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Becoming New Overseas Chinese: Transnational Practices and Identity Construction Among the Chinese Migrants in Japan

  • Gracia Liu-FarrerEmail author
Chapter
Part of the International Perspectives on Migration book series (IPMI, volume 2)

Abstract

The Chinese in Japan show two curious characteristics. First, they object to being called ‘immigrants’. Instead, they embrace the identity ‘New Overseas Chinese’, a label invented and popularized by the Chinese in Japan. Second, they prefer permanent residency over naturalization. Although it is generally considered easier to obtain Japanese citizenship than permanent residency, three times as many Chinese immigrants applied and obtained permanent residency as Japanese citizenships between 2003 and 2007. This chapter argues that both the choice of ‘New Overseas Chinese’ identity and the preference for permanent residency in Japan speaks of the Chinese migrants’ desire to maintain a flexible cross-border living and are in congruence with their transnational outlooks. It shows that such desire and outlooks are shaped by the intersections of the social and cultural contexts of Japan and supported by the expanding transnational economy between Japan and China. On the one hand, Chinese migrants’ identifications and transnational outlooks represent their strategies to overcome their marginality in a society they perceive as resistant to immigration and closed to outsiders. On the other hand, Chinese migrants, especially skilled migrants, typically employ their Chinese cultural and linguistic skills in the Japanese labor market and occupy economic positions that have to do with businesses in China. Moreover, with the expanding global economy, the recent Chinese migrants in Japan have begun to interact with older and well-established global overseas Chinese networks. Their economic roles and practices further strengthen their identity as ‘New Overseas Chinese’.

Keywords

Japanese Society Ethnic Identity Collective Identity Host Society Japanese People 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Caroline Plüss, Chan Kwok-bun, David Chapman and the anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments on this chapter.

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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Asia-Pacific StudiesWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan

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