Episode 347 – Blackness in Japan, Part 5

This week, we wrap up the series with a look at black history during the Occupation and Postwar eras, with some final thoughts on the series as a whole.


Yamashita, Sayoko Okada. “Ethnographic Report of an African American Student in Japan.” Journal of Black Studies 26, No 6 (July, 1996).

Yamashiro, Jane. Redefining Japaneseness: Japanese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland.

Kato, Tsunehiko. “The History of Black Studies in Japan: Origin and Development.” Journal of Black Studies 44, No 8 (November, 2013)

Okada, Yasuhiro. “Negotiating Race and Womanhood Across the Pacific: African American Women in Japan under US Military Occupation, 1945-52.” Black Women, Gender + Families 6, No 1 (Spring, 2012).

Carter, Mitzi, and Aina Hunter. Multiculturalism in the New Japan: Crossing the Boundaries Within. 

Russell, J.G. “Race and Reflectivity: The Black Other in Contemporary Japanese Mass Culture.” in Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture, ed. John Whittier Treat.

Some good news coverage of race issues in Japan: one article on Naomi Osaka, one on Black Lives Matter coverage, and one on Ariana Minamoto


A 1932 Dankichi serial that shows the stereotyped portrayals of black people.
A postwar cartoon by Endo Takeo, showing a crippled Japanese veteran being confronted by a strong, white GI. Resentment of the Occupation involved some complex racial politics in which the role of black people was not always clear.
Black Lives Matter protest in Tokyo, in June of this year. The racial politics of Japan continue to evolve. From CNBC.
Black Americans in the US Ouccupation.




3 thoughts on “Episode 347 – Blackness in Japan, Part 5”

  1. 1. So what was Nintendo thinking when they designed Jynx, especially its original design which had black skin.

    2. Was there resentment directed towards African-American GIs who were in relationships with Japanese women?

    3. I noticed that you primarily focused on Japanese/African American interactions. What was Japan’s relationship like with the various African states themselves? Japan’s imperial period coincided with the height of colonial activities in Africa. And in the post war period those colonies became independent. How did Japan react to that?

    4. Was there an organized anti-Apartheid movement in Japan? Did they participate in boycotts against the apartheid regime?

  2. I also wonder how Japan saw people of african descent in Brazil and other countries in South America? When Japanese people started migrating to Brazil, and returned, with mixed race children, how were they viewed?

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