The Unmaking of the Multiculturalism Policies in a Country of Non-Immigration: How Japan Failed to Learn from North American Experiences

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Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Friday, November 22, 201912:00PM - 2:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Presentation Abstract:

According to a comparative research of multiculturalism policies among democratic countries, Japan is known to be one of the least multiculturalist countries. Its national government does not affirm its ethnic diversity, has very few supports for immigrant groups, and still keeps its self-image of a “country of non-immigration.” However, Japan has also a (not so) long history of widening minority’s rights and creating its own version of multiculturalism. During the 1990s and the early 2000s, social scientists and bureaucrats researched the cases of countries in Europe and North America and coined a new term of “multicultural co-existence (tabunka kyosei)” as a response to increasing number of foreign residents. This presentation introduces the special characteristics of multiculturalism policies in Japan from comparative research findings. Then it examines how Japan learned from the experience of multiculturalism in the United States and Canada and how it failed to adopt the vision of “multicultural co-existence” as a platform of integration policy.


Fuminori Minamikawa is a Professor at the College of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan and a Visiting Professor at the R. F. Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration, and Pluralism Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. He received PhD in Sociology from the Graduate School of Social Sciences at Hitotsubashi University, Japan. His field of research is a sociology of ethnicity, race, and multiculturalism in historical and comparative perspectives. He is now engaging in a research projects on the historical making of American multiculturalism and a comparative study of multicultural policies in the United States, Canada and Japan. He published academic books and journal articles both in Japanese and English, including E Pluribus Unum: A Historical Sociology of Multicultural America (Kyoto: Horitsubunka-sha, 2016, in Japanese) and Trans-pacific Japanese American Studies: Conversations on Race and Racializations (Edited by Yasuko Takezawa and Gary Y. Okihiro, Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press, 2016).


Fuminori Minamikawa
Professor, College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University, Japan

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