Linguistic landscape of immigrants in Japan: a case study of Japanese Brazilian communities

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To have a better understanding of the sociolinguistic surroundings of Japanese Brazilians as return migrants in Japan, this study investigates language use in their communities from a perspective of linguistic landscape (LL), paying particular attention to their ethnic identity as to how they are viewed by the host society, including language policies, and how they view themselves in Japan. Although it has been said in the literature that they are ‘socially invisible’, the results revealed a certain level of social interactions with the host society that are materialised as LL items, including ideologically charged signs representing social inclusion as community members. In terms of ethnic identity, the observed signs, such as those installed by the host society reflecting the language policies in response to cultural differences and those installed by Japanese Brazilians representing active manifestation and construction of identity, encapsulate the discussion in the literature regarding the shift in ethnic identity from the previously maintained Japaneseness to Brazilianness through their transnational experiences and practices. In addition, such ethnic identity expressed by Japanese Brazilians is emphasised in its further use for ethnic commodification by the host society.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Nov 2021


  • ethnic identity
  • Japanese Brazilians
  • linguistic landscape
  • minority language
  • return migrants

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