Kokusai kekkon, marriage among Japanese and non-Japanese nationals, are common, yet sometimes it comes with difficulties. The study aims to uncover Japanese people’s hidden perceptions of gaikokujins, foreigners, and Japanese identity shaped in relation to gaikokujins based on race and ethnicity within cross-national marriage. 18 Japanese spouses of U.S. Americans were interviewed for the study. The study employed thematic analysis to disclose Japanese beliefs and worldviews through interpreting Japanese interviewees’ experiences and their families’ discourses regarding marriage with U.S. Americans. The study found that whiteness and the sense of inferiority to the West and superiority toward the East influence Japanese views on gaikokujins and international marriage. Japanese nationals’ experiences with marriages to U.S. Americans offer important implications regarding racial and historical influences on Japanese perceptions of gaikokujins and themselves. The findings may help both Japanese and people around the world recognize the racial hierarchy in Japan impacts whether cross-national marriages are accepted or rejected and how Japanese perspectives on race and ethnicity are constructed and nurtured in Japan.
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Arts and Humanities
Matsuoka, M. (2021). Unveiling race and Japanese identity through Kobusai kekkon [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/1154/
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