Resource: Black Tokyo

blacktokyoI was going to post this originally as a Fun Link Friday link, but while there’s definitely a lot of fun stuff on here, such as a recently posted video jokingly “hating” on tiny Japanese beer cans, Black Tokyo | First in Urban Japan also contains some serious resources, as well as discussion of some serious topics – including discrimination. This was an incredible site to stumble upon – I’m kind of surprised I never came across it earlier, seeing as how it seems a rather long-standing and extensive blog, with lots of great resource articles on life in Tokyo, and quality commentary on issues of discrimination and the like.

The site, headed by Eric L. Robinson (Zurui / @blacktokyo), and with a number of contributors including Mitzi Uehara Carter (@gritsnsushi) whose Okinawa-related blog Grits & Sushi I have been avidly following for some time, describes itself as having been

created to provide a voice and a network for Blacks living in Japan. BT delivers news on Japan and also addresses inaccurate or false information, stereotypes and other issues concerning Blacks in Japan. This site does not seek to bash Japan or its inhabitants. BT’s main purpose is to provide the reader with information and encourage discussion on Japan.

Recent posts have addressed discrimination in apartment rental practices and “denizenship”, as well as the upcoming autobiography of prominent Nigerian gaijin tarento Bobby Ologun, and where to find cheap groceries in Shimokitazawa.

The site includes posts on important topics such as “Government & Security,” “Crime & Punishment,” “Employment,” and “The Military in Japan,” but also on lighter topics including “Music & Entertainment,” “Fashion,” and “Technology & Gaming.”

Deeper within the site, a series of Black Tokyo OpEd pieces cover topics such as What Barack Obama Means to Me, Anti-Foreigner Discrimination is a Right for Japanese?, and a 2009 Japan Times interview with Robinson.

Other resources on the site include a series of “Black Resources” links, and emergency resources.

Though nominally explicitly focused on issues pertaining specifically to blacks living in Japan, most of these posts are, clearly, without a doubt, of relevance to a wider audience as well. Like the blog deep kyoto I posted about a short time ago, I imagine this could be a great resource for any foreigners living in Japan, especially in Tokyo, and for broader audiences too.

Visit Black Tokyo at, and on Twitter @blacktokyo.

About Travis

I am a scholar of Japanese & Okinawan history with a particular interest in the history of arts and culture, and inter-Asia interactions, in the early modern period. I am currently working on how cultural and political realities were produced and maintained through diplomatic ritual performance in Luchuan (Okinawan) embassies to the Tokugawa shogunate.
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