Summary of Nikkeijin’s Residency Status and Employment Regulations.

Many companies look to hire a foreign national who is of Japanese descent for their ability to understand the Japanese culture and language. While the term “Nikkei” is commonly used, many people may question “What exactly is a Nikkei?”. In this post, we will also define Nikkeijin, discuss Nikkei as a residency status, and discuss the factors to consider when employing a Nikkeijin.

  1. What is a Nikkeijin?
  2. Characteristics of a Nikkeijin
  3. Status of Residence for Nikkei
  4. Points to consider when hiring Nikkeijin
  5. Conclusion

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1. What is a Nikkeijin?

If you’ve lived in Japan, you’ve most likely heard of the expression “”Nikkeijin” at least once. The precise definition of Nikkeijin would be “People of Japanese descent who immigrated from Japan to a foreign country and obtained the nationality of that country.”

For example, it is stated that there are many Nikkeijin in Brazil, and that an estimation of over 200,000 Japanese emigrated to Brazil in the 1900s. Most married Brazilians and started families. A Nikkeijin is either a Japanese descendant child who was born to a Brazilian, or a Japanese person who becomes a Brazilian citizen while forfeiting their Japanese citizenship. It is estimated that there are currently over 2 million Nikkeijin in Brazil.

As a result, the word “Nikkeijin” often refers to children that have parents who are of Japanese heritage or a foreign national who has obtained foreign nationality over their Japanese nationality.

2. Characteristics of a Nikkeijin

There are numerous types of Nikkeijin. For example, if your mother or father is Japanese, you may have a connection with Japan by understanding Japanese culture or to be able to speak Japanese.

If your grandparents or great-grandparents are Japanese, you may have a Japanese bloodline yet have little or no connection with Japan. The likelihood of you being able to speak Japanese is slim.

For example, a friend of mine (author) whose grandfather is Japanese and has a Japanese name but has never been to Japan and only knows a few words in Japanese.

As you can see, the origins and backgrounds of Nikkeijins differ greatly.

3. Status of Residence for Nikkeijin

Nikkeijins must seek a residence permit in order to live in Japan. If you or your spouse are of Japanese descent, you may be able to obtain a “Long-Term Resident” status, which allows you to work. A Nikkeijin can apply for a resident status that allows them to work, but instead of having restrictions on the type of work they can do, the “Long-Term Resident” status has no restrictions and allows them to choose their jobs flexibly. If you or your spouse have Japanese ancestry, make a list of the appropriate residence statuses, evaluate the requisite papers and requirements for each, and then choose which status to apply for.

4. Points to consider when hiring Nikkei

Refer to the list below which highlights key points to keep in mind when employing a nikkei.

  • First and foremost, some Nikkeijin are offended by the name “Nikkei” and prefer to be treated as a respected individual. Try not to use this term too frequently as businesses need to be aware of diversity and inclusion.
  • The term Nikkei originates from a diverse range of cultural and ethnical backgrounds. During World War II, some were forced to settle in distant countries where they were persecuted by the locals. If you bring this up in a conversation, you run the risk of offending them and it is best to avoid this as much as possible.
  • Just because someone is of Japanese descent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand Japanese culture nor speak the language.
  • If you wish to employ a foreign national who has excellent Japanese language skills, it is important that you choose the person based on their skills and abilities rather than their Japanese origin.

5. Conclusion

In this post, we discussed what a Nikkeijin is, what the legal status of Nikkei residents is, and what factors to consider when recruiting Nikkeijin employees. When recruiting a Nikkeijin, it is important that you understand the rules, as they may differ from hiring those with non-Japanese descendants. If you have any questions regarding applying for a visa, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be able to assist you in the process of recruiting Japanese nationals as well.