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January 15, 2006

Comments

Chuckles

The pair have been the subject of much consternation on the Black Tokyo forums - as far as I know - going on near 2, 3 years now.

http://www.blacktokyo.com/cgi-bin/en/forum/ikonboard.cgi?s=43cac29a2189ffff;act=ST;f=3;t=849

http://www.blacktokyo.com/cgi-bin/en/forum/ikonboard.cgi?s=43cac29a2189ffff;act=ST;f=3;t=852

http://www.blacktokyo.com/cgi-bin/en/forum/ikonboard.cgi?s=43cac29a2189ffff;act=ST;f=23;t=315

Its a pity much of the old threads on BT about BO and BS have been trashed - but I wouldnt be suprised if someone ended up getting whacked big time and I think it will be Bobby.

Those folks are really pandering to Japanese ignorance in a big way. I dont see what could possibly be good about the careers of these two men. Those dudes are a major throwback and personally, I wouldnt mind someone putting out some kind of contract on them.

Kenji

Hmm... This is a tough one. I acknowledge that the roles played by Bobby Ologun and Bob Sapp may be interpreted as "pandering to Japanese ignorance," but at the same time, I also recognize that Japanese humor on so-called variety shows relies heavily on people playing distinct characters, and Olugon's and Sapp's characters are no more absurd than many of the characters I have seen on TV.

Perhaps, the right way to analyze if Olugon and Sapp are problematic is to see if the Japanese audience would find them to be funny even if they were white. In my view, the audience could still find Olugon to be funny, whereas not Sapp. For instance, the blend of well-executed Osaka-based humor coming from a non-Japanese person and clever Japanese language mistakes could be a good recipe for success on Japanese variety shows for a white person. I have seen many non-Japanese personalities on Japanese TV, but no one has fostered this combination of talents to the extent Olugon does. With respect to Bob Sapp---Well, he probably would not be funny if he were white. He clearly is capitalizing on the problematic association between "blacks" and "beasts," and I doubt that a white person with the same physical mass would have as much of an impact on the Japanese audience.

On a related topic, I think the most problematic humor on TV right now in Japan is the so-called "hard gay" humor played by this guy (http://www.wordpress.tokyotimes.org/?p=622). This is just totally offensive, because it explicitly makes fun of gay people (where a Olugon and Sapp's portrayals are more subtle).

pinkelephant

"With respect to Bob Sapp---Well, he probably would not be funny if he were white"
I think he will be funny even if he were white.
You know Arnold Schwarzenegger acted comically on Japanese commercial, maybe about 20 years ago, partly due to that, now he is popular in Japan and many Japanese call him "syuwa-chan.

Japanese love Sap because he is not beast, but he is cute and courteous and intelligent in truth.Many Japanese know he went to graduate school.

I do not think Japanese people associate olugon with his race.Well to be exact, I do not think Japanese associate Olugon's stupid behavior with his race. Olugon is fun because he speaks strange Japanese. Some "gaijin talent", White or Asian, use that tactics on purpose to get a laugh.

There are positive side Olugon gave to Japanese people. Japanese are relatively familiar with African-Americans because of jazz, soul music, rapper and athletics, Denzel Washington etc but know little about African people:they look unfamiliar, and so sometimes scarey,but because of Olugon, I think Japanese people feel African people much closer than before.

I feel sorry for the african-american who was told "Bobby, Bobby" by kids in Japan, but I think that is because they are kids.Their parents should have stopped kids and explained.

I think there should be more Black people on Japanese TV so that Black people do not have to worry themselves if one comedian tarnish the image of Black people in general.

Abiola

"Olugon's and Sapp's characters are no more absurd than many of the characters I have seen on TV."

The problem isn't that their roles are absurd, but that they're absurdly *stereotypical*: these two are almost the only black faces on Japanese TV, and yet here they are playing coons and jigaboos.

"Perhaps, the right way to analyze if Olugon and Sapp are problematic is to see if the Japanese audience would find them to be funny even if they were white. In my view, the audience could still find Olugon to be funny, whereas not Sapp."

Really? Would they find a white guy intentionally bulging his eyes out like a golliwog funny? Would they think it hilarious that a white guy like Thane Camus or Pakkun can't remember how to say "CD" despite being a university graduate? I think not.

"I have seen many non-Japanese personalities on Japanese TV, but no one has fostered this combination of talents to the extent Olugon does."

No one has done more to walk in the noxious footsteps of Stepin Fetchit either.

"This is just totally offensive, because it explicitly makes fun of gay people (where a Olugon and Sapp's portrayals are more subtle)."

I actually think the very opposite is true: the "Hard Gay" guy's whole shtick is to dress up in the stereotypical gay image even while doing all sorts of helpful things for people that go entirely against the negative stereotype of gays as selfish hedonists. If Bobby Ologun and Bob Sapp were pretending to be beasts and morons while, say, lecturing people on quantum physics, I don't think any black person would be angry at them, but all they're doing is playing out tired racist American stereotypes for the benefit of Japanese audiences.

"You know Arnold Schwarzenegger acted comically on Japanese commercial, maybe about 20 years ago, partly due to that, now he is popular in Japan and many Japanese call him "syuwa-chan."

Yes, but they've also seen Schwarzenegger in lots of films where he was the big tough hero, and besides Japan is full of images of white people doing serious things and doing them well.

"because of Olugon, I think Japanese people feel African people much closer than before."

Seeing as Ologun is one of the few Africans most Japanese people will ever see unless they're going to Roppongi, I don't see how much of an improvement it is for them to go from thinking of Africans as "scary" to seeing them as helpless buffoons. Is it progress to go from fear to contempt?

"feel sorry for the african-american who was told "Bobby, Bobby" by kids in Japan, but I think that is because they are kids.Their parents should have stopped kids and explained."

But he's not the only one who's experienced that, and he hasn't experienced it from just kids either. This isn't surprising to me in the least, as I know that many adults in Japan do think of black people based only on the stereotypes they see; for instance, a black guy who's been to the country and has never had people ask him about his "big dick" must not have left his hotel room.

"I think there should be more Black people on Japanese TV so that Black people do not have to worry themselves if one comedian tarnish the image of Black people in general."

On that we can agree. If these two were just a small fraction of a wide variety of black faces on Japanese TV, I wouldn't be complaining, but having watched *a lot* of Japanese television over the last 6 months, I can say with some confidence that the only blacks one tends to see are either these buffoons or people playing maids, gospel singers, athletes, bouncers and bodyguards (see, e.g. 花より男子, or 危険なアネキ). The *only* Japanese programme I've ever seen with a black face on it who didn't fit into any such slot was an episode of 愛し君へ in which one black guy had a bit part as part of the staff in Fujiki Naohito's firm - and the *reason* I remember a guy playing such a minor part was precisely because something like that is so rare!

As for whether African-Americans have it that much better than Africans, while I'm sure the popularity of rap, r and b, jazz, basketball, etc. help to make them more popular than other blacks (which is why all those Roppongi touts speak with fake American accents), I don't know that the way they're seen is all that great on the whole either. Read the following for some perspective:

http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/new/tokyo_ori/Handouts%202005/JETs%20of%20African%20Descent%20Presentation.pdf

(triple-clicking will select the whole line).

American or not, 黒人は黒人です、with all that implies in terms of stereotypes which most Japanese people can only possibly have learnt from TV, never having met any black people in their lives.

pinkelephant

”Really? Would they find a white guy intentionally bulging his eyes out like a golliwog funny?
Yes. here is nishikawa kiyosi.He is a famous comedian, and he became a congressman.
http://www.ktv.co.jp/su-yoshi/hoso/img/04.jpg
http://samus.ld.infoseek.co.jp/K_Nishikawa.JPG
Nishikawa is Japanese, but I remember a white Mormon guy who wear the glasses.(I fogot his name) He make his eyes appear bigger through the glasses.Japanese liked it.

" they've also seen Schwarzenegger in lots of films where he was the big tough hero, and besides Japan is full of images of white people doing serious things and doing them well."
I agree.Tha is why more and more black people should be seen on TV.
By the way, wicky-san is the one in serious bussiness.
http://www.tvland.co.jp/wicky/
He is famous.

"I don't see how much of an improvement it is for them to go from thinking of Africans as "scary" to seeing them as helpless buffoons. Is it progress to go from fear to contempt?"
Let me make it clear that I said "scary" because the things unfamiliar are always kinda scary.
And I do not think people see olguon in contempt.He is funny. I know he speak strange Japanese intentionally, but he is funny. And it is not that he is funny because of his race.
I did not watched K1 last year, but I watched it the year before. He fought with a French guy.He won, he cried. I was impressed.I think many Japanese were impressed.They applauded.

"But he's not the only one who's experienced that, and he hasn't experienced it from just kids either"
I am sorry.

http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/new/tokyo_ori/Handouts%202005/JETs%20of%20African%20Descent%20Presentation.pdf
I've seen this. I am not sure this is the stereo type of Black people in Japan.But yes, there are sterotypical image of a specific race.
And some people hold it because of ignorance.
I know because I am Japanese.
Ecnomically developed or not, yellows are yellow.That is a shame.
But I can not blame Japanese who act comically on TV. I've seen Japanese girls on English TV, wearing strange kimono, singing strange songs in strange Egnlish.I do not know where they went now, but in those days, they were popular among Englishman.
I think the best way is that more and more people from variety of races show themselves in variety of ways on TV.
(I also think it is a good thing to send the letter to NHK, notifying that the show degrade Black people:Japanese should realize that there would be racial problems.)

Let me ask you, do you want to stop people from acting stupidly on TV because they might form stereotype of a specific race?

Abiola

"I've seen Japanese girls on English TV, wearing strange kimono, singing strange songs in strange Egnlish."

I think that is a bad thing too. You won't find me laughing at Charlie Chan or Fu Manchu jokes, and I wasn't amused by William Hung either.

"Let me ask you, do you want to stop people from acting stupidly on TV because they might form stereotype of a specific race?"

I don't like seeing that the only people of any race you can find on TV are those who fit the negative stereotypes which are common in a culture. The American equivalent of what Ologun and Sapp are doing would be if someone claiming to be a comedian went on TV and willingly played up the short, buck-toothed, nerdy, scrawny, slanty-eyed, "inscrutable", "me likey flied lice" image Westerners used to have of people from Asia: you'd never catch me saying that kind of thing was okay no matter how many other Asians I could see on my TV screen.

Abiola

Actually, I've just found a story about a show similar to the kind Bob Sapp and Bobby Ologun put on - only, this time the ones being made fun of are the Japanese.

http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:MI8ABpluMkMJ:www.japantoday.com/gidx/news259877.html

"Hungarian TV station pulls program mocking Japanese"

["VIENNA — The Hungarian television station TV2 has told the Japanese Embassy in Budapest that it plans to suspend a popular Japanese-mocking show that drew the ire of the local Japanese community and Japanese diplomats in Hungary.

The program features a Hungarian TV reporter who wears a black hairpiece and fake teeth and passes herself off as a goggled-eyed Japanese woman, using the stunt to ambush and interview Hungarian celebrities.

Apart from that caricature, the prime-time TV show, "Micuko —the world in slanted eyes," also pokes fun at everyday Japanese life and Japanese customs.

The Japanese community in Hungary was furious and the Japanese Embassy in Budapest filed a protest with TV2 as well as the Hungarian Foreign Ministry late last month.

Hiroshi Abe, an official at the Japanese Embassy in Budapest, said Wednesday that "Micuko" producers told the embassy late last week that TV2 decided to suspend the show for three months beginning next month.

The show will return in September under a new name and "Micuko" producers promised to make other changes, Abe said.

Abe said the embassy will keep an eye on the show when it comes back on air and will take action again if the changes are not satisfactory.

"The show can only be described as racially biased. The problem won't disappear if only small changes are made, like changing the name of the show," Abe said."]

If this sort of thing were really as harmless as all that, the Japanese embassy wouldn't have been so quick to take offense at the Hungarian show - note that Mr. Abe didn't bother waiting for "context" explaining why such a show was acceptable and harmless in Hungary before voicing his objections. Some of the responses to the report are also interesting:

["Perhaps some Japanese should be more sensitive to the way blacks are portrayed on Japanese TV, if they are upset at the way Japanese are portrayed in other countries. There is now a commercial for an air conditioner with three black men sticking out their tongues and they are made to look like fools. Although the actors are actually black, they image is clearly derogatory."]

["You know that show every sunday night witht the 3 black men and the white man.
That show makes blacks look dumb. I wonder how much they get paid for looking so dumb? They put themselves in situations that make them look really ignorant. Do you think Japanese would do the same in a foreign country?
This is another case of Japanese making foreigners look dumb and when it happens elsewhere about them, they cry foul. typical!"]

["All those three black men on the TV show you're referring are fluent in Japanese, but are paid to act like they're beginners. I know because a friend of mine auditioned for the segment and was told not to speak his normal Japanese but to purposely make stupid mistakes to be funny.

TBS (producers of "Sanma's Karakuri" and "Koko wa Hendayo") is the worst offender IMO in only showing foreigners that neatly fit into the stereotype they believe their audience have of gaijin: poor Japanese skills, loud, opinionated, dangerous, scary, etc."]

and so on and so forth. There's nothing "funny" about this sort of humor for those on the receiving end of it, and no amount of explanations about Osaka manzai traditions and so on can make it acceptable. People "loved" Stepin Fetchit and Buckwheat too, just as Americans still "love" William Hung, so saying Japanese people "love" Sapp and Ologun doesn't fly either: "loving" a silly stereotype is easy, loving real human beings of a different race or country who don't fit into any easy slots is what's hard.

Chris

It's really hard for me to catalogue such things in my mind, since things like this sit in such a different context in the Japanese cultural landscape than they do in the American one.

It's so much different than, say, Dave Chappelle playing a crackhead on his show for laughs, since the latter is drenched in so much irony of the sort that doesn't translate well into Japanese, not to mention being in context of black history in America.

I wonder what the folks who watched the shows you mentions would think of an episode of Chapelle's show in which Dave Chappelle portrays a crackhead for laughs?

Obviously the humor would not translate well to Japanese at all.

It's quite interesting to look at how black people are portrayed in Japan- on the one hand, they're obviously not so sensitive about being very politically correct, and at the same time, it's also not a place where blacks lived in fear of being lynched for menial offences.

pinkelephant

"Micuko —the world in slanted eyes," also pokes fun at everyday Japanese life and Japanese customs."
I do not care if there is a a goggled-eyed Japanese comedian who speaks strange Hungarian to get a laugh.
But in case of the program in Hungary, I think the fact that a Hugarian poked fun of everyday Japenese life and Japanese custom is crucial.
But in case of Olugon,he is not making fun of his race.He does not pokes fun at everyday African life and African customs. He is a comedian just as other Japanese comedians.They do stupid things to get a laugh.
Now I am not claiming that Japanese TV is okay as it is:Japanese TV show should pay more attention to the way black people are portrayed.That is why I said it is good idea to send the letter to NHK.(https://www.nhk.or.jp/plaza/mail/form_other.html, here you can send this URL of this blog and the forum, I think they will learn a lot. If you need help in Japanese, let me know)
But it seems that some people in the forum are claiming that Black people should not become a comedian nor K1 fighter in Japan until Black people gain some social status in other fields in Japan.

"I don't like seeing that the only people of any race you can find on TV are those who fit the negative stereotypes which are common in a culture."
I agree.But in case of olugon and Sapp, what do you find in them that fit the negative stereotypes which are common in a culture?
Japanese do not associate bulged eyes with Black people. They do not asscoiate beast with Black people.
Now some might argue that some Japanese might have stereotype of this kind about black people in the future because of Olugon and Sapp.This might be true, but is it the faults of Olguon and Sapp?


Abiola

"But in case of Olugon,he is not making fun of his race."

Oh yes he is - what exactly do you think he's doing when he bulges his eyes out and speaks like a confused idiot? The stereotype he's playing to is so well-known that any American ought to recognize it immediately.

http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/coon/

If most foreigners despise him, it's because they see what he's doing for exactly what it is.

"But it seems that some people in the forum are claiming that Black people should not become a comedian nor K1 fighter in Japan until Black people gain some social status in other fields in Japan."

Which people said any such thing? 誰がそんな事を書いたんですか。You don't have to invent things for the sake of an argument you're losing - there's more to comedy and fighting than bugging out your eyes and acting like a moron or eating bananas and beating your chest like an animal and calling yourself a "beast" while at the zoo.

"Japanese do not associate bulged eyes with Black people. They do not asscoiate beast with Black people."

That just isn't true - the very first piece of entertainment Commodore Matthew Perry and his boys held for their Japanese hosts was a minstrel show, and it's easy to do a Google search for terms like 「日本 差別 黒人」、「日本 既成概念 黒人」or 「日本 差別 黒ん坊」 to turn up plenty of Japanese academic literature and popular writing showing these ideas to be part of many people's thinking: black people are supposedly lazy, oversexed, athletic, good at dancing, fun-loving, unreliable, violent, etc., etc., all ideas which have been imported straight from the West. If Japanese people don't associate these images with black people, where do the adverts comparing blacks to chimps come from? What gave people the idea that throwing bananas at black people on TV shows was funny? Why do all black guests on variety shows have to act like idiots?

"Now some might argue that some Japanese might have stereotype of this kind about black people in the future because of Olugon and Sapp.This might be true, but is it the faults of Olguon and Sapp?"

Of course - who forced them to go on television and act like idiots?

pinkelephant

”But in case of Olugon,he is not making fun of his race."

Oh yes he is - what exactly do you think he's doing when he bulges his eyes out and speaks like a confused idiot? The stereotype he's playing to is so well-known that any American ought to recognize it immediately ”

The stereotyp he's supposed to be playing to is not so well-konwn for Japanese.I do think Japanese notice he is playing the stereotype American people have about black people.

"Japanese do not associate bulged eyes with Black people. They do not asscoiate beast with Black people."

That just isn't true - the very first piece of entertainment Commodore Matthew Perry and his boys held for their Japanese hosts was a minstrel show, "

I do not think many Japanese know this fact.and I did not know it.

" black people are supposedly lazy, oversexed, athletic, good at dancing, fun-loving, unreliable, violent, etc"

Let me check your list, I'll tell my honest opinion about how I think ignorant Japanese might see black people
athletic, good at dancing, fun-loving ---Yes.
lazy,unreliable, oversexed - --- I do not know how you got this idea that Japanese thinks blacks are lazy, oversexed. I've seen the movie in which Japanese are portrayed as promiscuous though..
violent - --- invincible to harm is closer to what Japanese might think.
,
" where do the adverts comparing blacks to chimps come from? "

Did the adverts in Japan compare blacks to chimps? (I am sorry, I have not watched TV recently) If so, let's send the letter to the adverts.
I thought it was Japanese who was thought to be monkey.

" What gave people the idea that throwing bananas at black people on TV shows was funny?"

Japanese comedians do anything to get a laugh. They goes to the cage of lions. They will be fucked by a dog. They take a bath in which water is boiling Some people think it is funy.They imitate monkeys and turtle or anything.Seome people laugh at seeing them.
I have not seen a black people thrown bananas, but are you sure people threw bananas because he is black? Are you sure people laught becuase the person who was thrown bananas was black?

"Why do all black guests on variety shows have to act like idiots?"

Isn't that because it is a variety show in which a comedian act like idiot to get a laugh?.
Whicky-san does not act like idiot.
Wangari Maathai did not act like idiot in Japan
http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/ASIN/4838716095/249-0583114-2841136
Cromartie was a hero for Giant's fans. he did not act like idiot when interviewed on TV
http://images.search.yahoo.co.jp/bin/query?p=%A5%AF%A5%ED%A5%DE%A5%C6%A5%A3%A1%BC&n=3&b=0&c=image&rh=20&d=1&to=0 )
Michael Jacson still has a lot of fans in Japan.He did not act like idiot in Japan.
Jazz musicians have fervernt fans in Japan.They have concerts in Japan. They do not act like idiots.

"But it seems that some people in the forum are claiming that Black people should not become a comedian nor K1 fighter in Japan until Black people gain some social status in other fields in Japan."

Which people said any such thing? 誰がそんな事を書いたんですか。You don't have to invent things for the sake of an argument you're losing "

Do you want to win the argument? please do so. My point is not winning but understanding.
So let me make sure what you are saying.
You claim that it is all right for black people become comedians in Japan..Am I right?
At the same time, you said, in the answer to my question.

"Now some might argue that some Japanese might have stereotype of this kind about black people in the future because of Olugon and Sapp.This might be true, but is it the faults of Olguon and Sapp?"

Of course - who forced them to go on television and act like idiots? "

I think a comedian needs to act stupidly. But if she/he acts stupidly, some stupid person always might associate its stupidness with her/his race. In order to avoid this she/he must not act stupidly, but then he is not a comedian any more.
How can you allow a black person to be a comedian in Japan at the same time blaimng for what she/he has to do as a professional comedian?

Japanese do not have much access to black people on the street. They do not know much about black people.I am not saying that Japanese do not have bias about black people;maybe they have, but they do not have stereotype about black people that American people have.

I think that the point is that more and more black people show themselves on TV to say their opinons so that a black comedian and a black K1 fighter do not have to worry about the image they might give to Japanese people.
And in order to do that Japanese TV stations need to understand what the problem is and need to corporate with Black people. You know, I think they are not sensitive to this issue because they do not understant the problem.
http://www.bpo.gr.jp/
The link might help.

Andrew

"I think a comedian needs to act stupidly. But if she/he acts stupidly, some stupid person always might associate its stupidness with her/his race. In order to avoid this she/he must not act stupidly, but then he is not a comedian any more."

No, I don't think that's right - comedy is not just slapstick humor. William Hung and Margaret Cho both elicit laughs, but the former is because he matches stereotypes of Chinese men as unmanly and unsexy, whereas the latter because she makes funny jokes - some of which are about her Korean background, but not in a way that perpetuates racist stereotypes.

pinkelephant

The stereotype he's supposed to be playing to is not so well-konwn for Japanese.I do think Japanese notice he is playing the stereotype American people have about black people.
→I do not think Japanese notice

"No, I don't think that's right - comedy is not just slapstick humor. William Hung and Margaret Cho both elicit laughs, but the former is because he matches stereotypes of Chinese men as unmanly and unsexy, whereas the latter because she makes funny jokes - some of which are about her Korean background, but not in a way that perpetuates racist stereotypes."

I know neither of the comedians.
But I understand what you mean.
There are ways to elicit laugh without perpetuating racist stereotypes.Am I right?

Is chinese man thought to be unmanly and unsexy according to ameriacan stereotype?(that is funny, I wonder how they get that idea)
Suppose that is right, Isn't Hung still helping perpetuating
racist sterotypes by matching the stereotype of Chinese men?
Isn't Cho helping to perpetuate racist stereotype by joking about her Korean background?
Or Isn't it just that it appears okay because there are other Chinise Koreans who does not act like them on TV?

Now suppose that they do not use their ethnic background and suppose further that they are still funny.comedians. Even in that case, some people might associate their funniness with their ethnic background.This is my point.

Abiola

"Isn't Hung still helping perpetuating
racist sterotypes by matching the stereotype of Chinese men?"

Yes, he is.

"Isn't Cho helping to perpetuate racist stereotype by joking about her Korean background?"

No. If you actually bother to listen to her comedy, you'll realize that the point is that she shows how her background does *not* match the stereotypes.

"Now suppose that they do not use their ethnic background and suppose further that they are still funny.comedians. Even in that case, some people might associate their funniness with their ethnic background.This is my point."

And who exactly has done this, if I may ask? It's a ridiculous argument to make - you don't see me attacking Chris Rock, Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy, and these are comedians who spent most of their time discussing their blackness; the difference between them and Bobby Ologun is that these real comedians get their effect by confronting people with the stereotypes about black people they hold but rarely acknowledge, forcing them to re-examine these notions, while all Bobby Ologun is doing is teaching Japanese people the same tired old image of blacks as dull-witted, mumbling, bug-eyed idiots.

Andrew is right: there's a lot more to humor than just perpetuating ethnic stereotypes, and you don't even have to ignore your ethnic background to do so. Jerry Seinfeld's Jewishness is central to his comedy, but you'll never catch him imitating Shylock or any other such nonsense to get his audience to laugh.

Andrew

""Isn't Cho helping to perpetuate racist stereotype by joking about her Korean background?"

No. If you actually bother to listen to her comedy, you'll realize that the point is that she shows how her background does *not* match the stereotypes."

Here's an example of Margaret Cho joking about her Korean background in a way that confronts, rather than perpetuates, racist stereotypes:

"I just don't get it. People come up to me and ask me where I'm from and it's such a loaded question. And I'll say 'I'm from San Francisco,' and they lean in and whisper 'No, I mean where are you REALLY from?' And then I have to say 'Well, my parents are originally from Korea.' And then I have to listen to stories about all of the Korean people they know, or some Korean food they ate once, or how they're not sure they're pronouncing a Korean word right. And it's like...I don't care. I don't get it! I never walk up to white people and say, like, 'Oh my God, are you from France? No, not recently, I mean like a couple thousand years ago? Oh my God I totally knew it! I love your fries!"

I have to say, I wish I was quick enough to think of saying something like that everytime someone asked me where I was "really" from.

"Is chinese man thought to be unmanly and unsexy according to ameriacan stereotype?(that is funny, I wonder how they get that idea)"

Interestingly, the stereotype of Chinese men is twofold. On the one hand, Chinese men are seen as effeminate, powerless, nerdy, asexual, and childlike. On the other hand, they are seen as sexually subversive and dangerous (in a sneaky, powerless, can't-get-what-they-want-through-honest-white-man-methods way - think Fu Manchu). The latter image is less powerful nowadays than it was in the heyday of the "yellow peril" hysteria though.

pinkelephant

"you don't see me attacking Chris Rock, Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy, and these are comedians who spent most of their time discussing their blackness;the difference between them and Bobby Ologun is that these real comedians get their effect by confronting people with the stereotypes about black people they hold but rarely acknowledge, forcing them to re-examine these notions,all Bobby Ologun is doing is teaching Japanese people the same tired old image of blacks as dull-witted, mumbling, bug-eyed idiots”

"Jerry Seinfeld's Jewishness is central to his comedy, but you'll never catch him imitating or any other such nonsense to get his audience to laugh."

The point is Japanese audience has no clue how the Americcan stereotypical black people and ,for that matter Jewish people, would act.

But yes, I think I understand what you mean.
Japanese comedians are free to act in a stupid way in Japan, while because of history of African people, and ethinic African people, they should act in such a that they may not create the bad stereotypes of their race among Japanese even when they are comedians;there is a danger that Oluguon might become another ”the coon”your link described.
http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/coon/
Did I understand your point correctly?


Andrew
Thanks for your usuful imformation.


,

Chuckles

Kenji -

The interesting thing about this is of course that certain segments of the Japanese community lost no sweat in declaring their umbrage over Lost in Translation... as being stereotypical of the Japanese. If fun was all that Ologun needed to accredit himself, then all such distasteful comedy would be okay - after all, there is fun to be found in all sorts of entertainment for different kinds of people.

Ologun is indeed pandering to Japanese ignorance, and it is an ignorance that the Japanese only too well embrace in order to explain away their patronage of some of the more distasteful aspects of entertainment and social behavior - the response towards blacks is straight out of Kenzaburo Oe's "The Catch" (Shiiku) - with the caveat that Japanese people can also plead isolation and ignorance when confronted logically with the implications of their behavior.

That Japanese people are unaware of the negative sides of these stereotypes is laughable. One only needs to do a cursory survey of anime - to turn up a coterie of characters whose moral qualities can be specified simply by the color of their hair and the extent of their shading. No, this is not merely the influence of the bishonen/yaoi dynamic: there is indeed a message out of there which situates blacks at the negative end of a moral spectrum.

And its not just blacks - who by the way, have never had any collective run-ins with the Japanese: When Nakasone claimed that Blacks were lazy and unintelligent - where did he pick that up from? The truth is that despite the furor that followed, he spoke for a large segment of Japanese people who considered themselves relatively "well informed".

The attitude towards Jews - again, a people who have never had collective run-ins with the Japanese is also within this sphere of activity. Gamble and Watanabe tackle this in "A Public Betrayed": again, the response is that Japanese people are to isolated to to understand the implications of large media organizations denying the gassing of Jews at Auschwitz: All the same, it is ignorance.

I find little merit in claiming that Ologun's funniness (which to me, is highly suspect) somehow legitimizes what he does: As for the claims that the Japanese are unware of these stereotypes: How then do we explain that continued recurrence of those patterns in a rich history of Japanese literature and media work? To me, it seems a lot of Japanese like to claim ignorance so they can continue to enjoy kitschy entertainment without having to take the moral responsibility that people in comprable societies take towards these issues.

Japanese audiences enjoyed minstrelsy when Perry introduced it - and the records of Japanese ambassadors sent around the world circa Restoration are peppered with encounters with "Black and Ugly" natives in the Pacific and in Africa. I find it incredibly hard to believe that some (in this thread) claim no meme of stereotypical representations of blacks exists in Japan - with all the evidence that is available!

Seicho's Kurochi no E, the strangely popular Eimi Yamada - even the enfant terrible of yesteryears himself, Ryu Murakami (think kagirinaku tomei ni chikai buru for starters) and virtually any ramdon sampling of Japanese artistry you come across with Black imagery is rife with stereotypical memes: These patterns make it hard to believe that the Japanese dont know what they are doing: They just choose not to admit it - It is insignificant.

Bottom line: These memes exist, Ologun knows it, the Japanese know it, the Japanese choose not to acknowledge it, and Ologun is having a swell line pandering to this atmosphere...I feel very disturbed that millions of Japanese people are glossing over a black guy being in a cage, eating a banana under a tree, hobnobbing with monkeys, crawling on all fours, being repeatedly smacked and told to shut up - in a country where these are the only images to be obtained of blacks in popular media (and we all *know* how much the Japanese love to believe their media): How can such a state of affairs exist? Ah! The Japanese have been isolated, so we must cut them some slack. Bullshit!

Kenji

Chuckles,

I think you may be mixing what I said with statements made by other commentators. Nowhere did I suggest that " Japanese people are unaware of the negative sides of these stereotypes," or that "[i]f fun was all that Ologun needed to accredit himself, then all such distasteful comedy would be okay." I wasn't making a very deep point. I only suggested a thought experiment to see if the popularity of Sapp and Ologun can be explained in a politically acceptable way. I find the "hard gay" humor to be offensive, precisely because there is such a thing as distasteful comedy (although I see Abiola's point with respect to this new brand of humor). Since you are making a deeper point about nihonjin-ron, I would only say that I generally agree with your assessment.

Chuckles

No, not at all Kenji - I specifically delineated: [...I find it incredibly hard to believe that some (in this thread) claim no meme of stereotypical representations of blacks exists in Japan - with all the evidence that is available...]

I was referring to pinkelephant. No mixup intended.

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