by Ewa Nowogorski
You see and hear about Japanese idolizing foreigners all the time. After all, they try to copy a foreigner’s appearance by dyeing their hair, brandishing western goods on their wallets, and eat more western foods. They envy the height of foreign men and women, and wish the bridge of their noses was as high.
But what do Japanese people think about foreigners living in their country, working and studying beside them? Some are afraid of foreigners, some like them, some hate them. It is a pretty big mix of different emotions. Because there are so few foreigners in Japan who actually look like foreigners, encounter with foreigners for Japanese people are few, and each encounter tends to become an experience that is generalized.
A lot of people understandably dislike foreigners who do not abide by Japanese customs and rules. Others respect foreigners who understand Japanese culture better than Japanese. Younger people tend to be more accepting of foreigners, and some old people cannot forget the war atrocities that they experienced when they were children, and tend to extend their hatred of those directly involved to other unrelated people just because of a similar physical quality.
In America, the view of Japanese people living there is quite positive. Japanese people are quite rare, so foreigners tend to get excited when they hear that a neighbor is Japanese. Americans love Japanese food and inventions, so of course they will love the people as well.