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Examination of the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers

For Long-term Chinese Residents in Japan

In: Journal of Social Innovation and Knowledge
Authors:
Shizhe ZHAO Organization for Education and Student Affairs, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi, Japan

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Miki OZEKI Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan

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Tomoko TANAKA Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan

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Abstract

Previous studies suggested that long-term Chinese residents living in Japan, instead of identifying as Japanese or Chinese, may have a “superordinate orientation” not characterized by nationality. This study developed a scale to measure cultural awareness of border crossers and evaluated its reliability and validity. To confirm the scale’s reliability, we conducted two online surveys of adult Chinese who had lived in Japan for at least three years at the time of the survey. A 45-item scale was created based on the interview results. The same items were used in both surveys. An exploratory factor analysis (maximum likelihood method, promax rotation) was performed on the valid responses to the first survey. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted on the valid responses to the second survey. The results showed that the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers has acceptable reliability and validity.

Introduction

There is a long history of migration of Chinese people across oceans to new lands, where cross-cultural contact occurs between ethnic and host cultures. Acculturation strategy (Berry et al., 1989) is often referred to when studying intercultural adaptation. Berry et al. posited two essential questions: “Is it considered valuable to maintain cultural identity and characteristics?” and “Is it considered valuable to maintain relationships with other groups?” to examine acculturation strategies. Respondents were classified into four cells: integration if they responded positively to both ethnic and host cultures, marginalization if they responded negatively to both, separation if they responded positively only to ethnic culture, and assimilation if they responded positively only to the host culture. Although this two-dimensional evaluation has been considered an improvement of assimilationism, it has been criticized for limiting the perspective to only two cultures. Rudmin and Ahmadzadeh (2001) stated that the fourfold paradigm restricts the universe of cultures to two. Multicultural, cosmopolitan, international, and global ideas can be easily mislabeled as marginalization (Rudmin & Ahmadzadeh, 2001). Therefore, evaluating the awareness that goes beyond two cultures is impossible. For instance, psychological studies of Koreans living in Japan have confirmed the existence of a superordinate orientation, defining themselves by such names as “Freedom”1 (Lee & Tanaka, 2010). The fourfold paradigm of acculturation strategy cannot explain this superordinate orientation.

Furthermore, a transcultural awareness we named “superordinate orientation”2 that transcends two cultures was found among Chinese residents in Japan (Zhao & Tanaka, 2020a; 2020b). However, superordinate orientation is less resistant to cultural categories for these Chinese residents. People with a superordinate orientation view it as having high individual abilities such as English language skills, affinity for other cultures, and tolerance for those who are different (Zhao & Tanaka, 2020a; 2020b). By asking about their cultural awareness towards the two cultures, they maintained their own ethnic culture while accepting the host culture; additionally, they have critical viewpoints towards both cultures (Zhao & Tanaka, 2020a; 2020b). The idea of superordinate orientation and the critical view of acknowledging ethnic and host cultures can be an awareness unique to border crossers who have crossed the border and encountered different cultures.

Cultural awareness, which includes superordinate orientation, has only been partially explored through qualitative research and has not yet been explored using quantitative measures. In this study, we will attempt to scale the cultural awareness of border crossers. The purpose of this study is to verify its validity and reliability. We assume five factors contribute to the cultural awareness of border crossers. The traditional measurements, maintenance of ethnic culture, and acceptance of host culture will be added by critical considerations of both cultures. Also, superordinate orientation is expected to emerge on a different level than how well they maintain ethnic culture or accept host culture. If we follow Berry et al.’s model and evaluate the degree of maintaining ethnic culture by high or low, only one factor for ethnic culture would be generated. The same result will be found when accepting the host culture; only one factor will be generated for the host culture. Moreover, if the marginalization, defined in their model by denying both cultures, can absorb all cultural awareness beyond two cultures, then superordinate orientation would not be generated as an independent factor. This may suggest whether the fourfold paradigm can fully explain cultural awareness or whether there is room to assume other cultural awareness.

As the cultural awareness of border crossers is mainly underexplored, we partially used the Global Citizenship Scale (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2013) as a reference to examine validity. Based on research in the U.S., global citizen identity is viewed as a self-identification with a sense of society on a global scale without regard to nationality. It measures global citizens in three parts: their global citizen identity, cognitive-behavioral characteristics, and whether people around them approve of that identity and their global awareness. Since superordinate orientation has been explained by Chinese residents in Japan as “citizens of the earth”, from the point of regardless of nationality, the Global Citizenship Scale can be used as a reference to examine validity.

Berry et al.’s acculturation strategy model can be employed and expanded by developing a cultural awareness scale for border crossers. Moreover, by adding superordinate orientation to the fourfold paradigm, the overall cultural awareness of border crossers can be measured.

Item Generation

For the item generation, we aimed to develop a broad set of items that would encompass all potential aspects of the cultural awareness of border crossers. As in previous studies, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 Chinese long-term residents in Japan. The results of 10 permanent residents were reported in Zhao & Tanaka (2020a), and the results for nine highly skilled professionals were reported in Zhao & Tanaka (2020b). From these interviews, items were developed to measure the five aspects proposed to make up cultural awareness of border crossers.

When conducting the interviews, the interviewees were first asked about their perceptions of ethnic and host cultures along the two fundamental issues of Berry et al. (1989). Then, they were asked whether they had a superordinate orientation, such as “Freedom”, found in the study of Korean residents in Japan, and if so, what it was like. From their narratives, as explanations for their perception of ethnic culture, “awareness of not abandoning being Chinese” and “awareness of viewing China critically” were exemplified. On the other hand, both “awareness to adopt Japanese culture into daily life” and “a critical view of the host society” were illustrated as explanations for their perception of the host culture. In the current study, considering these results as a deepened comprehension of cultural awareness, we assume both cultures’ objective or relative viewpoints in addition to maintenance and acceptance. In addition, respect and concern for other cultures were also mentioned in the interviews. This inspired us to ask about it as “awareness of transcending borders”.

We searched the raw data of Zhao & Tanaka (2020a, 2020b) for content applicable to the above and created 44 items based on them. In addition, one item from the concept of “Freedom”, “I want to be seen as an individual, and not stereotyped by my nationality,” was added to this original scale.

Method

Participants

Online surveys were conducted with Chinese residents in Japan for at least three years. Although there is no strict definition of how many years of stay can be considered a “long-term resident”, this study set it at three years. This was based on administrative aspects of the possible duration of stay in Japan and the duration of stay often used in cross-cultural adaptation studies targeting international students. Administratively, there are often four possible categories of duration of stay: 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, or 6 months (Immigration Services Agency, 2024). Regarding the duration of stay used in cross-cultural adaptation studies targeting foreign international students in Japan, the first few years of students’ arrival have often received particular attention. As a period of significant change, some studies divided the first several years of stay into less than 1 year, 1-2 years, 2-3 years, and more than 3 years to make comparisons (e.g., Tanaka, 2000; Okunishi & Tanaka, 2011). However, longitudinal studies have only been conducted for up to two years (e.g., Nakano, Tanaka & Okunishi, 2017). In other words, more studies are focusing on changes in a relatively short term. In order to highlight the difference from the international student studies, we set the duration of stay as 3 years or longer.

Online surveys were returned from 399 respondents. In order to ensure that all participants had a similar background—being raised in mainland China and having a chance to encounter both Chinese culture and Japanese culture after moving to Japan—we excluded 29 with student visas, 1 with a trainee visa, 3 under the age of 18, and 1 whose nationality is neither Chinese nor Japanese. 6 people who did not agree to participate in the study and one person who responded inappropriately were also excluded. Three hundred fifty-eight participants were used in the analysis. The second surveys were returned from 185 participants. One hundred twenty-five participants participated in the surveys twice.

Demographic information of participants (N = 358) is shown in Table 1. The mean age was 38.4 years (sd = 10.2), and the average length of stay in Japan was 14.3 years (sd = 8.1). The mean age of arrival in Japan was 24.1 years (sd = 5.9), and 20 participants came to Japan when they were under 18 years old, but none were born in Japan. Chinese nationals accounted for 90.5% of the sample, and 50.3% had permanent resident visas in Japan. 84.1% of the participants had college degrees or higher, 67.9% were married, and 72.1% judged themselves to have advanced Japanese language skills.3

T1

Measures

Participants completed surveys including demographic information, the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers, and the Global Citizenship Scale. The measures are described below.

Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers

A total of 45 items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to agree strongly. The host country’s name is written as ●●, and the instructions are “Please consider applying the name of the country/region you are currently living in (e.g., Japan) to ●●”. All items are shown in Appendix 1.

Global Citizenship Scale

This scale contains three parts: 1) one factor asking whether respondents are aware of their global citizen identity; 2) two factors asking whether people surrounding approve participants as global citizens and whether participants have a global awareness; and 3) six factors asking whether participants have cognitive-behavioral characteristics of global citizenship. Respondents were asked to rate the 20 items above on a 5-point scale ranging from strongly disagree to agree strongly.

Procedures

The Google Form url was distributed via WeChat through the researcher’s acquaintances from November 2022 to February 2023. We promised to maintain strict control of the data and anonymity and explained to the participants their freedom to participate or discontinue the study. Responses were obtained from those who agreed to participate in the study after reading the explanation of the research and ethical considerations. The Ethical Review Committee of Okayama University reviewed the study.

The language used for instruction and responses was Chinese, the native language of the first author and research participants. The “Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers” was created in Japanese, then translated into Chinese by the first author, and checked with one Chinese student majoring in Japanese to draft the Chinese version. The Chinese version was then translated into Japanese through a back-translation procedure by a Chinese-Japanese translator and the first author, who checked the translation and adjusted the expressions. The “Global Citizenship Scale” (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2013) was based on the English version and was translated into Chinese by the first author, who is an English educator, and then translated back into English by one Chinese-English professor majoring in English language and the first author through a back-translation procedure.

Because this study included developing an original scale and examining its reliability and validity, the same participants were asked to respond to the survey twice. The first survey was conducted between November and December 2022, and the second survey was conducted one month later, between December 2022 and January 2023. A reward was a shopping card worth 1,000 yen mailed to those who completed the two surveys.

Analytical Methods

An exploratory factor analysis was conducted in the first survey to examine construct validity and explore the factor structure. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted in the second survey to confirm the stability of the factor structure. Criterion-related validity was explored in the correlations with the Global Citizenship Scale. To examine the reliability, Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for each subscale in the first survey were calculated to confirm internal consistency. spss (Ver. 28) was used for statistical analysis.

Results

Cultural Awareness of Border Crossers

Exploratory Factor Analysis

An exploratory factor analysis was conducted using the data from the first survey (N = 358). The ceiling effect was observed for 16 items, including “Common sense in China is not always the same as in other countries” and “I feel like I can become friends with people I can trust regardless of ethnicity or nationality”. All 45 items were included in the exploratory factor analysis to check the construct of the original scale, which used the maximum likelihood method and Promax rotation. The decay of eigenvalues (14.80→4.52→2.42→1.74→1.53→1.32→1.25→1.01→0.96) indicated that an 8-factor solution was possible, but some items had loadings of less than .40 on all factors. Factor analysis was repeated until all items loaded more than .40. Table 2 shows these items and their factor loadings.

T2

Five factors were generated. Factor Ⅰ consisted of nine items, including “I feel like I can become friends with people I can trust regardless of their ethnicity or nationality” and “I can respect my own country’s culture and values without rejecting the culture and values of other countries”. We named it “Coexistence orientation with other cultures” because it is oriented toward cooperation rather than confrontation, not denying the cultures of other countries and regions while valuing one’s culture and values.

Factor Ⅱ consisted of nine items, including “I am proud to be Chinese” and “I feel connected to my Chinese roots”. This factor was called “Maintaining cognition of original cultural roots” because the standard for thinking and seeing things is based on the Chinese way, and they are proud of being Chinese.

Factor Ⅲ consists of six items, such as “When I interact with others, I can comfortably adapt to the way people socialize with each other in ●●” and “I can comfortably adapt my behavior to match the customs of ●●”. Because it consists of items that help one adjust to the host culture and understand the host member’s way of thinking, it is named “Adjusting to the host culture”.

Factor Ⅳ consists of six items, including “I realized that there are disadvantages to the way things are normally done in China” and “I have started to reconsider my feelings about things that people in mainland China consider normal”. It is named “Viewing the original culture objectively” since it involves questioning social phenomena in China and recognizing shortcomings in the home country.

Factor Ⅴ consists of four items, including “I think there are bad sides to ●●” and “I can talk about the good points of ●●”. It was named “Relativizing the host culture” because of its perspective of evaluating Japanese society critically.

The reliability coefficients for the five subscales above were calculated and were high enough for analysis. (“Coexistence orientation with other cultures” M = 4.36, sd = .58, α = .93; “Maintaining cognition of original cultural roots” M = 3.92, sd = .64, α = .86; “Adjusting to the host culture” M = 3. 92, sd = .67, α = .88; “Viewing the original culture objectively” M = 3.77, sd = .69, α = .81; “Relativizing the host culture” M = 4.15, sd = .62, α = .89).

Confirmatory Factor Analysis

To determine the goodness of fit of the five-factor structure of the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers, a confirmatory factor analysis was performed using spss Amos 28. It was conducted using data from the second survey (N = 185). The goodness of fit index was χ2 (484) = 1087.92, gfi = .85, agfi = .81, tli = .90, nfi = .86, cfi = .92, and rmsea = .06, confirming a five-factor structure similar to that obtained in the first survey.

Correlations Between Cultural Awareness of Border Crossers and Global Citizenship

Using the first survey’s results (N = 358), correlation analysis with the five factors of the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers and nine factors of the Global Citizenship Scale (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2013) were calculated. Descriptive statistics and reliability coefficients for each factor and correlation coefficients between subscales are shown in Table 3.

T3

Significant positive correlations were found between the five factors of the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers and antecedents (“Normative environment” and “Global awareness”), except for the lack of significant correlation between “Maintaining cognition of original cultural roots” and “Normative environment”. Of the five factors of the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers, only one factor, “Viewing the original culture objectively,” showed a significantly weak positive correlation with “Global citizenship identification”. Among the five factors of the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers and the six factors of prosocial values, a cognitive-behavioral characteristic of global citizenship identity, all combinations had significant positive correlations except for the lack of significant correlation between “Maintaining cognition of original cultural roots” and “Intergroup empathy”.

Discussions

This study aimed to develop and validate a scale to measure the cultural awareness of border crossers.

Construct Validity of Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers

An exploratory factor analysis was conducted using the first survey’s results; five factors were generated, the cumulative contribution of the five factors being 54.72%. The assumed structure of the five factors was corroborated and showed structural validity.

Berry et al. (1989) defined the acculturation strategy only in terms of the degree of maintaining ethnic culture and the degree of accepting host culture. However, the results of this study indicate that, apart from maintaining and accepting both ethnic culture and host culture, a critical viewpoint towards two cultures develops among border crossers. Furthermore, a new cultural awareness was confirmed, one that is neither closed into their ethnic culture nor assimilated into the host culture but is willing to coexist with other cultures. It is not appropriate to equate this awareness with marginalization (Berry et al.,1989): those who both maintain less of their ethnic culture and accept the host culture less.

The “Coexistence orientation with other cultures” suggests that for long-term Chinese residents living in Japan, a cultural view that transcends the two cultures focuses on respecting the culture of others with whom they interact. However, it does not include ideas such as the desire to experience and understand various cultures worldwide. It seems they place importance on having personal interactions.

Among Korean residents living in Japan, some people preferred to use “me” or “I” to describe themselves in order not to be restricted to “Korean” and “Japanese”. This study also asked whether they would like to be seen as individuals, but that item was not retained. Individual-based deculture awareness, a type of superordinate orientation in which one place’s importance on oneself rather than on a more global scale, was rare among Chinese residents.

A confirmatory factor analysis confirmed a five-factor structure, the same as the first survey result. Since the fit of the factor structure model to the data showed statistical acceptability, it can be said that there is construct validity in terms of the factor structure.

The correlations between the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers and the Global Citizenship Scale (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2013) were examined to explore the relationship between cultural awareness of border crossers and global citizenship. Among the five factors, “Coexistence orientation with other cultures” shows many significant positive correlations with the factors of the Global Citizenship Scale. For this part, the result supports the criterion-related validity. The correlations between the other four factors and global citizenship require further investigation, as there were some areas where no significant correlations were found.

Reliability of Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers

The alpha coefficients for the Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers subscale were sufficiently high, indicating that the scale has sufficient internal consistency.

Limitations and Future Directions

In this study, we developed a scale to measure the cultural awareness of Chinese border crossers and tested its validity and reliability. The limitations of this study should be noted, along with possible future directions.

The first consideration should be to refine the question items. The participants were asked whether they have an affiliative view of other cultures or affiliative attitudes when interacting with cultural others as their views on superordinate orientation. However, they were not asked about their abilities and qualities for acting globally. We want to add items that reflect abilities leading to global competence, such as English skills (Zhao & Tanaka, 2020b).

Secondly, since the current study is exploratory, a more detailed examination of the differences from “Freedom” is needed. Although the host society, Japan, is the same, it may be necessary to examine the relationship between the way each ethnic group stays in a foreign country and the cultural attitudes they have towards that culture.

Lastly, the number of interviewees we used as the basis for this study was limited, and only permanent residents and highly skilled professionals were interviewed. In the future, we would like to broaden the interviewees’ demographics to obtain further perspectives. We will also measure the cultural awareness of Chinese original border crossers in other countries and regions.

Acknowledgment

This study was supported by KAKENHI (No. 21K00613) via a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

References

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Appendix 1. Cultural Awareness Scale for Border Crossers

  1. 1.I feel like I am Chinese regardless of where I am in the world.
  2. 2.I feel connected to my Chinese roots.
  3. 3.I see the world from a Chinese perspective.
  4. 4.I think my values and thinking about things are based on Chinese culture.
  5. 5.During international sporting competitions, I support Chinese teams.
  6. 6.Regardless of location, I am always happy to hear that Chinese people are succeeding in the world.
  7. 7.I have wanted to be in China for the last few years.
  8. 8.I am proud to be Chinese.
  9. 9.I am sad that traditional values are disappearing in mainland China.
  10. 10.I want to contribute to improving people’s lives in mainland China.
  11. 11.After I went to another country, I noticed things I wanted to improve in China.
  12. 12.I realized there are disadvantages to how things are usually done in China.
  13. 13.Common sense in China is not always the same as in other countries.
  14. 14.I have started to reconsider my feelings about things that people in mainland China consider normal.
  15. 15.I think China could learn from the ways of thinking and doing things in ●●.
  16. 16.It is too competitive in all aspects of life in China.
  17. 17.Trying to keep up with the competition in China is a struggle.
  18. 18.I understand the standard way of thinking about things in ●●.
  19. 19.I understand what is considered polite behavior in public places in ●●.
  20. 20.I decided whether the behavior was acceptable based on etiquette in ●● rather than etiquette from China.
  21. 21.I can explain the differences between customs in China and ●●.
  22. 22.People from ●● years old do not always understand Chinese ways of thinking.
  23. 23.When I interact with others, I can comfortably adapt to how people socialize in ●●.
  24. 24.I can comfortably adapt my behavior to match the customs of ●●.
  25. 25.I think there are wrong sides to ●●.
  26. 26.I can talk about the good points of ●●.
  27. 27.I think that ●●’s society is nice.
  28. 28.Sometimes, I want to point out better ways of doing things to people in ●●.
  29. 29.I do not like having ●●’s values imposed on me.
  30. 30.I learned that not all people in ●● match my image of ●●’s people.
  31. 31.I think that differences between ethnicities are not significant.
  32. 32.I want to live without worrying about where I am from.
  33. 33.I want to live my life without thinking about national borders.
  34. 34.I do not think that the world needs borders between countries.
  35. 35.I want to be seen as an individual and not stereotyped by nationality.
  36. 36.I want to experience and understand cultures from various countries around the world.
  37. 37.I want to learn about how different people think in various countries.
  38. 38.People should overcome cultural differences and work to solve problems.
  39. 39.All countries have both good and bad points.
  40. 40.I respect the culture of other countries or regions, regardless of differences from Chinese culture.
  41. 41.If two people come from different cultures, I do not think it is okay to disregard either of the cultures completely.
  42. 42.I can become friends with people I trust regardless of ethnicity or nationality.
  43. 43.Just because people come from different countries, it does not need to result in conflict.
  44. 44.I can respect my own country’s culture and values without rejecting the culture and values of other countries.
  45. 45.As people who live on the same earth and are affected by the same global issues, we should all work together and cooperate.

1

“Freedom” was defined among Korean residents in Japan as one who was not bound to a fixed ethnic or host identity, whereby individuals perceive themselves as individuals or residents of Earth, without national boundaries (Lee &Tanaka, 2017). The “Freedom” of Korean residents in Japan was thought to be based on resistance to existing categories such as Korea or Japan. This decategorizing idea comes from the discriminatory environment of society (Lee & Tanaka, 2010).

2

We defined “superordinate orientation” as the orientation of those who do not insist on their ethnic culture and host culture but define themselves by names such as “citizens of the earth” which means transcending national or cultural differences and belonging to a larger unit (Zhao & Tanaka, 2020a; 2020b).

3

The mean age of participants who participated in both surveys (N = 125) was 40.0 years (sd = 11.4), and the average length of stay in Japan was 15.3 years (sd = 9.2). The mean age of arrival in Japan was 24.5 years (sd = 5.5), and 15 participants came to Japan when they were under 18 years old, but none were born in Japan. Chinese nationals accounted for 87.2% of the sample, and 50.5% of them had permanent resident visas in Japan. 89.6% had college degrees or higher, 74.4% were married, and 74.4% judged themselves to have advaned Japanese language skills.

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