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The ‘Visit Japan’ Campaign: Language, ethnicity and social inclusion among Korean tourism workers Haruo Orito Tamagawa University Yukinori Watanabe Sagami.

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Presentation on theme: "The ‘Visit Japan’ Campaign: Language, ethnicity and social inclusion among Korean tourism workers Haruo Orito Tamagawa University Yukinori Watanabe Sagami."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ‘Visit Japan’ Campaign: Language, ethnicity and social inclusion among Korean tourism workers Haruo Orito Tamagawa University Yukinori Watanabe Sagami Women’s University

2 Thursday, 17 July 2008, 17:25:19 PM Shinjyuku, Tokyo, Japan

3 The ‘Visit Japan’ Campaign Launched in 2003 by the Japanese Gov. The campaign aim: 10 million visitors per year by million visitors per year by 2020 Currently over 8 million visitors Foreign visitors to Japan do not speak Japanese

4 The source : JNTO ( The figures in the table are given in a thousand) In 1,000 Out 3,450 In 2,380 Out 2,380 In: 550 Out: 1,320 In 1,390 Out 1,090 China Korea Hong Kong Australia Taiwan Japan In 8,350 Out 15,990 In 240 Out 460

5 Why Korean? The number of visitors Wide recognition as an important market by businesses in Japan Historical relationship between Japan and Korea Insights from the study about Korean experience – effective strategies toward the “Visit Japan Campaign” and a socially inclusive society A pilot study for a larger research project

6 Research questions 1. What was their initial motivation in pursuing a career in tourism in Japan? 2. What are some of the incidents which informed their current perception of the Japanese people’s view on Korean tourists and workers in Japan ? 3. In what ways do they negotiate their ethnic and linguistic identities with Japanese tourism service providers and local people?

7 Participants Ms. KimMr. LeeMs. Park Time of arrival Age50s30s20s Sexfemalemalefemale Partner Married with JPN Japanese boyfriend Children200 Years in Japan2284 Japanese proficiency Very high

8 Initial Motivation Ms.Kim 1. To study fine art 2. Married to an artist 3. Had to stay in Japan 4. Needs to help family budget 5. had a friend in the tourism “I had to work and I knew people in the tourism” Mr.Lee 1. To study fashion 2. Part-time interpreter at Japanese language school (fun experience) 3. Forwarding company (unpleasant experience) 4. Study consultant for Koran student at the language school + interpreter 5. Better job is in Japan “It was not an conscious choice, but I was good at it and it came to me.” Ms.Park 1. To study Japanese, to have fun in Japan 2. Wanted to stay longer 3. Had to find a job 4. Wanted to choose a job that fit me “Working at a travel agency looks fun to me”

9 Critical incidents and negotiation of Identities (Ms.Kim ①) “Bus driver didn’t do what I asked him to do, so I had to confront him” Incident One of our guests was a little disabled. So, I knew it was on the main street and they are not supposed to stop there. But it was raining and I felt sorry for the guest to walk along… So I asked the driver “We will all be ready to get on immediately, so please come and pick us up (on the main street)”. But he never came. Eventually, we had to walk in the rain. I got angry and confronted him. It was in front of other guests, so we withdrew before long. But since then, drivers from the same bus company were so cold and never do anything more than very basic things. It was a tough experience. Ms. Kim says; In Korea, if we had such an incident, we fight and we talk about why we fight and that is all. No hard feelings for the next time. But Japanese remember things and effect next time. I, now, think it would be easier for me to take the way that would blow over without confrontation, the Japanese way. I think this happened because I am a foreigner. My Japanese colleague guide said the incident would be impossible to even imagine.

10 Gaining linguistic capital does not necessarily guarantee power in the workplace. Local knowledge and communicative strategies are equally important. Communicative differences as a substitute for ethnic discrimination

11 Critical incidents and negotiation of Identities (Ms.Kim ②) “Bus driver saw me as a pushover. So, I tried to do my job perfectly. He was surprised about the quality of my work and showed me much respect in the end” Incident It was a two day tour, and our Japanese driver did not quite do what I asked him to do. I complained this to the bus company but the same driver was assigned again the following day. So, “ I changed my strategy this time, and I did a perfect job as a guide. He would not see any mistake or whatsoever…Then, at the end of the second day, I saw off my guests in the hotel lobby and was on my way out from the hotel, there the driver was waiting for me. And he said “Ms. Kim, thank you very much for your work today” He came to tell me that he appreciated my work! Ms. Kim says; In the beginning, the driver thought he looked down on me because he thought that I would not know much Japanese...

12 Unlike previous incident, she used a different way (the “Japanese way”). She gained respect from her Japanese colleague and self-esteem Gaining respect requires not only language skills, but also the quality of work

13 Critical incidents and negotiation of Identities ( Mr.Lee ) Confronted with rude shopkeepers in Asakusa Incident There was a shopkeeper who spoke rude Japanese to stop my customers from touching fragile objects. I know they are fragile and they do not want customers to touch them. But the way they warn the foreign customers was quite rude. There was a shopkeeper who uses English to warn, but he was obviously rude. So, I complained to him in Japanese. He was so surprised to see me speaking Japanese and started making excuses like, “Oh, I did not mean that or something. Mr. Lee says; Manners differ from culture to culture. The shopkeepers’ attitude was rude and shameful as Asakusa is one of the most popular tourist sites in Japan!

14 His identity as a mediator between Korean tourists and local Japanese workers Strong sense of belonging to the Japanese tourism industry

15 Summary: Language and tourism Support from colleagues and other workers in tourism is important but – the issue of linguistic and ethnic identities as Korean workers Local communicative strategies crucial to gaining support/inclusion in workplaces High tourist satisfaction rates: Insights from Korean workers as a way forward Dialogue with Korean workers

16 Thank you Haruo Orito Yukinori Watanabe

17 The United Nations World Tourism Organization


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