A RISE AND PROGRESSION OF MIGRATION AND ETHNICITY STUDIES IN JAPAN’S SOCIOLOGY
Keywords:migration, ethnic studies, transnationalism, sociology in Japan, urban studies
This paper aims to provide an overview of migration and ethnic studies in Japan’s sociology and gives primary attention to some well-known sociological works. A dramatic change to the way ethnicity and related matters are understood in Japan occurred in the mid-1980s due to a significant increase in the arrival of foreigners to the country. This encouraged the field of migration and ethnicity studies, and such research has flourished ever since. In what can be described as a ‘new dawn’ for this specific field of studies, there have recently been various examples of the ethnographic documentation of fieldwork conducted in Japan’s ethnic communities. Prior to these more recent developments, the primary focus of migration and ethnicity studies was in the social lives of many Korean residents in Japan throughout their successive generations. However, the development of the study to focus upon ‘newcomers’ as newly arrived foreigners, has in turn brought about a sustained re-focusing upon the ‘old-comers.’ Now issues of migrant-intake have become public concerns, and the Japanese government’s policies have recently become more open than those in previous periods.