Wednesday, July 8, 2015

An Open Letter to Japanese People from Black Men (日本人の皆んなさんへの黒人からの手紙)


The following is a guest post from a fellow black man living in Japan who goes by the name of Miles Star. I like what he has to say. I thought, since it's in Japanese as well, I'd get my Japanese friends to take a peek and share their thoughts on it. I also thought to ask him about my sharing it with you guys, and he agreed. So without further ado, here is Miles Star's letter to Japanese people on behalf of black men.
Dear Japanese people, during our times in Japan we respect the warmth and hospitality many of you give to us. We understand it’s within Japanese culture to be polite and reserve any ill thoughts you may have. For that you have our respect. I understand many of us like all foreign men in general have our own flaws; some of us may act foolish, ignorant, narcissistic and just plain dicks. However, we too have our fair share of grievances we want to get off our chests.

We may choose not to speak up to these microaggressions because we understand many of you are ignorant of their impacts, we may want to maintain peace with you and not sour our friendships with you. Here is an extensive list of annoyances and grievances we experience. You may also find that some black men do not react or react positively to them. Please understand these things are generally NOT PREFERRED and are all no-nos in formal situations. Furthermore, we understand some of these are not done out of ill thoughts, however I stress that you acknowledge them and avoid them at all costs.
1. Don’t befriend or date us in an attempt to be different or unique compared to your peers. We are people not accessories

2. Don’t befriend or date us expecting to be taught English. There’s a place called “school” and many of us get paid to do this.

3. Don’t tell me I look like Obama, Bobby or any other black celebrities you can only count on one hand. Most of the time we don’t resemble them.

4. Stop singing about how much you love black people. Yes, yes…we get it, you love WHAT WE DO and HOW WE LOOK not WHO WE ARE. However, it gets uncomfortable and we’d prefer if you focus on the person standing in front of you and their qualities. We are not all the same.

5. Don’t tell me I’m fit or strong because I am black. No. I worked hard for this body, I practiced endlessly in this sport. Do not belittle my efforts. Perhaps if you put in the effort yourself you’d be singing a different tune.

6. Don’t compliment me followed by "because you’re black/a foreigner". Should I even have to explain this?

7. Do not ask me if i like or possess any weed or any other illegal drug. Stereotyping black people as having illegal drugs or partake in any other illegal activity is racist. Being constantly asked the same thing by people in our own countries by white kids, police and security guards is extremely degrading and frustrating at the same time. Thousands of miles east and we still get the same shit!?

8. Please don't tell me you want to be black. This is not a compliment. You aren’t black, you will never be black and your reasons are always stupid or childish. We are not a magical subset of humans born with innate rhythm or spiritual nature. Love yourself please.

9. Please stop praising black people by / while putting down your own.

10. Please don’t touch my hair without asking. We are not animals.

11. Stop worshiping black men or women's bodies while shaming your own. It’s cringe-worthy. Love yourself or do something about it.

12. Stop trying to imitate black women in an attempt to impress us. If we wanted one, we wouldn’t come to you.

13. Don’t assume we can rap. We don’t all share the same talents.

14. Don’t assume we can play basketball. See above

15. Don’t assume we can dance. See above

16. Please do not fetishize us and our bodies. It’s dehumanising and racist. We are people not objects

17. What you call ブラックカルチャーand B系 are only a very small fraction of what we do. I suggest you find better names for these trends. The majority of black people in the world are disconnected from these things.

18. Don’t say nigga even if your friend allows you to. Just don’t. You will say it to the wrong person and it will not be pretty.

19. Don’t make assumptions of our nationality based on our looks or colour of our skin (America, Jamaica or Africa is all you ever think of). You will find us almost anywhere in the world.

20. Dont assume we are all attracted to one specific body type in women.

21. Don't assume black people are poor. You have no idea. Turn off the television.

22. Don’t assume all Africans are starving and need saving. You have no idea.

23. Don't assume all black people are heterosexual.

24. Don’t assume we are hyper sexual. Turn off the television

25. Don't assume black men rape. Please turn off the television

26. Don't assume black bodies more than others; somehow carry HIV or other STIs/diseases. For the love of God please turn off the television!

27. Don't stare at black people's dicks in public bathhouse. There’s nothing to see here.

28. Don't assume all black people have big dicks. Do not set yourself up for disappointment.

29. Don't date blacks because you wanna "try" or "know what it's like". Only to grow tired of us, throw us away and try something new like a fashion trend.

30. Don't make it sound like Africa is a country or make a comparison between African continent and a country (ex. Africa vs. Japan). There are 54 countries and well over 2000 different ethnic groups and languages in the continent. You have no idea.   africa950
31. Don’t use words like dope, swag, gangsta in an attempt to connect with us. We don’t all understand them and we don’t all speak the same.

32. Do not assume what music we listen to. We do not all like hip-hop, R&B and reggae.

33. There is not one specific way to look “black”. We come in all shades and different features.

34. Getting braids, perming your hair kinky/curly or wearing urban styled clothes or any other styles emulating black people does not make you closer to us in our eyes.   Screenshot-from-2014-04-17-115752
35. Do not poke fun at our features, lips, skin colour or hair. It’s disrespectful and extremely childish. Furthermore, it only shows how ignorant you are of the wider world

36. Do not liken our skin to chocolate or any other coloured substances
-- Please understand this is not an attack, just an informative body of information that you can use to better understand and get along with us. This is not oversensitivity, this is about respecting something black people in general have constantly been denied. Many of us must endure and cringe at these things and just accept them as the norm in Japan. Many of us try our best to acknowledge the dos and don’ts of Japan in order to not cause offence as we too have our own. Most of these things (and many other harsher ones) are experienced in our home countries where we are also minorities; where racism persists. Please Japanese people take this information and share it with any others who have black acquaintances, the friends of yours that obsess over “black culture”. Please know the difference between appreciation and appropriation, Love and fetishisation. I implore you too to write a similar letter to those you wish would understand you better. Speak up and don’t assume you have no voice

Peace, love and respect 

To read more about the Black Experience in Japan,
check out what readers say are

 two of the best books on the topic:

Available at Amazon HERE



私達に暖かく、優しく接してくださり感謝しています。礼儀正しく、自制に重きを置く日本の文化を、私達は尊敬しています。 おバカ、無神経、ナルシスト、イヤな奴…などなど、欠点も少なくない我々外国人男性ですが、私達にも不平不満はあります。あなた方が自分の行動の影響に無知だと知っているからこそ言わなかったり、あなた方との友情を壊したくないから言えなかったりすることです。 これは、私達黒人が経験するいらだちや不平を並べたリストです。もちろんあなた達がわざと、悪い意図を持って行っている行為ではないと分かっていますが、極力避けてほしいことです。 

1. 人と違うことや、友人とくらべて個性的でありたいがために黒人と友達になったり、恋人関係にならないこと。 
2. 英語を教わるために黒人と友達になったり恋人関係にならないこと。仕事として「学校」という場所で英語を教えているプロもいるのです。 
3. オバマやボビー、その他あなたが片手で数えられる位しか知らない黒人有名人に似ていると言わないこと。似ていない場合がほとんどです。 
4. 黒人が大好きだと訴えてこないこと。黒人の行動や見た目が好きなだけで、黒人自身を好きな訳ではないのでしょう。不快な気持ちになります。あなたの目の前に立っている人と、その人の性格と向き合ってください。皆それぞれ違うんだから。 
5. 黒人だから良い体型だねとか、強いと言わないこと。この体を作り上げた私の甚大な努力を無碍(むげ)にしないでください。あなたも努力したら、違う発言になるかもしれませんよ。 
6. 褒めるときに「黒人/外国人だから」と付け足さないこと。説明する程のことでしょうか? 
7. 私がマリファナや他の違法ドラッグを好きか、あるいは所持しているか聞かないこと。黒人が違法ドラッグを所持していたり、他の違法行為に及んでいると決めつけるのは人種差別です。母国でも、白人の子供や警察、セキュリティガード達に同じ質問をされますが、かなり不名誉でストレスが貯まる経験です。何千マイルも離れたこの地で同じことを経験するとは! 
8. 黒人になりたいと言わないこと。褒め言葉ではありません。あなたは黒人ではないし、黒人には一生なれないし、しかも黒人になりたい理由がおバカで子供っぽいことが多い。あなたは、内なるリズムやスピリチュアリティを持って生まれた特別な人間ではありません。お願いですから自分のことを愛してください。
 9. 自分の人種をおとしめて黒人を褒めないこと。 
10. 聞く前から私達の髪の毛をさわらないこと。私達は動物ではありません。 
11. 自分の人種をけなしながら黒人男性や女性の体を褒めないこと。気持ち悪いです。自分のことを愛してください。 
12. 黒人を魅了するために黒人の女性をマネしないこと。黒人の女性が好みだったら、そもそもあなたを選びません。 
13. ラップできると決めつけないこと。黒人皆に同じ才能がある訳ではありません。 
14. バスケットボールがうまいと決めつけないこと。理由は上記。 
15. ダンスがうまいと決めつけないこと。理由は上記。 
16. 黒人や黒人の体のフェチにならないこと。それはモノ扱いだし、人種差別です。黒人はモノではなく、人です。 
17. あなた方が「ブラックカルチャー」や「B系」と呼ぶものは、黒人文化のごく一部です。他の名前をつけた方がいいかもしれませんね。世界中の黒人の過半数は、それらと関わりがない生活を送っています。 
18. 友達にいいよと言われても、ニガーと言わないこと。ダメなものはダメ。ある日、大変なことになりますよ。 
19. 黒人の見た目や肌の色で国籍を決めつけないこと(アメリカ、ジャマイカ、アフリカしか知らないようですが)。黒人は世界中どこにでもいます。
20. 好みのタイプが黒人は皆同じだと決めつけないこと。 
21. 黒人は貧乏だと決めつけないこと。あなたが無知なだけ。テレビを消して。 
22. アフリカ人は皆飢餓で苦しみ、救いを求めていると決めつけないこと。あなたが無知なだけ。 
23. 黒人は全員、異性愛者だと決めつけないこと。 
24. 黒人はセックス好きと決めつけないこと。テレビを消して。 
25. 黒人は強姦魔と決めつけないこと。テレビを消してください。 
26. 他の人とくらべて黒人はHIVや他の性感染症や病気を持っている可能性が高いと決めつけないこと。本当にお願いだからテレビを消してくれ! 
27. 公共浴場で黒人のペニスをジロジロ見ないでください。何も見るものはありません。 
28. 黒人は皆ペニスが大きいと決めつけないこと。ガッカリしますよ。 
29. 「試してみたい」「どんな感じか知りたい」ために黒人と付き合わないこと。流行ファッションみたいに、飽きたらポイっと捨てて新しいモノへ走るのはわかっています。 
30. アフリカを国とみなしたり、アフリカ大陸と国との対比をしないこと(例:アフリカと日本の対比など)。アフリカ大陸には54ヵ国と2000以上の民族と言語が存在します。あなたが無知なだけ。 
31. 黒人と繋がるために「Dope(ドープ)」「Swag(スワグ)」「Gangsta(ギャングスタ)」等の言葉を使わないこと。黒人全員がその言葉を理解するわけでも、同じ言葉を喋るわけではありません。
 32. 音楽の趣味を決めつけないこと。黒人全員がヒップホップ、R&Bやレゲエを好きなわけではありません。
 33. 単一的な「黒人」の見た目はありません。肌の色も体の部位も多様です。 
34. あなたが黒人に似せるためにブレイズをしたり、アフロやスパイラルにしたり、頭におしゃれな布を巻いたりしても、黒人に似ているとは思いません。
35. 黒人の唇、肌の色、髪の毛やその他 黒人の体の部位をネタにして笑わないでこと。失礼だし、究極にガキです。しかも、あなたがどれだけ世界のことに無知か知らしめているだけですよ。
36. 黒人の肌の色をチョコレートやその他の黒っぽいモノに例えないこと。

-- これは攻撃ではなく、あなた方と私達がもっとお互いを理解し、友情を深めるための情報です。私達が過剰に反応しているのではなく、これは、黒人がずっと否定されてきた部分を尊重してもらうためのものなのです。私達の多くは、これらを経験して気分を害しても、これが普通だと受け入れるしかないのです。上記の多く(そしてもっと酷い場合も多い)は、黒人が少数派である国や人種差別がはびこる国でも同じように経験されているものです。 日本の方々、この情報を黒人の知人がいる人や、「ブラックカルチャー」に没頭している友人にシェアしてください。「アプリシエーション(感謝)」と「アプロプリエーション(私有化)」の違い、「愛」と「フェチ」の違いを理解してください。

Peace, love and respect


 和訳:Mai Ok

Big shout out to Miles for taking the time to put to words what many black people would like to say to Japanese people at one time or another during our stay here, and for letting me share this with my readers. And Miles would like to give a big shout out to Mai Ok for her translation work and for providing some Japanese people's perspectives.

Great job both of you!

To read more about the Black Experience in Japan,
check out what readers say are

 two of the best books on the topic:

Available at Amazon HERE


  1. アメリカに住んでいた時に感じたのがアフリカ系の人たちの被害妄想がかなり酷いという事。



  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I reposted this to change a setting of this post. Nothing was changed.
    First of all, you're "a" person who belong to African American or a race called black, not you representative your group. Don't dignify your opinion as message from your group, its from you.
    Though you wrote don't like to like us for dignifying yourself, its some of Japanese do, not whale of Japanese do. Your message is misunderstood as all of Japanese do, if you message something clarify the target tidy, not the whale of the group like this.
    And this is what you must warn to yourself, not what you warn to us. Its free how we come to like other, do you decide how people should come to like other? Too stupid and ridiculous.
    And people who imitate African American culture not for doing it to be African American, they like it or value it so they do it.
    Is eating sushi discrimination? If as you insist copying what other race or other race do is discrimination or rude, eating sushi also work on it.
    Though you wrote don't understand this as attack, you're attacking Japanese who doesn't do these, have you ever realized this?
    Stop dignifying your message as from your group and don't regard African as country? Is what only Japanese do? No, its wrong you target this to Japanese, its wrong you added it on a message to "Japanese". Stop pretending you're discriminated and/or you're victim.
    When you post like this next time, I hope you changed your wrong discriminating view to Japanese from bottom of my heart.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi there, just came across this blog entry and found an obvious mistranslation of the last sentence in the item 8:



  6. 1.これらは、外国人の日本人に対する態度です。





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