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WHAT IS “A JAPANESE”? Perspectives of a Naturalized Japanese (and his students) By ARUDOU Debito Associate Professor, Hokkaido Information University International Christian University, Wednesday, April 25, 2007. Download this Powerpoint Presentation at www.debito.org/ ICU 042507.ppt.

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download this powerpoint presentation at www debito org icu 042507 ppt

WHAT IS “A JAPANESE”?Perspectives of a Naturalized Japanese (and his students)By ARUDOU DebitoAssociate Professor, Hokkaido Information UniversityInternational Christian University, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Download this Powerpoint Presentation at

www.debito.org/ICU042507.ppt

alright i ll ask you right now what is a japanese

Alright, I’ll ask you, right now:What is “a Japanese”?

There are no right or wrong answers.

Just write down your own, personal opinions as you discuss it with your friends.

Take a few minutes, go ahead.

slide3

じゃあ、Are these people Japanese or not?

Wada Akiko

Entertainer

Miyazawa Rie

Actress

Umemiya Anna

Model, Tarento

Oh Sadaharu

Baseball hero

Alberto Fujimori

Fmr. Peru Prez

Kinugasa Sachio

Baseball hero

slide4

じゃあ、Are these people Japanese or not? (2)

Konishiki

Tarento

Akebono

Pro Fighter

Ramos Rui

Soccer Hero

Amy

Daughter

Anna

Daughter

Arudou Debito

Yours Truly

previous student surveys who qualifies to be a japanese
In-class, orally, show-of-hands informal survey with discussion.

HIU regular and senmon gakkou intensive classes.

Nationwide: Sapporo, Niigata, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Kokura (recorded), plus Sendai, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Oita (not recorded).

Overwhelmingly male, lower-income bracket, non English majors, ages 18-25 (plus a few shakaijin).

1995-2005, with little significant change over time.

Previous Student Surveys: “Who qualifies to be a Japanese?”
students answers in no order of preference or importance
Students’ answers (in no order of preference or importance)

A person who has lived in Japan

日本に住んだことがある人

A person who considers him/herself "Japanese"

自分が「日本人だ」と思う人

A person who has Japanese citizenship

日本国籍を有する人

A person who has assimilated into Japan

日本に溶け込んでいる人

A person born in Japan

日本で生まれた人

A person who has spent the majority of his/her life in Japan

人生の大半を日本で過ごした人

students answers 2 in no order of preference or importance
Students’ answers (2) (in no order of preference or importance)

A person who likes Japan

日本が好きな人

A person who has Japanese blood

日本の血が入っている人

A person who knows a lot about Japan

日本について詳しい人

A person using Japanese in everyday conversation

日常会話で日本語を使う人

A person with Japanese parents/grandparents

両親・祖父母に日本人がいる人

A person who is proud of Japan

日本について誇りを持つ人

interpretations of the data
Interpretations of the data
  • People voted clearly Japanese, registering more than 85% of the total votes, were the “mixed children” (Miyazawa Rie 95%, Daughter Amy 91%, Daughter Anna 89%, Umemiya Anna 88%).
  • Almost everyone in the survey was voted to be “a Japanese”, even if they did not have Japanese citizenship (Wada and Oh).
interpretations of the data 2
Interpretations of the data (2)
  • The lone exception, even with “citizenship” was Alberto Fujimori. Even with blood, students said it was his lack of language Japanese ability.
  • However, Arudou Debito was granted “Japaneseness”, because of his language abilities. This would not have happened if students had only just met him, or had only seen a photo of him, they said.
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Having Japanese language ability is the qualifier to “entitlement” for “Japaneseness”. If you want to be considered a Japanese, you had better speak out and claim it.
conclusions 2
Conclusions (2)
  • “Japaneseness” and “language ability” may in fact not be a racially-based social construct, as more non-native speakers and multiethnic natives continue to appear.
  • This is good news for Japan’s emerging multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual society.
conclusions 3
Conclusions (3)
  • But in Arudou Debito’s view, “A Japanese” is someone who has Japanese citizenship. Nothing else.
  • If you don’t make the qualification for “Japaneseness” a matter of earnable citizenship, any other conditions are too grey and arbitrary for clear judgment
conclusions 4
Conclusions (4)
  • If you don’t make “Japaneseness” a matter of legal status, i.e. something earnable, you get into unchangeable conditions, such as blood or birth.
  • Ascribing something as important to identity as nationality to something granted only by birth will result in a lot of hurt international children with Japanese passports.
downloads
Downloads
  • See my website at

www.debito.org

  • Download this Powerpoint Presentation at

www.debito.org/ICU042507.ppt

--Thank you for listening to my presentation!