Susan S. Sakayori

Susan (Susie) S. Sakayori is a third generation Japanese American and a long-time resident of Japan. Last year she had the opportunity to be a volunteer tour guide at Japanese American National Museum – a year she will never forget. She is currently teaching in Japan at Ritsumeikan High School and Ryukoku University.

Updated May 2009

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What am I? Who am I? – Part 3 of 3

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However, life started to change when my children were approaching their teens. I was confronted with aspects of their education and the school system that frightened me and forced me to see the danger of blindly following the crowd and not questioning what I didn’t understand. The older my children became, the more I questioned what I was seeing in and outside the classroom, but I was always at a loss as to what to do. A teacher would comment that my younger son should learn to follow the group or he’d have problems in junior ...

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What am I? Who am I? – Part 2 of 3

Part 1 >>

I had been looking forward to being married and living happily ever after. I had hoped that I would be treated as an equal, and perhaps be accepted as a woman without the hyphenated Japanese-American attached to it. Before long, I realized that the utopia that I had been dreaming of for so many years was not to be. Granted, I could walk down the streets of Japan and be somewhat invisible to the other pedestrians, which gave me a wonderful sense of freedom, until I had to speak. Whenever I went into a store, restaurant, or a ...

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What am I? Who am I? – Part 1 of 3

Imagine this – a shy, quiet little girl with black hair in a school playground surrounded by other little boys and girls of all shapes and sizes. Everyone is talking and laughing and enjoying what they do best – being kids. Then, suddenly without warning someone yells out, “Ching, chong, Chinaman.”

A dead silence. Slowly, children turn towards the shy, quiet little girl with black hair. The little girl is too shy and too frightened to reply, “I’m not Chinese!” and too shy to fight back. The only way she can protect herself from further pain is to pretend that she ...

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