A unique initiative will give Denison students the opportunity to do in-country research on transnational migration in Japan.
The initiative, funded by the ASIANetwork Freeman Fellowship Program, supports student teams as they conduct oral histories with immigrants to Japan. The oral histories will provide insight into lesser-known ethnic minorities in Japan. They will be organized and edited, then shared in a digital storytelling format, adding to academic research in this area.
“Very few existing studies provide even a basic portrait of newer immigrants living in Japan,” says Denison Professor of International Studies Taku Suzuki. “In spite of their surging populations, no book-length studies have been published in English on Filipinos, Burmese, Nepalese, and Vietnamese, four of the largest foreign residents living in Japan today.”
The research will examine three distinct immigrant demographics. Students will interview student visa holders in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, a Vietnamese community of technical trainees in Aichi Prefecture, and immigrants who have secured permanent legal residence, often through marriage, in Gifu Prefecture. A total of nine oral history interviews will be edited into digital stories that will be accessible online. The initiative is paused at this time in consideration of the global pandemic and will resume when conditions allow.
“Students will develop useful skills and tools that support self-expression, creative practice, and community-building,” says Suzuki. “They can incorporate these skills in academic endeavors and add them to their résumés. This is especially helpful if they seek careers in media, journalism, and public relations sectors, but this experience, which includes working in teams and communicating across cultures, benefits them all.”
Denison University offers many research opportunities to its students. Students are mentored by faculty as they participate in research in academic and scientific fields, much of it funded by national programs, including NASA and the National Science Foundation. Students can conduct independent research as stipended summer scholars, and many take part in research opportunities through prestigious international fellowships, such as Fulbright.