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外人?

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RE: 外人?

Postby AJBryant » Wed 04.12.2006 11:06 am

I was in Tokyo and a lot of adults knew it, but most teenagers didn't. Then I went to Sapporo and Otaru and barely anyone had even heard of the word, they did say Gaigokujin, but not for the purpose people use Gaijin.


Dude, if you think teenagers didn't know the word, you are seriously living in a dreamland.

For a word that people don't know or use, "外人" gets an amazing 4.9 million Google hits. Hell, I even took part in a round table discussion on Hokkaido TV on a special program called "Gaijin ga kowaku nai!"

So how long were you IN Tokyo? Lunch? ;)

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RE: 外人?

Postby spank » Wed 04.12.2006 3:28 pm

my nipponese classmate frequently refers to me as a "baka na gaijin".

a few days ago, he told me that calling a person a gaijin is derogatory. that's why he's currently in the hospital nursing 3 cracked ribs and a broken nose.

if a japanese greeted me with "yo gaijin" in my own country, i would reply to him with
"whuzzup nipper, when are you going home? nihon misses you."

i think i may start referring to all the japanese in my city on holiday visas as "gaijins", and see how they like it.
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RE: 外人?

Postby PandanoTake » Wed 04.12.2006 4:32 pm

Way to be a jerk AJ. But actually, no. I was there for quite a while, and like I said, people know the word but a lot of teenagers don't. This doesn't mean no one knows it nor does it mean no teenagers know it, it simply means that a lot of teenagers don't know it. I associated with many teenagers every day and none of them were familiar with "gaijin" only "gaigokujin." This also happened in Sapporo.
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RE: 外人?

Postby kotori » Wed 04.12.2006 4:59 pm

PandanoTake wrote:
Way to be a jerk AJ.

Yeah, well... if you act ignorant, you get treated ignorant.

You were a tourist, and you're arguing with people who live/lived in Japan for a long time. Who exactly do you think other readers of this forum should believe?

My bets are that the other teens you met just didn't want to risk offending you.
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RE: 外人?

Postby nihongozuki » Wed 04.12.2006 5:35 pm

Last edited by nihongozuki on Wed 04.12.2006 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 外人?

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 04.12.2006 7:46 pm

Hell, I even took part in a round table discussion on Hokkaido TV on a special program called "Gaijin ga kowaku nai!"


Were you an example for or against 外人が怖くない? ;)

But actually, no. I was there for quite a while, and like I said, people know the word but a lot of teenagers don't. This doesn't mean no one knows it nor does it mean no teenagers know it, it simply means that a lot of teenagers don't know it.


Because I like polls, I did quick poll of my students (age 5-16, 1000 students, living in 田舎) Out of 150 students, 150 of them knew the word 外人.
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RE: 外人?

Postby AJBryant » Wed 04.12.2006 9:07 pm

Were you an example for or against 外人が怖くない?


I'm still trying to figure that one out. ;)

Actually, it was a fun show. They imported a couple of us prominent-presence gaijin from Tokyo. I wondered why they didn't go with a local until I saw the clip of the local gaijin celeb -- an American expat who'd written a guidebook of sorts (in English) to Sapporo. In his clip, he said -- and I quote: "Sapporo.... Nihon ja nai." ("Ah," thought I, "aother guy who comes over, lives here, and never learns enough Japanese to make an intelligable sentence.")

I did my best to convince 'em we're cute and cuddly.

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RE: 外人?

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 04.12.2006 9:57 pm

I did my best to convince 'em we're cute and cuddly.


My wife says the same thing. ;)
Because of my beard, (and being a foreigner) 3 year olds are absolutely terrified of me. They hide in their mother's arms and peek at me when they think I'm not looking. If I so much at glance at them, they start wailing uncontrolably. My wife tries to console them by saying that I'm just a big クマちゃん :/

I don't know which is worse, making small children cry out in fear, or being called a hairy bear.
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RE: 外人?

Postby AJBryant » Thu 04.13.2006 10:57 am

I don't know which is worse, making small children cry out in fear, or being called a hairy bear.


Hmmm.... Still looking for a downside to either one. ;)


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RE: 外人?

Postby skrhgh3b » Thu 04.13.2006 4:03 pm

Harisenbon wrote:
Just for reference, a white person is 白人, and a black person is 黒人 Asians are grouped together in アジア人.


And to think I have a Japanese friend who got extremely offended when I simply explained to her that it's not uncommon for Asians to be described as "yellow." Although, I guess 「黄色人」 does sound a little more derogatory than 「アジア人」 :D
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Thu 04.13.2006 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 外人?

Postby TrilinguisT » Thu 04.13.2006 5:22 pm

skrhgh3b wrote:
Harisenbon wrote:
Just for reference, a white person is 白人, and a black person is 黒人 Asians are grouped together in アジア人.


And to think I have a Japanese friend who got extremely offended when I simply explained to her that it's not uncommon for Asians to be described as "yellow." Although, I guess 「黄色人」 does sound a little more derogatory than 「アジア人」 :D



hmm.. i see now why asian wouldnt be 黄色人 ... becaseu not all asians are yellow, some are brown like southasians and most Southeast asians.....
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RE: 外人?

Postby Shibakoen » Thu 04.13.2006 5:53 pm

kotori wrote:
PandanoTake wrote:
Way to be a jerk AJ.

Yeah, well... if you act ignorant, you get treated ignorant.

You were a tourist, and you're arguing with people who live/lived in Japan for a long time. Who exactly do you think other readers of this forum should believe?

My bets are that the other teens you met just didn't want to risk offending you.


OK. Let's chill on the flaming. It's not an effective way to make a point. If you want to make a point, back it up. Sorry, PandanoTake, but if you want to make this assertion, that many teenagers don't know the word gaijin, you're going to have to back it up with something other than a blanket statement and "I spent time in Tokyo and Hokkaido." An excellent rebuttal was the title of the TV show. However the insults are juvenile and add nothing to the discussion except contempt.

To address this discussion in particular, I worked in Tokyo for a year, which isn't as long as some of these other fogies:p, but it was still quite long. Considering my job consisted of daily contact with quite a broad spectrum of Japanese, including many teenagers, I feel I have some degree of credibility when I say that your assertion is wrong. Some of my classes, especially those with high level students, involved debates on topics like this, and let me say that there was never anyone who did not know the word 'gaijin'. In fact, my girlfriend refered to me as a gaijin once but then quickly apologized and asked me if I minded.

I do want to express a different opinion on gaijin, though from some of the other statements here. I really don't take offense to the word. Coming from the South the accusation of racism is particularly sensitive here. Note the quick backtracking of the black Congresswoman who recently accused a Capitol Police officer of racism when he confronted her about trying to by-pass the Capitol metal detector. Her decision to accuse the officer of racism has been met here with considerable backlash. It just seems like most people here feel like they're walking around on eggshells trying not to offend anyone and when accusations are thrown out it's a very sensitive issue.

My perspective is it isn't racism if there is no overt claim of racial superiority. Otherwise, race is just an identifying characteristic. I can say she has purple hair, but if I refer to skin tone, it's suddenly racist? In my view, gaijin falls along these lines. Many times people can't tell from sight whether we're Australia-jin, America-jin, or what. Imagine the discomfort of the individual who refers to the Kiwi as an Aussie. Thus we're lumped in as gaijin/gaikokujin. Gaijin is shorter, so it makes sense that it's used more often. I would begin to think there was racism if gaikokujin was the politically incorrect term. Then if more people were using it than the "neutral" shorter version there would be an argument for there being more to it than the length of the word.

So, my view is that the words themselves are words. Sometimes, there might be a gentle ribbing/teasing factor that may be a bit of a grey area, but given the sensitivity of the issue "'round these parts", I think the immediate leap to "it must be racism" is a bit hasty. I don't mind being refered to as gaijin. I call myself gaijin when it comes up in conversation. If I'm being taunted, however, I feel it's not the word itself that is racist, it's the taunt. Thus, I think being "the gaijin teacher" is not NECESSARILY racist while "Die gaijin bastard!" probably is.

Anyway, I just wanted to throw in my two cents. And let's keep it clean, guys. As a closing remark to PandanoTake, if you want to strengthen your assertion, you'll want to give evidence that you know what you're talking about. Most of us here who are okay with Japanese and spent a long time in Japan not only heard gaijin a lot, but have annecdotes about blatantly racist encounters. What the others are probably thinking is "His Japanese wasn't good enough to hear what we've heard" or "He spent a very short time in Japan and his only exposure to Japanese was maybe in a family setting (thus the sheltered comment) where their words would be carefully chosen." Just saying "they told me they don't know the word gaijin" makes us think someone's just pulling the wool over your eyes because they're worried about the sensitivity some have to the word.


*Edit:
Oops, just saw there was a 2nd page to this thread. Nice job with the poll Harisonbon. Now that's an effective way to back up an argument!
Last edited by Shibakoen on Thu 04.13.2006 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: 外人?

Postby Christian_ » Thu 04.13.2006 6:08 pm

I believe without a doubt ( I havent been to Japan) that almost all people probably over 5 know the word 外人 because I know everyone in the states knows the word mexican and immigrant. :o
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RE: 外人?

Postby Sachi » Thu 04.13.2006 7:17 pm

KuRiSuChaN wrote:
I believe without a doubt ( I havent been to Japan) that almost all people probably over 5 know the word 外人 because I know everyone in the states knows the word mexican and immigrant. :o


At least nowadays....

Anyways, I have not been to Japan either, but I agree with KuRiSuChaN-san. I think nearly everyone knows the word; I learnt it in the very beginning of my Japanese studies. And, as Harisenbon-san has provided hardcore evidence, and others have provided very strong evidence as well, I think it well-known ;)

As for the connotations, Shibakoen-san said it all perfectly, in my view, anyways ;) It's just a word; the way it's used makes it offensive or not, ne?
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RE: 外人?

Postby Budomaru » Sat 06.24.2006 2:17 pm

well i cant comment on its frequency but i agree that words can have different meaning in different cases and depending on how they're used. especially for the japanese that (as far as i know) dont just treat everyone in the same way, but have different speech patterns etc. according to whom they speak to (hell, pretty much everyone does :P).

so maybe i wouldnt like being called the gaijin teacher myself. then again, if the person that called me a gaijin teacher did it in a light manner, as a joke, i wouldnt really feel bad. generally tho i wouldnt mind being called a gaijin unless people showed resent for me simply because i'm not a local.

you cant expect people to just behave exactly as you believe they should anyway. not to mention you shouldn't let your ego get over your head, like "he's calling ME a gaijin??! damn chink!" cause thats plain stupid.

btw, i never really understood why asians are considered yellow. i only saw them yellow in silly drawings and comics for ages 10 and under (where there's only chinese with buckteeth and lemon skin :|), that try to teach children the differences between races. as far as skin tone goes, i've seen brownish asians and white (well, skin-white :P) asians. some europeans are paler which makes them look kinda pinker but they probably dont like being "pink" so they call other people yellow or brown or whatever :P
Last edited by Budomaru on Sat 06.24.2006 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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