironically by kids in that area who were predominately of Italian or Greek parentage, collectively referred to by Anglo-Australians at that time as "wogs". But things do change over time as immigrants get accepted on their true values, I have seen that happen in Australia and it can happen in Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Biracial is way better than the racist word "half" or "haffu" in Japanese.

Unfortunatelly racism in Japan is so pronounced, that it's even applied unwillingly in the society. It's basically in the DNA of this nation. Even if you are born in Japan, raised in Japan, but from any other nation except Japanese, you will always be a "gaijin", and treated like an outsider.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Because his Japanese wife gave him the money to buy them.

Huuuumm, no..... I worked hard, saved money and invested wisely. It is the tried and true formula for getting ahead and surviving in this world. I never felt the world owed me any thing I could not achieve on my own. Not everybody feels they are entitled to a free ride.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

as a Tokyo 2020 official said, "We hope the selection of Naomi Osaka will improve the image of Tokyo 2020.

Yes, image is far more important than fact.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@ Antiquesaving

When my daughter was in her final year of public junior high school her teacher........

Ah yes, teachers! Our two Japanese neighbors told us about an incident where their children's teachers asked them about how they felt about gaijins living next door. Appears the teacher saw me outside our house when she came for the "home visit", for their kids. Both our neighbors said they gleefully informed the teacher the "gaijins" owned all three houses and were great landlords. We have had the same renters for 20 years.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The answer for those of us with children in this situation is to build a high level of self confidence into our children by meeting their emotional needs every single day.

Kids who have self confidence always succeed, to the point where being different actually gives them an advantage in social situations.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

KenchiToday 09:26 am JST

I have two children born and raised in Japan (one in his final year of high school and the other in his second year of university) and neither experienced any significant racism due to their mixed ethnicity.

Even myself, having lived here more than 20+ years haven’t had any negative experiences that I would chalk up to what I define “racism“ to be.

About my own situation and experience so far - I have two daughters, 50/50 European/Japanese, now adults already, married to Japanese men and have now own children too. Both of my daughters never reported anything about facing racism from kindergarten up to university or from the family members of their Japanese husbands. Both of them have many Japanese friends.

I am from Europe, living in Japan since more than 30 years and had rarely any negative experience in all Japan, regardless if in cities or rural areas. Of course not all Japanese are open-minded towards foreigners, but I can say, their number is minimal if I compare them with the number of Japanese who are friendly and helpful towards me.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Osaka and Hachimura are adored in Japan

Hachimura is for certain, but I've yet to meet anybody in Japan who adores Osaka. I guess the fact she doesn't really come across as genuine doesn't help her case.

Osaka is adored mostly in the US by the left for her BLM affiliation.

4 ( +41 / -37 )

But many young people of black and Japanese heritage still struggle in an often conservative and largely homogenous society.

I have never really regarded Japan as homogeneous society. Japan is made up of many cultures, from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

When I was at University in Japan, many of my fellow students had one or both parents from many Asian countries, and beyond. This was nearly 40 years ago.

Sadly around that time, the immigrstion office (then, there was only one in Tokyo) recruited some very low calibre officers, who were just disgusting , xenophobic, and racist. (Un-educated trumped up nothings put into a uniform). The damage began then.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

One poster on JT claimed he moved here from Canada with his Japanese wife and two children because his children were experiencing too much racism,

4 ( +8 / -4 )

In my experience, any time someone uses the phrase ' homogeneous society' they are trying to defend something racist.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

One very big difference between your experience and mine.

You had a Japanese husband and they knew that.

I was a single Gaijin father with no backing from a Japanese spouse

Yes, I can appreciate that might make a difference. The backing of other parents also helped.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wish the corporate shills would stop “branding” this issue with her name in the headlines. In fairness, the spotlight of this should on both, Hachimura’s performance and not just Osaka’s.

- “Osaka & Hachimura, adored in Japan, boast lucrative sponsorship & advertising deals.”

3 ( +10 / -7 )

All people should be considered individual and unique. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before we live in a colourblind society. A black musician, Latyr Sym from Senegal, was booked to play at the opening but in the end, was dropped because he felt he was black.

https://www.insider.com/olympic-drummer-says-dropped-from-opening-ceremony-as-hes-black-2021-7

More discussions in schools.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

I wish the media would give racism a break for just a week or so.

Good for you. As a parent of two biracial kids in Japan, I'm happy that they are bringing this issue into the spotlight. It's a good conversation to have in Japan, that hasn't traditionally been had very often.

I suggest doing what I do when I don't want to partake of a certain type of news: I don't. Don't read it, don't watch it, don't get stressed about it. Then you don't have to wish they're going to stop doing something they're not going to stop doing.

3 ( +18 / -15 )

I wish the media would give racism a break for just a week or so. Just a little break without the innuendos and hints and suggestions and just bringing it up in general ad nauseam. We, the people, really could use a break.

Agreed however this is one chance when the world's media is looking at Japan to spotlight this issue. Finally something positive could come out of these awful games.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I have two children born and raised in Japan (one in his final year of high school and the other in his second year of university) and neither experienced any significant racism due to their mixed ethnicity.

Even myself, having lived here more than 20+ years haven’t had any negative experiences that I would chalk up to what I define “racism“ to be.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

thepersoniamnowToday  07:50 am JST

How many of you posting actually have skin in the game?

I would say I do having raised 2 Japanese/caucasian as a single father in the public school system.

I am Japanese, albeit caucasian and hawaiian too.

Always interesting but also odd to hear a bunch of foreigners or Japanese people weigh in on our experiences growing up here or elsewhere.

Theres people claiming theres no such thing as a mixed race person now?

I personally don't recognise the term "race" as I see there is only one the human, I do see ethnicity and culture and in that sense we here and in many countries have many problems related to those.

Basically, you know what its like to be totally different than everyone while being in the only home you know.

Yes very much, I am not of mixed ethnicity but am of mixed culture from a place with serious divisions and in some cases outright hatred between the two and found myself an outsider to both cultures and regularly reminded that neither one accepted me or my siblings.

This oddly enough seemed to have prepared me for what my children got here, I could related to what they were going through.

Honestly it didn't help that much because there was very little I could do to change it as any protest from the "Gaijin" father fell on deaf ears.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

He would regularly tell my daughter and other mixed children they were a contamination of the purity of the Japanese blood.

If he were my kids’ teacher he would not get the chance to say that regularly. Once would be enough.

 any protest from the "Gaijin" father fell on deaf ears.

I always (actually, only a couple of times it was needed) went the ‘reasonable concerned parent’ route rather than the ‘gaijin mother’ route. The one time that didn’t work I took the ‘outraged concerned parent’ route, with the majority of the class parents behind me. Schools tend to listen when they’re dealing with dozens of outraged parents.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

It’s just fact that if showing a “representation” of Japan was the goal, a biracial young female isn’t accurate.

we all know Japan is factually still “represented” by extremely old Japanese men.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Oh Japan. Always behind the times.

Multi-racial, such a wild and new concept in 2021.

While in places like California or Hawaii, it’s the everyday norm.

Maybe get rid of the term “hafu” for

starters and then go from there.

Open up your mind, Japan. It’s 2021.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

One poster on JT claimed he moved here from Canada with his Japanese wife and two children because his children were experiencing too much racism,

We have a saying, "Jumping from the "Jumping from the fry pan into the fire"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Many mixed Japanese are doing very fine. Why make it appear as though everyone are suffering. Blanket statements.

How do you know they are doing fine and what are you basing the observation on?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Interesting to get people’s thoughts on the matter.

Antiquesaving, totally get what you are saying about being alone as a gaijin but with Japanese kidz.

Being actually Japanese has always been my saving grace when things actually get bad.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Emili Omuro was thrilled by Naomi Osaka's star turn at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, but the biracial teenager says Japan must do more to accept people of mixed heritage.

Well, maybe, but does Osaka really have "mixed heritage"? She speaks only a few words Japanese, has never lived here, and seems only to come out with American woke phrases. Afaics, she only uses her double nationality as a ticket to compete under an easier flag.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Agree with @6:31 & @6:33am:

- “But many young people of black and Japanese heritage still struggle in an often conservative and largely homogenous society.” -

2 ( +9 / -7 )

How many of you posting actually have skin in the game?

1 'skin' in the game here, my son. To answer your question I bet most of us here have children born here. So this issue is massive for all of us.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I honestly hope that examples like Osaka and Hachimura do help people here come to terms with the fact that Japan is changing (slowly, but still), and that we need, as a society, to accept people from outside or people of mixed ethnicity as part of the changing Japanese landscape in a positive and constructive manner. Japan has NO future as a Yamato, pure Japanese nation, and more immigrants will be needed, and more children of mixed background born, to keep the nation afloat and get it growing again.

That said, I doubt many in the older generation will ever accept it. Osaka is adored, yes, but that is VERY recent, and some who adore her openly disliked her before she won her first Masters. I have said it before, but I have an acquaintance who insisted again and again she is NOT Japanese, and then loved her and tennis when she won. I called him on it and he went bright red and got extremely angry and defensive. When she fired her coach and then went into a funk that saw her losing and lashing out, he would mutter "Yappari" when talking about her, and now of course he loves her again. Of course in such an environment your average child of mixed decent, with no fame and fortune, is going to struggle. I hope the Osakas and Hachimuras and others can help with that at least a little.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

KenchiToday  09:26 am JST

Even myself, having lived here more than 20+ years haven’t had any negative experiences that I would chalk up to what I define “racism“ to be.

Simple question.

Are you caucasian western country (North America, Europe Australia NZ)?

There is a very big difference for those who are not the above.

My daughter and son's got some but not on the scale of what their friends who are Brazilian, Philippines, African mixed or what their parents got.

As a caucasian man if I went to complain about a problem at the school people stood up and paid attention but when Philippines mothers of African fathers I knew went they were ignored.

Neary former residence there are dozens of "Fudosans" just a few years ago my wife went in to several of them when informed her husband was a foreigner they all asked the same questions from where and what colour, white and Westerner was ok non Westerner or black no service.

I find a lot of western Caucasians seem oblivious to these realities perhaps because I was a single father living and working in a low income area where many non caucasian foreigners and their mixed children live accounts for this.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@Strangerland

Again confusing genetic and race!

I look in the mirror and I see blue eyes then I look at my sister and see brown eyes.

I see a balding forehead but looking at my father and older brother and I see full head of hair.

I look at my late grandmother's photos and I see a heavily freckled redhead but I have neither.

Your

are prone to different disease as a result of our ethnicity, that race doesn't exist, I'm going to tell you your daft.

Again that is genetics not ethnicity

If you go to countries or regions where 2 different ethnic groups meet even where they are clearly what we would call different race. Example north Africa where both the caucasian Berber/Arabic population has similar genetic disease has the black population to the south but no trace of black African.

Your view is to put it simply archaic.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Good point Fighto! I would like to put one question to you (with the greatest of respect). In 20 years from now, how will she be regarded.

Great question, Alan Harrison.

Probably as the greatest Japanese sportsperson of all time, along with Uchimura, Ichiro, Kitajima and probably, by then, Matsuyama.

And also as a pioneer of multicultural Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While I think that's great that Osaka-san lit the Olympic gas-burner, and the discussion on racial issues is generally important, I want to notice one sad thing:

She is a PROFESSIONAL tennis player, she has no other day job, and she becomes the symbol of this Olympics.

Ancient Greeks, and 19-th century Coubertain envisioned amateur Athletes!

With professional sportsmen/sporswomen "the Games" resemble more a Gladiator Circus of decaying Rome Empire than refreshing Olympia of Greeks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

snowymountainhell

Sorry for his feelings of discrimination @zichi 7:21am but it may also have been a time issue? (Other acts were dropped as well)

Accepted, could be the reason. Maybe he felt he wasn't given a good enough reason.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Blue: That was a good news section about the Koreans yesterday.

If one were to genetically analyze those with epicanthic eye folds but appearing to be Japanese you would probably be surprised to find that Japan and it’s people are not so homogenous a mix as they might themselves want to believe.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Great story. Naomi being chosen over 126 million of her countrymen and women will send out inspiration to all the millions of Japanese multicultural kids, present and future, that you can aspire to anything. Japan embraces them.

With 1 in 20 Japanese babies now having a foreign-born parent, and before long will be 1 in 10, Japan is becoming multucultural, kids like Emili are a big part of the future - whether bigots like it or not.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

With 1 in 20 Japanese babies now having a foreign-born parent, and before long will be 1 in 10, Japan is becoming multucultural

From the article: An analysis of government data by Kyodo News agency found just 20,000 of 1.02 million babies born in 2014 had Japanese and non-Japanese parents.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There were many times when it was hard," 14-year-old Omuro, born to a Japanese mother and a Black American father, told AFP of her childhood in a town north of Tokyo. "People would whisper behind my back and make fun of me at extra-curricular clubs, or when I was walking down the street”

Awful. Racism is so stupid.

I don’t know her future plans. She seems a sporty type. Hope she can carve out a career there. Female and biracial in a Japanese company is a tough ask.

Best of luck.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This happened to me when I was a kid growing up in Canada, and I thought that the world was a place where this wouldn't happen any more," he told AFP. "So it really broke my heart."

Really? Maybe he needs to read the news a little more often. Here is nice story from Canada:

Reports of Anti-Asian hate crimes are surging in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/reports-of-anti-asian-hate-crimes-are-surging-in-canada-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-1.5351481

Please send your book to Canada.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There is something to be said for numbers. Here on Okinawa there are a lot of military and associated civilians. 20,000 or so and their families tend to make gaigins blend in, sort of, kinda. Since the military has been here in numbers since 1950 or so, the uniqueness has worn off. There is still discrimination and racism here, but on a lesser degree than mainland, if the JT posters are to believed and what few articles in the MSM that filter through.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Yukijin

That all sounds nice but reality is very different.

When your children are informed ( unofficially of course no one dares put it down in writing) that the company they wanted to work for and studied so hard in university to be top choice will not hire them because they are mixed.

Where does that leave them? How do you just brush that off?

This is not unique to Japan but the Japanese government does little to combat the problem.

Where I am from the government did something,

Companies by law cannot ask applicant's birth date, gender, age, where they were born not even a photo is permitted.

No it is not perfect and yes discrimination still goes on, but it becomes far more difficult to hide or get away with it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yes, as a Tokyo 2020 official said, "We hope the selection of Naomi Osaka will improve the image of Tokyo 2020."

Commend the official for being honest albeit unknowingly to admit it was done for the image rather than with the intention to send out the message that the country is changing to become inclusive of others. Image is the biggest obstacle here. Things will get better when the people, the country stop worrying about how they are peceived outside. Just live naturally and stop worrying and asking others what they think of you.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@ Strangerland

No.

If you start using the term ‘biracial’ to distinguish humans from each other then you’re going down the wrong path.

Don’t play into the narrative.

Use the term bicultural or binational but biracial?

It is completely not backed up by science

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Many non-US athletes are using BLM to highlight similar problems and racial inequalities in their own countries. I have not once heard Osaka mutter a word of the discrimination suffered by some people in Japan - you know, people like herself, who wasn't even wanted by her own grandfather (who, by the way, has become an unofficial spokesperson for her in Japan after she started raking in the money). I only recall one retweet about anti-Asian violence around the world. It seems it's ok to criticize the country that accepted her but not the country she's 'representing'. But then again, since she left Japan at 3, she probably doesn't know that much about life in Japan. We need to hear more from those who actually live in Japan, speak the language and experience life here, not from someone who is living the American dream thousands of miles away and has never given up US citizenship - many of us aren't that stupid.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I honestly think the issue of bullying is a bigger issue than racism. 

It becomes hard to separate the reality of both being an issue.

My own experience as an expat with raising kids in Japan is that my child didn't want to speak English or have me speak English or act in any way like a foreigner when with friends, at school or playing on a sports team.

Interesting thing is me being born to Japanese parents, and marrying a Japanese woman, my kids were fully Japanese in looks, but environmentally hafus.

Even that led to bullying and words of 'gaijin' in reference to one parent being from a foreign country. Ultimately, my child ended up not being able to relate to many peers because of bias with ignorance and not knowing how their acts of bullying and teasing connected a fuzzy line between it and racism.

My child looked the same as any Japanese person, but there was discrimination by the fact a feeling of not using English was required to fit in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry for his feelings of discrimination @zichi 7:21am but it may also have been a time issue? (Other acts were dropped as well)

*-** “…was dropped “as he felt he was black” ? - *

Admittedly, you missed the opening ceremony but the lead in singer for “Imagine” was a black, African woman, with she & John Legend bookending Australian Keith Urban.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Yes absolutely. You should tell to your kids that race is a social construction and has not scientific basis.

No, there's scientific basis for race. This can be seen through various differences in the types of disease people are vulnerable to etc.

Your kids are not biracial, they are mixed ethnicity.

They're both.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

I am glad they are focusing light on this issue and hopefully it will improve with more awareness. I first visited Japan in the early 90's and befriended an old Japanese guy who sold tv's in my Wakayama neighborhood and who spoke ok English. He said when he was a kid after WWII that he and his classmates called a half-black girl whose father was a US soldier a "black devil". He didn't seem embarrassed at all by this.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The situation is getting better and that's good. 20 years ago we wouldn't even be having this conversation

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This 2nd photo, Flag bearer, Hachimura for Team Japan, this is more than something special.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad to hear that. Been living on and off in Japan for a combined total of 22 years and my kids being biracial so never had to deal with racism whether in the States or in Japan and I’m very thankful for that. They’re extremely proud of their cultures and racial heritage, they’re tri-lingual and they know they’re the future of Japan or whichever country they wish to reside in one day.

The situation is getting better and that's good. 20 years ago we wouldn't even be having this conversation

Exactly and to that point, when I first came to Japan, you just didn’t see a lot of biracial people, even though Japan DOES indeed have a history of multiculturalism, the difference was that most of the foreigners that lived in Japan over 1,000 years were from neighboring Asian countries and they were forced to assimilate. So the notion that the Japanese are a homogenous race is just absolutely absurd.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It should be a showcase for amateurs but money and greed have taken over as we are currently witnessing…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you start using the term ‘biracial’ to distinguish humans from each other then you’re going down the wrong path.

I have a friend. Very black. You put us together, we are clearly not the same race. Which means, as you say, we have different genetics.

You keep making these weird claims that this thing I can see with my own two eyes isn't real. Now, if you can string together some kind of argument to support this claim, I'm open to it. I've heard others make the same claim in the past - that race is a societal construct and/or it doesn't exist. But I see it, and no one has ever explained how this thing that I can see, doesn't actually exist.

The weird thing is, you get all indignant, as if you weren't making a claim that's pretty far out there, with no supporting... anything.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I would rather measure progress at the immigration office rather than the liberal politics at the big business olympics.

My wife from an OECD county is waiting for her visa since last August with an offer letter from a prestigious university!

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White by racial kids, are envied and seen as superior. Nobody ever made fun of my sons, on the contrary. It’s another story for black and brown mixed race kids, obviously. Ethnodifferencialism is natural and will never go away. Get used to it or get out of Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My old man is biracial, I’m biracial, my kids are tri-racial. Luckily, we haven’t experienced any racism towards my children. My son has started grade school and things have been fine, but one of his classmates from his old nursery has been bullied by one kid quite a bit (his classmate is Chinese). My daughter will start attending nursery school soon, so we’ll see how it goes for her.

I honestly think the issue of bullying is a bigger issue than racism. Even if there were no mixed-race children were around, there would still be people being aggressively bullied here. If a bully can’t find someone that has a different skin color, they’ll move on to the chubby person, or the poor person, or the awkward person, etc.

Not saying racism isn’t an issue here… but I think more often than not, it’s something other than racism at play.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@strangeland do you see people with blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, black eyes (and many in between, some even having two eyes of different color)? I guess you can see that too.

Would you propose to classify them as different races based on that? The choice of one specific “genetic x environmental x time” aspect, as visible as it might be (and yet, one would have problems actually classifying different skin colors), is what is called a social construct.

Specifically, this social construct, race, is associated with some of the darkest pages of human history and therefore some of us find it a good idea to stop giving legitimacy to words like race and biracial that have such heavy baggage and no more scientific foundations than a classification of humans in races by their ability to roll their tongues or not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People her success has nothing to do with her mother being Japanese, her father being Haitian, her being born and raised in America, nor does it have anything to do with the color of her skin or her gender. IT IS BECAUSE SHE IS A GREAT ATHLETE.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Then you don't have to wish they're going to stop doing something they're not going to stop doing.

And it's the same as keeping one's head in the sand as well!

When one has no influence over the thing about which they are keeping their head in the sand, keeping their head in the sand allows them to live free of the stress that comes from knowing.

Humanity wasn't built to know every issue, every problem, every crime, from the entirety of 7 billion people. Some people are better at handling it than others.

I have a friend, in Australia. He sold his house, moved to the countryside, and lives on a property away from most people, is off social media, and doesn't read the news. The way he described it to me was that he scaled his life down to the things he has influence over - his property, his food, his livestock. He doesn't care about the rest. If society collapses, he'll hear about it because he has the internet, but it mostly won't affect him.

One of the happier people I know. Don't knock burying your head in the sand. Look at how angry JT posters are, on a news site.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

If this is to cause change, a fine place to start would be Japanese schools that have rules and inspections about kids having black hair, straight hair, and banning sunscreen regardless of skin type.

Osaka and Hachimura are adored in Japan, and boast lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals.

I don't think Osaka is adored in Japan, but to a certain degree its inevitable with her limited language ability and upbringing/socialization overseas. The same thing happens in other countries. There are sportspeople who've represented Britain but were raised in South Africa, like cricketer Kevin Pietersen and cyclist Chris Froome. Neither of those men were "adored", in the manner of say Andrew Flintoff or Bradley Wiggins, but it has nothing to do with race. While it is important to combat racism, you cannot force Japanese people to love Naomi Osaka any more than you can force British people to love Chris Froome, or back in the day, American people to love Martina Navratilova. I've not mentioned Hachimura here, because he speaks Japanese and was socialized in Japan, giving him personality traits and sensibilities that Japanese can identify with more than they can with Osaka.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Even myself, having lived here more than 20+ years haven’t had any negative experiences that I would chalk up to what I define “racism“ to be.

I've only had a handful myself. Renting a place always sucks.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

In my experience, any time someone uses the phrase ' homogeneous society' they are trying to defend something racist.

> “Japan remains a largely homogeneous society”

True. And there’s basically nothing wrong with that. Racial and cultural homogeneity is the key to stable society and helps keep crime rates low.

Point proven.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I wonder if I should tell my biracial kids that.

Yes absolutely. You should tell to your kids that race is a social construction and has not scientific basis. Your kids are not biracial, they are mixed ethnicity. And stop that imbecile racial fixation.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Agreed @thepersoniamnow 5:12pm:Interesting to get people’s thoughts on the matter.” (Good to see they finally reopened this post.).

As a person who could has the benefit to first observe and then, interact between the cultures/languages, when you choose, I imagine you also periodically witness the intolerance by some foreign residents in Japan toward other foreigners they may deem inferior for lacking experience & language skills? - Seems like that’s also a form of bullying & discrimination of which they can lose sight. Like @zichi pointed out, we left one form of discrimination in one country to face it in a more intense volume here from both cultures.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Actually, this quote of "Historically, mixed persons have always existed (in Japan), but the image of mixed persons has always been white or Caucasian and Japanese," said Torngren, is actually wrong. Filipinos of Japanese descent have existed since the 1920's in both Japan and the Philippines, and even centuries beyond that. Starting from the 1970's and the years after that, Japanese Filipino mixed marriages and children became more numerous in Japan, so much that in they year 2006 alone, marriages between Japanese and Filipino people were the biggest of all international marriages in Japan at that time, according to the Japan Times.

Biracial Japanese and Filipino people in Japan make up the most biracial individuals in Japan as of today, way more in number than biracial Japanese half white people, and way more than Japanese half black people, that is just a fact. A lot of famous entertainers in Japan today are mixed Japanese and Filipino descent, including Mokomichi Hayami, Sayaka Akimoto, and Chieko Ochi just to name a few. Also, not all mixed raced Japanese children in Japan face racial discrimination, since most biracial Japanese half Filipino children look Japanese as well as Filipino, hence being purely of Asian descent, and since a lot of them can speak the Japanese language and the Tagalog language (like Anthonny Iinuma (飯沼 アントニー) of Produce 101 Japan (season 2), biracial Japanese people like them can assimilate in Japanese society better, as opposed to other biracial Japanese people in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AntiquesavingToday 10:17 am JST

.....there are dozens of "Fudosans" just a few years ago my wife went in to several of them when informed her husband was a foreigner they all asked the same questions from where and what colour, white and Westerner was ok non Westerner or black no service.

It's not only about foreigners, this happens to Japanese people too if they are low income and want to rent a small cheap room from an owner who is often an elderly person and has only a few rooms for renting out in his own house - only the questions and requirements are a bit different.

Some examples are: No children allowed, female only, no unmarried couple, no night time job (not only about females in bars, but also male workers in restaurants, factory workers, taxi drivers, railway employees), couple OK but not with a pregnant wife, no music instruments, etc.

This happens even in case of sale of property, even to rich Japanese people. I know a Japanese man, financially in very good position, he was considering to buy a 'second home' near the sea in Kanagawa area, cash payment. The owner was looking at him, said 'I have never seen you before' and was asking him from where he is, from where he is coming from and he answered, originally from Hokkaido, but living in Tokyo since decades. - The owner totally ignored him and told the real estate agent who was coming with him for introduction, that he never had any intention to sell his large villa to outsiders as a second home, it's for sale only for locals living nearby.

So what to do in such a case? Just say good-bye and look around somewhere else. What else can you do?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

blood type -ism is also from that era, to their credit denounced by Japanese but then later revivied in the 90s. Biracial I guess is an improvemment over hafu but not by much. Can we get to people yet? Humans are only one race the rest is that we just evolve slowly with our environment. Making a big deal over it just seems so insular and fearful

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

oes Osaka really have "mixed heritage"?

She's a Japanese born, ethnic Japanese citizen. She grew up in the US. That's literally the definition of a mixed heritage.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

louisferdinandc

Specifically, this social construct, race, is associated with some of the darkest pages of human history and therefore some of us find it a good idea to stop giving legitimacy to words like race and biracial

Different human populations have evolved to look differently, just as all animal populations have too. We are not aliens on this planet, we are mammals.

Observing that is not a "social construct", it is simply observing reality. And by prohibiting words, you do not make reality go away.

Now what is a social construct is claiming superiority for some populations, like saying "only XXX lives matter". And that is of course something we should all be against.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I wish the media would give racism a break for just a week or so. Just a little break without the innuendos and hints and suggestions and just bringing it up in general ad nauseam. We, the people, really could use a break.

-2 ( +15 / -17 )

Everyone outside the statistical norm faces some degree of real or imagined discrimination and feelings of alienation, be they bi-racial, foreign, tall, short, disabled, overweight, ugly, beautiful, etc. The farther you are from the norm, the worse it gets. It's a bit naive to think you can change human nature. Calling attention to group differences with aggressive in-your-face activism is probably just going to make the situation worse.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

True. And there’s basically nothing wrong with that. Racial and cultural homogeneity is the key to stable society and helps keep crime rates low.

Makes for a dull Twitter feed, though.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Many Japanese people like to adopt a foriegner as a friend. At this point in time Osaka is a good choice because she is successful.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Being a half or the new phrase biracial always been a problem in Japan despite the fact that they don’t like there hair color being black. Nothing new but glad they are calling it out to get Japan to change for the better Japan can no longer maintain a homogeneous nation as more foreigners are taking over jobs here in Tokyo at least.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Welcome to the world of tatemae and honne.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

and then you have Fat people, Short people, Bald people, Ugly people....Cute girls, Cute guys....etc.....everyone is judged for something and people have their preferences, Just the way it is'

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

zichiToday  07:31 am JST

Not only biracial but also people who are Korean or Chinese

Sure, when Zainichi steps back to the equal position as all others. We're talking about biracial ( who's supposed to be Japanese citizen) not the ones who creates and demands THE RIGHTS as foreigners

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Curious how it seems to be foreign internet posters who display so much opposition to Naomi, while the Japanese embrace her. I wonder why.

Good point Fighto! I would like to put one question to you (with the greatest of respect). In 20 years from now, how will she be regatded

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

America once thought less of Japanese, that they drop the A bomb on them twice, and was poise to do it , too it brought Japan to it knees, Interacial children in America are not overtly targeted for discrimination, Being Japanese in Japan, and not be being able to cope psychogically,say that their is no benefit of being Japanese and they should channel their energies against racism, and help their own mental well being , instead of inflicting pain on others

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Sadly, the official made no mention that the opening ceremony used the music of Koichi Sugiyama, the notoriously homophobic and ultranationalist Japanese composer

What could possibly be wrong with using his music? Nothing, otherwise, Kimiga-yo should not be used at all

either anywhere in the Olympics as South Koreans have started complaining as in case for Rising-Sun flags.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

“Japan remains a largely homogeneous society”

True. And there’s basically nothing wrong with that. Racial and cultural homogeneity is the key to stable society and helps keep crime rates low.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Both our neighbors said they gleefully informed the teacher the "gaijins" owned all three houses 

Because his Japanese wife gave him the money to buy them.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

When one has no influence over the thing about which they are keeping their head in the sand, keeping their head in the sand allows them to live free of the stress that comes from knowing.

A little less gobbledygook. Could’ve just said ignorance is bliss.

Humanity wasn't built to know every issue, every problem, every crime, from the entirety of 7 billion people. Some people are better at handling it than others.

Again, you took the scenic route. Could’ve just said we’re all gifted differently and equal opportunity is rational, not equal outcome.

I have a friend, in Australia. He sold his house, moved to the countryside, and lives on a property away from most people, is off social media, and doesn't read the news. The way he described it to me was that he scaled his life down to the things he has influence over - his property, his food, his livestock. He doesn't care about the rest. If society collapses, he'll hear about it because he has the internet, but it mostly won't affect him.

Again, could’ve just said communism has a honeymoon period, followed by a reality check, and then despair, and finally stoicism.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

There is no such thing as biracial-one human race only-thanks

-11 ( +16 / -27 )

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