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Old 2013-03-01, 19:08   Link #561
HandofFate
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lol @ the foreigners attempting to do a psychological play in the beginning, they had me fooled at first too.

Shame glasses is deciding to step back and take the role of the coach and strategist. Its an important role, but it still a pretty big deal to not be able to take part in the national games. Not even one round.
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Old 2013-03-01, 19:57   Link #562
ars89
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Very big move by Komano to take himself out and just scout. Lol Chihaya crying, karuta has gone global. Arata x Shinobu totally works.
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Old 2013-03-01, 20:07   Link #563
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
I did not like this episode. As usual, Japan portrays foreigners in a laughable, embarrassing manner. Episode felt like a grind.
Indeed, it wasn't amusing at all, especially the reaction to Chiba International School's black player. That it was played for laughs underlines the complete lack of cultural awareness in Japan of how offensive this can be.

The episode had the ironic effect of showing the true face of Japanese attitude towards foreigners. I know, of course, that no real harm was meant, that the insensitivity is unintentional but, truth be told, that's even worse — to be racist and not be aware of it. You can't begin to fix a problem when you don't even know there's one.
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Old 2013-03-01, 20:20   Link #564
kitten320
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Duno, I didn't mind the foreigners part. they might have gone over board a bit but it was nothing drastic.

And to be honest Tsukube had a pretty normal reaction for a a tiny teenager who has never seen real, big black person before in his life. A lot of people react like this at first without being racist.
Tsukube was stuck in Japan his whole life where everyone are tiny. Seeing a foreigner is weird but seeing someone of opposite skin colour and twice your size can easily be scary. Heck, just big 2m tall person of same skin colour can be intimidating.
If Tsukube is to encounter black person few more times, he will be fine. Besides it seems like they have never really seen foreigners before so of course they will be surprised.

And it is not just Japanes thing, in every country foreigners are accepted differently by everyone. I'm originally from Latvia but live and study in UK now. Despite being on second course of Uni my tutor sometimes goes "You can write, right?" even though I already submitted 2 essays for him.

It is a bit annoying but it happens all the time and everywhere. People do make fun of us foreigners be it intentional or not. Being a foreigner is an unavoidable fact that will be picked on here and there.

What this episode did was a slight exaggeration of reality.
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Old 2013-03-01, 20:20   Link #565
Proto
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Really? Personally I can relate to the feeling. Mexico's non Latino/Native American population is exceedingly small and you don't get many chances to relate to ppl of other so-called-races. To the point that when I first came to the US I did find African American people to be scary. It was only after I came back years after and I had lived here for a few weeks that I got over that.

Last edited by Proto; 2013-03-01 at 21:12.
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Old 2013-03-01, 20:24   Link #566
sikvod00
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As a black person, I didn't find it racist. I think it's a normal reaction from someone who lives in a largely homogeneous society with limited exposure to other ethnic/racial groups. Stereotypes and some ignorance are to be expected, but it isn't racist or done in spite. I did roll my eyes a bit though. Lol. Ultimately the big theme of this episode is how karuta can transcend these socially-constructed barriers.
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Old 2013-03-01, 20:31   Link #567
Yume Hanabi
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Their reaction were so realistic it's scary xD
Down to the media being like "zomg foreigners liking Japanese things" lol.
To me this episode looked more like it was making fun of the way Japanese people often react to foreigners than stereotyping foreigners for the sake of stereotyping.

Chihaya's reaction was priceless, though. So happy for karuta haha xD
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Old 2013-03-01, 20:54   Link #568
kitten320
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^Good point actually.
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Old 2013-03-01, 21:43   Link #569
Reckoner
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Indeed, it wasn't amusing at all, especially the reaction to Chiba International School's black player. That it was played for laughs underlines the complete lack of cultural awareness in Japan of how offensive this can be.

The episode had the ironic effect of showing the true face of Japanese attitude towards foreigners. I know, of course, that no real harm was meant, that the insensitivity is unintentional but, truth be told, that's even worse — to be racist and not be aware of it. You can't begin to fix a problem when you don't even know there's one.
Yeah, I really don't believe myself that there is any hint of malicious intent. It's just general ignorance that is a bit bothersome. It's eye-rolling stuff basically.

It sadly does reflect a culture that is too insular for their own good at times.
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Old 2013-03-01, 21:46   Link #570
totoum
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Lost in all the Gaijin business (I did cringe but I agree with Yume Hanabi that the joke was more on our protagonists reactions than the foreigners themselves) is the fact that it's actually Chihaya and not Taichi that shouted "1 card at a time" to refocus the team, that's quite significant (unless Chihaya did it before and I don't remember?)


edit:though I do want to get back to one point about the foreigner aspect that left me scratching my head,why the hell write a message in english when these guys have told you that english isn't their forte?
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Old 2013-03-01, 22:27   Link #571
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Old 2013-03-01, 22:40   Link #572
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten320 View Post
Duno, I didn't mind the foreigners part. they might have gone over board a bit but it was nothing drastic.

And it is not just Japanes thing, in every country foreigners are accepted differently by everyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proto View Post
Really? Personally I can relate to the feeling. Mexico's non Latino/Native American population is exceedingly small and you don't get many chances to relate to ppl of other so-called-races. To the point that when I first came to the US I did find African American people to be scary. It was only after I came back years after and I had lived here for a few weeks that I got over that.
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Originally Posted by sikvod00 View Post
As a black person, I didn't find it racist. I think it's a normal reaction from someone who lives in a largely homogeneous society with limited exposure to other ethnic/racial groups. Stereotypes and some ignorance are to be expected, but it isn't racist or done in spite. I did roll my eyes a bit though. Lol. Ultimately the big theme of this episode is how karuta can transcend these socially-constructed barriers.
The points are all well-taken. My only retort: Has there ever been a time when racism, however mild, is not based on ignorance?

I'm willing to make a distinction between intentional and unintentional racial/cultural stereotyping. In my mind, though, both are equally bad. The latter is particularly tricky, because the "offender" doesn't even know there is a problem.

I'll concede that this programme is made for domestic Japanese audiences. The feelings of foreigners watching such content just wasn't in the equation, and neither do I expect it to be. True, it's a realistic portrayal of Japanese insularity, but my point is that such insularity is not something to be proud of, let alone laugh about. Ignorance, very simply, shouldn't be an excuse.

But, all things considered, it's just a minor nitpick in an otherwise usual episode. I'll stop here lest I derail the thread.
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Old 2013-03-01, 23:09   Link #573
~BC~
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Eh, I'm with Yume in that the show seemed more like it was poking fun at Japanese perceptions of foreigners. Part of what I found so funny about Tsukube's reaction is that the guy he was facing didn't look threatening at all.

The blond guy's little back story also clearly demonstrated the writer's awareness of the xenophobic reactions foreigner's may encounter in Japan.
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Old 2013-03-01, 23:30   Link #574
Kirarakim
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I am kind of with the non-racist side of things. It was Chihaya's team's reaction that was being made fun of in my opinion. And I don't think the series was proud of Japanese insularity. The episode was about sharing Karuta with others, that you don't have to be Japanese to love and play the sport.

However what did stand out to me was Nishida calling them "not Japanese" I mean they obviously live in Japan all their lives but that is not considered Japanese....

Anyways as a tourist I had a good experience at Omi Jingu but I wonder what they thought of a tourist interested in karuta & Chihayafuru, but at least I was happy I was able to share that with a few people.
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Old 2013-03-02, 00:51   Link #575
thundrakkon
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That was a very realistic example of how Japanese people, especially the high school level, reacts to foreigners. I'm not exactly sure how this is portrayed in a way that would make it any more racist than so much of what Hollywood has shown everyday. Besides, as others have mentioned, it is more poking fun at the Japanese people's reaction than at the foreigners themselves.

I was expecting an epic entrance by Arata, like he seemed like he was about to, then all of a sudden, Shinobu came in out of the blue. It freaked me out so much that I couldn't stop laughing for a few minutes. That scene was epic in its own respects.

I have a feeling Shinobu was stalking the grounds in hopes of pouncing Arata when she had the chance. I'm now concerned that Arata might not even make it inside to watch Chihaya and Taichi like he wanted to. Also, it is important to note that Arata wants to watch both Chihaya and Taichi, not just Chihaya. He wants to support and cheer on both of them.
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Old 2013-03-02, 01:01   Link #576
HandofFate
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Its expected of a homogenous society, and don't see anything surprising about it.

Unless you forcefully ship a bunch of black people to japan and flash forward 200 years or so, its not gonna change.

I liked the line I think Tsukube like "Even Japanese people don't like kurata"
I'm kind of following it mainly for the 'sport' aspect, and don't really care about the actual kurata game. (sorry chihaya) Probably the most dorky cultural hobby Japan has.

Good luck attempting to make the average american memorize 100 classic american/english poems and play it kurata style.
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Old 2013-03-02, 02:36   Link #577
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The points are all well-taken. My only retort: Has there ever been a time when racism, however mild, is not based on ignorance?

I'm willing to make a distinction between intentional and unintentional racial/cultural stereotyping. In my mind, though, both are equally bad. The latter is particularly tricky, because the "offender" doesn't even know there is a problem.

I'll concede that this programme is made for domestic Japanese audiences. The feelings of foreigners watching such content just wasn't in the equation, and neither do I expect it to be. True, it's a realistic portrayal of Japanese insularity, but my point is that such insularity is not something to be proud of, let alone laugh about. Ignorance, very simply, shouldn't be an excuse.

But, all things considered, it's just a minor nitpick in an otherwise usual episode. I'll stop here lest I derail the thread.
But the one who was stereotyped here was Tsukuba. Aside from the black guy being big, I guess.

If you want to go there, what was really stereotypical was that the caucasians were blonds. It's not that common a hair color.
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Old 2013-03-02, 03:18   Link #578
Guardian Enzo
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By the way, "everyone is tiny" is by no means an accurate statement about Japan, and anyone who's been here should know that. It's not true and it's certainly no justification for the way Tsukuba reacted, but I also agree there was no malice intended. The part that saddens me is really that the way the Mizusawa kids reacted isn't at all far-fetched - there's a xenophobic streak in this country that runs very deep, and has never really disappeared even in the age of globalization.
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Old 2013-03-02, 04:14   Link #579
Ottocycle
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The points are all well-taken. My only retort: Has there ever been a time when racism, however mild, is not based on ignorance?
I'd argue that malice is a distinguishable root which racism can stem from, but let's stop here on this one since I'm clearly straying from the episode discussion proper.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I'm willing to make a distinction between intentional and unintentional racial/cultural stereotyping. In my mind, though, both are equally bad. The latter is particularly tricky, because the "offender" doesn't even know there is a problem.
I couldn't have said this better, therefore:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I'll concede that this programme is made for domestic Japanese audiences. The feelings of foreigners watching such content just wasn't in the equation, and neither do I expect it to be. True, it's a realistic portrayal of Japanese insularity, but my point is that such insularity is not something to be proud of, let alone laugh about. Ignorance, very simply, shouldn't be an excuse.
As others before me have said, it was merely a depiction close to reality (the facepalm-tabloid-worthy TV crew, even!). The jab here was on the Japanese reactions and said insularity that they stem from, not on the foreigners, and the show is calling the viewership out on that. Spreading awareness is a good first step to addressing the issue, I'd say.

The initial laughs were merely to establish rapport with the viewership (as identified to be overwhelmingly Japanese), which was thereby leveraged into Nishida and Chihaya's call for the Mizusawa team's modus operandi regardless of opponent. That was the message I got from the game this episode.

The addition of Anthony's flashback sequence is probably further proof that comedy isn't the primary objective of this depiction anyway.

PS: It might've also said something when the depicted foreigners are only able to play this uniquely Japanese game in an international school.

PPS: Shinobu genuinely freaked me out.
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Old 2013-03-02, 04:22   Link #580
Reckoner
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You guys keep making the scene seem like some sort of intentional jab, but I never really got that impression from it. Yes, I genuinely believe the mangaka's end point here was to hamfist some sort of contrived message about accepting each other's cultures through a love for karuta. However, there is no attempt whatsoever here to understand the "foreigners," it is the foreigners who are for some reason are in love with the Japanese game of karuta.

This is of course all undermined by the unintentional, but very distasteful portrayal of the foreigners' behavior. It's insensitive and lacks understanding. Sure, the thought of bridging cultures is a nice one, but there was no bridging of cultures here to speak of. Just a bunch of racially insensitive buffoonery on display.

Not like I ever expected more from anime in general though.
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