2010 Volume 82 Issue 2 Pages 167-183
This paper aims to clarify a unique phase in the job-searching process of Japanese-Indonesians residing in Oarai, Ibaraki, Japan. Social network analyses are employed to explain their job-changing strategies, and the social capital theory is applied to interpret members' roles. This paper focuses on Japanese-Minahasan workers from North Sulawesi, Indonesia, who have recently become a dominant group of foreign residents in Oarai. After settling in Japan, Japanese-Minahasans—many of whom are descendants of fishermen from Okinawa and of Japanese soldiers who went over to the northern part of Sulawesi Island before and during World War II—often try to change their jobs from the fishery industry to electric machinery etc., seeking higher wages. Social capital theories revealed that two patterns of social network were influential in their job-changes: networks with undocumented workers who have useful job information in Japan, and those with the heads of their household who themselves remain in Oarai and would give family members helpful advice, and places to return. In the job-searching strategies, Oarai serves as a “bastion” for their spatial expansion. This diffusion of Japanese-Minahasans throughout Japan represents a combination of the mutual support system and market-oriented migration system, which is unique and unprecedented in migration system studies in Japan.