Sunday, March 04, 2018

iji he ah layciss oh ah trooss-tellah?

I'd really like to know what you think of this video:

A few reactions:

1. Despite his abominable accent, which confirms every stereotype of how Japanese people speak English (by the way, all respect to Japanese folks who speak English perfectly or almost perfectly), the guy's grammar and overall fluency are excellent. With very few exceptions, the guy's sentences are put together very well and clearly.

2. It's a bit rich for a Japanese person to preach to others about the need to leave the past aside and move on. Japan is the collective author of much collective suffering away from its shores (not to mention the author of suffering within its own shores, given the history of internecine strife among various families, factions, and temples), and this isn't the first time that a Japanese person has tried to say, "Nothing to see here... move on" in an effort to shift focus away from tragedy and guilt. While I get the point he's trying to make about the need to move forward, away from tragedy and toward a constructive future, it's difficult for the brutalized to hear "Let's move on" from the brutalizer. Japan has had a naughty tendency to whitewash its own culpability. Even while the Japanese government has, on several occasions, offered South Korea expressions of sorrow and regret, Japanese publishers of history textbooks have continued to distort history. Koreans are correct to mistrust Japan's overall sincerity on the topic of war crimes, and as long as one part of Japan says one thing while another part does another, there will be no reason for trust.

3. All of that said, the guy's questions strike me as sincere. It probably takes courage to make a video like this, given the distinct possibility that the vlogger could get his scrawny ass kicked on the street, especially if he's living in the West.* As for whether he himself is racist... well, he's Japanese, so at a guess, there's probably a good bit of racism flowing in those veins.

*He's a Japanese guy teaching Japanese, so he's probably in Japan, where an expat's need to speak Japanese creates a market for teachers of the local language. If he's in Japan, then perhaps it doesn't take much courage for him to say what he's saying, as there's little risk—in such an un-diverse nation—that he'll encounter (m)any blacks on the street.

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