Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

The Passing CCKs in Japan: Analysis on Families of Cross-Border Marriages between Japanese and Brazilian

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

The Passing CCKs in Japan: Analysis on Families of Cross-Border Marriages between Japanese and Brazilian

Article excerpt


In Japan, there were 44,701 cross-border marriages in 2006-the highest number ever on record. Currently, one out of every 16 marriages in Japan is a cross-border marriage. This increase in cross-border marriages has also led to an increase in the number of CCKs (CrossCultural Kids) of these marriages. The number of CCKs in Japan more than doubled over a period of 20 years, from 10,022 in 1987 to 23,463 in 2006. It is clear, then, that Japan is witnessing a growth in the number of cross-border marriages and CCKs, but is Japan truly making progress in terms of multiculturalism? In this paper, I will examine Japanese sociocultural systems in the context of CCKs with Japanese and Brazilian parents for the following two reasons.

First, from a historical perspective, the social acceptance of CCKs born from cross-border marriages can be seen as an index of the degree to which multiculturalism is progressing (Jansson, 1981). Therefore, this research will reveal whether the growing consensus that multiculturalism lags far behind despite the trend towards increased multiethnicity in Japan could be supported or otherwise.

Secondly, Brazilians are the biggest ethnic group among newcomers in Japan. The total number of Brazilians registered as residents in Japan in 2006 was 312,979, accounting for 15.0% of all registered foreign residents, and ranking third next to Koreans (28.7%) and Chinese (26.9%) (The Immigration Bureau, 2007). The increase in the number of Brazilian residents in Japan accompanies the increase in the number of the marriage between Japanese and Brazilian and CCKs of these marriages.

Most Brazilians living in Japan are of Japanese descent. As a result, there are a large number of couples comprising Japanese and Japanese-Brazilian among the cross-border marriages between Japanese and Brazilian. Cottrell (1990) stated that within the definition of crossborder or cross-national marriages, a cross-border marriage is not necessarily an interethnic marriage, but also includes marriages between two people of the same ethnic group but with different nationalities, and that a cross-border marriage is not necessarily an intercultural marriage. In the case of marriages between Japanese and Japanese-Brazilians, however, even if the marriage is within a single ethnic group, the social and cultural backgrounds of the parties socialized in each country differ, albeit to varying degrees. In this paper, I will look at marriages between Japanese and Japanese-Brazilians as cross-border marriages and marriages between two people with different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, and examine the conditions involving CCKs of these marriages. When considering CCKs with Japanese and Brazilian parents, rather than focusing on the contrasts between Brazilian and Japanese culture, I will investigate the path to multiculturalism. I hope that this research will contribute to the construction of a multicultural society.1


The concept of CCK first came about in the literature on TCK (Third Culture Kid) in the United States. R. H. Useem coined the term TCK after spending a year in India in the early 1950s. Initially they used the term "third culture" to refer to the process of learning how to relate to another culture (Useem et al., 1963); in time they started to refer to children who accompany their parents into a different culture as TCK (Pollok, 2008). Later, the term TCK came to have an even broader application, referring in general to the children growing up in an interstitial culture, or culture between cultures (Pollok and Van Reken, 2002).

Even among these children growing up in culture between cultures, however, there are many different circumstances in which these cultures intersect; for example, there are cases where children stay temporarily in the host society, with the understanding that they will return to their home country some day, in addition to children of cross-border marriages and children of immigrants (Cottrell, 2007). …

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