I guess this is the first time I talk about books on my blog, if my memory serves. I came across with this book two weeks ago on the shelves of the library in one of the schools I visit. It’s called ぼく日本人なの? Translated into English, it is Am I Japanese? Judging from the title, you can tell it has something to do with identity crisis. You’re right! And this book is kinda a reflection of me as well. I have been having a pretty much the same identity crisis since I was twenty something when I first left my country. Even now, Where are you from? is still the most-asked question and also the one I would scream for help whenever I am asked. I can’t help hesitating a little bit and come out with some very lengthy explanation. There were also many occasions on which people seriously doubt my answer, even after my repeating answering the same.
Alright, let’s get back to the topic today. It is a book published 30 years ago (in 1983) with children being the target readers. It tells the school life of a young boy living in Japan, whose family is from China. What this book attracts me is the first couple of pages in which mention how this boy , named Jonshan, is hated, teased and bullied by his school mates, only because of his background – a boy from a Chinese family who does not speak much Japanese, and history remnant – the wars between Japan and China many years ago. Because all the classes in the school are conducted in Japanese and everyone speaks only Japanese, the school sets up a class especially for foreigners to learn Japanese to help them blend in more smoothly, and this is also where the special label comes from.
The story is so moving and certainly can make everyone shed some tears!