One thing I don’t think about often but have realized is this: people with BIG anime platforms don’t talk about racism.
Some of these publishers and bloggers will even say they care about the anime community, and they’re all about “supporting” each other.
I just never see any evidence when it comes to racism in particular (except smaller platforms).
Anime Racism is alive and well in the industry
On a smaller level you’ll see White American anime fans being racist towards the same Asians who created anime in the first place. This is more on the extreme side but it does exist.
And you see a lot of racism, whether it’s systematic or blatant towards the black community.
Before I get into the bread and butter of this post, here’s my example.
There’s a site called Japanese Station in Indonesia. Back in December 2016 they started to pick up and publish a lot of content from Anime Motivation.
They’d syndicate it voluntarily. I had no involvement and at the time – it helped the site in the early stages.
Then sometime in 2018 when checking out their site, I realized you could contribute to their site and post articles.
I signed up and logged in with my personal Twitter account. So my face was visible and all for the moderators to see when reviewing my submissions.
What happened next? They didn’t publish OR review any of my content.
That surprised me at first seeing as they’re used to republishing my content from Anime Motivation’s feed.
Not only didn’t they accept any of my content, but from that very moment they STOPPED looking into and republishing content from Anime Motivation.
And that’s no coincidence.
This is a sad reality because of how some black people are perceived in Indonesia.
With that said..
Examples Of Racism In The Anime Community:
1. Naomi Osaka’s Portrayal in Japanese Media
Naomi Osaka is a half Haitian, half Japanese woman who’s a champion Tennis player.
She signed a deal with a company called Nissin, a global noodle brand with a lot of clout.
While this deal was a lucrative one, that didn’t matter when Nissin lightened Naomi’s skin in the media through an animated AD.
They went out their way to whitewash and misrepresent Naomi Osaki by lightening her skin in the AD.
And in a separate occasion they made a racist joke saying she looks “too sunburned”.
This doesn’t represent the majority, but that doesn’t take away from the racism and that’s the point here.
2. Is The Order A Rabbit? Season 1
For a cute anime series like “Is The Order A Rabbit?” you’d think everything in this anime would be fluffy and lightweight like a teddy bear.
It IS like that. But for some reason within the first few episodes of season 1 – they “drop” a racist stereotype to make a point.
In this scene – Sharo Kirima has a flashback from a time Rize saved her from “thugs” or the equivalent.
Of course – her memory ain’t even a real memory, as you see when Rize describes what actually happened.
But only after depicting 2 black Men with stereotypical designs, and painting them as thugs who do bad things in a dark alleyway.
This is subtle racism that tries to play it off as someone innocent and no big deal. But it’s a clear negative stereotype drawn from the western world about how black men look, act and behave.
3. Black Cosplayer Who Cosplayed As Nezuko (Demon Slayer)
First time doing cosplay kinda nervous pic.twitter.com/RE3MrUYYzl
— ✞Xylochi✞ (@Vaelniel_) November 23, 2019
This example is a LOT more recent than others on this list.
There was a black cosplayer on Twitter, relatively new to the industry who cosplayed as Nezuko.
As you can imagine – she didn’t think anything of putting it out there on Twitter.
She loves Nezuko’s character, and she was having fun doing it.
And then the racists came crawling out of their caves to bash her over the head with their clubs.
It got to a point where she was driven off Twitter because of the hate and abuse for “being a black Nezuko”.
yall bullied a black cosplayer for cosplaying Nezuko since her skin colour wasnt ‘accurate’ but will allow white cosplayers cosplay a sexualized version of Nezuko who is a child
— flatbootyjuliet KATSUCON mfer (@Coskaii) November 25, 2019
Racism is unfortunately pretty common in the cosplay community (both in your face and subtle) and especially towards black cosplayers (and even worse if they’re my shade or darker). Sure we can “ignore it”, but that’s a super tone deaf advise when it’s in our face 24/7. (2/9)
— Megu @ Home (@Stardust_Megu) November 25, 2019
So that amazing black Nezuko cosplayer (which was her very 1st time cosplaying btw) had to lock down her Twitter because of racist *ssholes. Whenever we speak up about the discrimination in the cosplay community, yall say that it doesn’t exist and try to silence us. (1/9)
— Megu @ Home (@Stardust_Megu) November 25, 2019
The hypocrisy of American anime fans with a superiority complex
One thing that baffles me about this situation is the group of people who started this nonsense.
I’ve never in my life seen white cosplayers being “bashed” for NOT being Japanese. And this is the hypocrisy in the anime cosplay community that makes me shake my head. Mostly in the US of course.
But even with that said – the immense backlash against these racists was positive and a lot of fans didn’t tolerate it.
While I’m grateful to have had minimal experience with racist pricks in the cosplay community, it’s incredibly disheartening to consistently see post after post needing to be made regarding this issue. I think the least we can do is send her encouraging messages and show we care.
— en on umb*ss✨ @ Commissions OPEN (@bencdicts) November 25, 2019
I’ve always said that America has a race issue, regardless of which side of the fence you’re on. And this to me is just a sad highlight of this fact this still takes place in 2019.
4. Black Pokemon Sword Shield Gym Leader Depicted As A “Monkey”
For context – this is Nessa from Pokemon Sword And Shield. The latest Pokemon RPG in the successful franchise.
As with any character of color or otherwise, fans celebrated Nessa as the new water Gym Leader in Sword and Shield.
And of course – there’s always that one guy who spoils it for everyone by drawing a monkey version of Nessa as fan art.
— Evul (@Evulart) June 20, 2019
328 people actually “liked” the photo, which makes me chuckle a bit at the absurdity.
And even though the artist got called out for their BS, a surprising amount of Tweets gave their typical “it’s a joke” comments as they do when they can’t admit to it.
But it’s far from a joke as this next tweet will show:
Since you’re back
Explain these pic.twitter.com/eKQleheCkw
— Aku (@TheEternalEvil) June 30, 2019
This artist draws these comparisons to black people on more than one occasion, and hasn’t said a word about any of it.
There’s no need to because actions always speak louder than words ever will.
5. Anime whitewashing In Hollywood
This has been going on since the early 1900’s in the USA for media in general. But within the last decade or so, anime characters are constantly whitewashed when adapted into Hollywood.
Let’s take the Death Note film as an example of whitewashing.
Light Yagami was depicted by a white actor instead of an Asian one. Or more accurately – a Japanese.
No anime fan took this seriously as proven by Twitter at the time.
The same thing happened with Ghost In The Shell, and we all know how that went down.
At the end of the day – if a film gets adapted, it’s only right to have people play roles who fit the characters race.
In this context it’s different to cosplay, as cosplay is more of a fun activity and nothing full-blown or strict like a film is.
It’s a common thing to be told “we don’t want people like you playing this role”, usually in a round about way.
That’s typical for any race when it comes to Hollywood’s whitewashing BS.
6. Japanese Light Novel Creator’s Racist Tweets
Back in 2018, the light novel: Young Again In Another World was adapted into an anime series.
The release date was set for October 2018. But it ended up getting cancelled that same year in June.
The creator of the series went on a racist Twitter rant about Chinese and Korean people (old Tweets).
Or as Wikipedia puts it:
“Commentators discovered several tweets by the author from 2013–2015 allegedly containing derogatory and racist statements about China, as well as tweets from 2012–2014 that contained similar racist messages directed at South Korea.”
The Twitter mob dug up old Tweets with a shovel and found racist, derogatory Tweets towards China and Korea.
This was the nail in the coffin for Young Again In Another World. And everyone jumped ship to avoid being associated with the author and the drama that came from it.
Anime controversy that WAS NOT racist in any way, shape or form:
When the blackluster controversy took flight in 2019, I thought the whole thing was an absolute joke.
The problem with “fake” racism on the internet is it all stems from America.
America is a country where no matter WHAT your skin color or culture is, everyone is overly sensitive to racism. And will outrage about things that aren’t even racist to begin with.
This minority ruins it for everyone else in cases like this. And the Blackluster case from One Punch Man S2 was one of em.
After all – Blackluster existed before the anime even aired his episode.
What do you think about racism in the anime community?
I’m the Founder of Anime Motivation.
The 1st anime I watched was Dragon Ball Z. Followed by Claymore, Inuyasha, Attack On Titan, and the rest as they say is “history”.