Commentary on Amara

- Masahiro Morioka
CIAS, Osaka Prefecture University, Gakuencho, Sakai, Osaka, 599-8531 Japan

International Network for Life Studies

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 12 (2002), 151.
Amara's story is moving and beautiful. She loves her foster parents and her country, Australia. In the beginning, she had no special interest in her native country, Sri Lanka, but now she thinks that the journey to Sri Lanka is something that "must be completed" for herself. But at the same time, she says, "I had a good sense of who I am. In terms of culture and identity, I am Australian."

In Japan, there are great deal of Korean residents. Young Koreans who were born from Korean parents living in Japan mostly speak Japanese, not Korean. They were brought up surrounded by Japanese culture. They look like Japanese, and as long as they use their "Japanese" names, no one thinks they are in fact Korean residents. In our college, we have many Korean students. I have had some opportunities to chat with them about their ethnic identity. Some of them seemed to be hesitant to say that in terms of culture and identity they are Korean, or Japanese. They said their identity was complicated. (Actually, they have a chance to know their own culture and language deeply at home and/or at ethnic school.) Amara's words are a little different from voices of some young Korean residents in Japan.

A Korean student in our college talked about his Korean "blood" circulating inside his body. His way of thinking and speaking is nothing but Japanese, but he says his blood is Korean, and this discrepancy is the central theme of his identity. But what is "blood" in this context? If blood means "genes" it makes sense, however, are there any genes that distinguish Korean from Japanese? Japanese civilization began at least some thousand years ago, and since then many ethnic groups came into this country. Many genes, traditions, languages, bloods have been mixed. Today we have a variety of faces, noses, heights, eye-colors, curly hairs, straight hairs, and so on. Of course, there are some diseases that frequently occur in a specific ethnic group, but this cannot be used as criteria for defining ethnicity.

Recently, a Japanese physician announced that he would establish a center for egg donation. This indicates that there are many couples who prefer donated eggs to adoption. (Actually, the conditions for adoption are more difficult than other countries.) I am not sure if ordinary Japanese people prefer adoption in case it becomes easier, but I believe this story of Amara will move them deeply.

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