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The Japanese in the United Kingdom include British citizens or permanent residents of Japanese birth, ancestry or citizenship as well as expatriate business professionals and their dependents on limited term employment visas, students, trainees and young people participating in the UK government sponsored Youth Mobility Scheme.

Japanese community in the UK
Total population
UK residents born in Japan
43,000 (2015 ONS estimate)
Japanese nationals residing in the UK
67,258 (2014 MOFA estimate)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Greater London and South East England
Japanese and British English
Mahayana Buddhism, Shinto, Protestantism, Confucianism, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Anglicanism


An advertisement for the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition which aimed to create greater awareness of the Japanese community in the UK as well as Japanese culture in general

History and settlementEdit

Settlement first began in the late 19th century with the arrival of Japanese professionals, students and their servants. 264 citizens of Japan resided in Britain in 1884, the majority of whom identifying as officials and students.[2] Employment diversified in the early 1900s with the growth of the Japanese community, which exceeded five hundred people by the close of the first decade of the 20th century.[2]

As tensions escalated between Japan and the United Kingdom in the buildup to World War II, some Japanese left their home country to settle in Britain while many more repatriated to Japan. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and assault on Hong Kong in December 1941, 114 Japanese men including expatiate businessmen and merchant seamen were placed in internment camps on the Isle of Man.[3]

In the post war era, new waves of immigration emerged in the 1960s, mainly for business and economic purposes. In recent decades this number has grown; including immigrants, students, and businessmen. Parts of the United Kingdom, in particular London, have significant Japanese populations, such as Golders Green and East Finchley in North London. In 2014 the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated that there were 67,258 Japanese nationals resident in the United Kingdom[1] For British nationals of Japanese heritage, unlike other Nikkei communities elsewhere in the world, these Britons do not conventionally parse their communities in generational terms as Issei, Nisei, or Sansei.[4]


The first Japanese students in the United Kingdom arrived in the nineteenth century, sent to study at University College London by the Chōshū and Satsuma domains, then the Bakufu (Shogunate). Later many studied at Cambridge University and a smaller number at Oxford University until the end of the Meiji era. The reason for sending them was to catch up with the West by modernizing Japan. Since the 1980s, Japanese students in the United Kingdom have become common thanks to cheaper air travel.


According to the 2001 UK Census, 37,535 Japanese born people were residing in the UK,[5] whilst the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates that 50,864 Japanese nationals were calling the UK home in 2002.[6] In the 2011 Census, 35,313 people in England specified their country of birth as Japan, 601 in Wales,[7] 1,273 in Scotland[8] and 144 in Northern Ireland.[9] 35,043 people living in England and Wales chose to write in Japanese in response to the ethnicity question,[10] 1,245 in Scotland,[11] and 90 in Northern Ireland.[12] The Office for National Statistics estimates that, in 2015, 43,000 people born in Japan were resident in the UK.[13]

Japanese is the primary language of Japan, and the 2011 Census found that 27,764 people in England and Wales spoke Japanese as their main language, 27,305 of them in England alone, and 17,050 in London alone.[14] The 2011 Census also found that 83 people in Northern Ireland spoke Japanese as their main language.[15]


The Japan Society and Japan Foundation support cultural programmes about Japanese culture.[16]

Notable individualsEdit

Below is a list of notable British people of Japanese heritage. Temporary individuals and expatriates are not included and can be found at Category:Japanese expatriates in the United Kingdom.

British citizens born in the UK of Japanese ancestry

United Kingdom citizens and residents born in Japan

Foreign-born residents of the UK of Japanese ancestry


Primary and secondary schoolsEdit

Many state and independent schools in the United Kingdom serve Japanese children. As of 2013 about 10-20%[citation needed] of Japanese school-age residents in the United Kingdom attend full-time Japanese curriculum based international schools. These schools include the Japanese School in London, and the boarding schools Rikkyo School in England and Teikyo School United Kingdom.[19]

The Shi-Tennoji School in Suffolk was in operation from 1985 to its date of closing,[20] 17 July 2000.[21] The Gyosei International School UK in Milton Keynes closed in 2002, after 15 years of operation.[22]

Post-secondary educationEdit

Locations of day schools (nihonjin gakko and shiritsu zaigai kyoiku shisetsu) in England (grey dots represent closed schools)

The Teikyo school maintains Teikyo University of Japan in Durham at the Lafcadio Hearn Cultural Centre at the University of Durham.[19]

A boarding college in Winchester, Hampshire, the Winchester Shoei College at the University of Winchester (formerly Shoei Centre at King Alfred's College), is an affiliate of the Shoei Gakuin. It opened in 1982.[23][24]

Gyosei International College in the U.K. opened in 1989 in Reading, Berkshire on land formerly controlled by the University of Reading and its name later changed to the Witan International College. In 2004 the University of Reading announced that it took control of the Witan college.[25]

Supplementary educationEdit

Locations of supplementary schools (hoshū jugyō kō) in the United Kingdom

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has eight Saturday Japanese supplementary schools in operation. As of 2013, 2,392 Japanese children in Canterbury, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh (school is in Livingston), Leeds, London, Manchester (school is in Lymm), Sunderland (school is in Oxclose), and Telford attend these schools.[19][26]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Japan-United Kingdom Foreign Relations". Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b Itoh (2001), p1
  3. ^ Itoh, Keiko (2003). The Japanese Community in Pre-War Britain. London: Routledge. p. 185. ISBN 9781136856914.
  4. ^ Itoh, p. 7.
  5. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2008-12-08. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "Japan-UK relations". Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. October 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  7. ^ "2011 Census: Country of birth (expanded), regions in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Country of Birth – Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  10. ^ "2011 Census: Ethnic Group". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Scotland's Census 2011 - National Records of Scotland - Ethnic group (detailed)". Scottish Government. 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Ethnic Group - Full Detail_QS201NI". Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service. 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by sex, by country of birth, January 2015 to December 2015". Office for National Statistics. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
  14. ^ "2011 Census: Main language (detailed)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Main Language - Full Detail_QS210NI". Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service. 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  16. ^ Langdale, Georgina (July 2001). "MATSURI IN THE U.K." Look Japan. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  17. ^ Tempest, Matthew (3 September 2001). "Duncan Smith's secret samurai past". The Guardian.
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b c Conte-Helm, p. 74.
  20. ^ McNeill, Phil. "Shrine of the times." (Archive) The Telegraph. 22 July 2007. Retrieved on 8 January 2014.
  21. ^ "Establishment: Shi-Tennoji School." (Archive) Department for Education. Retrieved on 8 January 2014. "Shi-Tennoji School Herringswell Bury St Edmund's Suffolk IP28 6SW"
  22. ^ "Sayonara!." (Archive) Milton Keynes Citizen. 17 January 2002. Retrieved on 8 January 2014.
  23. ^ Pearse, Bowen and Chris McCooey. Companion to Japanese Britain and Ireland. In Print (company), 1991. ISBN 187304710X, 9781873047101. "WINCHESTER (90) Shoei Centre (at King Alfred's College), Winchester, Hampshire In 1982, four years short of its centenary, Tokyo's Shoei Christian College for Girls opened a boarding college in Winchester. The new Japanese centre[...]"
  24. ^ Directory of Japanese-Affiliated Companies in the E. C., 1991-1992 (Google Books name: DIR JAPAN AFFIL COS EC 91-92). Taylor & Francis, 1 January 1992. p. 205. "Winchester Shoei College (Shoei Joshigakuin - Tokyo) 9, Chilbolton Court, Sarum Road, Winchester, Hants, S022 5HF"
  25. ^ "The University of Reading and Witan International College." (Archive) University of Reading. 6 August 2004. Retrieved on 9 January 2014.
  26. ^ "欧州の補習授業校一覧(平成25年4月15日現在)" (Archive). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Retrieved on May 10, 2014.
  27. ^ "ダービー日本人補習校 (Derby Japanese School)." Derby Japanese School. Retrieved on February 14, 2015. "c/o Derby College Broomfield Hall, Morley Ilkeston, Derby DE7 6DN UK"
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Contact." Kent Japanese School. Retrieved on January 11, 2018. "Classes are held from 10:00 to 12:30 every Saturday in Canterbury."
  30. ^ "Home." Kent Japanese School. Retrieved on January 11, 2018.
  31. ^ "Contact Us." Manchester Japanese School. Retrieved on February 15, 2015. "Oughtrington Lane, Lymm, Cheshire, WA13 0RB, UK (Language Centre at Lymm High School)"
  32. ^ "How to Find Us." Yorkshire and Humberside Japanese School. Retrieved on February 15, 2015.
  33. ^ "概要" (Archive). The Scotland Japanese School. Retrieved on February 15, 2015. "1982年5月 三菱電機、日本電気、ダイワスポーツが中心となり、SDA(現在のSDI、スコットランド国際開発庁)の協力を得て、エジンバラ市のGraigmount High Schoolの教室を借り、生徒数11名、教師3名の複合3クラスでスタートし、その後2003年4月 に上記の所在地に移転、現在に至っています。"
  34. ^ "Home." Telford Japanese School. Retrieved on February 15, 2015. "c/o Lakeside Academy, Stirchley, Telford, Shropshire TF3 1FA"
  35. ^ "所在地." North East of England Japanese Saturday School. Retrieved on February 15, 2015. "C/O Oxclose Community School, Dilston, Close, Oxclose, Washington, Tyne and Wear, NE38 0LN"


External linksEdit