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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 2 - 8  > Sports can contribute to eradicating racism
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2020 December 2 - 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Sports can contribute to eradicating racism

December 8, 2020

A commercial released on November 28 by sporting goods maker Nike Japan is creating a buzz in Japan.

The CM features three girls living in Japan who are enthusiastic about football, depicting their lives struggling to overcome bullying in school or discrimination in Japanese society. Among them are an African-Japanese girl and a Korean girl dressed in a "Chimachogori (Korean traditional garment)". They are asking themselves, "Who am I?" "Why am I not like everyone else" "Am I the odd one out?" and "Am I not allowed to be here?"

Some people have reacted with criticism aimed at this commercial, saying, "No racism exists in Japan" and "The CM is humiliating our country."

In fact, hate-speech demonstrations full of hostility and hatred, for example, against Korean residents still take place in Japan. A survey shows that 25% of foreign residents have experienced refusals to be employed because they were not Japanese, and that about 40% have experienced refusals when attempting to rent a room.

Still fresh in people's mind is the fact that a comedy duo joked at tennis player Osaka Naomi's expense by saying, "She needs bleach," which led to them offering an apology. Various forms of bullying and discrimination exist in everyday life in Japan. The ideology which results in prejudice and discrimination is, whether consciously or unconsciously, always present.

It is malicious to choose to deny attitudes and behavior that exist in reality. Sport can be a force of social empowerment, capable of raising public awareness and contributing to eradicating discrimination.

Japanese woman soccer player Nagasato Yuki, 33, said, "I want to play on a men's team in the future and hope that a society will be established where everyone can get along well with each other regardless of the boundaries imposed on men, women, nationalities, and races."

Past related articles:
> Appeals court unjustly defends racist hate speech as ‘public nature’ [September 15, 2020]
> Reflection on past colonial rule is necessary to end racism [September 7, 2020]
> Demonstrators in Tokyo and Osaka: Discrimination can happen to us, too [June 7 & 8, 2020]
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