Japan is a multiethnic society largely in denial about its diversity. Here we can examine the contradictions and consequences of this discourse. This second edition published a dozen years after the first is a welcome update with 10 chapters analyzing, inter alia, Japan’s six principle minority groups — Ainu, burakumin, Chinese, Koreans, nikkeijin (Japanese return migrants and their descendants) and Okinawans. Examining contemporary Japan from this perspective offers many insights about identity, ideology, race, ethnicity and the narrative of homogeneity. There may be a better book covering this range of subjects, but I haven’t read it.

New to this edition is Gracia Liu-Farrer’s superb essay on Chinese newcomers to Japan and their strategies in living and working in a transnational community that enables them to transcend borders and constraints. She traces the evolution of the Chinese migrant community, but focuses on how recent migrants have leveraged their background and skills to embrace transnational life strategies.

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