Accepted Paper:

The emergence of associational ties among young Japanese muslims: the children of Japanese-Pakistani bi-national marriages  


Masako Kudo (Kyoto Women's University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how nationality, religion, and generation intersect in the emergence of associational ties of young Japanese Muslims who try to forge new forms of identity and belonging in Japan and in transnational spaces.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the emergence of associational ties being created among young Japanese Muslims born to Japanese mothers and Pakistani fathers. This type of bi-national marriage increased during the 1990s, following the influx of Pakistani labor migrants to Japan in the late 1980s. The children of these bi-national unions have been raised in Japan, Pakistan, and other countries such as the UAE and the UK. Many have experienced transnational upbringings, frequently crossing borders while growing up. Presently, they are reaching early adulthood. Preliminary findings from interviews conducted in Japan and abroad suggest that self-perceptions vary greatly depending upon the environments in which they were raised. On the other hand, my research within Japan indicates that many of these young Japanese Muslims desire to share their similar experiences and sense of alienation as mixed children and/or minority Muslims in Japan. The paper highlights a case of a young male Muslim who is trying to create a social group for the young generation of Japanese Muslims to empower themselves and seek new identities and belonging that are distinct from their parents' generation. This type of associational tie emerging in Japan illuminates complex ways in which nationality, religion, and generation intersect and shows how these young Japanese Muslims navigate their early adulthood in response to challenges they confront within Japan and in transnational spaces.

Panel RM-MRB04
Migration and transnational dynamics of non-western civil societies