September 20, 2009
Pete seems peripherally involved in an exchange program with Japanese students coming to visit UNM. He says:
Just as I was afraid they would, Japanese and American students completely segregated themselves and do not talk at all, with one notable exception of American boys who chase Japanese girls.
Which is not exactly unexpected. What I think is interesting is that the converse doesn't seem to be true (or at least not noteworthy): where are the Japanese boys chasing American girls?
It kind of shows some of the deep cultural differences between the countries, doesn't it?
UPDATE: I misunderstood Pete's post. He tells me this is in Japan, not in New Mexico. The visitors are Americans. I think that makes things a lot more clear, and a lot more understandable. The Japanese guys are not chasing American girls because there are lots of Japanese girls around.
Posted by: schaumannk at September 20, 2009 10:46 AM (npu+U)
Posted by: vilmos at September 20, 2009 11:21 AM (9ilg8)
I suspect that a significant reason for the asymmetry (e.g. lots more "American man, Japanese woman" couples than the other way around) has to do with which cultures tend to be male-dominated.
America is a lot more egalitarian in terms of relationships between the sexes than countries such as Japan and China, which are still very male-dominated. A Japanese man would think nothing of just lifting his cup and saying "Tea!" and expecting the woman to scurry away to fill the order... but try that with an American woman and you do so at your peril.
So, not to put too fine a point on it-- if a Japanese is considering dating an American, then a Japanese woman gets a better deal (from her perspective), but a Japanese man gets a worse one (from his). The Japanese woman is more likely to get a man who will treat her as an equal... but many attitudes of a Japanese man would stick in an American woman's craw.
Obviously that's a broad generalization, and there are exceptions; certainly there exist considerate, egalitarian, and cosmopolitan Asian men, and there are successful couples who don't follow this pattern. But in the aggregate, I suspect that such issues go a long way to explaining the disparity.
Posted by: snark at September 20, 2009 12:25 PM (w47od)
SchaumannK, deep down Japan is very racist. Most Americans don't notice it, though, because mostly they're not racist about Americans and Australians. (That being who the Japanese consider to mainly be who defeated them in WWII.) But when it comes to Koreans, or Filipinos, watch out! (And there are lots of stories of Filipina maids and nannies being mistreated.)
There is an awareness of this. We went through 40 years of consciousness raising here to try to eliminate bigotry and it's been pretty successful. The job isn't finished and won't be until there's an entire turn-over of the population, but bigotry is on the run and in decline. Japan has been trying to do the same.
Someone I know told me that when he first went to Japan, he learned a certain word to use to refer to Koreans. Maybe ten years later he went back, and casually used that word (which he thought was normal) and the person he was talking to blanched and told him he should never ever use that word. He didn't tell me what word it was (and I confess I'm curious) but I gather this was something like the word nigger which at one time was usual and common and is now utterly verboten in polite company. So progress is being made.
But they're not as far along as we are.
Snark, I think your point is very well taken. I'm sure that's a factor.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 20, 2009 01:30 PM (+rSRq)
One more issue that has come up when I've talked to people about this is that white men generally find Japanese women attractive, while white women are not so hot on Japanese men.
Basically, the dice are heavily loaded in favor of the white men-Japanese women pairing. This reality has actually been called "racist" by some people I've met. One often hears the accusation that the white male simply wants a compliant "geeesha girl" and is taking advantage of the Japanese woman. Such a statement strikes me as representing real racism.
Koreans in Japan have a tough road. A friend of mine over there comes from a very wealthy Korean dynasty (heavy industry) and his branch of the family has been in Japan four generations, but they still are not allowed to become citizens or get a Japanese passport. He had a relationship with a girl from Kyoto, whose family is semi-aristocratic and the two of them fought both their families for almost 15 years to get married. It was finally allowed only on the condition he be "adopted" into her family line and take their name, completely abandoning his Korean roots.
Every once in a while some pressure group will fight to have certain words declared verboten in Japan. Not too long ago, "chibi" was on the chopping block. That campaign doesn't seem to have done very well.
By far the largest and most troublesome form of "racism" in Japan is the continuing mistreatment of the burakumin (decendents of the eta, or "untouchables" of the Edo Period). It's amazingly well-hidden but once you get a look behind the curtain it's a huge problem.
Posted by: Toren at September 20, 2009 04:20 PM (0LOh+)
About the Burakumin, I was thinking of mentioning them. That's pretty scandalous, and it really runs deep and is wide spread. I gather that a lot of the Burakumin "pass", or at least try to.
I saw a poll which said that the majority of Japanese would divorce their spouses if they learned that they were Burakumin.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 20, 2009 05:35 PM (+rSRq)
And possibly all orient women.
When I came to the US in 1990 as a 24 years old guy from Eastern Europe (where the girls are pretty), I was stunned how, how to say it nicely, unfeminine the young American white women were (several non-US females agreed with me). Most of them wore t-shirts and shorts (a university town in Florida) and just let their hair grow with a minimal haircut. After a while whenever I saw a feminine white woman, I always thought "well, a foreigner".
Well, feminism definitely changed the women here in the US. Question is for the better or for the worse... Whenever I think about how many orient-girl/white-guy pairs are, I always think about how much this is due to the natural attraction or to feminism.
No wonder I ended up with an orient girl and haven't looked back since then.
After having lived in Taiwan for around 18 months, I agree with snark with the possible exception that this is not a Japanese-only but probably an orient-wide issue.
Posted by: vilmos at September 20, 2009 08:04 PM (9ilg8)
Of course, for various reasons, I ended up not marrying at all -- at least I stuck to my guns, eh?
Posted by: ubu at September 20, 2009 08:27 PM (kL7KW)
As for the burakumin, my understanding of the current situation is that what makes it difficult to "pass" is the fact that the paperwork you have to present to landlords, employers, etc clearly shows where you were born, and there's an officially-illegal but widely-distributed book identifying burakumin neighborhoods.
Posted by: J Greely at September 20, 2009 09:12 PM (2XtN5)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at September 21, 2009 12:20 PM (/ppBw)
My Ukrainian sister-in-law wasn't a mail-order bride, but her older sister was, and managed to eventually get the rest of the family into the US.
Posted by: J Greely at September 21, 2009 03:47 PM (9Nz6c)
Oh and also: Christmas Cake.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at September 21, 2009 04:10 PM (/ppBw)
On the other hand:
Posted by: cxt217 at September 21, 2009 04:32 PM (QM6Gw)
Posted by: dkallen99 at September 22, 2009 05:51 AM (1PFDl)
Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
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Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
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