Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Carol Rodgers


Who am I? What am I? This paper is an attempt to tell a personal story of my struggle to answer these questions about my racial and cultural identity. As a Japanese American who has lived the first half of my life in the U.S. and the latter half in Japan, I found it increasingly difficult to find my place in either culture. I was faced with issues of ethnicity, cultural background and personal values that I didn’t realize were so important in understanding who I was. I have traveled down a road of discovery where I was given a new perspective on life. I see that we are all cultural beings with our own cultural identity which goes beyond ethnicity and color and which transcends cultural definitions.

I begin this paper with a reflection of my life beginning as a child growing up in the U.S. and the pain and sense of inferiority I felt as a Japanese American in a white society. The second chapter deals with my life as a young wife and mother in Japan determined to assimilate into the new country. Cultural clashes with my adopted country are revealed in the third chapter. I have also examined the events and experiences that influenced my need to question whether what I was giving up to belong in Japanese society actually balanced what I was being given in return. The journey ends gracefully and peacefully with a new respect for myself and my newfound identity.


Asian Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | International and Intercultural Communication | Social and Cultural Anthropology