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Open Access ‘Entangled in Tokyo’: Exploring Diverse Pathways of Labor Market Incorporation of African Immigrants in Japan

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‘Entangled in Tokyo’: Exploring Diverse Pathways of Labor Market Incorporation of African Immigrants in Japan

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Abstract In this article I explore employment practices and pathways of labor market incorporation of sub-Saharan African immigrants in Japan. Based on secondary information as well as 5 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo and its suburbs, I will first describe the history of migration from Africa to Japan and the current demographic characteristics of African immigrants in Japan. I will then continue to describe the employment practices of African immigrants to explore questions surrounding integration, incorporation, and the use of human and social capital in the Japanese context. My findings give a first indication of the mechanisms behind the diverse trajectories, especially highlighting the importance of entrepreneurship, transnational ties with the country of origin, and ties with Japanese nationals in facilitating labor market incorporation. Finally, attention is also given to the role of the Japanese state in facilitating or hindering opportunities for employment.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiteit Maastricht the Netherlands d.schans@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Abstract In this article I explore employment practices and pathways of labor market incorporation of sub-Saharan African immigrants in Japan. Based on secondary information as well as 5 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo and its suburbs, I will first describe the history of migration from Africa to Japan and the current demographic characteristics of African immigrants in Japan. I will then continue to describe the employment practices of African immigrants to explore questions surrounding integration, incorporation, and the use of human and social capital in the Japanese context. My findings give a first indication of the mechanisms behind the diverse trajectories, especially highlighting the importance of entrepreneurship, transnational ties with the country of origin, and ties with Japanese nationals in facilitating labor market incorporation. Finally, attention is also given to the role of the Japanese state in facilitating or hindering opportunities for employment.

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2012-01-01
2016-12-05

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