“I Don’t Feel Very Asian American”: Why Aren’t Japanese Americans More Panethnic?

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3 Scopus citations


Because Japanese Americans are among the oldest Asian American groups, they would be expected to have a high level of panethnicity since they apparently have much in common with other U.S.-born Asian Americans. However, most Japanese Americans interviewed for this paper did not identify panethnically with their Asian co-ethnics, but felt separate and distinct as Japanese Americans. Research on panethnicity has not sufficiently examined why some Asian Americans are not panethnic. Although Japanese Americans are homogeneously racialized as “Asians,” they also resist their panethnic racialization by insisting on their distinct identity as Japanese descendants. They also continue to experience cultural and generational differences with other Asian Americans. In addition, even third and fourth generation Japanese Americans are not immune to the interethnic prejudices, hostilities, and homeland tensions that continue to simmer among different groups of Asian Americans. Finally, my interviewees were not interested in panethnic activism because they apparently no longer had compelling experiences of racial injustice and socioeconomic marginalization. Nonetheless, national-origins ethnicity and panethnicity should not be regarded as mutually exclusive opposites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-942
Number of pages24
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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