Current Seminar Series

Seminar Series 2015:

Diversity in Japan and the UK: Pros and Cons

Japan and the UK are very different in terms of diversity. Japan remains, to a large extent, a monoethnic society with clearly understood social norms that are often very different from those in the rest of the world. The UK, by contrast, has absorbed waves of immigration over the centuries, leaving it with a rich mixture of ethnic and cultural traditions. Japan is also known as a country that places great weight on consensus – where “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. The UK has much greater tolerance of a wide variety of different lifestyles.

Both approaches have their advantages, but now Japan faces, arguably, the necessity to accept more immigrants to cushion its declining population, and to internationalise sectors such as business and higher education. Japan is also being pressed to increase working opportunities for its highly-educated women, and to be more accepting of different lifestyles and challenges to consensus. In the UK, meanwhile, the idea that diversity has its limits is starting to enter the political mainstream in recent years. The rise of UKIP, in particular, reflects a view in some quarters that Britain, and traditional British values, are being undermined by excessive immigration and EU-imposed laws. On the religious front, militant Islam is also a growing cause of concern.

Our seminar series this year focuses on the positive and negative aspects of diversity, and the implications for Japan of adopting a more UK-style approach.


27 January 2015


Glen S. Fukushima, Mami Mizutori

7 May 2015

Diversity and Innovation in Japan and the UK

Dr Yoichi Funabashi , Charles Grant, Sir Hugh Cortazzi (chair)

4 June 2015

Diversity in Education: Alternative Schools

Dr Shinichiro Hori, Henry Readhead

17 June 2015

How Diverse Are We?: Immigration in the UK and Japan

Bill Emmott, Dr Kristin Surak

16 October 2015

Sexual Diversity in the UK and Japan

Kanako Otsuji , Michael King , Stephen Dodd (Chair)