Accepted Paper:

“Becoming a better person”: Chinese adolescents in Japan  

Author:

Martina Bofulin (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU))

Paper short abstract:

Based on the interviews with Chinese high school students living in Japan this paper focuses on the ways these teenagers understand their own personal transformations created by the experience of migration between two countries with a long history of a strained relations.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years, Chinese migrants have become the largest immigrant group in Japan. Among them are also teenagers who spent their childhood years in China in the care of grandparents and other caregivers only to be reunited with their parents in Japan at the time of their adolescence. Based on the 16 interviews with high school students in one of the east Osaka’s high schools, this paper addresses how these children negotiate their personhood formed in rural China and the multiple demands, constraints and opportunities of their new urban environment. It focuses on the ways children understand their own personal transformations created by the experience of migration between the two countries with a long history of a strained relations. Through schooling and part-time work they gradually construct an image of Japan that is in stark contrast with the images of Japan shared by their friends and family members in the place of origin. They come to value this particular position, increasingly seeing their own present and future as the cultural brokers mediating between the two conflicted nations.

Panel Mig008
Re-imagining home: belonging and liminality in migrants' everyday practices