Chinese Permanent Residents in Japan: A Qualitative Study on Acculturation Attitudes and Mental Health

Abstract

The aim of this study is to analyze the relationship between mental health and acculturation attitudes of Chinese who have Permanent Resident visas in Japan.
In this study, we used Berry’s Acculturation Attitudes Model (1989) which examines two major issues: the extent to which people maintain their original cultures, and the extent to which people have contact with and adopt the culture of the host society. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 10 Chinese people who had Permanent Resident visas. This qualitative inquiry examined the acculturation attitudes they preferred, their number of friends, their ability to use and comprehend both Japanese and Chinese, and their familiarity with both Japanese and Chinese cultures. The results of this study showed that all interviewees could be classified as exhibiting “Integrationist” characteristics. However, after analyzing the data, using the Modified Grounded Theory Approach, we found that the same interviewees exhibited “assimilationist” characteristics at the workplace and preferred “separationist” attitudes in their private lives. This phenomenon, which is unique to Japan, has been called “switching”. It is relatively rare to find “switching” in host societies. A study on Zainichi Koreans living in Japan also showed that they were not constrained by a fixed ethnic or host identity (Lee & Tanaka, 2017).
We conclude that Chinese permanent residents of Japan who consider themselves “jiyujin” (free person) are in fact more worried by their future than residence who exhibit integrationist characteristics. It is expected that this study will help orient future research that examines permanent residents’ adaptation situations.



Author Information
Shizhe Zhao, Aichishukutoku University, Japan
Tomoko Tanaka, Okayama University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2020
Stream: Mental Health

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