Monday, August 07, 2006

Jim Crow in Japan

For a country where one ethnicity makes up over 99% of the population, it's understandable why racism isn't a such a big deal. But when I saw these signs, which are common in modern-day Japan, I couldn't help but feel shocked.

This kind of thing is accepted?! One of the most industrialized and developed countries in the world is actually fine with racial discrimination!? Don't they realize that there will ALWAYS be some sort of gray area about who is Japanese and who isn't? Not to mention, this kind of thing could damage foreign relations with other countries. And not everyone is going to be either 0% Japanese or 100% Japanese. Not only am I talking about mixed-race people, but also Japanese citizens who aren't ethnically Japanese.

The website where I got the pictures above from belongs to a Japanese citizen who isn't Japanese by blood. At one point, he tried entering a club that said "Japanese only," but they wouldn't let him in--even after he showed them his Japanese passport. Obviously, those "Japanese only" signs are referring to race and ethnicity rather than nationality.

It makes me wonder how they react to part-Japanese people. Most likely they would consider them to be non-Japanese.

Most people would agree that racism is outdated, but in no way is it gone. Even in the racially diverse United States, where Jim Crow laws for segregation no longer exist, ethnic bigotry lives on quietly among the few hate groups that still exist. Japan is an even more fertile ground for racism because it's not diverse. Even if Japan is one the most successful economies in the world, and one of the most advanced countries on Earth, its race relations are anything but successful and advanced.


creolescience said...

wow - eye opening. Perhaps all those American kids that are so hooked on anime and think Japan is this utopia for them should read that.

Cristobal said...

I've heard so much about how Japanese people are very friendly towards foreigners, so this discrimination thing probably isn't as common as I made it seem. But yeah, I'm still afraid of going to Japan now.

Anonymous said...

How come half-white Japanese are "adored" & envied in Japan? Unlike other Asian-mixed Jap. who suffer from discrimination.
Must be because of the white skin & European features. I read in some white nationalist website that Jap. women seek Euro. husbands.

Cristobal said...

It has to do with the idea of European being more beautiful than Asian. And a lot of people think half-Euro/half-Asian people are even more beautiful. They don't think Asian features are pretty, but if it's mixed with Euro features, they think it's even prettier than Euro by itself. Strange.