(Part-time Instructor, Daito Bunka University, Reitaku University)

Namaste! My name is Ravi Maharjan. I am from Nepal. I have been living in Japan for nearly 10 years. I came to Japan in 2009 as a foreign student and am now working as a part-time instructor of English at Daito Bunka University. I joined the Institute for Multicultural Community Studies (in Japanese多文化社会研究会, Tabunkasyakaikenkyukai, in short Tabunkaken) in 2016. The reason for joining this group is that it not only raises and discusses the issues of multicultural society but also gives voice to people from different communities. I am very grateful to Tabunkaken for giving me this opportunity to share my experience on its 30th anniversary. In this short article, I would like to briefly discuss the situation of Nepalese immigrants in Japan and share my views on identity issues.

Nepalese immigrants in Japan: Background and context

Nepal is a naturally beautiful country located between two giant nations, India and China. It is well known as a country of the Himalayas but less known as multicultural and multilingual nation where more than 100 ethnic groups live in harmony. But unfortunately, thousands of Nepalese people go abroad each year for work, study, and better opportunities. People in Nepal migrate for various reasons. The most prominent reason is the bad economy. Being one of the poorest countries in Asia, Nepal lacks basic necessities. Plus, there are very few employment opportunities. Because of such a situation, many people migrate in search for better economic opportunities and security for their life and family. Another reason is political. People are frustrated with corrupt politicians. Most of them, do not trust their government and the bureaucratic system. There are social and environmental problems, too. Hence, they move to a place or country, where they feel safe and secure.

Recent trends show that Japan is one of the top destinations for Nepalese migrants. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Justice of Japan, the total number of Nepalese in Japan at the end of December 2017 was 80, 043. Among them 34% were students, 26% were family dependents, 18% were skilled laborers (cooks) and the remaining 22% were all other categories of individuals. The following graph shows the rapid increase of Nepalese migrants in Japan from 2005 to 2017.

Source: Ministry of Justice of Japan, 2018

The reason behind the rapid increase of Nepalese population in Japan was because the visa procedure for students and ‘cooks’ (or skilled labors) became easier compared with the past. The social network of Nepalese people was another factor. Especially, from the year 2010, students as well as family dependents increased because of the above reason. However, the past records showed that Nepalese migrants came to Japan as early as the 1980s as short-term visitors and workers at Indian restaurants. Some of them then opened their own restaurants, which became a trend among Nepalese migrants in later years. Similarly, there was a flow of students to Japanese language schools. In this way, Nepalese immigrants have been growing in Japan.

Issues of identity among Nepalese migrants: My personal experience

From my personal experience, I can say that being an immigrant is very difficult. We have to adjust to the new environment and adopt new habits. Additionally, we have to deal with new people and new rules. Once we come to the new land, our old identity fades away and a new identity begins to rise. We become caught up between two cultures and lost in between them. So, sometimes I feel a sense of loss of my original identity. For example, although I have already spent one third of my life in Japan, sometimes I feel like a stranger. Plus, after spending many years here, my Japanese is not perfect yet. Also, I have no intimate Japanese friends. But, at the same time, I feel that I am a resident of Tokyo because it has given me my new identity. I can comfortably work here, live with my family, and I pay taxes like Japanese residents. Thus, I think the identity I get by living in Tokyo is worth it. I feel that Japan has given me a new self about which I can brag a bit. This way, I also feel I have responsibilities and must make a contribution to this society.

But with the growth of the Nepalese population in Japan, the identity of Nepalese migrants is in question. There are several reasons for this, with one being the misinterpretation of Nepalese identity in Japanese mass media. From a few years ago, there has been a lot of news about Nepalese refugee applicants. Because some Nepalese applied for visas for refugee status with forged documents doesn’t mean that everyone falls in the same category. I think individual identity shouldn’t be taken as a representation of national identity. This stereotypical view has to be changed. Rather, there should be cultural exchange or programs of interaction that would help people understand each other’s cultural differences. There should be a place where immigrants can have their voice, too. With this, we can connect with this world positivity and live freely without barriers. We breath the same air, live in the same land, do the same work, and get the same salary and pay the equal amount of tax, so we are not different in terms of Japanese society and social law. For this reason, we should not be treated as different human beings. Of course, we should take into account cultural differences. However, we should also broaden our viewpoint and look at things from different perspectives. Let’s live together freely and comfortably by celebrating the differences.





渡辺 幸倫


在外公館で届けられた国際結婚は、日本人全体の国際結婚のうち3 分の1(2017)であり、決して無視できるほど小さいものではない。なお、在外公館で届けられた婚姻は、e-stat(政府統計の総合窓口)から、人口動態調査/ 人口動態統計/確定数/ 保管統計表(報告書非掲載表)/ 別表、をキーワードにすると見つけることができる。出生届も同様に探せるので是非参考にしてほしい。
さて、国内外で届けられた国際結婚全体の傾向を見てみたい。1995 年以降に国内外で届けられた日本人の婚姻総数のうち「夫妻の一方が外国籍」の割合は、2006 年にピークを迎え、その後は緩やかに低下し2013 年から2014 年を底に、ここ近年はとやや上昇しているように見える。日本人の婚姻総数は1995 年の約77 万件から2017年の約62 万件へと急減しているが、国際結婚の数はあまり連動しているように見えない。ただし、国外で届けられた婚姻の件数は国内よりも減少傾向が小さいため、在外公館で届けられる結婚の割合は2006 年18.9 %から2017 年30.3 %へと存在感を増している。


届出先別国際結婚件数と総婚姻数に占める国際結婚の割合の推移     (1995-2017)                              厚生労働省人口動態調査(1995-2017)から筆者作成。以下同じ

 相手国の国籍は2017 年のデータによると上位から中国(6,896 件)、韓国・朝鮮(4,343 件)、フィリピン(4,121件)、米国(3,488 件)、タイ(1,276 件)、ブラジル(988 件)、英国(664 件)、ペルー(244 件)となっている(表2)。この内、在外に限ってみてみると、米国(2,181 件)、中国(963 件)、韓国・朝鮮(817 件)、英国(384件)、ブラジル(372 件)、フィリピン(276 件)、タイ(262 件)、ペルー(15 件)となっており、相手国によって、届出地の傾向が大きく異なることが分かる。ただし、在外公館への届け出分は必ずしも配偶者側の国の公館とは限らず、第三国の場合も含まれる点は注意が必要だ。




・2007 年から減少傾向にあった国際結婚件数が底打った模様

渡辺幸倫・久保康彦(2018)「タイ王国における日タイ国際結婚家庭の教育観: 教育商品調達についての語りから」『相模女子大学紀要』Vol.81






● 1. 留学生急増の経緯と留学生の支援体制
 「大分県別府市には、2000年に立命館アジア太平洋大学(APU) が設立されました。APUは留学生50%、外国籍教員50%、50カ国以上からの留学生、という目標の下に設立された国際大学です。APU開学以降、別府市の留学生は118名(1998年)から3,288名(2016年)に急増し,人口当たりの留学生割合は2.7%と全国1位になっています。
 別府市では、外国人のための生活情報ガイドブックを日英2 カ国語で作成し、留学生が多い大学には、各種手続きのため、職員が大学に出向きます。学校の国際理解授業への留学生の派遣も2001年以降1,475名に上り、2014年からは外国人留学生地域活動助成事業を開始し、ムスリムフレンドリーマップの制作助成も行われました

● 2. 定着する留学生と新しいビジネスの創出

図1: 山下工芸」山下謙一郎社長(右)と公延凱さん

 口コミサイトで評判の高い「潮騒の宿晴海」でも、3 名の元留学生社員が働いています。2016年の外国人宿泊客数は7,177名と、熊本・大分地震にもかかわらず、前年から倍増し、元留学生社員はアルバイトの留学生と協力しながら、外国人宿泊客への対応の中心となっています。別府大学出身の楊帆さんは、レストランの担当で、中国人観光客には中国語で、その他の観光客には英語で対応し、宿泊予約部長の岐津さんは、「(元)留学生には、自分たちのできない部分を助けてもらっている」と語ります。

図2: 「潮騒の宿晴海」岐津哲也部長(右)と楊帆さん

 2016年10月には大分県が「おおいた留学生ビジネスセンター」を別府市に開設し、留学生の起業や留学生と一緒にビジネスを展開したい日本企業を支援しています。また大分市は、大分駅近くに起業家支援施設を設け、元留学生を含めた起業家の支援を行っています。元留学生によって起業された会社は、2016年に別府市で12社、大分市で5社に上り、事業別では飲食業が7 社と最も多く、次いで貿易(5社)、食材(2社)の順です。 APU一期生のリドワン・ヘルヤディ(ハリー)さんは、「バリ風隠れ居酒屋ホットマンゴ」の店主です。別府が大好きで、食を通じて日本にインドネシア文化を伝えたいと、日本人の友人の協力を得て、2005 年に開業しました。

図3: 「ホットマンゴ」店主リドワン・ヘルヤディさん


図4: 「パンダ教室」「紅灯籠」経営者・全紅女さん

● 3. 留学生との多文化共創