Sometimes the brain shutdown of some Japanese due to the deer-in-the-headlight, knee-jerk type reaction that they have to non-Japanese looking types can be quite hilarious, even to other Japanese. Stories about paying my gas bill at the local combini generally bring a good roll to the eyes of my friends.
The article and commentary here is on target about this being caused by both the education, though instead of "a lack of education about races", I would say it is more about the schools having no proper information, so they just end up inculcating the kids with stereotypes, and Japanese learn a kind of list of moronic protocols that allow them to effectively ignore the human being in front of them, and block out the chance of actually making a connection with anyone who thinks differently than the average Japanese. All of this of course gets back to a lack of contact with other foreigners, however what I find much more insidious is the lack of response to such behavior, or even the defending of it, or trying to simply explain it away as "just how the Japanese are" or "the national character", both of which are total BS. (though plenty are, let me tell ya)
As we all know the Japanese are trained to avoid conflict, so even if when faced with such bizarreries, the huge majority will just subconsciously shut it out to avoid having thoughts which might make them want to give someone a piece of their mind. Basically, witnesses to this behavior don't know what is happening. Here we have the other side of the coin. Even if a particular Japanese doesn't say such tripe, they still have so little experience with non-Japanese that they don't know that it is actually very low-minded and offensive to immediately pigeon-hole people based on their appearance.
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I've met one or two women whose insanity would make you want to put a gun in your mouth
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Aaaaand the little guys lose again.
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This restaurant is highly exclusive.
Yes, class, exclusivity and discrimination are just different faces of the same beast. Once we oust rank-ism, this form of discrimation will no longer exist, anywhere.
The reaction sadly within Japan I fear will most likely be a vague blend of apathy, ignorance, sub-conscious sympathy/nationalist/isolationist/self-inferiority/defensiveness, with only a fraction of genuine disapproval and/or opposition.
Japan does change, but the conciliatory attitudes shown by this string shows just how far we have to go, even amongst the foreign community.
The even greater enemy, is (because of their raising) the utter inability of many Japanese to perceive this problem and discuss it in any coherent terms. This process of change, I fear also, will only come with newer generations, who I see exhibiting palply more clear-minded expression.
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A lot of people are making a lot of things here, but this issue really just strikes at the heart of one fact: Japan still has a lot of trouble letting go of Uchi/Soto mentality and recognizing itself as a part of the world that must be self aware enough to discuss its actions with the international community, and recognize common ground enough to share some common moral ideals.
Many Japanese tend to respond to this (and other issues) in 1 or 2 ways: "it's none of the worlds business", which generally hides a second less commonly expressed and more honest sentiment: "we feel these people are heros". Once you get someone to admit they think that a war criminal is a hero then you can tend to persuade them to change, because they begin to admit the nature of their views to themselves. But as it stands, most Japanese who even have an opinion (apathy is another problem shared by many would be democracies), just will not 世界を相手にする。, which means that if you're not Japanese, there's no point in even talking to you because you couldn't possibly understand. Which of course they don't know because such individuals never talk to foreigners about it, etc. etc. ad nauseum. (conclusion: racism)
Clearly, this is not a rational way of thinking, but a technique for erecting a psychological barrier to simultaneously "protect" the speaker from the outside world and to cement their identity as a Japanese individual, in their own minds once again.
Once such individuals who practice mental "sakoku" are seen as the backwater holdouts from 160-some-odd years ago that they are, the nation can begin to consider this as a problem that at least deserves discussing. Though I am sure that some country some where will find another issue to talk about, that is the nature of international politics (and life: we find problems to fix them). But that does not mean that this issue should not be taken seriously.
Solution-wise, it wouldn't be that hard for the government to erect a non-religious memorial (which by the way is far more appropriate as it would separate church and state), which would exclude the souls of the problematic Kami in Yasukuni. Government officials would take a huge amount of diplomatic stress out of their jobs if they were to go THERE instead, and have a military or some kind of quasi-religious ceremony crafted to the nations tastes.
Currently, they instead choose to go en mass in the order of 100's and in the most visible way possible while refusing to even have dialogue with the countries holding claim. This is the diplomatic equivalent of a huge middle finger in the face.
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I feel very deep sympathy for this man and the family, but I've been amazed at some of the dangerous stuff being used by non-professionals in this country, not to mention the incredibly inattentive behavior of everyday individuals here. Those things are pretty much circular saws on the end of a stick. Most people wouldn't even let there child into the same room with a table saw, much less bandy one of them around without having an adult supervise any resident children. This article is a tragic illustration of how so called "common sense" is really often nothing more than blithely accepted common practice.
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