Rethinking Student Migration in Japan as a Non-Immigration Country
in the Context of Aging Society and Immigration(2017年7月5日)
As soon as this Kayoukai seminar commenced from this spring 2017, enthusiastically I tried to slot myself in the list of presenters (no matter how much I am literally capable of speaking academically in Japanese language – I didn’t care actually when I raised my hand, simply trying to be brave), eventually my turn came as scheduled, then I have done – whether I made it or not is a different story, though.
The draft I shared with all of you and the presentation I gave during the last Kayoukai seminar was based on my doctoral research, “Rethinking Student Migration in the Context of Aging Society: A Comparative Analysis of National Identity, Xenophobia, and Politicization of Immigration in Contemporary Japan And Korea”,
My doctoral research basically attempts to critically rethink the flows of international students in the context of aging society and immigration in Japan and Korea as non-immigration countries in Asia, specifically with a comparative analysis of national identity, xenophobia, politicization of immigration, and highly skilled/skilled migration policies in both countries and explore a possibility and feasibility of student migration as an alternative to mass immigration in both countries. As I have pointed out in my recent study on student migration in Japan, managing both countries’ economic competitiveness at global level, and facing both countries’ rapidly aging and shrinking working-age population, it is highly likely that both Japanese and Korean government will continue to liberalize its immigration policy in some ways. It is well accepted that once started, acts of migration become self-sustaining social processes which develop their own dynamics. In this regard, experiencing the growing ethno-cultural diversity produced by migration in both countries, becoming a more heterogeneous society in terms of ethnicity and culture is inevitable and irreversible. Their increasing ethno-cultural diversity will produce pressures to change Japan and Korea’s reluctant attitude toward immigration. In this situation, as my research will thoroughly investigate and argue, student migration may be strategically viewed by the Japanese and Korean government to tackle the demographic and economic problems.
From this Spring semester here at Doshisha, since I began carrying out my new doctoral research on student migration in Japan and South Korea, my intellectual framework has been gradually changed (to some degree, increasingly). Previously my research interest had a major focus on how politics, including the dynamics of party politics, and politics and politicization of immigration, has played various roles in producing immigration and multicultural discourse and developing migration policy-making in both Japan and Korea as non-immigration countries. However, more and more I can see myself getting engaged in a new research framework – ‘the internationalization of higher education’. During the last Kayoukai seminar, I was expecting to discuss about the issue of student migration with some new ideas from my research progress, with a specific focus and reference to the case of student migration in Japan.
If I am now allowed to give a self-evaluation on the seminar, first and foremost it was obviously a great chance as a presenter to expose my doctoral research on student migration in Japan and Korea to all of you from different academic disciplinary backgrounds, and with different research interests. More than I anticipated, I received numerous lively and productive feedbacks, and helpful comments from all participants on various cultural, economic and institutional issues in student migration, highly skilled migration (Global Talents issues), and internationalization of higher education in Japan.
To be honest, I still do not know what kind of new world I am stepping into, and I am continuously figuring things out – a myriad of things here and there in this world. Not surprisingly I still do not know what will happen to me from now on. Somehow, what is clear is, this world is a fluid world where I can travel, migrate, and explore as a flow of something, with my own freedom and volition. This is all I can say at this moment. Nevertheless, I know my journey will continue through this world, and I will find and encounter more answers at the end of this journey throughout this world, the Kayoukai seminar.