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Sometimes I spend my time thinking.
Sometimes I do it while jogging.
Recently I've been thinking a lot about this.
What makes a Japanese person Japanese?
Is it the blood that runs through their veins?
A parent they were born to?
The country they grew up in?
Is it how they look?
How they act?
How they speak?
By law, what makes a Japanese person Japanese is their citizenship.
So, in a sense, it's that simple.
I shouldn't be thinking so much about this.
But in reality, it just doesn't seem that easy.
Like most people think Japan is this homogeneous country.
Even some former Japanese Prime Ministers.
"One nation, one civilization, one language,
one culture and one race,
the like of which there is no other on this earth"
Taro Aso
This really hasn't been true in the past
when Ieyasu Tokugawa united the country in 1603,
putting it on the path to close its doors 3 decades later.
It wasn't during the Meiji restoration
when the Emperor was reinstated in 1868
and the doors reopened.
It wasn't after world war 2
when in 1946 Douglas MacArthur and staff drafted the new Japanese constitution.
It isn't today as the immigrant population, while small, continues to grow.
There are so many people from all over the world
that have shaped who the Japanese are today.
From the indigenous Ryukyuans in the south and Ainu in the north.
To the Koreans who came from across the sea.
To the Chinese who make up the biggest percentage of immigrants.
To the Vietnamese who are now Japan's number one source of new technical intern trainees,
kind of a mouthful, I know.
There are the Japanese who left for Brazil generations ago,
to return to Japan in the 1990s as the economic miracle was bursting.
There are second generation American Japanese,
some who find success in their new country,
others who return home and find it.
"You are always going to be my love." You are always going to be my love
There are the children of two nationalities, like my kids,
who are both Japanese and Canadian simultaneously.
And then there are those with no official ties to Japan
yet want nothing more than to be called Japanese.
Now don't get me wrong, Japan is a very homogeneous country,
but if you look beneath the surface, I think you'll find a diversity of people and ideas.
A lot of Japanese food, items, and culture are remixes of others.
It started with rice, continued with cars, and is present in so many Japanese things.
On the other hand, as much as Japan is made up of, and inspired by, other cultures,
it's also uniquely its own.
I'm creating a documentary trying to answer the question of what it is to be Japanese,
and what the future of Japan might be like.
This is a journey that will take me around Japan,
and, maybe a bit about the world as well.
If this is something you'd like to see,
I'd love your support:
whether it's your time, your story, your language skills,
or hey, even your money.
Just head on over to Indiegogo to learn more.
Thanks to all of you, all over the world.
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Being Japanese

107 Folder Collection
ayami published on November 11, 2019
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