Tokyo street interviews: Should Japan accept more foreign workers?

I have been to Japan and I undertsand, what local people mean by studying Japanese culture first. It is quite difficult to adapt to the life there, if you don’t know culture. Japanese culture is really amazing, foreigners should remember that they are in a different country, and that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. That’s it.

You know, your comment isn’t alone in this sentiment, but I thought I would reply to it.

While I am not necessarily disagreeing with the idea one should take steps to integrate into a culture they immigrate to, that sentiment is 180 what many people in the US and Europe feel. And pragmatically, when people are immigrating less due to their interest in the host country, and more for economic opportunities, their willingness to “assimilate” is going to be less. Or rather, their ability to is going to be less. Like many immigrants in America, I expect they will be busting their ass working, and their “free” time learning language better and cultural norms and history is going to be less.

I just find it interesting, because Japan DOES have a rather structured social order and social politics, so many people are quick to point this out and how foreigners need to learn and respect this. Yet in other countries the host country is supposed to absorb and merge with incoming cultures. While American culture IS an amalgamation of various cultures, Europe does have cultural traditions that are uniquely their own. And there are cries of fears that mass immigration will change these things.

For the record, I disagree with those cries. Well, it may change some things, or more likely ADD to it. But an influx of immigrants in Japan isn’t going to damage their cultural traditions - the dress, tea ceremonies, food, festivals, etc. Now it may effect or add to it, as cultures have a way of influencing each other, but it won’t replace it. It will probably result in pockets with immigrate culture on display (think Chinatown here or a Polish community). But surely there is room for something like that in Japan.

I guess Japanese people are expecting that immigrants, who will come to Japan will be a high qualified people, and they will work in Japan legal. It means that the company, which will hire them, probably will teach them some Japanese and about culture. At least this is what I often see when I read news about Japan and immigrants.


You will note that even the people interviewed who welcome foreign workers say thing like “please come to visit.”

“American” generally refers to nationality, not ethnicity. “Nihonjin” 100% refers to ethnicity. No matter what your passport says, you’ll never be accepted as “Japanese” by anyone, because it has nothing to do with nationality. Your kids won’t be accepted as Japanese either.

This. There are too many people on that island for it to support. If they can make it through this demographic problem, they’ll be much better off with a lower population.

The italicized bit is an article of faith for many on the left, but I don’t agree with it. The US is special, because the blood on our hands from conquering this land isn’t even dry yet, so saying we have the right to keep out people of native ancestry from south of the border is not a tenable position. That said, I don’t see why we should think that, say, Poland, or Sweden, or Japan, should feel any obligation to accept anyone who won’t or can’t integrate into their culture to whatever standard they want to set.

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