When this kindergartener goes to school, her self-portraits change depending on whether she’s in a Japanese or U.S. environment.

Experiencing another culture, at any age, brings with it joy, challenges and little self-discoveries along the way. For one Japanese girl currently growing up in the U.S., navigating cultural differences and coming to grips with her own identity is something she does on a daily basis, as she attends a regular American kindergarten during the day while also studying at a Japanese school on weekends.

Recently, her father, a CEO at a startup in Silicon Valley, shared these self-portraits drawn by his daughter at school, showing that, despite her young age, she already has a grasp on the difference between Japanese and Western drawing styles.

“These are self-portraits my American-reared daughter drew at school; one she drew at her American kindergarten and the other she drew at her weekend Japanese school. It really struck me how completely different the styles of drawing are, one being totally American-style and the other being Japanese-style”.

It’s true that the picture on the left, with “I love Mom” written across it, is drawn in a typically western style, showing a girl with long black hair, black eyes and a large, smiling mouth.

On the other hand, the picture on the right, drawn at the girl’s Japanese school, looks more like a typical Japanese-style anime drawing. In the circle that says “My Face” is a girl with a twintails hairstyle, a pink hair ribbon, small mouth and large, sparkly eyes.

While the difference in self-portraits stood out for the girl’s father, Japanese Twitter users were quick to chime in with their own thoughts, leaving comments like:

“I also went to an American elementary school. When I left the house it was like I went into “American mode” and when I came home I went into “Japanese mode”. It was like a switch I could turn off and on.”
“Surprisingly, children are able to read situations from a very young age, so it’s natural for them to understand what’s considered “normal” in different environments.”

“It looks more like the picture on the left is of her mother, but still, the difference in styles is obvious. Maybe they use Japanese-made pencils at the Japanese school, which helps give it more of an anime-style look?”
“I did this when I was younger. When I think about it now, it was like I had different personalities at my regular school and at Japanese school. Everything from my drawings, to colour choices, and my style of writing changed depending on where I was. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened naturally.”

According to many of the comments, this type of fluidity in drawing style is a natural phenomenon for people straddling the cross-cultural divide, and even adults who move abroad find themselves picking up new habits and blending them with their own.

Still, regardless of the influences on her drawing style, this girl clearly has artistic talent, so hopefully she keeps on sketching. With one foot firmly planted in two different worlds of art at such a young age, there’s no limit to her artistic potential!

Source, image: Twitter/@yokichi