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Japan has a bad reputation when it comes to accepting foreigners, and it's well-earned.
Only 1.3% of the population is foreign-born,
and black people are especially rare.
But now, one Nigerian-American is becoming ubiquitous there,
because he's on Japanese TV every single day.
— Ike Nwala is a pretty recognizable face in Japan.
He's a member of a popular comedy troupe, and he even appears in commercials.
— Ike originally came to Japan working for Goldman Sachs,
but he quit to join up with a talent agency,
and his celebrity exploded practically overnight.
Part of his popularity is because of his ability to switch back and forth
between Japanese and English whenever he needs.
— Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, welcome to Tokyo Disney Sea.
— So you're a comedian, but you do kind-of everything?
— In Japan, if you're a comedian, they just see you as an entertainer,
so they expect that you can do anything.
So I do narration jobs, I do voice jobs.
I do my main job, comedy.
Even music.
— Sorry about that, you've gotta take your shoes off.
— Yeah, no, it's all good.
You pretty much do your own hair, though?
— Yeah, I do my own hair. It's kinda...
they don't know how to do black hair.
— This is every day for you though, right? — Yeah, this is everyday.
— Dang, man. — Monday through Friday.
— Wear the funky clothing...
— Since last year, Ike's been one of the main hosts of a show called “Oha-Suta.”
That means that, while a lot of adults recognize him as a sketch comic,
to their kids, he's like Steve on Blue's Clues.
— This isn't just any kids show.
— No, this is like the Japanese version of Sesame Street.
It's the most famous children's TV show in Japan.
— But just because Ike's famous doesn't mean he doesn't have to deal with prejudice.
Japan's one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the word,
and it doesn't have the best reputation for diversity.
— What's it like being a black dude living in Japan?
— I'm pretty sure you experienced the whole train thing,
where you sit down and then, like,
there's open seats next to you, but people don't sit down.
— That's happened, yeah.
— I don't think Japanese people are racist.
I think they just don't know.
Let's do this.
Ike sees himself as a comedian,
so you might think that being on “Oha-Suta” is just a distraction from his career goals.
But Ike says a kid's TV show is an important place for him to be.
— I think me being on the children's show every day is huge.
— Why's that?
— The children now, who are going to be growing up to be adults,
they already have the image of...
different people, you know?
— Little kids seeing you on TV and it's, “Oh, this is just a… he's another guy.”
— Yeah, “He's a normal guy.”
Whereas, you know, 15 years before,
things were just like, “Oh, a black guy!”
“We've seen a lot of white people, but, like… woah, black guy!”
You know?
“He's like a Pokémon or something!”
I don't know.
“He's a rare Pokémon!”
You know?


アイクぬわら、日本で活躍する黒人コメディアン(Ike Nwala Is A Black Comedian Who Has Become Japan’s Most Unlikely Star (HBO))

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nanako.kamiya 2020 年 6 月 8 日 に公開
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