Recent events continue to suggest that discussions of racism in Japan typically prove problematic. This is largely because those discussions typically present it as a "uniquely" Western phenomenon, a matter of black and white or white and nonwhite, from which a mythic "uniquely monoracial" Japan has been spared.
Rather, when the issue is broached, as it was recently following controversies provoked by blackface performances, it is dismissed as arising from Japanese racial naivete. And while a conscious antipathy may not motivate some of these acts, a more insidious implicit bias remains.
A recent study of implicit bias by Matsumoto University psychologist Kazuo Mori notes that Japanese have an implicit bias against blacks, concluding that "Japanese participants showed an implicit preference for 'white people' over 'black people.' " Mori suggests that this bias may be the product of the "media in which whites are used 'for delivering a good message.' "