Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.



Getting Japanese Citizenship

“To become a Japanese citizen, a foreigner must display ‘good conduct’, among other things. The rules do not specify what that means, and make no mention of living wafu (Japanese-style). But for one candidate, at least, it involved officials looking in his fridge and inspecting his children’s toys to see if he was Japanese enough (he was). Bureaucratic discretion is the main reason why it is hard to get Japanese nationality. The ministry of justice, which handles the process, says officials may visit applicants’ homes and talk to their neighbors.”


Japan has a remarkably homogeneous population, in large part because they have very tight immigration laws (here is a more extended list of the requirements to obtain a Japanese citizenship).


Questions to Ponder: How is the notion of Japanese citizenship different from American citizenship?  As Japan’s population continues to decline, how might that change Japan’s migration/citizenship policies?   


Tags: JapanEast Asia, place, perspective, cultural norms, culture.

It’s a Matter of Perspective

“There’s a flip side to everything,” the saying goes, and in 2 minutes, Derek Sivers shows this is true in a few ways you might not expect.


In this ultra-short TED talk, Derek Sivers show that what is considered true is often dependent on your perspective, the context, and how it is situated within a particular paradigm.  This is a mind-blowing video because it exposed our framework (which might go unquestioned as universal) to be but one of many ways in which to organize the world and the information within it.  His first example is the Japanese address system (I prefer to show this version of the same material since the visuals are better).  I also enjoy showing this clip together to hammer home the point that our perspective shapes our view of reality.  
Tags: Japan, perspective, TED. 

Japan’s Emperor Akihito fears age could impact ability to rule

“In a rare televised speech, Japan’s Emperor Akihito has addressed his people directly about his declining health. A Japanese monarch has not stepped down in about 200 years.

Once revered as a living God, the Japanese emperor became a ceremonial figure in Japan’s constitutional monarchy after World War II. Occupying forces seized much of the imperial family’s wealth and today Parliament controls the household’s annual budget and allowances, which total well over $100 million.”


It’s amazing to think that this is only the 3rd public message from an Emperor since the invention of TV and the radio.  (1-Surrender to end WWII, 1945. 2-Fukushima nuclear disaster, 2011, 3-Emperor’s Declining health, 2016).  This news though, brings up the questions of how many monarchs still rule today, and with what amount of power do they actually have?  The map accompanying this gives the quick run-down.  


Tags: Japan, political.

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