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Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2004

VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Is the word gaijin offensive to you?


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Makiko Okawa
Video Editor, 29
I always use "gaikokujin." The word gaijin can have a negative image; like foreign men trawling bars in Roppongi for women.

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Nick Faulkner
Teacher, 29
It is a bit. Isn't it short for gaikokujin or something? It's a bit of a derogatory shortening, though, like Jap for Japanese.

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Chisa Ogura
Administration, 25
Recently more people use the word "gaikokujin" more, but they both have the same meaning, so they're both okay.

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Kate Salter
ALT, 24
I think that it can be used offensively, but I also think that most "gaijin" are quite offensive anyway. That's especially true when they're hanging around in groups. And I think it's also quite a useful term -- I use it all the time.

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Manilay Dhammarath
Secretary, 26
When you take out the "koku" -- country -- it means "you're different from us," rather than simply meaning "you're from a different country." I think for that reason, I have a bit of a problem with it.

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Miho Oguchi
Administration, 33
No, I don't think it's offensive. All the time we have to respect foreigners. I wouldn't use the word "gaijinsan" because it's demeaning; because we lost the war. It's a small thing, but it's important.

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Martin Williams
Journalist, 33
No. I think if you take it's liberal meaning and get hung up on it then it's offensive. But most people, when they say it, they don't really think of its literal meaning. It's just a word. They don't mean any malice or offense.



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