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  • Japanese TV drama Hana Yori Dango 2 depicts mugging by NYC blacks

    Posted by arudou debito on July 24th, 2007

    Hi Blog. Friend Justin just sent me something interesting, from a Japanese TV drama called Hana Yori Dango 2.

    On TBS on Friday nights (see information on TBS here and on Wikipedia here), it’s apparently popular enough to spawn sequels and special shows (although I wouldn’t know–I don’t watch Japanese dramas any more for the most part, as I find them low-budget hammed-up affairs with contrived plots).

    But one segment is of interest to Debito.org:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9WQMEsH1xU

    This has all the elements I really dislike about J dramas: Hammy acting (the protagonist’s voice is high and squeaky enough throughout that I wouldn’t bring any wine glasses near her), contrived plots (someone the protagonist asks on the street for help gets offended when she says “I am a bus” and walks away; yeah, right), and bargain-basement (more money was spent on the “Japan-nightclub-host” styled hero’s clothes and shoes than on the camera crew, it would seem). Even the gun used is an obvious squirt pistol, yet it scares away the muggers. Yeah, right again.

    But what gets me is not just the stereotypes of crime in NYC: It’s the fact that all the criminals are black (from the bag snatcher to the gang of four), using random profane jive talking, and assailing our heroine with a basketball (yes, a basketball, with added sound effect when it hits her).

    Why isn’t this worthy of assigning to the scrapheap of bad Japanese TV? Because you just know that if an American TV show were to do this sort of thing–make all the [fill in the blank] into Asians, Chinese, or Japanese (with accents or stereotypical features to boot)–there would be complaints from either the local anti-defamation leagues or even the Japanese embassy (cf. New York Senator Alphonse D’Amato making fun of Judge Lance Ito’s Japanese ethnicity in 1995–Time Magazine Monday May 18, 1995).

    And definitely a brouhaha on 2-Channel about how the West is oh so racist towards us Japanese, even sometimes used as an excuse to justify racism in Japan as a form of tit-for-tat (by people who would rather explain away rather than run a self-diagnostic and change their behavior).

    So fire with fire. If you feel like raising awareness about something like this, here are the contact details for TBS:

    http://www.tbs.co.jp/contact/
    Ph: 03-3746-6666
    email: opinion@best.tbs.co.jp
    https://cgi.tbs.co.jp/ppshw/contact/0074/enquete.do

    I don’t know the broadcast date for this segment, but if you describe the scene, your point would probably sufficiently be made.

    FWIW, Debito in Sapporo
    ——————-

    UPDATE: JUST TALKED TO TBS’S SHINSA BU (審査部) MR KATOU ( 03-5571-2265)ABOUT THE ISSUE. HAD A NICE CHAT. HE’LL PASS IT ON TO THE PRODUCERS OF THE PROGRAM AND WILL GET BACK TO ME IF THERE’S ANY FEEDBACK. DEBITO

    ================
    UPDATE TWO JULY 25: MR KATOU CALLED ME YESTERDAY AFTERNOON (JULY 24) TO SAY HE’D TALKED WITH THE PRODUCER IN CHARGE OF THE SHOW, A MR SETOGUCHI. HE SAID THAT HE SAID THE SHOW WAS UNAWARE OF THE POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS OF THAT PORTRAYAL OF BLACK PEOPLE AS CRIMINALS, AND WERE GRATEFUL TO RECEIVE THIS FEEDBACK ON IT. THEY SAID THEY WOULD TAKE CARE ABOUT THAT SORT OF THING IN FUTURE.

    WHEN I ASKED HOW PEOPLE WHO WERE COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSIONALS WITH A DECENT ENOUGH EDUCATION LIKE MR SETOGUCHI COULD NOT SEE THOSE POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS IN ADVANCE THEMSELVES, MR KATOU GAVE ME A THOROUGH BUT ESSENTIALLY LAME EXCUSE ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WHEN THEY GO OVERSEAS TO FILM KINDA FORGET THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. MY READ IS THAT TBS DIDN’T THINK ANYONE WOULD FIND FAULT WITH THE PORTRAYAL (HOW MANY NJ WOULD WATCH THEIR SHOW, AFTER ALL?) I SAID I HOPED OUR FEEDBACK WOULD CAUSE SOME AWARENESS RAISING WITHIN TBS, AND HE SAID IT WOULD.

    OKAY, THAT’S ABOUT AS GOOD A REPLY AS WE’RE PROBABLY GOING TO GET. NOT A WASTE OF TIME. THANKS TBS. UPGRADING THIS TOPIC TO AN ANTI-DISCRIMINATION TEMPLATE. DEBITO

    11 Responses to “Japanese TV drama Hana Yori Dango 2 depicts mugging by NYC blacks”

    1. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      You mean there’s a plot?

      The NY thing was probably to
      1) imply wealth – rich Japanese business woman with “foreign” lackeys (can they be foreigners in their own country?)and probably, by extension, snobbishness – after all, don’t all snobbish prats on Japanese TV speak “English”
      2) provide the mandatory “exotic” location that most of the viewers (remember, probably not geography majors) would have at least heard of.
      3) create a scene where the heroine is in danger and must be rescued by the Johnny’s Jimusho boy. So, it’s stereotypes to the rescue.

      The scene in question was from the first in the series, which meant it would have aired sometime in January or February this year.

      I’m a bit more worked up about a commercial for a kids toy, currently being shown between 8:30 and 9:00 on Sunday mornings, featuring a girl with blonde wig, fake nose and fake accent. Talk about training insensitivity early!

    2. Japanese TV Drama: Getting Mugged By Black Americans » Japan Probe Says:

      [...] Debito has posted this clip from the extremely popular Japanese TV drama Hana Yori Dango[skip the first 4 minutes to get to the interesting part]: [...]

    3. Bryce Says:

      Um, I’m not sure the anti-defamation league has got on to these:

      “Heroes”
      (Hiro Nakamura is an otaku. Like all Japanese males, right? And he learns how to fight with a sword over the course of a day or so. Because martial arts are naturally ingrained into all Asians, right? He does have an advantage, of course, because his father – like all Japanese fathers – heads a multinational and is also an Asian crime lord, or in any case, into something shifty of global proportions. Hiro’s father’s status provokes traditional confucian friction related to filial piety. But that’s okay, because all Asians have that problem.
      The Indian character is, of course, a scientist, while the Senator – the guy who ends up saving the world at the end of the first series, his valiant son (or is it brother?), the sweet but often helpless cheerleader and the evil mastermind genius are all white.)

      “Boston Legal”
      (There is a character who dates a Jewish girl and then is dumped when he brings up his political views on Israel because, “They (Jews) live their faith”. There is a character who has tourettes (I think its tourettes) and his twitches are the basis for many jokes, as is the alzheimer’s of another character – in fact they refer to it as “mad cow”. These are just a few examples of exploitation that make this show hilarious.)

      Firefly
      (The characters live in a world where China and the U.S. have formed an alliance. There are plenty of “Chinese” background characters wearing generic “Asian” dress and doing generic “Asian” stuff but not one of the major characters is Chinese or Asian. The only Asian with a speaking role in the whole series that I can remember off the top of my head is a prostitute, though plenty of the “Chinese” in the fight scenes know martial arts. Of course.)

      “Lost”
      (The Iraqi is in the Republican Guard.
      One of the Brits is in a punk band.
      The Australian chick (the only Australian on a plane that departed from Sydney) is sweet and natural and hangs out on the beach a lot doing nothing.
      The Korean dude knows a bit of martial arts. Of course. His father-in-law – like all Korean fathers-in-law – heads a multinational and is a crime lord. Naturally this provokes traditional confucian friction related to filial piety, which is only compounded when it turns out his wife has been learning English behind his back. Now he has two sets of status problems to deal with. But that’s okay. He’s from North East Asia. That is what he is meant to do.
      The fat hispanic says “dude” a lot, comes across as easy-going and has a somewhat clutching and raucous family back in the States. The guy with the southern drawl is untrustworthy and often immoral. The hero doctor, the often helpless heroine and the evil mastermind genius are all white Americans with neutral accents.)

      “Prison Break”
      (The Italian guy is a mafia boss, the Puerto Rican guy is a hot latin lover whose passion drives him to petty crime so he can afford to marry his little chiqita, and the guy with the southern drawl is cunning and immoral. The black guy had a criminal past, which wasn’t really his fault, but in the end made good.
      But what about the two whites with the neutral accent and the heroine? Why, they are all innocent, of course. There is an Asian crime lord employed by a shady multinational (I won’t be surprised if it turns out he knows martial arts) manipulating what is going on, but the real evil genius mastermind is a white guy with a neutral accent (well, actually he’s mute).

      “House”
      (The black guy had a criminal past, which wasn’t really his fault, but in the end made good.)

      “Top chef”
      (The black chick had a criminal past, which wasn’t really her fault, but in the end made good… oh, whoops, this one is “reality”, right? Much like all of those “non-stereotypical” families on shows like “Trading Spouses”.)

      24
      (Oh God, pick your terrorist ethnicity-du-jour. At least the president is black. Nonetheless, I seem to recall that he had a shady past which wasn’t his fault, but in the end, he made good. In later series it turned out that his white successor was an evil mastermind genius.)

      “The Sopranos”
      (I think this one is self-explanatory. The Italian American league – or whatever it is called – got on to it, but it didn’t manage to affect much change)

      Comedy shows like “Chapelle’s Show”, “South Park”, “Saturday Night Live”, “The Fresh Prince”, “The Daily Show”, “Everybody hates Chris”, “The Simpsons”, “The Flying Conchords” etc etc etc.

      And as we were discussing crime shows, have you ever noticed that most of the petty perps only tangentially related to the plot on American crime shows are almost always from some kind of ethnic minority, while often the “heroes” are predominantly white (NCIS), as are most of the victims and the intelligent master criminals (the crime show equivalent of “evil mastermind geniuses”) who the team takes down at the end of the show?

      I’m sure you’ll remind me that I should not be forwarding “tu quoque” arguments, but you did indeed claim that the anti-defamation people are all over this sort of thing in the west. They are clearly not. And a good thing too. T.V. would be a lot more boring if they were.

      As to “Hana yori Dango”, I don’t really care that the people who portrayed the muggers in were black. Why shouldn’t they be? There were black people in the crowd scene minding their own business too (the heroine actually refered to one of them in the beginning, assuming the chick that she said looked like Beyonce was black), so obviously all blacks aren’t criminals. Now the plot needed a mugging and it stands to reason that if you are in a nation that is foreign to you and you are mugged, the people most likely to mug you are criminals of an ethnic background foreign to your own. And it just so happens that people of similar ethnic backgrounds do hang out together – especially when they are involved in illegal “gang” activity where they are up against the man and need to find some sort of common identity. The dudes in this programme happened to be black. I suspect you would have also complained had they all been hispanic, or white. But then wouldn’t that make the gang mugging (or even Yakuza assasination) scenes I’ve seen in western movies “racist”?

      The “jargon” (the only “jive” word I heard was “yo”, unless you count “fuck” and its derivitives) was perhaps a little silly but that sort of thing is not unknown in western shows. The Sopranos springs to mind, but “Hiro Nakamura” on “Heroes”, whose Japanese is rather stilted – he’s either not a native speaker or is receiving bad direction – is always yelling stuff like “yatta” and “dai pinchi”, while throwing his hands into the Banzai position.

      I’ll grant you, the basketball bit was somewhat silly, but dude, this is a show based on a manga – and is it really that different from an otaku with a sword (Hiro Nakamura again)? Or a Korean who, like all Asians on western T.V., knows some martial arts, y’know, like, just because?

      So to paraphrase a stereotypically poor little (black) boy who was taken in by a stereotypically nice (white) rich man with the stereotypically sweet (white) daughter:

      “Whatchyoo talkin’ bout Debito?”

    4. Geese Says:

      Good Morning from Philadelphia,

      To me… the fault lies with the Black actors who took the job. Even though I shouldn’t, and because it is the internet, I can’t prove that I am Black, but I’ll type it down…and leave it at that.

      The first thing that needs to be said is that this is NOT the first time I have seen or will see, stereotypical portrayals of Blacks as criminals or something negative, especially in Asian mediums, Japanese in particular. It does need to be pointed out that in the actual Manga, this scene actually… why bother. Tch, why bother.

      Let’s get right to it. The reality is that Black people being seen as some sort of violent, stupid, jive-talking, and yes those fake ass fools were jive-talking. Any self-respecting Black person will hear these fools and automatically know that it is nothing more than a bunch of money grubbing idiots who care nothing about how stupid they make themselves look, as well as the rest of us.

      It is no different from the million-and-one, “profiteer rappers” who have destroyed Hip-Hop in the name of the dollar and at the cost of any chance for positive growth or change in the Black community. I am well aware of who is behind them, once you get past the gazillion “Black Record Labels” and “Indie labels”, the primary movers and shakers of this slop are big corporate White recording companies looking for the next big “Rapper” so they can shake the White community down for more money.

      But at the same time… I hear that these Profiteer Rappers are quite popular in Japan and that within itself is also a key contributor to foolishness like this segment. Nothing is more convincing, than getting a person to demean themselves and “prove” that your off-based, biased opinion was “correct and accurate”. Too many Japanese people behind closed doors of course, honestly believe, much like other non-Blacks, that every Black person calls each other the n-word.

      They are not there for the fights when two conflicting forces within the current Black community don’t recognize each other and the Profiteer slings his slang and gets reminded of how much of a fool and plague they are to us. These profiteers? They are no different than the Jaga of Africa who sold us into slavery for guns and gold and momentary power. What is more concerning though is that our attempts to combat our own people who have chosen to sell themselves and us, down the river with this kind of cooning, gets very little press.

      Since we know that self-control is NOT something Black people have, right? History shows that, right? Of course we know it is wrong and the evidence is overwhelming that shows how disciplined Blacks can be, from the Bus Boycotts of the 60′s, to the Manhattan Slave Revolt, to the organized national and international boycott of all companies in South Africa during Apartheid, to the Triple Nickel and Tuskegee Airmen of WW II. To Queen Nzinga of Angola, the Mali, Songhai and Ghana Empires, as well as the Ashanti. These are just pieces that show what is routinely and intentionally ignored in favor of Willie Horton, they dance really well, Tawana Brawley and the purse snatcher in the above J-drama.

      For every jive-talking ni**er, and yes I used the n-word and not that nonsense that is peddled by these same self-serving embarrasments who think they, or you, or anyone, can gain ANYTHING from using the n-word till you puke! For every one of these sellouts and traitors, you have either the Morgan Freeman character, ye ole wise, father-figure, I’z gonna get dat door 4 u, or…

      You have the Black political “Ambulance Chaser”, Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton-style Black man, where EVERYTHING is the White man’s fault, including the fact that I wanted the sandwich without MAYO! Or you have the Militant, angry Black man, the neck swivelin Black woman or you have the…

      You rarely have a man or a woman, who is Black, and goes through a range of different emotions, makes mistakes, learns from those mistakes, strives to better himself and makes something out of their life. You rarely have, portrayed in too many media venues, a Black man in particular who is flawed, knows he is flawed, and honestly strives to overcome his flaws. Even more rare is a Black man who actually makes good decisions and is honestly aware of his environment and his impact on it, how to change, shape and mold his environment. You rarely have RANGE in Black characters, male or female.

      But the reality and reason behind this… is because of US. We still seek a fair representation through the works of OTHERS. And that, is the real reason why we are still shown in these easy to use, ready to eat, pre-packaged, Boxes of Black people. Because everyone “likes” Black people, but not nearly as many “Respect”, Black people.

      And part of that problem, is because Black people have lost respect for themselves. We have lost too much respect for ourselves. It’s easy to be disrespected, when you lose respect for yourself. I am well aware, from the Black Tokyo board, to Outpost Nine, to my own interactions in my community away from this computer, that there are plenty of Blacks out here who actively put their best foot forward and are casually, sometimes intentionally, IGNORED… in favor of… Boxed Blacks.

      Until we as a people finally admit that our reputation is still mired in slavery and that our current generation of Black people have to acknowledge that “money alone”, will NOT change public opinion, but ACTUAL SUCCESS. ACTUAL PROGRESS, FOR THE MASSES OF BLACK PEOPLE, so that we can tell our own stories, through our own eyes. Till we finally realize that no one is going to tell OUR STORY, BETTER THAN US! WE, meaning everybody, will continue to see “rare depictions” of Black people, as people and not caricatures. And let me end this by saying, I could care less about what others are doing. If someone else wants to accept and promote stereotyping of themselves and their people, knock yourself out!

      But…

      Any Black person worth their salt knows and acknowledges, that we’ve been getting our images spoon-fed to everyone else on this planet by EVERYBODY ELSE, every since our homeland was destroyed and our people exported to all four corners of the globe. There comes a point when you have to accept that you must seize control of the situation… or your children will be typing this same post decades down the line.

    5. African Americans portrayed as criminals on Japanese TV Says:

      [...] Let’s put an end to racism. Debito has posted information on how to get your voice heard and help remove stuff like this from the face of earth [link] [...]

    6. X-Man Says:

      While you seem to be suggesting that the US media is immune to this type of thing, what I really think is happening here is that the chickens are coming home to roost. In creating America in TV shows, comics, etc., Japanese producers and writers borrow from American media. The American media (including a host of films, thankfully not so many lately) have certainly played up black crime. Ask someone like Spike Lee (who has continuously yelled about media portrayals of blacks). There is a real (perhaps irrational and pumped up by popular culture) fear of black crime in the USA. This is the foundation of the Japanese portrayal just like Japanese images of yakuza making their way into something like Kill Bill. Doesn’t make it okay, but to suggest that American depictions of blacks are just fine while Japan is stuck in some kind of time warp – well, you won’t get much sympathy from black activists in the USA.

      Incidentally, Asian American groups like “Asian Media Watch” have consistently found portrayals of Asians in American TV programs to be deplorable.

      Hint – Context will make people listen to you.

    7. Geese Says:

      Good Afternoon from Philadelphia,

      Although this topic has seemingly died down, I have come back to it to post this because I find too many Japanese willing to look at a few prominent Black political figures like Rice and Powell, as some earmark for mass Black progress. Progress is measured in masses, not minorities and if the masses cannot receive fair treatment in the criminal court system, then the few minor successes are irrelevant in the end…

      It has always been put forward how much more criminal, how much more violent, how much more sexed-up and savage, Black people are, particularly Black men. Ironically, during earlier mass media in the United States and elsewhere. Black men were put across as cowardly and inept, LAZY sneak-thieves!

      Even worse was that PRIOR TO THAT IMAGE, we were cast as the happy Negro Slave who sung spirituals and was more concerned about the welfare of White Folk than his own life. In the last piece of bitter irony, how can you have a “lazy slave”? The term within itself is oxymoronic, yet many people around the world have bought into the nonsense and present day Blacks whose hip-hop lyrics cater to Whites have now taken up the banner to profiteer off of this destructive stupidity.

      I came back here to post this small glimpse into the American criminal justice system. The fact that Lindsey Lohan has been given several misdemeanors while being caught with cocaine TWICE and the legal “limit” for a felony charge is .05 grams, but she was caught with .04, angered me! A LOT!

      There is a brutally long history of inappropriate sentencing of Blacks for crimes in comparison to their White counterparts and it is no secret of such things, but I find the casual dismissal by some, in this instance the Japanese, to be an almost knowing indifference of “Oh I’m sorry, never knew these things went on there.”

      Meanwhile I saw the headline of when the Black protestors were doused with fire hoses in 1967, it made it all the way to Japan, and there may well be coverage about the Jena-6 over in Japan now, but these… “willful lapses” are tiresome and give a very uneasy feeling. Here are some facts in regards to one issue that is hotly contested as I type. The punishment of crack cocaine compared to cocaine;

      Crack

      “Powder cocaine and crack cocaine are two forms of the same drug, containing the same active ingredient.”

      Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission (February 1995), p. v.

      ————————————

      Crack cocaine is the only drug for which the first offense of simple possession can trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence. Possession of 5 grams of crack will trigger a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence. “Simple possession of any quantity of any other substance by a first-time offender-including powder cocaine-is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum of one year in prison.” (21 U.S.C. 844.)

      Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. iii.

      ————————————–

      In 1986, before mandatory minimums for crack offenses became effective, the average federal drug offense sentence for blacks was 11% higher than for whites. Four years later following the implementation of harsher drug sentencing laws, the average federal drug offense sentence was 49% higher for blacks.

      Source: Meierhoefer, Barbara S., The General Effect of Mandatory Minimum Prison Terms: A Longitudinal Study of Federal Sentences Imposed (Washington DC: Federal Judicial Center, 1992), p. 20.

      ————————————-

      The US Sentencing Commission found in its 1997 report that “nearly 90 percent of the offenders convicted in federal court for crack cocaine distribution are Black while the majority of crack cocaine users are White. Thus, sentences appear to be harsher and more severe for racial minorities than others as a result of this law. The current penalty structure results in a perception of unfairness and inconsistency.”

      Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington, DC: US Sentencing Commission, April 1997), p. 8.

      ————————————-

      In federal court today, low-level crack dealers and first-time offenders sentenced for trafficking of crack cocaine receive an average sentence of 10 years and six months. This is:

      –only 18% less than the average prison sentence received by those who committed murder or manslaughter (153 months);
      –59% longer than the average prison sentence received by rapists (79 months);
      –38% longer than the average prison sentence received by those guilty of weapons offenses (91 months).
      Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. 150; Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996 (Washington DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997), p. 476, Table 5.58.

      ————————————–

      According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, only 5.5% of all federal crack defendants are high-level dealers.

      Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. 172, Table 18.

      ————————————–

      The Sentencing Commission also notes a problem regarding “prosecutorial and investigative sentencing manipulation. For example, because powder cocaine is easily converted into crack cocaine and because the penalties for crack cocaine offenses are significantly higher than for similar quantity powder cocaine offenses, law enforcement and prosecutorial decisions to wait until powder has been converted into crack can have a dramatic impact on a defendant’s final sentence.”

      Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington, DC: US Sentencing Commission, April 1997), p. 8.
      ————————————–

      So when someone looks at the Crack Epidemic that took place in the 80′s that “mysteriously” only landed large volumes of powdered cocaine into the Black community, and then the fact that for such an epidemic to take place on SUCH A MASSIVE SCALE!?!? Someone, at SOME LEVEL of the FBI had to be aware that gigantic shipments of cocaine were being brought into the country and dumped into the Black communities of major cities and converted into crack cocaine.

      When you look at the economy of the United States during that time and the issues around the country, as well as the various scandals that were taking place? It becomes easy to see why or how many Black would even bother to get caught up in selling drugs in the first place.

      The governments involvement with dumping cocaine into the Black communities of America was accidently found by Gary Webb, who has since been killed after he was attacked by the media for providing thorough proof of at least governmental knowledge and aiding and abetting of illegal cocaine shipments into the country.

      While turning a blind eye to all of this, somehow people thought that things would remain in the Black neighborhoods as if Whites were not buying large amounts of crack cocaine and would not spread it themselves in the mostly White suburbs. Kind of like the whole Sub-Sahara foolishness where Blacks were afraid of sand and couldn’t possibly have migrated OUT of North Africa as more and more Arabic Invasions and European invasions took place… along with the ever-increasing Sahara desert.

      My point is this… the relationship between Blacks and Whites in particular is a history of bad blood with so-called brotherhood, friendship, fair exchange, etc, never being kept. I find it ironic that Japanese people would buy into Blacks are oh so violent because this is what statistics say, created by a group that has never been honest with the people they are talking about, meanwhile? The Japanese refuse to admit to the Comfort Women scandal, including the fact that MacArthur was using them as well when he occupied Japan. So they want, as a whole, benefit of the doubt for them, while they ride roughshod over others…

    8. rebecca Says:

      I did a google search and came here after watching the first episode of HYD2 because it had rubbed me kind of raw. I wanted to thank you for the information you posted and for pursuing the issue. I write and speak Japanese very poorly but I will look into the contact info you provided. I really do enjoy a lot of things about Japanese culture (including HYD in all its incarnations) so while I know I shouldn’t take it personally, it does sting a little.

      This is a very complicated matter as many of the previous posters outlined. Portrayals of black men in media (I should say American media because I find British and Canadian media are a LOT more egalitarian) have only recently moved past the “obvious” black criminal. It is part of the product we have exported and it is being regurgitated in seemingly unlikely media like manga and Japanese dramas. The other part is the actors who willingly subject themselves to perpetuate the role of the violent black man. These types of people make dispelling myths that much harder.

      Other posters have commented on this but I also see some parallels with the TV show “Heroes.” Hiro Nakamura is literally a cartoon character, a naive otaku going through the world with child-like optimism. The actor who plays Hiro was recently questioned about perceived Asian male sexuality and asked to address the fact that both Asian male characters are portrayed as, for the most part, asexual. The actor, I think irresponsibly so, side-stepped the issue though I can’t say I expected much more from the actor who acquiesced to the role in the first place. However, the show does highlight the almost risible ethnic caricatures still alive and well in American media.

      All that to say, I think how you approached the subject was a step in the right direction. Just as many Americans I’ve spoken to see absolutely nothing wrong with Hiro Nakamura, I’m sure many Japanese people have no idea that the negative stereotypes of blacks have a historical context. Education is the only way we can dig ourselves out of the mess we’ve made.

    9. Its just a Drama and you guys are being over dramatic Says:

      I honestly think you guys are taking T.V. shows in general way too seriously. A drama by definition is supposed to stretch and exaggerate the truth. Besides in this particular case we are talking about Hana Yori Dango 2 a Japanese T.V. show that is based on a Manga.

      Manga’s are already over the top on their own accord filled with characters that are themselves stereotypical. For example, in this live action we have the helpless heroin [sic] that is in a reverse harem situation, the cool and condescending male protagonist, the irrealistic [sic] school in which they attend and their flamboyant outfits and personalities. What I am trying to say is that I agree Hana Yori Dango producers did show an exaggerated and perhaps false portrayal of blacks in their T.V. show; however, aren’t all characters in the show portrayed in an equally bombastic and stereotypical manner. One only need remember the art club filled with guys that have “style” and are running around in capes, do all artistic people act in that manner? The answer is no, of course. But, for the sake of the comedy in the drama then why not portrayed them as artistic freaks? To get more controversial what about the stereotypical depiction of the gay Doctor who ran for the hills and seem to get sick every time the girl reporter touched him. Do all Gay guys get cuties or act in that manner when touched by the opposite sex? They sure don’t, but in the drama this over the top depictions of characters in general is what creates the plot.

      Perhaps, it was wrong to depict blacks as thieves that talk trash-jive but let’s not put our selves in our high horses and claim that the depiction was completely wrong and offensive. After all, we all know that there are many black rappers out there that sing in slang and trash-jive, we also know that there are many black thieves in the U.S. as well as thieves from other races. But, we were talking about New Jersey maybe if it had been California or Miami they could have put a Mexican thieve [sic] instead. Furthermore, if Hana Yori Dango 2 was an American show it is true that more people will have found that portrayal of blacks offensive. But, it is a Japanese show and whenever a different culture depicts characters from another culture that is different from its own there are bound to be mistakes and exaggerations in the portrayal. It’s like a Chinese person trying to make chilaquiles (a Mexican dish). The food is not going be as good as it should be since it was a person from a different culture who was trying to portray a dish from another culture. So, maybe Japanese producers got the dish wrong, maybe they exaggerated on the portrayal of blacks but is it really their fault? After all, stereotypes are like legends they are essentially false, they spread around the world fairly quickly but there always seems to be some truth in them. So, yes maybe not all Blacks talk in jive and are criminals but the famous ones are. Think, O.J. Simpson and 50 Cent and all the other rappers you can think of. Besides, is only a T.V show; there are worst things on T.V. here in the U.S. to be worrying about Japan’s broadcastings. More over, will anyone object with the depiction of a Japanese person that likes to eat rice all the time or with the depiction of a Mexican that came to the U.S. without proper documentation? I mean not all Japanese people like rice nor do all Mexican’s jump the border to get to America but some do right? Its like the black guys in Hana Yori Dango 2 we all know that not all blacks talk in Jive or steal but some do, don’t they?

      Ultimately, people should watch T.V. Dramas for entertainment purposes. If you want some facts then you can always watch the news. At least in my part I didn’t feel offended or felt that the producer’s were being racist against the Black community. Besides, for a crime to be racist you need to hate the race and then purposefully want to discriminate and undermine the other race or culture. Do you seriously think that the creators of Hana Yori Dango 2 sat in a round table discussing how can they best portray black people? And then someone went I know lets make them robbers and give them a foul language that is how all black people really are, we hate black people and let’s undermine them (then everyone else nodded in agreement). NO, most likely what happened is that they were presented with that scene and particular characters. More over, since the scene was supposed to take place in New Jersey they thought Why not make the Jive talking, thieves, foul criminals Black? I mean surely why not? They could have made them White, Hispanic, Asian or Japanese right? But, they didn’t and I honestly don’t think they meant anything bad by it, most likely they just made the decision in a second.

      More precisely as my friend Casey who is by the way Black said, “people who get offended by stereotypes just want to take the argument to the third nipple”.

      -Gabriella

      –I SEE. SO ESSENTIALLY YOU ARE SAYING (FROM A HOTMAIL ACCOUNT, IP 209.129.112.3) THAT IT’S OKAY TO BROADCAST THINGS LIKE THIS BECAUSE:

      1) IT’S ONLY A TV SHOW, FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES

      2) IT’S AN EXAGGERATION, AND EXAGGERATING PEOPLE IS LIKE EXAGGERATING FOOD

      3) THIS IS JAPAN AND THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT CULTURE

      4) SOME PEOPLE, ALTHOUGH NOT ALL, ARE REALLY LIKE THIS (ESPECIALLY THE FAMOUS ONES)

      5) THERE ARE WORSE THINGS ON TV

      6) WHY NOT?

      CONCLUSION: IT’S THE AUDIENCE’S FAULT FOR TAKING IT TOO SERIOUSLY.

      WELL, YOU CAN CERTAINLY GET AWAY WITH A LOT UNDER THIS RUBRIC. I’M GLAD YOU’RE NOT A TV PRODUCER OR A NETWORK, GIVEN YOU SEEM TO LACK ANY SENSE OF AWARENESS OF OR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MASS MEDIA’S EFFECTS ON THE PUBLIC.

      I’LL APPROVE THIS COMMENT SINCE THE POSTER TRIED TO MAKE A COGENT ARGUMENT. HERE’S HOPING THAT RESPONSES (IF ANY) TRY TO BE COGENT BACK. FLAME COMMENTS WILL NOT BE APPROVED.–DEBITO

    10. Geese Says:

      Good Afternoon from Philadelphia,

      Where do I start? Whew… In all honesty I thought this issue would have actually run its course by now, but something told me this morning to stop back through here and low-and-behold, argh. That’s really all I can say… argh.

      Okay, soooo… all the “famous Blacks” jive talk? You watch wayyyy too much TV, entirely too much TV. In all honesty the term “Jive Talk” isn’t even used anymore. Debito I would like to point out that Gabriella could actually be a TV producer. A TV show here in the Evil Empire, for VH-1, was recently scrapped when the original concept of the show ran into a brick-wall called reality.

      The show was supposed to have a White, wealthy, bachelor, who was looking for an ideal wife. Now… sigh, please return your tray to the upright position and secure your seatbelts as this “show” was already set to tread in some “interesting territory”.

      The show was going to feature this wealthy White American man, going out on dates with a pool of potential women and as each show ended he would eliminate one or two women, till eventually he would find the woman that he wanted to pursue a relationship with. Now, this is already a tired concept from ABC’s, the Bachelor, so you know it has to have some new wrinkle, some new “twist” to make this VH-1 show, different from the ABC network show.

      Sigh, turns out, that this guy is heavily into Black women, Robert Deniro would be proud. Mind you, selective dating that revolves around Black women, by White men in America? Is always a weird thing to watch, especially when the White man is prominent and public. Many a White Hollywood star has claimed that they date and love Black women, however? Try finding a Getty Image, an AP photo, etc, of them, with their Black woman?

      Pfft, you could catch a real, live, rare Pokemon first! Much of it has to do with fear of their own White fanbase and not knowing how they will react. So here they have this wealthy White man who is going to do this show with NOTHING BUT BLACK WOMEN as his love interest. Now, if you’ve read enough American History, this isn’t a plot twist at all in actuality. White American men have been “sleeping with” Black women since slavery, and I use the quotes because it WAS NOT by choice at that time. However, prior to America’s existence, White European men have been marrying Black women long before any of the foolishness that goes on today came into existence.

      However, when the producers of this VH-1 series “discovered”, again the quotes are on purpose. But when they “discovered” that the potential suitors for their wealthy White male lead were all going to be, hold on now, prepare yourself! College educated!?!? DEAR GOD NO! Successful, HEAVENS-TA-MEGATROID! And, just breath deeply Debito, NON-JIVE TALKIN!?!?! EGADS!!!! No neck-swivelin, non-weave wearin, NON-BOOTY-SHAKIN!?!?!?

      Non-booty-shakin? Now… they’ve crossed the line…

      They immediately halted production and then ousted all of these women and sought out the most ghetto of Black women that they could POSSIBLY DREDGE UP! The incident ended up being reported when Black employees of VH-1 OUTED the abrupt change of the line-up from actual women, to gutter trash! INTENTIONAL, GUTTER TRASH! And bare in mind that that is the problem in Japan. Not enough Blacks or anyone else, TO OUT this kind of nonsense when it happens, but!?!?!

      Ahhh, the joys of sticking to stereotypes. When ya aim low, you’re good ta go!

      Mind you, even what I have typed; ta, instead of to, ya, instead of you, actually used to be called “code-switching”. Code-switching is a term in the American Black community that still exists, but has lost its significance due to the fact that Black Americans themselves have lost their own focus and ability to honestly assess our situations. Never mind the fact that much like the Blacks in the J-drama, too many present day Blacks have simply given up and fallen for the false promise of power and respect through money, settling for low self-standards and self-debasement.

      Code-switching stemmed from previous generations of Blacks using slang and Broken English, not “Black English”, not “Ebonics”, but the usuage of bad English or grammar, AROUND OTHER BLACKS! This was because of the fact that people have casually forgotten that it used to be ILLEGAL for Blacks to even have an education that extended past the 9th grade, never mind getting into college, etc. When entering into a place of employment, or as the situation deemed necessary, especially around unknown groups of people, be they White or Black. Proper English was spoken, because Blacks understood that most of society, if not the world, honestly believed that Blacks were mentally inferior and stupid…

      Much like they believed White Americans and the stereotype of Blacks being “lazy”, while conveniently forgetting that a “lazy slave” is an oxymoron. The only lazy slave is a dead slave. The continued exemption of “the famous Blacks”, as Gabi put it, still being the “entertainer” is still popular and acceptable. Entertainers are here to amuse you, make you feel better, distract you from everyday life, much like the class clown. But in the grand scheme of things, the class clown is unimportant to what matters in life, and is easily expendable, though they were “quite entertaining”.

      So, Dr. Percy Julian, Louis Latimer, Madam CJ Walker, the Tuskegee Airman of WW II, the Triple Nickel Unit of WW II, Dr. Cornell West, Nelson Mandela, Queen Ann Nzinga of Angola, Shaka Zula, yeah that guy was a reallllll jive-talker! The on-again, off-again, disputed General Hannibal of Carthage, whose race changes from year-to-year, much like the whole sub-sahara thing and the claim that somehow sand was enough to prevent Blacks from living in present day Egypt while the present day Egyptians who claim to be the people of that land, still can’t explain anything that their “so-called ancestors” created, besides saying they weren’t “Nubians”.

      Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, C. Delores Tucker, who correctly predicted that gangsta rap would send THE WRONG MESSAGE to people with little to no contact with Blacks. Cool Herc, who used rap music as a means to end gang violence in NYC back in the late 70′s. Shirley Chisholm and you need to look her up with the fallacy of Hillary Clinton and the absolute lack of public knowledge about Mrs. Chisholm… here is a link, please be sure to read the entire entry and understand how little press she, like many Black American scholars, intellectuals, inventors, writers, scientist, etc. Observe how little press is given to her and them;
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Chisholm

      Rounding out this extremely short list that I have chosen to keep short, that had taken many East Asians off-guard when I ask them about ANY of these people, is Dr. Charles Richard Drew whose work with plasma is literally found everywhere on this planet. W.E.B. Du Bois and Dr. John Hope Franklin, noted historian, as well as controversial psychiatrist Dr. Francis Cress Welsing… and her theory on Color Confrontation and White Supremacy.

      These men and women, are rarely named, sometimes known, yet ignored. Some, such as Lewis Lattimer, have many patents, but as usual, you must work hard to “verify” that anything Blacks have done is “true and accurate”, while one must wait till someone White finally can no longer keep the lie going and finally out of “the goodness of their heart”, they confess that their scientific and intellectual works weren’t really theirs or some other deep dark secret is brought to light that tarnishes the achievement or legacy.

      Among these legacies are/is, the likes of Thomas Jefferson who had slaves but talked a great game of freedom. Abraham Lincoln, who is noted for stating that he would not free not one slave if he had a choice. And, many White American historians are now finding that White Anti-slave Abolishinist, while protesting slavery in America, were actively involved in the ivory trade in Africa which brutally killed Blacks and ended in slavery, usually transporting them as far as India, if they didn’t die carrying the ivory tusks from the inland to the coastline.

      I mention these last parts because it is, what it is. While Blacks, American or not, must carry 3 forms of “valid intellectual ID”, have 2 proofs of purchase and the secret decoder ring to verify that they have actually achieved “some works” of willful intelligence. Whites, as well as Asians, are heaped, lauded and praised for how smart and inventive they are.

      As I stated before, this issue cannot be solved by anyone except us and until we actively push ourselves, our communities and our children to address this situation, then the madness and misinformation will continue… and for the record, Blacks have strived, fought and reached those goals, only to have them willfully, purposefully destroyed by petty Whites, literally. By huge shifts in socio-economic and political climate, such as the Great Depression, the End of the Reconstruction Era, the End of the Industrial Age and numerous other periods in history, such as the end of WW II, where White suburbia was created by the Federal Housing Authority, while Blacks were denied access and loans.

      These things are intentionally ignored, and as bizarre as it sounds, RIGHTFULLY SO! When you build your foundation on talking about democracy, “freedom”, all men created equal and some other spiel, while you wiped out the people who were originally here…?

      How can a country take up arms against the WW II racial superiority beliefs of Germany and Japan, meanwhile non-White Americans from their own country can’t even get the same return on their tax dollars as their White American counterparts. How ironic is that, as a Black American you pay taxes, and your tax dollars will go to better White homes, schools, roads and communities, while you battle the evil “racist” of Germany and Japan… for Freedom!

      -_- Yeah I’d try to cover up a track or two just with that last paragraph alone, never mind that people seem to forget that Blacks DIDN’T ORIGINALLY SPEAK ENGLISH, so surely we were taught at the best schools in all of the colonies to further enhance our fine “colonial”… “experience”…

      That, is the paradox of America. As for Japan… they have Bobby, who is now a citizen. Much like the clip of the drama with the bad acting Blacks in it doing all the things stereotyped for; stealing, running fast, talkin slick broken English, being fat and lazy, big-buffon-dim-witted, DOLTS!

      Ironically, these are things that the Japanese DON’T HAVE TO SHOW, it is what they CHOOSE to show, and it is their choice to do so. I just hope that they can accept others choices on how they depict them…

    11. Andrew Smallacombe Says:

      It’s been a while since this article came up, but I couldn’t help but notice that a series of programs on the weekday 6:30 slot seems to frequently feature (almost certainly American) white women or black men intimidating and punishing (or occasionally rewarding) Japanese “tarento” for the right or wrong answer.
      Why does the slapper have to be a caucasian woman? Why does the big snarly guy have to be an African American? Is it somehow better comedy effect?
      The mind boggles.

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