Naomi Osaka Photo: REUTERS file
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Multiracial athletes sparking debate in Japan ahead of 2020 Games

93 Comments
By Joshua Miller

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Good for them, rooting for their success this year and beyond.

While the mainstream media continually focuses on the negative and will never stop asking inane questions such as "do Japanese accept Hachimira/Osaka as Japanese," many Japanese actually have a functioning brain stem and embrace these talented athletes.

14 ( +21 / -7 )

People only accept them as Japanese because they are performing on the world stage, and will thumb their noses at their own next door neighbor who happens to be biracial as well!

Japan has a LONG way to go in accepting diversity, and while things have gotten better, it's still a huge problem for far too many who live here and are constantly forced to question their own identities because of the people around them!

The hypocrisy is overwhelming sometimes!

30 ( +45 / -15 )

Good for them. Most Japanese do not care at all about their background, as long as they represent Japan with Japanese "fighting spirit". They are proud of there achievements. May they win many medals!

-10 ( +17 / -27 )

But according to Lawrence Yoshitaka Shimoji, a lecturer of sociology with American roots at Kokushikan University in Tokyo's Setagaya ward,

And with a surname of "Shimoji" his roots are in Okinawa as well!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

For anyone who has Japanese nationality, logically and legally this isn't an issue. Those who raise it (including especially the press) are the issue.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

This is a good thing because there is no way that Japan as a nation (even an island one) can avoid the trend of more and more multi-racial Japanese nationals becoming part of their society. Seems to me that Japanese media doesn't have a problem with it, while western media try to make a problem out of it.

-14 ( +13 / -27 )

Japan still has a ways to go. On paper, one could somewhat hide their biracial identity if their surname is Japanese, and perhaps not be scrutinized initially when applying for jobs, or renting an apartment, but for those with katakana foreign surnames, you will always be scrutinized. Most biracial Japanese are usually viewed as being a foreigner at first glance because they don't look "Japanese".

12 ( +24 / -12 )

Japan's multicultural athletes - are they Japanese or not? This is political talk. As in all countries there are always two points of view, those that don't give it a thought and those that want to have a debate and make sure the end result is negative towards multiculturalism

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Japan still has a ways to go. On paper, one could somewhat hide their biracial identity if their surname is Japanese, and perhaps not be scrutinized initially when applying for jobs, or renting an apartment, but for those with katakana foreign surnames, you will always be scrutinized. Most biracial Japanese are usually viewed as being a foreigner at first glance because they don't look "Japanese".

People claim this, but have you actually talked to any foreigners like this? I know a couple of people, biracial, with foreign surnames, Japanese born and raised. They don't have troubles finding work in Tokyo. If anything, they have stronger bargaining power due to their ability to speak English natively.

-1 ( +15 / -16 )

It's seldom ethnicity be black or white, shall we say. My kids are biracial and dual-national, and in their day-to-day lives, this is not an issue at all. one thing I hate about the Olympics is the emphasis on nationality. Just show ús your best athletic skill and sod off about your nationality.

,

21 ( +22 / -1 )

who at times exudes a typical Japanese demeanor

I am curious what exactly is a "typical Japanese demeanor"?

This "debate" is not unique to Japan in any way. It is rather common for every homogeneous society.

Last year when the French team won the world football cup, a lot of people were making jokes that "Africa" won, because almost all French players were of African origin. A lot of French people responded angrily to these jokes saying that France is a multiracial society and the team is 100% French, to which a lot of other high profile people responded by saying the French who defend the team are hypocrites because the same people who are now proud of the "African-French" team for winning were bashing them up until then for being African and not real French -- "when they win, they are French, when they lose, they are just Africans", said one Comedian.

I remember several years ago reading on the news that Scottish people were complaining that every time a sportsman, whose name and sport he is competing in i forgot, wins, the English press describes him as "british", every time he loses, they describe him as "scottish".

I know several Black YouTubers who are born in England. Every time someone in the comments (probably Americans) call them "British", you see a tsunami of replies saying "He is not British, he is Nigerian". I have also noticed Black people from England are very timid and afraid to call themselves British, because they probably know people will ridicule them or deny their identity.

I am sure the same problem exists in every other homogeneous society.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

This is a  western problem. Left liberals are obsessed with race. It is bad manners to talk about ones appearance. Time to grow up.

-10 ( +12 / -22 )

@ Strangerland

I am biracial with Japanese ancestry on my mother's side. Although I am a US citizen, I was born and raised in Japan and am fluent in Japanese. I am now married to a Japanese national and residing in Japan. We have had problems renting apartments in Japan because of my foreign surname. It's only after meeting with the apartment owner were we given the green light. But imagine having to always having to "prove" oneself?

24 ( +32 / -8 )

I’m Japanese American and am used to being stereotyped by anyone not used to mixed nationalities.

In Japan I am never looked at as Japanese walking around, as I don’t look it.

95% of people everywhere are usually “shocked” in some way. Westerners are amazed at my perfect English, and here I am a Japanese who nobody would guess was.

I use it to my advantage.

25 ( +25 / -0 )

A homogenous society has pros and cons. So does a multicultural society. It’s people.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Change takes time, it can be frustrating and even devastating for those it effects and the changes come with a sense of discomfort for those it is happening around.

I remember well the ripples of discomfort in New Zealand as very visible immigration starting happening on mass during the late 80s and 90s, it took people time to say, well if you are here call yourself a Kiwi then, I guess you are.

Its no excuse for bad behavior but as time goes on lets hope it becomes less and less of an issue as I think it has already in my decade here.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Got into a disagreement with someone, I said "how do you know someone's not Japanese?" and they said "because they can't speak Japanese", then I said to them "Is Namomi Osaka Japanese" they said "yes", then I said "Well, she doesn't speak Japanese" ..shut that guy right up.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I am biracial with Japanese ancestry on my mother's side. Although I am a US citizen, I was born and raised in Japan and am fluent in Japanese. I am now married to a Japanese national and residing in Japan. We have had problems renting apartments in Japan because of my foreign surname. It's only after meeting with the apartment owner were we given the green light. But imagine having to always having to "prove" oneself?

BlackFlagCitizen, you are not the only one. Quite often the people who say this is a nonissue are suffering from cognitive dissonance, living in a bubble, or Japanphiles, and they are mostly Caucasian males who are always bragging on JT that Japanese women are envious of their "haafu" children while living in a Gaijin Ghetto.

Let's get a consensus from the actual Japanese citizens not dating or married to a foreigner!

I have personally heard Japanese teenagers and adults call another Japanese citizen "not a real Japanese" because of their multiracial heritage. They were born and raised in Japan. Interestingly, my non Japanese friends born and raised in Japan have had a better experience than multiracial children.

Example:

Rui Hachimura has discussed his experiences of racism in Japan. He even said that he was so happy to leave because it was so bad.

Now that he is a success, Japan and the government want to claim him and all the other Multiracial Japanese athletes.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Which was part of a broader discussion about how Naomi doesn't live in Japan, doesn't speak Japanese much, probably doesn't pay residence tax or pension plan, yet is "Japanese", whist others who live in Japan learnt Japanese, pay Japanese taxes etc etc are not considered Japanese.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

What debate? There is no debate. To most, hell, for 95 of Japanese, if you don't look and speak Japanese, you aren't.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

@Strangerland

People claim this, but have you actually talked to any foreigners like this? I know a couple of people, biracial, with foreign surnames, Japanese born and raised. They don't have troubles finding work in Tokyo. If anything, they have stronger bargaining power due to their ability to speak English natively.

LOL! That doesn't mean anything! Anybody can find work regardless of ethnicity or language ability as long as you are not picky!

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Whether or not an athlete identifies as Japanese, Japan will ignore the Japanese background of any athlete as soon as they start losing.

Winning = Japanese

Losing = gaijin

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Osaka's meteoric rise from 72nd in the women's rankings in Jan. 2018 to world No. 1 a year later,

It’s a little strange to use “meteoric” and “rise” together, no?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Mizuame

For anyone who has Japanese nationality, logically and legally this isn't an issue. Those who raise it (including especially the press) are the issue.

Define "nationality". Do you mean ancestry? Or, are you referring to legally acquired citizenship to one without any Japanese ancestry? It doesn't really matter though.

If someone with zero ancestry obtains citizenship via legal means, they will not be considered Japanese by most Japanese people, and will be an issue for that person.

And, someone with Japanese ancestry, but a physical appearance not 100% "Japanese, or an inability to speak Japanese, will also not be considered Japanese by most Japanese.

The latter, of course, changes if that person is a successful athlete or businessman.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Interesting report and a response to stay within the lines of sounding racist or not, here goes; while it is great in my opinion that many of the multi-racial are gifted athletes it is not a fair practice as the afore mentioned athlete who is raised, educated and trained by a country to then turn around and represent another country that typically had nothing to do with the athletic achievements and thus turn their back on the country that did.

Any athlete who participates and spends a majority of their time being trained or educated for such events should have self dignity to represent the most contributing country to add to their tributes and athletic development. This is not fair as resources, education and time were spent and then to turn their backs is unsportsmanlike and should not be allowed to compete and be banned from future sports. Perhaps too harsh? Thanks again JT for your reports.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

If someone with zero ancestry obtains citizenship via legal means, they will not be considered Japanese by most Japanese people, and will be an issue for that person.

Not just Japanese people. Try going through customs in most countries as a white person on a Japanese passport, and tell me you don't get a sideways eye at the very least.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

And, someone with Japanese ancestry, but a physical appearance not 100% "Japanese, or an inability to speak Japanese, will also not be considered Japanese by most Japanese.

Foreigners make this claim all the time, but I've never actually seen anything to support it. I think it's pulling the race card without actually confirming that the race card should have been pulled.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Multiracial athletes sparking debate

Do they spark debate? If you have Japanese citizenship, you are Japanese. If not, you are not. If people do not accept this, it is because they are overly engaged in identity-based navel-gazing which should not be encouraged. "Japanese" is a nationality, not an identity.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Globalization is a fact. But it should not reach to an extent where it's "normal" to call your kid by a non-japanese name in Japan just because of an influx of foreigners. Globalization is thanks to our very distinctive cultures which interacts with each other.

Once cultures become a part of each other and ONE, then we will inevitably lose what created globalization in the first place. Africa is not Europe, Europe is not Asia, Asia is not America and so forth. Let's keep it as it has always been. We are created equal, but differently adapted.

Once we start to fiddle with how nature's created us, then there's no turning back. I do not want Japanese culture to be mixed with other cultures, that's what makes Japanese culture so unique and attractive!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

"Japanese" is a nationality, not an identity.

It's a nationality, an ethnicity, and an identity.

Sure, if you have Japanese citizenship, you are technically Japanese. But in all reality, very few people in the world are going to accept you as being Japanese. For example, if I take Japanese citizenship, then try to get a role as a Japanese military member in a film, being white, I'm not going to get that role. Because the gap of disbelief would be too much for most people, since I'm not even Asian.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

We are all one people. Those who seek to divide will never win in the biggest event of all - the human race.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Foreigners make this claim all the time, but I've never actually seen anything to support it. I think it's pulling the race card without actually confirming that the race card should have been pulled.

LOL! That is the bubble! You never seen it, so it must not exist despite the evidence to contrary. Ha!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

LOL! That is the bubble! You never seen it, so it must not exist despite the evidence to contrary. Ha!

What? Are you reading someone else's post and quoting mine? I never said it didn't exist.

Baffling.

To reiterate what I said (not whomever you thought you were replying to), was that I've never seen anything to support this assertion:

not be considered Japanese by most Japanese.

Would you care to address that point, and you can address the other poster's post to them, instead of to me.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Allowing dual nationality would be a good help I think.

Japanese law forcing mixed children to choose their nationality is first to dictate that a person can't have two origins.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I agree with Bintaro. Japan should allow dual nationality. In the near term, this would allow people with family ties to Japan to work easier in Japan for a short or long period and open the doors to other nationalities to emigrate.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@ Strangerland

Have you heard of the Ainu? Would you agree they are Japanese and have always been Japanese? Have they not faced discrimination in their history?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Have you heard of the Ainu? Would you agree they are Japanese 

They are of Japan, and have Japanese nationality. But I wouldn’t consider them ethnic Japanese - as they are of Ainu ethnicity, not Japanese.

Have they not faced discrimination in their history?

Now that I’ve answered your questions maybe you want to step back and replied to my post that you entirely ignored and instead asked some irrelevant questions.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

My kids have dual American and Japanese and they are all adults. The Japanese passport people turn a blind eye towards it. On their passport renewal application they blatantly put it in big bold letters, do you have another passport? My kids were always told to tell the truth, but the Japanese guy behind the desk always tells them to leave it blank. Interesting.

I think holding a legal passport is more than enough to qualify anyone for any sport at the Olympics.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

But I wouldn’t consider them ethnic Japanese - as they are of Ainu ethnicity, not Japanese.

What is ethically Japanese to you? The Jomon Japanese, the Yayoi Japanese? Why wouldn't the Ainu be considered ethnically Japanese when they were some of the first inhabitants of what is now Japan?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why wouldn't the Ainu be considered ethnically Japanese when they were some of the first inhabitants of what is now Japan?

Because the people known as the ethnic Japanese, are not the Ainu.

It's a pretty easy concept to grasp. Why are you having such troubles with it?

It's like taking saying green is brown, then wondering why the color everyone calls green confuses people when you start calling it brown.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

And since you've now skipped over it twice, I'll repost:

To reiterate what I said (not whomever you thought you were replying to), was that I've never seen anything to support this assertion:

not be considered Japanese by most Japanese.

Would you care to address that point, and you can address the other poster's post to them, instead of to me.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It's a nationality, an ethnicity, and an identity.

But the ethnicity does not match the nationality. There are literally millions of non-Yamato Japanese.

As for identity, who sets the boundaries? Anyone born overseas to two Yamato parents may have a very different identity. They will have nationality and Yamato ethnicity, but their Japanese language could be very poor and they will be unlikely to understand Japanese social conventions.

The only fulfilling condition to be Japanese is therefore citizenship. Ethnicity omits genuine Japanese and so does identity.

Focusing on identity only causes trouble, either navel-gazing or people setting limits on how others can acceptably think or behave. It should not be encouraged. It only gets raised so many times in Japan due to Nihonjinron.

As for "acceptance", thirty, possibly twenty years ago Ireland would not have accepted a gay head of state. For a conservative Catholic country, it would have been unthinkable. They have one now, because people have given up their A must be B prejudices. There are many other examples, and therefore no reason why "a Japanese person must be this" prejudice must exist in perpetuity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

But the ethnicity does not match the nationality.

Um yeah, because ethnicity is not nationality and nationality is not ethnicity.

You basically just said “an apple does not match an orange”.

The only fulfilling condition to be Japanese is therefore citizenship.

And we’re back to my original point about being white on a Japanese passport. If what you were saying were accurate, you wouldn’t get a second glance when doing so. But you try telling people around the world that you’re Japanese, and see how often people are doing to accept it without some explanation, and often even after that point will express that you’ve taken nationality and weren’t born Japanese.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What's the debate?

Are you famous? Are you a beautiful or handsome model? A sports champion? Rich? Powerful? etc etc?

Then of course you are Japanese!

Are you a nobody? Are you ugly or poor? Did you even make the first round cut in the sports tournament? Chances are you're not worth mentioning.

Then of course you are whatever Nationality or Ethnicity your father is/was.

Thank you for playing.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

YubaruToday  07:02 am JST

People only accept them as Japanese because they are performing on the world stage, and will thumb their noses at their own next door neighbor who happens to be biracial as well!

Japan has a LONG way to go in accepting diversity, and while things have gotten better, it's still a huge problem for far too many who live here and are constantly forced to question their own identities because of the people around them!

The hypocrisy is overwhelming sometimes!

I agree one hundred percent. When you win, you're "in." When you lose, they move to the next flavor of the month.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

First of all this article is trash. Sorry but the author referring several times to the concept of race is totally absurd. There isn't races among humans. Get over it and just accept it.

Now what irritates me with Japanese on this topic is like usual their hypocrisy. Osaka can't speak a word in Japanese, basically never lived here and don't pay tax here. But somehow because she won in a discipline where Japanese are weak (notably due to their physical attributes), she is suddenly totally Japanese. Has she been a total loser, we would have heard them talking about the fact that she should not represent Japan. And on a side note, I think she is very disrespectful for not representing US since this is where she lives and was trained with US facilities.

You hear them often complain that people whatever their origin should speak Japanese in Japan because bla bla put the nationalism rhetoric here. But with Osaka who can only say two words in Japanese, it's fine, because well she is winning for the great Japan homeland. In other words, whenever it's convenient for them, they will have no problem with diversity. The rest of the time they will brag about Japanese 'race', uniqueness, purity and other BS like that.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Strangerland

The issue is not whether 混血 (mixed blood) Japanese can find work. They can. The issue is not whether 混血 Japanese can integrate into Japanese society. They can, in way. The issue is not whether they can go here, or do that, or whatever.

The issue is whether they are 'they.' Other. 混血.

They are.

For the vast majority of Japanese, they are 混血. Meaning, they aren't. It's a tribal thing. No more, no less.

I do not support that view. I see a possible future where that is not the case. Indeed, I think it necessary for Japan's survival.

But now, as long as mixed-race Japanese are seen as "they", as 混血 as different, they are not Japanese. They are different. In some essential way.

[And since the following matters to some: I am an American Jew (ashkenzi), my wife is Japanese, and our two children are who they are.

They've been returning to Japan every summer since they were toddlers. They are in highschool now

One looks pretty much east Asian, the other looks like like she's from Azerbaijan. They both speak Japanese without an accent -- well, actually a Kyoto accent. The boy, who looks like his mother, passes and is regarded by strangers as Japanese: they speak Japanese to him. More often than not, the daughther, who looks foreign, is treated as a foreigner by adult strangers, they either speak engrish to her or a dumbed down version of Japanese even when she speak Japanese back to them.

Almost always, when adults who do not know the boy has an American father find out he has an American father, their attitude towards him changes. Nearly always.]

9 ( +9 / -0 )

In the US, even with Obama being the POTUS African Americans still suffered, sometimes horribly from racism, that's in the US with a longer history of multiracial society. With Japan ? I will wait a little longer to give it a pass.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The issue is whether they are 'they.' Other. 混血.

Of course to some degree, they will be. Japanese language dictates that everyone be separated into 'us' and 'them' by it's very nature. One must be decided to be ingroup or outgroup in order to determine whether keigo should be used, and/or what level of keigo. The language shapes the mind process as a result - Japanese people subconsciously separate people into ingroup or outgroup very quickly.

However, there is not only one group. Groups shift. Someone who is your ingroup at work, will be outgroup if you are relating to them with someone on your sports team for example. On that same note, a foreign co-worker will always be ingroup when talking to another company person, but will always be outgroup when speaking of the Japanese.

Biracial/half kids will always be a bit of a confusing group as a result. Some people will never consider them ingroup as Japanese. Some will have no troubles with it. Two plus decades ago, when I first got here, the old-timers told me horror stories about how kids were treated in schools for example. Nowadays, biracial/half kids are not a rarity at all in schools, and the horror stories I hear are few and far between.

When I speak of the people I know 'being able to find jobs', I mean they are employed, as Japanese people, in Japanese companies. I'm sure they face discrimination in some companies. And in others, they don't.

I'm not saying Japan has never had a problem with discrimination, nor have I said that one doesn't exist now. To re-iterate my point, that still no one has actually addressed, was that I don't take it as a given that "most" Japanese don't accept biracial/half kids as Japanese.

It may be the truth. But no one has actually shown it to be, it's just something repeated over and over by foreigners, who start to believe it because they hear it so much. I want to see it actually qualified.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

And to be clear, the difference I'm having with some people here is that I haven't reached a conclusion, and am asking for the supporting evidence to do so. The people claiming that most Japanese people don't consider biracial/half kids to be Japanese have reached a conclusion, and are expecting it to be accepted without providing supporting evidence to show it to be so.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I think the whole "but he/she's not a 'real' japanese (also valid in other countries) thing is overblown by social media (i mean naysayers, flogs, trash talkers etc the usual suspects). It's not like that, i mean not as black/white, in real life.

Imo most J think Osaka, Hachimura & co are Japanese, just not your 'typical' J (esp Osaka who doesn't speak the language and has spent most of her life overseas) and rightly so (nothing wrong with that, ppl wear/should wear their multiculturalism as a badge of honour). Same with most multiracial/cultural etc folks who just happen to live in a monocultural society such as japan, sk, slovakia etc.

If tmrw I meet a black dude called Piotr, says he's a Pole (dad polish, mum from ghana) & only spent a few years in Poland (doesnt speak the language) I'll probably think/say to my partner "you know what, i met a polish-african/ghanaian guy today, really nice bloke' etc. It's the same with Osaka & co.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's not like that, i mean not as black/white, in real life.

Exactly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Athletes are who they are by the passport they carry and country they compete for and nothing else. Not all athletes are born in the country they represent.

The problem for Japan is it does not accept dual nationality.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Osaka was not up for debate when she was winning (she was definitely Japanese!). She wasn't up for debate before she was winning either (she definitely was not). Now people are wary. I can guarantee one thing, if she wins gold in 2020 she'll be "Japanese", and if she does not she won't be.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Osaka was not up for debate when she was winning (she was definitely Japanese!).

What? Is your memory that bad? MANY were claiming she wasn't Japanese.

She wasn't up for debate before she was winning either (she definitely was not).

How do you know? Whom did you ask, or what did you read at that time?

Now people are wary.

People are always wary. Have you not noticed that every single story, no matter what, has someone negative about it on this board?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If someone with zero ancestry obtains citizenship via legal means, they will not be considered Japanese by most Japanese people, and will be an issue for that person.

Not my experience. The only people who have questioned whether I am “Japanese” have been gaijin.

It's a nationality, an ethnicity, and an identity. Sure, if you have Japanese citizenship, you are technically Japanese. But in all reality, very few people in the world are going to accept you as being Japanese.

That is not limited to Japan. I lived in Britain for a decade. My ancestry is 100% British. I could have taken British nationality easily. Had I done so, I would have been an American with British nationality, not a Brit. For one thing, every time I spoke, my northern Illinois accent would announce that I was of foreign origin. Some Brits claim to like American accents; other get hostile.

Allowing dual nationality would be a good help I think.

I would think it would have just the opposite effect. You would be announcing that you are indeed haafu.

The problem for Japan is it does not accept dual nationality.

It accepts it in practice but not explicitly in law except in the case where you have a second nationality in a country that does not allow you to renounce your citizenship. Then it is explicitly allowed.

The Japanese government makes no effort to track down people with dual nationality. There is no penalty for holding dual nationality.

When Renho was found to have dual nationality there was a big flap but she did the paperwork to renounce her ROC nationality and life went on.

In Australia if you are a member of parliament and you are found to hold dual nationality, you get tossed out even if the other nationality is British or New Zealand.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

They still have a long way to go and to learn,first by simply accepting the dual nationality and as most advanced countries replace the old and outdated Ius sanguinis law with the more logical and human Ius soli.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The people claiming that most Japanese people don't consider biracial/half kids to be Japanese 

What you are describing here is people's opinions. It is no different to thinking the world's best food is Japanese rice or that things made in Japan must be intrinsically better. The world has a countless number of opinions we do not have to accept as gospel.

Naomi Osaka is factually Japanese through citizenship. People's opinions won't change it. People need to stop navel gazing on what it is to be Japanese, not be encouraged to do it more. The falling number of Japanese restaurants, newbuilds featuring genuine Japanese architecture, people doing martial arts, etc. all suggest to me that the promoted idea of Japanese identity has nothing to do with celebrating and supporting Japanese culture, what you could call a positive Japaneseness. It is more about shutting others out.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What you are describing here is people's opinions.

No, these people are making very clear statements about how the Japanese are. Not one of them has said it's an opinion, and that they don't actually know what Japanese people think.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What's the debate? Are you famous? Are you a beautiful or handsome model? A sports champion? Rich? Powerful? etc etc?Then of course you are Japanese!

Are you a nobody? Are you ugly or poor? Did you even make the first round cut in the sports tournament? Chances are you're not worth mentioning.Then of course you are whatever Nationality or Ethnicity your father is/was. Thank you for playing."

Thats it in a nutshell.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It accepts it in practice but not explicitly in law except in the case where you have a second nationality in a country that does not allow you to renounce your citizenship. Then it is explicitly allowed.

Nonsense. The Japanese law explicitly prohibits dual nationality whether or not the second country of origin does not allow for giving up citizenship. That's how the law is formulated. The nationality law officially obliges those who have multiple citizenship by birthright to choose one by the age of 22.

The only reason that some people are getting a pass for it is because the law is difficult to apply in reality as they can't keep track of all people out there and confirm that they have dual nationalities.

The Japanese government makes no effort to track down people with dual nationality. There is no penalty for holding dual nationality.

Again it can't in practice. But that's not the point. The law prohibits it and the fact the government can't apply the law it created is another subject. The point is that the policy of the government is reflected in the law. The official stance that one can have just a single citizenship sends a powerful message to those with multiple nationalities.

Now, the law fails to specify any penalties against dual nationals who do not pick a nationality. It instead only states that the justice minister reserves the right to “warn” them to choose a nationality. If a dual national does not make a choice within a month of receiving the warning, their Japanese nationality is automatically revoked. This right to warn has apparently never been exerted, again precisely because racking down citizens with multiple nationalities and encouraging them to make a choice would be a bureaucratic nightmare.

That is not to say that the law itself is completely ineffective, because in theory Japanese citizenship could be revoked if a dual national does not make a choice. Its very existence serves as a threat.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Everyone from every Olympic team is of mixed geographical lineage, and everyone who watches them is as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Having the Japanese nationality and know how to speak the Japanese language should be the only criteria to be considered a Japanese national.

All other things should be irrelevant.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Nationality Law does not recognize dual nationality and you sign a form stating you will surrender your other nationality when you become Japanese and receive a passport.

But I have never heard of anyone being prosecuted for having two passports.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There is no debate.  If they win, they are Japanese, if they loose, they are foreigners

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There is no penalty for holding dual nationality.

From a certain age there should be, holding on to more than one nationality at a time is not a good thing.

The current age limit of 21 to hold dual nationality in Japan gives plenty of time to decide.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

What debate? There is no debate. To most, hell, for 95 of Japanese, if you don't look and speak Japanese, you aren't.

No need for ‘and speak’ in that very good point.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Mister X

In what situation could it possibly not be a good thing to hold more than one nationality?

Sorry, but I really cannot understand your reasoning there.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Nonsense. The Japanese law explicitly prohibits dual nationality whether or not the second country of origin does not allow for giving up citizenship.

No it doesn't.

The nationality law officially obliges those who have multiple citizenship by birthright to choose one by the age of 22.

Again, no it doesn't.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Nationality Law does not recognize dual nationality and you sign a form stating you will surrender your other nationality when you become Japanese and receive a passport.

That's not correct. The law requires they sign a form stating an 'intent' to surrender the other nationality. The form does not actually require surrendering it, nor are there any means in place through the law to either follow up or enforce it.

Creating a law requiring the other citizenship be given up would place some people in the position where they would be technically in volition of the Japanese law, due to being from countries that don't allow for the surrendering of nationality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Which countries don’t allow giving up their nationalty?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nationality

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are many countries which do not recognize dual citizenship. There are also countries which don’t allow surrender of citizenship if that means the person becomes stateless.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is Japan ready for a biracial First Lady? This is the headlines of a New York Times article Aug 2022 after Shinichiro secures his party’s top spot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Which countries don’t allow giving up their nationalty?

Argentina for one, where it's "unconstitutional": https://www.clarin.com/sociedad/renunciar-nacionalidad-argentina-inconstitucional_0_SyWx8ucAatl.html

There are others, but I can't be bothered to put together a list. It's a small list, but does exist.

Regardless, as Japan cannot control other country's laws, a requirement to that the foreign citizenship MUST be dropped would place some people in an impossible position, due to the inability to relinquish their other citizenship.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Regardless, as Japan cannot control other country's laws, a requirement to that the foreign citizenship MUST be dropped would place some people in an impossible position, due to the inability to relinquish their other citizenship.

Its within the legal rights of a country not to accept dual nationality and there are many.

Singapore does not accept dual nationality.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Article on dual nationality

https://features.japantimes.co.jp/dualcitizenship/

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Athletes are who they are by the passport they carry and country they compete for and nothing else. Not all athletes are born in the country they represent. The problem for Japan is it does not accept dual nationality.

Actually passport and the country you represent are two different things. Lots of sports do not require you to be a citizen of that country to represent it.

You are correct that Japan does not nominally allow dual nationality and Osaka will need to make a well-publicised decision about which nationality she chooses by 22 October. We are all going to have a lot of fun with that.

Will she chose a country that she had rarely been to and Canty speak three language of? If not, will she still be Japanese? The Japanese right will be quick to say "I told you so".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its within the legal rights of a country not to accept dual nationality and there are many.

I never said it wasn't. What I said was that doing so would place people in a situation that is impossible to rectify.

Fortunately, that's not an issue in Japan, as they don't require the foreign nationality actually be given up. Only that a form is signed stating the person intends to give it up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Strangerland

You said:

And since you've now skipped over it twice, I'll repost:

To reiterate what I said (not whomever you thought you were replying to), was that I've never seen anything to support this assertion:

not be considered Japanese by most Japanese.

Would you care to address that point, and you can address the other poster's post to them, instead of to me.

When did I ever make the claim, "not be considered Japanese by most Japanese"? Or was this question directed at someone else?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When did I ever make the claim, "not be considered Japanese by most Japanese"? Or was this question directed at someone else?

I see, the confusion came in because I was addressing the comment about 'most Japanese', and you jumped in questioning me on something else altogether, unrelated to the point we were talking on, but quoted me talking on that point. I just assumed you were the same person to whom I was replying.

I'm not sure why you directed your questions about Ainu at me as a result, since it wasn't something I was discussing one way or the other.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is Japan ready for a biracial First Lady? This is the headlines of a New York Times article Aug 2022 after Shinichiro secures his party’s top spot.

Sure! Everyone will overlook her "other" background, just like they do with the athletes, and say that all her charm and graciousness comes from her "Japanese" blood! At least that's how many folks will justify it!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In what situation could it possibly not be a good thing to hold more than one nationality?

No doubt it can be convenient at times but I can give you many arguments why I and certain countries like Japan think it's best to keep only one nationality after a certain age.

However this would be completely off-topic so I will happily discuss this with you in a more relevant article.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I reason I brought up Ainu was to show that the issue of ethnicity and "Japanese-ness" has been around for a long time. So even though someone hasn't directly experienced or knows anyone who has had to deal with obstacles in Japan, the issue does exist.

Look, I have no beef with you or anyone posting in this forum. You replied to my post that you didn't know any foreigner/Japanese biracial person who has had issues with finding a job (and finding an apartment). I just wanted to share my experience so you know there are people out there who have had these experiences.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You replied to my post that you didn't know any foreigner/Japanese biracial person who has had issues with finding a job (and finding an apartment)

Neither of those are things that have been stated by me.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Readers, you are starting to go around in circles. Please discuss what is in the story.

No it doesn't.

It does.

Again, no it doesn't.

Again it does

THE NATIONALITY LAW

Article 11.

A Japanese national shall lose Japanese nationality when he or she acquires a foreign nationality by his or her own choice. 2. A Japanese national having a foreign nationality shall lose Japanese nationality if he or she chooses the foreign nationality in accordance with the laws of the foreign country concerned.

Article 12.

A Japanese national who was born in a foreign country and has acquired a foreign nationality by birth shall lose Japanese nationality retroactively as from the time of birth, unless the Japanese national clearly indicates his or her volition to reserve Japanese nationality according to the provisions of the Family Registration Law (Law No.224 of 1947).

Article 14.

A Japanese national having a foreign nationality shall choose either of the nationalities before he or she reaches twenty two years of age if he or she has acquired both nationalities on and before the day when he or she reaches twenty years of age or, within two years after the day when he or she acquired the second nationality if he or she acquired such nationality after the day when he or she reached twenty years of age. 2. Choice of Japanese nationality shall be made either by depriving himself or herself of the foreign nationality or by the declaration provided for in the Family Registration Law in which he or she swears that he or she chooses to be a Japanese national and that he or she renounces the foreign nationality (hereinafter referred to as “declaration of choice ”).

Article 15.

The Minister of Justice may, by written notice, require a Japanese national having a foreign nationality who fails to choose Japanese nationality within the period prescribed in paragraph 1 of the last preceding Article to choose one of the nationalities he or she possesses. 2. The notice provided for in the preceding paragraph may be made by means of announcement thereof in the Official Gazette, in the case where the person who is to receive the notice is missing or in any other circumstances where it is impossible to send the notice to the person concerned. In this case, the notice shall be deemed to reach the person concerned on the day following the day when the announcement is made in the Official Gazette. 3. The person to whom the notice has been sent in accordance with the preceding two paragraphs shall lose Japanese nationality at the expiration of one month after the day he or she receives the notice, unless he or she chooses Japanese nationality within such period. This shall not, however, apply in the case where the person concerned is unable to choose Japanese nationality within such period due to a natural calamity or any other cause not imputable to him or her and he or she has made such choice within two weeks after he or she has become able to do so.

Article 16.

A Japanese national who has made the declaration of choice shall endeavour to deprive himself or herself of the foreign nationality. 2. In the case where a Japanese national who has made the declaration of choice but still possesses a foreign nationality has voluntarily taken public office in the foreign country (excluding an office which a person not having the nationality of such country is able to take), the Minister of Justice may declare that he or she shall lose Japanese nationality if the Minister finds that taking such public office would substantially contradict his or her choice of Japanese nationality. 3. The hearing concerning the declaration under the last preceding paragraph shall be conducted publicly. 4. The declaration provided for in paragraph 2 of this Article shall be made by public notice in the Official Gazette. 5. The person against whom the declaration has been made under paragraph 2 of this Article shall lose Japanese nationality on the day of the public notice under the last preceding paragraph.

http://www.moj.go.jp/ENGLISH/information/tnl-01.html

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Koakuebisu:

The Irish president (head of state) is htero, the Irish prime minister (head of govt) is gey. As a political scientist I needed to point that out. Unless you're in an African or south American country, or the US, they are separated. Head of state is the symbol of the country and guardian of democracy (prevents prime ministers from becoming dictators), and must be above politics, unifying the country; the head of govt is the political leader and half will usually hate while the other half love. Fun fact: Eire PM Varadkar's name is indian.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have personally heard Japanese teenagers and adults call another Japanese citizen "not a real Japanese" because of their multiracial heritage. They were born and raised in Japan. Interestingly, my non Japanese friends born and raised in Japan have had a better experience than multiracial children.

I have heard this over and over, and I dont know why people deny the obvious. Being a Japanese means being 100% pure Japanese. Now we can debate what that is, because according to many, being Japanese is actually being Korean, as they share the same DNA.

I just dont get why people say ..."its not everybody saying it." yeah it is. They are saying it without even saying it. Survival in Japan means coming to terms with the obvious and then working from there.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The only reason that some people are getting a pass for it is because the law is difficult to apply in reality as they can't keep track of all people out there and confirm that they have dual nationalities.

This is true and many are skirting the law. The US Supreme court has ruled that you must voluntarily relinquish with intent...as I recall the statue.

So I guess if you never relinquish, your US citizenship is still intact...but dont quote me on that. Obtaining citizenship of another country is an ex patronizing act, but you must relinquish your US citizenship also

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I once had a US type ask me why I did naturalize and become a Japanese. I was like...why, I dont even like the place. "Oh, it will get better if you do"

the logic being.....?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@daito_hak

A Japanese national having a foreign nationality shall choose either of the nationalities before he or she reaches twenty two years of age if he or she has acquired both nationalities on and before the day when he or she reaches twenty years of age or, within two years after the day when he or she acquired the second nationality if he or she acquired such nationality after the day when he or she reached twenty years of age. 2. Choice of Japanese nationality shall be made either by depriving himself or herself of the foreign nationality or by the declaration provided for in the Family Registration Law in which he or she swears that he or she chooses to be a Japanese national and that he or she renounces the foreign nationality (hereinafter referred to as “declaration of choice ”).

It's smoke and mirrors. You do realize that if you formally declare that you choose Japanese nationality, you are still a dual national afterwards?

The simple fact is, there is no ban on dual nationality, and the law does not explicitly state that dual nationality is not permitted, which is why nothing you quoted explicitly says so. What the law does do is outline a fast track method for a dual national to (voluntarily*) give up Japanese nationality, and this is the instrument by which people are encouraged to believe that dual nationality for adults is not permitted.

(Voluntarily: yes, this point is important. This is the only route by which a person goes from being a dual national to a single national. Those who happen to do so because they didn't realize the extent of their entitlement to remain Japanese are unfortunate, but were tricked rather than forced to give up their Japanese status.)

And it's not just that Nationality the law doesn't explicitly forbid dual nationality; on the contrary, it does explicitly state various conditions under which dual nationality is possible - hence the whole "choose your nationality" rigmarole for 21 year olds. Ain't that ironic?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Discussion of nationality and race always sink into inanity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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