Crossing the Globe


Japan and Globaligration

Into the Hill Tribes of Vietnam

Ali and Me

Return To Sender

Yo Estoy Aqui

There and Back

Open Letter

Japan and Globaligration

Julian Bailey

Prior to arriving in Japan last week, we were made aware of a few cultural facts that differentiate Japan from the rest of the world. One of Japan’s unique traits is the homogeneity of its people. I was culturally shocked to see this first hand. Initially I was surprised to see such lack of cultural and racial diversity, however after some general observation, it became clear that Japanese culture has had significant migration and foreign influence.

A good indication of cultural diversity is restaurants and cuisine. In Japan, the majority of restaurants directly echoed the majority of the people, Japanese. Japanese style restaurants lined the streets, and every corner. Glance down any ally in Kyoto, or Kobe, and you are sure to discover another area of restaurants packed into a small space. Among the thousands of restaurants I happen to pass by, I did find signs of foreign cultural influence. Among the most interesting, a Brazilian bar and grill in Osaka, a Chinese beer garden in Kyoto, and both Mexican and Thai restaurants in Tokyo. As outlined in Takeyuki Tsuda article, “No Place To Call Home”, Brazil and Japan have close migratory relations. In the early 1980’s, Japanese Brazilians began to migrate to back to Japan as “return migrants” in search of higher paying jobs. Social scientists consider this pattern of return migration a worldwide phenomenon.  It was great to see evidence of Japanese Brazilian settlement in Osaka after learning about it in class.

In addition to cuisine, the Japanese appear to have adopted many fashion trends and designers from Europe, and North America. Urban streets are lined with many brand names stores that resonate label and style from home, however the Japanese seem to add a unique/original twist to western wear. In America, being fashionably conscious may communicate values such as class, wealth, and status but in Japan, fashion seems to be an integral part of their culture and lifestyle.
Finally, the presence of multi-national corporations such as McDonalds, Chase Bank, hotel chains (Westin, Four Seasons, etc.) suggests patterns of migration and globalization. Although these corporations may not directly indicate specific patterns of human migration in Japan, they suggest that Japan has had great Western influence. Locating these patterns of migration proved to be easier.

From initial observation and experience, Japan appeared to be a tightly knit, homogeneous culture. Although our adventures in Japan lasted only a few days, it was easy to become immersed in culture rich with diversity and its people. Through observing this country’s wonderful people, establishments, and fashion, Japan revealed its signs of migration, and that it has embraced globalization in a positive way.


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