There are a lot of Japanese Americans called “Nikkei” in the United States. I’ve home stayed in Nikkei’s family and they told me that situation during the WW2 was hard time for them. They were discriminated and sent to the camp for few years because the United States was fighting against japan during that time. After coming back from the camp, they stopped using Japanese in public and started to stay with other Americans. Especially for the second generation and third generation, most of them married non-Japanese American.
Therefore, Nikkei people adapted their self to American society. Also, it was not too difficult for them to be the same like other Americans because there are so many different nationalities in American society and Nikkei is not only one who looks different. For example, there are Chinese American and Korean American living in the same area so it’s difficult to distinguish them. Besides, there are Indian American and Italian American so they all look different.
But the situation is not so easy in Japanese society. I think there are two reasons to make them hard to live without discrimination in Japan. The first reason is because there aren’t so many Nikkei people in Japan. Nikkei people in Japan who came from South America look different from Japanese people. When we see them, we can see that they are different. The situation might be changed if the numbers of foreigners increase so much in Japan in the future.
The second reason is that in Japanese school they make us look the same. We need to wear uniforms and our hairs need to be black all the time. This circumstance also makes us to distinguish Nikkei people that they are different. Japanese people should get used to live with the people who don’t look the same. But for now, I guess it’s uncomfortable for Nikkei people to live in Japanese society.
by Misaki Fukada