Reader Mail

Finding the true meaning of identity

Regarding the package of stories exploring dual citizenship in the April 19 edition, identity is not held in a passport. My mom moved to the U.S. in 1959, and today at 86 has not only kept her Japanese passport all these years, when many of her Japanese friends switched to U.S. citizenship, but also stayed true to her cultural identity.

I once lived and worked in Japan with my U.S. passport (and I only have one) for six years, and my Japanese friends, upon meeting my mom when she would visit from the U.S., would tell me, “You didn’t say your mom was Japanese Japanese.”

The translation is you didn’t tell me her Japanese language, cultural references and mannerisms are in line with someone who has spent her entire life in Japan. It is not her passport that defines her, but her choice to retain her cultural identity. Many people around the world have moved to the U.S. for U.S. citizenship, not to lose their culture. That is why my home city of Los Angeles is the epitome of cultural diversity.

It is interesting that the people interviewed in The Japan Times articles who did follow the law and gave up a passport, chose to give up their Japanese citizenship. I am sure their choice came down to practical reasons of where they would be better off financially and where they want to retire.

Overall, the message of the article is that people want two passports for selfish reasons, not because they are proud representatives of the country of their passport, and are afraid of commitment. The requirement of choosing one passport should be maintained by Japan and other nations, because it does not affect one’s cultural identity as was mentioned in the article.

AMY WILSON
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.