Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/825/

Why I got my American citizenship (Japanese)

(Japanese) It was due to my laziness. I could’ve just stayed with my Green Card, but these Green Cards do expire, and it was such a hassle to renew it every time they expired. On the other hand, once you get citizenship, you never have to go though the process again, so I thought that would be the easier solution. It doesn’t matter whether my nationality is Japanese or American, as long as I have a passport from one country or another. It doesn’t matter whether I’m considered Japanese or American, as long as I have a passport that allows me to go see my parents [in Japan] in the event of an emergency. That alone is good enough for me. On top of that, I already have a house in this country, my husband is American… and I just can’t see myself “going home” to Japan anymore. But just because I’m American now doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes me “proud” or “glad” or anything. I got my American citizenship simply because I was too lazy to keep renewing my Green Card. Seriously. That’s the truth.


citizenship green cards identification cards identity noncitizens

Date: March 1, 2007

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Yoko Nishimura

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Yumi Matsubara was born and grew up in Gifu prefecture in Japan. Growing up in a conservative family in Japan, she didn’t tell her parents that she was moving to Los Angeles, California, to improve her English. She first attended an English language school for a couple of months before studying fashion at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. After she graduated from FIDM in 1994, she started working in the fashion industry.

Around this time, her desire to make a permanent home in the United States was growing. Her company agreed to support her green card (permanent residency), so she started the green card process. In 1999, however, the financial situation of her company deteriorated and she left the company before she received her U.S. permanent residency. She decided to marry an American citizen in November 1999 after just two weeks of dating. She received her green card in May 2001 and her American citizenship in December 2006. Currently, she works in the fashion industry in Los Angeles where she serves as a grader* and spec writer. (March 1, 2007)

* Grader: a person who produces scaled versions of an original pattern to produce clothes across a range of sizes and fits.

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