The reactions of others when I got my American citizenship (Japanese)

Concentration camp from a Japanese mother’s point of view (Japanese) Why I got my American citizenship (Japanese) The reactions of others when I got my American citizenship (Japanese) My changing identity depending on circumstances (Japanese) Americanized values (Japanese) Traditional Japanese events for Japanese Americans (Japanese) Leaving for the States without telling my parents (Japanese)

Transcripts available in the following languages:

(Japanese) Well my husband is American, and when I told my American friends that I was going to go to the oathing ceremony to get my citizenship, they all got really exited for me, and bought me this bronze statue of an American eagle, telling me that I should go to a party wearing a patriotic tie or something. They’d say, “you’ve got to celebrate with a glass of wine right after you get it!” They were definitely way more excited than me. I was just thinking, “Well, glad I got it.” I guess Americans really believe that the US is the best country in the world, so they’re really proud about their nationality; for me, though, it wasn’t because I thought of America as the greatest of all countries—it’s just a place where I’m comfortable at. The weather is nice, and I do have a job. For those reasons… how should I explain this… so others were really happy for me for getting my citizenship, and I even received a card from my husband’s friend which said something about “your dreams” and “your goals” and such, but I was just kind of like, “Oh… OK.” On the other hand, what’s also funny is that when I told my Japanese friends the same thing (about getting my citizenship), not one person said “congratulations,” but instead replied nonchalantly, “Oh, really.” Yes, “Oh, really,” and that was it. One lady, who has been living here for as long as me and already has two children, asked me with a curious look, “Why would you change your citizenship?” She said, “You’re supposed to be Japanese.” To me, that reaction was the strangest of all.

Date: March 1, 2007
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Yoko Nishimura
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

citizenship identity

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