Rock-paper-scissors redux

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat May 19 07:45:14 UTC 2007

This works for me, too. I'm pretty sure I learned the word from my best
friend's mother (or from him imitating her) who was a Japanese War
bride. She was a racist and used that and at least one other similar one
until she passed away in the 90s. I know I've heard white people say the
word in Japanese, but don't know that I've ever heard it uttered by any
Japanese person in Japan.

BTW, an important point about this is that the Japanese word "kuroi"
(the color black) also means "tanned". Learning this can cause English
speakers to have a double-take as they adjust their orientation. BB

Wilson Gray wrote:
> The time line seems about right. The article on the trials and
> tribulations of being black or worse, part-black and part-Japanese, in
> which I found the word was published in Ebony about fifty years ago.
> The first Japanese person that I've ever known and whom I met about
> fifty years ago, Masashi Yamada, was a flaming asshole. However, I
> can't say for certain whether he was a flaming asshole because he was
> a racist or because flaming-assholery was simply his natural
> personality or because flaming-assholery is the way that racism is
> expressed by the Japanese. IAC, Mas was unique in my experience. So, I
> conclude that I've no evidence to indicate that either the Japanese or
> Japanese-Americans are more likely than any other group to be racist
> WRT black Americans. Besides, as was once noted on the old Chappelle's
> Show, sometimes, you think that other people are being racist, but
> it's really just you. That is, the perception of racism is all in your
> mind.
> -Wilson
> On 5/19/07, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at> wrote :
>>> The jury is out whether Jim Breen's first definition is derogatory or
>>> not. I've gotten one response so far on it.
>> I have inquired of a native-Japanese correspondent in Japan. He says
>> "kuronbo[u]" = "Negro" is/was considered insulting/derogatory. He says
>> Japanese used this word "when he was a child" (i.e., 40-50 years ago), but
>> "now nobody uses it." Of course this cannot be strictly true since a word
>> cannot disappear completely so quickly, but at least it would seem that
>> maybe the term is not routinely encountered now.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list