Move globally, live locally: The daily lives of Japanese expatriates in Guangzhou, China

Yungang Liu, Yuwen Tan, Takashi Nakazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we describe and analyze the characteristics of the daily activities and living spaces of Japanese expatriates in Guangzhou, China. Our findings are based on data we generated through a survey questionnaire and interviews. As a result of Japanese transnational companies' intense direct investment in China and the personnel rotation systems within the internal labor market, many Japanese citizens have been relocated to Guangzhou. Japanese expatriates in Guangzhou are mainly managers or technical transferees, middle aged, male, and highly educated. On average, most stay in China for several years, and display the characteristics typical of a sojourner. In contemporary Guangzhou, eight Japanese "agglomeration spots" have been created. Japanese expatriates tend to concentrate in specific apartment complexes or residential lots within these agglomerations. They enjoy high-quality ambiance and spacious rooms with various services. The chief criteria employed when selecting their homes include the quality of the property, convenience in terms of traffic, onsite services and amenities, a beautiful environment, and being located within Japanese communities. The everyday lives of Japanese migrants unfold within a limited territory and these expatriates are relatively isolated from the host society. They shop, dine, and receive various services mainly at familiar Japanese-oriented facilities. They tend to live in their own Japanesestyle small communities, without interacting with the host society. The abovementioned findings seem to have much in common with the situation of Japanese expatriates in other cities: residential areas are segregated from local citizens, and the self-sufficient living spaces built for them add to their isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalGeographical Review of Japan, Series B
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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