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Woman gets accused of culture appropriation even after spending her entire childhood in Japan

Despite not being ethnically Japanese, she carries a Japanese name, a reminder of her parents' love story in Japan.

Woman gets accused of culture appropriation even after spending her entire childhood in Japan
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Bagus Pangestu

If you were born and raised in a country, can you still be accused of cultural appropriation? A Japanese American lady accused a Reddit user, u/Actual_Priority5484, of culturally copying Japanese culture. Now, the twist is that while the latter is not racially Japanese, she did spend her first 14 years of life in Japan, which, in some capacity, made her accustomed to the culture.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Satoshi Hirayama
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Satoshi Hirayama

While giving more context to the story, the woman said that her parents met and fell in love in Japan. She said that her mother was Korean while her father was British. She said, "[I], (F20) have a Japanese name even though I am not ethnically Japanese (My mom is Korean and my dad is British). They met and fell in love while studying in Japan and had me there after marrying. We lived there until I was 14 before moving to the States." The Japanese name was probably a way for her parents to solidify and signify how Japan changed their lives since that's where they met each other and fell in love.

To explain the issue at hand, she explained, "Today, a group of my roommate's friends came over to study with her, and I happened to be in the living room when they arrived. They were introducing themselves to me and when I said my name (I have a pretty common Japanese girl name, so it's pretty hard to be mistaken about the origin), one of the girls made a disgusted face and laughed at me, saying that was so dumb." The girl then went on to tell me that she was Japanese American and that I was "culturally appropriating her country as a white person."

Image Source: Reddit | u/itsJ92
Image Source: Reddit | u/itsJ92

When she tried to explain to the friend that she had a Japanese name because her parents met there and she lived there for the first 14 years of her life, the roommate's friend kept stating that it was a lie. The post read: "I tried to explain that I lived in Japan for a while and that was why, but she kept insisting I was lying and that if I was telling the truth, I would be able to speak the language." She added, "Since she put it like that, I started talking to her in Japanese (basically explaining where I lived there and asking which prefecture her parents were from, etc.). She ends up stuttering through a sentence awkwardly before leaving in a huff."

Image Source: Reddit | u/que_he_hecho
Image Source: Reddit | u/que_he_hecho

After some time passed, the woman said that her roommate approached her and told her that she embarrassed their friend by "pretending to be more Japanese than an actual Japanese person and appropriating the culture, and [that] her friend expected an apology." She further added, "My roommate doesn't think I did anything wrong, but now I feel like of bad." And so, she took to Reddit to ask people if she was the bad person in the situation.

Image Source: Reddit | u/tungsten_22
Image Source: Reddit | u/tungsten_22

While most people had only mixed reactions, most empathized with the user. Reddit user u/PurpleVermont said, "NTA. The Japanese American guest was out of line, making rude comments about your name and accusing you of lying when you told her you'd grown up there. You weren't pretending anything. You have a Japanese name because that's the name your parents chose for you, and you speak the language because you grew up there."

Another one, u/Radiant-Appearance69, stated: "Nta - she's mad because she looked dumb and made an assumption about you without knowing the facts. Unfortunately, I have found that many of my Asian friends who were born in America struggle with their cultural identity. Many have a lot of guilt about struggling with their language skills or cultural knowledge. But none of that is your responsibility or problem. You taught her a very valuable lesson."

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