Old and new migrations and diversifications in the UK and Japan

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology


The proposed network brings together researchers with expertise in the social sciences, arts and humanities from across the UK and Japan. The network is based on a hub and spoke model with the University of Birmingham's Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) and Waseda University's Institute for Asian Migration (IAM) at the centre expanding to encompass other academics from across the UK and Japan. The involvement of early career researchers is encouraged through provision of fully funded workshop places. Although migrants already form a part of many societies in some countries such as the UK and Japan, where immigrants are long-established, we are currently witnessing the intensification of diversity which is proceeding at unprecedented speed, scale and spread. Japan and the UK have many political, economic and social differences yet they share one major challenge: a shortage of labour. Both have attempted to resist high levels of migration, yet now accept that future prosperity depends on international labour migration. Post-Brexit the UK expects to move beyond the EU for its migrant labour whilst at the same time Japan, housing relatively small numbers of migrants compared to the UK, is opening its doors to labour migrants. The aim of this network is to bring social sciences, arts and humanities academics from the UK and Japan together to develop new knowledge and insight about diversification and integration resulting from old and new migrations. The project will offer new directions for scholarly work comparing migration in Japan and UK. The project is highly original in its fusion of East/West intellectual traditions and knowledge that is both interdisciplinary and comparative. Activities are designed to establish a sustainable academic network, new and enduring collaborations, high quality written outputs and ideas for new primary research.

The project commences with a workshop in Brussels (May 2019) wherein key IRiS and IAM academics present and discuss an overview of: 1) immigration history; 2) economy; 3) societal responses and outlooks; 4) politics and policy; and 5) literature and discourse. Themed discussions will enable all those present to develop a comprehensive and interdisciplinary understanding of both contexts. Following the workshop, five themed working and briefing papers will be produced pulling together information on Japan and the UK. The project lead and co-investigators will produce an overview document setting out the key themes emerging from the workshop. After consultation with delegates, the overview will be used as the foundation for a call for papers for a symposium. A five-day symposium in Tokyo (Dec 2019) will unite leading scholars in migration and superdiversity studies with early career researchers. Using a combination of keynote lecture, plenary, workshop, field-trip, literature readings and masterclasses intended to share existing knowledge and develop new ways of thinking we will explore several key questions identified in the Brussels workshop. Papers will be selected from Japanese and UK scholars following the call for papers but will also include the work of the project leaders. The final days of the symposium will be devoted to collaboration activities in which academics form pairs or small groups with Japanese and UK (senior and early career) scholars to prepare an abstract for a high profile special issue. The conveners will select the most promising abstracts for inclusion in the special issue offering the authors five three-week exchanges in both Japan and the UK in which the joint papers selected are co-written and future project ideas are outlined. Project outputs include a website, working papers, a special issue journal, training on funding international research and promoting academic work via social media and a sustainable academic research network setting the agenda for world-leading comparative research on migration and diversity in the UK and Japan.

Planned Impact

The project engages with academic debate on migration and superdiversity across a range of disciplines developing new collaborations and knowledge that are interdisciplinary and comparative. Its primary impacts are undoubtedly academic. Yet given the timing of the application around the UK and Japan's new endeavours to open their borders to international labour migrants, the network will interest policymakers, practitioners and non-governmental and non-profit organisations. Short-term impacts develop from engaging stakeholders in the network's activities while medium term effects occur through reaching out to a wider range of stakeholders. We focus on 1) academic beneficiaries 2) policymakers, politicians and practitioners 3) other stakeholders, including writers and translators.

Migration scholars across the social sciences, arts and humanities will benefit from a new critical mass of work and associated research agenda. Using the hubs' existing networks such as IMISCOE, Royal Geographic Society and the Japan Sociological Society and through presenting our work at conferences and posting on listservs we can reach out to other academics encouraging them to think about migration and superdiversity from a new perspective. The prerogative to produce joint written outputs from the workshop (working papers), the symposium (joint presentations) and the exchanges (journal article) will ensure that academics work together towards a shared goal. The profile of participating academics will be promoted via the website. The network is open to all scholars interested in UK/Japan research. In the medium term, collaborative grant proposals will be prepared for ESCR/AHRC, Wellcome Trust etc to expand the body of knowledge.

Our events will be open to policymakers and practitioners who will be invited to the workshop and symposium to join discussions and participate in co-authored outputs. The network website provides a locus on which Japan/UK materials will be published, the profiles of academic and non-academic participants and their associated projects promoted and news from the project shared widely including policy and practitioner relevant information. The working papers form the basis of a different policy summaries and briefs which will outline key learning across the two countries in both Japanese and English. Dr Sigona will take the lead for impact and provide training on reaching wide audiences. The project team have existing connections with senior UK and Japanese civil servants with responsibility for immigration and integration policy.

Other stakeholders including NGOs and humanitarian organisations, business and local writers and artists will be engaged. Our working papers, pulling together key policy and practice evidence from across Japan and the UK will provide useful new insight into different approaches to policymaking and service delivery and will cover issues such as integration, international development, cultural activities and dealing with negative discourse. Both institutes have considerable expertise around labour migration and the diversity dividend which they can share to bring new knowledge about how their countries' can best benefit from labour migration. Existing contacts include UNICEF and UN, UNHCR, Solidarity Network with Migrants (Japan), top Japanese businesses, OECD, CEDEFOP and literary and translations institutions.

With our extensive connections, the new critical mass of knowledge accumulated by the network, state of the art website, engagement of selected stakeholders in our events and reaching out through targeted briefings promoted by social media the network has the potential to become the place to go for policymakers, practitioners and other actors when they are seeking information about policies and actions in Japan/UK that can bring new insight into addressing the challenges, and making the most of opportunities, associated with migration and resultant superdiversity.
Description Japanese policymakers and politicians are using the knowledge from the NODE network expertise to rethink their refugee resettlement programme to develop a framework to measure refugee integration. For the first time they are considering including social networks - the current focus is upon employment only.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description Old and new diversifications in Japan and the UK
Amount £5,700 (GBP)
Organisation Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) 
Sector Public
Country Japan
Start 12/2019 
End 08/2020
Description NODE UK Japan symposium 
Organisation The Japan Foundation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We lead the network and the symposium
Collaborator Contribution Support to bring additional scholars to NODE UK/Japan symposium
Impact Engagement of additional scholars in NODE UK Japan
Start Year 2019
Description Migrations and diversifications in the UK and Japan - Special Issue launch events 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The event constituted the launch for the special issue of the journal produced as the main outcome of our work and also for the launch of the NODE UK/Japan website. The website enables access to all of our publications, to recordings of our seminar and importantly to the biographical information of NODE UK/Japan researchers. THis is intended to enable future collaborations between UK and Japan migration scholars. The event also included a workshop wherein the future of the network was discussed
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
Description NODE UK/Japan International Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This was an international symposium bringing academics together from across the UK and Japan to present on, and discuss common ground around, migration and diversity. It involved a wide range of people from different disciplines and at different stages of their careers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://superdiversity.net/2019/07/08/welcome-node-ukjapan/
Description NODE UK/Japan Policy Roundtable 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Five policymakers and politicians participated in a panel discussion as part of the NODE UK Japan symposium. This provided a rare opportunity for the idea of immigration and integration policy to be discussed and questioned.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
Description Policy presentation at the Sasakawa Foundation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The NODE lead and Dr Linda Morrice (network member) presented the UK's Indicators of Integration to officials from 10 different government departments, 4 international humanitarian organisations, 15 private companies, 7 embassy officials, 6 journalists and others
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019