I have lived both in Japan and S. Korea, and I am part American Indian. They are fascinated by the American Indians. They love the way American Indians look. However, they don’t consider them Oriental. In Japan, if you are American Indian, you are, though, more likely to be accepted into the Japanese society than someone with red hair or blonde hair and blue eyes. The Japanese feel more comfortable around people who have dark hair and dark eyes with light skin like they have. I actually had a Japanese girl in one of my Cross Cultural Communication classes say that she would rather talk to me than the other American students because of my coloring. She said the others looked like they were from outer space.
My oldest daughter is married to a Japanese guy, and when they first decided to get married, I played with them. I bought them an American Indian doll and told them their kids would look like that doll. My Japanese son in law loved it! They have two babies now who look a lot like that American Indian baby doll I gave them.
The S. Koreans are just fascinated by American Indians. I am only part American Indian, but according to my grandparents and people like that, I really got the look of their Indian relatives. My grandpa used to tell me I looked like an Indian princess. My grandmother used to say, “You are round, like the Cherokees.” My boss in S. Korea finally had to come out and tell me that she was completely puzzled by me because I didn’t look like the other white people she had met. I told her that it was probably because I was part American Indian, and it thrilled her to death! She loved telling people that there was an American Indian teaching at the university.
My Korean son in law and his family are thrilled with the fact that we are part American Indian. When they learned we were part American Indian, they began doing all the studying they could about American Indians. It prompted my daughter to study too. My daughter learned that Cherokee and Korean have the same gramatical patterns. That thrilled her and her husband to no end. We are in Oklahoma now, and one of the goals my Korean son in law and my daughter have is to study the Cherokee language. There are places in Oklahoma where the Cherokee language is taught, and they know where they are. My Korean son in law is still waiting on his visa, and then everyone got quarantined because of the coronavirus, and his visa got even more delayed. When he comes, one of the things he wants to do is study Cherokee. There are classes that teach the Cherokee language, and he wants to take them. He knows they aren’t oriental, but he feels the relationship and wants to learn more about the American Indians. There is a kinship, but not an acceptance as oriental.