The Institute of Comparative Culture Research Unit on "Multiculturalism and Cultural Contact Zones in Asian Societies" presents a workshop on

Migrant Communities in Japan in the Aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake

Titles and abstracts of presentations
Trajectory of Disaster
David H. Slater, Sophia University

Each disaster is unique in many ways, and the Tohoku triple-crisis presented quite distinctive difficulties for Japanese and migrants. The highest profile foreigners in Tohoku were the American military, but of course, there were many more non-Japanese caught up in the in this global tragedy. After a brief reminder of the situation of foreigners in the Great Kanto and Kobe Earthquakes, this initial talk will lay out the basic outline of events as they unfolded in Tohoku after 3.11. The emphasis will be on the ways that these events impacted the immediate provision of food and supplies, emergency shelter (hinanjo) and eventually housing (kasetsu jutaku). In many, although not all, cases, this aid was distributed through whatever local community networks were left in tact, with the frequent result that non-residents were in a precarious and often life-threatening situation.

Highly-Skilled Migration in Post-3.11 Japan
Nana Oishi, Sophia University

This presentation will analyze the impact of the Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake on highly-skilled migration in Japan. There was a major exodus of migrants from Japan right after the Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake and the following crisis at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants. To what extent did highly-skilled migrants return, and what kind of impact did this experience have on their career/life plan in Japan? This presentation will reveal some of the major implications of 3.11 for highly-skilled migration in Japan.

Realizing new communities at local level and more comprehensive migration policy in Japan
Yasushi Iguchi, Kwansei Gakuin University

The objective of the paper is to explore the ways how we can realize local communities where both foreign and Japanese citizens share the sense of belongings and enjoy inclusive policies based upon interactive relation between them, from the experience of  “Gaikokujin Shuju Toshi Kaigi” (Alliance of Cities with High Density of Foreign Inhabitants).
After the Great Earthquake in East Japan, we can observe changes of communities of foreign inhabitants at local levels: We may ask if 1) Employment of Brazilians is shrinking and their communities might be disintegrating themselves, 2) Chinese and Filipino inhabitants, for example, are increasing with different kind of difficulties for integration, 3) Children with foreign backgrounds are faced with growing difficulties from school to work etc.
Based on some empirical findings, the author discusses ways to realize new communities at local level and to create more comprehensive migration policy at national level.

3/11 and the Filipinos in Japan
Maria Rosario Piquero-Ballescas, Toyo University

The presentation intends to focus on the impacts on and the responses of the Filipinos in Japan to the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami.  A general discussion of the impacts of disasters and calamities on migrant communities elsewhere in the world  will also be shared.  Finally, an analysis of the various responses to disasters and calamities of the migrant communities and other sectors locally and globally will be shared. The presentation hopes to call attention to the urgent need for a more effective, responsive system and network for migrants in Japan in particular, and for other migrants globally.

“To leave or not to leave: that’s the question”— Chinese migrants in Japan after 3.11
Gracia Liu-Farrer, Waseda University

Immediately after the March 11 Kanto Earthquake, news such as “In a bind as Chinese workers flee (Los Angeles Times 3/25)” reports the flight of “tens of thousands of Chinese workers” from Japan and never to return. Yet, around us, we see Chinese students, cooks, and corporate employees busy with their study and work as usual. How has the Earthquake affected Chinese migrants’ life and their future plan? This paper examines the narratives of dozens of Chinese migrants about their earthquake experiences and the influences of the earthquake on their life designs. Their narratives seem to suggest that the concerns about future earthquakes and nuclear pollution in Japan are one contextual factor in their decision making. Yet, to leave or to stay in Japan is a practice based on many more immediate conditions and future development.

A Double Punch: The economic crisis, the earthquake and its consequences for the Brazilian migrants
Edson Urano, University of Tsukuba

The global economic crisis of 2008 has strongly affected migrants’ lives in many countries around the World, across dimensions such as employment, education, and household strategies for settlement in the host country or return to homeland. And Japan was not an exception. Facing massive unemployment especially in the industrial sector, the Brazilian community in Japan shrank considerably. Take in to account the stage and peculiarities of the migratory processes of the Brazilians to Japan, what kind of changes could we identify especially related to their behavior and position in the labor market in a context of decrease in wage levels and scarcity of employment opportunities? What are the consequences for their children and education in face of rising employment insecurity under the economic crisis on course? How are those questions interconnected? These are the main points we are going to discuss in this presentation.

Brazilians in Japan in the context of the worldwide 'Brazilian diaspora'
Angelo Ishi, Musashi University

The issue(s) of Japanese-Brazilians (or Nikkeijin), the third largest ethnic group in Japan, have been discussed mainly from a bi-national perspective, which means, as a phenomenon that occurs on the route between Brazil and Japan. In this presentation, I will propose a broader perspective, contextualizing Brazilians in Japan in the new "Brazilian diaspora". Brazilian expatriates are said to totalize around 2 million. There is an increasing transnational connection among Brazilians living in Japan, USA and Europe. The first "Brazilians in the World" Conference was held in 2008. And in 2010, Brazilian government has launched the CRBE (Council of Brazilian Representatives Abroad). In the "mediasphere", TV Globo, the biggest Brazilian network, has held big festivals named "Brazilian Day" around the world. In my presentation, I will examine how Brazilians in Japan are reacting to these new developments, while contextualizing these developments within the 20-year-old "Dekassegui" history.

Filipino Communities Strengthened after the Disasters of March 11
Takefumi Terada, Sophia University

In 2011, a few days after the disasters of March 11, a considerable number of Filipinos were evacuated to Tokyo from the Sendai and Fukushima areas along with their children, and approximately 150 were received at various evacuation centers located at churches in Tokyo. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power incident undeniably affected the lives of these people, most of whom are women married to Japanese.
A significant transformation that is currently visible among them, is the fact that many now appear at churches in the Tohoku area such as Ofunato, Kesennuma, and others, in order to attend Holy Mass. In certain places, the custom of reciting the Holy Rosary in groups has been introduced, and it is now being observed on a weekly or monthly basis.
Prior to March 11, no Filipino priest was employed in the Catholic Sendai Diocese, (which comprises the prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima), but now, realizing the importance of organizing a Tagalog or English mass for the Filipinos on a regular basis, the Catholic Church has decided to assign two priests, (namely a Filipino and an Indonesian who is fluent in Tagalog) to work at Ofunato, in order to serve the various Filipino communities as well as other foreigners inhabiting the devastated areas.
In many places in Tohoku, the Filipinos for a variety of reasons had earlier faced several obstacles in coming to church and attending Mass, but now, the churches in their respective vicinities have been transformed into centers for gatherings and networking hubs.

Date: 18th February, 2012
Time: 10:00 - 17:30
Venue: L-911, 9F, Library building, Sophia University
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