Don't judge by appearance alone, January 5th, 18:31

She looks a little different from the people around her.

Because of that, I have been bullied and exposed to prejudice.

But being different from other people is attractive.

There is a woman who tells that.

(Risa Komiya, Reporter, Network News Department)

"Mistaken for foreigners"


and are waiting in a place of promise, one woman appeared.

Naomi Iwasawa (25) greeted me with a slender, tall and bright smile.


a glance, I could see why I said that in advance,



often mistaken by foreigners


Mr. Iwasawa was born to a Japanese father and a Czech mother and grew up traveling between Japan and abroad.

A slightly brownish hair and a deeply carved face.

The pictures of her childhood show a lovely figure with a big smile on her face.

However, her appearance and growth, which is a little different from the Japanese people around her, will hurt her.

Treated as "foreigner", "half" and "foreigner"

Mr. Iwasawa started attending elementary school in Japan in the second semester of the first grade.

I returned from Hungary and moved to an elementary school in Osaka.

Mr. Iwasawa was looking forward to making many friends in Japan.

But what was waiting for her was an unexpectedly harsh word.



home early"

"Why do you speak Japanese even though you are Japanese?"

It is rare to be a transfer student who does not speak the Kansai dialect, but it is said that he was seen as a "special" person even more from overseas.

What's more, a Western-like face made her stand out.

A lot of words thrown by classmates.

It is said that Mr. Iwasawa's heart was deeply hurt by being treated like a "foreigner," "half," and a "foreigner."

Mr. Iwasawa

"Why are you saying that? I was just full of sadness."

Is prejudice "unfamiliar"?

Eventually, you will have the opportunity to find your own answer.

When I was in 6th grade, my family moved to Germany and started attending an international school.

There were children with different roots, and no one cares about their appearance or origin.

Mr. Iwasawa:

"I wasn't asked what country I was from, everyone was interested in what I liked and what I was good at, and I was surprised that I wasn't interested in race or where I came from. When I found out the reason, I realized that it was because I was accustomed to interacting with various people, and I came to think that "unfamiliarity" was the cause when I was in elementary school. "

If there are few opportunities to come into contact with foreigners and foreign cultures, they may unknowingly distinguish and hurt them.

After returning to Japan in the third year of junior high school, that idea becomes stronger.

"Don't work at a sushi restaurant even though you're a foreigner"

It was around the time I became a high school student and started a part-time job at a sushi restaurant.

When I was serving customers at the store, the customer suddenly picked up the nameplate on my chest.

The customer was angry when he saw the name written in kanji and misunderstood that the foreigner was wearing a Japanese name.

Mr. Iwasawa

"I was more scared than shocked, but I couldn't tell anyone because I just got into a part-time job and didn't want to make a big deal."

The painful experience continued after that.



work in a restaurant that serves sushi even

though you're a



He was treated like a "foreigner" by customers and was terribly spoken.

Mr. Iwasawa, who thought that even if he talked to the people around him, couldn't understand how painful it was, he said he had no choice but to put up with it.

Mr. Iwasawa

"I was wondering if there was anything wrong with me, but I was hurt quite a bit, and the number of times I went to work part-time decreased, so I stopped going."

Determination to act on your own

Mr. Iwasawa decided to start his own activities when he was in the third year of high school.

The name of the organization that was launched is "Culmony"

, with the desire to realize a society in which various cultures are harmonized.

At "Culmony", we hold events and classes at schools that are familiar with different cultures so that children can come into contact with various cultures and values.

"No foreigners" poster

I covered the class.

Until November of last year (2020), this is an online class held for second-year students at a private junior high school in Tottori City.

In the class, we invited people with foreign roots as guests and divided the students into groups of five, and thought about slander and prejudice against people with foreign roots.

Nina Gamel, 25, who participated as one of the guests, was born to American and Japanese parents and has lived in Tokyo for about two years.

In Tokyo and Shinjuku, it is said that he often saw paper posted on the storefront saying "Foreigners are not allowed" to prevent infection due to the influence of the new coronavirus.

When asked what they thought of the poster, the students answered, "I don't think it's good."

And Gamel conveyed his feelings when he saw the poster.


"I'm sad. Why can only Japanese people enter the store?"

Instead of looking like a foreigner, you should judge whether you are infected with the new coronavirus.

"You're good at Japanese." With that word ...

The discussion deepened further in the class.

The theme is about the phrase "You are good at Japanese," which is often spoken by people with foreign roots.

"What do you think when a foreign clerk working at a convenience store is asked by a Japanese customer,'You're good at Japanese. Where are you from?'"

A 20-year-old man born to American and Japanese parents and raised in Kyoto said in a group of guests that several students positively accepted "I like it."

However, the man asked him to know that some people actually feel uncomfortable and asked why, "What do you think?"

Students who answered "I don't know".

The man, who often speaks these words, shared his thoughts.

Guest man

"It sounds like a lot of emphasis on being a foreigner. People who want to get used to Japanese culture make a difference like" we (Japanese) vs. you ". I feel it. In my case, I don't like being treated as a foreigner. "

There was also a change in the students' thinking.


"I haven't really thought about it before, but I thought that if we could create a society where nationality and where we were born wouldn't matter, no one would feel uncomfortable."

Imagine your feelings

Mr. Iwasawa hopes that children will continue to think about different cultures, nationalities, identities, etc. and accept diverse people.

Mr. Iwasawa:

If you think that the other person is Japanese, you probably won't say, "You're good at Japanese." That's how unconsciously you judge by appearance. Japanese by appearance. Even if it is unavoidable to think that it is not, what kind of words and actions to take depends on the person's consciousness. I hope that you can make a judgment on the spot while imagining the feelings of the other person. think"

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are scheduled to be held in 2021.

The Olympic Charter has a philosophy of denying any discrimination based on race or religion.

I hope that Mr. Iwasawa's thoughts will reach

us, "I want you to face and accept as a person, not because of differences in appearance or culture