Identifying Challenges for the Foreign-Born Japanese Population in the Nashville Metropolitan Area

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Davenport, Jae
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The Nashville Metropolitan Area has emerged as a gateway city for immigrants and refugees. This phenomenon has captured the interest of scholars who study migration. Much of their research has demonstrated how newcomers to Nashville follow similar patterns of assimilation and acculturation into the host community within a matter of generations. However, due to the constant flux of Japanese individuals entering and exiting Middle Tennessee, a stable, well-established Japanese community has yet to materialize. Rather, Japanese immigrants in Tennessee often view their resettlement here as ephemeral. Furthermore, their settlement pattern across the metropolitan area is spatially dispersed or “heterolocal” rather than centrally located. This lack of a salient, organized Japanese community along with limited knowledge of Nashville prevents meaningful cultural exchange and enrichment, evidenced by lackluster representation. The author argues more can be done to make Tennessee an appealing environment for Japanese students, workers, and long-time residents.