Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

Mizuko – and Negishi Cemetery

a headstone at Negishi Cemetery. Photo from Debito.org credited to “CF.”

 

In 1853, Commodore Perry intruded the Japanese and Okinawan islands with demands, and finally landing and then the following year again, after repeated threats and failed negotiations with the Japanese Bakufu, demanded a gravesite for one of their sailors who died on board one of the American ships. This was the birth of the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery in Kanagawa Prefecture,  just down the road from the future famous Elizabeth Saunders Home for Mixed Race Children, which was a well-known place where mixed-race babies were given up to during the World War II era. During subsequent years, through many battles with Russian and Chinese military, as well as trade relations, the number of foreigners dying in Japan, alongside Japanese soldiers, became too large and the cemetery grew to house the graves of many kinds of foreigners in Japan.

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VIDEO: Eric Robinson of Black Tokyo – Race & Identity in Japan

I am featured, along with Black-Okinawan thinker Mitzi-Uehara Carter, in the latest edition of Black Tokyo‘s Vlog at Youtube.

This edition features issues whiteness, blackness and Japanese-ness in relation to Race and Identity in Japan.

Reflecting on the election of Ariana Miyamoto as Miss Universe Japan in 2015, Eric points to various critiques, insights, and conditions that construct the definitions of social change, Japan and Japanese-ness, and the roles of mixed-race-ness in Japanese society, whether influencing Japan or not.

Also: Visit Eric Robinson’s BLACK TOKYO blog here: http://www.blacktokyo.com 

 

Aoyama Michi Music Video: My First Black-Japanese Amerasian Entertainment

Growing up in Japan in the 1950s and 60s, there were a handful of mixed-Japanese (haafu– as we are called nowadays) shown on television. Even more rare were Black-Japanese. I, as you know, use the term “Amerasian” to refer to most of us (not all) mixed-Japanese in the postwar period, as our identities were directly linked with war, the U.S. and Allied Occupation of Japan, and the globalized nation-making period where race played an integral part.  Issues of ‘haafu’ differ today, as Japan has been thoroughly divested of a direct relationship to war and occupation–although it is profoundly linked with the present-day idea and life of Japanese-ness.  For us mixed-Japanese Black Amerasians, the appearance and sounds of Black-Japanese entertainers was both an incredible surprise and joy, but also a reminder of the disdain people had for mixed-Japanese during that time. Of course there were some Japanese who thought it nice and normal, or good. But the majority turned away with a disgusting look upon seeing us.  Sometimes even our own mothers.

And. . . . . . .

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Re-Post: Black and White GIs in Military prisons in Postwar Japan: Black Glasses Like Clark Kent

blackglasses-clarkkent

The book by Terese Svoboda, Black Glasses Like Clark Kent (Graywolf Press 2008), tells the personal true story of Svoboda’s journey, beginning with her Uncle who becomes depressed, then takes his own life.

Her uncle served in the US Occupation of Japan, working as a Military Stockade guard.

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Dewayne Everettsmith, Aboriginal Singer

Dewayne Everettsmith is one of the most popular singer-songwriters in Australia today. He speaks and sings passionately to the continuing struggles of his people and brings light to the histories that he feels people must know, and to pay tribute to the ancestors and the lands that birthed him and the Aboriginal peoples on the Australian continent and the diaspora.  The song is entitled: Melaythina, and is available on I-Tunes. Here is the quote from the music video: “celebrating the Tasmanian Aboriginal people’s connection to Country. This is an edited version of a song written by Roger Sculthorpe, Heather Sculthorpe, June Sculthorpe, Chris Mansell, Di Cook and Theresa Sainty from the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and sung in palawa kani, Tasmanian Aboriginal language to school students on a TMAG program.”

Aboriginal Music Group from Australia: Black Arm Band

 

Black Arm Band is a group of some of the best-known music artists of Aboriginal Australia. Their piece: Dirtsong, giving homage to Australia’s land and spirit, has won worldwide acclaim.

If one understands the destruction of the Aboriginal communities that are ongoing in Australia, from the colonial period and continuing through today, we can understand the intense feelings, connected to land and memory, invoked in these presentations that have touched millions around the world.

T-Tasha / Yoon-Mi-Rae : Korean Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B QUEEN

Tasha – or Yoon Mi Rae in Korea, alternatively known as “T-Tasha”— is definitely South Korea’s greatest Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B or more accurately: K-R&B artist. Her heritage is African-American/Korean, and is in my other posts and the purpose of this whole blog site, her experiences growing up in Korea were full of the prejudiced, racist violence against her.

Often, these lives produce tremendous artistic expression.

This is a 9-year-old video. She was a teenager and still, you can sense how good she is.

This song seeks to empower Black-Korean girls, recorded live off of Korean television, entitled: Wonder Woman.

I will post more of her videos later.

Enjoy.

New Video posted on YouTube: “BLACK PACIFIC ELEGY”

Here is the second installment of my video series.

It is a visual poem.  Read, listen, feel, think.

Hopefully you will be curious, look up information and terms you don’t quite know or understand.

Be outraged?  Become more understanding? Curious?

Watch this in HD for the best view!

If you prefer VIMEO – the same video is here: https://vimeo.com/153967699

Black-Korean Michelle Lee 이미쉘 – Without You – Acoustic Version – Interracial Relations

Young Black-Korean Pop singer Michelle Lee 이미쉘  that I introduced to you with her stunning debut music video of Without You, which boldly speaks back to racism against her, is shown here with a recent Acoustic Version of the same song, and sung in English.

One may not notice, but in both videos, the graffiti on the walls that the little girl is at first fearful of, then protests against, says things like “die monster die” and other epitaphs. In the lyrics, she speaks to both a close relation, and society itself for betraying her, lying to her (I love you), then practicing their violence on her. It’s interesting on some commentaries on some sites, some find this unbelievable.  Believe it.  I also lived this in postwar Japan. It still goes on in Asia: the prejudice against mixed-race people, especially black mixed-race people. Speak back Michelle. I am soooooo moved by her and her beautiful singing.

 

 

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