JAPANESE AMERICAN AND JAPANESE CANADIAN SCHOOL LEADERS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST: PERSONAL HISTORIES AND LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS
SAKAUE, DAN K.
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Do school administrators of Japanese descent hold traditional Confucian, Buddhist, and Shinto values and do they attempt to put these values into action in their professional lives? The author explores this question in an interview study with 16 Japanese American and Japanese Canadian school principals working in the Pacific Northwest. Each individual had a unique experience and outlook, and it was hard to generalize about them as a group. However, these educational leaders were marked by the experience of their parents, almost all of whom were relocated or interned as children during World War II. The parents conveyed traditional values and behavioral expectations, but most did not insist on their children learning Japanese or attending services at Buddhist temples. They wanted this generation to assimilate into American or Canadian society and that is what happened. At the same time, virtually all of the respondents acknowledged that they had, as a visible minority, a sense of being different and of being seen as different. Many of them experienced mild forms of prejudice and discrimination and this, they felt, made them more sensitive to minority issues than many of their Caucasian administrative peers. In general, they saw themselves as shy and unassuming and this had an impact on their leadership style. There were few real difference in what American and Canadian principals described, although the former generally had a more intense reaction to their parents wartime experience. Many of them only learned about relocation/internment in secondary school rather than from their families. The two principals raised in Hawaii, where more than a third of the population was Japanese American when they were growing up, had almost totally different childhood and educational experiences.