Meet the Neighbors

Meet Matthew Hashiguchi, the Filmmaker & Professor

HashiguchiPortrait

Name: Matthew Hashiguchi

Occupation: Filmmaker/Professor

Education: BA The Ohio State University; MFA Emerson College

Country of Origin: USA

Neighborhood: East Boston

City/State: Boston, MA

Number of years in the U.S.: 29

My experience as a multiracial American has shaped my life. Growing up half-Italian and half-Japanese in a Cleveland Irish neighborhood caused the topics of race, culture and identity to be prevalent in my life at a very young age. As I looked at my group of friends, whom were mostly Irish, I felt not that we were different but that I was different.

This difference had become obvious in others around me as well. Looking somewhat Japanese and having a Japanese last name in a predominantly Irish Catholic grade school did nothing to downplay these dissimilarities. My inability to blend in translated into my own personal struggles. I rejected my Japanese heritage and have memories of yelling at my Dad,

“I don’t want to be Japanese! I hate my lastname!”

I just wanted to fit in.

Over time, I began to learn more about my grandmother, who spent three years of her teenage life in a World War II Japanese American Internment Camp. I noticed how proud she was of her heritage. How proud she was to reveal and discuss the struggles that she had overcome; not only while in the internment camps but also as a Japanese American living within a society that vilified and
discriminated against her.

As a living connection to my culture and past, my grandmother has provided an understanding of my heritage, identity and self. By following her example, I was able to overcome obstacles of race and multiracial identity, and through my film, My American Grandma, I will reveal her role as a grandmother in shaping my cultural identity and self.

With the website, www.myamericangrandma.com, I wanted to allow other people to share stories of their grandparents. Regardless of cultural background, age or location, our grandparents have played vital roles in our lives, and I wanted to offer an outlet for others to express the impact and role of their grandparents on their lives.

 

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