To Be “Japanese”

I think that many Japanese people tend to distinguish between Japanese and so-called Gaijin. As Japan is consisted by 98% of japanese people and almost all people in Japan speak japanese as a first language. Some people sometimes insist that japan is a racially homogeneous nation, which is not true. And the rest of the people in Japan are mainly from Korea or China, so it’s hard to figure out that they are not Japanese unless they speak. However when we see those who seem to be from Europe or Africa, we say “oh there is a gaijin over there”, even though they have been officially allowed to live in Japan or were born in Japan.

To be recognized as a Japanese, we have to look like Japanese or eastern Asian. For example, Bobby Ologon is one of the most famous gaijin in Japan. He’s lived in Japan for many years, speaks Japanese very well, has a citizenship and his real name is Konda Bobby. However when he show up on the TV, we see him as a gaijin and nobody treats him as a Japanese.

What about Hafu? The most famous Hafu is probably Becky. She is actually from kanagawa and one of her parents is British. she is the same as other japanese people except for having a british parent, however many Japanese would think she is a bit different. Is it because she is a Hafu? That’s not true. Rie Miyazawa, for example, Is also a Hafu of Japanese and Dutch parents, but we would’t think she is different at all. We even think she is an actress who represents Japan. The difference between Becky and Rie Miyazawa is only their looks. Becky doesn’t have Asian tastes, but Rie Miyazawa does.

I do think that many Japanese tend to judge others from how they look. Japanese usually feel relieved by acting just like the same as others, and we tend to dislike those who stand out.  I think this way of thinking is a bad heritage from our ancestors. This idea could lead to bullying or discrimination. We could hurt their identities.We have to get rid of this way of thinking to create a better society.

by Yuya Kuori