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JOINT CENTER CO-SPONSORS FILM ON AFRICAN AMERICAN AND JAPANESE RELATIONS ON SEPT. 21

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies issued the following:
 Despite the racist stereotype that many Japanese hold of African Americans, many African Americans who live and work in that country say that Japanese society is better than their own. Such are the views shared by African Americans in the documentary film, "Struggle and Success: The African American Experience in Japan," which examines the complex relationships between African Americans and the Japanese.
 The film, produced and directed by Regge Life, will be shown at the University of the District of Columbia, Faculty Lounge No. 48, 4250 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. The program is co-sponsored by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Japan America Society of Washington (JASW).
 "From the remarks of prominent politicians to sambo dolls ... the perception of most Americans is that the Japanese view African Americans and other ethnic minorities as inferior," says Life. He adds that some African Americans interviewed in the film, narrated by actor/writer Ossie Davis, view Japanese culture as more tolerable, despite negative perceptions of them.
 Paige Cottingham, director of the Joint Center's U.S.-Japan Project, says the Joint Center and JASW are presenting the film because "We are interested in informing the Washington, D.C., community about the challenges faced by African Americans and Japanese to reduce negative stereotypes, and to provide a forum to discuss how the two groups can work together despite our differences."
 Many of the African Americans who were interviewed in the film said that the Japanese judge them based on their merit but will not embrace foreigners into the Japanese culture. Although negative images of African Americans pervade Japanese society, there is an appreciation for black popular culture which includes entertainers Janet Jackson, Bobby Brown and some rap groups. In the film, there are scenes of Japanese singing groups dressed in clothing styles made popular by these entertainers and African American youth.
 The African Americans featured in the 90-minute film include a CBS television correspondent, a fashion designer, a fitness entrepreneur, a stock broker, and others. They talk about how Japan has affected their families and their careers, both negatively and positively.
 "Unfortunately, Japanese know very little about African Americans and have limited contact with them," says Cottingham. "Likewise, African Americans know very little about Japan. In order to change perceptions and behavior on both sides, opportunities for greater access to each other and information about each other is imperative."
 Following the screening, a discussion will be moderated by Germaine Hoston, an African American professor of political science at the University of California.
 The Joint Center initiated the U.S.-Japan Project in 1990 to build a communications bridge between African American and Japanese leaders and to stimulate the flow of information and understanding between both groups.
 Life, an independent producer who studied cinema at Harvard University, has won several awards for his work. They include a Gold Award at the Philadelphia International Film Festival and a Silver Award at the Houston International Film Festival. He was honored by the Black Filmmaker Hall of Fame and chosen as a Sony Innovator in 1991.
 -0- 9/17/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: To schedule interviews with Life and/or Cottingham, or to attend the screening, please contact Rochelle Daniel at 202-789-6364./
 /CONTACT: Rochelle Daniel, 202-789-6364, or John Clemons, 202-789-3504, both of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies/


CO: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Japan America
 Society of Washington ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


DC-DS -- DC027 -- 3205 09/17/93 16:10 EDT
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Date:Sep 17, 1993
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