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In Defense of JusticeJoseph Kurihara and the Japanese American Struggle for Equality$
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Eileen H. Tamura

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037788

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037788.001.0001

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(p.132) Chapter 9 Japan
In Defense of Justice

Eileen H. Tamura

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines Kurihara's journey to Japan. Despite having renounced his U.S. citizenship and declaring himself Japanese, he was never fully comfortable in his adopted land. One of the differences was the “strong pressure on homogenization” in Japan. In order to feel comfortable socially, the Nisei had to assimilate fully into Japanese culture. Those who succeeded in doing so were able to “merge into the Japanese mainstream community and keep their invisibility.” This requirement went against the grain of Kurihara's nature, his self-identity as an individual with freedom to express himself and to live according to his beliefs. Ultimately, Kurihara's two decades in Japan was a mirror image of his much longer life in the United States. In both countries, bounded by circumstances he never successfully transcended, his life was centered primarily on his cultural subgroup.

Keywords:   U.S. citizenship, Japan, homogenization, Nisei, Japanese culture, Japanese community, self-identity, cultural subgroup

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