Second Recommended Books in Australia Study Trip “Two Japans: The Tatemae and the Reality of an Immigrant Nation" by Yuudai Mochizuki
"We are experiencing something that has never been seen before: when you take a train, the language of some Asian country pops into your ears, and at the nearest supermarket you can often see foreign students shopping with daikon (Japanese radish) and tofu hanging from their shoulders. In the office district, it has become commonplace to see foreign businessmen working among their Japanese colleagues. The Japanese are puzzled by this new situation. Many of you may find this statement to be quite true. However, this sentence is actually a quote from the beginning of a book published more than 30 years ago in 1988.
Throughout the past 30 years, Japan has welcomed many foreigners into its society. The number of foreign residents in Japan was about 1 million in 1989, when the first sentence was written, but now it is nearly 3 million. Many people may feel this reality, for example, through the rapid increase in the number of foreign workers at the convenience stores and restaurants that are familiar to us.
On the other hand, the word "immigrants" has been avoided in Japan for a long time. The Japanese government deliberately refers to them as "foreign workers" instead of "immigrants" and there is still no ministry dedicated to supporting them. Author Mochizuki focuses on these "realities" and "tatemae" of foreign residents in Japan, and explains in an easy-to-understand manner how to deal with the "two halves of Japan" that consist of them.
The book begins with a clear explanation of the current acceptance system, using charts and diagrams to help readers understand the complexities of the system. This was very useful for me in understanding the complex system and advancing my research. In addition, the book also introduces the voices of "immigrants" based on actual interviews conducted by the author. The book also introduces the voices of "immigrants," based on the author's interviews with actual "immigrants." The book shows the precarious situation of the Japanese-Peruvian who came to Japan thirty years ago and cannot speak Japanese and are still working in factories, and other examples illustrate the weaknesses of people who have been put in a position of vulnerability in order to protect their "tatemae”.
What should we do to face these realities and realize a society in which diverse people can live together comfortably in Japan? To find out, we talk directly to lawyers who are familiar with the working environment of foreign workers, as well as to people in Gunma Prefecture and Australia, both of which have a large population of foreign workers. In doing so, I hope to use the understanding of the system and the awareness of issues learned from this book to my advantage.
(Risa Huruta, Faculty of Law, Keio University)