My Thoughts On ‘Gaijin’

Have you ever heard Japanese people say the word “Gaijin”?

Gaijin 外人, which means “A Foreigner” in Japanese, but depending who uses it, which context or situation you are in, it could be interpreted as “an outsider”. Personally I am not a fan of this word.

Yesterday, I got one email from university saying ” I am sorry but, this part time job is only for foreign students, so we don’t accept any other Japanese students.” ~ That part time job was about helping junior high school students to get to know foreign cultures, as well as to help them with their English. I found it weird as to they turned me down because of my nationality not based on my international experiences or my English skill. They didn’t use “Gaijin” but I have got the feeling where they treat foreign students as someone special in here. well. I also had thought this way until I went abroad back for the first time.

My first abroad was to Australia, where people from all nationalities are living together. As a Japanese born and raised in Japan in her entire life, that was a novel experience, when I took on the bus I always could see people who have different skin colors. Then I realized that, the word ” foreigner” can’t exist here. They all have the historical background in outside of Australia, unlike we Japanese being in the motherland since we were born. What I mean by “Foreigner” in this context is that people who look differently among other people. Technically I was visiting there as a foreigner according to papers, I didn’t feel like I was an outsider. Australian people did not treat me as someone special, which I really liked it. I clearly remember this feeling still now. As you might live in a more diverse country (I assume), than Japan, so maybe its not something you are unfamiliar with, and I am not trying to be on behalf of Japanese, in Japan where most of us are the same nationalities it was something new. Since then I started to feel it weird to use the word “Gaijin” as there are no conceptions here in this world.

What shocked me these days is what is happening in America among people who have different skin colors. I am not trying to get into American politics, but in this era, where people are strict about any movements that are implying the discrimination, it is sad to know that a politician is allowed to talk about it and let alone, many people supporting it. It makes me think a lot. I have always thought that America is cool in a way where it is multicultural yet they live together is the same country, sharing the different cultures. Not only this, but the UK wanting to get out of EU as we call Brexit, that happened this year makes me worry that this world is torn apart.

We all share this earth together, and it doesn’t matter which part you are from to me as long as you are being nice to other human beings. I sound a bit cliche but I believe in it. Using the word gaijin makes me uncomfortable because I feel like that we should distinguish people according to their backgrounds or nationalities. This idea is something unique only for the isolated country, so i do not blame my country for it. Just I wanted to write this down as quick reminder and thought. One day I hope that more people will start to see people as a person equally in the first place without any biased judgement.

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8 thoughts on “My Thoughts On ‘Gaijin’

  1. Good writing Saki and good observations of our world. I come from USA , and have traveled to other countries also. You are correct that the world is becoming more divided. We are losing a really great generation (the folks from WW2 era) and the world has changed quite a bit in the last couple of decades.Foriegners get much special preference here but so do any minority groups. In America though as you said because we are so multiultural we have always done that, but I know that Japan and much of Asia in general, are much more traditional nations with not so much the melting pot.

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    1. Hello, TwfLJEB! 🙂 Nice you are from USA I mentioned USA briefly, and as a non American citizen, I wanted to hear what American people think about this situation. I am glad you think the same way as I do because often people confuse me by acting in an unexpected way these days. It seems the function of melting pot doesn’t work well. It is a pity that the world is changing this way really. I hope that i raise some awareness and am of any help to make the world a bit better. Thank you for your feedback! -Saki

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this entry very much. First, on ‘Gaijin’. My only experience being referred to as Gaijin was in Kyoto. Some little school children, whose teacher was actually American, came up to me and said in unison: “Gaijin…Hello!” It was a very sweet, very moving moment for me. So, in that sense, my association with the word has been positive. Second, America is a vast, complicated, ever-evolvong landscape. One part of the country can be drastically different from another. I’m from California, which in many ways is almost it’s own country. We are very liberal. Very progressive. But, other parts of the country are very conservative. It’s a bit of a balancing act. That said, it’s hard to explain what’s going on politically right now. If I were to sum it up, I’d say: America is changing, and there’s no stopping it. The last of the “Old way” is making alot of noise, but even they know that they can’t stop it. They also know that they’re dying off. So, while things may seem a little crazy now, I do have faith in the future. P.S. I’m nfalls75 on your twitter. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nicholas! It is so happy to see you on my blog also. I always appreciate your support.
      I am glad to hear that you didn’t have any negative experiences with the word “Gaijin”. I really am relieved. I think that many people actually don’t mind it much, which is a good thing.
      Yes you told me that you are from California, and I can imagine what you said about the state. I hear especially in the South part of America it can be really conservative while North tends to be more liberal. (Roughly), which makes a lot sense according to the history. – I personally believe in the change that it needs to be done at times so I don’t think its always a bad thing. I really do hope that America will follow the right path and treat good people like you better. Thank you for your opinion 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing you soon! -Saki

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  3. Very nice article Saki.☺

    I believe or creator wanted the variety that exists in man. You only have to look around to see the variety in all the creation.

    It’s only man himself that creates the prejudice that exists.

    Personally I love that there are so many different races and cultures. Otherwise I believe our existence would be very boring.

    None of us are “foreigners” as we are all related with a common origin. It is only the different cultures and belief systems that we have developed in the many and varied locales of our earth that can be foreign to us.

    It’s like visiting a distant relative and feeling out of place because they live differently than we do. It doesn’t mean we are not related does it?

    I love Japan, it’s nice to see a country that has been able to maintain its culture. I think it’s up to any individual country to decided whether or not to become a “melting pot” culturally. I think it would be sad to see Japan lose its identity and become like every other country.

    I would love to live in Japan. But I also understand Japan’s desire to preserve itself.

    But none of us are foreigners, we are all family, we were just born, grew up and live someplace else ❤

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  4. People do need to except others for who they are, America is great but it might not be as excepting as you think sadly. Yes they are excepting generally of someone thats say a different color, but you would be shocked to see how many shootings there are of black shooting black or white shooting black, its like a rase war in this country sometimes. We should not get stuck on what someone looks like, then again thats easy for me to say as Ive never seen anyone in my life as I am blind. Saki, Ive ben going through this blog, theres a twitter the KC3CDV twitter thats posted a few of your blogs, thats me, anyway I don’t think people value your thought as they should, its sad because your clearly a smart and thoughtful person and someone who deserves respect. Keep up the great work and one day it will pay off. May the Lord Jesus bless you. YoruFukurou

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