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[sci.lang.japan] Frequently Asked Questions
Section - Q2.11 Is "gaijin" a derogatory word?

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     In and of itself "gaijin" can hardly be said to be  a  derogatory
     word.   Most  people  and  dictionaries  will tell you it is just
     short for "gaikokujin", means `foreigner' or `alien' and  can  be
     contrasted  with "houjin" (Japanese person).  Any negative conno-
     tations that come with the word are the results of gross general-
     ization,  lack  of information, (hyper)sensitivity, and the like.
     Whether these negative associations are implied, depends on  con-
     text.

     Kids playing in the street exclaiming "Ah, gaijin da!"  are  gen-
     erally  just  surprised at the sight of a foreigner.  Real estate
     agents using "Gaijin wa  dame!"  are  pigeon-holing  all  obvious
     foreigners  into  a  group  of  potentially troublesome customers
     they'd rather not have.

     [ed.: I think most of the fuss  around  the  word  is  caused  by
     overly  PC-sensitive types not comfortable with the idea of (sud-
     denly) being part of a rather conspicuous minority.]

-- 
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Olaf Meeuwissen               Ph.D. student, Shinshu University, Japan
olaf@IMSL.shinshu-u.ac.jp    Information Management Systems Laboratory

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Top Document: [sci.lang.japan] Frequently Asked Questions
Previous Document: Q2.10 How can I see Japanese characters while surfing the Web?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM