It’s been exactly a month since I departed from Honolulu and flew to Japan with my Tomodachi Inouye Scholars. Since this time, I grown and learned so much from this experience academically and personally it will forever be an influence on my life. Before this trip I knew very little about Japanese culture and its ties to the United States. But now I can say with confidence I have learned more from this week in Japan than I probably would have from any text book or other academic mediums offered in a classroom setting.
As an American Studies major, I tend to take notice of how the United States is regarded by foreign countries, Japan included, and of course how the United States regards other countries as well. Besides what I learned in Dr. Ogawa’s American Studies Japanese Americans, class I really had no prior knowledge of how the United States and Japan truly influenced one another. From Dr. Ogawa’s class I took away how important Japanese and Japanese Americans were to Hawai’i and the rest of the Unites States. But it was not until I visited Japan that I realized how the Unites States influenced Japan and its people. Drawing from the Foreign Affairs presentation we got after we landed, post WWII was a major turning point for Japan. Japan’s military was basically dismembered due to American General MacArthur and his new constitution, which forbid the Japanese from having an aggressive military it left Japan with a weak defense for themselves at best. Although the war did take place over seventy years ago, Japan is still feeling its repercussions. With possible new threats from China and terrorist groups, Japan needs a better plan for the future. Japan’s ties to the United States is of importance even now for protection and looks to the United States due to its perceived strong military.
However although Japan has had severe set backs due to WWII it has come a long ways in other aspects such as its economy, infrastructure, and its technological advances. We got to see this progress first hand through tours of the cities Tokyo and Fukuoka and other places such as the Toyota factory and the Yaskwa Innovation Center.
(City of Tokyo)
I believe that Japan and the United States have strong future together and I will do my part in keeping the countries ties strong. I will do this my promoting this program to students at UH Manoa and sharing my experiences through social media and blogs such as this.