Blacks in Japan


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Expectations of us in Japan
doc_banner wrote in blacks_in_japan
So I'm new to the group, and moving to Japan in the next couple of months. I've visited but never lived there before. For those who have lived or currently live in Japan I have a question. What kind of stereotypes have you encountered in Japan? And do you often see many of "us" (black folk) feeding those stereotypes?

I lived in Korea for 1 year a couple of years back. By in large I had a positive experience but I feel like negative feelings and stereotypes about us pretty engrained in them. They were usually pretty good about not openly airing those feelings, but as they sized you up in conversation and ranked themselves vs you, even though they were happy and amused to be interacting with you they felt like they were better than you. Which didn't bother me much because they generally felt like they were better than everyone. The main sticking point I kept coming across was their difficulty accepting my profession. I'm a doctor, and when I would tell Koreans I was a doctor I picked up on a Korean phrase that always seemed to say. "Chiqua... Chin-cha?" (that is spelled completely wrong and phonetically by the way). Which means  "Doctor???? REALLY?????". One day some coworkers and I met the mother of a Korean  friend of ours. After 5 of my coworkers (none of them black) were introduced as doctors and her acknowledging, she introduces me as a doctor and out comes the twisted up confused face followed by the phrase.  To which I responded "Yes.. a DOCTOR" in Korean.. to which she got embarrassed when she realized I knew what she had said and insinuated. I feel like as Xenophobic as some of them can be, the Japanese seem a bit more open minded then the Koreans over-all and I'm curious to see whether I encounter the same type of response there.

I pride myself on not being bougie, but at the same time when I'm outside of the country I do my best to represent us well to those to those who don't understand our culture. In Korea I noticed that a lot of the time we did ourselves NO FAVORS. Granted I work with the US military so I tended to interact with a specific subculture of Americans living there. But none-the-less It was almost like, because they weren't in the states where they're behavior would be kept in check, a lot of our fellow brutha's out there were cooning it up wholesale! Obviously going out of their way to be people they were not and feeding into every negative black stereotype possible. It was pretty disheartening. It was like everyone fell out of a tacky low budget rap video. It all came to a head when a girl I was dating introduced me a a couple of her Korean friends. After hanging out for the night, apparently they asked my girl "I thought you said he was a doctor?"  to which she replied, "yeah he is" They followed up with "Why doesn't he have any gold teeth or chains?".. And keep in mind, this was not a joke or meant to be condescending.. They were genuinely curious as to how there existed a black man who should have money, was not ordained in shiny objects. And it dawned on me that they believed that that's our black American Upper class, and that made me a bit mad and disappointed.

I'm just curious as to what some of your experiences have been with things like this in Japan?

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I loved Japan! While I was there, although it was only a few months, I had a great time. I did get a lot of weird stares because I was a short, black, curly haired female, but A lot of the people I met were glad to meet and and genuinely interested in me, asking questions that may seem a little silly, though. I speak pretty decent Japanese and ended up working in a Japanese Subway for a bit. I want to go back as soon as possible but I need to finish my degree....but yeah. Japanese men are so shy! Also, even though im 20 i look much younger than my age so I'd have teenagers coming up to me trying to speak broken Black slang and im just there like "Really? REALLY THOUGH?!" But yeah I miss the food, the culture, the weather, the cleanliness, the kind people. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

Thank you for being who you are meant to be; A Man of Color that has a purpose to travel, to experience, to learn, to teach, to DOCTOR with integrity... As a fellow African America,, Nubian, Negro, Black Man.. and a host of other melanin descriptives i constantly find myself in the conundrum of Racism not only from mis-conceptions but also of my (own) who embrace these fallacies as away of feeling... ummmm Hyper Masculine Alpha Male i guess???? your journey is now mine and i wish to experience your wonderment thru/through reading.....

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