I’m eating my words.
I’m writing a short story with characters of another race. My ethnicity is Korean. They’re Japanese.
Still, it’s an experiment on my part, a challenge to myself. I heard enough protest and debate along the lines of writing outside one’s race to give it a try. Is it purely a case of imagination and fiction? How would I navigate the cultural burdens? Could I do the story justice? Could I write a story of truth?
Maybe, I thought. Maybe. Meanwhile, the story was just ITCHING inside my SKULL–it wanted to be written. Sometimes, writing is a battle between the conscious, unconscious, and the intuitive.
Here’s the rub–when I mentioned writing this story, a Japanese American friend of mine asked me, “Are Japanese and Koreans not the same race?”
I think we are different–anthropologically and culturally, with clashing histories. As you know, Korea and Japan have some extreme historical conflict (Japan colonized Korea for starters). Hell, there are still fights, starting with Dokdo Island, let alone restitution for comfort women.
I’m not sure if Korea and Japan are like the French and English (constantly at each other’s throats like brother and sister living under the same roof) or like Israel and Palestine (estranged distant relatives with murderous rage towards each other)–or none of the above. The main idea is that there are differences, and there is deep ingrained conflict.
But then again, we both utilize soy sauce heavily, eat rice, and “look the same.” 🙂
If we are the same race–then well, I’m embarking on a different vector. Not writing another race, but another culture.
So in my mushy brain state, I have set out on a journey to write this story. Wish me luck. Wish my characters luck. Wish the story luck.