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In Japan, is hakujin and kokujin, used often when referring to white people and black people?

For learning: Japanese
Base language: English
Category: Culture

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    Yes.

    And not often. They're always used as translation of English "white people" and "black people".
    In fact, to make a distinction of black and white is rather a western thing. Race can be very obscure and the only time we have to make that distinction is when we learn history. Foreigners are just foreigners in Japanese minds.

    I also happened to know that, in US census, they ask you what category of race you fall into. If I remember correctly, they have black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and others. I don't think a lot of Japanese people have that kind of mind frame. It might seem the idea that "Obama is black because Americans said so" is a little bit far-fetched but it has that element. It also brings up the question of "he's partially white. So why is he black anyway?" I won't delve much further into this but you know...

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