Posts Tagged ‘race’

Update: sign the bilingual petition to Fuji TV to stop the performance on Change.org.

I’ve spent all weekend ranting about the Fifty Shades of Grey, but in the meantime, the Japanese band Rats & Star is planning a joint performance with idol group Momoiro Clover Z for Music Fair on March 7. Rats and Star plays Motown-inspired music–and performs in blackface; Momoiro Clover Z will be joining them, also in blackface. There are some images of this in the tweets embedded below.

Of course, there’s all the usual excuses used regarding cultural appropriation devoid of any sense of the history of minstrel shows in the US or race in Japan. I want to signal-boost some important links and tweets here. Content warning: links may contain images of blackface; racism, ignorance.

Major hat tip to Hiroko Tabuchi for re/tweeting many of these and calling out the performance.


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In this gender reader: the gendered politics of skin-whitening creams; public bathing; bad reporting on the “sex strike”; Facebook genders; and more–and I even think we can get through this without a discussion of giri-choco!

Chanel's Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.

Chanel’s Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.


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More information on screenings of Hafu/ハーフ documentary in Osaka courtesy of Japan Sociology:


Folks in the Kansai region who missed seeing the Hafu film during its run in Kobe are in luck. The film is showing at Osaka’s Nanagei Cinema , within walking distance of Juso station , until February 21. The film plays once a day, at 6:45pm until February 14, and at 8:35pm from February 15 to 21.

This blog has discussed the film and related issues regarding hafu (people of mixed Japanese ancestry) many times, and the fine folks at the Hafu Project have graced our classrooms on several occasions. This film is an important step in a movement toward a more inclusive notion of Japanese identity. Come be a part of the conversation, and see the film in Osaka before it closes on February 21.

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Regarding the education system and social “common knowledge” that leads to ignorance and erasure, check out this post on the causes and effects of the ANA commercial from the perspective of a writer who doesn’t fit neatly into the “gaijin-san” stereotypes. Reblogged with permission and my gratitude.

Lucky Hill

This is a very long post. To summarize for the TL;DR crowd, what I’m getting at is that the stereotype of “Gaijin-san” doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that there is a host of racial problems in Japan and that’s part of what makes Gaijin-san so aggravating.

Recently I found out about All Nippon Airways’ unfortunate decision to air an ad featuring a man in Japan’s ubiquitous “Gaijin-san” costume: a large nose and a blond wig. Honestly it left me stupefied because 1. the nose used was extremely large even by Gaijin-san costume standards, and 2. I had come to believe that the Gaijin-san costume was fading out of use. I remember seeing it in the variety shop InCube, being sold with Halloween costumes in 2009, but never again after that year in that store. I’d always check for it because the first time I saw it I was blown away…

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I attended Geek Girl Con in Seattle over the weekend, and it was beautiful. I’d like to recap some of the panels and provide some commentary and helpful links.

First of all, why does Geek Girl Con, now in its third year, exist? The panelists for “Changing Culture in Mainstream and Alternative Spaces” discussed how GGC came about and what we can do to make geekdom safe and fun for everyone.


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My former classmate Jonathan Hop is doing a Kickstarter for his graphic novel series Journey to the Middle Kingdom. The premise sounded fascinating, and as we attended grad school together, I couldn’t let him get away without asking some burning questions regarding addressing race and gender in the world of comics and graphic novels.

Journey to the Middle Kingdom



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I touched on this in my post about cultural appropriation and Japan studies, but one of the reasons I got irritated in Japan with the constant “where are you from?” questions, was less for myself (I’m not from there) and more because it’s a burden that the children of my friends and coworkers raised exclusively in Japan have to bear (who may not “appear” to be “Japanese” at first glance, particularly if they’re multiracial). Addendum: I realize this post probably comes as flippant and ignoring the greater issues of being non-white and Japanese or multiracial and Japanese in Japan, especially given that time has passed since I originally wrote it and more people are now discussing this topic in relation to Ariana Miyamoto, Miss Japan 2015. In addition to her story, I’d like to also share some more recent articles on this: this article on “passing” and multiracial erasure in the US, and this one on the film Hafu: Mixed Race in Japan. And to note that, while there are negative stereotypes about white and white-appearing people, that white-appearing people often are associating with “benevolent” stereotypes, which, while problematic, are not nearly as damaging and dangerous as the negative stereotypes about Black people and people of Korean, Filipino, and Chinese descent (regardless of nationality) are.

Including stereotypes like this, from Toshiba's line of bread makers. Because white folks love bread, have big noses, and speak in katakana! Image via Japan Trends.

Including stereotypes like this, from Toshiba’s line of bread makers. Because white folks love bread, have huge noses, and speak in katakana! Image via Japan Trends.

Kanadajin3’s “White Japanese People – 白人系日本人” is video with commentary from several white people raised in Japan and the challenges they face as racial Others.   (more…)

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