Marvin Sterling

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Indiana U., Bloomington

Grant number

Gr. 10397

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Sterling, Marvin (Indiana U., Bloomington) "Narrating the Afro-Japanese “Hafu” Experience: Race, Nation and Multipolar Globalization in Contemporary Japan"

This project explores the experiences of Afro-Japanese adults in contemporary Japan. It centers on the discursive themes or repertoires that emerge as Afro-Japanese peoples narrate their experiences of life in a demographically changing society long imagined as ethnoracially homogenous. It considers what these narratives might reveal about Japan’s understandings today of what it means to be Japanese, including as such understandings are represented both domestically and overseas. The study is theoretically framed principally in relation to the literatures on the intersections on the African and Asian diasporas; blackness in Japan; and mixed race identities in the country. Methods include ethnographic observation of the everyday residential, work, recreational and other spaces Afro-Japanese people inhabit; structured- and semi-structured interviews with Afro-Japanese peoples and their families, colleagues and friends; mass- and social-media content analysis of representations of Afro-Japanese people; archival research on their historical presence in Japan; and demographic data– such as on immigration patterns and the greying of Japanese society–relevant to understanding the presence of Afro-Japanese people in the country today.