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What is it like to live as a Black person in Japan?


Black in Tokyo, a short and enthralling documentary by Amarachi Nwosu, explores what it is like to thrive as a black person in a racially homogeneous country like Japan.

At a time when racism in society is a crucial discussion amid the Black Lives Matter movement, a shift in the understanding of institutionalised racism is in the process of being fully investigated and society, in some aspects, is beginning to change. With investigations into police brutality being opened and with the statues of historical figures being hauled down, the first process of change appears to be in motion—but the fight is just beginning and the road is a long one.

While the Black Lives Matter movement has been spawned in the US and infiltrated other countries in the world, we’re stepping back into the Far Out vault to revisit the forward-thinking project of Nigerian-American photographer Nwosu. Why did the filmmaker create Black in Tokyo?  “Because no one else had done it.”

“I didn’t see enough representation of black people in media but I saw it of black culture—youth culture trends and music, but not enough in general media,” Nwosu told Black Enterprise. “When I did see black people in media it was often as stereotypical characters and that is largely due to the western objectification of black people, which translates all over the world. I knew I had to do something to change it and that was when Black In Tokyo was born.”

The film focuses on what it’s like to escape your comfort zone in a ever-moving city, following five differing personalities descending from various places in the world, including Ghana, Eritrea and America.

Amarachi moved to Japan to study in 2015 when she was 20-years-old and this is what she found.