Accepted Paper:

Homecomings and Identity: A case of a Japanese in the UK  
Takamitsu Jimura (Liverpool John Moores University)

Paper short abstract:

I am Japanese living in the UK for the past 16 years. Originally I did not have secure attachment to the country, but now I treat it as my second home. However, this emotional shift has aggravated uncertainty on my identity. The more I feel I fit into British society, the less I feel I am Japanese.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores what my visits to Japan means to me. I am Japanese who have lived in the UK for almost 16 years. Since I moved to the UK, I have been visiting Japan annually. After migrating to the UK, I spent the first several years as an international student. During this period, I always looked forward to my visits to Japan. When I arrived at an airport in Japan, I felt I was at 'home'. This feeling was developed through recognising a series of 'Japaneseness' such as Japanese signposts. The semiotic features of Japanese society made me feel I was where I should be; however, I did not want to see my friends as I felt I was nobody either in the UK or Japan. I was also reluctant to return to the UK due to lack of sense of belonging to British society. As time goes by, especially after I got a full-time job, I began to feel less reluctant to return to the UK after my visits to Japan. Through my work and life, I could develop relationships with various people, have commitments with British society, and have become more familiar with British culture. Nowadays, I feel I am at 'home' when I return from a foreign country to the UK. Ironically, however, this psychological change has exacerbated ambivalence about my identity. The more I feel I am embedded in British society, the less I feel I am Japanese. Consequently, my identity has become increasingly ambiguous.

Panel P099
Representations of displacement and the struggle for home and homemaking