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Is 'Gaijin' a racist descriptor?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by TOFF, Mar 2, 2020.

  1. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    Gaijin
    /ɡʌɪˈdʒɪn/
    noun
    (in Japan) a foreigner.
    "in Japan his pale eyes marked him as a gaijin"
     
  2. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yep. More polite is "Gaikokujin". Gaijin can literally be translated to "alien" or "outside person", but "Gaikokujin" translates to "person from another country". Softens the blow!
     
  3. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    It may have been a long time ago, but I don't view it that way now. Gaijin call themselves gaijin.

    Look at Australia..... Wogs.
    The point at which "wogs" called themselves "wogs", and when you got shows like "Wogs out of work" and "Wog Boy", effectively rendered the word "wog" mostly powerless as a racist taunt.
     
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  4. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's very rude if Japanese people call you Gaijin, but not sure if I can call the person racist or not. I mean, I'd say it's not very aggressive / offensive term in recent years (I heard so). And actually, foreigners in Japan often call themselves "Gaijin". But it's not a politically correct word and if politicians, teachers, etc use the word, they will face criticism (and I have never heard politicians, teachers, etc use the word).
     
    #4 Ramenman, Mar 2, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  5. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    As with any term , it depends on context, intent and tone used
     
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  6. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    So yes then
     
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  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I recall seeing signs marked 'Aliens' at immigration at the airport previously. Can't remember if that was still the case.
     
  8. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not sure I agree with some of that. Just becasue people refer to themselves by a name, doesnt make it less questionable. If someone calls themselves 'Wog' it could very easily still be deemed offensive by a third party.
    Plus in a world of PC, the term 'Wog' is very rarely used I think and not much because of a 90's movie.

    This is just my opinion.
     
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  9. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    So we should probably stop referring to ourselves as Gaijin.
     
  10. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    US certainly used to have aliens signs at airports
     
  11. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Still do
    Pictures of trump
     
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  12. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    If Gaijin is considered "Racist", what Race is it demeaning or insulting?

    I thought we were all members of exactly the same Race. The Human Race.
     
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  13. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    If Wog is racist, what Race is it demeaning or insulting?
    If Gook is racist, what Race is it demeaning or insulting?
    If Nigga is racist, what Race is it demeaning or insulting?
    (all 3 examples are considered very racist terms)


    We are all part of the human race but traditionally, humans have been very good at fighting over perceived differences. Hence it might be time for terms such as 'Gaijin', that clearly differentiate based on someone country of origin, should no longer be used in a global community.
     
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  14. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Meanwhile in China

    [​IMG]
    not too bad either
     
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  15. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    so we're talking about Nationalities then, not Race?
     
  16. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I always use the Gaikokujin term. Never Gaijin.
     
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  17. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some foreigners call themselves Gaijin as the abbreviation of Gai-koku-jin. So, some people (both Japanese and foreigners) don't even know it's a rude word. It's like some foreigners happen to call Japanese "JAP" without knowing it's a racist word. JPN is the abbreviation of Japan, but I've seen JAP instead of JPN and they just didn't know it's a racist word.

    Here is Ramenman's Japanese lecture
    Gaikokujin is written 外国人 in Kanji. 外 = Gai = Outside. 国 = Koku = Country (So 外国 = Gaikoku = foreign country). 人 = Jin = Person / Human, so 外国人 = Foreigner. If you omit 国 = Koku = Country, it becomes 外人 = Outsider. 人 = Jin is a useful suffix too. オーストラリア = Australia, and if you add - Jin, Australia-jin = Australian. America-Jin = American. France-Jin = French. 個 = Ko = individual, 個人 = Ko-jin = Individual person. Just like that, you can add 人 = Jin as suffix.
     
  18. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Us and them terms are slightly different from ones denoting another race. Can still be offensive but not to the same degree. Alien, foreigner, boat people, gaigin, goy ...
     
  19. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I sometimes use ‘wog’ to describe myself and others of my ilk
    doesn’t mean you can use it
     
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  20. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    it seems Wikipedia shows "Race" as differentiation of people based on location: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_categorization)

    This creates a complicated view of "race", but is rich in detail.


    If those terms are racist, they are far reaching in terms of location, points of origin etc. So, you tell me what Race they are insulting?

    I think those terms are insulting of groups of people that exhibit common traits. And they are insulting not because they refer to common traits, but they are intended to be demeaning, to hurt and damage those people with those common traits.

    Sure, but that's not going to happen. Otherwise you're expecting terms like Australian, English, American, Japanese, French etc to be dropped. They differentiate based purely on someone's country of origin.
     
    #20 Doonks, Mar 2, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  21. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Lots of ducking and weaving
     
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  22. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    "Gringo" in Central and South America. "Haole" in Polynesia.
     
  23. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH DUCKING!!!!

    will be doing so on Thursday night...
     
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  24. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    almost went there last week
    must do it sometime soon when I'm in Melbourne.
     
  25. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've occasionally heard Japanese people say gaijin (to each other on the train, etc), but I'm pretty sure they didn't know that I'd understand that. I've also seen where foreigners have called themselves gaijin, and Japanese people have laughed... (amused that gaijin would call themselves gaijin).
    It may perhaps be rude if Japanese people say it, but as @Ramenman said, foreigners use it to describe themselves and it tends to disarm the rudeness if Japanese people know that foreigners use the term(for those familiar with foreigners).
    I was more offended as a kid being called "Jap" in Australia, than I ever have been, when called "gaijin" in Japan. I don't feel the need to stop calling ourselves gaijin....
     
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  26. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Quack
     
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  27. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    it’s interesting with one being an abbreviation/shortening used (sometimes) pejoratively and another being a fairly exclusive descriptor sometimes used...
     
  28. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's like using the 'N' word.

    Do it in the wrong setting/context and there will be serious consequences.

    Others, however, can use it at will.
     
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  29. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst, cup ramen devotee Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've always interpreted it to be highly impolite/rude and not the kind of thing you'd historically utter within earshot publicly. Having said that, I've been overhearing it publicly in more recent years and I'd put it down to the increasing frustrations foreign tourist seem to be causing on top of things like the general economic outlook.
     
  30. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    If you are offended by the term I would strongly suggest you dont move here although the few times I have heard it being used by Japanese folks it was being utilised correctly ....
     
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  31. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    How about we advise Japanese people not to move here if being called a jap might offend them?

    Of course I wouldn’t suggest that being appropriate at all I find your suggestion of essentially the reverse being ok rather interesting
     
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  32. Undies

    Undies Pizza! Ski Pass: Gold

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    As in a local muttering under their breath "ducking gaijin" when they step out the door of their hotel in Echoland and slip over on some frozen spew?
     
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  33. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Some apprehension amongst staff when I chose the local onsen instead of the gaijin onsen at Tsugaike 10d ago...
     
  34. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    So if I go to a fancy dress part and as part of my costume I paint my face black.
    Its is not 'intended' to be racist but it is certainly deemed to be.

    I think the terms of description that should be used are Australian, English, American, Japanese, French etc.
    They are fact
     
  35. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nah - we should just call them 'Nips'.
     
  36. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    No. Not necessarily intended to be demeaning at all originally, but rather has been subsequently labelled as such. eg: "n.i.g.g.e.r" comes from the Latin 'niger' = black. The same root as negro.
     
  37. Moondog55

    Moondog55 One of Us

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    When I worked at PV / Falls Creek a Japanese cook who worked there said it meant "Barbarian" because in Japanese culture anybody who wasn't Japanese was a barbarian. He said there were worse terms in use but only impolite people used them, I never found out what they were but I am guessing they revolved around bodily functions in a bad way?
     
  38. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    I worked with an Italian apprentice, who, if anyone called him a wog would reply "I'm not a wog, I'm a dago'' and vice versa (Dago, not a wog)
    It defused many situations!
     
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  39. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    you didn't answer my question. And aren't we discussing racial terminology, not fancy dress?
     
  40. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    I just went back and read your post, didnt see a single question mark so not sure what the question is.

    We are discussing if certain things are deemed to be racist. I posed a question in the op/thread title.
     
  41. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    You're right. Typo. I've now added the required question mark, in red, for attention.

    Do you consider a blackened face at a fancy dress party to be a racial descriptor?
     
  42. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    It actually means (as mentioned above) a shortening (which is quite common in Japan) of "Outside country person", to Gaijin or "outside person". The term is around 700 years old, originally referring to strangers and/or potential enemies, which then later took on the meaning of foreigners as well.
    However, there's also context where historically, some usage of the word "gaijin" refers a little more respectfully to the prestige and wealth of Caucasians or the power of western businesses.

    The word barbarian translates more to "savage man" in Japanese, partially, because of the reluctance of gaijin to bathe everyday (or even every month.... ;) )
     
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  43. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cheers.
    If you go to a party with your face painted black, you will be told you are racist. Whether that was your intention or not. Thats pretty descriptive however not at all what was being discussed.

    As to the question you asked, the 3 descriptors (Wog, Gook. Nigga) are derogatory racist terms that would generally be directed (as I understand them) to people from Mediterranean countries, Asian countries and to those of dark complexion). I am certain you are not suggesting that these descriptors are not racist. What are you suggesting?
     
  44. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think you are talking about 南蛮料理 = Nanban Ryori. Ryori = Cuisine / Cooking. Nanban = 南蛮. 南 = Nan = South. 蛮 = Ban = Barbarian. So, 南蛮料理 literally means "Southern Barbarian cuisines". But it has nothing to do with racism nor it's not rude at all. Nanban is just an official historical word and an official cuisine word.

    Merchant ships from Europe started coming to Japan in the 16th - 17th century for the first time in history. All ships from Europe actually came from the south (seen from Japan). Nanban Ryori = 南蛮料理 literally means "Southern Barbarian foods / cuisines", but it doesn't have any racial connotation at all but it's a just cuisine / cooking term. Nanban Ryori = the cuisines that Spain and Portugal brought to Japan in 16 - 17th century.

    And, actually, 南蛮 = Nanban is originally a Chinese word. The same Kanji, but how to read is a bit different, it's Nanman in Chinese. About 南蛮 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanman
     
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  45. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    Rather ironic you refer to attending a party in 'blackface' when your avatar is Prince Harry who actually did that!
     
  46. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I wasn't suggesting anything.

    I rarely just "suggest" something, I almost always come straight out and say it in Black & White terms for ease of understanding and better, more efficient communication. I am sometimes considered too forward and judgemental because of this. But usually only by dim-witted ****heads...
     
  47. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    In which case you dont think Gaijin is a racist descriptor.
    Thanks

     
  48. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is news article about it : https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2015/05/15/food/nanban-dishes-fit-barbarian/#.XlyHKKj7TIU
     
  49. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    well, I don't think it describes a Race
     
  50. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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    and again, neither does Wog, Gook, Nigga etc.
    Yet they are racist descriptors.
     
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