Posts tagged: Japan
American teacher in Japan under fire for lessons on Japan’s history of discrimination:
Miki Dezaki, who first arrived in Japan on a teacher exchange program in 2007, wanted to learn about the nation that his parents had once called home. He taught English, explored the country and affectionately chronicled his cross-cultural adventures on social media, most recently on YouTube, where he gained a small following for videos like “Hitchhiking Okinawa” and the truly cringe-worthy “What Americans think of Japan.” One of them, on the experience of being gay in Japan, attracted 75,000 views and dozens of thoughtful comments.
Dezaki didn’t think the reaction to his latest video was going to be any different, but he was wrong. “If I should have anticipated something, I should have anticipated the netouyu,” he told me, referring to the informal army of young, hyper-nationalist Japanese Web users who tend to descend on any article — or person — they perceive as critical of Japan.
But before the netouyu put Dezaki in their crosshairs, sending him death threats and hounding his employers, previous employers and even the local politicians who oversee his employers, there was just a teacher and his students.
Dezaki began his final lesson with a 1970 TV documentary, Eye of the Storm, often taught in American schools for its bracingly honest exploration of how good-hearted people — in this case, young children participating in an experiment — can turn to racism. After the video ended, he asked his students to raise their hands if they thought racism existed in Japan. Almost none did. They all thought of it as a uniquely American problem.
Gently, Dezaki showed his students that, yes, there is also racism in Japan. He carefully avoided the most extreme and controversial cases — for example, Japan’s wartime enslavement of Korean and other Asian women for sex, which the country today doesn’t fully acknowledge — pointing instead to such slang terms as “bakachon camera.” The phrase, which translates as “idiot Korean camera,” is meant to refer to disposable cameras so easy to use that even an idiot or a Korean could do it.
He really got his students’ attention when he talked about discrimination between Japanese groups. People from Okinawa, where Dezaki happened to be teaching, are sometimes looked down upon by other Japanese, he pointed out, and in the past have been treated as second-class citizens. Isn’t that discrimination?
“The reaction was so positive,” he recalled. For many of them, the class was a sort of an a-ha moment. “These kids have heard the stories of their parents being discriminated against by the mainland Japanese. They know this stuff. But the funny thing is that they weren’t making the connection that that was discrimination.” From there, it was easier for the students to accept that other popular Japanese attitudes about race or class might be discriminatory.
The vice principal of the school said he wished more Japanese students could hear the lesson. Dezaki didn’t get a single complaint. No one accused him of being an enemy of Japan.
That changed a week ago…
#Japan #racism #discrimination
This is incredible.
It is interesting to finally see this hit tumblr, now. I remember watching the video a couple months ago when it was first published, and seeing the blow back from it already, then.
Maybe it is because I am so closely tied to the foreign teacher community in Japan, but I completely feel his pain on this account. The amount of racism that you run into there is surprising, and I have ran into a few places which still have “Japanese Only” on a sign in English above the door. Never you mind the more direct, obvious racist things that happened to me there.
That being said, I will say my experience living and working there was overall positive, but between the ignorance (at best) and the racism (at worst), it has definitely colored my experience living there, and I think you would be hard pressed to find a very different experience from other nationals who are living or have lived there.
One of the cutest things I have seen in Japan, Precious Moments Wedding in an ancient Japanese Lantern at Tenryuji Temple, in Kyoto, Japan.
(This was there the first time I went in December, and was still there in April, too!)
I still think this is stupidly adorable.
I went for round two of Firefly photos this evening, and I am pleased to say that the results were much better than I achieved previously!
I hope I can get one or two more nights before the season ends, and see if I can take more creative photos!
I was out this evening, doing a bit of night photography. Decided to take a shot of Ojiya!
Also, this is where I live :-)
The song is Cuticle Girl (キューティクル・ガール） by Bomi
This shit has been ALL over the radio recently, and I gotta say, I totally am digging it. It is catchy as all hell, and I think the video short is pretty funny too. Check it out!
But, the real reason for my trip was to try shooting fireflies!
Ojiya has a park that is famous for Fireflies in the early summer, and I took advantage of the nice weather this evening to try and capture them in photos!
I got there a little late, so maybe I will go back another night and try to get them when they are more active!
This was my first attempt to shoot fireflies at night, and I definitely learned a lot about night photography!
I was a busy little Firefly this evening! I’m not happy with how blurry they are, but I am learning!
Sometimes, you find that song that is just a little too accurate, a little too real…
Vertical Horizon - Japan
Well I saw a young man by a telephone
He was sitting alone in the rain
I said hey young man what you doing there
And he said sir I’m going insane
He said sir I’m going insane
You see I love an American beauty
But nobody here understands
Then he looked to the sky with resentment in his eyes
And said Lord why am I in Japan
Oh Lord why am I in Japan
Then he told me a story about yesterday
When he walked in the search of a friend
But nobody came to his rescue
And he came to his bitter end
He pulled me close and said they all stopped and stared
As I walked down the street all alone
Nobody knew my name
Nobody knew my name
I said young man I know where you’re going
And young man I know where you’ve been
For I’ve been in this land for a lifetime it seems
And I’m never to come back again
No I’m never to come back again
So I turned and I gave him my blessing
And I left him alone in the rain
But I had to just stop and laugh at myself
Still nobody knows my name
Nobody knows my name…
Let’s tune in on another adventure of “Adventures with Middle School Girls!” When last we left our hero, he was confronted in the hallway, disheveled and sweaty from his game of basketball with the 3rd year boys, by a pair of Middle School Girls. Beckoning him over, they match eyes mischievously for a moment, then speak up “Mike sensei, please take off your…” and they stop there for a moment, letting the words hang in the air. Their eyes meet again as our hero ponders how to explain inappropriate questions, and the girls continue on… “… glasses!”