American teacher asks Japanese school students: Is there racism in Japan?

Written by: William on February 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm | In CULTURE | No Comments

Miki Dezaki, a Japanese American who teaches at a high school in Japan, has already made a name for himself with his YouTube videos about homosexuality and more fun ones in which he parodies his students’ feeble efforts in his English classes.

Dezaki first came to Japan in 2007 and is clearly a brave, creative educator.

Last summer he decided to teach a class on racism and discrimination. He asked his young wards if they thought there was racism in Japan.

After initially encountering mostly blank responses — racism? That’s an American problem! — he slowly began to open his students’ eyes to the plight of Koreans, Okinawans, and other ethnic or social groups who have suffered from racism in the past, and in some cases continue to do so today.

He then posted a shortened video of his class onto YouTube…

That’s when he started to feel the effects of what he had done.

He is now being targeted by the netouyu, the right-leaning netizens of 2chan, have been using their online platforms as springboards to launch attacks, not least the accusation that Dezaki is “anti-Japanese”.

They found out his real name (he ostensibly uses a pseudonym on YouTube) and have since been flooding him with messages — yes, there was even a death threat, it seems — and his employers in their efforts to discredit him. The comments on YouTube video are at time of writing filled with Japanese responses bashing him for his “insufficient” research.

We hope that Dezaki does not bow to the pressure to take the video down — and that he keeps up his fine work raising challenging issues that the next generation needs to learn in Japan, or in any other country for that matter.

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