Project “Cross-National Comparison of Multi-Cultural Conviviality”

“Cross-National Comparison of eMulti-Cultural Conviviality’”

Key questions

  • How do we envision the ideal multiculturally convivial society? What policies can we enact in order to realize such a society?
  • What is the current state, or future vision, of the “Tohoku Model of Multicultural Conviviality” largely made up of agricultural villages?

Research Purpose and Approach

The increase in international migration, inflicted by the rapid progression of globalization, is altering our accepted understanding of the state with “the citizen” as society’s main constituent. While developed countries are dealing with aging societies with low fertility, other regions suffer from population explosion. Under these extreme conditions, there is mounting pressure towards accepting/deporting immigrants. At the same time, a rise in rejection of minorities and ethnocentric nationalism is also becoming evident. Japan, having entered an era of depopulation, is considering immigration at a pace that exceeds the current acceptance capacity in order for its society to continue. Policy issues concerning the construction of a multiculturally convivial society are also being debated.

This project, central to the multicultural conviviality aspect of our GCOE, will conduct a cross-national comparison of countries selected based on their relevance to the above-mentioned issues and analyze each country’s efforts. While considering the differences and similarities among countries’ situations and the various ways in which they receive foreigners, we aim to produce research findings that will be useful in seeking an ideal model of a multiculturally convivial society for Japan. More specifically, we will collaborate with professionals in the field of multicultural conviviality and carry out our research by pursuing (1) a legal system for integrating immigrants; (2) a language education policy; and (3) human resource development in a multiculturally convivial society.

One of our key survey areas is the Tohoku Region. Due to the shortage of successors in rural areas, the number of foreign spouses is increasing in this region, and there exists a link between this growing population of foreign spouses and regional communities. This link will most likely be a key factor in our project. In addition, we will integrate gender studies research into our examination of foreign spouses in order to seek an ideal paradigm for the “Tohoku Model of Multicultural Conviviality.”

Research Activities

We launched this project with professionals in the Tohoku Region in December 2008 and have continued interviews and academic seminars since then. We are considering different subjects and methods for conducting surveys in preparation for the formal investigation after FY2010 while a network on multicultural conviviality in the Tohoku Region has gradually developed.

In terms of research target of cross-national comparison, we specifically focus on Korea that has been rapidly enacting policies in order to realize a multiculturally convivial society. Members from our project visited Korea in February 2009 to interview Korean government officials and individuals concerned. We are to hold an international seminar in Korea and Japan alternately every year to share experiences and to build up discussions over policies. Also, after FY2010 we will sequentially send members of our project to such countries that have been addressing conviviality issues in different ways: the Philippines which sends out immigrants to other countries, Vietnam, and China to conduct a field survey in coordination with research collaborators abroad.

We will make our research achievements available on an online forum as needed and publish the achievement in Japanese, English, and Korea during FY2012.



Project Leader

TOZAWA, Hidenori


Professor, School of Law, Tohoku University

Research Fields

International Politics






Name Affiliated Institution/Organization
SUKEGAWA Yasuhiko Tohoku University, Center for International Exchange (Professor)
YAMAWAKI Keizo Meiji University, School of Global Japanese Studies (Professor)
KONDO Atsushi Meijo University, Faculty of Law (Professor)
John F. MORRIS Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University, Department of Intercultural Studies (Professor)
ICHINOSE Tomonori Miyagi University of Education, Faculty of Education (Professor)
IYANAGI Miki Shizuoka University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Law (Associate Professor)
OMURA Masae Miyagi International Association (Director of Planning and Coordination Section)
OBARA Shinichi Former Director of Planning and Information Section at Sendai International Relations Association
TAMURA Taro Center for Multicultural Information & Assistance (Chief Director)
MIYA Junko Iwate International Association (Executive Manager)
MAKUTA Junko Fukushima International Association (Desk Chief)
LEE Sunhee Tohoku University, School of Law, GCOE (Research Fellow)
YANG Keeho SungKongHoe University, Department of Japanese Studies (Professor)
LEE Eugene Sookmyung Women’s University, Division of Humanities and Social Science (Professor)
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