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Nigerians in Japan


Nigerians in Japan

Nigerians in Japan
Total population
5,018 (May 2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Igbo, Nigerian English, and other languages of Nigeria; Japanese[2]

Nigerians in Japan (在日ナイジェリア人 Zainichi Naijiriajin) form a small community of around five thousand people. The majority of Nigerians arrived in Japan after the 1980s.


  • Migration history 1
  • Business and employment 2
  • Interethnic relations 3
  • Notable people 4
  • Notes 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Migration history

Nigerians and other West African migrants began coming to Japan in the mid-1980s as migrant workers.[3] More recently, a common route into Japan for Nigerian migrants is to first go to Europe as false asylum seekers and establish legal residency permission there. Once this is done it is easier to acquire a tourist visa for Japan, after which the prospective migrant can enter the country and then overstay illegally. Legal migrants often enter via student visas, which allow them to work for a limited number of hours each week.[4]

There are a number of organisations for Nigerian immigrants in Japan. The Nigerian Union in Japan, the oldest one, was founded in 1990, and restarted twice, most recently in 2010. The Imo State Union, founded in 2002, replaced it to become the largest and most active, and has formally applied for non-profit status under Japanese law.[2]

Business and employment

Some Nigerian migrants during the 1980s found work in factories.[3] Later, after the end of the Japanese asset price bubble reduced opportunities for such work, they shfited into the night-life industry in Tokyo's entertainment districts such as Kabukichō or Roppongi, a line of employment with a high level of public visibility. Many of the bars in these areas were previously owned by Chinese or Koreans, but during a police crackdown in 2002, closed down; Nigerians took advantage of the resulting business vacuum to open their own bars, and hired their fellow countrymen as workers.[5] Typically, Nigerians can be seen on the street as touts and bouncers for bars. Many of the migrants working in this industry are in training for or have completed qualifications for professional positions such as engineering in institutions in their home countries or in Japan, but were unable to find any other kind of work in Japan suited to their level of education.[6]

Interethnic relations

Nigerians have a very poor public image in Japan, with public reports of their activities often focused on crime and scams in bar districts to the exclusion of other aspects of the community. Some Nigerian bar and club owners have been known to spike alcoholic drinks and rob their customers, but though some reports of such incidents are borne out by investigation, others turn out to have no more factual backing than the customer waking up with a bad hangover.[2] Many claim to be African American in an effort to avoid stereotypes and harassment.[7]

Notable people


  1. ^ MOFA 2010, 基礎データ
  2. ^ a b c Richard, Dreux (2011-07-19), "Japan's Nigerians pay price for prosperity: Facing apathy within and racism without, a disunited community struggles to thrive on society's periphery", The Japan Times, archived from the original on 2012-10-18, retrieved 2012-12-09 
  3. ^ a b Kawada 2008, p. 172
  4. ^ Cybriwsky 2011, p. 138
  5. ^ a b Brasor, Philip (2007-02-18), Africans in Japan' . . . not from the quill of Ishihara, thank God"'", Japan Times, retrieved 2011-06-25 
  6. ^ Cybriwsky 2011, p. 140
  7. ^ Kawada 2005, p. 71


  • Cybriwsky, Roman Adrian (2011), Roppongi Crossing: The Demise of a Tokyo Nightclub District and the Reshaping of a Global City, University of Georgia Press,  
  • 川田薫 [Kawada Kaoru] (2005), "東京の西アフリカ系出身者の生活戦術 : 六本木におけるサービス業従事者を事例として [Life tactics of West African migrants in Tokyo: a study of service-industry workers in Roppongi]", 慶応義塾大学大学院社会学研究科紀要 60: 71–92, retrieved 2011-06-25 
  • 川田薫 [Kawada Kaoru] (December 2008), "ナイジェリア人移住者の生活と資本形成に関する日米比較——関東と米国テキサス州の移住者の事例から [USA-Japan comparison of life and capital formation among Nigerian migrants: based on migrants in Kanto and Texas]", 日本で暮らす外国人 [Foreigners living in Japan], Intriguing Asia 117, Bensey Publishing, pp. 172–179,  
    • Summary presentation available online: 川田薫 [Kawada Kaoru] (November 2008), "日本と米国におけるナイジェリア人移住者のコミュニティと資本形成に関する事例報告——関東地域と米国テキサス州の移住者からの聞き取り調査から [Community and capital formation among Nigerian migrants in Japan and the United States: based on research among migrants in Texas and Kanto]", Annual meeting of the Japan Sociological Society 81, retrieved 2011-06-25 
  • 和崎春日 [Wazaki Haruka] (March 2008), "滞日アフリカ人のアソシエーション設立行動と集会活動 [Group activities and association formation activities among Africans staying in Japan]", 名古屋大学文学部研究論集 54: 1–19, retrieved 2011-06-25 
  • "ナイジェリア連邦共和国", 各国・地域情勢, Tokyo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, 2010, retrieved 2011-06-25 

Further reading

  • 川田薫 [Kawada Kaoru] (2006), "在日ナイジェリア人のコミュニティの共同性の構築─イモ州同郷人団体がつなぐイボ民族の生活世界 [Structure of cooperation among Nigerians in Japan: Imo State migrant organisations and Ibo people's lives]", 生活学論叢 11: 127–138 
  • 川田薫 [Kawada Kaoru] (July 2007), "在日ナイジェリア人のコミュニティの形成――相互扶助を介した起業家の資本形成 [Community formation among Nigerians in Japan: Mutual assistance through entrepreneurial capital formation]", Kantoh Sociological Association Annual Review (20) 
  • Schans, Djamila (2009-05-23), "Lost in Translation? Marriages between African immigrants and Japanese women", IMISCOE conference on Interethnic Relations: Multidisciplinary Approaches, Lisbon, Portugal, retrieved 2011-06-25 

External links

  • Nigerian Union in Japan
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