Black Experiences Of Contemporary Japan

1957 WordsOct 20, 20148 Pages
Chapter 2: Black Experiences in Contemporary Japan The very definition of ‘blackness’ is as broad as that of ‘whiteness,’ yet we’re seemingly always trying to find a specific, limited definition.—Issa Rae Although perceptions of blackness have changed considerably over time, immutable factors remain ensnared within it’s’ transformation. Many of these factors can be seen in the appropriation of African American culture and the use of black figures in association with negative realities, i.e. aids, which serve to reinforce the implications of blackness as an indisputable negative. Even though blackness remains inadvertently connected to negative aspects of Japanese society, this facet is rapidly changing due to the introduction and commodification of African American popular culture in Japan. However, this is not to say that blackness has not had an influential role in the progression of different forms of Japanese culture. It is through the lenses of pop culture (i.e. hip-hop, sports, anime, and manga), work and education, interracial dating and African American women’s experiences that I attempt to tie together the progression of blackness in contemporary Japan. Blackness in Pop culture While many view the interactions of African Americans and the Japanese as a fairly recent and miniscule phenomena, few studies have been conducted to uncover the depth to which Japanese history and culture have been influenced by African

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