So the month is drawing to a close, and before it’s February, I do want to get an entry out that deals with something other than just what’s going on with my life.
First up is the Logan Paul scandal. If you haven’t heard or you actually need to be reminded, this kid named Logan Paul went to Japan and recorded a few videos for his YouTube channel, one of which took place in the “suicide forest” where he went out of bounds and happened to find the hanging body of someone who successfully managed to commit suicide. Sounds like no big deal, right? Well, he was making light of the whole thing, and as it was posted to YouTube, he had no respect for the person who took their own life nor did he have any respect for that person’s friends and family who may have been affected by having to see that. There are other videos of Logan Paul around Japan, where he has a good time but at the cost of being disrespectful to those around him.
If you’re new to my blog, you might not be aware that I want to go to Japan someday. People like Logan Paul would ruin the opportunity for me to do so. A major aspect of Japan’s history involves them being closed off to much of the rest of the world, not allowing foreigners or foreign influence in the country. Although they’ve opened up, they’ve accepted people from other countries and have welcomed parts of other cultures, there are still Japanese people who don’t approve of outside influences, mixed dating, and the like. Japanese people also try to maintain harmony and respect towards each other and their environment. So if you have a foreign kid come in, and he acts like a ten-year-old whose parents think it’s fine to not keep an eye on him, then it’s going to make people upset. Worst case scenario, they make things more difficult, if not impossible, for a foreigner to enter the country or stay for an extended period of time.
It really irks me to know there are people who go to other countries and expect that it’s okay to act like they’re in their home country. It wouldn’t surprise me if those same people see a foreigner in their home country and expect them to act like they’re not a foreigner, especially if a foreigner comes to America and Americans start to dictate what is considered “American.” But I digress, just a bit.
Commentary aside, Logan Paul’s actions weren’t even acceptable by my American standards. I say “my American standards,” because we have people over here who insist that “boys will be boys” and probably wouldn’t hold him accountable for his behavior if he did the same things over here. I care more about what happens as a result of his actions in regards to how the Japanese people will react, though I’ve heard he has lost a lot of support and YouTube stepped up after people petitioned for action to be taken. Regardless of whether or not you can view his videos, there are others out there who were either influenced by him or have the same mentality, not to mention that Logan Paul himself is still out there somewhere, and they could ruin things for those of us who would have far more respect.
My next issue I wanted to bring up was about Hamada. I’ve previously mentioned that I’m a fan of Downtown and the Gaki No Tsukai series. Despite having the ability, I did not watch the latest No Laughing Batsu challenge when it streamed on New Year’s. I didn’t find out what happened until my Facebook feed was covered with articles about Hamada, the round-faced member of Downtown who’s often compared to a chimpanzee, doing blackface as part of his costume.
Personally, blackface doesn’t offend me, and I’m about as white as fallen snow. Does that make it right? Does that mean it’s acceptable? Probably not. In America, we have a history against people of darker skin tones, so blackface is offensive to anyone with any compassion towards non-white people. Japan, however, doesn’t have our history of slavery, discrimination and segregation, and it seems like it’s just another skin color to them, that it’s another version of non-Asian or foreigner to them (I could very well be wrong, which is why I said it seems that way).
But Hamada wasn’t just dressing up as a random black person, he wasn’t trying to be a caricature of someone of African descent. He was basically doing cosplay of Axel Foley, the lead character of the Beverly Hills Cop movies. In my opinion, if there was one person to ask about whether or not it was offensive to dress up like that, I would say that Eddie Murphy should be asked, as he is known for playing the character Axel Foley. Should he have just been an Asian Axel Foley, and not done the blackface? Or was it necessary to be more accurate about the character? Despite the character of Axel Foley being iconic in a sense, should they have chosen a different American cop from the movies?
Honestly, it’s not for me to judge, because it doesn’t affect me. “Yes it does!” you may cry out. Well, if I sit here and say how offensive the act was, there will be someone who will say it was just for the sake of comedy but not as a means of insulting the character or anyone who shares his traits. If I say it’s not offensive, whether it’s just that it doesn’t offend me or that it’s not offensive to Japanese people, then I will get someone who will tell me exactly why and how it’s offensive and why I should be bothered. I won’t do blackface, I’m not one for dressing up like that, and I can’t really stop anyone from doing blackface if they’re going to do it anyway.
The best I can do is just educate anyone reading, to be mindful of your actions and how it affects others. Not everything you do will bother people; some will care, others won’t. What’s fun for you may negatively affect others. I’m not saying that you won’t ever bother people by being more mindful, or that the right choice will be obvious, but just putting forth the effort will be worthwhile.