Professor Arthur Sakamoto will discuss “How Japanese Are Japanese Americans?” at a public program set for Saturday, Oct. 15, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, First and Central in Little Tokyo.
Ever since World War II, Japanese Americans have largely severed their ties with Japan, and have stressed their Americanness. Unlike other immigrant groups, Japanese Americans have often shown little interest in celebrating or participating in their traditional cultural heritage.
Sakamoto, who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, will talk about the evolution of this situation and identify what characteristics of Japanese Americans come from their Japanese heritage.
Previously, Sakamoto gave a presentation on the “Japanese American Family Today” at JANM. He compared the original immigrant Issei families to modern families today, saying that the Issei families “emphasized group obligation over individualism, and behavioral obedience to authority over personal verbal expression.” The immigrants brought with them “a concern for children to be disciplined and trained in such a way that they will most likely bring honor to the family by their being successful in some manner,” he said.
In contrast, the modern Japanese American family is reflective of American society. Intermarriage is the norm and one-adult households are commonplace.
By looking at the history of Japanese Americans from a sociological viewpoint, Sakamoto will provide insight to where Japanese Americans are today in relationship to their cultural heritage.
This program is free to museum members or with general admission. For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or go to www.janm.org.