TCKs of Asia


an Open Forum

Mixed Loyalties

When Choosing is Difficult

2 JULY 2021

When the World Cup or Olympics are on, who do you cheer for? When the countries you care about don’t get along, what do you do?

When it’s just about soccer or badminton teams, you might brush it off as ‘all in good fun’. But what happens when people who you think you belong with look down upon another cultural group that you belong to?

In this forum, several Asian TCKs will share their stories of being caught between cultural identities that are sometimes at odds with one another. Join us to explore the hidden, complicated feelings that this may trigger and why.

Poster design by Asako Noda

It's not just about soccer teams or flags. It's about who you are.


Ardi Kuhn is a graduate student at the Asien-Afrika-Institut, University of Hamburg. His current research interest is in postcolonial queer Southeast Asian studies. Ardi grew up in the South Pacific and Asia in a diplomatic, mixed-race American family. Having grown up not speaking Indonesian or Javanese—his mother's languages—Ardi moved to Indonesia as an adult on a roots journey, while working in international education. As a cultural curator he is interested in community building through arts and critical discussion related to and involving Indonesian and Southeast Asian diasporas.

Danau Tanu is an anthropologist and author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School, the first book on structural racism in international schools. Danau was born in Canada to a Chinese Indonesian father and Japanese mother, and attended both local public schools and international schools in Indonesia, Japan and Singapore. For Danau, doing research and writing about identity and belonging has been both a professional and personal journey. At present, she is waiting for the pandemic to end so she can carry out her postdoctoral research on multicultural youth in Japan. In the meantime, she's busy co-chairing the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Research Network.

Ema Naito is an independent editor who loves clear, plain English. Born to Japanese parents, she spent her infancy and elementary school years in Tokyo and kindergarten, middle and high school, college and grad school in the US East Coast. She found a home in Bangkok where she’s been living for 15+ years with her German-Thai partner and raising three cross-cultural, multilingual children. Ema holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University. She sings Western classical, sporadically blogs (日本語), edits the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) blog, and, as an adult, is learning about her own TCKness.

Saeko Mizuta is founder & CEO of TCK Workshop. Saeko is a Japanese entrepreneur and adult TCK working in education. While growing up in the United States, Saeko attended a local school on the weekdays and Japanese school on Saturdays. That experience of trying to keep up with school work in two languages at the same time prompted her to found TCK Workshop — a multilingual tutoring company that has been supporting over 700 TCKs thrive — while attending Harvard Business School as a Fulbright scholar. Saeko was also a TEDx Fulbright Speaker for The Traumatizing Gift: A Global Childhood and Co-Founder of the FIGT Japan Affiliate.


Isabelle Min is a former radio host and television broadcaster for KBS, as well as a diplomat kid and one of the first generation of Koreans who grew up overseas in the 1970s and 80s. After growing up in several countries and speaking five languages, Isabelle repatriated at the end of highschool and has since lived in Seoul, Korea. Her desire to reconcile who she is as somone who grew up among worlds while physically living in Korea led Isabelle to her current work as an international coach. Isabelle has spent the last decade as founder and CEO of the TCK Institute where she offers programs to develop facilitators, organizes community retreats, support cross-cultural transitions and improve communication skills.


Podcast editor: Karen Tan

Mixed Loyalties 2.pdf
Download PDF version with link.Designed by Asako Noda