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Post-war Japanese immigrants in Canada : job transferability, work, and social participation Ujimoto, Koji Victor

Abstract

The primary objective of this thesis is to explain differences in participation of post-war Japanese immigrants in voluntary organisations and in the network of personal affiliations. Among the conditions to be considered which are expected to influence social participation will be (1) the immigrant's accomplishments and experiences during the initial period of residence in Canada, (2) characteristics which the immigrants brought with them from Japan, and (3) the immigrant's social interaction at work. The various factors considered to be important in the initial employment seeking process of the Japanese immigrants are contained under the rubric of "Job transferability" and a descriptive account of the immigrant's social contact networks prior to emigration, the immigrant's occupational skill level, oral English ability, Job availability in Canada, and the professional certification requirements of the job are provided. These determinants of job transferability are then examined in terms of the immigrant's later employment profile. The differences in the conditions of work in Canada and in Japan, and the various forms of technical constraint on the job are discussed in relation to their effect on the immigrant's social interaction on the Job. Subsequently, the effect of social interaction on the job on the employee's life away from the work environment is described. The research survey was designed to be representative of the post-war Japanese immigrants which consisted of the yobiyose (sponsored Immigrants) and the gi jutsu imin (technical immigrants) who had entered Canada since the promulgation of the 1952 Immigration Act. A random sample of survey respondents were selected from a list of post-war Japanese immigrants who resided in the Vancouver and Lower Mainland areas. The data analysis consisted of percentage comparisons between (1) various forms of constraint and the immigrant's social interaction at work, and (2) social Interaction on the job and participation in voluntary associations and other activities. Our study revealed that the highest percentage of immigrants with membership in professional associations, trade unions, and trade associations consisted of those who secured immediate employment in the same occupation as that held in Japan. With the exception of membership in church and other religious group activities, the highest percentage of immigrants who were members of social groups and clubs were also those who secured immediate employment in the same occupation as that held prior to emigration. Participation in the network of personal affiliations such as family and friendship networks, and in activities by self such as reading and studying, consisted more of immigrants who were still in the process of adjustment and who required household essentials to be purchased than of immigrants who were able to participate in other forms of social activities that required financial resources. Our finding also illustrated the priority given by the immigrant to purchase essential household goods over participation in voluntary associations and in activities that required money. For further research, it is suggested that consideration be given to the changing Japanese values and customs as they relate to the importance placed on traditional social relationships in Japan and later in the Canadian society.

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