Black people in Japan - Are they treated differently? Fear? Prejudice?

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We have already written several articles dealing with the subject of prejudice and racism in Japan, where most of the time I try to make it clear that this is very relative and should not be an obstacle for a person to live in Japan. In this article, we are going to talk specifically about black people in Japan.

If you research reports of brown and black people who travel the world, you will see that Japan was the least problematic country in this regard. Japan being the most homogeneous country in the world, it is not surprising that the Japanese are looking at a foreigner, in the same way that everyone looks for the simple fact of being something different. Are you going to disagree that a brunette among a bunch of slanted-eyed fair people isn't going to stand out?

Paula Augot travels the world and comments that few places are as racist as Brazil. She said that in Europe people used to stare at her with some insistence, but that in Japan her eyes were shy and rarely made her uncomfortable. She even claimed that her skin color was much less noticeable than in Brazil.

How are black people treated in Japan?

Color will make no difference in the treatment that hospitable and polite Japanese have with their fellowmen. In the same way, it will not change the way of thinking of the racist and prejudiced Japanese that exist, not against blacks but against foreigners in general or even against the Japanese themselves who leave the cultural pattern defined by that person.

The Japanese like the different, which is why many black people claim that they are loved in Japan, and believe that the worst home for them was their old life in the US. I personally believe that a black man can be treated better than any other foreigner, as he stands out among the rest, and the good Japanese try to make a good impression on him.

Blacks in Japan - are they treated differently? Fear? Preconception?

There are many black people who have been successful in Japan, even a Brazilian named Roberto Casa Nova was voted the best karaoke singer in all of Japan among 85,000 people. Another example of a successful black man in Japan is from Brazilian polyglot Júlio.

Yes, there is some discrimination against blacks in Japan

Not all Japanese people will accept with open arms the things they consider different. If it were that perfect, there wouldn't be people complaining about prejudice and discrimination in Japan and on social media. It is worth remembering that more than half of the Japanese population is in the third age, living in the last century and are not used to foreigners in their lands.

A Japanese man himself claimed to have been racist in an internet video. He even taught classes for foreigners and noticed that some blacks complained about discrimination in Japan. Some claim that the Japanese are scared just by looking at them. This made Professor Nobita think that some Japanese subconsciously or unconsciously discriminate against blacks in Japan.

Blacks in Japan - are they treated differently? Fear? Preconception?

Nobita talked to Japanese friends and really stated that some are afraid, find black people strange and rude. Unfortunately it is a common mistake, most people tend to judge things by appearances or by the examples of others. Aren't Brazilians who keep calling the Japanese strangers and racists?

Don't think that being black in Japan will be a different and totally happy life away from prejudice and embarrassing situations. The Japanese have a totally different way of acting and doing things, which can make many uncomfortable and jump to conclusions. The world doesn't revolve around you, so don't be bothered by anything random confused with prejudice.

There is a website called locoinyokohama that specifically talks about the life of black people in Japan. There you can find different positive and negative accounts, tips, and advice for fitting in Japanese society and respecting its cultural aspects, making a good impression. The following video in English also shows accounts of black people living in Japan:

YouTube video

How to react to the looks of the Japanese?

I often see Brazilians complaining about discrimination and prejudice in Japan, but I end up considering their attitude to be racism itself. Many do not make any effort to understand how the japanese mind, or they don't even want to learn the Japanese language or respect their customs. People who struggle in these aspects rarely complain about this matter.

I spent my whole life in Brazil suffering prejudice, I went through a lot of bad things, and I consider these precipitations from the Japanese looks on the trains a great freshness (I am referring to the pre-judgment). Myself, if I meet a Japanese person in Brazil, I'll keep an eye out, staring, trying to talk to the person, but having a certain fear because of my shyness.

One person commented that once there was a Japanese guy staring at him on a train, he just smiled at the Japanese guy which totally changed the Japanese guy's reaction. Sometimes a simple smile can totally change a person's face!

Ever tried to smile when someone looks at you or say good morning? At one time or another you will be ignored and feel uncomfortable, but this always happens in Brazil and I still say good morning or smile.

Japan has done and still does a lot of bad things in history, we are going to face difficulties in life, especially if you work with Japanese people in a factory, where most are stressed. I believe the best way to face these situations is with a positive mindset and a smile on your face, whining and complaining won't change anything!

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