How do emigrants adopt themselves to local culture?


Principal Investigator in Kobe University:
Karashima Masato(Associate Professor, Graduate School of Intercultural Studies)
Principal Investigator in the Oversea Partner University:
CHOU Whei-ming (Humanities Research Center, Director/Professor, National Chengchi University)


2016 Research Exchange Activity Plan

Persons who choose to immigrate to another country are supposed to have relinquished the ties that bind them to the political ideology and cultural identity of their homeland. However, in reality, some immigrants deepen their attachments to their homeland and have a burning desire to return to their so-called ethnic and religious traditions. Where does this desire come from? In 2016, we are focusing on the cultural adaptation of ethnic Chinese living in East Asia and Europe and analyzing this issue from the perspective of political science, economics, sociology, history, anthropology, and international relations using specific, concrete examples. The activities will comprise the following aspects: 1) Japanese researchers will attend the 2016 International Society for the Studies of Chinese Overseas Conference (ISSCO 2016) held in July in Canada, exchange information with researchers from the West and other parts of the world, and build a network of researchers. 2) In January–February 2017, researchers in Taiwan will use this network to investigate Taiwanese community in Japan and later lead joint workshops with researchers in Japan.


Anticipated Results in 2016

As we recognize from the events currently taking place in Europe, serious problems that extend beyond differences in religious beliefs, such as learning about the host country’s laws, becoming integrated with the regional society, and maintaining family relationships, are developing not only for the immigrants themselves but also for local communities as well. It should be noted, however, that compared to the big gap between the local communities and overseas mainland Chinese, the numbers of whom are continuing to increase, particularly in Europe, there are very few cases of friction between Japan’s Taiwanese community and Japanese society. Why is there such a difference, despite the fact that these are both populations of Chinese people? In addition to differences in Japanese government policy, one reason might be the cultural adaptability of the immigrant community itself. To explain this theoretically, there is an ability to carry out policy recommendations as well as to acquire a new perspective that can academically explain the immigrant community’s ability to adapt culturally. The ISSCO conference is an important place for exchanging research among Chinese scholars and utilizing this network will deepen the potential for conducting fieldwork in Europe. Research findings on the Chinese can also be employed in studies on the Islamic immigrant community in East Asia that is expected in the latter half.