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Offensive Term?

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Offensive Term?

Postby Mariya » Mon 10.03.2005 1:39 pm

Okay this probably isn't in the right place, but I couldn't figure out where to post it...

Just a quick question. Do the Japanese find it offensive when they are referred to as 'Jap'? I don't know where I came across that information, but ever since I haven't used it...just to be on the safe side. Would it be similar to the term 'Paki' for Pakistanis?

Thanks in advance for your views. :)
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby kossori » Mon 10.03.2005 1:47 pm

"Jap" was a derogatory term used during WWII to refer to Japanese Natives, and Japanese Americans. It is offensive, and I don't think you should use it.

How would you like being called " honkey, cracker, white bread, spick, nigger(literal definition), chink, etc " They are just a way for a person to feel superior because they have no real respect for anyone even themselves.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby skrhgh3b » Mon 10.03.2005 5:06 pm

i started calling the japanese 'japs' or 'japos' while i was in japan because i got called a gaijin so many times that after a while it began to irritate me--it is used as a derogatory term, after all. so, it was my way of compensating :D

but then again, it was always in the company of friends, so be comfortable with who you're talking to first before adopting potentially offensive language.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby skrhgh3b » Mon 10.03.2005 5:37 pm

other japanese than yourself have explained to me that gaijin is a derogatory word. certainly it's not inherently derogative, but undeniably it can be and often is used in a derogatory manner. so, you don't think the word can be derogatory? well, you've never been called a hen-na gaijin either, have you? and by your own arguement, jap is just an abbreviation of japanese....
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby Harisenbon » Mon 10.03.2005 8:15 pm

I was mistaken about some views that I posted earlier, and have since deleted them. Jap is considered a derogitory term both in Japan and abroad. I am sorry for my ignorance and lack of memory regarding the subject.

**deleted**

Gaijin is not in of itself a bad word, but it is not the most polite of words. I would not care if someone called me a gaijin, but if it was said in a rude way, I would definately mind. By the same token, if I go into a municiple office or place of business and was called Gaijin instead of gaikokujin, I would be slightly put off -- in a place of business formal language should be used. I would be just as put off if someone called me あんた or おまえ instead of おきゃくさま.
Last edited by Harisenbon on Tue 10.11.2005 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby skrhgh3b » Mon 10.03.2005 9:09 pm

Golgo-13 wrote:
skrhgh3b wrote:
other japanese than yourself have explained to me that gaijin is a derogatory word. certainly it's not inherently derogative, but undeniably it can be and often is used in a derogatory manner. so, you don't think the word can be derogatory? well, you've never been called a hen-na gaijin either, have you? and by your own arguement, jap is just an abbreviation of japanese....


"hen-na gaijin" is the same as "Gaijin"? Is 2+2=8?

"hen-na gaijin" is "a weird foreigner". The "foreigner" part does not change.

I don't mind being called an Oriental, but i do mind being called a "disgusting Oriental". So what's your point?

"it can be and often is used in a derogatory manner"

Oh, so it CAN be? It isn't all the time like "Chink" is? Can you give me an exact figure as to "often"?

Lastly, this is the second time I ask, WHAT do you want to be called when you're in Japan?


"by your own arguement, jap is just an abbreviation of japanese"

Yes, but English-speaking cultures do not have the propensity to abbreviate like the japanese. I've never heard of an American or a Brit say "apart" for apartment building, "conveni" for a convenience store or "rehabil" for rehabilitation.



yeah, i can see you really have your pantsu in a bunch over this, but your ethnocentrism makes you callused to the sensitivities of non-japanese and hyper-sensitive in your own case. of course, that's only natural, but that aside, is it really so ridiculous for you to accept that other japanese than yourself have used the word gaijin in ridicule, or that a foreigner in japan might be offended by the use of the word in certain contexts? i'm not at all saying "gaijin" is universily offensive, but context dictates the tone of everything. after all, the context of the word "jap" will dictate whether or not it's offensive. don't think you're winning any arguments with your sarcastic rhetoric either ("2+2=8?" -- dur-hur). it doesn't exactly shine well upon you when you so vehemently refuse to understand the other side.


oh, and when i'm in japan, i like to be called by my name.
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Mon 10.03.2005 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby b4d0m3n » Mon 10.03.2005 10:00 pm

This is a ridiculous discussion, people. Take it on a case by case basis. If you are doing it in a joking manner, amongst friends, anything goes, really. Golgo-13, you said you found the term 'Asian' offensive. If you are from asian descent, you will be termed Asian. If you actually are from an Asian country, you are Asian. And stop baiting skrhgh3b. skrhgh3b, I understand your concerns. Many people are bigoted and ridicule that which they do not understand, fear outsidethings and the like. Don't let this turn into a flamewar. We're all friends here.
Last edited by b4d0m3n on Mon 10.03.2005 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby Justin » Tue 10.04.2005 12:32 am

Found this while I was just looking around, kind of interesting...

http://www.city.nagano.nagano.jp/ikka/kokusai/cir/gaijin.html

That's not to say the word gaijin can in no way be used in a foul manner, but that definitely makes sense why a lot of people may feel that gaijin doesn't have a very nice ring to it. Especially in places like America, where you have so much diversity, it's kind of rude to just lump everyone that's non America and just label them as foreigners, even if that may be true.

From my own personal experience, I never really had much of a problem with being called a gaijin, as most of the time it's not like the person meant it in a really bad way or anything, and those that did use gaijin in a bad way towards me, really, I could care less about what those ignorant people have to say. :D

By the way, did you know that...

18782 + 18782 = 37564

Funny how that works out though, really made me laugh the first time I saw it.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby Mariya » Tue 10.04.2005 3:29 am

Can we keep this thread clean? ^^;

So summing up what everyone has posted, I'd say it is offensive to some, and not offensive to others. Therefore, not using the term would be the smart choice since you could come across those who don't like it. Gotcha.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby richvh » Tue 10.04.2005 10:03 am

Coco directed my attention to this thread this morning in a private chat and asked my help in understanding skrhgh3b's post. Here's my take on the matter.

I think that there are two threads to the Japanese perception of "Jap" as an insult. The first and, I think, most important is historical. "Jap" was used as a term of enmity during WWII and as a discriminatory term pre- and post-war. Thus, in the Japanese perception, the primary use of "Jap" by westerners in general, and Americans in particular, is as an insult. Just as I, as a white American, can not walk up to a random person in Harlem or Watts (n.b.: black slums in New York and Los Angeles respectively) and call them "Nigger" and expect to get a positive response, I, as an amerikajin, can not address a random nihonjin as "Jap" and expect a positive response. That the person addressed may use the same term among friends is irrelevent; I am an outsider.

The second thread is cultural. While American culture is very informal, Japanese culture is very formal. Shortening words makes them less formal. What would be an acceptable level of informality among Americans may well be perceived as insultingly disrespectful by Japanese. While I find it acceptable for casual acquaintances to call me "Richard" or even "Rich", if American culture were as formal as Japanese culture I would expect them to call me "Mr. VanHouten." Similarly, even without the historical perception outlined above, Japanese might well find "Jap" to be insultingly familiar when used by foreigners.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby Binsento » Tue 10.04.2005 10:25 am

if American culture were as formal as Japanese culture I would expect them to call me "Mr. VanHouten."
Sounds to me that they can also call you Orandajin, right? ;)

I don't mind japanese people calling me gaijin, not at all. Also, the meaning has changed during through the ages. My aunt went to ceramic school in a small village during the 60's and she told me that they called her gaijin almost all the time. And according to her it was a very negative term for foreigners.
So during my first visit i was looking out for that word, but everytime i heard it, it didn't feel like it had any negative meaning behind it.

Think of it like this: If gaijin is an insult would you think that japanese people will use that term in front of you, knowing that you will understand it? I don't think so.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby Hiro » Tue 10.04.2005 10:35 am

I'm sure it can be used as an insult, but remember that a majority of people (Japanese or otherwise) don't resort to that kind of behaviour, so really, there's very little to worry about. Personally, I would not find the term "Gaijin" offensive in the least, unless they were using it as an insult. Come on, people, you can tell when there's malicious intent behind it. I mean, it's the same thing as in Canada; typically, the term "foreigner" just means someone foreign, a tourist, perhaps a landed immigrant or someone seeking refugee status. But if you walk up to someone and say "ya damned foreigner..." then yeah, I can understand that there might be a problem, lol.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby richvh » Tue 10.04.2005 10:52 am

Binsento wrote:
if American culture were as formal as Japanese culture I would expect them to call me "Mr. VanHouten."
Sounds to me that they can also call you Orandajin, right? ;)


Only to the extent that you'd call Presidents Van Buren and Roosevelt "Orandajin." Like them (two fo the three are distant cousins), my Dutch ancestry dates back to New Netherlands immigrants.
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby K-unit » Tue 10.04.2005 11:20 pm

I have many different friends and relatives living in Japan, but I keep on hearing how hard their lives are. Many of them call me and tell me that Japanese people are very discriminative towards Koreans and Chinese, and that many times they have to use fake Japanese names to get by. I am Korean and this hurts me to hear people of my ethnic background are disrespected in Japan. I'm wondering whether this is true or not... Can someone help me?
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RE: Offensive Term?

Postby skrhgh3b » Tue 10.04.2005 11:39 pm

K-unit wrote:
I have many different friends and relatives living in Japan, but I keep on hearing how hard their lives are. Many of them call me and tell me that Japanese people are very discriminative towards Koreans and Chinese, and that many times they have to use fake Japanese names to get by. I am Korean and this hurts me to hear people of my ethnic background are disrespected in Japan. I'm wondering whether this is true or not... Can someone help me?


on the whole, it's probably more true than not. but there's definitely a pecking order when it comes to gaijin in japan, and i'm just relieved to be at the top lol

as far as koreans, middle-aged women just melt over this famous korean actor known as "yun-sama." i got a little sick of seeing his handsome face everywhere, but you might have something going for you after all ;)
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Tue 10.04.2005 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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