Japanese Australian

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Japanese Australian
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Total population
35,378 (by birth, 2011 Census)[1]
50,761 (by ancestry, 2011 Census)
Regions with significant populations
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Broome
Australian English and Japanese
Buddhism, Shinto, Christianity, Non-Religious
Related ethnic groups
Asian Australian, Japanese New Zealander

Japanese Australians (日系オーストラリア人 Nikkei Ōsutoraria-jin?) are Australian citizens who trace their Japanese ancestry, which includes Japanese immigrants and descendants born in Australia. According to a global survey conducted at the end of 2013, Australia is the most popular country for Japanese people to live in.[2]


People born in Japan as a percentage of the population in Sydney divided geographically by postal area, as of the 2011 census.
one dot denotes 100 Japan born Melbourne residents

In the 2006 Census 30,778 Japanese-born residents were counted in Australia. This number excludes Australian-born persons of Japanese ancestry, and Japanese in Australia as overseas visitors (and would include non-Japanese born in Japan). Of this number 24,373 spoke Japanese at home, and 40,968 declared Japanese ancestry (including those who claimed other ancestries).[3] Sydney had the largest population of Japanese born (10,020), followed by Melbourne (5,287), Brisbane (3,300) and the Gold Coast (3,148).

Only 4,643 Japanese-born residents have since acquired Australian citizenship (discouraged perhaps because Japanese citizenship does not recognise multiple citizenship for its citizens aged over 22). Japanese women represent about two thirds (20,413) of the Japanese-born in Australia. About half of all Japanese-born residents profess no religious affiliation (15,131), while Buddhists (8,644) and Christians (3,645) are the most commonly subscribed religions.[4]


A relatively recent ethnic group, only 2,384 Japanese-born had arrived in Australia before 1979. The lifting of barriers in Australia to non-European immigration in the 1960s coincided with the Japanese post-war economic miracle which dissuaded Japanese from emigrating.

Japanese only began to emigrate from their homeland in the 1880s. The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 temporarily prevented more Japanese from immigration to Australia, but they were shortly later exempted from the dictation test when applying for extended residency.

In Australia at the time many worked as pearlers in Northern Australia or in the sugar cane industry in Queensland. They were particularly prominent in the Western Australian Kimberley town of Broome, where until the Second World War they were the largest ethnic group, who were attracted to the opportunities in pearling. Several streets of Broome have Japanese names, and the town has one of the largest Japanese cemeteries outside Japan.

During the Second World War, the Japanese population was detained and later expelled at the cessation of hostilities. The Japanese population in Australia was later replenished in the 1950s by the arrival of 500 Japanese war brides, who had married AIF soldiers stationed in occupied Japan.

Japan's increasing economic importance to Australia from the 1960s, and rising prosperity and linkages between the two countries, naturally led to an increase in the number of Japanese choosing to live in Australia.


Japanese international day schools in Australia include the Sydney Japanese International School (SJIS), The Japanese School of Melbourne (JSM), and The Japanese School in Perth (JSP).

Notable figures[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Government - Department of Immigration and Border Protection. "Japanese Australians". Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  2. ^ 2013 End of the Year Survey - Japan WIN/GIA
  3. ^ ABS Census - ethnicity
  4. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics - Ethnic Media Package - Japan (2006)

Further reading[edit]

  • Sato, Machiko (2001), Farewell to Nippon: Japanese Lifestyle Migrants in Australia, Japanese society series, Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, ISBN 978-1-876843-72-4 

External links[edit]