politics

Obama inadvertently galvanizes anti-immigration sentiments in Japan

87 Comments

Confusion broke out online in Japan recently as people weren’t sure what to make of a comment uttered by U.S. President Barack Obama on Nov 25. During a speech in Chicago regarding immigration reform, he cited Japan as an example of a country which doesn’t “have problems with certain folks being discriminated against.”

In Obama’s mind, the remark must have been an innocuous comment meant to lighten the crowd. Little did he know that it would wind up mentioned in the Japanese press.

Although the actual speech was intended to talk about his immigration plan, Obama opened by addressing the ongoing unrest in Ferguson and other parts of the country over a verdict regarding the shooting of a black teenager by a police officer.

Tokyo Broadcast System (TBS) News ran a brief article about the speech with the headline “Obama condemns ‘criminal acts in riots’” and focusing almost entirely on his Ferguson comments.

“Burning buildings, lighting cars on fire, putting people in danger by breaking their property… People who do that should be prosecuted.” [TBS translation of Obama’s speech]

That part was pretty accurate to what the president said.

“Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk — that’s destructive and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts, and people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts.” [Remarks by the President on Immigration – Whitehouse.gov]

However, in the immediate paragraph after, TBS quoted the Obama as saying, “In countries like Japan where there is a majority of Japanese people, problems like this aren’t likely to happen.” This led many to comment about Obama’s seemingly bizarre allusion to Japan in reference to the Ferguson incidents.

“Why is he bringing Japan into this?” “Because Japan is the only monocultural developed nation.” “It is a matter of race, but more importantly it’s a matter of education.” “It’s because in Japan, people don’t suddenly get shot dead.” “Stupid, it’s because of gun control. Riots don’t break out in Japan because we don’t have guns.”

In their defense, the TBS report was rather misleading. Obama’s Japan comment actually came about 10 paragraphs later in the speech as he attempted to segue from Ferguson to his immigration plan. Here is the quote with a little more context.

“I appreciate your patience, because I know you came here to talk about immigration. But this is relevant, because part of what America is about is stitching together folks from different backgrounds and different faiths and different ethnicities. That’s what makes us special. (Applause.) And, look, let’s face it, sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes that’s hard to do. But it’s worthwhile, it’s worth doing.

"If you go to — I was just traveling in Asia — you go to Japan, they don’t have problems with certain folks being discriminated against because mostly everybody is Japanese. (Laughter.) You know? But here, part of what’s wonderful about America is also what makes our democracy hard sometimes, because sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently. “ [Remarks by the President on Immigration – Whitehouse.gov]

Putting aside the numerous Koreans, Chinese, businesswomen, mentally/physically disabled, and burakumin to name a few, all of whom would beg to differ with Obama’s assessment of discrimination in Japan, the guy was clearly only trying to make a light-hearted transition from one political hornet’s nest to another. Also, the crucial words TBS used -- “problems like this” -- could easily mislead people into thinking he meant that immigration had led to the Ferguson rioting.

Nevertheless, another faction of Japanese society grabbed the kernel of truth said to exist in jest, and popped into a nice fluffy popcorn ball of xenophobia.

“Obama’s just stating the obvious.” “If you bring in large amounts of the poor, it’s no wonder there’s a deterioration of security.” “Immigration in every country causes similar problems [as America].” “So, is he implicitly telling Japan not to open immigration?”

Here’s the full speech with the word “folks” used about once every 45 seconds on average (15 times in 11 minutes).

Sources: The White House (English), TBS News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Is Japan really racist? A look at where things stand -- Does Obama Like Moe Anime? Shocking Evidence Surfaces on Twitter -- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens

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87 Comments
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Taking things out of context to suit. Transparent.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Japanese do discriminate. Not all do, but if you have a tattoo, you are automatically a bad person and cannot use a public bath. Some of the older generation do not like Americans that much because of World War II.

0 ( +8 / -9 )

Immigration is painless.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Dear Mr. President,

Your attempt at commentary, no matter how light hearted, couldn't be more off base.

Firstly, Japan does have racial problems. Just within the permanent resident community, there are issues involving the Ainu, the Zainichi Korean population, and the Ryukyu/Okinawan population, all of which could be born here, live here, and die here, and not be accepted on the same level as Yamato Japanese.

Then there is the "normal" discrimination. This is the discrimination that almost every foreigner gets, and one that you have remarked about numerous times, and would be familiar with.

For example Mr. President, I've lived here 7 years. And yet, I still get looks when I walk into stores. I get fearful glances from store workers, looks that say "Don't come to me, I'm afraid to deal with you."

I have come to understand the rage behind the racial problems within the black community in the USA, because, whether you think the shooting of Michael Brown was right or wrong, those tensions exist. Sometimes it is the smallest thing, or sometimes even things that aren't what they seem to be, that set off the tinder into a fire.

I understand what it is like to be excluded from activities due to the color of my skin, rather than the content of my character or my abilities.

I understand what it is like to be excluded from housing because, well, it's not racial discrimination, but just the land owners are "uncomfortable," and not be able to do a damn thing about it.

I understand the rage that comes from having governmental officials treat me as something slightly better than a stray dog, and with a derision that is not based in anything other than the passport I carry.

I understand the hopeless anger that comes when parents teach their 6 and 7 year old children that I cannot use chopsticks nor eat with manners, since I am "gaijin," even though I have lived in Japan for longer than their children have been alive (and knew how to use chopsticks since birth to boot).

I understand the anger that comes with having my ideas or recommendations dismissed out of hand, not due to any logical reason, but because I'm a "gaijin," and therefore I obviously cannot understand the situation.

So I ask you, Mr. Obama, be careful before making such flippant comments. Not only are they factually incorrect, but they dismiss the problems that people like myself do face.

7 ( +16 / -11 )

Obama has no idea, at any point in his term, what he is talking about. This man has done nothing in his life to warrant him to be the leader of the USA. I would gladly trade him for Japan's Abe!

-23 ( +10 / -31 )

@ David varnes: Well thought out post. You forgot the biggest social stigma of a foreigner in Japan. Let them try to enter one of those "host" bars or other drinking establishments, where the tout will not let you in. Even in Yokosuka you can still see the signs of "No Foreigners Allowed" even if you can speak Japanese.

Let's see what would happen if a bar or establishment in the USA put up a sign that said "No Illegals Allowed." It would make the situation in Ferguson seem like a walk in the park.

7 ( +9 / -3 )

This man has done nothing in his life to warrant him to be the leader of the USA.

Other than that whole, you know, being voted into office by the electorate of the USA two times.

But yeah, you meant nothing other than that.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Alphaape, as I don't patronize such businesses anyway, that's one that missed me.

I would even refine it more, to state instead of "No illegals," it would literally say "No non-Americans," to include the millions of legal immigrants in the USA at this time.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As a legal scholar and as a world traveller, surely Obama would know that Japan fails to protect foreigners in Japan from discrimination,having not ratified any law relating to discrimination.President Obama has never had the indignity of being refused a home rental nor been forced to rent a dwelling that no Japanese would rent. In the case of contractual disputes,I have never seen the employer treat the foreign employee fairly. Only by employing a legal counsel have I seen proper redress-this is true of both foreign and Japanese companies.

Pres Obama should refrain from ignorant utterances.......

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

there are issues involving the Ainu, the Zainichi Korean population, and the Ryukyu/Okinawan population

Better to say there are issues involving discrimination by ethnic Japanese against the Ainu, the Zainichi Korean population, and the Ryukyu/Okinawan population. The Ainu etc. are not the issue.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is true Japanese cops do not shoot suspects. Alos Japanese do not go to loot stores but Japan is not too kind to foreighers,

3 ( +5 / -2 )

John DixonDec. 01, 2014 - 08:40AM JST

Obama has no idea, at any point in his term, what he is talking about. This man has done nothing in his life to warrant him to be the leader of the USA. I would gladly trade him for Japan's Abe!

The man has done a lot, look him up on the internet.

-2 ( +1 / -4 )

It's not about rioting; it's about discriminating - or rather, the lack of having a problem when there is discrimination.

He's not saying there's no discrimination - he's saying there is discrimination, but mostly people don't have a problem with it.

"they don’t have problems with certain folks being discriminated against"

Cold hard truth?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

He's not saying there's no discrimination - he's saying there is discrimination, but mostly people don't have a problem with it.

Exactly right. I went to Hello Work in Shinjuku 2005 the employment advisor guy at the desk told me that there were only a few jobs that I could do a foreigner and being black. I was like "OKay" Thats not fair. That kind of treatment I wouldnt get out here in the UK or in the USA.

3 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't see a problem with wanting to pick and choose who they let into their country. I don't think they should just be forced to let anyone into their country. Just because The U.S. does it doesn't make it right.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

What he meant was: They don't have a problem with certain folks being discriminated against because they don't care. There, fixed it. No applause necessary.

2 ( +2 / -1 )

yes people in Japan dont get shot dead people in the US don't get stabbed dead! What's the point death is death whether it's done with a knife 100% of the time in Japan or strangulation. In the US a gun is used 98% of the time or whatever weapon the idiot choses is usually the 2%. Regardless death is death by gun or knife!

-4 ( +3 / -8 )

They don't have a problem with certain folks being discriminated against because they don't care.

They should care because if their citizens were visiting other countries in the world, wont they want them to be treated farly?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Confused by this "story" that has no source. Sounds like a (yet another) anti-Obama rant.

Saying there is no discrimination in Japan is stupid. It's not as bad as most countries, despite attempts by some to portray it as the worst in the world.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It's not as bad as most countries, despite attempts by some to portray it as the worst in the world.

At least in other countries like the UK I can speak up against and Get heard.

0 ( +4 / -5 )

yes people in Japan dont get shot dead people in the US don't get stabbed dead! What's the point death is death whether it's done with a knife 100% of the time in Japan or strangulation. In the US a gun is used 98% of the time or whatever weapon the idiot choses is usually the 2%. Regardless death is death by gun or knife!

Sorry, but the numbers just don't add up. If what you were saying is true, there would be a similar number of stabbings in Japan as there are shootings in the US. But the numbers aren't anywhere near.

Guns make it easy to kill someone. Not just on a physical level, but also on a psychological level. It can be done from a distance, with a feeling of power. With a knife you have to get up close and personal, and one cut/stab usually isn't enough. This takes someone a lot darker to do it.

And the other side is that the price to pay for gun ownership by the populace is that kids will be shot in school, and other kids will be shot in playgrounds. It's sad that some people feel that this price is worth paying.

-2 ( +2 / -3 )

Surprisingly inarticulate for Obama, Japan doesn't “have problems with certain folks discriminated against”, an unnecessary cumbersome cultural analogy.

I may rail against right wing revisionist politics and rhetoric. But I can say with a honestly heart, the two months (averaged) I spend annually visiting family I have yet to experience discrimination or outright prejudice. I am referring to the sneering 'eff off back to your country'. I am not suggesting prejudice and discrimination does not exist, I witness 'demonstrations' reported in the media. Gaijin in conversations is prominent, it's not in a context that I find personally uncomfortable, however it is not how I feel that is important, if foreign visitors and settlers feel threatened I understand there concern. The ongoing public debate into Immigration is part and parcel concerning the provision of social and medical welfare benefits and services.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I can't help but think that the problem with Japan is a major image problem with non-Japanese. It's historically been one of the most isolated countries in the world, threatened and then flattened into opening up, the first permanent foreigners they were forced to let in were vengeful and drugged up soldiers who are the worst thing to host. Now with recent tensions and poor immigrants wanting in, immigration has constantly had a bad image in Japan. There is no way that will change soon as it will need a generational shift - maybe 30-40 years or so.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

America's history is not 1000 years old, hence when we see America's history we come to know that every one there is a immigrant, either European or African. When they said 4th July is their Independence Day, it raises a question, Independence from whom ?

-2 ( +3 / -4 )

It's quite obvious that racially homogeneous nations have several advantages over multicultural ones. Homogeneity plays a big role in explaining why Japan and Iceland have some of the lowest crime rates in the developed world.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan is a whole different kind of animal than the US. Most people are caught in a trance which enables their government to do whatever without protest. The US is the modern day empire where anything goes.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Lightly joking or not Obama is right. Too much immigration causes such tensions.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

At least in other countries like the UK I can speak up against and Get heard.

And there's nothing stopping you in Japan either.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

For example Mr. President, I've lived here 7 years. And yet, I still get looks when I walk into stores. I get fearful glances from store workers, looks that say "Don't come to me, I'm afraid to deal with you."

You could live here a 100 years and this will never change as long as you look the part of a foreigner. The quicker one learns to ignore it the easier it is on one's mental health.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Alphaape, you choose exclusion from hostess bars as the biggest social stigma for foreigners in Japan???

Anyway yes there is no denying that there is discrimination here. Annoying, frustrating prejudices that can affect us in every day life. But its a far cry from being spat on, being beat up, being driven from our homes or even killed... all because the colour of our skin. Japan isnt perfect, but its certainly not a bad place to be a foreigner.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan does have problems with racism. That much is fact

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Alphaape, you choose exclusion from hostess bars as the biggest social stigma for foreigners in Japan???

To those who think my reference point is a bit odd, let me put it into context. In Japan, as has been pointed out here, due to cultural norms, the time for coworkers and strangers to open up is in these so called "drinking places" that lets the typical Japanese salary man blow off a bit of steam and drink their troubles away. Same thing goes with them being able to go in and open up to a complete stranger (either male or female) and bear their personal frustrations. If that is how they have been brought up, then that is fine by me.

But why I choose those establishments for an example, is for the fact that in those places, where some Japanese can truly feel like "themselves" (their beliefs not mine), they want to exclude those who may not be like them, i.e us foreigners. So to put it all together, when there are places (like it or not) where the average Taro can be fully open, they want to exclude foriegners. So what does that tell you about him/her for the rest of the time that they are not there? They can't just turn it on and turn it off very easily, those beliefs are imbedded in they psyche. Thus you see from various posts here about the treatment received by foreigners.

I will not even go down the road of how foreigners are not allowed into the "sex industry" establishments, that's for another day. But my point is, if they have to have places where no outsiders are allowed, that tells me that at best they can only tolerate outsiders for a certain period. Never mind that in those places, one does not have to interact with the patrons and the owners are only after the yen, but yet they will not take yen from a foreigner as to not upset their patron base.

If that is not a case of discrimintaion, then I don't know what else is.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@David Varnes

I understand the hopeless anger that comes when parents teach their 6 and 7 year old children that I cannot use chopsticks nor eat with manners, since I am "gaijin,"

Oh, you poor, poor man. God forbid a little kid think you can't use chopsticks. You should start burning stores and looting in protest.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Alphaape, i have been into several hostess bars here in Japan, and the worst i got was "oh we dont have any hostesses that speak English", which of course is no problem - the girls are usually quite happy to talk to a foreigner. The only reason i can think of places in Yokosuka having signs or rules banning foreigners is because there has been trouble in the past with non-Japanese who dont understand the premise of those places, and mistake the flirting for a sign that they can take the girl home.

Sure, this isnt the right way of dealing with the problem, but it is just a typical Japanese response to an issue. The ban isnt based on a deep seeded hate of foreigners, but a naive attempt at avoiding problems. Same thing happens in onsens with Tattoos. Instead of just kicking out the Yaks who cause problems, they blanket ban all tattoos.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@afanofjapan and therougou

Thanks for confirming not everybody foreign has a victim complex here. I know this to be true, but it's nice to be reminded sometimes.

Oh, you poor, poor man.

A grown man upset by children.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Depending on ho wyou take it, it was more of a Bushism kind of thing. Obama is usually pretty clear with his thughts.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Thoughts

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Canada, immigration is out of whack and is causing nothing but problems.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I get what he meant, but it was a shallow comment. It just makes him sound a bit naive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Until everyone admits that racism is a two-way street, there will be no progress toward change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I came to Japan when I was 17 years old. I`m now 48. Still I dream of the day when I can be considered simply a neighbor or even the guy next door rather than the gaijin.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

i have been into several hostess bars here in Japan, and the worst i got was "oh we dont have any hostesses that speak English"

I've been around the block as far as hostess bars are concerned. The large majority have no problem with letting in foreigners, but there are quite a few that also don't allow foreigners, though they can sometimes be persuaded if you speak Japanese and/or are with a Japanese person, ideally one who is already a client of their bar.

Until everyone admits that racism is a two-way street, there will be no progress toward change.

So true. Many people would prefer to pretend it doesn't even exist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The USA is a nation of immigrants, some brought to the country as slaves. Japan is not. Next.

And please cut the crocodile tears from the injured foreigners over feigned insults like not getting into a hostess bar. Planes leave Japan everyday if it is so bad here.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In Canada, immigration is out of whack and is causing nothing but problems.

Unemployment, overcrowding schools, lack of housing the whole lot right? Its happening everywhere else too mate . I heard in Canada Immigrants have had to come in to fill the low and high skills job shortages as cases because the locals have either been reluctant or just not qualified enough.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The USA is a nation of immigrants, some brought to the country as slaves. Japan is not.

That's not entirely accurate:

n 1939, labor shortages due to World War II led to organised official recruitment of Koreans to work in mainland Japan, initially through civilian agents, and later directly, often involving elements of coercion or deception.[citation needed] In 1944, the Japanese authorities extended the mobilization of Japanese civilians for labor to the Korean peninsula. Of the 5,400,000 Koreans conscripted, about 670,000 were taken to mainland Japan (including Karafuto Prefecture (present-day Sakhalin, now part of Russia)) for civilian labor. Those who were brought to Japan were forced to work in factories, in mines and as laborers, often under appalling conditions. Koreans were better treated than were laborers from other countries, but about 60,000 are estimated to have died between 1939 and 1945.[6]

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koreans_in_Japan#During_World_War_II

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan does have problems with racism. That much is fact.

Yep. Imagine how I felt when my two HAFU kids aged 6 & 9 got racial slurs for their brown skin colors. Thats definitely not an environment that I want them to grow up in.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Still I dream of the day when I can be considered simply a neighbor or even the guy next door rather than the gaijin.

I hear you

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Race as with color and religion when confronted with differences appear to require many generations and even centuries for people to address the differences reasonably, then again generations to accommodate the differences, then generations to cooperate and hopefully to accept the similarities to offset the differences. However, the facts are that everyone is different in more than just race, color or religion. In fact everyone is unique. If one thinks about the situation, geography, climate, culture, diet and other factors make everyone, every group even more different.

How does immigration relate to and affected by racism?

Given world history, immigration and racism goes hand in hand, do they not?

In every situation, it appears that it is when one is made AWARE of the differences and GIVEN any rational or irrational or even emotionally motivated nonsensical reason to dislike, distrust or even hate the differences, that conflicts occur. Sadly those in power or desiring power and those that disseminate information often use and inflame the dislike, distrust and hatred to their advantage.

In the USA and many parts of the world, race, religion, economical level, social status and other differences are used to manipulate people to instigate conflict to further some goal or objective. Currently it was Mr. Obama who appear to want such racial and religious conflict to further his agenda or to distract attention from some hidden agenda. If one looks at what he is communicating, it is not what he says or does, but what does not say and does not do, that tells the real story.

What did he really say and do about the Ferguson problem?

What resulted because of what he did not say and did not do?

Which action or inaction made matters better or worse?

Why?

In Japan... where is the real problem?

Is it really racial? Or is it really cultural? Who or what is/are behind it all?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And please cut the crocodile tears from the injured foreigners over feigned insults like not getting into a hostess bar. Planes leave Japan everyday if it is so bad here.

Racist and offensive behaviour should not be accepted just because you are a foreigner and have the option to leave. And why is being denied entry to somewhere on the grounds of your race or nationality a "feigned insult"?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

“In countries like Japan where there is a majority of Japanese people, problems like this aren’t likely to happen.”

This led many to comment about Obama’s seemingly bizarre allusion to Japan in reference to the Ferguson incidents.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Audience who knows at least a little bit of Japan must be pizzled.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't know and maybe I have not been here long enough (2 years) but I have only been treated with great warmth, generosity and complete equality! Perhaps having a Japanese wife helps? However, even when I was stranded in Hokkaido in a hospital nursing a shattered leg all I got was sincere, heartfelt help from the surgeon all the way to the lady who cleaned around my bed. Never felt once that I was getting less care than anyone else, indeed I felt they paid more attention to me because I was foreign. I really and truly only have good things to day about the Japanese people I have encountered. Long may I be deceived if that is indeed the case.

7 ( +8 / -2 )

"In countries like Japan, where there is a majority of Japanese people...."

For the life of me, I can't think of a single one apart from Japan....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dukeleto - your experiences are the norm, not what you read here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Immigration? When Japan had shortage in people, Japan annexed Korea, forced Korean people planted in Japan. They did not come Japan like illegal in USA.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And there's nothing stopping you in Japan either.

Maybe theres nothing stopping me but as a Gaijin its that "Who the hell cares attitude. Come on you cant deny it there are obvious inequalities in the Land of the rising sun.I lived there for 7 years worked for 3 and have always felt that I could never fit in. The only time that I was comfortable when I was around other fellow Gaijins.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The only time that I was comfortable when I was around other fellow Gaijins.

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Best attitude. You don't know how Japanese are talking about you behind your shoulder.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is what it us today because it isn't a melting pot or multiracial the way the U.S. is. The day mass immigration is allowed is the day Japan ceases to be what all of you pro-immigration types love. I side with the Japanese commenters.

2 ( +3 / -2 )

@ ichinisanshigo: I think Japan does it right with controlling who gets to come in and who can stay. I respect that. But I think the issue that people have is that the attitude of certain types of racisim that is found in Japan. I get that Japan is a pretty mono race, and don't have a problem with that or want them to "mix it up." What is somewhat of a let down is the attitude that many have in regards to treatment of others who are not Japanese.

They can put limits to foreginers all they want. But what most people don't like is that those that are here, don't need to be treated unfairly or differntly just because they are from another country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Perhaps if Mr Obama were to view this lovely Japanese video, showing "him", he might reconsider his statement:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=si-lSLv9b4E
2 ( +2 / -0 )

The only time that I was comfortable when I was around other fellow Gaijins.

I went to a gaijin bar last week, my 4th in 25 years. 1st time by my own accord. I don't dislike other foreigners. I don't feel lonely or distressed without their presence either.

Maybe theres nothing stopping me but as a Gaijin its that "Who the hell cares attitude. Come on you cant deny it there are obvious inequalities in the Land of the rising sun.I lived there for 7 years worked for 3 and have always felt that I could never fit in.

I retain that attitude, yet still fit in somehow. Politeness at the right time works wonders.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I've never felt like I wanted to fit in in Japan. I enjoy the foreign privilege. But I've always felt that I've got along here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Politeness at the right time works wonders

You mean like trying to my best to be Polite to a jobs advisor at Hello work so I can get a job and then be told that there are only very little jobs that I can get because Im black and Im a Gaijin. There I was 21 and very keen to try to make a living and contribute to society but unfortunately someone had decided that my kind are not worth to employ even before meeting me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe theres nothing stopping me but as a Gaijin its that "Who the hell cares attitude. Come on you cant deny it there are obvious inequalities in the Land of the rising sun.I lived there for 7 years worked for 3 and have always felt that I could never fit in.

The problem for many foreigners in Japan is getting to the point where they no longer care. Once you get there, it isnt so bad.

You mean like trying to my best to be Polite to a jobs advisor at Hello work so I can get a job and then be told that there are only very little jobs that I can get because Im black and Im a Gaijin. There I was 21 and very keen to try to make a living and contribute to society but unfortunately someone had decided that my kind are not worth to employ even before meeting me.

Sorry but screw Hello Work.......find one of those part-time job magazines, fill out your resume and send it or take it into where you want to work. THEN you really will know how Japanese college grads feel like going to a hundred different companies to find a job.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You mean like trying to my best to be Polite to a jobs advisor at Hello work so I can get a job and then be told that there are only very little jobs that I can get because Im black and Im a Gaijin. There I was 21 and very keen to try to make a living and contribute to society but unfortunately someone had decided that my kind are not worth to employ even before meeting me.

How is that the fault of the person at hello work? Why would you be rude to them?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How is that the fault of the person at hello work? Why would you be rude to them?

The Hello Work is like a Job Centre right? So they should be the ones promoting the word Equality and Diversity to the Employers looking for staff, it starts from the base. Nobody should care if a worker is black skinned just so long he can speak the language and has a Can Do attitude. After being told that I couldnt get any work because of my skin color and being a Gaijin I thought why is this unfairness and thought this was really rude. How simple is it to hire a big lad to come do the manual work, but No they gonna tell me I cant do the work because of something I have no control of, the colour of my skin. How is that I cant be rude to someone who discriminates me like that. Thats just wrong, its like Martin Luther King never existed.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan's discrimination towards foreigners is mild in comparison to discrimination in the US. The Japanese even discriminate among themselves. The good thing is that the vast majority will not seek to physically harm those they discriminate against. In the US most acts of discrimination are followed by death or bodily harm. So yes it would seem as if there is no discrimination to someone who hasn't actually lived here for a period of time.

@dcog9065Dec

Now with recent tensions and poor immigrants wanting in, immigration has constantly had a bad image in Japan. There is no way that will change soon as it will need a generational shift - maybe 30-40 years or so.

To be poor is a crime? Who are the rich immigrants who have settled in Japan? Are you one?

Did you know that most of these 'poor' immigrants give back more to the Japanese society than those foreigners who try to superficially elevate themselves, while only womanizing and having a 'good' time? A lot of these 'poor' immigrants are care-givers, construction workers etc. and are filling essential gaps in the workforce that otherwise would be a cause for national concern. Most time these immigrants are hardworking and just 'want in' , so that they can find something more lucrative than 'back home'. They are not the ones to be concerned about.

Anyway, I think the real issue here is about the careless, erroneous and misleading report made by TBS, that lead to people misinterpreting the cause of the statement made by PresObama.

This should be Obama's theme song: 'Shake It Off' (Taylor Swift).... with the dance too.

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@ex_matelot I have had quite the opposite experience myself. I'm black with J wife and two mixed kids, and we never have a problem in Japan. We lived in Kansai, never had issues.

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Japan's discrimination towards foreigners is mild in comparison to discrimination in the US.

Without reason and at any time can block you from entering a bar, deny you to get an apartment, home, credit card etc. these things can and often do happen and there is not a lot of recourse or very little you can do about it.

Try that in the US and see what happens and it really gets worse when you tell these people you are going to the media or have video footage then everything changes.

The Japanese even discriminate among themselves. The good thing is that the vast majority will not seek to physically harm those they discriminate against.

Neither in the U.S. and to add to that, if you are discriminated against, you can at least hire a lawyer that will fight on your behalf No matter what. Good luck with that in Japan, let alone winning a case and getting compensated.

In the US most acts of discrimination are followed by death or bodily harm.

My God, Shanique! What in the world are you talking about?

So yes it would seem as if there is no discrimination to someone who hasn't actually lived here for a period of time.

All I can say is, Wow!

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Japan is what it us today because it isn't a melting pot or multiracial the way the U.S. is. The day mass immigration is allowed is the day Japan ceases to be what all of you pro-immigration types love.

With ageing generation/death rate higher than its birth rates and a country with more women than men I'd say Good luck Japan with finding people to do the work.( We all have had come from somewhere to be where we are, and nations like Australia, USA, UK NZ have all been built by people coming together and building the country to what it is today. Japan needs Immigration on Humans not robots Thats a fact.

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The Hello Work is like a Job Centre right? So they should be the ones promoting the word Equality and Diversity to the Employers looking for staff, it starts from the base.

That's not Hello Work's mandate. Their job is to match employers with employees. Racial discrimination here is not illegal, and if they were to start lecturing employers about how to write their job listings, two things would happen:

1) Less employers would want to list with Hello Work

2) They would get complaints for taking on a cause that is not illegal, and against their mandate

Your anger is valid - it's not reasonable that employers can blatantly discriminate by race. But Hello Work employees are not the ones who set the laws or the policy, they just have to work with them. Getting rude to a hello work employee because you don't like the system is just being an a**, as they are not the ones that make the job listings, or the rules. They are simply the messenger. And you know what they say about shooting the messenger.

In short, your anger at the Hello Work employee was misplaced, and puts you in the wrong.

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@ex_matelot I have had quite the opposite experience myself. I'm black with J wife and two mixed kids, and we never have a problem in Japan. We lived in Kansai, never had issues

I am black originating from a 3rd world country and English is not my first language maybe thats what makes the difference in the type of experience you and I go through? Take a look at what happened to the Sri Lankan man who died in the hands of the Japanese Immigration, you wouldnt see that happening to a 1st world national right. I will never understand how a society can judge a person by something that was given to them by birth right. Thats really cold and shallow.

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@ex_matelot people being judged by skin of color isnt a Japan only problem. It is a worldwide problem. Shanique's comment above is pretty accurate. ex_matelot, are you still in JPN? If so, why? If you having issues there, you should be finding somewhere else that fits you.

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are you still in JPN? If so, why? If you having issues there, you should be finding somewhere else that fits you.

@luvjpfam Im not in Japan Noo left there before my kids could grow up, I couldnt bear to see them grow into a society where their right to an opinion and equal rights is strained & be judged by their ethicinity and skin color. I am a Proud man very Proud of my Heritage but I also believe in creating a world that I dream of as well as a healthy environment for my children to live and grow Hence why I now live in a country which I am not of origin but as a Naturalized citizen into a society where I know that I can Stand UP and speak Up to any Inequality.

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Japan's discrimination towards foreigners is mild in comparison to discrimination in the US.

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Have you lived in USA as a foreigner? I am a Japanese have been living in USA since I enrolled in a Calif. Univ. So comfortable that I still live in USA.

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@exmatelot Good for you, but keep in mind your kids will get judged anyway whether it's covert or overt. That being said, why comment on a JPN site when you don't care about JPN anymore? I'm planning to move back to JPN (or Hawaii) in the future. And yes, I'm proud to be black, proud of my J wife, and proud of our beautiful kids.

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In all countries in the beginning (whenever that was) there was one group of people. Then others come along and get discriminated against because they are a small minority. Then more and more come and a tipping point is reached when the original people gradually realize that these 'newcomers' are here to stay and may deserve some respect. It is still going on in the US, Europe and Australia, but it hasn't happened in Japan yet. Obama is spot on. Japan, with her 2% of non-Japanese people, is largely homogenous. Isn't that why so many of us love the place? (and sometimes hate it!).

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Not just a a stupid 'joke.' As many here have shown.

One thing not mentioned: Japan has been economically flat for over two decades. It's population is decreasing. Japan needs immigrants to grow. But Japan will not accept immigrants. Because of it's 'problems with certain folks being discriminated against.'

Sorry Obama, you didn't just make a dumb joke. In fact, it goes right to the very heart of much of what is wrong with Japan.

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JPT ask the Mixed races in Japan that live there if they feel Japan is racist towards them.Ask those Japanese of mix races that were born in Japan who are black, white or other! This is where you will get good honest data!

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but keep in mind your kids will get judged anyway whether it's covert or overt

@luvjpfam youre missing my point, I brought them out of Japan so that they can have the freedom of speech that they wont have in Japan. I know that they will be judged anyway everyone goes through that its a natural thing I still go through that as a grown man. But what Im saying is that if they live back in J- land they will not be able to learn to speak up for themselves and get listened to especially when getting bullied, I know how it is over there. Trust me fella.

why comment on a JPN site when you don't care about JPN anymore?

Dont mind me mate I am just practising my Right of Opinion, the one of many that I fought for whilst serving. God Save the Queen.

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@ex-mate: Keep writing. Just because you don;t live in Japan do not mean you don;t care Japan.

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@Toshiko hope that you're not being sarcastic mate, this is not personal rant. I do love Japan and get on with most people in Japan. I dislike discrimination especially against something I have No control of which I experienced quite a lot while I was there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Brandon Sherman, you are 110% spot on.

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@ex_mateloff: I don't live in Japan. People are writing about discriminated people. No one write about people who have to discriminate other people. not their choice but busybodies advice you to be snob. If discrimination will be gone, all Japanese residents can behave freely. .

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Have you lived in USA as a foreigner? I am a Japanese have been living in USA since I enrolled in a Calif. Univ. So comfortable that I still live in USA

Kudos to the US on their hospitality towards you.

Ok, let's put things into perspective. Not everyone is discriminated against. Most times discrimination rear it's ugly head in the US in the form of gun toting cops, and their targets are almost always Blacks. Black men in particular. Try being a Black male in America then return and tell me how comfy you are. As a matter of fact, as a female, I do not feel discriminated against in America. On the contrary, I feel the opposite.

My beef here is mainly police profiling Black men. In a sense it's like Japanese police profiling foreigners. A few die at immigration, yes, but still appears mild compared to the US.

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@Shanique: USA is a large country. So,I think you and I live in different area. I only lived in S California and now in Nevada where women boss around local politics. Not white male pr black male but all sort of women, old or young.

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I came to Japan when I was 17 years old. I`m now 48. Still I dream of the day when I can be considered simply a neighbor or even the guy next door rather than the gaijin.

No you don't. Because if that day came you would also lose the other aspects of being a gaijin in Japan which keep so many gaijin living there (constant flattery and ego stroking just for being a gaijin, freedom to be socially awkward and no one noticing, people treating you like some kind of celebrity, getting away with things you couldn't back home, popularity with gaijin groupies).

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I came to Japan when I was 17 years old. I`m now 48. Still I dream of the day when I can be considered simply a neighbor or even the guy next door rather than the gaijin.

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If you are interested in learning how Japanese people treat none-Japanese people,asl Lorean people whose parents and they were born in Japan and they only use Japanese language. They coulf be college educated but they might be still working for trash collectimg compamy, separating trashes, labors, etc. Or ask Japanese who love Chinese food if people adviced them dtop eat Chinese food or you will be reincarnate to be garlic.

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