Sunday, January 3, 2010
You know, there probably was some better picture you could've picked?
Quite some time back, I lightly touched upon the topic of usage of old fashioned racist imagery against black people that is encountered from time to time here in Japan. Since I'm not black, I guess I'm not the person who would be most offended by it, but I can't really muster up any big feelings of indignity because of this most of the time. The main reason is that it's almost never meant to be malicious, it's just misguided and some Japanese people have no idea that anyone would get offended by usage of such imagery and would surely apologize if actually made to realize that usage of such images can be hurtful.
The picture below was the actual motif of a new year's card I received from one of my Japanese relatives, a very very sweet person who wouldn't hurt a fly and thinks the best of everyone. However, living a bit in the countryside of Japan and not really exposed to the "modern world" as younger urban people.Some quick research also revealed that the image is a picture very similar to the Japanese version of the story "Little black sambo" which apparently got pulled of the shelves in Japan in 1988 due to the racist imagery (hey, read the link, I just learnt about this).
Well, I believe that Japan still has some growing up to do in issues such as this, but at least it's not used with a malicious intent if that counts for anything...