Japanese Journal of Human Geography
Online ISSN : 1883-4086
Print ISSN : 0018-7216
ISSN-L : 0018-7216
Comparative Analysis of Migration Patterns between the Koreans Living in Japan and the Japanese
The Case of Ikuno Ward in Osaka
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1995 Volume 47 Issue 2 Pages 174-188


There are many studies on Japanese internal migration, however the movements of foreigners living in Japan have not been studied specifically until now, in part due to data unavailability. This study tries to clarify the in- and out-migration patterns of the Japanese and foreign population living in the centre of a metropolis, selecting as a research area the Ikuno Ward in Osaka city. Ikuno Ward has been losing population since the 1960's (see graph), and it is distinguished by the existence of an important and stable Korean community (a quarter of the total population), whose origin goes back to the colonial times.
The data was gathered from the residential change forms in Ikuno's ward office. The study covers the period of March, April and May of 1993, and the subjects are 3, 078 out-migrants and 2, 603 in-migrants, accounting for in each case about 32% of all the migrants from and to Ikuno Ward in that year. The data collected is: gender, type of migration (individual or family), age, and destination or origin of the flows.
Out-migration (see Table 1):
(1) In both populations out-migrants are short-distance migrants, and about 76% of them moved within the metropolitan area of Osaka. This figure refers to the internal migration. However, the foreigners, who in this case can be considered Koreans, either tend to remain more in the city, mainly in the sourrounding areas where important Korean populations exist, or moved out to the central wards. In addition, there is a significant migration of foreigners to big cities such as Kobe and Kyoto. The outstanding Japanese sectoral bias out-migration toward the east (Nara Prefecture) related to the purchase of a home is unimportant to foreigners, and the suburbanization phenomenon is less evident. At the national level, the foreigners' out-migration to Eastern Japan is far more important than to Western Japan. Therefore they break the East-West cultural division that is visible in the Japanese migration flows.
(2) Mobility in terms of gender is substantially higher among men, and more noticeable among Japanese. The sex ratio of out-migrants to the metropolitan area is the same for both populations (about 99), however for the rest of Japan it increases, especially for the Japanese migrating to Eastern Japan.
(3) In general, individual migration is higher for foreigners except in the case of the Japanese migrating to Eastern Japan.
(4) The Japanese migrants of different ages exhibit clearly different patters of destination choice, while for the Koreans it is not so clear.
In-migration (see Table 2) and net migration:
There is a negative net migration for both populations. There is a larger percentage of foreigners in-migrating from the metropolitan area, principally from the rest of Osaka Prefecture to Ikuno Ward (positive net migration). The in-migration from Eastern Japan is comparatively higher for foreigners also. For the Japanese, the in-migration from the rest of Western Japan is a major flow (positive net migration). The sex ratio is higher for foreigners particularly for those coming from outside the Metropolitan Area. Ikuno Ward is a net gainer of mainly female, young, individual Japanese migrants from Western Japan.
The author believes that the destination choice process varies not only with the migrant's age and gender, but also with its ethnic and cultural characteristics. In this case, restrictions in employment and housing opportunities for Koreans are probably important factors for the difference in migration patterns. Moreover, more qualitative research is needed in geography on the ethnic groups' differential spatial perceptions and migration decision-making process.

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