Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.
by Tomoki Bischel
When we students think about our future, we tend to think about graduating school, job hunting, or other facts. I too also think about these facts and feel worried. However, when I think about my future, the first thing that comes in mind is about choosing my nationality. I was born and grew up in Japan, but since I was born half American and half Japanese, I have both nationalities. In Japan, the ministry of justice requires citizens who have a dual nationality to choose either one by the age of 22. Since I will be 20 this year and I only have 2 years left to decide, I am starting to think about this seriously. When thinking about which nationality I should choose, the word ibasho which we discussed in our class came to my mind.
I believe there are many definitions for the word ibasho. For me, ibasho is a place where you feel secure and happy; like when you’re with your friends or family, and I believe our nationality is also one of them to us. Although I was rose in Japan, I had many chances to go to America to meet my relatives. So, for me, not only Japan but America is also one of my ibasho. So, when it comes to have to choose my nationality, it sometimes feels like I have to choose my ibasho and feels almost impossible to choose only one. Some may say that choosing your nationality may not be the same as choosing your ibasho, since you don’t need a nationality to go to a country. However, not having a nationality can narrow choices that you have. For example, if I decide to choose America as my nationality, I won’t be able have suffrage in Japan even though I was born and grew up in this country.
I only have two years left to choose my nationality, and as I have mentioned, this would probably be one of the biggest choices that I will make in life. Having have to choose a nationality, I have a sort of fear against how the other country will look once I choose a nationality. Anyhow, I hope to be able to make a choice that I won’t regret in the future; a choice that will most help me in the future. For me, a nationality isn’t just a passport, it’s my ibasho.