The letter from the Ministry of Justice informed me that I was now Japanese and no longer a foreigner. But I wondered, was it really so easy? Could one become Japanese simply by submitting a few documents to the proper authorities?
The nationality law at the time of my birth in Tokyo had made me a foreigner, forcing me to naturalize as an adult as the only way to become a citizen. Ministry officials told me that my naturalization was easy since my mother was Japanese. But I had always thought that having a Japanese mother made me Japanese, not their stamp of approval. And I am constantly reminded by others that regardless of what the state claims, being Japanese is really a matter of blood.