Research Articles

Young Japanese `Cultural Migrants’ and the Construction of their Imagined West



Migration theories tend to focus on economic and political aspects as migrationinducing factors. However, in recent years, a large number of young Japanese have been migrating to New York City, London, and other Western cities for the purpose of engaging in the production of arts and popular culture. By using ‘multisited ethnography’, the present study finds that not only economic and/or political factors but also cultural factors can act as the primary force that induces migration. In particular, media play a significant role in establishing ‘culturalideological links’ between Japan and the United States/Britain. These lead the respondents of this study to imagine their lives at the specific destination: New York City is believed to be a place where they can continue to lead ‘a normal life’ with better prospects; London is regarded as a place where they can acquire ‘distinction’. Consequently, these young Japanese actually migrated to their imagined West.

Keywords: the West, Japan, Popular culture, Media, Migration

How to Cite: Fujita, Y. (2017) “Young Japanese `Cultural Migrants’ and the Construction of their Imagined West”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 1(1). doi: