Comparison of Dietary Behaviors and Acculturation of Korean International and Japanese Students in Japan


For cross-cultural students to remain healthy, proper nutrition is an important factor. However, Japanese universities do not show adequate interest in international students' health behavior. It is believed that health behavior is a key aspect of acculturation. In this study, we examine a change in Korean students' dietary habits as they acculturate to Japanese culture, and make a comparison with Japanese students' dietary habits. We conducted a semi-structured interview and comparison of 14 Korean international students and 14 Japanese students living alone in Japan. The interviews were conducted in Japanese. The students were asked to speak freely about the formation, maintenance, and change of their dietary behaviors. We aimed to clarify the reality of their dietary behaviors and uncover issues from the perspective of health psychology. The results of the interviews were examined using the KJ Method with verbatim records. Five categories of dietary habits for Korean students were extracted: Japanese food, lifestyle, meal with friends, health awareness, and physical changes. Similarities were found in awareness of nutrition between Korean and Japanese students, and they rarely considered healthy dietary habits. It is possible that Korean students adopted negative dietary habits during the process of acculturation. However, interestingly, Korean international students used dietary behaviors to create socially supportive relationships. An increase in social support from Japanese students may enable Korean international students to better understand proper health behavior in acculturation and acculturate cross-cultural adjustment with ease.

Author Information
Kaori Hatanaka, Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts, Japan
Tomoko Tanaka, Okayama University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2016
Stream: Qualitative/Quantitative Research in any other area of Psychology

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon