Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Japan has responded to the regular criticism from the UN on their institutionally racist society:
"Japan has taken every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination."
So apparently it is inconceivable that Japan in 2008 could consider passing any legislation to outlaw racial discrimination. Well, it's nice to have a definitive statement on the matter (not that I've been holding my breath). But I'm confused as to why they signed up to the UN's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1998 if it is still inconceivable 10 years later that they should actually take the promised and required action to eliminate and prohibit racial discrimination within their jurisdiction.


Hank Roberts said...

What do Japanese students get taught about human origins?

James Annan said...

I don't know what they are currently taught, maybe Masuda-san will chime in if he is reading... This article has some interesting background on their old creation myth versus historical facts as they are currently understood. Of course what they are taught, what they really believe, and what shared narrative they cling onto as a security blanket for social cohesion may be rather different (eg consider religion in the west).

(FWIW, I don't actually recall what I was taught at school - I doubt we got much detail on the origin of the species or our ancestral past but this sort of stuff is standard fare in TV broadcasting and popular science writing in the UK, so I guess I got it from there.)

pough said...

What kind of human origins? How far back are you interested in? Are we talking recent history (roots of Japanese peoples) or homo whatchimacallitus?

I would imagine they get taught your basic evolution, but if you like I can ask my fiance's parents, who are both in education.

pough said...

It doesn't look like anyone is really interested, but I thought I'd mention that I discussed this with the fiance, and the, um, alternate history originally taught in Japan was something she had never even heard of.

Darlo (John Darlington) said...

To be honest the only kind of racial discrimination I've been on the receiving end of since I got to Japan was from Indian restaurant in Yamaguchi (details here).