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Japan’s Favorite Type of Foreigner

by Ewa Nowogorski

What is Japan’s favorite type of foreigner?

The straight and simple answer is a foreigner that doesn’t look like a foreigner; a person who looks Japanese, doesn’t stand out, and can speak the language. Minorities that are not Asian in Japan make up less than 1% of the population, and even with an increase in international relations and interactions, Japanese people are still very shy and awkward around obviously foreign people.

The first few sentences were a joke, but in all seriousness, many Japanese people actually love foreigners and feel honored that people from all around the world actually desire to come to their country. Many Japanese people lament being unable to adequately communicate with foreigners despite studying English for a minimum of 6 years.

In general, Japanese people tend to find light-skinned and light-haired foreigners the most attractive, especially if they have blue or green eyes, because this appearance is so different from their own.

Besides looks, behavior is also very important when Japanese people judge foreigners. Being well-behaved and well-mannered in public is a must. Loud foreigners who cause a scene are not looked upon nicely, and are generally seen as a nuisance. Dark skinned foreigners may be seen as exotic but slightly frightening.

But no matter what you look like, if you have the opportunity to become close to a Japanese person, appearances will always be secondary. Having a calm and polite demeanor is more important than anything, as peace and harmony is valued by Japanese people above all else.

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