How is xenophobia, racism and prejudice in Japan?

Prejudice, xenophobia and racism is something that exists anywhere in the world. No matter nationality, religion, color, culture, traditions and lifestyle, people will always experience frustrating situations. How do they happen in Japan?

Talking about it is delicate, since the Japanese are known for their education, hospitality, as well as being traditional. In this article, I will try to address several points with respect to prejudice or racism in Japan.

What is xenophobia, racism and prejudice?

Before we start talking about the subject, we need to explain the meaning and see the differences in xenophobia, racism and prejudice. Below is a brief description of the subject:

  • Preconception it is a hostile feeling, assumed as a result of the hasty generalization of a personal experience or imposed by the environment; intolerance. It is a critical opinion, a discriminatory attitude towards people, cultures, places or traditions;
  • Racism it is a belief and idea based on the hierarchy of races and ethnicities, where people consider themselves superior or pure;
  • Xenophobia it is mistrust, fear or dislike for what is unusual or comes from outside the country;

Unfortunately, people end up confusing Japanese cultural behavior with prejudice. They also end up generalizing isolated cases and saying that Japanese people are prejudiced.

Japanese ended up gaining this fame, being that they are victims of prejudice and jokes here in Brazil. Prejudice exists anywhere, saying that a people is prejudiced in reality is like saying: I am prejudiced.

How is xenophobia, racism and prejudice in japan?

Are the Japanese prejudiced?

There are prejudiced Japanese just as there are prejudiced Brazilians. Even if you end up with a prejudiced or racist person, you will end up becoming an attraction, exactly because you are different.

Anyone who really knows Japan knows that he is famous for his hospitality, education and respect for others. Being a foreigner in Japan can end up being a more than positive experience.

The big problem is that the Japanese are shy, many will end up facing you just have the initiative to talk to them, especially if you know Japanese, you will end up discovering how good Japanese people are.

Despite Japan being a country crazy about new and different things. Unfortunately many Japanese are traditional and like the pattern. for some, when something is different they end up avoiding and even excluding.

This does not mean that they do not like foreigners, this form of prejudice happens among themselves, some Japanese people who are too traditional and closed-minded end up treating different people who did not have a higher education, unemployed, otaku, people with tattoos, etc.

We can see this through events of ijime (bully) in schools. Sometimes a person can be without a decent job for the rest of his life just because of a mistake he made. Some companies or people take the things and lifestyle of some seriously.

On the other hand, most Japanese people don't care at all, that's why Japan is a country full of crazy and weird things, because most of them don't care about their way of life. Most Japanese people don't usually get involved in the lives of others and don't let others get involved.

How is xenophobia, racism and prejudice in japan?

Confusion over prejudice in Japan

Most of these cases can end up being envy. Even big-chested girls end up suffering prejudice from other girls who are board… In this way we come to the conclusion that there is no standard to be accepted by certain types of people in society.

The best thing to do is ignore this type of person. If the Japanese themselves end up suffering this kind of prejudice, it is normal to expect it to happen to us. It is worth remembering that sometimes some insults may even be unintentional.

In the same way that we make funny games with other Brazilians and they don't take it seriously, some Japanese can take it seriously and be hurt. The opposite also happens, sometimes you can hear something or be treated in a way that you feel hurt.

How is xenophobia, racism and prejudice in japan?

Another thing that makes people think Japanese people are racist is the simple fact that Japan is very strict when foreigners come in to live. Japan even rejected refugee entries. Japan feels insecure with foreigners, thanks to the countless incidents that happen.

Some people on the trains end up not sitting near a foreigner, some are for fear of not being able to communicate. Others often talk to each other and you may end up hearing the word gaijin (short for foreigner).

Personally I find it normal, when I see a foreigner here I speak, he is a foreigner, without fear or shame of anything. In Japan it is rare that you can find people who hate Westerners, for different reasons besides cultural, what happened in the war, nuclear bomb, etc.

On the other hand you find several trends that have emerged from the West. Japan is still in a long process of westernization. It is noteworthy to highlight that foreigners without descendants suffer less prejudice than decent ones.

Crossing boundaries of prejudice

Another thing that raises a lot of questions regarding xenophobia is the fact that some places separate or prohibit the entry of foreigners. And some foreigners can't get certain types of services and activities.

Exclusivity in some things can exist in any country, the best thing to do is to turn it around. Some Brazilians have done this and have had success in Japan. Many Brazilians have abandoned factory services and set up their own business.

Many others learn the culture and language and get a job and lifestyle that even the Japanese couldn't afford. Ricardo Cruz is another example, he became a singer in a Japanese band showing that there are no limits to success in Japan. 

So, run after your dreams and succeed! Don't worry about stupid things like prejudice from some envious people. Usually the people I hear complain about the Japanese are not a flower that you smell.

How is xenophobia, racism and prejudice in japan?

Brazilians and prejudice against Asians

Brazilians end up complaining about prejudice, but in an exaggerated way. Some Brazilians complain that they suffer more prejudice from the Brazilians who live in Japan than from the Japanese.

Unfortunately this is understandable, since when committing a crime or crime, the Brazilian ends up appearing on TV tarnishing the name of all Brazilians.

This ended up generating a bad reputation for Brazilians. Even in some stores, Japanese are alert when they come across foreigners, mainly Brazilians due to the thefts that some commit.

It is even acceptable for some Japanese people to feel distrust, fear or dislike for foreigners who do not follow the same culture or have the same concepts of education and morals.

Before Brazilians talk about prejudice or xenophobia, they should think about whether they are treating the Asians who live in Brazil differently. The video below portrays this well, of course it is often unintentional.

Brazil has more than 500 years of history, multicultural and with people of all types, it still has not managed to solve this problem of prejudice, whether religious, racial or social. Now, why complain about a country that is not even 200 years old that opened up to the world, and that went through several difficulties?

Do blacks in Japan suffer racism?

Color will make no difference in the treatment that hospitable and polite Japanese have with their fellowmen. Many stated that Japan loves black people, some said they have never been treated so well and never had a problem with discrimination.

Paulo, a Brazilian said that as he walked the streets of Japan, people watched him, not with a look of contempt but with admiration, they smiled, greeted him. Paulo even said that Brazil has a lot to learn and grow.

Another example that Blacks can do well in Japan was the Brazilian Roberto Casa Nova. In 2010 he was voted the best karaoke singer in all of Japan out of 85,000 candidates.

Some blacks living in Japan, said they are afraid of returning to their country of origin due to racism, and said that they feel more comfortable and safe in Japan.

I'm going to cite a case that happened with respect to Japan being racist against black people. A few years ago there was an image of a chocolate pudding called Nigga which is an English slang meaning black.

But it was just a montage and the real name of the product was giga. If something like this happened, can you imagine the number of widespread or made-up cases that emerged and spread?

How is xenophobia, racism and prejudice in japan?

Is Japan more prejudiced than other countries?

Japan is far from being a bigoted and racist country compared to many other countries. Some places like the USA, UK, Russia and even Australia are pointed out as the most racist and prejudiced countries in the world, dominating the ranking.

Bad people exist in any country, I think it's stupid that people define entire countries as racist and prejudiced. Is this just a generalization of people, because the few pay the frog?

For example, Japan has gained a reputation for having a high suicide rate, which is why some Brazilians tend to say that in Japan people are unhappy. All this because 16 people commit suicide for every 100,000 inhabitants? And the rest of the 99 thousand?

I spent my entire life in Brazil suffering prejudice and being treated differently due to my lifestyle, appearance, religion and tastes. Worse, I am treated differently because I don't like or do things that I think are wrong.

Honestly, whenever I see a Brazilian saying that Japanese is xenophobic, prejudiced or racist, that person is talking about himself. Especially because you should not label a nation full of unique people, this is called racism, prejudice and xenophobia!

Prejudice, Racism and Xenophobia in Japanese Media - Anime and Dramas

Prejudice, racism and xenophobia are quite directly and indirectly addressed in the Japanese media. Most of the time it is approached in films, dramas and mainly in anime and manga where the reality is not valid, so this theme is used in a discreet way using robots or alien races.

Many anime also show this theme directly through bullying in schools. See the list of some anime that address themes about prejudice, xenophobia and racism:

  • Aldnoah.Zero - Shows hatred and difference between humans and aliens (appearance of humans);
  • Ghost in the Shell - Shows refugee crisis in Japan;
  • Code Geass - Shows the prejudice and racism that the Japanese suffer;
  • Nagi no Asukara - Addresses the issue of racism well;
  • Yamada Taro Monogatari - Drama that addresses the difference of social class;

The list is very long and goes much further. It is worth remembering that anime and dramas also show that there is no prejudice, thus presenting several characters with peculiar personality, effeminate men, powerful women, etc.

Many foreigners also appear in these works, even though sometimes they end up exaggerating in the foreign accent. Anime also shows impartiality by the countless colors, sizes and styles of hair, skin, clothes, etc. In addition, many anime and films end up portraying stories that take place outside of Japan, and tend to present diverse cultural elements from other countries.

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