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Is Japan changing and becoming open to more foreigners?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are 2 recent articles on a related topic. Good and sad news at the same time.

'Only immigrants can save Japan'
By MICHAEL HOFFMAN
(interview of retired Justice Ministry bureaucrat Hidenori Sakanaka, former head of the ministry's Tokyo Immigration Bureau)
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20121021x3.html

Japan's revolving-door immigration policy hard-wired to fail
By DEBITO ARUDOU
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120306ad.html
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hagiwaramai



Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 119
Location: Marines Stadium

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steki47 wrote:
hagiwaramai wrote:
I have noticed more foreigners in convenience stores recently though, mainly Chinese and South American Japanese, compared to 10/15 years ago.


Wow! Moving around the world to work at 7-11. That sounds really depressing. Is it better than the factory work they usually get?

No, they've usually been students or housewife types.
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Apsara



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 2142
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmatt wrote:

You're right, and that's what I was getting at----though, would the average foreigner be able to tell if the clerk wasn't native born Japanese, but Chinese or Korean raised in Japan?



The average foreigner with a reasonable grasp of Japanese can see that the name on their badge is not Japanese- I see katakana names, or Park and Kim in kanji which aren't Japanese names of course. The accent is a giveaway sometimes too.

If they are zainichi Koreans or Chinese who were born here and have taken on Japanese names than of course noone can tell, but to all intents and purposes they are Japanese anyway and seeing them working somewhere doesn't really indicate any kind of internationalisation.
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Apsara



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 2142
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hagiwaramai wrote:
steki47 wrote:
hagiwaramai wrote:
I have noticed more foreigners in convenience stores recently though, mainly Chinese and South American Japanese, compared to 10/15 years ago.


Wow! Moving around the world to work at 7-11. That sounds really depressing. Is it better than the factory work they usually get?

No, they've usually been students or housewife types.


I agree, I'm pretty sure most of the Chinese you see working on coffee shops or convenience stores will be students.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 1015
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hagiwaramai wrote:
I have noticed more foreigners in convenience stores recently though, mainly Chinese and South American Japanese, compared to 10/15 years ago.
I thought the Brazilian Japanese were paid to "go back home" after the bubble burst.
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Apsara



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 2142
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They didn't all go though, and not all of them do factory or other low-paid work. My husband works with several Brazilian Japanese, all in IT positions.
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matador



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 262

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm the OP. I lived in Japan on and off for about 10 years up to 2007. Now I teach at a university here in Hong Kong. My wife (Japanese) goes over to Japan about once a month on business. She was telling me that there has been a big increase in non-Japanese working in convenience stores that she had picked up on.

I was a little unsure about this.

My experience in Japan has been that if there are 3 non Japanese walking down the street that this constitutes Japan becoming more "international" in the eyes of some Japanese/media (tongue in cheek but you know what I mean...). Hmmm, spend an hour in the middle of HK and you will feel more "international" than a month in Tokyo. Neither a good or bad thing either way, just different. "International" doesn't always = good.

So I was curious as to whether the overall visibility of non-Japanese had increased since 2007. I have only been back to Japan once since then (Osaka in 2011) and was really taken aback by how few non-Japanese I saw in my 2 days. This includes kicking back at Osaka "international" airport for a few hours. I counted about 10 non-Japanese (assorted Asian and Caucasians) when I was there. Twas always thus to be honest when I lived in Japan....I just got used to it...but coming back from HK it really felt odd.

I therefore wondered whether my wife was accurate saying that more non-Japanese were visible. You could argue that this is just the natural progression of any society. But when I was in Japan up to 2007 any change that I picked up on was g-l-a-c-i-a-l. Notwithstanding the occasional article in Time/Newsweek telling us all that "at last Japan must open up to foreigners". Er...no it doesn't have to.

Or have I got it wrong..?
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Inflames



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 416

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneJoelFifty wrote:

My girlfriend mentioned the other day that she could tell the people working at a restaurant were Chinese...from the way they handed the menus to us with one hand. Perhaps they were just less well-trained Japanese, but there are things that distinguish one group from another.

Your girlfriend is just saying stuff - tons of Japanese people in part-time jobs have terrible manners. I've actually found foreigners there to have better manners than Japanese in these situations.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inflames wrote:
OneJoelFifty wrote:

My girlfriend mentioned the other day that she could tell the people working at a restaurant were Chinese...from the way they handed the menus to us with one hand. Perhaps they were just less well-trained Japanese, but there are things that distinguish one group from another.

Your girlfriend is just saying stuff - tons of Japanese people in part-time jobs have terrible manners. I've actually found foreigners there to have better manners than Japanese in these situations.


I thought so, but I just agreed with her. Whenever she says anything negative about Chinese people I just nod and say "Those damn Chinese...".
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move



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inflames wrote:
OneJoelFifty wrote:

My girlfriend mentioned the other day that she could tell the people working at a restaurant were Chinese...from the way they handed the menus to us with one hand. Perhaps they were just less well-trained Japanese, but there are things that distinguish one group from another.

Your girlfriend is just saying stuff - tons of Japanese people in part-time jobs have terrible manners. I've actually found foreigners there to have better manners than Japanese in these situations.


This is off topic but I always thought that the customers had terrible manners and not the clerks. I always see people pay for their stuff and bolt when they get their change without so much as a thank you. The workers aren't vending machines after all.
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teacheratlarge



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 177
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that is somewhat customary here, especially in the larger cities. Japanese people tend to ignore unless protocol requires them to interact, and for convenience store/store purchases as a customer it doesn't. To be honest, I don't like it easier, and I usually say at least 'Domo' and look the person waiting on me in the eye when I say it.
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marley'sghost



Joined: 04 Oct 2010
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been in Japan more than 10 years. I'd say the visible non-Japanese population in that time has doubled, maybe tripled! From like 1% of the total population 10 years ago to a whopping 2% and a bit more today.
In those days, there might be one or two kids in an entire school that were not native pure blooded Japanese, and another one or two "halfu" (I don't like that word, but what can you do?) of various blends. Now it's one or two in most every class. It's changing, but slowly. That's the Japanese way, right? I should mention, I don't see a lot of bullying the foreign/halfu kids. The ones who don't know Japanese have a hard time, but I can't say I've ever seen a kid get beat up in the hall because he's foreign or his mom is Brazilian.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The title of this thread does not exactly jibe with the OP's initial question. So, to respond to marley, yes, Japan's population of foreigners has risen to about two percent.. However, IMO the government needs to go a long way to be called "more open" to accepting us here. It needs this in a serious way!

Also, what Marley sees is more evident in bigger cities, where more foreigners go in the first place. Where I live is rural, and the number of foreigners here is not really changing (and I've been here 14 years).
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marley'sghost



Joined: 04 Oct 2010
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
The title of this thread does not exactly jibe with the OP's initial question. So, to respond to marley, yes, Japan's population of foreigners has risen to about two percent.. However, IMO the government needs to go a long way to be called "more open" to accepting us here. It needs this in a serious way!

Also, what Marley sees is more evident in bigger cities, where more foreigners go in the first place. Where I live is rural, and the number of foreigners here is not really changing (and I've been here 14 years).


Good point. I live near a big city. And good articles. Debito nailed it on the head this time. Lot's to think about.

@Glenski- do you get a lot of staring, pointing out there in the inaka? (I'm assuming you don't "look" Japanese.) I'm 6 foot white, blue eyes, etc. I get less of it than I used to near where I live. None when I'm in "the big city" 20 minutes by train away. My "halfu" kids get hardly a second glance. Though when they are alone with me there is the occasional, "日本語上手です! from strangers. Well, yeah they are Japanese.
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kah5217



Joined: 29 Sep 2012
Posts: 265
Location: Ibaraki

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what you guys have noticed, does one sex get more stares than the other?

Or is it equal opportunity ostracizing?
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