January 25, 2024 at 10:14AM

What does it mean ”Being Japanese”…? News about the winner of The Miss Nippon Contest is buzzing on SNS because she was born in Ukraine (Ukrainian Parents) and moved to Japan when she was 5. The Japanese Government granted her naturalization, so she is Japanese. However, because of how she looks, as the contest is a beauty pageant, there are various reactions to it.

First, let me clarify what I think. I think She deserves it as a “Japanese”. Regardless of her appearance, she lives in Japan, speaks Japanese, and is part of the community in Japan. To me, it is even nonsense to question that. However, some Japanese can be exclusive to this topic from a “Cultural” & “Appearance” perspective. This is how we (Japanese) can be exclusive.

Japan is a rare country that doesn’t allow dual citizenship. If I become a US citizen (which I am qualified for), I need to give up Japanese citizenship. Some argue that this “Citizenship” is the sign of “Being Japanese”. My daughter has a Japanese Citizenship, yet I do not think she is Japanese “yet” as her entire life is in the US. She is proud of it, and I do not force her to behave like the Japanese. Only thing I try to do, including this account, is to leave her something when she decides to be Japanese.

When I say “Japanese” here, I do not indicate citizenship. Culture, Language, Ordinary… many factors will be part of it, and therefore I really wish the Sashiko “Teachers” will be able to understand Japanese language. Well… Japanese are very welcome to tourists – after/outside of that…? It’s another story.


#Sashiko #刺し子


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