Open Letter To Japan and Korea

15.1.12 ShaSha LaPerf 14 Comments

Dear Japan and Korea,

Yes, I am addressing both of you. You see I enjoy many aspects of your pop culture. And I can see that you enjoy many aspects of my pop culture. It's pretty flattering to see Koreans and Japanese people taking on things like hip-hop and R&B. However, in the most polite way I ca n write this, WHAT THE FUCK!?

I'm sure you're a bit confused by now since my niceties suddenly took a turn, but I'm afraid I didn't have a better way to express myself. You see I thought it was cool to hear that Korea was doing their over version of Saturday Night Live. However I found myself face-palming when I saw the following clip (0:45):

I see three women with darken skinned--one of which is wearing a braided wig--lip-synching to the movie version of the song "Dreamgirls." Forgive as I don't speak any Korean, therefore it's a bit difficult for me to understand the context of this skit. But the what fuck!?  I will thank you for posting a non-apology apology via Twitter. I hope you do keep your promise not to do more blackface shit. Though I must ask you to watch Dreamgirls again but I'm pretty sure the scenes that use that particularly song did not have any characters in a braided wig.

Furthermore, I double face-palmed when I found out that only weeks later that you Japan, also decided to have a blackface skit:

crazy in kojima by ronaldprobe

Japan, I commend you for actually finding enough black women to be a part of this routine. Seeing as you have not yet apologized for your use a blackface I'm assuming it's because you're show was not affiliated with an American show like the Korean Saturday Night Live, and not posted on YouTube, which probably gets more hits than Daily Motion. I've already gotten on you for your use of blackface in TV and movies but I supposed I have to lay into in a few thick heads again.  You have over 20 fucking years of so-called "black music" artists, please consult with them the next time you want to make a skit related to "black music." Your skit is even more confusing seeing as the comedian took off his clothes to essentially perform as himself during the routine. What is the point of even face paint then?

Now if I may speak just to those black women: WHY THE FUCK DID YOU AGREE TO BE A PART OF THIS ROUTINE!? I understand that it can be difficult to become a tarento in Japan especially when you are a foreigner, but please don't support this shit! Also I couldn't help but noticed that some of you were off beat...just sayin.

Japan and Korea, I implore you both stop with the blackface because it's not cool and never funny. I'm sorry but seeing as this is the year 2012, I can no longer buy "we're just ignorant" in understanding shit not to do on TV. Surely you have heard of similar incidents in which blackface was internationally called out as wrong.

And to those are Korean and Japanese and have a genuine appreciation of American pop culture, don't support this shit. Of course I would ask this of those aren't fans of our pop culture to not support this as well, however I feel that I would be able to reach your ears first. Take some time out of your Drake or Beyonce listening and spend some time researching why blackface is never funny and not a compliment. Spread the word to those in the skit industry. Perhaps their ears will hear your voices over this one black woman living in America.

In the meantime, I will continue to be a fan of some aspects of your pop culture and those who I feel would not participate in such events.  However you two really need to get over blackface and try to be a bit more creative when it comes to resenting blacks on television. I would like to have less face palm moments this year.


ShaSha La Perf


  1. Ugh! what were them girls thinking when they did that? Talk about selling out?

    I'm just as pissed about this issue as you are. What pisses me off even more is the " get over it' type attitudes that follows their remarks. HOw would they feel if we did yellowface as Alexandra Wallace and another girl recently did? I promise you that they wouldn't be indifferent about it and they pretty much weren't happy about it when it happened to them. They should know what disrespect of cultures and mostely , they should understand us with out disgust with Black face.

    I no longer by into their reasoning of of being ignorant of it. I 'm quite sure and know for a fact that Black people have been complaining about this for a long time and with media outlets like YT, myspace, and blogs someone may have expressed their displeasure about this. So I'm not buying into it anymore. To me, any non-Black that intentionally do this and continue do it are not only doing a disservice to us,but even to themselves.The may get away with that stuff in their countries,but they would have been eaten up and spat out by the African-Americans in this country.

    1. I agree. What gets me is Beyonce is light skinned in the first place! Hell the comedian is almost her skin tone, so why even bother with the make up!?

    2. It just shows how many non Black people view dark skin. They don't see shades or nuances. Just darkness. Associated with whatever they think.

  2. Thank you for writing this post! I had seen the Korean SNL skit before reading this post but the Japanese one is new. I really wonder why more of the East Asian pop blogs run by Black people that I subscribe to don't criticise the racism that pops up in East Asian entertainment once in a while.

    I don't buy the ignorant argument either, as far as I'm concerned a quick Google search would banish this ignorance. I'm sure there's also been local knowledge of international outcries against blackface in both South Korea and Japan.

    One thing I wanted to point out, if those black women in the Japanese clip are African it is possible that they'll also claim 'ignorance' of the racist history behind blackface. A classic example of colonial brainwashing, there is a quite popular white South African comedian that does skits in blackface. Just last month a Nigerian friend sent me one of his videos telling me it was funny and I should check it out. He didn't find it offensive at all.

    1. Interest theory on the women being African. As I watched the video I was thinking, how did they even find enough black women to participate in this? When I was in Japan Bobbyh Ologun--who's Nigerian--was a modern day Step N Fetchit on TV and many blacks didn't think he was funny, but simply embarrassing. However I did know some people that gave the "well he's not American so it's okay," line.

      I found the Japanese video on the site Japan Probe. That site does a pretty good job of keeping track of when black face airs on TV and it's pretty much the only site I've found that even makes a mention of it. As for black blogs not touching the topic, some of them are just enamored with Asian culture. Many blacks already find themselves going on the defense for liking Asian culture in the first place and it's hard to defend stuff like this. LOL my mom STILL points of anything she's heard about "racist" Japan to me. While I do like a lot of aspects of Asia culture and still encourage others to enjoy it and visit, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. Not everyone subscribes to a racist attitude or enjoying blackface but it shouldn't be swept under the rug either.

    2. I've had Japanese friends mention Bobby Ologun to me when they learnt that I was Nigerian. I've been familiar with Bobby Ologun for a while and I was never amused when the asked me if I knew of him. While I was in Tokyo, someone actually suggested I buy one of Bobby Ologun's DVDs and I just couldn't feign interest seeing Bobby's exaggerated expression on the DVD cover.

      While I do like a lot of aspects of Asia culture and still encourage others to enjoy it and visit, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. Not everyone subscribes to a racist attitude or enjoying blackface but it shouldn't be swept under the rug either.

      I adopt a similar outlook, there's the good and there's the bad and ignoring the bad really disturbs me. It comes across as "Asiaphilia" where every imagined 'good' thing a Korean or Japanese pop icon says about black people is inflated while the blackface and overt racism is completely ignored.

  3. I'm surprised SNL Korea even offered a faux apology. Someone else suggested that the only way to put an end to black face in Korea is for an American news outlet to pick up on the story. Right now it seems that only international fans are complaining. It needs to become a national embarrassment.

    1. I'm genuinely surprised that SNL posted the apology and I do think the backlash from people outside Korea prompted it. I think it's a good suggestions for America to cover the story, but I think it can also come back on us. Apparently America is the only place that has racism and we'd be evil dictators or over-sensitive for pointing out to other countries that blackface is wrong. I've already seen comments like this on other sites that had the videos posted. >:( I would like to see and hear reactions from Korea about OUR reactions to their use of blackface though.

  4. This is really disappointing. Like ShaSha La Perf mentioned, it's 2012. How can people be expected to let go of the past if social prejudice and mockery of other people culture (although not always intentionally done) is still happening? It's nice that it isn't a nationally activity for Korea and Japan to wear blackface like in one country where it is a big event (forgot the country, somewhere in Europe).

    eccentricyoruba, was right about some Africans having different views on stereotypical portrayal of "Black Americans" and not being aware of that history. I had a classmate mention once about what is the difference between African and Black. To me there isn't one but people get caught up with nationality sometimes. To much separation of ethnicity like when some Black people that I have talked to would express being "Black" but taking no relation to Africa.

    M, I couldn't agree more and my face -> -_- . I felt when I noticed the Black female back-up singers and dancers. They could always be the scapegoat, "Well they didn't complain so..".

    1. I think you're talking about Zwarte Piet in the Netherlands. LOL yeah the black face in Japan and Korea is a bit more sporadic than that. It's like you go through stages from "hmm this dude is imitating Beyonce, okay funny?" to "WTF!? that dude's in blackface!?" The skits happen so fast and I don't think they ever air again. So for some people there it really isn't a big deal because of how it just shows up and goes away so fast but that doesn't make it less disheartening to see.

  5. Shasha,

    I would love to see that too. Their indifferent reactions doesn't surprise me. Since they're in single raced countries, I'm quite sure that they're not taught about Black history. Heck! the both of those countries have fought against each other over the accuracy of history being taught in those countries!

    Right now it's funny to them because, they are in those countries and they know that their fans aren't going to get on their case about it,but let them come to the states. It will be a totally different ball game.


    I was reading blog of Black people who really would like to see this come to life. I'm one of them would like to see this because I'm about fed up with their insensitivities. I would like to see some world news agency along BET news cover this.Not only would I like to see the incidents of Blackface being covered,but also about stuff about their fangirls , Telisha Shaw and other possible problems that Blacks face there.

    Unlike Japan, South Korea isn't a major player as a superpower,though they are working hard to be that.They can be one,but they won't if they keep stuff like this up. I really believe that some of those guys look at this issue as petty.

    Korea wants to be Japan in the global aspect. They seem to be especially proud of their K-pop idols , many who want to make it the states. They are trying,but they're not because of stuff like this. Perhaps they should ask several world stars how they are paying for it because of junk like that. Its just not that simple to brush off.I didn't know how that cast members from Hangover 2 didn't want to star on the same set with Mel Gibson because of it. Maybe because they did want their names to be ruined.Overall, I just hope that some like CNN would do it, just like they did with Lou Jing. One of these days, it will come to light.


    You brought up an excellent point about the differences of cultures and what is/isn't a part of it. It may also be confusing to some people because with all Black cultures, they think it's all uniformed.I'm African-American and because of that, I will never get to learn a lot of, in this case, about Nigerian and other Black cultures from around the world and vice versa,Blackface may be a big African American problem but it doesn't mean it shouldn't apply to him in terms in understanding the racism behind it.Blackface is another way of being called the "N" word in disguise and when comes to that word, they don't care what part of the world you're from, they only look at the color of your skin and will use any means to express it.


    Yep! That is what I always wonder when it comes to stuff like that. I will play a little devil's advocate and say that when you do things like this, you're giving the citizens of those countries the green light the disrespect you.I don't know where those women are from,but if they are from my neck of the world, they should know better than anybody for doing that.

    1. I think we learn at least something about African-Americans because you are citizens of the USA and the USA holds a lot of influence all over the world. A lot of African pop culture is influenced by African-American pop culture, most of the time this is acknowledged. I think the average Nigerian would know more about African-Americans (even though this could be based on stereotypes) than they would about, say Afro-Latin@s or the Garifuna or Afro-Arabs.

      That said, I find blackface offensive. I believe all Black people, all over the world should find blackface offensive. You're right when you say 'they don't care what part of the world you're from'. It is only about the skin colour and how we look. Technically if blackface hurts African-Americans, it is hurting us Africans as well. But thanks to 'divide and conquer' a lot of Black people seem to focus more on ethnic differences and acknowledgement from white people than anything else.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Eccentricyoruba,

    About " divide and conquer"'re telling the absolute truth about that and that is sad. What a great way to commit genocide than to destroy yourselves like that and they aseem not to be paying attention to it.