09 July 2008

I Wish I Understood Japanese!

So... is it racist? Is it a mockery of Obama? Does it mean the same thing in Japan? Do they just like monkeys as much as their technology gadgets? What does it mean? Hat tip: The Democrat=Socialist blog http://www.dequalss.com/wp.


  1. Looks like a cell phone commercial. I don't know if they are trying to be racist or not. They might just be making fun of him in general which is okay with me. Of course this will be seen as racist though. Although it might be less racist since asians are doing it...it would be much more racist if any white folks were doing the same thing because like Obama says, all white people are pretty racist like his white grandmother, right?

  2. Your title caught my eye on another blog, since I do understand Japanese.

    I watched this video with my Japanese husband, and we both agree that there was not likely any intention to be racist. The point of the commercial is that everyone should "change" cell phone providers and use their company. The part where they show the monkey up close with the dramatic tear, he is saying "cell phone revolution".

    The Nihon-zaru (Japanese monkey) is well known and loved here, and probably used just to be cute and catch attention. They were definitely trying to make viewers think of Obama, but not in a negative way, I don't think. It seems he is well liked here, as Clinton was (and as Bush is definitely not!).

    For what it's worth, that's my two yen;).

    Sue in Japan (homeschool mom of 4)

  3. Catherine, I was a bit confused on it. I "hear tell" that Japanese people are really racist (I have NOT seen evidence of that, but I know very few Japanese people...) but then I see all these Manga cartoons with the big "white people" eyes and it doesn't seem like they're making fun of whiteness.

    And thank you Sue in Japan, for giving us a rundown on the translation!! Do they like McCain as much as we do, too? (not much)

    I wish I had some of those "VOTE McCAIN: he sucks less" bumper stickers. I wish there were one that said, "30% less evil than Obama. The better choice!" but that is probably too much to stick on a sticker.

  4. Ha, ha! I would get one of those bumper stickers too, if anyone around here could read it (or would care!).

    You know, I really don't hear a lot about McCain here. Probably no one pays any attention to him because he is old and not good looking enough! Back when Clinton was still in office I had a lady come up to me and start congratulating me on having such a hip and good looking(?!!!) president (this was after the whole Lewinsky fiasco). She was surprised to hear that I didn't share her sentiments.

    Hmmm... are Japanese really racist? Well, my Japanese Husband and my Japanese/American children are not. As a white American I have never experienced it. I may answer differently if I were Thai, Phillipino, or from the Mid-east. I think racism is just a very diferent animal here, with a very different history from our own. And, going back to the monkey discussion, it was the Japanese who were depicted as monkey-like by the American government during WWII. FWIW.

    Sue in Japan

  5. Thanks, Sue! I don't know much about Japan except what I've seen on Shogun and through news stories (not much!). I have a pen pal friend and we exchange small packages each year at Christmas. We get really cute packages of things like fish-flavoured curls (instead of cheese) or notes with cute monkeys and bananas. There is also this really cute "Anpanman" doll we have from years and years back. Oh he is CUTE!!

    Sue, if you have a blog or decide to get one I would love to read it and "visit" your family. Then I can be less ignorant on these matters. :]

    Bless you!

  6. Oh, and I never thought of Clinton as being hot, but I guess he's cuter than McCain. The whole idea of finding my political figures sexy is... not sexy.


  7. Oh my, I would love to get a blog. I think I am almost there, but I am stuck on a name of all things. My kids keep coming up with all kinds of ideas ranging from just too ridiculous (eldest son) to way too wordy (dear daughter). I think we are beginning to narrow it down, and once I figure out the whole starting a blog thing I will let you know!

    I am really enjoying your blog. Thank you for sharing about your life. I believe that my 5 year old son is autistic. We don't have an "official" diagnosis, but he has sensory issues, social issues, and very limited speech, so... our days sound quite similar to what you were describing in the post about not going out much. At least we try to limit very scary, crowded, unfamiliar places with starnge and sudden noises (and that is surprisingly more places than one might think)!

    Sue in Japan


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