I am deeply interested in biracial/bicultural issues for personal reasons (my children are biracial). But there are a lot of deeply entrenched perceptions and stereotypes regarding “hafu” or foreigners in Japan who are outwardly non-Asian (and thus can’t “pass”).
The first time I went to Japan around 1993, there just weren’t that many folks from Africa visible in the North where I went (Iwate-ken)…but now folks from all over the world are all over Japan…but in some ways I feel that Japanese folks are two decades behind embracing the plurality of their population. (Like what Zainichi Koreans experience)
I am so uncomfortable with how Black actors/comedians are treated in Japan…and how differently Tokyo Boy and I react to the roles they play…but in some ways, it is very related to the way all “foreigners” are treated, so its complicated.
Anyway, since it is Black History month in the USA, i was posting on my K. Bird Lincoln facebook page some interesting links.
Black History Month here in the USA: Widely believed to be the first African-American to set foot in Japan…Pyrrhus Concer, former slave, whaler. https://savingplaces.org/…/pyrrhus-concer-legacy-sails…
Black History month in the USA: Yasuke, the african samurai. Arrived in Kyoto in 1579 in the entourage of an Italian Jesuit Priest. A year later, was a samurai. Had to have been trained as a warrior at some point in this life prior. Known as Yasuke, the man was a warrior who reached the rank of samurai under the rule of Oda Nobunaga – a powerful 16th Century Japanese feudal lord who was the first of the three unifiers of Japan. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48542673
Black history month in the USA: Some viewpoints of being a black foreigner in Tokyo, a 10 minute documentary from 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsXbOxTgCCo&t
Black History Month in the USA: Three videos about the black experience in Japan (still from foreigner viewpoint) including married couples. https://www.blackexjp.com/
Black History Month in the USA: I think its important not to get too caught up in either positive or negative stereotypes…and there’s definitely a multitude of experiences being African American or African or Biracial in Japan, but I think how BLM protests in the USA have prompted challenging of some stereotypes in Japan is a good thing.https://www.japantimes.co.jp/…/black-lives-matter…/