Interesting Stories about the Far East

I spend a great deal of time on social media catching up on what's happening in the world rather than socializing with others. This week, on Twitter, I found two compelling stories - one about South Korea and the other on Japan - that discuss culture and how these aspects of tradition are affecting modern lifestyles.


Steve Haruch, a writer at the Nashville Scene, wrote an extensive report on adoption in Korea for NPR's culture and ethnicity blog, Code Switch. Haruch reported about the "family ideals" of Korean culture and identity issues that some Korean children may face throughout life. He mentioned the changes in society, adoption law, and people being united by their common perspective of being an adoptee.

He followed around Deann Borshay Liem, who is a Korean adoptee. Liem is an example of someone who has struggled to come to terms with her identity and believes she missed out on the chance to be the real Korean woman she was meant to be.

"I feel like I was denied the chance to be a Korean person. If I hadn't been adopted, I would have been a productive person. I'd probably be married, and maybe have five kids. I may not have gone to college, but I would have been productive. And I wouldn't have spent so much time trying to come to terms with my identity." - Deann Borshay Liem

At first, I found it interesting that she said this because the few adoptees I know personally, express more gratitude toward their families that took them in. After thinking about this a little more, it's not unusual for people to want to find their roots. We all wonder from time to time where our families originated and how far we've come. After reading on, Haruch brings up Also-Known-As, a group that brings adoptees together so they can consider their individual identities and where they belong.

This particular story forced me to consider my own identity and how much my culture influences who I am. Where would I be if I didn't know my birth family or if I didn't know Indian culture?


Isabel Reynolds wrote a story for Bloomberg on Japan and its "struggle to empower more women."

In recent years, Japan has struggled with its decreasing population and a workplace filled with older employees. The issues with young people "not in education, employment or training" (NEETs), has been extremely serious since the early 2000s. The nation is also known for its lack of "large-scale immigration," a way to sustain a nation of Japanese people.

In order to combat this issue and boost Japan's economy, Prime Minster Shinzo Abe advocates greater female employment.

Globally, women are joining the workforce and proving that they can take on more important positions. About 40 percent of the global workforce is women, and areas like Asia and North America are doing better economically now that more women are gaining higher education and obtaining better careers.

Abe is taking a great initiative because bringing women into the workplace can help the nation if no other alternatives will be considered.

These cultures are beginning to break away from older customs and ideals, and this kind of change forces acceptance to be prioritized. It's good to step back and reevaluate where you are from, but also where you are today.