The burden of social capital: Visa overstaying among Fujian Chinese students in Japan

Gracia Liu-Farrer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides a sociological analysis of the student visa-overstaying phenomenon among Fujian Chinese immigrants in Japan. Since the mid-1980s, international education has been an important channel of migration from China to Japan. With the rapid increase of Chinese students in Japan, student visa overstaying has also become a major source of undocumented migration. Student visa overstaying is particularly visible among Chinese students from the Southeast coastal province, Fujian. This paper probes into this phenomenon by examining Fujian immigrants' migration network characteristics. It argues that the social capital that facilitates migration and secures the livelihood for immigrants can become a liability prohibiting them from achieving upward mobility in the host society. Fujian immigrant social network closure cultivates and maintains a norm that positively sanctions undocumented immigration and provides resources that make it difficult for Fujian immigrants to maintain legal status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science Japan Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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