Uncovering inner dilemmas experienced by parents of multicultural families in Japan

Teresa Koide, Tomoko Yoshida, Erina Ogawa, Makiko Kuramoto, Jimena Emily Homma, Miho Naruse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper examined challenges parents in intercultural marriages are confronted with when raising their multicultural children in Japan by weighing societal pressures, language usage, and inner struggles. Twenty interviews were conducted with Japanese and non-Japanese parents and revealed that parents, children, and society were in constant negotiation interacting and influencing each other. Extended families, residential communities, and schools were key factors which influenced the family's experience. The role conformity plays in Japan (Hofstede, 2001) and the tightness of Japanese culture (Gelfand et al., 2011) were substantial sources of stress for the parents. The descriptive data suggested societal pressure to conform led to non-Japanese parents feeling out of place. Various levels of language proficiency of family members led to stress and isolation within some multicultural homes. Finally, inner struggles linked to cultural differences led to emotional distress. Visual markers, differing norms and values of the parents' heritage cultures, distinct gender roles in Japan, as well as differing core assumptions deeply rooted in the parents' cultural foundations contributed to these struggles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-284
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1


  • Inner dilemmas
  • Intercultural families
  • Marginalization
  • Multicultural parenting
  • Parenting struggles
  • Qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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