Over the years, I’ve been surprised that many Japanese Americans aren’t interested in Japan or even visiting Japan, mostly because they’re embarrassed that they don’t speak Japanese, or they feel entirely American.
I think it’s more important than ever for Japanese Americans to follow events in Japan.
The fact is, Japan is on the precipice of some potentially treacherous political turmoil. Most Americans are unaware of Japan’s dysfunctional democracy, which has led to a seven prime ministers in the past decade. The government has been unable to jumpstart a stalled economy, and there are a lot of disgruntled people, not just in the northeast who are still recovering from the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, but throughout the country.
And like the U.S., where the economic downturn has spurred the rise of some ugly, even racist, political and social movements like the one that keeps promoting the anti-Obama “birther” theory, and cloaking it in the veil of patriotism, national pride in Japan is rearing its ugly head.