Japanese Girlfriends

His shirt reads, “I want a Japanese girlfriend”

Japanese culture is popular in North America.  I don’t need to make this list but I will anyways: Sushi, Anim/Manga, Porn, Miike Takashi, Samurais, Ninjas, Teaching in English in Japan, J-Pop, etc. The list is exhaustive.

As a person with ties to Japan, I do find sometimes the obsession disconcerting.  I could go on and on as to what harm racial/ethnic fetishes may pose (i.e.: racially motivated rape) but I am limiting this post to the unease I feel particularly with this shirt.

Some questions I would like to ask this guy:

>>Why make this be known?
>>Is this something to be proud of?
>>Who are you intending it to be read by?
>>Are you hoping to ‘get’ a Japanese girlfriend by wearing this shirt?
>>Do you not think it could be offensive to some?


44 Responses to “Japanese Girlfriends”

  1. It could be the fact that having Japanese words or writing on a shirt can make the shirt sell itself. I personally hate the idea of this too, but if it sells people will make it. For all we know this guy could have no idea what this shirt says. It could be something that he picked up at some anime con. U know, Japanese things are in… this has japanese words… The Japanese flag is (sort of) on there. Even if he does know what this means I’m sure that he is just taking this as a joke but your right, some people could take offense to this. Once while we were showing some Japanese students around school one of my classmates was wearing this shirt. All one of the Japanese Male students said was:
    Are you Japanese?
    Do you know what this means?
    Then he went silent. We could tell he was a little angry.

  2. japaneseperson Says:

    i want that shirt.

  3. herewithnoone Says:

    its a fetish that seems to be not embarrassing

    some people might find it funny and some girls might find it cute but some will find it offensive. Is no other ethnicity good enough for him? are non-Japanese girls inferior in some way?

  4. why is it that big of a deal. if someone wears a shirt that says “im with stupid” does that mean that the person only hangs out with stupid people? no….. so what the big deal?

  5. starrycloud9 Says:

    re: elukefahr.

    Incredible. After a semester of class. Some people still don’t get it.

    “so what the big deal?” AKA “Stop over analyzing, you’re reading too deeply into it, etc.”

    We talked in class about commenters like you. You don’t get it. It’s a blog for popular culture. We’re studying popular culture. Making a big deal of something is the point of the blog. It’s not about dismissing things at face value.

    elukefahr. I take it you’ve never read any feminist discourse? The festishizing of a race is kind of a big deal. In fact, (gasp), I think they even have entire university departments that study race/ethnicity. Trust me and the rest of us who know, things like this are a big deal.

    There’s a whole course about this type of stuff next semester.

    East/West intersection with Diamond.

  6. i dont take everything at face value. just because something is on here doesnt mean that it has to create negative commentary. i dont believe that we are supposed to always look for whats wrong with the blogs. really there is no big deal that someone wants to wear a shirt with this on it. its just a shirt. if they were making that statement in some other way that was maybe more of a direct attempt to offend somebody then i might see a problem.

  7. starrycloud9 Says:

    “…in some other way”
    Like…through music? film? television? advertising? HOW ABOUT FASHION? Take a look at the category name this post is under. 🙂

  8. >its just a shirt.

    how can it be!? it’s a statement. he’s expressing that he wants a “Japanese” girlfriend. so it means that “Japanese girls” mean somthing more than just stating an ethnicity. the wording is loaded with male fantasy, fetishism, and ethnic stereotyping. it is straightforwardly offensive if you can read Japanese.

  9. I think it’s interesting how people view an ethnicity as ‘cool’, so cool that we have to merge it into our own culture. His shirt does say a statement of who he is. Maybe a pervert? Maybe culturally diverse? Who knows? All we know though is that he finds value in what his shirt represents. After reading some of the comments here, I could understand how some people might think it isn’t a big deal. After all, clothes are meant to be put on and taken off daily. It’s not something that sticks with us for the rest of our lives. However, for that specific time that he has the shirt on, can say a lot about what he thinks.

    Asian and Japanese culture is popular in the States because it’s such a foreign fantasy. Everything we see as Asian appears meaningful because their culture is based on symbols and characters. It’s interesting how Americans find value in all this.

  10. I think that there are worse ways to get a statement out. I am aware of the category. Im just sharing my opinion. Sorry that I dont agree with what everyone else is saying and I formed an opinion on my own. I dont see that as being a commenter that just looks at the face value of things. Just seems that some things are more worth freaking out about. And I dont see a tshirt as being one of those things.

  11. fngrnailtree Says:

    there is the possibility that he doesn’t know what it means, but likes the characters. (my girl friend’s japanese exchange friend loves shirts with american words on it, even when she doesn’t know what some of the words translate to)
    then again there is the possibility that he knows what it means but doesn’t care. (it may have been given to him, but being a guy he doesn’t care what he wears)
    and of course there is the popular theory that he understands what it means and bought the shirt with that knowledge.
    i don’t know how he came by the shirt, nor do i know his intent by wearing it. and i can see how it may be offensive to some. (my friend is in college in oregon and she said that most of her haole guy friends have asian girl friends.)
    i personally think its just a shirt with an odd statement. maybe he has a preference to japanese girls, like how people have preferences to hair color. (though why he has to have it on his shirt is beyond me.) so maybe he’s just ignorant, and not trying to be offensive- just desperate.

  12. starrycloud9 Says:

    A preference for Japanese ‘girls’ is hardly akin to preferences for hair colour. A Japanese woman is a person. An individual. Does that even need to be said? ‘Having’ a Japanese girl is completely different than dying your hair on your head any particular colour.

  13. I think he’s just super rapped up in his Japanese anime and manga, etc. and loves everything Japan. He wishes he were asian with dark hair and karate fighting abilities. He knows this is improbable. Thus, the next best thing is to get a Japanese girl to hang around with and maybe have some cute little hapa haole kids with. Okay no, that’s probably not why he’s wearing that shirt. He’s just super crazy Japan. He’s a teenager wearing a black shirt with white writing on it. Clever, clever.

  14. fngrnailtree Says:

    excuse me, i’ll amend my post to a preference in japanese women. (for me, in the context of girlfriends and boyfriends, no matter the age the males are boys and the females are girls. i see girls and women are interchangeable but i suppose in actuality it isn’t, especially since this guy looks a little old for girls.)

    uh, the prompt translated it to say: “I want a Japanese girlfriend”.
    not ‘i want to have a japanese girl’. the latter sounds like a sex scandal and the former just sounds desperate.

    and i didn’t mean one’s own hair color. i meant a preference as in some guys like blondes over brunettes. its a physical feature. like how some prefer skinny to fat chicks. physical feature. if the guy prefers some of the physical features of japanese women, then thats his deal. im not condoning it, nor even saying thats his reason. i dont know his intent. im just saying a possibility.

  15. starrycloud9 Says:

    re: misunderstanding of hair color.

    Expressing one’s preference for “fat chicks” is arguably just as problematic – or is that not obvious? Race is immutable. Hair color and body types are not. Are these differences not apparent? I am not refuting the claim that people have physical preference. But to embody those preferences through race and to make that a point of expression seem offensive.

  16. fngrnailtree Says:

    i see your point that my examples are changeable, thus not good comparisons.
    i was thinking that he maybe liked their straight black hair, almond shape eyes, and smooth pale skin or whatever japanese women are stereotyped for having. that may be his physical preferences. like i said before, “if the guy prefers some of the physical features of japanese women, then thats his deal. im not condoning it, nor even saying thats his reason. i dont know his intent. im just saying a possibility.” sure it can be offensive, anything can be offensive. im not standing up for him, i don’t know why you are preaching to me.

  17. starrycloud9 Says:

    Point taken. I shudder to ask why you think I am ‘preaching’. The connotation I assume you are invoking is one of excessive and extremist. I am simply, as you are, offering a reading of the shirt.

  18. fngrnailtree Says:

    your original post was offering a reading of the shirt.
    your reaction to my post, was just bitching.

    You’re like black people who complain about the negative black attention. others have moved on went to become things in life like Barak Obama. Same with women who just sit there and bitch preaching feminism… they get no where and rarely people respect them… and rarely, i bet, are they fully loved by any man who comes into contact with these bigots. Other women have gotten past this type of bullshit and moved on with life. there’s nothing here to complain about in the grand scheme of things nor is there any reason to argue that this is “a bad shirt.” or that this shirt is “offensive.” It’s only offensive to people like yourself who camp and brood over it. You’re wasting time, and life by thinking way too deep into a shirt that someone probably came up with in five minutes using some type of translative text… or a japanese girlfriend to help. It might for all you know be a love letter of a t-shirt. At least you entertain me with your serious consideration of this shirt. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  19. starrycloud9 Says:

    Wow. I commend you. Black and Feminist Studies. You certainly got a lot of courage suggesting that they should just ‘move on’. I had to bring this to attention of David. You’re a great resource.

  20. starrycloud9 Says:

    ME impersonating fngrnailtree

    “Forget about it! It’s t-shirt! It doesn’t matter! Stop analyzing things. Do something with your life! Things aren’t always so deep! Black people and women should just move on forget the centuries of oppression and mistreatment they have experienced (and continue to experience). I mean, come on! Forget about it. Racial poverty, glass ceilings, racial crimes, rape. MOVE ON!!!!!! They don’t matter! And shirts like this. They don’t say anything. Just like posters, or ads, or books, films, television, newspapers, the media. ALL CULTURE in fact says nothing. Being critical about our surroundings and the culture we live is pointless. Thus, this blog which promotes that is pointless.”

  21. I think that Japanese girls would probably AVOID guys wearing shirts like this….-_-;

  22. alamoluck007 Says:

    We can get into a lot of trouble if we take things at face value. Thats what i have not only learned in life but in this class. What if that guy is japanes? What if he already has a japanese girlfriend? What if he is like the guy who played the character Napolean Dynamite (Jon Heder) and can speak fluent japanese, and has been to japan on multiple occasions? Did you know that “all white boy” (jon heder) is fluent in japanese, and majored in japanese studies? What if you saw him wearing that shirt? Would you put him down before even knowing one single thing about him? I know countless japanese americans with kanji tatooed all over their body, yet they don’t speak more than a few words in japanese. They think their blood that runs in their body is what makes them japanes. I think what fngrnailtree is saying by “its just a shirt” means just that… ITS JUST A SHIRT!!! if ur going to take him for facevalue, if ur just going to judge that man before you know ANYTHING about the CONTENT OF HIS CHARACTER, and rather judge him by THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN (the great Martain Luther King jr.) than you my friend have just commited an act of racist discrimanation…

  23. alamoluck007 Says:

    btw if we want to continue to overannalyze things sushi originated in CHINA just though i would let you know japan actually stole that but hey….. WHO THE FUCK IS COUNTING?!?!!?!

  24. starrycloud9 Says:

    I am more concerned with the T-shirt. I don’t really care about the guy in the picture. I could have posted a picture of just the shirt. Anyone can fetishize a race. Even a person FROM that race. I never suggested that fetishism came exclusively from White men.

  25. starrycloud9 Says:

    re: sushi
    Wow. I don’t know how they came up. But apparently you are ‘counting’ by bringing it up.

  26. starrycloud9 Says:

    When and how did we get on the subject of origins?

  27. Just another example of how much influence the east has done to the west.
    Not surprised as well as nowadays I see mixed dating anyways…goes back to that post I think that had the topic of the “asian girl preferring white guy, and vice versa.”
    But I agree with the people that posted saying that, the guy is probably just obsessed with the eastern cool ways displayed in Anime and such.

  28. alamoluck007 Says:

    ?????? do you read your own posts? you mentioned:
    “Japanese culture is popular in North America. I don’t need to make this list but I will anyways: Sushi, Anim/Manga, Porn, Miike Takashi, Samurais, Ninjas, Teaching in English in Japan, J-Pop, etc. The list is exhaustive.”
    My question is, if sushi is not apart of the american culture, why not? Is it because it wasn’t invented in the US? Its a huge part of what we eat now. Wouldn’t you say its a part of our culture? If you are saying that sushi is apart of only the “japanes culture” (whatever that means) than you are wrong because it was taken from the chinese. All I am saying is I think you are overannalyzing this because a shirt like this could have many many meanings depending on who wears it, how people feel when they see it. The shirt could just be a joke! “Culture” to me is just a dumb concept, because people become much to defensive about their culture (which is usually ethnically based) wich offends other people who want to be apart of it. But i would like to hear what you would like to happen in the US. would you like it if people stopped admirring the japanese culture? Would you like it if people stopped talking about japanese cultures? I mean what do you want?

  29. starrycloud9 Says:

    Your question makes no sense.

    “if sushi is not apart of the american culture, why not?”

    I never said sushi was not apart of American culture.

  30. starrycloud9 Says:

    “what do you want?”

    I’d like for you and others to get it. To just GET IT. You still don’t and it saddens me. You think I am asking for change. You’re thinking on very limited terms. I WANT YOU TO GET IT. READ IT. Analyze it and GET THAT THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT CULTURE. IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT WHO WE ARE. THIS SHIRT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT “HIM” AND WHO WE ARE AS A SOCIETY.

  31. you people forget that you live in Hawaii it is not like this all over the mainland. Starrycloud. you need to wise up you think you fuckin know everything when in fact your minuscule thought patterns are so marginalized that you can not even distinguish the difference for yourself. stop being so judgmental. what if the guy just finds Asian women attractive and wants to find a Japaneses girlfriend. so fucking what. are you just pissed that you cant get a Japanese girl for yourself. you got some major insecurity issues my simple minded friend!

  32. starrycloud9 Says:


    “is not like this all over the mainland”
    It’s not like what?

    “think you fuckin know everything”
    Does it seem like I know everything? Sorry if it does. I can see how that would be threatening. I certainly don’t know everything. I do however, know how to use the word ‘marginalized’ properly.

    What makes you think I am attracted to woman anyways? Given that assumption, I’d say you are the simple minded one.

  33. alamoluck007 Says:

    Ok starry, im not trying to belittle you or be a smart ass or anything like that. Im trying to be serious. Now you said there could be “racially motivated rape.” Ok by this do you mean rape of a culture or do you mean literal rape as in a person sexually raping another person? I tried to look up news on racially motivated rapes and only got hits on black women and white women. Then I looked up japans motivated rape, not one thing… So I think that is just a tad blown out of proportion. you now what ill just make a response post to this…

  34. starrycloud9 Says:

    I thought racially motivated rape was self explanatory.
    Do you not know how to use the Internet?


  35. […] ADD JAPAN AND US (then blend) response to Japanese girlfriend Read this blog because im responding to it sucka! https://camouflageculture.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/japanese-girlfriends/ […]

  36. alamoluck007 Says:

    dude that link was cool… it was all like “LET ME GOOGLE IT FOR YOU!” well i appologize, it seems that there were asian based rape instances. But I think we are being just a little uptight about the subject of rape here…. Rape is about control and it happens to ALL races…. I dont think the admiration of a culture has a whole lot to do with that…

  37. alamoluck007 Says:

    btw i am just learning how to use the internet ok!?!?!?! is that such a bad thing?!?!?! jeez just cause i came out from under a rock yesterday doesnt mean you should be so mean about it lol

  38. starrycloud9 Says:

    That was wrong of me to send you that google like. I will admit that. Sorry. I guess that’s my own (wrong) assumption that everyone uses the net.

    On another note: “I dont think the admiration of a culture has a whole lot to do with that…” Did you not check out the article from Yale?
    Here it is again. http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/14090?badlink=1

  39. bigdickdaddy Says:

    I need a girlfriend and frankly don’t care if shes japanese or not. anybody see a shirt like that. LOL

  40. starrycloud9 Says:


  41. bigdickdaddy Says:

    Hey thats not so funny after all

  42. alamoluck007 Says:

    nah the goole thing was funny dont be sorry ima use that shit on someone… pass the love on

  43. bigdickdaddy Says:

    oh yeah one more think theres nothing wrong with a woman whose got some meat on her. ugly people use ugly words to desribe things…

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