The Stereotype of Black People in Japan

Some Japanese people have stereotypical images of black Americans, gleaned from American television and press accounts. Black people are often described like with black skins, dangerous, funny, strong or lazy. Most of the black TV celebrities we can see on TV act silly and do not speak Japanese well and people make fun of them. Those black talents have to be silly to show up on TV, otherwise we never see them, because people do not want them to speak Japanese well and want them to be just like their stereotype. Bobby Ologon speaks weird Japanese, Bob Sapp eats raw meat. I do not know how they feel about doing the performances, but it is like watching circus show. People look down on them and it is obviously discrimination.

I think that is based on that a lot of Japanese people believe Japan is a homogeneous nation. They sometimes do not accept foreigners. Unless people admit that the concept of homogeneous is myth, people keep looking at black people “You can never be “Japanese”, because you look totally different from us and don’t speak Japanese well. So you have to be at least just like our stereotype, then you will be all right.

On the other hand, There are quite a few young people who love the black culture, like Hip-Hop, dance or clothe. They go to Hiyake salon to burn their skins, because they want to look like black people. Some people are concerned about those young guys, because they think turning their skins into black aggravates the stereotype. However, I do not think it is negative, because those young guys respect the black culture and they are trying to be who they respect.

I think there are many TV programs which implant bad stereotype of other countries or races. I watched a TV program which investigates the most kind country by observing how many people out of 20 pick up the stuff that someone drops and the program investigated Japan, China, The United State, Italy and Ethiopia. Although I forgot the results of The United State, Italy and Ethiopia, the number of China was 1 out of 20 and that of Japan was 20 out of 20. The results means Japan is full of kind people and China is not, but is that really true? There are so many unkind people in Japan and most of my Chinese friends are nice. The same is about black people.there are many different black people in Japan. He might be a professor, cooker or student. However we do not see and talk them very much and the only chance seeing them is when we turn on the TV and they act like silly as usual. However We have to keep it in mind that the black people on the TV act like our stereotype on purpose to live up to us and do not represent all the black people.

by Yuya Kuori