Student, 15 (American)
I think it’s OK, depending on how Japanese use it. They can use it meaning “Oh look, a foreigner!” or in a more discriminatory way.
Student, 21 (American)
We have to take it lightheartedly. It’s not automatically an offensive word. Actually, it’s one of the first words people learn in Japanese.
It denotes people who are different. It can be positive, as is often the case with Westerners, or negative, often to Asians. Either way, it’s discriminatory.
Waiter, 30 (Nepalese)
It’s somewhat discriminatory, but I don’t have a problem with it. The Japanese people are very quiet and kind-hearted.
College student, 19
We use it just because it’s shorter than “gaikokujin.” It’s a Japanese thing. We don’t use it to set ourselves apart from others.
Generoso Florez, 73
Jesuit priest (Spain)
I’ve been here 48 years and I don’t have anything against the term, although the civil service is not allowed to use it in official talks and documents.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.