Enacting Ethnicity of “Japanese Canadian” in Oral History: A Comparison Between the Japanese Canadian Sansei and the Ijusha Nisei
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 18:17 authored by Shunya Kawai
This paper presents the non-essentializing analysis of ethnic identity formation in comparative research between two groups in the Japanese Canadian community: the Japanese Canadian Sansei and the Ijusha Nisei. Using an oral history approach to understand the development of ethnic identity, I discuss how the social assignment of “otherness” based on the corporeal difference has negatively influenced identity formation in both groups. My comparative analysis further uncovers some of the different strategies that each group takes against the racializing process. Whereas the Japanese Canadian Sansei claim their cultural citizenship in the history of Japanese Canadians by aligning their own personal past with the collective memory of Japanese Canadians, the Ijusha Nisei negotiate it by entitling themselves as a contemporary representative of the ideology of multiculturalism. Finally, understanding the different processes of ethnic identity formation and strategies of negotiation for social inclusion, I discuss the effects of the ideology of multiculturalism on cultural citizenship among Japanese Canadians.