Plunge Pontificates

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Little Black Sambo" resurrected

Couldn't leave well enough alone.
Seventeen years after it was removed from bookshops for its racist content, the children's story Little Black Sambo has made a comeback in Japan.


In 1988, Japanese booksellers agreed to remove it from their shelves after a US-led campaign against its racist language and imagery.

Gone, good riddance. But wait, let's just reissue it again!

Last April, Zuiunsha, a small publisher in Tokyo, decided to reissue the book -- under its Japanese title Chibikuro Sambo -- reckoning that today's children would be as enchanted by the book as their parents were.

The gamble has paid off. About 100,000 copies of the 30-page book have been sold in the past two months and it has made it into the top five on the adult fiction bestsellers' lists at big bookshops in Tokyo.

Let's not only publish a racist book, but hell, lets make it a best seller! Way to go people!

The publisher brushed aside claims that it was cashing in on a work that many consider racist, with its depictions of Sambo -- a derogatory word for black people -- with bulging eyes and exaggerated lips.
Na, it isn't racist! It's just a cute little book that I wanted to bring back. GAHHHH!

What is with some people. You had the Nazi themed bar in Korea, now this is Japan. It's time to realize how big and yet how small this world is folks!

UPDATE: Mutant Frog has some more info on racism or racial insensitivity in Japan.