Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Won't Miss #34 - Japanese politicians (reflection)

I used to read the news for Japan several times a week when I lived there. Now, I'm lucky if I remember to have a peak at "Japan Today" a couple of times a month. That means that I'm not privy to what "those darn politicians" are saying these days unless whatever is offered is so egregious that it crosses the ocean and taps on the American media's shoulders. Usually, that means I get a head's up when the Japanese say something really rude about another country (as happened not too long before this post when the governor of Tokyo insulted Istanbul when the bids to be the Olympic host were still in play).

The truth is that, while I don't miss Japanese political shenanigans, and especially  the "foot in mouth" disease, I'm no happier with the game-playing that you see among American politicians and it's equally hard to ignore.


  1. I have read so many articles about the long history of Japanese politicians making insulting remakes about political leaders and even insulting the racial demographic of other countries. Like a former Prime Minister insulting the US and UK by saying if they got rid of all the Hispanics/Latinos and educated the blacks they could raise their literacy ratings. He then went on to apologize and explain that he didn't think people would be insulted and that he should be forgiven because Japan is so homogenous that they don't understand the sensitive of other ethnicities and western cultures. He's made comments like this many times over the years about so many different nations/ cultural backgrounds and has been criticized for not making it mandatory to educate business on more politically correct/accurate information especially because Japan was a world economic leader.

    1. Similarly, I've heard insults which the politician later said were only intended for a Japanese audience and that foreigners should not be bothered by them because they weren't intended for foreign ears to hear.

      It's this weird thing that Japanese believe - it's like "never mind us, we're only talking amongst ourselves about you - you shouldn't concern yourself with whatever we say."

      There must be a cultural mindset that surrounds this bizarre thinking (and what you said, which is absolutely accurate). I'm not sure what it is at this time, but I should explore it further.

      Thanks for commenting!


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