Remixing Japanese American Identities is a project near and dear to my heart. It began with questions about myself, my past, and my future.
My name is Colleen and I'm a recent graduate from the University of San Francisco's design program with a minor in Asian Pacific Studies.
Feel free to check out my other work at kokodesigns.org
I grew up in Honolulu down the street from Pearl Harbor. Being so close to one of the most infamous sites in U.S. history has always made me wonder what Pearl Harbor means to me today. The bombing of Pearl Harbor directly led to the incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans and U.S. involvement in WWII -- the 44nd, the battle of Okinawa, and the atomic bomb. That was nearly 75 years ago, but why does this matter today?
While in college, a professor once told me, "to be yonsei is to be hapa" and I've been trying to figure out what he meant ever since. Out of curiosity, I began searching for answers about multiracial Japanese Americans, like myself, our history and our future.
What does it mean to be Japanese American? How does history inform you today? What does this all mean for our future?
Through this project, I can say that I have only found more questions than answers. However, I refuse to believe that we live in a vacuum separate from our history. There are various things that contributed to our current state as Japanese Americans and we must use this knowledge to inform our future.
"To be yonsei is to be hapa"