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Belonging in TranslationSolidarity and Migrant Activism in Japan$
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Reiko Shindo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529201871

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529201871.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Silence and the Image of Helplessness: The Challenge of Tozen Union

Silence and the Image of Helplessness: The Challenge of Tozen Union

(p.53) 3 Silence and the Image of Helplessness: The Challenge of Tozen Union
Belonging in Translation

Reiko Shindo

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on the Nambu Foreign Workers Caucus (FWC), the migrant workers' branch of the trade union, National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu (hereafter referred to as Nambu), and largely led by English-speaking migrants. It traces the events where the FWC split from Nambu, a trade union largely composed of Japanese-speaking members, to form a new union called Tozen. At the heart of the split was the question of silence. Many Nambu FWC members were troubled not only because they had been silenced by Japanese union members for their inability to speak Japanese, but also because their silence was linked to a sign of powerlessness. They were regarded as helpless victims, unable to act and speak on their own. By looking at Tozen's activities, the chapter also investigates how the union, driven by the need to make noncitizens audible, handles linguistic diversity among its members.

Keywords:   Nambu Foreign Workers Caucus, migrant workers, trade union, Tozen, Japanese union members, English-speaking migrants, Japanese language, silence, powerlessness, linguistic diversity

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