The Japanese Migrant Community in Christchurch: The Quest for New Values and Identity
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Until the 1980s, there was no Japanese community in Christchurch, but only a small number of individuals living mainly amongst European New Zealanders. However, from the mid-1980s changes in New Zealand's immigration policies and the introduction of a working holiday scheme between Japan and New Zealand, led to the growth of a distinctive Japanese community. Its distinctiveness lays in a fact that unlike the classic 'New' immigrant communities of Japanese in Auckland and some other countries, it consisted largely of permanent residents rather than business expatriates. By the 1990s, the community had become large enough to support formal organisational structures, such as the Japanese Society of Canterbury, established in 1991 and the Japanese Supplementary School of Canterbury, opened in 1999. These organisations were founded by the permanent residents, not business sojourners. They fostered a sense of community and were expressions of Japanese identity, but they also promoted links with the host society. In this respect, they were representative of attitudes prevalent amongst the Christchurch's Japanese permanent residents. A survey conducted as a part of the research for this thesis reveals that Japanese in Christchurch retain a strong ethnic identification with Japan. However, it as well shows that they also have a strong civic identification with Christchurch and with New Zealand because they are glad that they live there; and it shows that most of them socialise extensively with European New Zealanders, support Canterbury and the All Blacks, and adopt aspects of 'Kiwi culture'. They have a dual loyalty to the land of their birth and the place where they live.