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Japanese lawmaker calls Obama descendant of black slaves

JIJI

A lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party called U.S. President Barack Obama a descendant of black slaves at a Diet meeting on Wednesday.

“In the United States, a black man has become its president. I mean, he is in a bloodline of black people, who were slaves,” Kazuya Maruyama said during a session of Upper House Commission on the Constitution.

“People in the country’s founding era would have never thought that a black slave would become president,” Maruyama said.

Later in the day, he held a news conference to apologize for making what many took as racist remarks.

Also at the meeting of the Upper House constitutional panel, Maruyama asked, “What kind of problems with the Constitution could arise if, for instance, Japan becomes the United States’ 51st state?

“As the allocation of House of Representatives seats to each state depends on its population in the United States, ‘Japan State’ would probably hold the largest share in the House,” Maruyama said. “If so, someone from Japan State might become the U.S. president.”

It was then that he made the “slave” remarks.

At the news conference, Maruyama said, “I think I made remarks that I did not intend.”

He expressed his willingness to delete or revise his remarks after scrutinizing the meetings’ minutes.

  • Pink Floyd

    The usual bigotry from a Japanese politician, it’s becoming the norm now… also what’s the story with this obession around bloodlines with the Japanese?

  • Pink Floyd

    The usual bigotry from a Japanese politician, it’s becoming the norm now… also what’s the story with this obession around bloodlines with the Japanese?

    • http://damiensholland.blogspot.nl/ Damien Holland

      They’re known to be xenophobic and racist in general. Koreans, Chinese, black skinned people, etc.

      • jake Harods

        Ancient human belief that existed everywhere. Two things can be learnt from this, make it 3.

        1) Japanese have a dated mode of thinking hence inability of Sony to handle the prominence of Samsung (TVs) and Apple phones

        2) Isn’t Obama’s dad Kenyan? A lawmaker that has no idea of checking facts

        3) Kenya zero US military base. Japan, US military backyard.

        Bloodline obsession obsession might do more or less with crooked legs and bucktooth. This lawmaker guy cannot be serious!

      • jake Harods

        Ancient human belief that existed everywhere. Two things can be learnt from this, make it 3.

        1) Japanese have a dated mode of thinking hence inability of Sony to handle the prominence of Samsung (TVs) and Apple phones

        2) Isn’t Obama’s dad Kenyan? A lawmaker that has no idea of checking facts

        3) Kenya zero US military base. Japan, US military backyard.

        Bloodline obsession obsession might do more or less with crooked legs and bucktooth. This lawmaker guy cannot be serious!

      • Jeffrey

        “1) Japanese have a dated mode of thinking hence inability of Sony to handle the prominence of Samsung (TVs) and Apple phones”

        What in the world does this have to do with Sony’s inability to remain innovative? Just a bit of a stretch there.

        I think you will find that, like Apple, which is now very much in a creative rut since Jobs died, Sony’s decline did have something to do with Morita’s passing. But it’s really a matter of no company remaining dominant forever.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        In English, we say “it takes one to know one”: viz., only a racist can detect another such. However, Thomas Aquinas showed that we can only know virtue by connaturality (matching our heart with the other person’s heart), not vice. If concern with descent-lines is vice, we cannot know it by intuition. What statistics do you have? I have impressionistic knowledge that Japan residents, while concerned about nationality, are rather free of so-called racial discrimination. They do not divide up the human race by appearances.

      • blondein_tokyo

        Ms. Tsuchida, Japanese people do indeed divide the human race by appearance. It is not difficult to find evidence for this, considering that it wasn’t so very long ago that a prominent Japanese author, Ayako Sono, praised the idea of aparthied (keeping the races seperat) in the Sankei Shinbun. In addition, it is well known that the poilce racailly profile people according to whether they look “Japanese” or not. And finally, remarks like this one from politicians regarding bloodlines are not uncommon.

        Clearly, Japan is not free from “so called” racial discrimination (why the quote marks?). In fact, no country on earth is.

        Finally, “it takes one to know one” is actually an insult used by children against other children. It is by no means a logical argument.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        Unless I’m mistaken you say you’ve been in Japan for quite some time. If that’s true, then how you can make your last 2 statements with a straight face is beyond me. Either you associate with a rarified sub-species of Japanese people who truly fit your description; or you wander around with your eyes and ears closed.

      • Charles

        She’s ethnic Japanese so she has no clue about discrimination in Japan. It’s as simple as that.

        I’m (mostly) white, so if I travel around Russia, I won’t encounter racial discrimination, either. But if I said “Russia has no racism problem,” that would be ridiculous. Russia has a very strong neo-Nazi movement (ironic for a country that fought the Nazis)–I just wouldn’t experience it personally because I’m (mostly) white. For me to deny the racism experienced by non-whites in Russia would be not only ridiculous, but actually harmful.

        In Japan, the police engage in rampant racial profiling. Just ask five of your closest non-Asian friends who have lived here for more than a year. But just showing your ID is no big deal, right? Just show it and you’re done, right? WRONG. You see, showing the ID isn’t a big deal–but the J-police attitude towards foreigners IS a big deal–the J-police believe that foreigners have no rights, and that pretty much whenever a foreigner and a Japanese person have a conflict, the Japanese person is always right. The racial profiling is just the tip of the iceberg–it is a reminder that if a Japanese guy picks a fight with you, HE will win in court. If a Japanese person steals your stuff, HE will be believed by the police, not you. If a Japanese person kills you, HE will get a relatively light prison sentence if he gets one at all.

      • Jeffrey

        The Japan have always been one of the most xenophobic countries on Earth and it’s not something you can make go away with pseudo-philosophical platitudes. And what the hell is “impressionistic knowledge”?

        But otherwise, everything you said is complete nonsense.

      • Supammu Aruchaifu

        “it takes one to know one”

        Oooooh, sick burn.

      • Toolonggone

        The term “so-called” emphasizes your penchant for agnosticism. Welcome to the country of illuminati–or Creationism in Yamato island.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        England and America are said to be “two countries divided by a common language”. Now, it seems that writing in the same English language, despite probably similar national origin, we are unable to read out the same meaning I meant to write.
        I said “we say” “it takes one to know one” BUT I went on to REFUTE that possibility in the case of vices like so-called “racial discrimination.”
        This phrase, I learned in Physical Anthropology class, is itself “racist” or what we now call “racialist” because it assumes there are races (“white”, “black” “yellow” or whatever) WHEREAS in fact there is only one human race, as NHK TV taught my mother-in-law. Her careful exposition of our common “black” ancestors is one case of impressionistic evidence against racialist discrimination among Japanese (she is in her nineties). I do not have statistics on how many saw the programs or went on to believe them and spread the word. So my evidence remains unscientifically provable, merely impressionistic.
        Other impressions are that foreigners are gradually accepted if we cooperate. This never happens in USA, to my knowledge, except perhaps in cases that look like “the man”, viz. pinko-grey varieties.

        (As for “agnostic” vs. “creationist” I remain un-illumined. I trust the Christ after whom I was named has “other sheep not of this fold” [Gospel acc. to John] and suppose that includes agnostics and even atheists if there is some good in them. I cannot imagine the creator of the universe, the mere size of which is beyond my imagination. I do not however use that as a reason to doubt or fail to trust Him. I declined to take a degree in “Master of Divinity” and would warn those called creationists to beware of trying to control God by narrow thinking. The Lord is quoted as saying we can “go in and out and find pasture”–the sheepfold is not for use as a prison or a lobster trap, easy to enter but hard to exit [ibid.]. “God is no respecter of persons” [both OT and NT] so perhaps no respecter also of religions. Perhaps St Paul’s affirmation of salvation for Jews and also Greeks is pointing not to nations [which concept began in the 12th cent.AD] but to religious groups?? What do YOU think?)

      • Toolonggone

        Ms. Tsuchida, you are losing yourself in track through a rambling explanation of impressionism to throw yourself into the ‘Twilight Zone.” I don’t see your explanation of impressionism unseemly in the first place– not so much different from so-called color-blindness many people–especially among whites–hold against non-whites.

        Speaking of Japanese society, are you aware that many of those coming to Japan recently are tourists and visitors–not those who are planning to stay for particular period? Many of those registered foreigners don’t stay in Japan for long period(10years or longer). Their average length of stay is roughly 3-7 years. The government stepped up heavy scrutiny on permanent application process for foreigners some years ago, making it much harder to obtain PR than before.An Overwhelming majority of foreigners–regardless of race, ethnicity, and gender–feel that they don’t belong here because they are placed in the position of guest or outsider, rather than within the center of mainstream Japanese community.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        I disavow “impressionism” if that means here proposing the authority of impressionistic knowledge. I rather tried to use impressions only as suggestive of possibilities for searching for hard evidence as to the presence or absence of racialist stereotypes in Japan residents’ thinking.

        As for your second paragraph, I think I wrote above in this blog that Japanese ARE concerned about nationality, but are not [particularly] racist. Americans, for example, are unabashedly concerned about nationality. There, even a pinko-grey person from Europe complained he was hit with fists just for being foreign. This rarely occurs here!
        Please register your complaints with someone who has clout with the Japan government. I do not even have a vote. Yet be aware that protecting natives’ preferential treatment is never regarded as racialist anywhere in the world. One would need another logical and ethical lever to move that mountain.

      • Toolonggone

        I am not brining up an issue of racial discrimination in Japan. You are trying to spin it into what constitutes racism or what does not in regards to Japanese society. My answer: it does’t really matter where the host society is, and it doesn’t really matter what you call it. The way some people–including non-Japanese living in Japan for substantial amount of time–turn a blind eye to the ill-treatment of those who don’t have a leg to stand on–due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality nationality, is commonly seen around the world. You might want to use a different label to describe it, but that does not make any difference by substance just because that event occurs in Japan. Contrary to your statement, Japanese people are becoming aware of speeches/conducts that could touch on racial tension today, thanks to increasing visibility of diversity.

        Also, your statement “Please register your complaints with someone who has clout with the Japan government” clearly indicates your assumptions that 1) I am a non-citizen, and 2) I am complaining as a non-citizen because I am experience any sort of discrimination. Sorry, you are barking up at the wrong tree.

        Like I said, you are throwing yourself into the “Twilight Zone.” Speaking of “impressionism” gravitating you toward the universe of utopianism–or whatever term you like.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

      • Toolonggone

        Sorry, Ma’am. You still do not seem to get it. Why do you think I have to protest to the government in the first place? Is it because of racism? I don’t think so. I don’t see any merit in doing so. If I want to protest, I can. But that’s not gonna be racial issue at all.

        The article is not about racism. The title is misleading because Maruyama’s statement has less to do with racism in Japan, and everything to do with his chimerical aspiration for constitutional revision. His remarks came out of his cultural ignorance of national history (regarding and constitution, per se) he referred to. He suggested that Obama is a descendant of American slave(not true); Japan could become more active by surrendering its sovereignty to the US; and people would see Japanese becoming US president in the future should Japan become the 51st of the US. These kinds of non-sense are exactly the reason why other lawmakers got upset with his remarks.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        Excuse me, but I was referring to your statement 2 days ago: “The government stepped up heavy scrutiny on permanent application for foreigners some years ago, making it much harder for them to obtain PR than before. An overwhelming majority of foreigners–regardless of race, ethnicity, and gender–feel that they don’t belong here because they are often placed in the position of guest or outsider, rather than within the center of mainstream Japanese community.” Is this not a protest, or objection? If not, why did you ask whether I was “aware” of this?
        The lawmaker was internationally condemned first of all as racist, because he commented on the President’s skin colour, linking that with unconnected history because he failed to do even a little research.

      • Toolonggone

        That’s what the media–both CNN and Japanese media–did. Very few of those accused him of racist–except for one Japanology scholar. He equated Obama with descendants of African-Americans who have a history of slavery–out of ignorance.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        First, you are right that new laws are limiting “hate speech” against [at first] North Koreans [and by logical extension, anyone]. You are right to protest “ill-treatment” of anyone anywhere. I returned to the racialism issue because that is the theme of this thread.

        I made no innuendoes about your citizenship or location, both being hidden with your real name, etc. Merely, it seems an English paper scarcely reaches the Japan powers that be. If you can write in Japanese, please protest in a paper more accessible to them.

        Perhaps you are moving ahead to the later news of Supreme Court rejection of automatic doling of welfare services to foreigners even if they are permanent residents. Recalling my husband’s calm reception of what I thought was hate speech from a USA government official when we applied for his Green Card [he was used to it], I do not regard social welfare as a right. Husband had been paying taxes. He was told in a shouting tone that he could not go on welfare for the first 5 years. To me the mere thought of a hard-working person like him seeking welfare was an insult. Anyway, the dole is a last resort and foreigners have always been (as indeed natives are) threatened with refusal and warned to prepare their own portion. The problem is that those who have served two or more countries may find their pension payments do not pan out. Unlike income taxes, which are cooperatively collected (e.g., by US-Japan treaty, payment in one country is recognised and not double-taxed by the other), pension plans such as Social Security give one no credits toward foreign pension funds. Language teachers are warned perhaps by JALT, but there may be readers with other jobs.

        Finally, sorry, I do not know what the “Twilight Zone” is. Is it perhaps a USA TV show? I dropped out of TV watching from 1966-1980 for the most part. We came to Japan in 1985.

    • Forp

      The irony here is that east asians venerate white caucasians and hold them superior to themselves. Only race of people who generally view themselves as racially inferior. So much for “japanese pride”.

      • EmmaDelores

        Nah, they venerate white blonde women, not hairy men.

      • Jeffrey

        No. They lust after white blondes and deep down hate Western men.

      • Charles

        Almost. Basically correct but I’ll add a few more. They lust after white blondes, Japanese women, especially mid-30s+, deep down inside lust for white men (but are usually too socially inhibited/shy to come out and say so until after knowing said white man for a while), and deep down, young Japanese men hate Western men, and deep down, older Japanese men hate Western men less because seriously, who’s jealous of a gaijin making 3 million yen per year as an eikaiwa monkey when you’re a prestigious Japanese manager making twice that salary.

      • Jeffrey

        No. They lust after white blondes and deep down hate Western men.

    • Bá Thành Hoàng Khải

      How is pointing out that blacks were a slave race considered to be “bigotry”?

      • Jeffrey

        Well, first of all, “slave” is not a race and neither is being black. In fact, there is no such thing as “race.” Otherwise, it’s just more pig ignorance from Japanese politicians.

      • Charles

        “Race” is an artificial construct, yes, but no more so than “the equator,” “the English language,” etc. Even “Japan” is an artificial construct.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Charles

        You wrote that “there is no such thing as race.” This Means you believe that race is an artificial construct. You are right about that, technically, but “Japan” is also an artificial construct just as much as “race” is. In both cases, these concepts exist only because human beings agreed on them.

        The islands in the Pacific ocean that constitute what humans call “Japan” exist.

        However, the idea of “Japan” and the classification of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Hokkaido as part of that “Japan” is completely man-made. In nature, there is no distinction between “Okinawa” being “Japanese” and “Taiwan” not being “Japanese.” It is all an artificial construct (a construct created by humans). In fact, some of the far southwestern islands between Okinawa and Taiwan are far more similar in terms of geography, geology, and wildlife to what humans call “Taiwan” than they are to what humans call “Honshu,” even though Japan owns them.

        Similarly, as you said, “there is no such things as race”–it is an artificial construct. Sure, black people, white people, and East Asian people tend to have relatively dissimilar DNA, but there are occasional women from Akita Prefecture (the Akita Bijin) who are generally called “Asian” but could pass as white because they are tall, have big eyes, light skin, and dark brown hair, and conversely, there are a few white women with black hair who could probably pass as “Asian.” As you said, “there is no such things as race”–at least scientifically-speaking. If aliens from another planet came and analyzed our human species, they could easily come up with 20 races instead of three or four, no problem. Race is a completely man-made set of distinctions and judgment calls, just like “Japan” is.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Jeffrey

        No. Japan is not an “artificial construct.” It’s a physical entity. That’s like saying a Honda Civic is an “artificial construct.” Don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.

      • Jeffrey

        Well, first of all, “slave” is not a race and neither is being black. In fact, there is no such thing as “race.” Otherwise, it’s just more pig ignorance from Japanese politicians.

      • Pink Floyd

        idiot..

      • thedudeabidez

        Many –actually most — African blacks were not enslaved, pretty obvious. Pres. Obama is the son of an African father, not of African-American (slave descendant) roots. Either way, being controlled by oppressors with greater power does not make you guilty of anything or a “slave race”, It would be like sayng Vietnam is a slave race because at times in its history it has been dominated by China.

  • thedudeabidez

    “What kind of problems with the Constitution could arise if, for instance, Japan becomes the United States’ 51st state?”

    And which parallel universe is that happening in, Kazu-pi?
    The same one where aprtheid was a great idea and the comfort women were all just raging ho’s?

  • koedo

    I’m fairly certain Obama’s father was not a slave, he is from Kenya and educated at the University of Hawaii and Harvard University. Hardly the life of a slave. Furthermore, Obama’s mother is Caucasian.

    I have no idea what this politician is talking about and apparently, neither does he. The fascination and obsession with blood lines and ‘Japanese-ness’ is at the root of why Japan will never allow mass immigration. In a Japanese mind, there are only two kinds of people; Japanese and not-Japanese. A lot of Japanese I meet would rather commit national hari-kari rather than allow ‘non-Japanese’ into the country and society. I know this from my own experiences in Japan over 16 years.

    • JMIII

      You are correct. President Obama’s father was from Kenya. As to Japan as 51st state. it would be the largest state (if it was admitted as a single state- likely would be broken up into 2 more smaller states). And of course, then a Japanese person could be president. Even today, a natural-born Japanese-American could become president. However, the Japanese-American population is relatively small and currently there are few very Prominent Japanese-Americans on the political stage right now.

    • eifersucht

      16 years in Japan and you couldn’t even spell “harakiri” right? yeah, seems legit bruh.

      I could also grow potato in Mars. I know this from my own experiences in Mars over 550 sols.

    • eifersucht

      16 years in Japan and you couldn’t even spell “harakiri” right? yeah, seems legit bruh.

      I could also grow potato in Mars. I know this from my own experiences in Mars over 550 sols.

  • koedo

    Btw, my experiences with Koreans has been pretty similar.

  • GIJ

    Japanese lawmaker displays his ignorance to the world. Not only is Obama not descended from black slaves, his ancestors lived in an African country (Kenya) that borders the Indian Ocean and is located thousands of miles away from the areas of West and Central Africa that fell victim to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    • Hans Rutzigen

      There was also a slave trade on the East Coast of Africa. The slaves coming from East Africa ended up in the Middle East.

    • Hans Rutzigen

      There was also a slave trade on the East Coast of Africa. The slaves coming from East Africa ended up in the Middle East.

  • Treskatae

    I was annoyed at first, but even if it were true it would be a good thing. It just shows progressiveness as a nation. At one time black men and women couldn’t vote, use the same faculties, and further back were nothing more than animals in the eyes of many or most white people. Now we have a black man as the leader of the country.

    • Jeffrey

      “I was annoyed at first, but even if it were true it would be a good thing.”

      Yes. Were Obama’s the great great-grandson of slaves his two terms as president would be even more remarkable.

  • EmmaDelores

    Obuma is not the first black president, he is the first mixed race president of the US. Get it right ya’ll.

  • geraldshields

    To be fair, that’s is the truth: African-Americans are mostly descendants of slaves. However, in President Obama’s case, his father was from Kenya. To be honest, I don’t think Mr. Maruyama’s comments were racist. It’s just that he assumed that all African Americans were descendants of slaves.

    • Christina Tsuchida

      I agree with “geraldshields”: Mr. Maruyama was uninformed, but not racist. He identified with slaves or former slaves as a Japan resident with USA armed forces locating wherever they want on these islands, taking tax money and giving no vote.

    • blondein_tokyo

      What he said showed real ignorance, but I agree that it wasn’t meant in a derogatory way. He was stating the facts as he understood them at the time. Now that he’s been schooled, maybe he will actually do some research before he speaks to the press again.

    • blondein_tokyo

      What he said showed real ignorance, but I agree that it wasn’t meant in a derogatory way. He was stating the facts as he understood them at the time. Now that he’s been schooled, maybe he will actually do some research before he speaks to the press again.

      • Jeffrey

        Obama has been president for seven years. Rather shocking that Maruyama never learned about Obama’s heritage in that time.

      • Jeffrey

        Obama has been president for seven years. Rather shocking that Maruyama never learned about Obama’s heritage in that time.

    • AJ

      Sure, it’s not like Obama has written two best-selling autobiographies of his life or anything. He must be just another stereotypical African-American.

      …and they have Wikipedia in Japanese, no?

    • AJ

      Sure, it’s not like Obama has written two best-selling autobiographies of his life or anything. He must be just another stereotypical African-American.

      …and they have Wikipedia in Japanese, no?

    • AJ

      Sure, it’s not like Obama has written two best-selling autobiographies of his life or anything. He must be just another stereotypical African-American.

      …and they have Wikipedia in Japanese, no?

    • AJ

      Sure, it’s not like Obama has written two best-selling autobiographies of his life or anything. He must be just another stereotypical African-American.

      …and they have Wikipedia in Japanese, no?

  • http://www.aquamina.net Aqua Mina

    *Surely if a black person, a descendant of slaves, could become president of the US, then ANYONE could become president of the US?*

    I think any politician should not assume and in this age of the internet where anything runs the risk of bitting us in the butts later on, research must be done to get the most accurate information. I’m sure now he knows that Obama’s father is Kenyan.

    And then lies the issue of if Japan became the 51st state, then the odds are higher to have a Japanese president, how is that relevant to Obama who is part of the minority group in the US?

  • AJ

    I wonder if it’s very hard to live with giant slabs of ham where people normally have hands.

  • Jonathan Fields

    This is a non-story. He wasn’t really being racist, he’s just an ignorant dummy.

    • Toolonggone

      For the record, Maruyama is a well-known lawyer in Japan. He passed a bar exam in 1970, went to law school in 1976, and practiced law in LA until 1980. He’s been practicing law for over 20 plus years, and didn’t become a politician until 2007. Personally, I don’t think he’s a dummy, like Toru Hashimoto. But he clearly made a wishful thinking of constitutional change through chimerical idea of giving up sovereignty to the Big Brother. That’s patently absurd, and he deserves criticism for his total ignorance of US history on race and constitution.

    • Toolonggone

      For the record, Maruyama is a well-known lawyer in Japan. He passed a bar exam in 1970, went to law school in 1976, and practiced law in LA until 1980. He’s been practicing law for over 20 plus years, and didn’t become a politician until 2007. Personally, I don’t think he’s a dummy, like Toru Hashimoto. But he clearly made a wishful thinking of constitutional change through chimerical idea of giving up sovereignty to the Big Brother. That’s patently absurd, and he deserves criticism for his total ignorance of US history on race and constitution.

  • skattan

    Yet again, the incredibly low level of rhetoric that passes for debate in the Diet and its myriad committees is very disappointing .
    And yes, I am also disappointed by what goes on in the parliament of my native country.
    BTW, Mr. Maruyama, in Meiji era Japan or even 1930s Japan, people would never have thought that women would be able to vote, let alone be Diet members, ministers, or even, in theory, Prime Minister. Likewise, it would have been unthinkable for a foreign-born person to become a member of the Diet as Marutei Tsurunen did in 2002.

  • blondein_tokyo

    Japanese lawmaker inserts foot in mouth. So what else is new?

  • blondein_tokyo

    Japanese lawmaker inserts foot in mouth. So what else is new?

  • Anil Samal

    And Japanese prime-minister is the grand son of a Rapist of korean comfort women.
    So he is trying to defend his grandparent abolishing conform women.

  • Anil Samal

    And Japanese prime-minister is the grand son of a Rapist of korean comfort women.
    So he is trying to defend his grandparent abolishing conform women.

  • SpiderMars

    An uneducated ignorant comment by some nobody in Japanese government. I wouldn’t look to the Japanese for worldly insights.

  • SpiderMars

    An uneducated ignorant comment by some nobody in Japanese government. I wouldn’t look to the Japanese for worldly insights.

  • Toolonggone

    Obviously, LDP is in disarray since they had a train wreck over a male lawmaker who made a fake maternity leave to cover up his extra-marital affair last week. But this is even more shocking since Maruyama is a well-known hot-shot lawyer who has a lot of popularity and respect–and he’s not dummy like Hashimoto.

  • ishyg

    In a not-so off-topic subject, I think making Japan the 51st state would bring more problems to US than to Japan. For one, they should be taught to speak English. And then they’d need to learn Spanish as well. /jk

    Sometimes I do wonder how these Japanese politicians’ mind works, if it works at all. This is just one of the several reported incidents that a Japanese politician tend to blurt out WTF statements out of, I don’t know, sincere bigotry or complete naivety.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Bonehead.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Bonehead.

  • jason fells

    look blacks did not come from slaves. let me correct you all ignorant folks. yes a large number of blacks were put into slavery by evil bigots from europe who stole everything from africa. but not he whole race. the black culture spand the whole planet and built the most advanced civilization known to man. every other race on the planet decended from the black race period it scientifically proven the black race has the superior genetics and mind. white eupoens where in the dark ages living in caves into there went to the instiition of knowledge in africa to leran science mathmatics astromony etc the traffic light blood transfusion electricy magnitism the the science of levitation all discovered and invented by the black culture so ill informed people before you speak out ignorance do your research all of humanity is 99.99 percent the same you all came from the black race so stop trippin

    • Hans Rutzigen

      The Europeans purchased African slaves procured by other Africans. The Europeans built forts along the coast of Africa to facilitate the shipping of slaves, but they could not penetrate into the interior of Africa to capture slaves themselves because of diseases like malaria. By the time Europeans were able to overcome the problem of disease in the 19th century and colonize the interior of Africa, the slave trade had been ablolished.

  • jason fells

    look blacks did not come from slaves. let me correct you all ignorant folks. yes a large number of blacks were put into slavery by evil bigots from europe who stole everything from africa. but not he whole race. the black culture spand the whole planet and built the most advanced civilization known to man. every other race on the planet decended from the black race period it scientifically proven the black race has the superior genetics and mind. white eupoens where in the dark ages living in caves into there went to the instiition of knowledge in africa to leran science mathmatics astromony etc the traffic light blood transfusion electricy magnitism the the science of levitation all discovered and invented by the black culture so ill informed people before you speak out ignorance do your research all of humanity is 99.99 percent the same you all came from the black race so stop trippin

  • Doubting Thomas

    FWIW, virtually everyone on earth has slave ancestors.

  • Hans Rutzigen

    Slavery was common in Africa too, not just in the Americas. In the Roman Empire it was very common. For most of human history there have most likely been slaves. The odds are that most of us probably have some descendants in our family tree who were slaves.

    • thedudeabidez

      Slavery is common today. Look into the Thai-based fishing industry, human trafficking out of Eastern Europe and China, much of th civilian population under IS or until recently the junta in Myanmar.

    • Toolonggone

      Don’t forget that Obama was also born to a white mother from Kansas. He has a double consciousness in terms of race. Putting him as simplified category of traditional black embracing a history of slavery is problematic. Indeed, some African-American critics such as Cornell West and Ta-Nehisi Coates are very critical of Obama over his position on Reconciliation over race and slavery.

    • Toolonggone

      Don’t forget that Obama was also born to a white mother from Kansas. He has a double consciousness in terms of race. Putting him as simplified category of traditional black embracing a history of slavery is problematic. Indeed, some African-American critics such as Cornell West and Ta-Nehisi Coates are very critical of Obama over his position on Reconciliation over race and slavery.

  • JMIII

    “What kind of problems with the Constitution could arise if, for instance, Japan becomes the United States’ 51st state?”
    Actually, there would not be many constitutional problems. Japan could be admitted as one or more states. Each State would have 2 Senators and then these states would get a proportional share of the house of representatives. With its, large population, the state of Japan would have by far the single biggest block of votes in the house of representatives, but like any other state only 2 Senators. In the US, the upper chamber is very powerful.

    While there would not be so much constitutional problems – after all, the US has been expanding and added states as late as 1959, The problems would be more on the practical side. Language would be one issue. Another would be cultural. Legally, any American would be able to freely move to and within Japan (and Japanese could move to and within the rest of the US freely). Probably a big issue would be firearms. While guns are rare in Japan, America has almost as many guns as their are people. Private ownership of firearms is considered a constitutional right. This would then have to apply to Japan. No one would have to own a gun but with some exceptions, any adult would be able to own a gun if they desired.

    I think one thing would be for sure, if the US and Japan ever merged into one country, the rest of the world had better watch out. It would be the ultimate superpower.

  • JMIII

    “What kind of problems with the Constitution could arise if, for instance, Japan becomes the United States’ 51st state?”
    Actually, there would not be many constitutional problems. Japan could be admitted as one or more states. Each State would have 2 Senators and then these states would get a proportional share of the house of representatives. With its, large population, the state of Japan would have by far the single biggest block of votes in the house of representatives, but like any other state only 2 Senators. In the US, the upper chamber is very powerful.

    While there would not be so much constitutional problems – after all, the US has been expanding and added states as late as 1959, The problems would be more on the practical side. Language would be one issue. Another would be cultural. Legally, any American would be able to freely move to and within Japan (and Japanese could move to and within the rest of the US freely). Probably a big issue would be firearms. While guns are rare in Japan, America has almost as many guns as their are people. Private ownership of firearms is considered a constitutional right. This would then have to apply to Japan. No one would have to own a gun but with some exceptions, any adult would be able to own a gun if they desired.

    I think one thing would be for sure, if the US and Japan ever merged into one country, the rest of the world had better watch out. It would be the ultimate superpower.

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    Daniel Inouye was born in Hawaii in 1924, the year immigration from Japan was banned. He fought in Europe in WWII, losing an arm. He was elected as a congressman and then a senator from Hawaii, became the president pro tempore of the Senate, making him third in the presidential line of succession after the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. When he died his body lay in state at the United States Capitol rotunda, only one of 31 people in the US to do so, and the only Asian.

    Takahashi Korekiyo was born in Tokyo and as a poor young samurai in the Meiji era longing to find out about the West, he went to Oakland California as an indentured servant – more or less a slave. (According to The North American Review, Jan 1922, he thought he was going to California to learn English). After returning to Japan he eventually became Prime Miniter for a very short stint, but his main contribution was as finance minister, putting the country on a sound modern financial footing, not unlike Alexander Hamilton did for the US. While serving as finance minister, Takahashi was tragically assasinated in the attempted military coup of February 26 ,1936, which although failed due to opposition from the Showa Emporer, effectively ended civilian rule in Japan and set the stage for unbridled military adventurism. Oddly, Takahashi Korekiyo is not remembered at Yasukuni, despite dying from military action while serving his country.

    I don’t know exactly what logical point, if any, Maruyama was trying to make – he might just have been giving spontaneous voice to his feelings. But I’ll buck the trend and guess that he felt what he said in a positive way – that democracy can now span racial boundaries in the US, and that he respects that and values US-Japan friendship and alliance.

    • thedudeabidez

      Well said. i was also thinking of Inoue.

    • thedudeabidez

      You should submit this as a proper letter to the editor; would be nice to see in print.

    • thedudeabidez

      You should submit this as a proper letter to the editor; would be nice to see in print.

    • thedudeabidez

      You should submit this as a proper letter to the editor; would be nice to see in print.

  • camnai

    I can’t tell the context of his remarks from the story, but outside of the fact that he’s factually wrong, as Obama’s father was not an American, he seems to be saying something that is true: the founding fathers of the U.S. never dreamed a Black man would become president. There are still a large number of Americans even today who refuse to believe that this has actually happened. Of course, the founding fathers also never dreamed anyone from Texas or California would become president, because those areas were part of Mexico then.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • gromprz

    There cannot be a more idiotic and ignorant Japanese than this subject. Obama’s mother is a white American woman and his father was an African born and raised in Kenya; thus, nobody in his family is or was a slave or descendant of a slave.

  • John Davis

    LDP politicians are SOOOOOOO out of the real world.

  • jam awns

    Mr. Maruyama should resign because of his stupidity and immaturity rather than his misleading words. I am afraid of such a person who joins in LDP to discuss domestic and international policy and JPN constitution revision.
    I know he had no intention of any discrimination. However, he is seriously lazy learner and immature stupid politician. He still did not know the world common sense that Mr. Obama is not slave offspring. Moreover, 51st state joke was told over a decade ago and any president shouldn’t be existed, who would elaborately bring national interests to his/her own hometown. Moreover, he has never understand ‘National Polity’, which is equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the U.S. as the Imperial Household for Japan.

  • Johan

    Obama es Negro, EEUU is the Devil, USA People Dummy….

  • createpeace

    Mr. Maruyama talked about the history of US and he showed respect for Mr. M.L.King, black and US who dynamically changes and makes a progress. This article seems to reffer a tv tabloid news program which cut and paste the politician’s word as if he said astonishing thing. The edit was done with some intention to mislead people.

    • DiiPo

      it’s DR. M.L KING, Not MR.

      • createpeace

        thanks. i had read wiki and been wondering which was correct. in japan, he is called as a preacher, preist or minister, which is the same one word in japanese.

  • roo

    Hi, I’m Japanese living in “stralia and uhm…I think what he actually said in Japanese sounds more like “Black people used be treated as slaves”, and then goes like “But, now days, they can even be a president of the US”. So, he is basically evaluating the system of the US. OI, MATES, HAVE YOU EVEN READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE WRITTEN IN JAPANESE…? :/