君のIDENTITY

May 18, 2019

Panelist Tatsuya Kohrogi, a 26 year old nisei from Torrance, CA, “wanted to experience what it was like to be a salaryman in Japan.” Rikio Inouye, on the other hand, never grew up speaking Japanese at home. As a yonsei, he is retracing roots that go back four generations. Meanwhile, Miss World Kyoto `19 Juri Watanabe struggled with conforming to a particular Japanese image urged by beauty pageant judges. “I decided to be myself,” she said. Shizuka Anderson, who once introduced herself as shiz-uh-kuh when she was a child living in Canada, now goes by shi-zu-ka¬.

Sponsored by JACL Legacy Fund Grant

Event Director: Kristy Ishii

Grant Writers: Kristy Ishii, Jarrod Suda

Graphics: Kelly Suzuki

Team: Kelly Suzuki, Elizabeth Smith

Photos by TopTia

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Discussion about Expectations, Challenges, and Reflections of being a Nikkei, living in Japan.

- What brought you to Japan?
- What expectations did you have of yourself, if any, when you first arrived here, and why?
- What is the most difficult aspect about navigating life in Japan coming from a multicultural background?
- What do you like about being multicultural, and how does it affect your life positively?
- What is your identity?

 

Panelists

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Rikio Inouye

Ph.D Student at Princeton
JET ALT, Toyama

Home: La Canada, California


Living in Japan as an American of Japanese descent certainly has afforded me new experiences that will shape my own self-perception.  Yet at the risk of being a bit trite, perhaps my cultural identity is less of a puzzle in need of an answer, and more a journey to be explored.  Sociologist Erving Goffman explained personality in dramaturgical terms, fluctuating with the context that we are currently operating in and I find a certain resonance in that notion that our identities are a bit malleable.  It certainly liberates me from needing to choose one or the other.

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Juri Watanabe

Operations Associate, Tokyo Creative, 
Miss World Japan Finalist

Hometown: Tokyo & Los Angeles


Q. What does someone of “mixed culture” mean to you?

A. For me, really simply put, being "mixed culture" means not 100% belonging anywhere but at the same time belonging everywhere you choose to belong. Growing up, it was difficult being mixed because you felt like you didn't belong to a particular group, but now, it's such a blessing to be able to have this unique perspective on the world and because of it, we are able to connect with so many people with varying backgrounds.” 

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Shizuka Anderson

NHK World TV, Personality, Youtube Host

Hometown: Edmonton, Canada

Shizuka came to Japan at the age of 18, and has accelerated her career in the media, appearing on various TV shows and News broadcasting episodes with NHK World. Shizuka, who once introduced herself as shiz-uh-kuh when she was a child living in Canada, now goes by shi-zu-ka¬. Living in Japan has been and continues to be a unique and ever changin

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Tatsuya Kohrogi

Partner Manager, Facebook,
Ex-Softbank

Hometown: Torrance, California


Q. What brought you to Japan?
A. Receiving a job offer brought me to Japan, but it all started when I began job searching in college.
After studying abroad at Waseda University for a year, I knew I wanted to do work involving Japan and America. In America the demand for Japanese speakers in the work place was very low, but in contrast the demand for English speakers in Japan was very high. In the end, I simply decided to work in Japan after university because I felt like I could create more value and grow in Japan compared to staying in California.

EXPECTATIONS. CHALLENGES. REFLECTIONS

Schedule

May 18, 2019

2:15PM

Lunch

We provided lunch for the panelists and volunteers before set-up at Goblin Shibuya-Daikanyama, a unique sharespace.

3:00 PM

Debrief with Panel

We discussed any lingering questions or concerns with the panelists as a group. And, went over logistics.

3:30 PM

Registration

Mingle and Prep Time

4:00PM - 6:00PM

Panel + Q&A

Rikio Inoue served as a moderating panelist, and had the audience break into conversations mid-panel to engage and discuss with neighbors. We opened for questions at the end of the panel.

6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Post-Panel Mixer

There were nostalgic foods crafted by Blu Jam Cafe (Daikanyama), like spam musubis, popcorn chicken, avocado toast, pita bread and hummus, etc. We also had a photo booth with signs/props for people to take photos together.

10:00 PM - Last Train

Nijikai 二次会

We finished the night at Hacienda Del Cielo (Daikanyama), with an afterparty until the last train for some participants (12:30AM).

panel + Q&A

Rikio Inoue served as a moderating panelist, and had the audience break into conversations mid-panel to engage and discuss with neighbors. We opened for questions at the end of the panel.

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Post panel mixer

There were nostalgic foods crafted by Blu Jam Cafe (Daikanyama), like spam musubis, popcorn chicken, avocado toast, pita bread and hummus, etc. We also had a photo booth with signs/props for people to take photos together.

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Nijikai + More

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Feedback

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You guys make me feel at home in Japan. Much Love.

Mariko K.