Japanese Community

There were over  14,000 Japanese residents in New Zealand in 2013.

The Japanese ethnic group comprised 14,118 people or less than 1 percent of people that stated an ethnic group living in New Zealand on 5 March 2013.

Short-term residents – often company representatives or those associated with tourism – tended to group together, retaining their customs and language. Longer-term residents, mainly professionals, have integrated more actively. In many ways their outlook mirrors that of their American and European counterparts. But some also maintain cultural practices such as the tea ceremony. In the 2000s a typical family would shop for shiitake mushrooms, seaweed and other authentic ingredients, for a diet that was about half Japanese. The Japanese community contributes job skills, financial investment and cultural activities, including popular ‘ Japan days’. Martial arts clubs abound. Karaoke bars first appeared in the late 1980s, followed by a variety of outlets selling Japanese food and merchandise.

The New Zealand census figures listed here show the number of residents born in Japan .

• 1921 census: 40
• 1951 census: 47
• 1976 census: 1,173
• 2001 census: 8,622
• 2006 census: 9,573

For people identifying with the Japanese ethnic group living in New Zealand on 5 March 2013:

  • The most common region this group lived in was Auckland Region (47.6 percent or 6,720 people).
  • The median age (half are younger and half are older than this age) was 29.4 years.
  • 28.1 percent (3,930 people) were born in New Zealand and 71.9 percent (10,059 people) were born overseas.
  • 91.7 percent (8,661 people) aged 15 years and over had a formal qualification.

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