008J_Muranaka_Tran An

Transnational Migration and Contemporary Japan: Flows and Realities

Panel organised by: Aimi Muranaka (University Duisburg-Essen) & Huy Tran An (AREA Ruhr)


Panel topic

Transnational Migration

Panel description

The understandings of transnational migration flows and realities in contemporary Japan are relevant to the topic because transnational migration is characterized by multiple flows and realities shaped and experienced by different dynamics and actors, despite the country known as low-to-no immigration.

Despite Japan’s reputation as one of the few Asian countries with low-to-no immigration, the number of migrants in the country has been rapidly increasing within the last decade. The total number of foreigners residing in Japan indeed scores new records year after year, making Japan a de-facto immigration country (Liu-Farrer 2020). Transnational migration in contemporary Japan indeed is characterized by numerous flows and realities shaped and experienced by different factors and actors. The presentations in this panel aim to contribute both theoretically and empirically to the discussion and understandings of transnational migration flows and realities in contemporary Japan from an interdisciplinary perspective. First, it seeks to apprehend and make sense of the ways in which transnational migration flows to and from Japan are constituted, conditioned and facilitated. In particular, the panel explores multi-leveled channels, actors and mechanisms that funnel and structure transnational migration flows. In addition, it explores the impacts that such flows have on not only Japanese society but also places on the other side of the migration spectrum. Second, the panel portrays different migration realities of migrants in Japanese society, which has been witnessing acceleration in number of foreign residency yet staying ethno-centric. By investigating the lived experiences of different groups of migrant and their mobility geographies, the panel sheds light on the ways in which migrants’ practices, identities, belongings and trajectories are constructed and negotiated. Such insights are crucial in providing a bottom-up approach to the understandings of not only the layered institutions and hierarchies that surround migrants’ life in Japan, but also the nuances of contemporary transnational migration. In addition, the panel also aims to address how the Covid-19 pandemic has been affecting migrant groups in Japan, and the ways in which migrants and institutions have been coping with the challenges.

In general, by providing interdisciplinary perspectives that focus on transnational and cross-border mobilities, this panel seeks to not only provide nuanced insights into transnational migration issues in, from and to contemporary Japan, but also contribute to the bigger discussion on transnational migration in Asian region as a whole.

Paper proposal

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