Japanese community in the United Kingdom
37,535 (2001 UK Census)
34,000 (2009 ONS estimate)
50,864 (2002 Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimate)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Greater London and South East England|
|Japanese and British English|
|Mahayana Buddhism, Shintoism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism|
History and settlement
Settlement first began in the late 19th century with the arrival of Japanese professionals, students and their servants. 264 citizens of Japan resided in Britain in 1884, the majority of whom identifying as officials and students. Employment diversified in the early 1900s with the growth of the Japanese community, which exceeded five hundred people by the close of the first decade of the 20th century.
As tensions escalated between Japan and the UK throughout the course of World War II, some Japanese left their home country to come to the United Kingdom. Another wave of immigration began in the 1960s, mainly for business and economic purposes. In recent decades this number has been growing; including immigrants, students, and businessmen. Parts of the United Kingdom, in particular London, have significant Japanese populations, such as Golders Green and East Finchley in North London. There are currently just over 100,000 British Japanese, mostly in London; but, unlike other Nikkei communities elsewhere in the world, these Britons do not conventionally parse their communities in generational terms as Issei, Nisei, or Sansei.
The first Japanese students in the United Kingdom arrived in the nineteenth century, sent to study at University College London by the Chōshū and Satsuma domains, then the Bakufu (Shogunate). Later many studied at Cambridge University and a smaller number at Oxford University until the end of the Meiji era. The reason for sending them was to catch up with the West by modernizing Japan. Since the 1980s, Japanese students in the United Kingdom have become common thanks to cheaper air travel.
According to the 2001 UK Census, 37,535 Japanese born people were residing in the UK, whilst the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates that 50,864 Japanese nationals were calling the UK home in 2002. The Office for National Statistics estimates that, in 2011, 38,000 people born in Japan were resident in the UK, the 43rd most popular segment of the foreign-born population, and 33,000 Japanese citizens were resident in the UK, the 39th most popular group of overseas nationals. According to the 2011 Census, there are 35,043 people of solely or partially Japanese ethnicity living in England and Wales, 1,245 in Scotland, and 90 in Northern Ireland.
Japanese is the primary language of Japan, and the 2011 Census found that 27,764 people in England and Wales spoke Japanese as their main language, 27,305 of them in England alone, and 17,050 in London alone. The 2011 Census also found that 83 people in Northern Ireland spoke Japanese as their main language.
Below is a list of notable British people of Japanese origin. Temporary individuals and expatriates are not included and can be found at Category:Japanese expatriates in the United Kingdom.
United-Kingdom-born British citizens of Japanese ancestry
- Iain Duncan Smith – Politician, currently the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, former leader of the Conservative Party, whose maternal great-grandmother was a Japanese living in China
- Miki Berenyi – Singer, of mixed Japanese and Hungarian ancestry
- China Chow – Actress, of mixed East Asian and European ancestry
- MiChi (Michiko Sellars) – Dance–Pop singer in Japan
- Asami Zdrenka - Member of British girl band Neon Jungle
- Jun Tanaka - TV chef of Channel 4's Cooking It
Japanese immigrants to the United Kingdom
- Taka Hirose – Bassist, of the band Feeder
- Togo Igawa – Actor
- Kazuo Ishiguro – Novelist
- Haruka Kuroda – Actress
- Kaoru Mfaume – Entertainment producer
- Naoko Mori – Actress
- Diana Yukawa – Violinist
Primary and secondary schools
Many state and independent schools in the United Kingdom serve Japanese children. As of 2013 about 10-20% of Japanese school-age residents in the United Kingdom attend full-time Japanese international schools. These schools include the Japanese School in London, the boarding school Rikkyo School in England and the boarding school Teikyo School United Kingdom.
The Shi-Tennoji School (英国四天王寺学園 Eikoku Shitennōji Gakuen?) in Suffolk was in operation from 1985 to its date of closing, 17 July 2000. The Gyosei International School UK in Milton Keynes closed in 2002, after 15 years of operation.
A boarding college in Winchester, Hampshire, the Winchester Shoei College at the University of Winchester (formerly Shoei Centre at King Alfred's College), is an affiliate of the Shoei Gakuin. It opened in 1982.
Gyosei International College in the U.K. opened in 1989 in Reading, Berkshire on land formerly controlled by the University of Reading and its name later changed to the Witan International College. In 2004 the University of Reading announced that it took control of the Witan college.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has eight Saturday Japanese supplementary schools in operation. As of 2013, 2,392 Japanese children in Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh (school is in Livingston), Leeds, London, Manchester (school is in Lymm), Sunderland, and Telford attend these schools.
- Japanese diaspora
- Japan–United Kingdom relations
- Japan Society of the UK
- Japanese students in the United Kingdom
- Japan–British Exhibition
- Japanese community of London
- Itoh (2001), p1
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- Conte-Helm, p. 74.
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- The Japan Foundation
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- Reassessing what we collect website - Japanese London History of Japanese London with objects and images