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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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…? :/