vol.015 / Special
Record No. 003: Tokyo’s foreign residents
Saint Christopher and Nevis
Of the more than 180 different countries in the data set for 2016, a total of eight countries had only one national among the Tokyo population — Monaco, Swaziland, Guinea Bissau, and five other nations. One such country was Nauru, a tiny island in the Southwest Pacific with a total land area of just 21.1 square kilometers (only slightly larger than Minato City, which comes in at 20.37 square kilometers) and a total population of around 11,000. It makes you wonder: What brought them here — and what are their lives in Tokyo like?
Tokyo has its share of famous ethnic areas — Korea Town in Shin-Okubo, for example — and lower-profile communities like enclaves of Burmese residents in Takadanobaba, French nationals in Kagurazaka, and the Chinese population in Ikebukuro. Nishikasai is home to another ethnic community, “Little India,” which formed after Indian IT engineers flocked to Japan to help tackle the Y2K problem and settled in the Nishikasai area for optimal access to the Indian embassy and major business districts like Otemachi. That growing, thriving community has given rise to the Tokyo Diwali Festival at Nishikasai, a yearly celebration of Indian culture.
Of the 113,194 newborn babies that became part of the Tokyo population in 2015, 3,805 — roughly one of every thirty — has a non-Japanese parent.*2 The sports world is one area where racial diversity is grabbing the spotlight: Track star Asuka Cambridge and judo-ka Mashu Baker both medaled at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, for example, and other athletes like baseball player Rui Okoye are heading up a cavalcade of young superstars with an international heritage. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, now just a few years away, are shaping up to be a showcase for even more athletes with roots across the globe.
Arts Council Tokyo’s various art projects draw participants from a diverse mix of countries and cultures. Art Access Adachi: Downtown Senju – Connecting through Sound Art, for instance, brought foreign residents of the community together with Japanese locals to create the Immigration Museum Tokyo (IMM). Another example of ACT’s emphasis on diversity is the Betweens Passport Initiative, a new project for 2016, which unites foreign residents and Japanese young people in finding ways to involve a broader range of people in the social community.
Editing & Written by Playce
Translation: Office Miyazaki, Inc.
vol.015 / Roundtable
The bodily senses we should trust in today
Daizaburo Sakamoto (Yamabushi, mountain ascetic) × Satoko Kobiyama (Food artist)