Minato City International Cultural Exchange Event “What are “Mixed Roots”? -Embracing culture beyond nationalities-“, hosted by Minato city and co-hosted by Meiji Gakuin’s “Internal Internationalization” project, was held on February 11, 2017 at Libra Hall in Tamachi. (Photos of the meetings here.)
The film “HAFU “was played in the first section, and in the second section, Mr. David Yano, the cast in the film and who has his roots both in Japan and Ghana, gave a speech on the ups and downs of his life, and his dreams for the future. After his speech, another guest, Mr. Brandon Smith, who has his roots in The United States and The Dominican Republic joined the session, and I (Nozawa), played a role of a listener, interviewed those two young-generation’s experiences and thoughts, and held a three-way discussion in English.
They grew up in Japanese and American societies, and during those years they have common experiences like having a feeling of strangeness and some sort of internal conflict. On the other hand, they pointed out that an identity is not only based on nationality anymore but also now it is the time that people are connected with each other by the variety of identities. It seems that they both are considering positively that the situations of living across boarders have enriched their identities. Also, they mentioned that because of having that kind of common experiences, they can deeply understand each other. These conversations made us realize that there is not a communication just between Japanese and Foreigners anymore, but cross-multicultural communications are spreading now in Japan, especially in Tokyo.
More than 100 audiences, people from various generations and with diverse cultural backgrounds, came to the hall and had many insightful questions and stimulating discussions. Also it was a great pleasure to be able to talk directly with many people after the event. Thank you very much for joining our event and we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to David-san and Brandon-san for sharing your valuable stories.
(Written by: Shinji Nozawa / Professor in the Faculty of Sociology)
Mr. David Yano (center), Mr. Brandon Smith (right), and Shinji Nozawa (left) at the discussion.