Presenter:ZHANG, Jie （Assistant Professor, WIAPS）
Presentation Theme:Japanese Perceptions of Foreigners Living in Japan: An Empirical Test of Gordon’s Assimilation Model
Japan is experiencing an unprecedented shrinking and aging population. One of the few solutions is an influx of immigrants into Japan, although the Japanese seem reluctant to such notions. Using a national random survey of the “Public Survey on Political Participation of Citizens and Internationalization 2013”, we explore the factors that influence the public’s opinions about immigrants assimilating into Japanese society.
We employ regression analyses to break down assimilation into various dimensions: culture, structure, identity, prejudice, discrimination, and civic. Three trends can be gleaned from our analysis. First, while roughly half of Japanese citizens are receptive to immigrants living in Japan without the necessity of assimilating, a closer look at the various types of assimilation reveals that Japanese are less receptive when it comes to the specific types of assimilation. Second, the data revealed two types of cultural assimilation and two types of structural assimilation whereas Gordon (1964) only posited one type for each. Third, the data reveals a racial hierarchy among the various nationalities of immigrants present in Japan. Japanese are extremely receptive when it comes to increasing immigrants from America and Germany. In contrast, the Japanese are least likely to welcome an increase in Chinese and Koreans. Interestedly, Filipinos and Japanese-Brazilians fall in the middle. Given our strong evidence for the empirical existence of different dimensions of assimilation, any discussion of assimilation of immigrants must make clear which dimension it is addressing. These results have enormous implications for an influx of future immigrants, especially in terms of public policy towards the integration of immigrants into Japanese society.