Metamorphosis of Chinese Ethnic Society in Modern Tokyo and Yokohama Areas
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According to the data posted by the Ministry of Justice of Japan in June 2017, the number of Chinese residents including Taiwanese in Japan has exceeded 750,000 (2017). During a year in Japan, the author noticed that most Japanese's images of Chinese people in Japan are still images of Chinese restaurant chefs and gangsters. The author expanded this initial curiosity to a paper on the trajectory that Chinese ethnic society in Japan has gone through and the transformation of the ethnic social structure because of the changing motivations of the Chinese immigrants over time. The focus of this paper is the formation and the development of a Chinese ethnic society in the Tokyo and Yokohama area in Japan from 1859 to the present. There is a huge rift in the development of the Chinese ethnic society in Japan. As result of the cold war, mainland China and Japan shut their doors to each other from 1949 to 1972. The narrative starts from an awareness of ethnic identity and its evolution to a more inclusive Yokohama-ite identity of the old generation of Chinese immigrants in Japan from 1859 to present. Then the narrative moves to the arrival of a new wave of Chinese immigration after 1972, when Sino-Japanese relationship neutralized. The dramatic increase of a new generation Chinese immigrants reversed the power balance within Chinese ethnic society, and meanwhile, the new generation adapted themselves into Japanese society in a way that is completely different from the old generation. After the boom of new generation Chinese in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the population of Chinese immigrants in Japan has maintained a stable growth each year. The development of technology and the changing power dynamic between China and Japan in recent years, however, seem to prelude further changes in population structure and subsequently in the ethnic network of Chinese immigrants. In short, the Chinese ethnic society gradually moved from sporadic homogenous groups gathering in specifically ethnic areas to a diverse, multi-layer widespread ethnic network system. Except for the first old generation of Chinese immigrants before WWII, my interviews with Chinese immigrants from different time periods interweave with my analysis of the metamorphosis of Chinese ethnic society. Because of the lack of in-depth research about the Chinese ethnic network in recent decades, interviews and site visits dominate the analysis. Moreover, this narrative also parallels the analysis of international relations and domestic policies in both China and Japan, and special attention will be paid to Japan's policies as it look on the role of a host country reluctantly receiving a large foreign population.