"Living in disguise?
Minahasan community in Oarai, Ibaraki"

Speaker: Dr. Riwanto Tirtosudarmo
Visiting Professor, Research Institute for Language and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Date:13:30-15:30, July 6 (Tuesday), 2004
Venue: Room 207, East Building of CSEAS

Around the beginning of the1990s Minahasan migrants from North Sulawesi, Indonesia began to trickle into Oarai in Ibaraki Perfecture, Japan. They were mostly employed as casual workers in small fish packaging companies that operated in this little port town.

As the numbers of Minahasan have increased, Oarai has become a 'little Manado' where Minahasan social institutions have emerged. Two important institutions, namely the Church and 'kerukunan' (a typical Minahasan people's organisation based on the same village of origin) were established in Oarai. These two institutions are important binding factors that make a 'far away from home Minahasan community' exist in Oarai. My talk will center on the livelihoods of this vulnerable community particularly in relation to their 'illegality' in Japan and the constant changes of difficult circumstances to which they have to adapt. It was estimated that the number of Minahasan is now around one thousand people and there are four Churches (three Protestant and one Catholic) actively serving the Minahasan community in Oarai.

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