”Social Capital of Chinese Working in Japan”(Info)

David Slater先生からのお知らせ;

Japan Fieldwork Workshop

Ruth Achenbach (DIJ)

Entering Japan’s labor market – entering Japanese society?

Social capital of Young Chinese in Japan

October 4th, 2011; 5:30

Sophia University, Yotsuya Campus

Bldg. 10, room 301


In English (Japanese discussion welcome)

Free; open to all

(Beers afterward at Irish Pub around the corner--not free)


The project focuses on the new generation of highly skilled Chinese migrants in Japan. The “new” generation refers to the post-1980 generation in China, a generation of only children who grew up in a drastically changing and increasingly affluent China. Chinese students and highly skilled workers can easily enter Japan (as they match the criteria of Japan’s highly restrictive immigration policy), companies seek Chinese workers to establish business connections with China.

The presentation will focus on the identified categories of social and cultural knowledge (capital) and the difficulties of theory building from qualitative data. A typical problem in research of Chinese migrants is choosing the sample. Different stages of development in China, lack of gender specific data, time constraints for less affluent students influence representativeness and sample size. Different recruiting strategies and their outcomes will also be discussed in the presentation.


Previous fieldwork from January to March 2011 has shown that although cultural knowledge and human capital increase rapidly during university years and working part-time jobs, social capital of students remains of a bonding nature. They plan to work in Japan for up to 5 years after graduation to heighten chances on the job market in China or a more traditional country of immigration. However, having entered the Japanese labor market after graduating from university, they develop bridging social capital, which is often accompanied by a change in attitude towards living in Japan for longer periods of time.

This raises the question of how different factors, including financial means, cultural knowledge, human and social capital affect attitudes and integration processes in different life stages in migration. Which factors are decisive in migration decisions? How do different factors influence and depend on each other?

The project draws on the social capital and network theory in migration, however, the project aims at developing a model of functions and interplay of different forms of capital. Semi-structured interviews form the empirical basis of the study, while literature in the field of migration sociology and official data from Japanese ministries and international organizations form other pillars.