national

Roughly one in eight of Tokyo’s new adults is foreign-born, study shows

27 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In Japan, legal adulthood begins at 20, when a person is officially considered to be a seijin (literally “complete person”). Even though most modern Japanese youths are still in college or technical schools when they hit the big 2-0, it’s still a culturally significant milestone, and every community even holds a coming of age ceremony, called a seijinshiki, on the first Monday after New Year’s Day.

Coinciding with this year’s event, the results of a statistical survey were released showing that roughly 83,400 residents of Tokyo’s 23 central wards will be turning 20 in 2018. Of them, roughly one in eight is foreign-born. Researchers credit this to a rapid increase in the number of foreigners attending college and language schools in Tokyo, as well as those participating in technical internships and training programs.

Foreigners make up more than 20 percent of the new adults in six of Tokyo’s 23 wards. Shinjuku Ward has the largest concentration of newly adult foreigners, where roughly 1,700 such individuals compose 45.7 percent of the ward’s new seijin. This is likely a function of the numerous internationally minded educational institutions and companies located in the district. Toshima Ward has the second highest density with 38.3 percent of its new seijin being foreigners, many of whom hail from Chinese-speaking territories and find housing or work on the east side of the Ikebukuro neighborhood. Third on the list is Nakano Ward, at 27 percent, which boasts easy access to the opportunities of downtown Tokyo via the Chuo rail line while offering more affordable housing than more central wards.

The data also showed that Tokyo’s 104,800 foreign students are 1.7 times the figure from five years ago, while its 6,600 technical interns represent a growth of 3.4 times for the same period. In response to the growing number of foreign residents turning 20 in Japan, some Tokyo communities have begun distributing coming of age ceremony pamphlets printed in foreign languages, or providing pronunciation guides for the Japanese-language flyers’ kanji characters, to promote greater inclusivity at the cultural event. At Monday’s festivities, Bunkyo Ward counted 300 foreign seijin among the participants, double the amount from five years ago.

In commenting on the increasing proportion of foreign-born new seijin, Toshihiro Menju, a spokesperson for the Japan Center for International Exchange, said that their importance to Japanese society will continue to grow as the country’s declining birthrate produces fewer and fewer young people of Japanese ancestry. “The truth is that without foreigners, Japanese society cannot function, and we must work towards creating institutions so that Japanese natives and foreign-born residents can support that society hand-in-hand.”

Source: NHK News Web via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Awareness campaign warns foreigners in Japan of “Divorce without Consent”

-- Are Japan’s efforts at internationalization succeeding or not?

-- Halfway to adulthood: New Japanese festival for 10-year-olds gets parents talking

© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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The Japanese economy is booming. That is why there are so many foreigners in Japan.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

20% already? That's pretty fast. Also I'm surprised Shinjuku has the largest concentration, I imagined it would be Roppongi.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

20% already?

12.5%.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I live in Shinjuku, and the ward office told me (in 2016) that 11% of the whole registered population of the ward are foreign nationals. It comes to no surprise that a large number of seijin are foreigners, but almost half is surprising. There is a large Chinese and Korean population (Okubo), there is a big Korean high school, and a French high school that explains a large number of French nationals in the Iidabashi area.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When the economy goes into a recession when it goes into recessions the trainee foreigners are the first ones to be sacked and sent home! At least foreigner have an escape route when things turn to shite, just another reason why being a gaijin in japan is good, makes up for the rest of the cr;p we have to put up with. (No I didnt leave Japan when the 2011 quake happened)

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I live in the countryside with most locals over 70. It must be amazing to visit Tokyo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I live in the countryside with most locals over 70. It must be amazing to visit Tokyo.

It's more diverse. Not certain that qualifies as amazing though.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"The truth is that without foreigners, Japanese society cannot function....."

This has long been true for the USA, but I did not realize that it is also true for Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Coinciding with this year’s event, the results of a statistical survey were released showing that roughly 83,400 residents of Tokyo’s 23 central wards will be turning 20 in 2018. Of them, roughly one in eight is foreign-born.

I really should apologize... I was quite wild in my younger days.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Chinese-speaking territories 

Wow, colonialism at heart here? Chinese speaking countries, Mr or Ms proofreader!

and we must work towards creating institutions so that Japanese natives and foreign-born residents can support that society hand-in-hand.”

One word too many here, "Japanese natives?" , better to have written Japan and foreign born residents, what other type of "natives" are there in Japan?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“The truth is that without foreigners, Japanese society cannot function, and we must work towards creating institutions so that Japanese natives and foreign-born residents can support that society hand-in-hand.”

Bang on. Japan needs to accept this truth.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow, colonialism at heart here? Chinese speaking countries, Mr or Ms proofreader!

The language police are out in force today!

Territory is an appropriate term - there are some places that might not definitely qualify or even consider themselves to be countries (Taiwan) while other countries have Chinese-speaking regions or Chinese is one of a number of languages spoken.

One word too many here, "Japanese natives?" , better to have written Japan and foreign born residents, what other type of "natives" are there in Japan?

You can be Japan-born and not have Japanese citizenship - many do not, so that would not make you a Japanese native. You can also be foreign-born but be a Japanese citizen.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Until summer 2014, I don't think they would have been counted in the official populations of the individual wards or of Tokyo itself. The government still issues population numbers of "kokumin", which excludes permanent residents.

The only comment I'll make is that if people fail to comprehend the size of the NJ population, which is large in the cities, it makes it easier to make anti-NJ statements whenever something happens. If 1 in 8 is NJ, it should be no surprise if 1 in 8 car crashes or crimes or whatever involve an NJ. It is not a failure of some tiny minority to behave to Japanese standards or whatever the anti-NJ spin might be.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan today is where England was roughly 10 years ago.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Japan today is where England was roughly 10 years ago.

In what way?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Also I'm surpri1sed Shinjuku has the largest concentration, I imagined it would be Roppongi.

I think that's because most of the foreigners the article is talking about are from other Asian countries; these are the ones that learn the language and assimilate. From what I've seen, it's usually only Western foreigners who set up an outpost of their own culture in the club and redlight districts.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

In what way?

Social progress and demographics.

10/20 years ago England was the same as Japan today. Black people were very massive minority to put it mildly, calling them the N word was a completely normal and regular occurrence everywhere - on the streets, in schools, in public. English children of mixed parents were called ''half-casts''. ''No foreigners'' signs were common. The Irish were the English version of the Zainichi Koreans. They were hated and not wanted, many still are.

I could go on and on. Both countries have almost identical culture. They have the island mentality, very reserved, very conservative and nationalistic, delusional about their history and significance in the world. English children are not taught anything about what they did in the past, just like the Japanese, and accusing them or demanding they apologize for something would result in the same reaction you see from the Japanese - denial and victim blaming.

The difference between the two is that, England was accepted in the EU, and had open borders for many years, the influx of foreigners had a massive impact on their society. Japan is yet to take on that path.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

It was way more than 20 years ago. I'm one of those "half-casts" and received that kind of language, but it was generally gone by the end of the 80's from my own personal observations. The old "no dogs, blacks or Irish" was also gone by that time as well although there was pockets of resentment due to the ongoing bombing campaigns around England by the IRA that only really subsided at the turn of the century. Things have moved on finally.

Immigration is a good thing, but Japan needs to learn from the English example on what NOT to do and make sure that those being welcomed are welcomed properly and fully integrated into society. This takes efforts from both sides which has been lacking and you just end up with ghettoised pockets who refuse to mix with each other. We need to avoid this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Ilovecoffee. Thirty years or more ago I can recognise some of what you describe but ten - nah. You also keep talking about England instead of the UK, they really are not the same thing. Also, Japan and the UK have some similarities, but not in this instance.

Speaking as a Briton, I think our multicultural society has more positives than negatives. The British Isles has always been home to immigrants, my grandpranets were immigrants, in fact my family tree shows immigrant ancestors from the 19th century. Two of my sisters in law are grandchildren of immigrants, my brother in law's parents were immigrants, when we lived in the UK my husband was an immigrant. The way you talk you'd think the UK only had immigration in recent years, which is nonsense. Immigration is not a bad thing. Maybe stop getting your info from the Daily Mai.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

accusing them or demanding they apologize for something

There's nothing like demanding people apologize for things that occurred before they were even born and then acting outraged when they protest. Pray that Japan's society doesn't become anything like the UK.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Territory is an appropriate term - there are some places that might not definitely qualify or even consider themselves to be countries (Taiwan) while other countries have Chinese-speaking regions or Chinese is one of a number of languages spoken.

Hardly, it is colonialism at best. You are stretching things quite a bit to suggest that people from Taiwan dont consider themselves to be a country, and the rest is hog wash, it's like next you are going to suggest that Japan-Town in California is a "territory" because there is a large Japanese community there.

You can be Japan-born and not have Japanese citizenship - many do not, so that would not make you a Japanese native. You can also be foreign-born but be a Japanese citizen.

Then better still use Japanese and foreign born residents, using the "natives" is an outdated and can be read as discriminatory.

You can be foreign born and a Japanese citizen ONLY if your parents register you as such, Japan does not give automatic citizenship to people born here. There are ethnic Japanese, children born in Japan, to Japanese parents, who are not citizens as well. They are unregistered, so natives once again is an improper word here, as the author wrongly assumes that ALL Japanese (ethnically speaking) born in Japan, are Japanese citizens, or "natives" and they are not.

This article is discriminatory in many subtle ways, "Us vs Them"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why am I not able to vote up Luddite's post?

I also do not recognise Coffee's version of the UK/England.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm 39 and the things I can recognise from ILOVECOFFEE version of England when I was growing up are these.

1) We weren't really taught anything about the Empire in school, mostly about past kings/queens, the industrial revolution, Victorian period and WW2.

2) We did use the term half caste between kids at school when I was about 6!

3) The Irish were not universally hated but seeing as there was a pretty severe bombing campaign by the IRA in England, they weren't exactly popular but that has passed fortunately.

The other stuff you will have to go back before I was born. There were quite a few children born from immigrant parents at my school when I was young, mostly black and Indian and immigration started in large numbers when WW2 finished.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

No details needed....

My son was asked by the police for his "gaijin card" and when he said he didn't have one because he was Japanese, they asked to see his passport.

If he had "looked Japanese" do you think they would have taken this route?

It's not enough to be Japanese in Japan...you have to look Japanese too.

My son is a 22 year old "seijin".....or maybe not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's not enough to be Japanese in Japan...you have to look Japanese too.

My son does not look Japanese and is regularly mistaken for all kinds of nationalities, at home and abroad. Staff in restaurants, shops, etc., have been surprised at his 'native-level' Japanese language skills (duh...), and immigration staff do a double-take when he presents his Japanese passport for stamping.

He's never been stopped by the police in the street and asked for a gaijin card, or his passport.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If he had "looked Japanese" do you think they would have taken this route?

No, probably not, but I am curious to know, what if he didn't have a passport? And might I ask, why would he feel the need to carry one in Japan? Or did the cops follow him home to have him show it to them?

If they had done that with any of my children, there would be some serious hell to pay!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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