Is Japan an “immigrant country”? For many of us, the instinctive response to this question is “no” — and for legitimate reasons. Yet in her book “Immigrant Japan,” Gracia Liu-Farrer argues that Japan is already such a country — one “that provides foreign nationals multiple legal channels to enter and legal paths and institutional frameworks for permanent settlements.” Japan is also, however, a place where millions of immigrants face constant challenges, torn on the issue of whether they belong here or not.

Liu-Farrer is a former Chinese national and opens the book by sharing her experience of naturalizing as a Japanese citizen. This book is the result of two decades of research and draws on interviews with 178 people who entered Japan as adults and 51 children of immigrants aged between 15 and 33 years at the time of their interviews. While the majority are Chinese and Korean — the largest immigrant communities in Japan — there are also people from the Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, Europe and the U.S., among others. Through the narratives of her interviewees, Liu-Farrer elucidates the lives of these migrants, their reasons for moving to Japan, working experiences and the educational paths the children of immigrants have navigated.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.