Japan and the Philippines A Contrast in Pansin

Naomi Osaka has now won two Grand Slam ( major) tournaments. She is now the #1 ranked woman’s tennis player in the world.  This incredible athletic achievement has served to divide Japan like a Wall along Mexico. I ran across this interesting article in the Australian ( speaking of racially divided) website Nine.

Despite flying the Japanese flag, the reaction to her recent success has been mixed. Naomi Osaka is very proud to be a product of a Haitian father and a Japanese mother.   It is possible though that moving to the US at age 3 from Japan that she does not fully comprehend that she represent “ one of the world’s most racially homogeneous nations. ” according to the Nine.com article.  The same article cites as evidence that many label her as ” ‘Hāfu'” .  The denotation of Hāfu’ is one thing. The connotation is another .


Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

Nao Hibino, the world No.115 ( women’s tennis ) told New York Times Magazine that a fair cross section of Japanese cite her non Japanese looks, her limited Japanese speech and her US upbringing as reasons not to embrace her as a representative of the country. Even the spoils of her victories come with some blow back. Instant ramen maker Nissin depicts Osaka as being light skinned. Maybe in their rush to cash in on her fame they did not notice her skin color.



Filipino culture craves attention so much that the concept of a ringer  is as familiar to the typical Ms. Universe, Gilas, Azkal fan as the concept of bimolecular reactions . A few years ago I asked if Andre Blatche was not born here, doesn’t live here, has zero pinoy heritage , doesn’t work here then what joy do people get when they see him wearing the jersey of the country? Just because he makes a lousy team a little better then we should forget real national pride? Brazil devotes themselves to football and every World Cup they are contenders. Philippines devotes itself to basketball and they still resort to naturalizing NBA bench players  with no connection to the country and they call it pride. Shouldn’t national pride be about something or somebody we had a hand in forging?



Filipino culture craves attention so much that the concept of organic growth is totally not part of the equation. Look at the Azkals roster. Lots of Fil- Danish, Fil -Ams, Fil- Spaniards, Fil – Germans. There is a reason why there is no significant player who is Fil-Fil. Simpy because we suck as football players. Like anything else in life you will suck if you don’t care. We don’t care so much that we have to resort to hyphen Filipinos. Guys who I guarantee you did not take the jeepney going to school growing up. Yet the Pinoy identifies with them.

Let me let you into a little secret. FIBA and FIFA have loose nationality rules for a simple reason. The wider the net you cast, the easier it is to get a relatively (compared to pinoy team athletes who the world shuns) standout player. One standout player gives a whole country of sub standard players hope. A country with hope but lousy players produced locally will never upset the balance of power yet provide more revenue to FIBA and FIFA. More hope = more interest. More interest = more money.

Filipino culture craves attention so much that they love to make the excuse that beauty pageants are also about brains. Sorry the quiz shows that highlight brains do not have facial beauty and Coke bottle figures as prerequisites. A lot of pinoys snarl at anybody who doesn’t genuflect to beauty pageants. You want proof the process is flawed? The Philippines apparently won Miss Universe back in December. The only person standing on that stage wearing the name Philippines yet she was born in Australia and lived there for the bulk of two decades and was educated in Australia and the US. She found time in the summer to model in the Philippines so that makes her pinoy.


You want proof that beauty pageants are shallow? Miss Universe is supposed to be of interest to the world but the first page of a Google search for ” Catriona Gray biography”  in January of 2019 lists only pinoy sites that worshiped Noynoy ( ABS CBN / Rappler) and Wiki sites. There was one site that was in English that originates from Abu Dhabi.   You know what kind of publication it is when they actually have a story titled “Pinoy Pride“. There is one site called Gossip Gist that I never heard of.  I was not exactly expecting the Economist to cover it but goes to show you only in this country do those result matter. One tabloid out  of all the media outlets in  Australia tries to claim ownership of Miss Universe and of course Filipino culture is so butthurt that a lot of pinoy media picked up on the story.

Thank you Jessica Sanchez! You did not spend one second in the Philippines pre American Idol yet you captivated this country and gave birth to my first GRP post.  So blame her not me. Even ABS ( yaya help beat Michael Phelps  ) CBN considers your hometown Chula Vista in California. If you had the exact same skills but your mother was from Thailand then we would not care. The point about competition is the pinoys make American Idol about race and not about merit. Spare me with the “she is good” . She may well be but you are rallying behind her perceived nationality. You are not rallying behind her skill. Which makes your framework a racial one and not a meritocracy. You co-opted what I believe is the intended goal of the show which is come up with a “singing star”. You instead made it about someone whose ethnicity you believe matches yours. Pinoys do it all the time because they have what I perceive as an attention deficit disorder. Pinoys are so proud to be pinoy that they do not check how pinoy their idols are.

The irony of Filipino culture is they don’t care about the lack of Filipino culture in an individual as long as they can slap a Filipinas sash or jersey on them in some event or show where other countries are watching. Nobody cares about pinoy TV shows, pinoy awards or pinoy team sports so you make do with what you have. The Japanese already have an athlete that won two major ( not major major) tennis tournaments yet there is some discretion about their identity. Tennis does not care about your looks or your figure or your lava walk or a judge’s bias but if you can beat the person on the other side mano a mano. They even brought up her Japanese is not up to their standards. Contrast that with the Azkals who are mute during the national anthem. Pinoys don’t care if they didn’t educate you or entertain you or employ you. They only understand cold , hard pansin. KSP is the root of all evil and the root of all pinoy cheering. At least the Japanese are showing some reservations of their identity. The Japanese identity does not come cheap. That is real pride. Pinoys really believe a bunch of gaijins  are their peers and worthy of their flag. They even believe they have a hand in whatever success they have. If you do not make and develop something yet treat their “success ” and fame as your own , doesn’t that make you a “pansin whore” ?

21 Replies to “Japan and the Philippines A Contrast in Pansin”

  1. The Japanese has different mindset and culture than us, Filipinos. They are very proud of their ethnicity. We Filipinos, accept anybody with even a small percentage of Filipino blood, as our own. Especially, if they accomplish something extra ordinary.

    Most of ordinary Filipinos, who prefer to remain on the sideline, could identify themselves, with those champions, beauty queens, etc…as a result : they they “think” , they become champions, beauty queens, etc…themselves. No sweat, just attach yourself to these extraordinarily accomplished people…

    Of course, it is just in the mind, but it helps also to think that we can “think” to become like those people, we identified with…

    Globalization has made people travel and live anywhere in this world. People meet other races…they intermarry. Then, we produce mixed races. On the case of most Filipinos; we, OFW/slaves seek employments in other country. We could marry or be raped by our OFW slave masters. Then, we produce mixed race.

    If the result of these inter racial bonding will be extraordinary accomplished people…there is nothing wrong in claiming them as Filipinos !

    1. Are pinoys embracing the person? the person’s behavior ? or the pansin that comes with it?? That was my main point in writing this. The Japanese have a grip right or wrong what it is to be Japanese. Pinoys love pansin in any way shape or form from the outside world. Sports will rarely do that. I made the identical point when a pinoy got on CNN for non pinoy behavior. His values are not pinoy values but there was an email campaign to vote for him in a CNN online poll.

  2. Japan is a nation that believes homogeneity is the mark of a secure and solid society. Any little sort of deviance is quickly punished, whether by law or ordinary people’s reactions. And Japanese people aren’t actively looking for adulation and praises, they prefer that live be lived with a straight face. Filipinos have no such compunction, they prefer hand-outs, including praises and adulations being given to them for no reason. Keeping a straight face is even considered KJ (killjoy) or manhid. But there is a sort of homogeneity desire among Filipinos as well. It’s namely, only my clan, my barangay, my tribe or ethnicity is important. Others in the country with different culture or such be damned. Only if someone else is earning adulations and praises from other countries, all of a sudden, “we are Filipinos like this person, notice us!” Those are among the reasons our country is in the pits.

    1. Chino, I interact with a few Japanese over the course of my day. Maybe you wrote about the only Olympic medal the Philippines got in 20 years and what a big deal it was. In that same Olympics ( Brazil) the Japanese got over forty medals. I doubt they were as noisy about their haul as pinoys were about the female weight lifter. Pinoys love instant gratification, something for nothing , entitlement and most of all pansin. They truly expect international sports success without the work. Without grass roots support.

      1. I’m reminded of your post about Michael Martinez, the figure skater. Guy who funded his own participation, didn’t ask for “government help” or that kind of support, didn’t get that much praise or admiration as deserved for what he did.

        1. Yes nobody cared in the beginning. Nobody. True to pinoy form only when the results came ( the Philippine flag in the Winter Olympics opening for the first time is a result) did the offers for support came when the expenses were always there. He had to qualify in order to even get to the Olympics meaning he had to do well in other events that were obviously not held here. Very little support. Where is this pinoy pride we keep hearing about??

          To refresh the memory of what went down at the time:




  3. I dont want to be a party pooper but it also happens in my country. In the Dutch national field hockey team plays an Argentinian, Valentin Verga.
    Okay I admit, field hockey is a small sport globally (but it is an Olympic sport).
    It also happens/happened in the Dutch national table tennis team where a woman plays (or played) coming originally from China.
    Am I advocating such “transfers”? No, in such cases I am conservative.

    1. Just remember Robert, These “ringers” or hired hands I bring up are apparently allowed by the rules . But they are so much part of the pinoy pride equation

      1. Worse is the way Pinoy Pride is swallowed when a Fil-something does not meet the qualifications to represent Philippines, and the governing bodies grovel to try to get an exemption.

  4. Any person whose name becomes big, are deemed by Pilipinos as higher being, and by relating yourself to this Big Shot, Big Name, VIP, it seems and it feels that you are important too and worthy of respect. It is just “sipsip” mentality.

  5. Same old story: we struggle to produce local sporting talent that can compete at the international level.

    The Azkals and Gilas would have none of these issues if we simply did a better job producing talent domestically. Honestly, sports in this country is all about ‘porma’. I highly doubt women’s volleyball would get this much attention if sex appeal was removed from the equation.

    1. Very simple answer to your last point: 1) do we care about men’s volleyball at any level? In any other country 2) There is no such thing as a legit female spectator sport that does not have a corresponding men’s version that dominates. 3) How does TV5 market their volleyball offerings?

  6. It takes just a step to show the other side of you that you never wanted to show. It takes just a word to start the words you never wanted to say. It all begins with something and it all starts somewhere. Mind the starting point and note the beginning.

  7. Identification and attaching yourself to prominent people, were used by Cory Aquino, during her term. She encouraged voters to call her: “Tita Cory” or “Aunt Cory”…so any Filipino voters become her “virtual niece of virtual nephew”. Filipinos are tribal and family oriented. They have to vote for their aunt,uncles, etc… or they are bad family members, or bad tribal members.

    Attaching themselves to accomplished people, is ne way by which, non accomplished “lazy Filipinos” can accomplish something. It seems odd and stupid, but it is who we are as people. We are susceptible to gravitate towards: heroes, saints, martyrs, champions, beauty queens, actors, singers, show biz people, etc…never on Filipinos who contributed to Science and Technology, if there are any !

    1. My reply to your first paragraph: That was the blueprint her son used to win the election in 2010.

      My reply to your second paragraph:

      Attaching themselves to accomplished people, is ne way by which, non accomplished “lazy Filipinos” can accomplish something.

      The pinoy craves pansin so much they attach themselves to non accomplished pinoys who were somehow connected to accomplished people who are not pinoy as I hinted above and documented in this GRP piece by Fallen Angel. Where he makes reference to the pinay who was a yaya in Singapore for a boy who eventually grew up to be an Olympian.

    1. Why is this Pinoy GRP sports blogger-basher, as always, has his tunnel-vision eyes elsewhere (this time with a hafu jap model!) but intentionally ignore any promising athlete from his own turf?

      He probably doesn’t even heard (and probably doesn’t even care either) of Filipino athletes the likes of Ms. Denice Zamboanga. A Filipina atomweight prospect (in ONE Championship, formerly known as ONE Fighting Championship or ONE FC), who, following a spectacular performance against Japanese Mei Yamaguchi at ONE: King of the Jungle last Friday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, has earned herself a shot at Angela Lee’s ONE women’s atomweight world title.


      1. You have proven my point for me. Pinoys only care about basketball and it is the only championship held outside this country that they care about. So here you go about promise or whatever when the whole nation does not care if it is not basketball. I don’t owe it to the individuals you mentioned to discover them. You probably have a personal relationship to the competitors or the discipline itself. Yet you expect me to care in this culture that only cares about basketball. The masa does not care about world class boxing unless there is a pinoy involved. Tell me, how big are the crowds in their competitions? Remember the pinoy culture is only about basketball when it comes to our communities. You like it fine. Nobody in the world cares about pinoy athletes. Don’t expect me to care about what you think is good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.