Caucasian Japanese?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by skateboy, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I think this Ken Tanaka guy might not be for real:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG5sqVE2J5I

    Whether he is or not, I have a question, especially for any Japanese FSUers out there. Are there caucasians who are raised as Japanese? Also, are these guys on the video speaking well?
     
  2. sk8muse

    sk8muse New Member

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    David's Japanese is flawless -no "foreign" accent. I do know that the Swiss skater, Lucinda Ruh, grew up in Japan, was coached by Nobuo Sato (Yuka's dad), and speaks Japanese. If I remember correctly, she has even said that she considers Japanese to be her native language.
     
  3. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but that's just silly. There are plenty of Americans of Asian descent who only speak English (and maybe high school Spanish or French :p ), so why wouldn't there be Japanese of European descent who only speak Japanese? It might not be as common, but there's no doubt in my mind it happens.
     
  4. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry you consider my question "silly." I asked it because I did not know the answer.

    Asians raised in English-speaking countries is common. I've not heard of Caucasians raised as Japanese. I've often wondered about it and I think it's an interesting topic.
     
  5. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    It's actually not a silly question considering Japan's traditional immigration policies. If the question had been, "Do Caucasians who grow up in Japan and attend Japanese schools speak Japanese?" then it would have been silly. But traditionally Japan has had tough immigration policies, and immigrant communities have sometimes been isolated and refused Japanese citizenship and were not allowed to attend Japanese schools. North Korea's star soccer player, for example, was born and raised in Japan to North Korean parents. But he has been ineligible for Japanese citizenship and has been schooled in Korean, not Japanese.

    Furthermore, skateboy asked about Caucasians raised as Japanese in the sense of being adopted by Japanese parents, as that is Ken Tanaka's supposed background.

    Back to the original question.

    These days, not only are there quite a few Caucasians raised in Japan these days, but many Iranians as well, as there has been an Iranian immigration wave in the past decade.

    As someone mentioned, Lucinda Ruh speaks perfect Japanese, having spent most of her childhood there.

    The first American allowed onto the island after the Hiroshima bombing was a native Hiroshiman of Russian descent who had grown up on the island until his teens. During the 50th anniversary of the bombing, I saw him on TV recounting his experience of stepping back into his native town. He spoke English with a Japanese accent.

    Percentage-wise, they're still small, but especially in the big cities, you'll find them.

    ETA: I originally posted that Ken Tanaka had grown up in Japan, but it seems he actually didn't.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  6. IceJunkie

    IceJunkie Well-Known Member

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    When I first heard his name, I thought "Glee." :p

    According to the L.A. Times, the guys name is David Ury, a man from Sonoma, California who spent several years in Japan. From what I get, Tanaka is a get-up, but the story behind both the character and the person are the same. Or, well, that's for us to decide.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/10/entertainment/et-tanaka10
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  7. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    Oh God, me too. I thought this was going to be about the Glee character.
     
  8. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    There are actually Slavs/Russians who have been living for several generations on the northern Island of Hokkaido, who are "born and raised" Japanese, just look "slavic". At one point in history Russia and Japan "shared" a number of Islands in the sea of Okhotsk, including Kuril Islands Archipelago, the islands were inhabited by both Russians and Japanese, and at the end of WWII portion of the islands remained in Russia and Hokkaido remained in Japan. Some Russians chose to stay on or relocate to the Japanese island.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuril_Islands

    http://www.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp/sm/hrt/hp-en/hist-en.htm
     
  9. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    I had a student a couple of years ago who was a military brat. His mother was stationed in Japan when he was five or so, and she enrolled him in the local Japanese school instead of the American military school. I wouldn't say he was raised Japanese, exactly, but he speaks and writes the language flawlessly. Last year, I had a Japanese student who really struggled with English, so I called the other student and asked him to tutor the Japanese student. I thought the Japanese student was going to weep when he first heard my former student speak.

    The same student moved to Italy when he was 13 and his mother again enrolled him in the local school instead of the military school. He also speaks Italian very well, but with a slight funky accent all his own :rofl:.

    His English sounds mostly like he's from Georgia but hasn't been there in a long time.

    My student did tell me that he was the only non-Japanese student at the school, and he always felt like something of a freak, but he's glad his parents ignored his whining and made him go to the local schools.
     
  10. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I was wondering if it was about the Ainu, but though they tend to have lighter hair and eyes and physical features similar to Caucasoid peoples genetic testing has shown they're Mongoloid after all.
     
  11. Jot the Dot Dot

    Jot the Dot Dot Headstrong Buzzard

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    I think you mean 'Mongolian' ; 'Mongoloid' refers to someone who has Down's Syndrome and is mentally handicapped.
     
  12. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    No, she means Mongoloid. Mongolian refers to the people of Mongolia, which is related but not the same thing.
     
  13. IceJunkie

    IceJunkie Well-Known Member

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    The terms "Mongoloid", "Caucasoid", "Negroid" etc are considered outdated by most anthropologists. Even still, people generally get what you're referring to. I think now we're realizing that there are no set distinct races, and that its more a gradient.
     
  14. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    When I was in Taiwan a while back, we turned on the news (in Mandarin Chinese, of course) and heard a voiceover of some news report. The camera panned out and it was a Caucasian reporter! His Chinese was flawless! Even my mom (a native) was jealous, because his accent was better than hers, not to mention she still doesn't know a lot of Chinese phrases when it comes to news or politics or science. :rofl:
     
  15. Yehudi

    Yehudi Well-Known Member

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    There's a football player who is Caucasian but was adopted by Japanese parents. I think his name is Scott Fujita.
     
  16. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    Scott Fujita is American. His birth parents are Caucasian, and his (adoptive) father is Japanese-American, while his (adoptive) mother is Caucasian.
     
  17. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    Thank you everyone, for all this information!

    Yes, Scott Fujita has a really interesting story. Caucasian, adopted by a Japanese father and Caucasian mother, raised in the states and honors many Japanese holidays and customs. He said when he was about eight, since he was raised on foods like octopus and rice, he didn't know what to do with a baked potato when it was served to him at a friend's house. As a kid, he used to introduce himself as Japanese.
     
  18. allezfred

    allezfred Old and Immature Admin Staff Member

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    Japanese people do eat baked potatoes as well. It's quite a common dish on izakaya (pub-style restaurants) menus.