About Japanese Citizenship | 帰化について思うこと

Hey guys! How’s it going? My name is Micaela And today I’m here to do one of these talky-video
bloggy-type things regarding Naturalisation or becoming a Japanese Citizen This video is inspired by a comment on my
last video where i was talking about how I have been in Japan for ten years and a comment
asked me if I was considering naturalisation and quite frankly, I’m not. So before I start I kinda want to remind you
to not take my word as “Everybody’s Opinion” because I think that Japanese people and foreigners
alike, everyone has different feelings about this subject so what I am about to say is
entirely my opinion and you can take it with a grain of salt if it doesn’t suit you! I think a lot of foreigners who first come
to japan, come here with the dream that they are going to work hard and successfully integrate
into the culture they have chosen to adopt, and thats not a bad thing, its just a very
very hard thing to do, especially in a country like Japan The reason why we have these ideals in the
first place is because we come from countries with international backgrounds. For example, I was born in Richmond, British
Columbia, and if any of you live in Vancouver or even in B.C, you will know Richmond is.. Over 50% of the population identifies as Chinese,
it’s actually the most international city in all of Canada with over 60% of residents
being immigrants. I grew up in an ethnically diverse country
and for me, as a child growing up the only way I could properly distinguish visitors
from actual Canadian residents, was their accent and the way that they spoke english.
If they had an accent, “oh they must be from outside of Canada”, if they spoke English
just like me, “oh they were probably born here, they’re Canadian” It wasn’t really that difficult, you know? And because of that it’s not too crazy to
assume that, you know, “if they can blend in in Canada, why can’t I blend in in Japan?” However, Japan doesn’t exactly have the
same history with immigrants and internationalisation. Japan itself was a closed off and isolated
country until the mid 1850s, which is really, in terms of Japanese History, is actually
quite recent. And although an ethnically non-Japanese can
apply for citizenship here in Japan, the general perception of what defines a Japanese person
is not what passport you hold, it’s all about your blood and lineage and where you
come from, your heritage, pretty much. This is why Japanese citizens who were born
to foreign parents, otherwise known as ha-fu, or “half Japanese citizens” have a hard
time being considered fully Japanese as well, even if they’ve lived their whole life in
Japan, even if they have a Japanese passport and are considered a Japanese citizen, even
if the only language they know is Japanese, if they have that foreign lineage they end
up being considered in a separate category from pure Japanese people… And of course not everyone thinks this way,
but there is this general consensus that pure Japanese are like 100% Japanese, and then
there’s the ha-fu and then there’s the gaijin, and it’s like.. That consciousness is always there. Basically having a Japanese passport, having
all the paperwork that says you’re Japanese isn’t what makes you Japanese. What makes
you Japanese is your heritage, ultimately. So having said that, I think naturalising
or choosing to apply to become a Japanese citizen is totally a personal choice, and
there are people who in spite of all this, still think that.. you know maybe they have
good reason to do so, but for me.. this is the thing. I look Canadian, there’s nothing about this
could that could even indicate that I could be Japanese. You look at me and you can tell
I was born somewhere else, to parents who were also born somewhere else, and that is
just a fact that I can not change. No matter how long I live here, what kind
of job I do, what credentials I have, or how much I can speak Japanese, I will always be
judged, first and foremost by my appearance, and that i just a fact. That is.. After ten
years you just, ah there’s just nothing you can do about it. It’s weird, it does feel strange because,
consider it this way: I don’t look at myself every day, like when
I’m outside, when I’m going places, when I’m at the bank, when I’m at the restaurant,
or I’m on the train, or I’m going somewhere.. I don’t have this consciousness of what
I look like to other people. You know how like dolphins, they communicate
with echo-location, they have these sonar waves and they’re like pew and then the
things come back and then they’re like “oh now I see.” ..I feel like in a way, I’m a dolphin? Stay with me. I feel like I’m a dolphin in the way where
it’s like, I go out there and I do things. I do things and then judging by the reaction
that comes back at me, the things that I say and the things that
are said back at me, that’s kind of how I have developed this
consciousness of who I am in relation to everyone else. My identity as a Canadian has been only made
stronger by the way that people react when I’m outside this house, basically. The fact is that having a Japanese passport,
or doing all the paperwork that “technically” makes you Japanese, will never change the
perception of the people around you, they’ll never be like “oh well now that you’re
Japanese, I see you differently.” It’s never going to happen, so what’s the point? It’s taken me so long to understand this,
but It’s normal in CANADA to be multiculturally
diverse, that’s just you know, that’s just the way that we Westerners were raised. But are we really entitled to walk into a
different country and decide what’s normal and what isn’t? Maybe there are people out
there who want to naturalise because they think it’s going to prove a point, like
“hey, non-Japanese heritage people can become Japanese citizens too!” But is that really what’s best for Japan? I’m not saying Japan hates foreigners, nono,
they love tourists, they love tourists and they love having people come and enjoy Japan
as it is, but they don’t need people coming here and changing Japan, and that’s what
they’re afraid of. You know, Japan’s dedication to preserving
traditional ways, that’s what makes it a unique and wonderful country, and that’s
what makes people come from all over the world to visit it. It’s not, you know, “oh, well they should
make it easier for us to live because we’re different and we came in and this is how we
want it.” we can’t, I feel like, we can’t just say
that. I am Canadian, and I’m really really okay
with that, because I think that rather than trying to get Japanese people to accept me
as a Japanese person, I’d rather they learn to accept me as a Canadian. For all that that
is. You know, I grew up somewhere else, I have
parents that were not born here, but I sure as hell worked hard to learn, and study , and
learn how to speak and communicate, and it is what it is. And it’s worth noting that Japan doesn’t
allow dual citizenship, meaning that becoming a Japanese citizen would mean not being a
Canadian citizen, and, for me, that doesn’t make sense! I love living overseas and I love being abroad,
and being in Japan has granted me so many amazing opportunities that I’m thankful
for, but at the end of the day, if I can’t go home to the country that feels “normal”,
that accepts me and treats me like everybody else, if I can’t have that comfort, what
else, what do I have? Besides, in the mean time, for people who
want to stay in Japan long-term, there are visa options for that! Visa options that allow
you to live in Japan for a long time, pay taxes just like a regular Japanese citizen,
and do all those things without having to relinquish your own identity or citizenship,
and marry yourself to a new country. I feel like the end-game isn’t being accepted
as one of them, it’s having them accept you for who you are, and recognise that you’re
trying really hard. That would be the happier ending in my opinion. Sorry this is so boring but I kinda wanted
to like, answer that, and get my feelings out there and kinda start a conversation because
I think that there are tons of different opinions, and I am prepared to read them all in the
comments so yeah go ahead and write below how you feel. Do you think it’s worth giving
up your citizenship to become a member of a different country even if it means that
you’re like, not really treated like a member of the different country? Hmmm. Thank you very much for listening. I also
want to thank you for being really really nice to Tatsu because I like him a lot, and
it really means a lot to me that you guys also like him a lot. And I think that I’d
also like to have him make a video and have him talk about his experiences because he
was not born in Japan either, and um, although he is technically a Japanese citizen and he
kind of has an interesting perspective on it as well, but that’s of course, when he’s
ready to talk about it, or if you even want him to talk about it. Yeah. I will talk to you soon! Thank youuuu! Bye!

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