Racism in Japan

Laowai is better than “gaijing” which literally means “strange people” in Japanese.

Japan is extremely xenophobic.

Have you ever lived in Japan?
I’ve lived both there and in Taiwan and I would say they are pretty much the same. :person_shrugging: Tbh, I feel Japan is more welcoming because people don’t stare at you as much as here.


I never been to Japan, but I would like to go… at least to avoid Taiwan’s summer heat. I heard you need triple vaccination to go there though. I have 4.

I have heard from friends about how Japanese don’t really like foreigners though, but they do act nice and polite.

I would say that’s the same here , but without the politeness :person_shrugging:


I got the notorious Japan people only at restaurants 2x while I was there. Although I would have to say they said it politely :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Yep I also got refused twice in one night. Not cool.


You were probably with white people. Japanese people only restaurants usually don’t mind Taiwanese people.

Yss because those kind of restaurants will charge Taiwanese double and smile while doing it. ;).


Not if you speak Japanese.

1 Like

Gaijin (外人)actually mean more alien, or person from outside, outsider, which is the shortened form of gaikokujin (外国人). But yes, Japan is very xenophobic, much more than TW and China but in a very subtle way most of times. When you try to settle down though the racism becomes rampant and every single small little thing becomes an endless loop of stupidity.

I love the country and have many Japanese folks whom I’m to call friends. I speak some Japanese too, so it really hurts me when in some very local places they refuse to serve or welcome me since “no foreigners here, can’t speak English”. No use replying to them in very formal Japanese to show I can communicate at a sufficient level to order my food or get a room. That really makes me furious, everything changes if you go with a Japanese friend, then they are all happy and start giving you even free stuff at times.

The myth of racial homogeneity is really hurting the country and making it isolated again like in the pre-Meiji Era…


While that is true, the word Gaijin itself took on a more loaded meaning. That is why it is now considered not PC even by the Japanese themselves.

1 Like

well, like in HK when they call us westerners 鬼佬, never took offence even if it actually means pale ghost, and you can never trust or should be friends with ghosts. The more polite would just say 外國人, but in the parlance gweilo is very much still present, as gaijin in very informal settings (like with friends).

1 Like

Well, Japan has extremely low birth rate and aging population, and they are saying no to immigration either.

They rather let the country die out completely than let immigrants in.

1 Like

This is great, and it must happen enough for them to make a video about it :joy:


I have an Australian client in Japan. He’s fluent in both Chinese and Japanese. He takes me to restaurants where we are the only foreigners but he is a well known customer.

Even when I travel to Japan I’ve never had an issue with people not being friendly and helpful.

1 Like

99% of the times it’s fine, but that 1% really hurts. You and your client were very lucky indeed. I still love the country will go anytime I can since I can’t just get enough of it haha, but issues are very present and even worse than here at times.

Like in JP it is IMPOSSIBLE for foreigners to credit cards, even challenging to get ATM cards! Debit cards sometimes they ask you for guarantor… DEBIT CARDS!

Also easier in JP to buy a house than rent as a foreigner.

1 Like

I heard China has the same issue too, as in some hotels won’t rent rooms to foreigners, but it has to do with laws. Seems hotels need licenses to serve foreigners in China, and those without the license can’t serve foreigners.

But are Chinese xenophobic?

OK My friend has Japanese credit cards, bought several properties with loans. One place he did buy in Tokyo though he had to be vetted by the community.

Yes some hotels are for PRC citizens and Taiwan compatriots. I’ve stayed in one. Food not so nice lol. Yes it’s a law. One’s race has nothing to do with it. Your id documents do.


I don’t know how Chinese are, but Taiwan doesn’t seem all that xenophobic compared to Japan. I don’t know any foreigners here refused service for being foreigners.