How Do Racial Cues Affect Attitudes toward Immigrants in a Racially Homogeneous Country? Evidence from a survey experiment in Japan

Author Name IGARASHI Akira (Osaka University) / MIWA Hirofumi (Gakushuin University) / ONO Yoshikuni (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. September 2022 22-E-091
Research Project Advanced Technology and Democracy: Does new technology help or hurt democracy?
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In the United States, race plays an important role in shaping intergroup relations. African Americans, for example, are highly disadvantaged. Yet, little is known about how race affects the formation of intergroup attitudes in non-U.S. contexts. Two conflicting possibilities have been raised: either non-U.S. countries follow the U.S. racial hierarchy and it is spreading throughout the world, or each society has develops its own norms through its unique history and institutions, and racial hierarchies are not shared in non-U.S. contexts. To examine these possibilities, we chose a homogeneous, predominantly non-white, and non-U.S. context, Japan, and conducted a survey experiment to measure Japanese people’s attitudes toward immigrants from White, African, and Asian American backgrounds. The results showed that Japanese do not prefer White Americans over African Americans as immigrants. Rather, they exhibited a preference for African Americans. These results indicate that the racial hierarchy that shapes intergroup attitudes in the U.S. is not necessarily shared in Japan.