There are many benefits to living in a place such as Toronto, where various ethnic groups enrich the cultural fabric of the city and children learn from an early age how to coexist with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Yet a multicultural environment can also present a challenge for parents who wish to maintain their own ethnic/cultural identity and pass it on to the next generation.
This talk will focus on families in which at least one of the parents is of Japanese heritage, although the content will likely be of relevance to any culturally diverse family. How do those families navigate the process of bicultural (sometimes multicultural) child rearing? We will look at cases where the family is on a temporary work assignment, as well as cases where the stay in Canada is permanent. Cross-cultural marriages provide yet another twist to this process.
Some statistics and data from academic studies will be used to provide a background to the talk. Dr. Kano Podolsky will however present many anecdotes from her personal experience growing up as a kaigai-shijo (overseas child) and kikoku-shijo (returnee), as well as being married to a Canadian and raising two children (now adults) in a bicultural environment. Q&A to follow.
Momo Kano Podolsky is a “Third Culture Kid”; born in Japan, her family moved to England when she was three years old. Due to her father’s occupation, the family then moved to France when she was four. She then returned to Japan and attended high-school, university and graduate school before coming to Toronto for PhD studies. Dr. Kano Podolsky earned her PhD in Sociology and Ethnic Studies, from the University of Toronto (Thesis title: “A study of Kaigai-shijo socialization: Children of Japanese temporary residents in Toronto, Canada”). Her areas of specialization include cross-cultural socialization (Kaigai-Kikokushijo and “Third Culture Kids”) and ethnic identity retention. Dr. Kano Podolsky has previously held positions such as Associate Professor in Sociology at Kyoto Women’s University and Lecturer in Japanese Culture and Society at York University, Glendon College. She currently holds the position of Program Administrator and Research Officer at the R.F. Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto.