Nigerians in Japan

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Nigerians in Japan
Ṇ́dị́ Naìjíríyà nà Japan (Igbo)
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[edit]

Nigerians began coming to Japan in the 1960s mainly as students. The IMF-induced economic hardship (known as Structural Adjustment Program)that Nigeria faced from the late 1980s and the hardening of immigration rules in Western Europe and North America, saw an increase in the number of Nigerians coming to Japan, not as students but as immigrants. According to a 2005 news report, the majority of these immigrants "toil at a wide variety of occupations: as construction workers; painters; in auto junkyards; and in the service sector. But as many speak English, they find work in entertainment areas. Some come to Japan following the footsteps of other relatives, who send them money for their journey." There is currently no concrete figure on the number of Nigerians living in Japan, although some studies suggest they number in the thousands. Most, unsurprisingly, are based in Tokyo, but there are also Nigerians all over Japan. 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[edit]

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 countrymen as workers.[4] Typically, Nigerians can be seen on the street as touts and bouncers for bars.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ MOFA 2010, 基礎データ
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ Kawada 2008, p. 172
  4. ^ a b Brasor, Philip (2007-02-18), 'Africans in Japan' . . . not from the quill of Ishihara, thank God, Japan Times, retrieved 2011-06-25 


Further reading[edit]

  • 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  (Archive) -- "Work in progress –please do not quote"

External links[edit]