Ann K. Nakamura

Sansei from Hawaii living in Japan. Teacher and businesswoman.

Image of Americans Conflict between Japanese and Western culture

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Ann Nakamura, a Sansei in her mid-forties who grew up in Hawai`i, is a single woman whose career in education and a business partnership with a Japanese man represent a unique situation. She observes that more Japanese women are delaying marriage or remaining single, and in either case are becoming professionals. This development has led to greater acceptance of her status as a single female professional. In the past, a woman teacher could continue to work after marriage, but women in business who got married were expected to end their vocation. Ann says she is not looked upon as a “role model” necessarily, but she is seen as someone who legitimates non-traditional options in society.

When growing up in Hawaii, Ann experienced a “conflict” between Western and Asian values and behavior and has been able to reconcile this in Japan. She would like to return to Hawaii where her family is, but to also continue to maintain her business in Japan. She had not expected to stay as long as she has in Japan (approximately 15 years). There are now more foreigners in Japan than ever before and more acceptance of “gaijin.” Ann first obtained a Nikkei Visa and then transitioned into her current status of permanent residency. (November 8, 2003)

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