Pivotal Factors in the Acculturation of the Second-Generation Marshallese Immigrants to the United States
Mikiyasu Nakayama*,, Junko Toyoshima**, and Nagisa Shiiba**
*Global Infrastructure Fund Research Foundation Japan
Roppongi T-Cube 14F, 3-1-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
**The Ocean Policy Research Institute, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Tokyo, Japan
Climate-induced emigration from the Pacific Island countries to the United States is expected to increase as the island nations experience sea level rise. Since 1986, approximately 30,000 nationals from the Marshall Islands have immigrated to the United States. Hawaii has been a common destination for Marshallese immigrants over the past 30 years. However, Marshallese immigrants have not been fully acculturated to the United States. This has resulted in problems such as lower attendance rates at schools and work. In this study, we compared Marshallese immigrants’ characteristics with those of second-generation Japanese immigrants to the United States from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, on the basis of the latter’s documented adaptation to American society and establishment of a positive social status. We identified differences between Marshallese immigrants to Hawaii (from the late 1980s to the present) and Japanese immigrants to Hawaii (from the 1880s to the 1920s). This comparision is made from the viewpoint of second-generation immigrants’ self identification while considering first-generation immigrants parenting of their children inculcating national and cultural identity. A comparison was made to identify the similarity and dissimilarity between the two second-generation groups, in order to identify the factors that made their acculturation to American society either a success or failure. It was found that the manner in which first-generation immigrants regard the cultural identity of the second generation greatly influences the acculturation of second-generation immigrants.
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