African Immigrants In Tokyo: Transnational Performative Identities And Spaces Of Belonging
Research on transnationalism in the social sciences has grown tremendously over the past several decades. Ethnographic case studies have especially made important contributions to transnational literature, however focus has been mainly upon migration flows to the United States and Europe. In the past few decades Japan has experienced an economic and cultural boom followed by subsequent a decline and stagnation. It faces an aging population outnumbering the young. Extremely low birth rates have raised issues regarding how Japan will care for its elderly and provide social security, how it will make an economic recovery without young people and their labor. In addition to these changes, Japan has become a country of immigration with no standardized means of accepting and integrating its oldest as well as most recent diverse immigrants. This dissertation explores the experience of Africans, one of the recent immigrant groups, in contemporary Tokyo, and the impact these transnational movements have on immigrants' identities and their host country. My ethnographic analysis draws upon diaspora studies, transnational theory, Japan studies and diaspora studies. I provide an outline of existing scholarship on immigrants in Japan and their legal acceptance and cultural integration (or lack of integration) into Japanese national social identity discourse. Secondly, I present the strategies used by African immigrants to create belonging in their new environments while combating the vulnerabilities lurking in an unwelcoming host country.
Ph. D., Anthropology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis