Black people of Japan, we need to talk.

Last month, Ayana Wyse took the stage alongside five other Black panelists at a discussion in Tokyo’s Toranomon business district.

Some backstory on Wyse: She has been living in Japan for 12 years, and during this time she founded Black Creatives Japan as well as organized Black Lives Matter marches in 2020. She’s also the co-founder of the recently launched Don magazine and is just one of the many members of our community who tries to organize and give back.

Here she was on a stage in front of me, taking part in Legacy Foundation Japan’s Let’s Talk About It: Mental Health event. She recounted an incident at a preschool she taught at in Kansai. One student’s parents took a dislike to her for reasons that are still unclear to Wyse, though she was told she looks “scary.” This narrative spread among the other parents and led to Wyse’s contract being terminated.

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