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A few years back, I wrote a piece for Black History Month in which I challenged people of African descent living here in Japan to “be black history.” I implored them not to necessarily dwell on the past but to: “Dwell on the now instead. Because everything you do now becomes history and herstory the moment after you’ve done it, and that deed is potentially historic. Particularly here. The opportunities to be a trailblazer abound in Japan.”

That was true then and I still believe the onus is on “us” to make black history relevant in this country. Overseas I think it’s much easier for the white majority to educate themselves on how to respect people of African descent, and many have, but from my own experience here I think Japanese society is still woefully unaware of our contributions, past and present. National awareness of black excellence in a variety of arenas is crucial to reducing fears and furthering any other strides we intend to make here. In fact, this was the thought that gave birth to the Black Eye column in first place

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