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The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows

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Megumi Nishikura, co-director of the 2013 film, “Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan.” She said the selection of Ariana Miyamoto, born to a Japanese mother and an African-American father, as Miss Universe Japan, has expanded the definition of what it means to be Japanese. (NBC News)

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Sometimes I wonder, Japan has so many things to be proud of, craftsmanship, creativity, politeness, etc. and yet "homogeneity" is something they seem to be most proud of and cling to it like earphones on youths ears so they can have some sense of self identity pride or something.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Japan, you are not homogenous and haven't been for centuries.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go.

Astute comment, even if decades overdue. Let's wait and see Japan do away with the koseki/family registration system and really open up citizenship to the generations of permanent Korean residents, and then we'll know they are serious about this issue. Otherwise, DNA still rules, and this is just window-dressing.

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open up citizenship to the generations of permanent Korean residents

It already is open. They choose not to become Jaoanese citizens, but the option is there.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Back on topic please.

Japan, you are not homogenous and haven't been for centuries.

Relative to most Western countries they certainly are.

And @kibousha, homogeneity is absolutely something to be proud of. Or are you so naive to believe that Japan's super low crime rates have nothing to do with its lack of diversity? There is an undeniable correlation between diversity and crime rates, and countries like Japan and Iceland are proof. Psychologically, society simply runs smoother when people feel a connection with one another. The most powerful means are forming this sense of cohesion are religion, nationalism, and racial homogeneity. Japan arguably has all three to a varying degree. America, on the other hand, only really has nationalism. Hence why it pushes it so hard (e.g. the children of immigrants reciting the pledge of allegiance every morning).

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

@Illyas May we presume you`ve never heard of Singapore?

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has expanded the definition of what it means to be Japanese.

How exactly did it expand the definition? Can anyone answer, please?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

CH3 -

I think it means that even if you don't have "Yamato characteristics" you can be considered truly Japanese - which may come as a shock to some whose concept of Japanese-ness is bolted securely to a past dream.

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The most powerful means are forming this sense of cohesion are religion, nationalism, and racial homogeneity.

I thought it was more to do with income level.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

browny1Mar. 25, 2015 - 05:03PM JST

even if you don't have "Yamato characteristics" you can be considered truly Japanese

This is by no means the first time that a Japanese national who is not "Yamato" became a representative of Japan.

Son Kitei, 1936, Olympic marathon runner and Gold medalist, ethnic Korean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sohn_Kee-chung

Togo Shigenori, 1941-1942 Foerign Minister, descendant of ethnic Korean http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%9D%B1%E9%83%B7%E8%8C%82%E5%BE%B3

Koji Murofushi, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 Olympic hammer thrower and Gold medalist, his mother is Hungarian and his father is Japanese http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koji_Murofushi

Son Masayoshi, Many times "richest person in Japan", naturalized ethnic Korean Japanese http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masayoshi_Son

I can make the list a lot longer if I search.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

CH3 - I didn't say "representative" of Japan - I said "considered truly Japanese". That's the bone of.

And while debate on ethno-purism is an exercise in feeblism ( in my opinion), I will humbly address - the examples you have chosen are all east asians who share characteristics so similar to one another that differentiation is quite difficult at times.

Include a person of Caucasian or African ethnicity into the pool for example, and suddenly the inclusiveness becomes muddied.

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browny1Mar. 25, 2015 - 06:09PM JST

I put Hungarian in the small list.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Actually, the term 'Yamato' is not a scientific one. The 'Yamato' people generally refers to the wave of Yayoi people who came to Japan from China and Korea as late as 500BC bringing rice agriculture and metalworking with them. They replaced or partly admixed with the original Jomon inhabitants of Japan.

You can actually do a fairly cheap DNA test to find out your genetic halplotype and if you probably have a Jomon ancestor. I've always wondered why DNA testing hasn't become popular in Japan (like bloodtype), but I guess any testing company in Japan would get burned to the ground fairly quickly since the majority of results they sent out would say: 'Congratulations, your ancestors are from China'.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I guess any testing company in Japan would get burned to the ground fairly quickly since the majority of results they sent out would say: 'Congratulations, your ancestors are from China'.

And congratulations, you nearly made me fall out of my seat from laughter! Well done!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

CH# - thank you. You did include Murofushi - my miss. And yes certain people of mixed ethnicity have become famous in Japan as you noted.

Without any scientific data to back me, I'd however suggest that most people of such background are not considered "true Japanese" by many.

As an add-on - I recall the winner of the 2007 Miss Universe, ehtnically Japanese Ryo Mori, was widely criticized here in Japan for not being "Japanese" enough. Her looks were deemed not to be "traditional" Japanese with even accusations of her defaming Japanese beauty with a "slutty" look. Many considered her speech, her mannerisms, her lack of deference and demureness and her dispensing with the notion of "kawaii" as childish to be really planing against the grain of "True Feminine Japanese-ness".

So if Mori attracted that much attention, then I can only assume other "lesser-than-full" types would also.

M3 - yes I know Yamato is not scientific, just that it is trotted out by many as The Exemplar of what to be Japanese is. They even named a big boat after it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'Congratulations, your ancestors are from China'. trace your dna back far enough and youll find all modern humans originated in Africa

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The mere fact that there is any controversy related to this is completely sad and nothing else.

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As an essentially homogenous species, we all live in homogeneity. We just need to drop the myth of 'race' and the abstract "nationality" idea, aspects of control used by our political masters. Before ANYTHING else... YOU, yes, YOU, reading this are...

Human.

Welcome aboard.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

May we presume you`ve never heard of Singapore?

I would argue that as a small, authoritarian city state, it's the exception that proves the rule.

@UK9393

Please don't spread that 'race is a social construct' trite. Modern scientists agree that race has a basis in genetics. The flaw that social 'scientists' make is that they argue that since race exists on a continuum, it has no basis in reality. Well, the same argument can then be applied to anything that exists on a continuum. Black and White exist on a continuum, and where black becomes white and white becomes black may vary from person to person and society to society. Yet that doesn't mean that black and white don't exist! Just because something is arbitrarily defined doesn't negate it's existence. Yet that's what social 'scientists' attempt to do with race in order to appease the progressive agenda of the day.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Illyas - really? All scientists agree on "races" existing because of genetic variables?

Off the top of my head, the geneticist Alan Templeton for one, would beg to differ. As do thousands of others - but not all.

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@browny1

The only way you can deny the existence of race is if you play a semantics game. The fact that you can analyze a person's DNA and reliably predict their race is proof of its existence. Fact of the matter is that research into the differences between race is regularly suppressed by the progressive establishment. Anyone who attempts to do such research is viciously attacked, as it goes against the progressive agenda.

Alan Templeton is no better than a creationist for denying race. Both of them stick their heads in the stand in order to appease their feelings.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Illyas - thank you.

And so say you.

So semantics it is. The term "race" was long in use before the jonny-come-lately lay folks of the world new zilch about genetics.

It's popular historical use has been to distinguish between different ethnicities / cultures based on such deep meaningfuls as skin/hair colour, dietary habits, religious beliefs, etc.

It's superficial use was part of the tribalism power game to bulk up on notions of superiority. Over centuries, it has gathered an enormous baggage - a girth - which unfortunately weighs heavily in the folds of negativity. You know- racial superiority, racial inferiority, racism, racist, dirty race, white race, black race, etc etc .Perhaps it's time for genetic science to find a more appropriate term, which shouldn't be difficult seeing that new scientific expressions evolve almost daily.

In addition you say anyone who attempts to do such research is viciously attacked but earlier you stated that modern scientists agree that race has a basis in genetics. I can only assume from that, that there must be 1,000's of cases of vicious academic attack going on all the time - considering how many modern scientists there are in the world.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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