Filipinos in Japan

Filipinos in Japan (Japanese: 在日フィリピン人, Zainichi Firipinjin, Filipino: Mga Pilipino sa Hapon) are citizens of the Republic of the Philippines residing in Japan. As of June 2023 there were 309,943 Filipinos registered as foreign residents in Japan.[1] Filipinos are the fourth-largest group of foreign residents in Japan, behind China, Vietnam and South Korea, the same position they occupied in the previous year.[2]

Filipinos who have become Japanese citizens through naturalization, or children from Filipino-Japanese marriages, are called Filipino-Japanese. In 2022, 217 Filipinos acquired Japanese citizenship through naturalization, down from the previous years (237 in 2021 and 301 in 2020).[3]

Filipinos have a long history in Japan, and the majority of Filipinos have already become permanent residents or long-term residents, and many have integrated into Japanese society and acquired Japanese nationality.

In addition, due to the large number of marriages between Filipinos and Japanese, there have been many second-generation Japanese of Filipino descent and many are active in various fields in Japan. Although there are no statistics on the number of Filipino-Japanese people with Japanese nationality, it is thought that the number is quite large.

Filipinos in Japan
Total population 309,943 (in June, 2023)
Prefectures with significant population Aichi, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba
Languages Filipino, English, Japanese, Cebuano
Religion Predominantly Christianity, Minority: Buddhism, Islam

Statistics

Population

As of the end of December 2022, there are 298,740 Filipinos who are medium- to long-term residents or permanent residents in Japan (4th out of 194 countries).

Status of residence

At the end of 2022, 228,945 Filipinos in Japan held resident statuses of Permanent Resident, long-term Resident, Spouse or Child of a Japanese, or Spouse or Child of a Permanent Residence. These kinds of resident statuses have no restrictions on working, and they account for 76% of Filipinos living in Japan.[4]

Among Filipinos with status of residence with work restrictions, 29,140 are Technical Intern Trainees, fourth among foreigners after Vietnam, China, and Indonesia, and 13,214 were Specified Skilled Workers.


“Technical Intern Trainee” indicates six different types of Technical Intern Trainee visa combined into one group. “Specified Skilled Worker” indicates Specified Skilled Worker 1 visa (there are yet no Filipinos with Specified Skilled Worker 2 visa). “Engineer, Humanities” indicates Engineer, Specialist in Humanities, International Services visa.

Top 10 Residence Statuses (Visa)

Rank Status of residence No. of people
1 Permanent resident 137,615
2 Long-term resident 57,591
3 Technical intern trainee 29,140
4 Spouse or child of a Japanese 25,453
5 Specified skilled worker 13,214
6 Engineer, Specialist in Humanities, International Services 8,655
7 Spouse or child of a permanent resident 8,286
8 Designated activities 5,797
9 Dependent 4,584
10 Student 2,482

Age and gender

The male to female ratio is 30:70, with an overwhelming majority of women. By age group, people in their 30s (65,814 people) and 40s (61,356 people) were the most common, followed by people in their 50s (55,999 people). There are approximately 12,000 people over 60 [5].


Gender ratio by age of Filipinos in Japan. The skewed male-to-female ratio from around age 35 is the result of the great influx of female entertainers from the 1980s up to mid-2000s.

Occupation

In 2020, there were 184,750 Filipino workers in Japan. Industries in 2020 where Filipinos are employed were manufacturing (36%), service industry (21%), wholesale and retail (9%), medicine and welfare (7%), construction (6%), hotel and restaurant industry (6%), education (2%), and telecommunications (1%).[6]


Occupation of Filipinos in Japan

Regions

Most Filipinos in Japan live in the Kanto region (43%), Chubu region (30%), and Kinki region (10%).[7]


Prefectures that have more than 8,000 Filipino residents. Darker color indicates higher population.

Prefectures ranked by population of Filipino residents (2022)

Rank Prefecture No. of residents
0 All 298,740
1 Aichi 41,918
2 Tokyo 34,425
3 Kanagawa 24,778
4 Saitama 22,560
5 Chiba 20,795
6 Shizuoka 18,397
7 Gifu 14,553
8 Ibaraki 10,730
9 Osaka 10,173
10 Gunma 8,419
11 Hiroshima 8,417
12 Mie 7,844
13 Fukuoka 6,143
14 Hyōgo 5,657
15 Tochigi 5,100
16 Nagano 5,029
17 Kumamoto 3,044
18 Shiga 2,920
19 Niigata 2,915
20 Kyoto 2,770
21 Fukushima 2,752
22 Ehime 2,718
23 Toyama 2,620
24 Hokkaido 2,496
25 Okinawa 2,343
26 Kagawa 2,251
27 Kagoshima 2,229
28 Yamanashi 2,202
29 Okayama 2,150
30 Fukui 1,884
31 Yamaguchi 1,714
32 Ōita 1,697
33 Miyagi 1,481
34 Iwate 1,355
35 Ishikawa 1,305
36 Nagasaki 1,166
37 Nara 949
38 Shimane 941
39 Miyazaki 892
40 Yamagata 881
41 Aomori 864
42 Akita 862
43 Tokushima 839
44 Wakayama 826
45 Saga 790
46 Kōchi 788
47 Tottori 637

History

On 10 June 1636, Lorenzo Ruiz, a Chinese-Filipino Christian, together with three Dominican priests sailed for Okinawa from the Philippines. They were captured by the authorities of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had banned Christianity in the Japan, a short time after they arrived at the island, thrown into prison and later transferred to Nagasaki.

There, on 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to Nishizaka Hill, where they were tortured by being hung upside-down over a pit. He died two days later on 29 September 1637, aged 42. Canonized as a saint in 1987, Lorenzo Ruiz was the first recorded Filipino to have set foot on Japanese soil.

Prewar

Early examples is the Filipino students who came to Japan to study at Japanese universities during World War 2, when the Philippines gained independence (the Second Republic of the Philippines) under Japanese occupation.

1980s

Until the 1960s, the Philippine economy was known as “Asia’s premier student,” but since then it has been in a long-term slump. Filipinos who had no jobs in the country used to go to oil-producing countries in the Middle East to work, but were forced out due to low oil prices.[8] At that time, the value of the Japanese yen was rising due to the appreciation of the yen, so Filipinos began to seek Japan as newcomers.[8:1] Japanese organized crime groups operating behind the scenes in the Philippines actively smuggled Filipinos into Japan by arranging jobs for them.[8:2]

As a result, the number of Filipinos residing in Japan in 1983 was 7,516, but by 1989, after the bubble economy, the number had rapidly increased by about five times to 38,925.[9] In 1987, 8,027 Filipinos were deported for illegal work, accounting for 70% of the total number of deported foreigners. Approximately 70% of these were women [10]–the so-called “Japayuki.” [8:3] Filipino women are engaged in sex-related industries such as Philippine pubs, and in 1988, 588 Filipino women were arrested for sex-related offenses (1st place).[10:1]

1990s

In 1992, the number of Filipinos living in Japan was 62,218, but in 1995 it rose to 74,297.[11] Around this time, Ruby Moreno became active in television and movies. International marriages are increasing; in 1995, 7,188 Filipino women married Japanese men, and 52 Japanese women married Filipino men.[12]

On the other hand, by 1995, the number of illegal overstaying Filipinos had increased to 41,122 (3rd place), and the number of criminal offenses had increased from 328 (3rd place) and 151 people (3rd place) in 1990 to 633 (7th place). The number has doubled to 301 (5th place).[13] Illegal employment continues; in 1995, 204 Filipino women were arrested for employment-related offenses (first place), and 166 Filipino women were arrested for sex-related offenses (second place).[13:1]

2000s

In 2000, the number of Filipinos residing in Japan rapidly increased to 144,871, about twice the number in 1995.[14] In that year, 60,455 (59%) new Filipinos entered the country with entertainer status.[15] On the other hand, in 2000, there were 375 cases (6th place) and 241 people (6th place) of Filipino criminals, and 36,379 people (2nd place) were illegally overstayed in the country.[16] The number of Filipino women arrested for employment-related offenses was 93 (4th place), and the number of Filipino women arrested for sex-related offenses was 181 (3rd place).[16:1]

The number of Filipinos residing in Japan continued to increase, but in 2005 it became difficult to obtain entertainment visas to prevent human trafficking.[17] As a result, the number of Filipinos living in Japan decreased to 187,261 at one point. However, around the same time, international marriages reached their peak, with 10,242 Filipino women marrying Japanese men and 187 Japanese women marrying Filipino men in 2005.[12:1]

As a result, the resident population recovered from the following year and continued to increase until 2009 (211,716 people).[14:1] The Japanese government concluded an economic partnership agreement with the Philippines in 2008, allowing “the entry of Filipino nurse and care worker candidates who meet certain requirements.”[18]

Also, around this time, children born to marriages with Japanese men in the late 1980s were reaching adulthood, and some of them, like Sayaka Akimoto, were active in the entertainment industry. However, it is said that between 2000 and 2005, the high school attendance rate of Filipinos living in Japan was one of the lowest among foreigners living in Japan, at around 30-40%.[19]

Furthermore, around 2009, in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, there were 2,841 households of Filipino residents in Japan receiving welfare, of which approximately 80% were single-mother households.[19:1] Perhaps for this reason, the number of Filipino juvenile criminal law offenders exceeded 100 in 2006,[20] peaked at 202 in 2009,[20:1] and continued to exceed 100 until 2014.[21] A murder case by a juvenile later occurred in Kawasaki City, and voices were raised pointing out how difficult life was for Filipino children.[22]

2010s

The number of Filipinos residing in Japan temporarily decreased to 210,181 in 2010,[14:2] but increased to 224,048 in 2015. On the other hand, by 2010, the number of illegal overstaying Filipinos was 12,842 (3rd place), [23] the number of criminal law offenses was 442 (6th place), 464 people (5th place), and special laws such as employment-related crimes. Including criminals, the number was 1,128 (3rd place).[20:2] The number of juvenile criminal code offenders was 137 (1st place) and theft (2nd place).[20:3]

In 2014, the most common crimes committed by Filipinos were burglary, shoplifting, and embezzlement of property.[23:1] By the way, the total number of Filipino residents in 2015 was 235,928 [24]. On the other hand, by 2015, the number of Filipinos illegally overstaying in the country was 4,991 (4th place).[25]

Media

Pre-internet, in the early 1990s there were a number of printed newspapers and magazines that catered to Filipinos in Japan. Most of these publications are sponsored by international telephone service companies, and with ads from travel agencies and stores selling Philippine products.

The earliest of these publications catering to Filipinos in Japan is “Kaibigan” (published from December 1991 to June 1999), Philippines Today (published from January 1993), and “Pinoy” (published from February 1994).[26]

These publications used either English or Filipino or a combination of these two languages. Philippines Today content were in English, with some Filipino, while others like KMC Magazine and Kaibigan have Japanese translations, together with English or Filipino. Still others like Kumusta! and Pinoy were completely bilingual.[26:1]

With the advent of the Internet, some of these publications shifted to online publishing but most have completely ceased operations altogether.

One notable exception is Jeepney Press, which had been published continuously for 20 years.

Contribution to Philippine economy

Filipinos in Japan are a major contributor of financial funds to the Philippine economy.

In 2021, cash remittances to the Philippines from Filipinos in Japan amounted to $1.6 billion, 4th highest after the US, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. In the ten-year period from 2012 to 2021, Filipinos in Japan remitted a total of $13.8 billion to the Philippines.[27]

References


  1. 令和5年6月末現在における在留外国人数について (Regarding the Number of Foreign Residents as of the End of June 2023). Immigration Services Agency of Japan. 13 October 2023. Retrieved 12 December 2023. ↩︎

  2. 令和4年末現在における在留外国人数について (Regarding the Number of Foreign Residents as of the End of 2022). Immigration Services of Japan. 24 March 2023. Retrieved 12 December 2023. ↩︎

  3. 国籍別帰化許可者数 (Number of People Granted Naturalization by Nationality) (PDF) Ministry of Justice Civil Affairs Bureau. 27 April 2023. Retrieved 13 December 2023. ↩︎

  4. 在留外国人統計(旧登録外国人統計)統計表 (Statistics on Foreign Residents (Formerly Registered Alien Statistics) Statistical Table). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  5. 第2表 国籍・地域別 年齢 ・ 男女別 在留外国人(令和3年(2021年)6月末日現在) (Table 2 Foreign Residents by Nationality and Region, Age and Gender (as of the End of June 2021))(XLS). Portal Site of Official Statistics of Japan. 10 December 2021. Retrieved 12 December 2023. ↩︎

  6. [別表1]国籍別・在留資格別外国人労働者数 ([Attachment 1] Number of Foreign Workers by Nationality and Status of Residence) (PDF). Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  7. 在留外国人統計(旧登録外国人統計) / 在留外国人統計 (Statistics on Foreign Residents (Formerly Registered Alien Statistics) / Statistics on Foreign Residents). Portal Site of Official Statistics of Japan. 15 July 2022. Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  8. 第2節 国際化の進展に伴う警察事象の変化 (Section 2 Changes in Police Phenomena Due to Progress in Internationalization). 1985 Police White Paper (1987). Retrieved 2 February 2024… ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  9. 出入国管理-新時代における出入国管理行政の対応”. (Immigration Services Agency of Japan–Immigration Control Administration Response in the New Era) Immigration Services Agency of Japan White Paper (1998). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  10. 第2章 国際化社会と警察活動 (Chapter 2 Internationalized Society and Police Activities). 1993 Police White Paper (1994). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎ ↩︎

  11. 出入国管理-新時代における出入国管理行政の対応 (Immigration Services of Japan–Immigration Control Administration Response in the New Era) Immigration Services of Japan White Paper (1998). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  12. 第2表 夫妻の国籍別にみた婚姻件数の年次推移 (Table 2 Annual Trends in the Number of Marriages by Nationality of Couples) . Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (2009). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎ ↩︎

  13. 第8章 国際化社会と警察活動 (Chapter 8 Internationalized Society and Police Activities) 1996 Police White Paper (1996). Retrieved 2 February 2024 ↩︎ ↩︎

  14. 第1部 出入国管理をめぐる近年の状況 (Part 1 Recent Situations Surrounding Immigration Control). 2012 Immigration Services of Japan White Paper. Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  15. 平成12年における外国人及び日本人の出入国者統計について (Regarding Immigration Statistics for Foreigners and Japanese People in 2000). Ministry of Justice Immigration Bureau (March 2001). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  16. 第8章国際化社会と警察活動 (Chapter 8 Internationalized Society and Police Activities). 2001 Police White Paper. Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎ ↩︎

  17. 人身取引行動計画(旧行動計画)の進捗状況 (Progress of the Human Trafficking Action Plan (former Action Plan)). Immigration Services of Japan. Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  18. 日・フィリピン経済連携協定 (Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (1 July 2011). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  19. National Network in Solidarity with Migrant Workers/Migrants and Poverty Project Team (4 March 2010). ナショナルミニマム研究会 第6回 (National Minimum Study Group 6th). Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎ ↩︎

  20. 来日外国人犯罪の検挙状況(平成22年確定値)【訂正版】 (Arrest Status of Crimes Committed by Foreigners Visiting Japan (Confirmed Numbers in 2010) [Revised Version]). National Police Agency. 2 February 2024. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  21. 来日外国人犯罪の検挙状況(平成26年) (Arrest Status of Crimes Committed by Foreigners Visiting Japan (2014)) National Police Agency (2010). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  22. 川崎中1殺害事件でも…秋元才加やざわちんが明かすフィリピンハーフへの偏見と差別. LITERA (2015年3月17日) (Even in the Case of the Kawasaki Junior High School Student Murder Case… Prejudice and Discrimination Against Half-Filipinos Revealed by Sayaka Akimoto and Zawachin). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  23. 来日外国人犯罪の検挙状況(平成26年) (Arrest Status of Crimes Committed by Foreigners Visiting Japan (2014)) National Police Agency. Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎ ↩︎

  24. 在留外国人統計(旧登録外国人統計) (Statistics on Foreign Residents (Formerly Registered Alien Statistics)) Ministry of Justice Statistics Bureau (2015). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  25. 本邦における不法残留者数について(平成27年1月1日現在). (Regarding the Number of Illegal Overstayers in Japan (as of January 1, 2015)) Ministry of Justice Immigration Services Agency of Japan (20 March 2015). Retrieved 2 February 2024. ↩︎

  26. 在日フィリピン人とエスニックメディア--言語継承を中心に (Filipinos Living in Japan and Ethnic Media–Focusing on Language Inheritance). Takahata, Sachi. 25 September 1999. Retrieved 17 December 2023. ↩︎ ↩︎

  27. Overseas Filipinos’ Remittances: Cash Remittances, by Country and by Source (XLS) Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Philippines. Retrieved 14 December 2023. ↩︎