(credit) Kid Cudi
I HEART CBC RADIO
I love CBC radio. *Sigh* One of its programs, The Current, has amazing stories about current affairs, seen from all angles. This is also why I prefer reading The Guardian, and to an extent The New York Times (but I major dislike that they charge Canadians now for viewing privileges).
Recently, there was an interesting story called “Marrying Outside“ on The Current earlier this month (listen here).
Here is the synopsis:
Predictions are that from this point forward there will be no more generations of Single Japanese ancestry born to those whose relatives emigrated from Japan over the last 100 yrs. 95-percent of Japanese Canadians choose mixed-race marriages and some believe the reasons for that can be traced back to the Canadian internment camps of the Second World War. Freelance contributor Natalie Higashi brings us this story in her documentary, Marrying Outside.
I remember researching this topic in some of my sociology classes when I was in university. One of my good friends even wrote a research project about it and proferred it during a conference on Asian American Studies in Philly. As a Japanese Canadian, I have always been fascinated by this statistic — that 95% of Japanese Canadians choose to marry outside their ethnicity and often times their Asian “race” too.
Ugh, I wish I didn’t have to use the word “race,” since I subscribe to the point of view that it’s a socially-constructed word that negates the fact we are all connected as part of the human race…and is oft used in history (and currently) to differentiate people as “the other” which I quite disagree with. However, here I’m using it to state how Japanese Canadians choose partners who are not only non-Japanese, but also non-Asian too.
SAVE FOR ME
As for me, I don’t particularly subscribe to this pool, since I can’t say I’ve had a relationship with a partner that was outside my “race.” Wait, okay, in highschool but that’s only because I grew up in a neighbourhood that was predominately Caucasian. I think there were only 10 Asians in my whole graduating highschool class. But once I began university, from then on my partners were within one of many Asian cultures. One or two have been hapa (part-Asian/part-Caucasian), but come to think of it, no one has been outside my “race.” Funny enough, Americans have superseded Canadians, a preference that friends have readily pointed out…which means I’m also going beyond borders too, let alone ethnicity and culture.
This reminds of this interesting documentary called, “One Big Hapa Family,” that also touches (briefly) on the fact that 95% of Japanese Canadians marry outside their culture.
Still, the stats are quite clear, and when I think about most of my Japanese Canadian friends I have to admit that all of them, save one or two, have partners outside their ethnicity (mostly Chinese Canadian).
Most of my friends are second-generation Japanese Canadian, like myself, so our parents were born in Japan and we were born in Canada. Our experience and history differs from the Japanese Canadians whose ancestors experienced WWII internment — an incredibly unjust and deplorable blot in Canada’s history. I can understand how this experience shaped the high rate of exogamy within the Japanese Canadian community.
IT’S A TIGER WOODS WORLD
All in all, Marrying Outside is an interesting documentary that resonates in our society that sees more and more people who are of “mixed ethnicities,” à la Tiger Woods (who is African American/Native American/Thai/Chinese/Dutch).
Yet this statement from the documentary is quite startling:
Predictions are that from this point forward there will be no more generations of Single Japanese ancestry born to those whose relatives emigrated from Japan over the last 100 years.