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In Session: Interracial Intimacies, Kinships, and Desires in East Asia
2: Intergenerational Communication Among African Families in Japan: Challenges to Identity and Diverse Outcomes
Friday, March 26, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Japan has experienced unprecedented diversification over the past several decades, and this diversification is expected to intensify in the near future. As the nation struggles to cope with an aging and shrinking population, labor shortages, and economic issues, foreigners have provided one means to lessen these burdens. This has resulted in the presence of diverse foreign communities living in Japan, each of whom maintains unique relationships with Japanese society. While these “newcomer” foreigners have been the topic of much scholarly attention, the conditions surrounding many of Japan’s foreign communities have yet to be understood. This is especially true of intergenerational dynamics, which have only recently begun to receive academic attention. This presentation explores the diverse ways African parents in Japan communicate with their children and conceptualize these interactions. As will be shown, there are multiple cultural and linguistic communicative patterns that exist among African families and these patterns are influenced by a multitude of personal, cultural, and structural factors. This work also demonstrates how these communicative patterns are entangled with identity, cultural capital, and personal beliefs, and are strongly influenced by Japanese sociocultural institutions. The communication patterns and identities that develop in this milieu are thus influenced both by Japanese sociocultural institutions and by idiosyncratic understandings of cultural and familial identity.