When we first meet someone, our brain condenses all the information we have and give an identity to the person before we even know them. Stereotyping plays a role in how we define others as well as ourselves. By grouping people who share one particular attribute together, we strip them of their individuality, removing all other aspects of their identity and self
Yoshiko was born to a Japanese father and Taiwanese mother, Yoshiko spent the first 19 years of her life in the living outside of Japan. Yet, as strongly as anyone could, Yoshiko identified herself as Japanese and held onto the conviction that she is as Japanese as any other Japanese person, just as her name, one of the most traditional names of Japan.
Yoshiko studied law in one of the most traditional universities of Japan and stood out on campus, as she spoke to her parents in Chinese loudly, sported dreadlocks and wore a traditional wooden footwear, those that Samurai once wore, all at the same time.
After graduating, Yoshiko followed her father’s footsteps and joined an investment bank. That is when she realized that being Japanese, and being a Japanese young woman meant something quite specific in some people’s minds. She felt out of place. Not because she wanted to be that specific something, but because she still held the conviction that being Japanese can also mean thousand other things.
15 years later, Yoshiko still holds that conviction. She can be a Japanese woman who loves manga and Japanese literature, and having a favorite author who is Irish, with a tongue that appreciates Chinese food, who quotes “Friends”, and listen to Jazz, and having all her insecurities growing up in places she is not supposed to belong to, and yet is proud of herself, of her identity and all that has made her, her
Yoshiko learnt that only she can define herself and it’s up to her how she would define herself, her strength and vulnerabilities and the changes she would embrace.