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Old 2020-12-02, 10:49   Link #3741
Cosmic Eagle
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post

Different situations, but similar root causes: Like the Japanese in Japan, the mainland Chinese have virtually zero historical experience with multi-ethnic society within the geographical boundaries of the "Middle Kingdom".
They do. All throughout their history in fact. They just genocided, subjugated, absorbed etc them into the Han identity. If you are a southern Chinese, you aren't 100% Central Plains Han if you trace back far enough no matter what the chauvinists say tbh


But strangely though, the average China urban person today seems much more open to foreigners from outside PRC territory (ignoring their government's racist policies towards minorities since I'm talking about normal people here) than the average Japanese is to people from outside Japan. Chinese are wary and may look down on you, Japanese OTOH feel flat out hostile at times. As in they actually resent you.

Then again, considering the circles I am generally exposed to, the people I encounter may just be weirdos
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Old 2020-12-02, 12:07   Link #3742
TinyRedLeaf
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But that's what I meant: The end goal of any unified Chinese polity throughout history has always been assimilation. It does not occur to the Chinese mind that a foreign ethnic group would want to preserve its distinct identity while being part of the empire. It's a choice between a what they feel is the superior civilisation and barbarianism. And if you choose to be "barbarian", you will be assimilated by force. That is more or less what is happening right now in Xinjiang and Tibet. The average Han Chinese simply would not comprehend why the Uighurs and Tibetans would want to stay separate. And that's even before CCP indoctrination.

It's very openly known that senior CCP leaders expect Singapore to be more understanding about Beijing's motives because we are a Chinese-majority state. As far as they are concerned, the other ethnic groups in Singapore are no more than an afterthought; to the mainland Chinese mind, they are subordinate races, who will eventually be assimilated. It's a stubborn misunderstanding on China's part, and our diplomats have to constantly remind them that we are a multi-racial sovereign state. I don't think they're getting the message. Either that, or they think that we're simply putting up a polite front, while continuing to "subjugate" the minority races.

Urban Chinese who've had the chance to study and work abroad will obviously be more cosmopolitan and urbane. That's in fact the same for the Japanese who have also worked, studied or lived abroad. I'm talking about the average Han Chinese, and they are as racist as they come. Not in the same way as the black-white divide in the US, but in the sense of cultural arrogance and chauvinism. To them it's a matter of pride and patriotism, and they don't really grasp how it looks from an outside perspective.

Racism in Japan, I think, is the same. The average Japanese truly does not believe he's being racist. He sincerely believes he is upholding and preserving a superior cultural identity.
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Old 2020-12-02, 22:32   Link #3743
Cosmic Eagle
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I meant urban Japanese unfortunately. Academic high flyers in STEM to boot. Everyday people just are clueless and not used to foreigners, generally speaking, so they resort to stereotypes but those in academia are extra malicious. Although I suspect being in the ivory tower of the lab where you are king for too long does things to one's brain since this seems common to academics everywhere
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Old 2020-12-02, 23:33   Link #3744
Guardian Enzo
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Having lived in Japan for several years now, I would say a couple of things. First, it's a very racist society. And second, it's a different sort of racism than we see in the West.

I think a good illustration of this is the infamous ANA "big nose" ad of several years ago. Indisputably one of the most racist advertisements in decades, anywhere - awful. And at the time, it never occurred to the people who made it that it was racist. They just didn't think about that as a problem. What we see as racist they tend to see as so self-evidentially true (to wit: the superiority of the pure Japanese in every way) as to be above controversy.

The Ainu would take issue with the notion that the Japanese have no experience living in a multicultural society, I'm sure. But it's all relative. The response of nationalists to the Nike ad has been twofold - an abject denial that racism exists here and an accusation that America is riddled with it (as if the two are directly connected). To the Japanese right, their belief system demands that they deny even the existence of racism in Japan. Because if racism exists, it both invalidates their entire ethos and means all of them are racists.
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Old 2020-12-03, 03:13   Link #3745
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The average Japanese truly does not believe he's being racist. He sincerely believes he is upholding and preserving a superior cultural identity.
Wanted to add that I realise the above seems to state the obvious — no racist would think that he is in fact racist, any more than the typical bigot or homophobe would think that he is bigoted or homophobic. They always believe they have genuine and acceptable reasons for feeling the way they do.

What I was trying to explain, however, is how I think the Japanese regard racism. The concept is alien to them in the local context. The Japanese, I believe, are aware of racism, but it's based on what they see in foreign media, especially programmes from the United States, where racism tends to be framed in terms of white- versus black-American populations, ie, the legacy of slavery.

Racism in Japan: A conversation with an anthropology professor
The professor, John Russell, was urged to write a book. He did just that and "Japanese Views of Blacks: The Problem is Not Just Little Black Sambo" was published in 1991.
Quote:
Written in Japanese, the book was a comprehensive study focusing on Japanese images of Black people. "The prevalent belief in Japan has been that racism is something that Japan has been free of. Racism is something that you find in America and Europe, but Japan doesn't have the history and legacy of slavery and Jim Crow." That's not true, but that's the perception, which is helped by the fact that racism in Japan tends to be viewed, as well as in America, as a black and white thing.
This was a very interesting insight, and it was what led me to wonder where racism ends and xenophobia begins. It also made me aware that we take the term "racism" for granted. I think understanding racism — let alone tackling the problem — will require a very much closer look at local contexts.

Case in point: The French appear unable to understand why the Charlie Hebdo caricatures of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad are regarded as deeply offensive — and racist — in Muslim-majority countries.

It's a very complex situation to unravel, because I can see where the cartoonists are coming from. The French have a very strict understanding of secularism, as well as the separation of state and religion. Religion, to the French, is fair game for satire and criticism.

But that understanding is being pit against Islamic societies where the religion represents the entirety of their identities. To embrace Islam is to embrace a totalitarian approach to life, where the Quran and Islamic traditions dictate every aspect of your life.

This is a classic clash of civilisations. The French will never concede to being racist on this particular issue — but to Muslims in France and beyond, the cartoons amount to hate speech targeting a specific group of people, ie, it's blatantly racist.

So, racism is more actually much more complex than it at first appears. Racism in Japan needs to be tackled differently from how it's being confronted in the US.
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Old 2020-12-03, 11:41   Link #3746
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Case in point: The French appear unable to understand why the Charlie Hebdo caricatures of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad are regarded as deeply offensive — and racist — in Muslim-majority countries.
Disclaimer: I once used a "Je Suis Charlie" avatar on this site.

I don't see racism here myself. Racist whites in the US don't care if a Black person is a mainstream Protestant, an evangelical, or a Catholic. They're reacting entire on the basis of skin color. I'm sorry that some Muslims are offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but I can't support their views any more than I can support American evangelicals' beliefs about gays. I'm a proud secularist.

I'm wary of commingling racism and religious bigotry as if they are both the same. They're not.
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Old 2020-12-03, 12:01   Link #3747
Dextro
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I'm subscribing to what SeijiSensei said. Careful to not just add every kind of discrimination into the same basket. It's definitely not the same to discriminate based on religion versus based on the color of your skin. Even in France you could make an argument that there is strong discrimination against those of Arab descent that gets regularly conflated with religious discrimination but they are not the same thing.

For instance India and Pakistan both have, for historical reasons, large issues with religious discrimination.

That said: believing that a caricature of your religious figure of choice is a racist attack on you and hate speech is a bit hard to justify. Don't get me wrong, it can totally be hate speech (look at the black face comics in the US for example), but correlation does not imply causation.
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Old 2020-12-03, 19:04   Link #3748
Guardian Enzo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Disclaimer: I once used a "Je Suis Charlie" avatar on this site.

I don't see racism here myself. Racist whites in the US don't care if a Black person is a mainstream Protestant, an evangelical, or a Catholic. They're reacting entire on the basis of skin color. I'm sorry that some Muslims are offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but I can't support their views any more than I can support American evangelicals' beliefs about gays. I'm a proud secularist.

I'm wary of commingling racism and religious bigotry as if they are both the same. They're not.
I too think this is a valid distinction.
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Old 2020-12-03, 20:15   Link #3749
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I'm wary of commingling racism and religious bigotry as if they are both the same. They're not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dextro View Post
Even in France you could make an argument that there is strong discrimination against those of Arab descent that gets regularly conflated with religious discrimination but they are not the same thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
I too think this is a valid distinction.
And these responses precisely underscore my point about this being a classic clash of civilisations, as well as my point about understanding "racism" from a local context, rather than a universalist position.

Now, first off, there is no justification for the murder of innocent civilians just because someone was offended. The attacks in France and elsewhere, as a response to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, are deplorable and cannot be condoned. And certainly there is no equivalence between what the caricatures represent and what the attackers did. I am not suggesting there is.

What I am saying though is that the offence caused by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons is real, and it is perceived as a racist attack by some Muslims. It doesn't matter whether you think it's a mistake to conflate bigotry and racism — what does matter is that you have to understand that for some Muslim-majority societies, religion and race are one and the same.

Case in point: It's explicitly written into the Malaysian Constitution that to be Malay (the majority race in Malaysia) is to be Muslim. You cannot be a Malay Christian in Malaysia — that would make you an apostate, and you can be charged in a syariah court.

You are entitled to your opinions about the state of things in Malaysia, but you have to bear in mind that the issue itself is not up for debate in the country. Islam is part of Malay identity. So, to attack Islam the way the French cartoonists have done is akin to attacking a racial group. In short, it's racism to people like the Malays of Malaysia.

It's racism as well, to some of the disadvantaged French citizens and residents of Arab descent as Dextro noted:
Quote:
Even in France you could make an argument that there is strong discrimination against those of Arab descent that gets regularly conflated with religious discrimination but they are not the same thing.
^ They are the same thing to the Arabs who feel attacked. That is the point. You don't see why it's the case, precisely because your perspective starts from a different foundation, ie, the principle of secularism, and the principle of separation of church and state. As I have tried to explain, Islam is a totalitarian religion and tradition. To embrace Islam is to embrace it as the totality of your identity — Islamic tradition dictates how you are supposed to behave in society. I'd actually suggest reading the Dune novels, to get an idea of how Islam is embraced by many of its adherents.

To bring this back to the original point: The reason that the average Japanese does not understand why he is perceived as racist is simply that for the him, all Japanese have light skin colour, speak Japanese and behave Japanese. For him, there is no other race in Japan, so where is there even the possibility of "racism"?

To the outsider, it's an obvious mistake, stemming from an obvious ignorance of Japanese with mixed parentage, as well as Japanese of foreign descent. It's a mistake further compounded by the national distrust of foreigners — if you look different, ie, if you are black or white, you stick out as an obvious foreigner. To the Japanese, "you are not one of us", and so there will be discrimination.

To the Japanese, this is something so self-evident that it'll never be up for debate. To everyone else, it's racism and xenophobia.
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Old 2020-12-04, 08:48   Link #3750
Dextro
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I get what you are trying to say TinyRedLeaf but I still believe that you are making a mistake (which, coincidentally is the same mistake some religious people make): race and religion are not one and the same. And yes, this coming from a european background, I can definitely point to multiple times across my lifetime where someone was being discriminated against because they "looked" muslim only for the discrimination to magically go away when it turned out that the person was Sikh for example.

Or the other way around: people who are caucasian and just so happen to be Muslim but suffer no visible discrimination until people learn of their religious beliefs. Just look at the Balkans region of Europe today and you can see multiple examples of such issues (the ex-Yugoslav states for example).

This is racism. The act of discriminating on someone based on their looks. Discriminating based on religious beliefs is something else entirely. That's the only point I'm trying to make here. Both are obviously equally bad but, imho, there is much blurrier line on where religious discrimination starts and fair criticism ends. This is where many from the Muslim faith (and evangelical, christian, etc) tend to find themselves outraged at what you correctly named as culture clash.

Now there is a big issue around this whole subject in that religious beliefs, broadly, tend to follow racial divides as well. The Uighurs in China for example who just so happen to also be majority Muslim.

Japan is actually a curious case where religious discrimination is not quite the most important factor in the real issues with discrimination in the country given the fact that Japan as a country is not one of particularly fervent belief in modern times (they are neither militantly secular like the PRC nor a religious state like Malasia) so it becomes even more obvious that the main reasons people get discriminated against in the country is due to the way they look, not beliefs.

And btw I strongly disagree with the idea that the Charlie Hebdo caricatures were "racist". I believe this is really a cultural clash, one between European values where we accept that religion as a topic is up to scrutiny and criticism and modern day muslim values where such things are completely unacceptable. Ironic that this is the reverse of what happened during the middle ages (where the Arab and Muslim worlds were the drivers of critical thinking and the advance of human knowledge and christian Europe was suppressing ideas and criticism).

At the end I think we're just debating semantics here. If you want to believe that they are one and the same then by all means do so, it's not really a problem. It only becomes a problem when people believe that their faith is above criticism. That, to me, is a massive massive issue and one that throughout human history has toppled civilizations and actively prevent the civilizational progress of mankind as a whole.

PS: yes, I've read Dune and am aware of its ties to the Mulsim faith. Good books, I agree with the recommendation
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Old 2020-12-04, 10:30   Link #3751
Cosmic Eagle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Racism in Japan needs to be tackled differently from how it's being confronted in the US.
They could just.....you know, be taught not be an ass to others or harm them with the guide post being not do anything you wouldn't want done to yourself. I doubt people actually care whether the other person actually likes or accepts them deep down inside as long as they are treated properly and not given grief. It's a diverse world, it's not possible to make everyone embrace everyone but just don't act poorly against others. The usual examples of Japan style racism are mainly them using stereotypes in some trivial manner. That's petty stuff. Try group bullying at work or university against the foreigner and when something goes wrong, blame the foreigner.

Which just highlights your point that it's more xenophobia than racism. Same deal throughout East and Southeast Asia

Quote:
The reason that the average Japanese does not understand why he is perceived as racist is simply that for the him, all Japanese have light skin colour, speak Japanese and behave Japanese. For him, there is no other race in Japan, so where is there even the possibility of "racism"?
Because there are plenty of non-Japanese in Japan. inb4 the nuttier people call for complete expulsion of non-ethnically Yamato people from Japan



Quote:
I'm a proud secularist.
French secularism is more extreme than most if I'm not wrong. It goes beyond mere separation of church and state to no form of religion in public according to what I heard.

Either way, unlike what the neo-atheist crowd these days think is fashionable, discrimination based on religious belief including discrimination against the religious by those who aren't, is as bad as racism. It just doesn't have as catchy a word for it since "sectarianism" doesn't quite capture the meaning correctly (even though atheism or secularism is as much a sect as theistic religions. They are all ultimately philosophical views and praxis anyway)

Quote:
so it becomes even more obvious that the main reasons people get discriminated against in the country is due to the way they look, not beliefs.
It's not just looks. Other East Asians get it also. They just aren't very receptive to anyone behaving or looking differently. The stereotypes amongst the three East Asian nations also don't help
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Last edited by Cosmic Eagle; 2020-12-04 at 11:47.
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Old 2020-12-20, 10:59   Link #3752
SeijiSensei
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A tribute to Japanese engineering.

https://twitter.com/scott_kerr/statu...99932893782019
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Old 2021-01-26, 15:46   Link #3753
SeijiSensei
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These are extraordinary works of art, yet I have never heard of them before.

Japanese Farmers Plant Specific Strains of Rice to Grow Colorfully Illustrated Fields



https://returntonow.net/2020/01/25/j...t-rice-murals/
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Old 2021-01-26, 16:52   Link #3754
Guardian Enzo
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Wow, that's a new one for me.
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Old 2021-01-30, 18:25   Link #3755
SeijiSensei
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I'm surprised I've never included a link for Yoyoka in this thread, so here is her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWQ...ivfvB4Cbtm_17g.

She started performing on YT at five; now she's eleven. She's even been on The Ellen Show in the States; they flew her over from Japan. Here she is at seven:

YouTube
Sorry; dynamic content not loaded. Reload?

And just a few weeks ago:

YouTube
Sorry; dynamic content not loaded. Reload?

She recently took up golf.

Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2021-01-30 at 18:35.
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Old 2021-03-04, 12:43   Link #3756
AnimeFan188
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Japan’s Gun Laws Worked So Well They Need to Ban Crossbows

"Now, the Japanese government is considering banning most people from buying,
selling, or owning these semi-automatic bow and arrows. After a series of horrific
crimes using the weapons there are now pending revisions to Japan’s laws which will
limit their usage to sports and tranquilizing animals. The new revisions are expected
to be passed in the current session of the parliament."

See:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/japans...-ban-crossbows
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Old 2021-03-04, 13:15   Link #3757
Sheba
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French's fierce secularism come from the slow and grudging dismantling of the power the Catholic church held over the French public society, and the traumatism over the Catholics vs Protestants religious wars. Laicity is supposed to guarantee that everyone should be able to practice their faith in peace, as long as they dont practice active proselytism or try to grab political power.
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Old 2021-03-05, 08:06   Link #3758
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
OTSUCHI, Japan (Reuters) - In a garden on a hill, under the wide boughs of a cherry tree, a white phone booth glistens in the early spring light.

Inside, Kazuyoshi Sasaki carefully dials his late wife Miwako's cellphone number, bending his large frame and cradling the handset.

Many survivors say the unconnected phone line in the town of Otsuchi helps them keep in touch with their loved ones and gives them some solace as they grapple with their grief.
https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN2AX03J
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Old 2021-03-15, 11:14   Link #3759
SeijiSensei
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It's been almost twenty years since Nakajima Youko in Twelve Kingdoms was harassed by her parents to dye her red hair black. It's especially sad when schools enforce similar ridiculous policies.

Quote:
But there are surely few rules as pointless, divisive and cruel as the widely enforced regulation that Japanese schoolchildren must have straight jet-black hair, sociologists and activists say.

It is supposed to prevent rebellious students — girls and boys alike — from dyeing or perming their hair and encourage them to concentrate on their studies. But as with other rules here, including a ban on dating and a requirement that students wear white underwear, the result often fuels discrimination, crushes individuality and enforces a rigid conformity that holds Japan back, according to critics.
Oh, and those colorful pantsu anime girls wear?

Quote:
In schools, it doesn’t stop at hair color. In the city of Nagasaki, nearly 60 percent of 238 public schools demand that pupils wear white underwear, NHK reported, with one student telling the broadcaster teachers regularly check their underwear when they change for gym class.

In Fukuoka, 57 out of 69 schools surveyed by the lawyers’ association had rules about underwear color, the Asahi newspaper reported. Some schools even reportedly asked pupils to remove their underwear if they broke the rules.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...51b_story.html (may be paywalled)

When asked to remove their underwear, do the schools provide a replacement white pair, or do they expect their kids to spend the day going commando?

I bet those rules are applied more stringently to girls than boys.

Wonder how all those anime and manga high-school romantic comedies go over in schools where dating is banned?
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Old 2021-03-15, 16:35   Link #3760
Mazryonh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
It's been almost twenty years since Nakajima Youko in Twelve Kingdoms was harassed by her parents to dye her red hair black. It's especially sad when schools enforce similar ridiculous policies.
I'm amazed people here still remember Twelve Kingdoms. And at least Youko had the excuse of being an "Isekai baby" for her distinctly non-Japanese natural hair colour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Oh, and those colorful pantsu anime girls wear?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...51b_story.html (may be paywalled)

When asked to remove their underwear, do the schools provide a replacement white pair, or do they expect their kids to spend the day going commando?
Shudder to think! I don't think the schools have pairs in all the right sizes, so they probably just send for the students' parents/guardians to come on over and provide the right ones.

As for "colourful pantsu," that article puts the classic scene of Kaji telling Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion "aren't you a little young to be wearing that?" in a new light, when she was trying to see what she looked like in a bikini.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I bet those rules are applied more stringently to girls than boys.
Cui bono? Who exactly benefits from these measures? And furthermore, what exact benefit does it give anyone for all the students to be wearing the same colour of underwear?

All this enforced conformity can't be good for the mental health of the students. People are not factory products, precision-machined to be identical and fungible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Wonder how all those anime and manga high-school romantic comedies go over in schools where dating is banned?
Makes you wonder, doesn't it. No wonder there's a pension crisis over in Japan; the new generation missed out on all the practice at romance and dating they could have had in their younger days, and have no idea how to go about it when they reach adulthood, hence it becomes a factor when not enough people over there are marrying and having children to support the pensions of the older generations.

But once again, who exactly benefits from the "no dating" policy over in Japanese schools? People will develop feelings for others no matter what policies are in place.
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