Tag Archives: Marugame

Japan Stereotypes like it’s 1923

A few weeks ago I was in the city of Marugame with the gf, checking out some cafes and restaurants, a fairly common weekend hobby among the Japanese, foodies as they are, when I pulled her off to visit the Marugame Glass Shop.

The place is filled with thousands (millions?) of carefully crafted and shaped glass pieces. It’s a pretty impressive sight.

And while I’m not sure how well the place will be doing post earthquake, it’s a great place to take in some wacky, tacky, and somewhat offensive glass artwork…

…Such as Creepy Monkeys:

Wherever I go, they just keep looking at me...

Wherever I go, they just keep looking at me...

Or the very Japan-centric, Bondage the Bear:

An army of bears, bound to poles...

An army of bears, bound to poles...

And everyones’ personal favorite, “Shark Riding Negroes:”

Yeah, this won't offend anyone...

Yeah, this won't offend anyone...

Japan, you silly little country that just decides to ignore racial issues  (whether ignoring/destroying the Ainu or refusing citizenship to Koreans in Japan). Your gospel singers paint themselves in black face and your glass makers create nappy-headed, big lipped, tribal negro people riding sharks.

How innocent you are!

Let’s pretend this  planning meeting occured in America for a moment:

Manager: So anyway, I called this meeting today to see what kind of projects you’re all working on for the glass shop. Let’s just go around the table, shall we?

Tim: Yeah, I’m working on some Pandas and Giraffes. Kids really love them and they’re selling really well.

Manager: Great Tim, what about you Jerry?

Jerry: Oh, I dunno, I was gonna do some dragons.

Manager: Ooo…Sounds interesting. Eastern or Western Style?

Jerry: Oh, maybe Eastern this time, I like those whisker things they have, maybe have it holding an orb cause the Western ones always have orbs, but I never see it on the Eastern Ones

Manager: Yeah Jerry, I like your (hand quotes) “outside the box” approach. What about you Bob?

Bob: I was thinking of doing like a Negroid guy with big ‘ol red lips, nappy roots hair, mostly naked and riding on top of a shark

Manager: ::Shivers:: Did you just use the word ‘Negro?’

Bob: Actually, Negroid…like a subhuman Negro…

Manager:  …

Tim: …

Jerry: …

Meanwhile, in Japan, the Japanese Bob just toils along, crafting out armies of horrible shark riding stereotypes…

In the end, I bought one. I’d like to say I did it to rid the shelves of xenophobic ignorance…but I also just wanted to be one of the few people on earth to own the dude from the Bamboozled poster riding on a shark…

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