UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Borderline Japan : Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era : [book review] Burgess, Chris Jun 1, 2013

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
52387-86226.pdf [ 63.03kB ]
Metadata
JSON: 52387-1.0045137.json
JSON-LD: 52387-1.0045137-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 52387-1.0045137-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 52387-1.0045137-rdf.json
Turtle: 52387-1.0045137-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 52387-1.0045137-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 52387-1.0045137-source.json
Full Text
52387-1.0045137-fulltext.txt
Citation
52387-1.0045137.ris

Full Text

413Book Reviewsthe author also includes discussions about Gakurekishugi (degreeocracy) or Kakusa Shakai (gap-society) in Japan. Here Okada refers to one important point: despite the increasing awareness of social inequalities in Japan, a national debate about equal opportunities in education is still missing. In conclusion, it has to be stated that Okada?s remarks touch on an important and highly politically charged issue of modern societies in general: how education in a highly industrialized nation is influenced by pedagogical ideals on one side and economic demands on the other. I recommend that Okada?s work be recognized not just in social sciences but in politics as well. Even though researchers may not be particularly interested in Japanese educational reform processes, the findings of this work might also be relevant if one thinks of the bandwidth of the included perspectives. One disadvantage has to be mentioned, though. The development of the highly influential private education sector and its influence on inequalities in education in Japan is merely recognized. All in all, this book offers a great contribution to social studies providing one explanation for the current state of Japanese education.University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany Steve R. EntrichBORDERLINE JAPAN: Foreigners and Frontier Controls in the Postwar Era. By Tessa Morris-Suzuki. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. xi, 272 pp. (Figures, maps, illus.) US$96.95, cloth. ISBN 978-0-521-86460-2.Unlike much academic writing, Tessa Morris-Suzuki?s work is almost always clearly written and jargon-free, impeccably researched and, above all, original. From the idea that area studies is an obstacle to international understanding (?Anti-Area Studies,? Communal/Plural, 2000) to untying the post-structuralist Gordian knot that sees all representations of the past as untrue (The Past Within Us, London and New York: Verso, 2005); from coining the term ?cosmetic multiculturalism? to describe Japanese-style multiculturalism (?Immigration and Citizenship in Contemporary Japan,? in Japan?Continuity and Change, edited by Javed Maswood et al., London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002) to rethinking the contours of Japan itself (Re-Inventing Japan, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1998), Morris-Suzuki?s writing is consistently innovative and thought-provoking. Her new work, Borderline Japan, is no exception.One topic which has captured Morris-Suzuki?s attention in recent years is the history of Japanese border controls, particularly in relation to undocumented Korean migrants in early postwar Japan. The present volume is perhaps best seen as the culmination of many years of research in this area. As she takes pains to repeatedly point out, this is a largely neglected and under-researched field: for most scholars postwar migration in Japan Pacific Affairs: Volume 86, No. 2 ? June 2013414began in the late 1970s with the arrival of the Indochinese refugees and other visibly different ?newcomers.? The introductory chapter opens with the story of an individual, ?Mr Koh,? a Japanese resident of Korean descent who in 1949 briefly returned to his birthplace to visit his sick mother. This giving of voice to individual actors?through the diaries of Korean migrants, the letters of Japanese officials, and the correspondence of American occupiers?is a key feature of the book as a whole. Another is the framing of such ?micro? vignettes in a broad international ?macro? context. Chapter 2 paints a broad historical picture of migration to and from Japan from colonial times through to the Cold War. Chapter 3 focuses more narrowly on repatriation operations during the early years of the Allied Occupation of Japan, outward voyages carrying mostly Koreans and incoming boats bringing Japanese troops back home. One unexpected phenomenon, however, was the increasing number of boats smuggling Koreans back into Japan, partly a result of the strict regulations regarding how much those departing were allowed to take out of Japan. These unauthorized re-arrivals were the catalyst for the new border control system, including the introduction of alien registration certificates, detailed in chapter 4. Chapter 5 focuses on another group of undocumented and ?forgotten? foreign migrants, Allied military forces, especially US troops. Here, Morris-Suzuki contrasts the mobility of the military, able to enter and leave Japan at will, with ordinary people whose movements are tightly regulated. Those who violated these regulations?regulations which changed as Japan?s relations with neighbouring countries evolved?often found themselves in the newly established ?mura detention centre, which is the subject of chapter 6. The one key that could save such people from captivity and deportation was ?special permission to stay.? Morris-Suzuki highlights the discretionary special permission system as playing ?a surprisingly central role in Japan?s postwar policy towards foreigners? (167) and writes about this in detail in chapter 7.Chapter 8, the penultimate chapter, is also one of the strongest. While briefly discussing Cold War repatriations to China, the main focus is the mass repatriation of Koreans from Japan to North Korea: between 1959 and 1984 93,340 people left to start new lives. What stands out most sharply here is the eagerness of the Japanese government to be rid of as many Korean residents as possible, regardless of the destination or consequences for these individuals. This is evidenced by the creation of various disincentives to stay, beginning with the exclusion of Koreans and other foreigners from the new Japanese welfare system put into place in 1959. The main failing of the book is that it is not long enough. Although Morris-Suzuki frequently stresses the importance of history in the understanding of contemporary migration issues, the emphasis is firmly on the former. Put simply, the author falls short in her promise to show how the history of the ?borderline? sheds light on the nature of policies and controls in 415Book Reviewsthe present day. Only on the last page or two of the final chapter does she present her proposals for the future of Japan?s migration policy. As the author points out (245), the current migration control and nationality system is essentially unchanged since the Cold War?and arguably even earlier?and ?resistance to change remains profound? (9). Why is this the case? For a system that has been shown to be so clearly shaped by global forces, why is Japan, as Erin Chung (Immigration and Citizenship in Japan, Cambridge: CUP, 2010) has noted, the only advanced industrial democracy with a fourth-generation immigrant problem? These are the kinds of questions that remain unanswered and leave the reader wishing for an extra chapter or two. With the issue of voting rights for foreign residents having dropped off the political radar and the rise of right-wing groups such as Zaitokukai (an abbreviation of ?Zainichi Tokken o Yurusanai Shimin no Kai,? literally ?Group of Citizens Who Do Not Forgive Special Rights of Foreign Residents?), there is a real worry that the history of foreign residents in Japan?and Korean residents in particular?is being forgotten. ?Without understanding this history,? the author (3) warns, ?it is impossible to understand the issues of migration in modern Japan.? In this regard, Morris-Suzuki?s book should not only be considered required reading for Japanese Studies scholars and students, but for all Japanese who are unaware of the circumstances and sufferings of non-Japanese, the vast majority of whom wanted and continue to want nothing more than to peacefully work and live in?and travel in and out of?a country they have come to call home.Tsuda College, Tokyo, Japan Chris BurgessTHE QUEST FOR STATEHOOD: Korean Immigrant Nationalism and U.S. Sovereignty, 1905-1945. By Richard S. Kim. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. xii, 223 pp. (Figures.) US$21.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-19-537000-3.Nationalism is the most powerful political force in modern Korean history. It has been the catalyst for wars and mass movements, and nationalist narratives have pervaded the social and cultural discourse in North and South Korea. Much ink has been spilled on the subject in historical scholarship, but one area that has not received much attention, especially in English-language publications, is the nationalism of the Korean diaspora. Richard S. Kim?s The Quest for Statehood is one of the first monographs to help fill this lacuna.Kim?s study examines the history of nationalist activities by Korean immigrants in the US during the first half of the twentieth century, when their homeland suffered under the yoke of Japanese colonial rule. Part of a transnational movement, they joined their compatriots in Korea and in other parts of the diaspora, such as Manchuria, Siberia and Mexico, in the 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.52387.1-0045137/manifest

Comment

Related Items