Shannon Strombon
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.

Michael Wells
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.

Ikue Yamazaki
Housewife, 50
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.

Megumi Suzuki
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.

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