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Title:"Partially connected, partially protected": New media and Japanese-Brazilian return migrants in Japan
Author(s):Komaki, Ryuta
Director of Research:Nakamura, Lisa
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Nakamura, Lisa M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Nerone, John C.; Elichirigoity, Fernando; Fouché, Rayvon
Department / Program:Inst of Communications Rsch
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Internet Studies
Digital Media
Mobile Media
Abstract:This dissertation explores the use of the internet, mobile phones and other types of new and old media by Japanese-Brazilian return migrants in Japan, who are Brazilian nationals of Japanese ancestry that migrate transnationally from Brazil to Japan to work. The study first discusses the history of Japanese-Brazilian return migration, situating it in a larger history of labor migration to Japan and the development of “flexible capitalism” in the “network society” in the contemporary world. It also examines the current state of Japanese-Brazilian and Brazilian ethnic media in Japan, and discusses the relationship between the Japanese government’s policies regarding immigration and multilingual media services and the ways in which Portuguese-language media products and services are provided to the return migrants. I argue that the government’s indifference towards social and cultural life of non-Japanese residents and its reluctance to serve informational and communicational needs of the nation’s diversifying population put the provision of multilingual and multicultural media in the hands of the private sector, which had an undesirable consequences on Japanese-Brazilian return migrants as the end users of the media as a global financial crisis damaged Japan’s economy in 2008. Second, this study looks at the actual scenes of new and old media adoption by Japanese-Brazilian return migrants through content analyses of online materials and ethnographic interviews I conducted with Japanese-Brazilian residents in Kobe, Japan. My findings show the potentials new digital media has for developing transnational networks and fostering social actions, but they also show limitations and obstacles Japanese-Brazilian return migrants face to attain full access to those technologies and benefit fully from the use of new media. They indicate that while living in well-connected Japan, the Japanese-Brazilian return migrants in my study remain partially connected to digital media and to the World Wide Web. Combined, the two parts of this study document Japanese-Brazilian return migrants in Japan as “partially connected, partially protected” working class, the presence of which has been indispensable for slowing down the collapse of the Japanese economy. At the same time, however, the study also suggests that the potentials and social impacts of new media technologies are “made” as technologies, society and end users interact, and those can be “remade” to better serve Japanese-Brazilian return migrants and other non-Japanese residents of Japan in the local setting and transnational migrants and members of diaspora in the global context.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Ryuta Komaki
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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