Essay “The Joy and Danger of being Japanese”

The Joy and Danger of being Japanese
Hiroki Kamihata

There is a new type of Japanese called the “Shin-Nihonjin”. This “Shin-Nihonjin” is Japanese without Japanese ancestry. They discarded their citizenship of their original country and naturalized as Japanese. Although they were given many stigmas, they accepted it and became a new citizen of the Japanese nation. Because they knew the goodness of Japan, they wanted to become a Japanese citizen. There are many who doesn’t really know about Japan or doesn’t like the country although they have Japanese blood within them. In this sense, “Shin-Nihonjin” may be more patriotic than real Japanese. Pema Gyarupo is one of the “Shin-Nihonjin.” Japan accepted to let Pema Gyarupo live in the country when he was in need of help. He also had the choice to choose the US but he chose Japan instead. He also knew that there were thousands of refugees like him living in Japan, which is something most Japanese doesn’t know.

Although there are benefits in being Japanese, there are also risks. Seichou Taniguchi, President of Seichou-No-Ie, stated in his book For the Beautiful Country and People that people of Japan live in harmony and is kind to each other. As a matter of fact, after the earthquake struck on April 11th, people living within the disaster area are helping each other out and people of other areas are also trying to aid those living within the disaster area. Japanese people have also lived in harmony with nature. Japanese people have traditionally lived in harmony with nature by putting it in their lifestyle and their building methods. Japanese people not only have the heart to come in harmony with people but with the nature also.

But on the other side, Japanese people tend to lose their identity. Japan is a country that is surrounded by water and separated from other countries. Therefore, Japanese people don’t have many opportunities to interact with foreigners. They have few opportunities to observe themselves objectively, growing up without any thoughts on what kind people they are. So when they interact with those with different culture, they tend to stagger. As a result, they blemish their country and start to believe the country with the culture they interact is better than Japan.