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Transcultural Society

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Chapter Summary

Japan is undergoing a remarkable transformation that began in its cultural borderlands and is now spreading throughout the country. The number of those who hold passports other than Japanese has more than doubled since 1990 to over two million in June 2006. This is an historic moment in Japanese history as globalization and changing demographics bring great changes to Japanese society. Contrary to popular belief, Japanese history has been a multicultural and transcultural story, from the mass migrations in ancient times from the south and west that brought new and different peoples to these islands. Japan has historically alternated between periods of celebration of a diverse, multicultural society and severe spells of xenophobia and persecution of the other. Both forces, of open-ness and closed-ness, are of course present in any historical period.

Keywords: cultural borderlands; Japanese society; Transcultural Society



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