Japanese Expatriates in Guangzhou City: The Activity and Living Space

  • School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Received date: 2009-08-08

  Revised date: 2010-06-06

  Online published: 2010-10-20

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40701041; The Sumitomo Foundation: Japan-Related Research Projects (2008); Project of the 11th Five-Year Plan of Philosophy and Social Science of Guangdong Planning (2009)


Market reform and opening-up policies stimulate the rapid and sustained growth of the foreign trade in some coastal cities of China, and bring a large number of foreigners into China for business. Japanese transnational migrants, especially, is an important group in this trend. This paper focuses on the Japanese expatriates in Guangzhou, taking Garden Hotel, Guangdong International Hotel and CITIC Plaza as study spots. It mainly makes efforts to shed light on the features of their living space as well as the underlying mechanism. After a short description of Guangzhou's exporting economy, the booming of Japanese-funded enterprises is examined. Under a macroscopic lens, based on the data sourced from real estate agents, eight Japanese 'spots agglomeration' were identified: Huadu, Baiyun-Liuhua, Huanshidong, Tianhebei, Zhujiang New Town, Ersha island, Panyu and Zengcheng, where at least hundreds of Japanese are living in the relatively agglomerated areas. On the other hand, under a microscopic and experience scale, this study uses both questionnaires and semi-structured interviews as the main methods. Questionnaires target on Japanese expatriates and their wives (housewives) who are now living or working in the foregoing three study spots, inquiries range from living conditions, daily consumption, commuting, and education to social intercourse. A total of 34 questionnaires have been collected and available. Moreover, 14 semi-structured interviews in total have been conducted. It is shown that Japanese expatriates in Guangzhou, whose characteristics are reflected by the typical individual daily life, have been transforming into an isolated ethnic group. There are two pivotal factors for this result: one is due to the institutional restrictions which originated from the lack of multi-language environment, policy/law and social welfare system for immigrants, which hinder the social integration of Japanese expatriates in China. The other is owing to the differences in cultural identity originated from the habits/customs and national characteristics of Japanese, which forces them to form their own "small community", and retards the social assimilation to the host society.

Cite this article

LIU Yungang, TAN Yuwen, ZHOU Wenting . Japanese Expatriates in Guangzhou City: The Activity and Living Space[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2010 , 65(10) : 1173 -1186 . DOI: 10.11821/xb201010003


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