World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Chinese people in Japan

Chinese people in Japan
Kanteibyou Temple in Yokohama Chinatown
Total population
0.53% of the Japanese population (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and other major cities
Mandarin, Hoochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, Japanese and English
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Chinese
Chinese people in Japan
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 日本華僑
Simplified Chinese 日本华侨
Japanese name
Kanji 華僑
Alternate Japanese name
Kanji 在日中国人

Chinese people in Japan consist of migrants from China to Japan and their descendants. They have a history going back for centuries.


  • Population and distribution 1
  • History 2
    • Pre-modern era 2.1
    • Modern era 2.2
    • Post-WWII 2.3
  • Groups 3
    • Foreign students 3.1
    • Workers 3.2
    • Long-term residents and their descendants 3.3
    • Others 3.4
  • Culture 4
    • Cuisine 4.1
  • Issues 5
    • Ethnic relations 5.1
  • Notable individuals 6
    • Early 20th 6.1
    • Late 20th 6.2
    • 21st 6.3
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Sources 9
  • External links 10

Population and distribution

Most Chinese who are living in Japan reside in major cities such as Osaka, Yokohama, and Tokyo. Chinatowns were developed in the cities of Kobe and Yokohama. There are Chinese schools that teach the Chinese language. A study that was conducted in 1995 estimated that the Chinese population in Japan was ~150,000, among whom between 50,000 to 100,000 could speak Chinese.[2] In 2000, Japanese governmental statistics revealed that there were 335,575 Chinese residents in Japan.[3] These numbers only include Chinese who do not yet have Japanese citizenship, rather than all people of Chinese descent.


Pre-modern era

A Chinese legend of uncertain provenance states that Xu Fu, a Qin Dynasty court sorcerer, was sent by Qin Shi Huang to Penglai Mountain (Mount Fuji) in 219 BC to retrieve an elixir of life. Xu could not find any elixir of life and was reluctant to return to China because he knew he would be sentenced to death, Xu instead stayed in Japan.[4]

However, Japan's first verifiable Chinese visitor was the Buddhist missionary Hui Shen, whose 499 AD visit to an island east of China known as Fusang, typically identified with modern-day Japan, was described in the 7th-century Liang Shu. Chinese people are also known to have settled in Okinawa during the Sanzan period; the people of the village of Kumemura, for example, are alleged to all be descended from Chinese immigrants.[5]

Modern era

In 1906, more than six thousand Chinese students lived in Japan. Most of them resided in the district of Kanda in Tokyo.[6]


The term shin-kakyō refers to people of Chinese descent who immigrated to Japan from Taiwan and Mainland China.


Foreign students

Sun Yat-sen (far right) with Japanese friends in Tokyo, 1900.

Many famous Chinese intellectuals have studied in Japan, among them Sun Yat-sen, Lu Xun, and Zhou Enlai.


The Industrial 'training scheme' used to bring Chinese workers to Japan has been criticized by lawyers as exploitation, after several deaths.[7]

Long-term residents and their descendants


Many Japanese war orphans left behind in China after World War II have migrated to Japan with the assistance of the Japanese government, bringing along their Chinese spouses and children.



Chinese restaurants in Japan serve a fairly distinct style of Chinese cuisine. Though in the past Chinese cuisine would have been primarily available in Chinatowns such as those in port cities of Kobe, Nagasaki, or Yokohama, Japanese-style Chinese cuisine is now commonly available all over Japan. As Japanese restaurants often specialise in just one sort of dish, cuisine is focused primarily on dishes found within three distinct types of restaurants: ramen restaurants, dim sum houses, and standard Chinese-style restaurants.


Ethnic relations

During his time in office, former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara publicly used controversial terms such as sangokujin to refer to Chinese staying illegally in Japan, and implied that they might engage in rioting and looting in the aftermath of a disaster.[8]

Notable individuals

This is a list of Chinese expatriates in Japan and Japanese citizens of Chinese descent.

Chiang Kai-shek, a politician and general

Early 20th

Late 20th


See also


  1. ^ 国籍(出身地)別在留資格(在留目的)別外国人登録者, Independent Administrative Institution The National Statistics Center
  2. ^ Maher 1995
  3. ^ Refsing 2003, pp. 58–59
  4. ^ CRI Editors (2005-02-18), Why did Xu Fu go to Japan?, China Radio International, retrieved 2006-10-25 
  5. ^ Kerr 2000, p. 76
  6. ^ Kreiner 2004, pp. 240–242
  7. ^
  8. ^ Larimer, Tim (2000-04-24), "Rabble Rouser", Time Asia, retrieved 2006-10-25 


  • Kerr, George H (2000). Okinawa: the History of an Island People. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.   See page 76.
  • Kreiner, Josef; Ulrich Mohwald, Hans-Dieter Olschleger (January 2004), Modern Japanese Society, Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 240–242,  
  • Maher, John C. (1995), "The Kakyo: Chinese in Japan", Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 16 (1–2): 125–138 
  • Refsing, Kirsten (November 2003), MacKerras, Colin MacKerras, ed., Ethnicity in Asia, United Kingdom: Routledge,  
  • Soderberg, Marie; Reader, Ian (March 2000), Japanese Influences and Presences in Asia, United Kingdom: Routledge,  

External links

  • Yokohama Overseas Chinese School
  • Chinese Immigrants Chase the Japanese Dream (TIME Magazine)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.