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Embedded Racism: Japan's Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination

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  • Oguri’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” becomes a movie, with parody cartoon about the “Darling Dream” being sold by all this

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 31st, 2009

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    Hi Blog.  I want to offer my congratulations to Oguri Saori, very successful author of the “Darling wa Gaikokujin” series (translated as “My Darling is a Foreigner”, but officially subtitled “My Darling is Ambidextrous”), for the news just out this month that the first book in the series will be made into a live-action movie (starring Inoue Mao and Jonathan Share as Saori and Tonii respectively).  The empire built upon the dream being sold to Japanese women for marrying a white foreigner keeps on gathering strength.  See the movie trailer here.

    More interesting to me is the mutation of the Tonii character.  It’s apparently based upon Tony Laszlo, one-time unicyclist, “journalist”, “activist” and self-proclaimed leader of unregistered NGO “Issho Kikaku” (a long-defunct group — you can’t even find their once-copious archives on the Wayback Machine because they have been blocked by the site owner — see what’s left of it at, and now happy multimillionaire thanks to his partnership with and characterization by his very talented wife.

    Although portrayed in the movie by the very handsome and disarming Jonathan as a “grass-eating man”, Tonii in real life is not as he is cartooned.  Laszlo is a big fan of putting his funds into threatening lawsuits, for one thing.  And of deleting internet archives.  And more.

    It just so happens I found a cartoon parodying this phenomenon of the contrasts.  As the last post on for this decade, enjoy.

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo, wishing everyone a happy new year.  For Oguri Saori, it looks to be a fine one indeed, so, again, congratulations.

    (click on image to expand in your browser)


    13 Responses to “Oguri’s “Darling wa Gaikokujin” becomes a movie, with parody cartoon about the “Darling Dream” being sold by all this”

    1. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      As the last post on for this century, enjoy.

      Debito, you’re taking a 90-year vacation starting tomorrow!?

      I beg you to reconsider! You deserve some time off at least until next year or maybe next decade. But then we need you back on the job!

      — D’oh!

    2. Andy Says:


      I’m looking forward to this movie. With as many negative stereotypes as there are in the J-media regarding interracial relationships (with the foreign spouse often being portrayed as abusive, etc.), I think this movie will help advance the image of foreigners and interracial relationships with the J-public.

    3. jim Says:

      this type of movie is long overdue in japan, and hopefully the japanese public can see that NJ are real people too and not weirdo aliens.

      — It would help if the story was based upon an actual person, though.

    4. Laura Says:

      There should be a cartoon out there about foreign wives and Japanese husbands. I`d read that one.

    5. Tony In Saitama Says:

      While the subject may not be perfect, it is probably (would have to see the movie to make a final decision, but the trailer you link to seems saccharine sufficient) the most positive press we foreign spouses have got in a long time here, and may be the best we get for a while to come. (Although Dana Carver in the Softbank ads gets an honourable mention for normalising non-japanese members of japanese families, wierd though the setting is… and Tommy Lee Jones in the Boss ads)

    6. Michael Weidner Says:

      Tony – Just so you know….Tommy Lee Jones is actualy portrayed (as a character anyway) to be an *actual* Alien…..from outer space….

      At least in one of the commercials in the series anyway….

    7. Karl Says:

      I’m not drawing conclusions, but I would point out that Dana Carver in the Softbank ads is a normalized non-Japanese member of a family where the father is a dog.

      At any rate, one of the things that struck me about Darling wa Gaikokujin was how sometimes the author attributed certain personality quirks to her husband being foreign rather than just being part of his unique personality. What I fear is that people will start thinking that all white gaikokujin are just like Tonii by default.

    8. Chris Says:

      I agree. Having read the manga, some of the stuff written is often confused to be cultural when it is just Tony being himself. An example being the story about calling your wife “honey” or the like.
      Tony tut-tuts Saori and says “we stopped doing that in the 1950s”. And she takes it at face value.
      Maybe it’s a Canadian thing now, but nearly all the couples I know (including myself) use pet names.

      Yeah that’s a really simple example, but it’s the one that comes to mind first.

      — How about the Tonii character going all spastic about pizza? Even the Laszlo I knew didn’t do that.

    9. jonholmes Says:

      I ve only seen the trailer, but Tonii seems to smile alot, and get excited quite animatedly.

      “Genki Gaijin” stereotype so known and beloved on Eikaiwa owners and jaded students in search of entertainment?

      I m probably being too cynical; its a step in the right direction, albeit a tad cheesy.

    10. Jeremy Says:

      The actor has really skinny arms. As in, nearly as skinny as the actress. Dunno anything about the real guy, but it seems like this movie has taken some liberties with the truth. Which is fine, you can’t expect real life to be a romantic comedy, and it does have to please a certain demographic that will want to watch it.

      All I can say is, let’s hope it’s a worthwhile vehicle for further mainstreaming foreign dudes. Like the commenter above says, if the ‘genki gaijin’ stereotype is the worst it can be accused of, that’s not so bad.

      — Girly “grass-eating men” sell to the girlies.

      And my goodness, the apartment and living environment look so clean and pastel! Romantic comedy indeed.

    11. jonholmes Says:

      I’m not so sure if girly grass eating men really do sell to the girlies. Well, it depends what kind of girl. Homely types, maybe.

      I thought “herbivore men” in Japan were not interested in girls, and women were recently bemoaning how “weak” men had become (?)

      Having spent 3-4 evenings a week in Japanese gyms for the last ten years eliminating comments of how skinny I used to be like the guy in this movie (and I now get compliments to the opposite), I think a lot of them still want “men to be men” i.e. “otoko rashi”, “sportsman”, “surfer” or other beloved studly male stereotypes. Stoic, manly providers who can endure the daily grind.

      On the other hand (again I am thinking a tad cynically), the guy in the movie is non-threatening and cute, providing a non domineering foil to the Japanese female leads’ observations (if the movie follows the format of the cartoon).

    12. Meat67 Says:

      The problem with stereotypes is that they are stereotypes, good or bad. Not everyone fits them either. For example, this Xmas, after Skype-ing my girlfriend from my brother’s place, his wife and he both made fun of me for the pet names I used and the cutesy talk and what not that that I did with her. We’re not just countrymen, but brothers, and we have completely different ways of dealing with our loved ones. I’ve had a few conversations with my girlfriend about this type of thing and she now (I think) understands that if I do something it doesn’t mean that every man from Canada will do the same thing.

      One other thing is the whole 外国人 thing. 6.5 billion people on the planet are lumped into one homogeneous group on one side and 127 million homogeneous Japanese on the other.

      — Yeah, but there’s apparently only one Tonii. And he’s a Darling Foreigner. At least on paper.

    13. ken44 Says:

      I find nothing offense about the trailer except the movie seems like crap. Can’t see the J-ladies getting too hot over the gaijin lead so unless the main actress is a box office draw of sorts my guess is this flick will tank,

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