JSS  Vol.9 No.9 , September 2021
Problems That Double-Minority People Face in the Workplace and the Problem-Solving Process —Using the Examples of People Who Are LGBT and Non-Japanese
Abstract: In this study, non-Japanese and LGBT people who are (or were) working in Japan were interviewed about the problems they face in finding or changing jobs and how they solve these problems. The interviews were recorded and analyzed using a qualitative analysis method named M-GTA with the consent of a total of 12 participants. As a result, four categories were discovered as the causes of problems and the criteria for solving them: “Standards for handling interpersonal relationships in the workplace”, “Way to utilize the unique nature of double minorities”, “Methods to deal with the external environment of the workplace” and “Diverse ways of being in an organization as an individual”. In addition, it was found that there are a total of nine processes for double-minority people in finding a job in Japan or working for a Japanese company, divided into three periods from problem occurrence to problem resolution: before joining a company (before coming to Japan), after joining a company, and after changing jobs (after returning to Hometown). In the future, it could be expected to start research focusing on transgender people to make the problem-solving process more accurate.

1. Introduction

As an effective management method, diversity management is used in Japanese company. Taniguchi (2008) pointed out that many people misunderstand the meaning of diversity management. Still many people think the diversity only means differences in gender, skin color, age, etc. Harrison et al. (1998) stated that there are two types of diversity dimensions: superficial and deep. We defined the visible differences as superficial and the invisible differences as deep. Diversity efforts in Japan began with the Equal Employment Opportunity Law for Men and Women but have been limited to superficial and outward spreads such as women and foreigners. Actually, income differences, social status, nationality, and personality are also dimensioning of diversity and they are called deep dimension of diversity. There are several researches about diversity in Japanese company only focus on one dimension of diversity. For example, Moriya (2017) claimed that there are a lot of troubles at the hiring stage in small and medium sized company. Because most of the international students want to be a large company, and small and medium sized companies do not have much experience in renewing international students’ status of residence compared to a large company. Also, Arimura (2014) analyzed whether diversity management and employment of people with disabilities are consistent. As a result, it proved to be consistent with diversity management and employment of people with disabilities, and it is expected that employment of people with disabilities will be further utilized. However, it could be found that many different diversity dimensions in one person. Oikawa (2019) reported the person who was born with a kind of disability named hearing-loss. Furth more, the person realized that his sexual orientation is same gender and when he was 20 years old, he did the sex reassignment surgery. Hirata (2018) reported that there are some women live in Hokkaido and born as an ethnic minority named Ainu. They often must face to discrimination, poverty, and domestic violence. Hirata (2018) defined that the people belong to a social group which is comparatively easy to be discriminated, and comparatively easily to be blamed by other people, then those people are called “double minority”. Although there are many minorities, author decided to focus on LGBT and foreigners for this research. In addition, based on the working conditions in Japan, this study focused on the aspect of job hunting on double minorities such as LGBT and foreigners. The purpose of this analysis of the double minorities is to clarify what problems they face in their job-hunting and job performance, and what processes they use to solve these problems when they are facing those problems.

2. Difficulties Faced by LGBT People in the Aspect of Working.

LGBT has become a common sense compared to the past. However, many people still cannot distinguish what is different between them. So many previous research defined what LGBT is. Watanabe (2019) stated that LGBT is an English acronym made by L (Lesbian) for female homosexuals, G (Gay) for male homosexuals, B (Bisexual) for bisexuals, both male and female, and T (Transgender) for people who were not recognized as their biological sex at birth and who identify as a different sex, express their sexuality differently, and the term was coined from the English acronym. In Japanese company, it is still a difficult environment to LGBT people to choose to open their sexual orientations to other co-workers. According to Yoshinaka et al. (2015), the results of a survey on disgust toward sexual minorities among co-workers, it’s showed that one out of three employees will show disgust if a sexual minority is present among their co-workers. Furthermore, the percentage of disgust shown by managers in their 60 s and 70 s is 80% for homosexuality and 90% for gender variant people. The level of tolerance among managers is poor, and the workplace does not provide a friendly atmosphere for LGBT people. In this way, coming out in the workplace is likely to be unacceptable to colleagues. Suzuki and Ikegami (2020) conducted a study on attitudinal acceptance of coming out and found that male heterosexuals’ intention to interact with their best friends decreased after coming out, regardless of whether they were in love or not. Furthermore, it was confirmed that social infection anxiety1 and sexual identity anxiety were aroused by coming out from the best friend. That means if the male workers are majority in the workplace, it’s harder to expose sexual orientation to co-workers. Niki (2015), in an analysis of cases in a workplace environment questionnaire on LGBT reported in 2014, cites examples of discriminatory language such as “I was asked if I was a man or a woman? (Male or female?)” “I was told to be a man or a woman”, and “I was told that homosexuality is disgusting”. According to the LGBT Law Coalition (2016), there were experiences at work where people were forced to change jobs without being eligible for promotion if it was discovered that they were “gay”. Or there were people who were unable to refuse invitations to brothels because they were not discovered to be gay. Thus, in the workplace, LGBT people are not understood and are sometimes discriminated against.

3. Difficulties Faced by Foreigners in the Aspect of Working

Like LGBT people, foreign students or employees also face many difficulties in the workplace and job hunting. Tsunemi (2015) found that the hiring standards of Japanese companies are unclear, and the reasons for not being hired are unknown, and it’s hard for international students to balance their studies by not being hired. Kadoma et al. (2019) also found that when international students receive more rejection notices, they feel more isolated and can be mentally trapped. The above shows that international students are mentally damaged by the rejection of their jobs, making it difficult for them to balance their studies. Furthermore, Kadoma et al. (2019) pointed out that there are four things that international students find difficult when looking for a job: time management, Japanese language, listening skills, and stress. Listening skills means international students should get more feedback than Japanese students and make more effort than other Japanese students to understand the flow of job hunting beforehand. In addition to the causes mentioned above, cultural differences can also be cited as a difficulty for international students. Jin (2020) analyzed the pass/fail of Chinese students’ entry sheets and found that while there was no relationship to language skills, such as grammar, etc., there was a difference in terms of rationale and concreteness. Even though it is in Japanese, the content that resonates with the interviewer becomes more important when the selection process is flat and consists of a series of letters. According to the results of the “Survey on Employment and Retention of International Students” conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (2015), “Insufficient Japanese language skills” was the most common reason of improvement sought by Japanese companies for international students at 38.9%, followed by “Insufficient understanding of how to work at Japanese companies” at 36.9%. Yamamoto (2018) also points out that there is a current situation of “misunderstanding” between companies that expect a deeper understanding of employment in Japan itself in addition to familiarity with Japanese culture, and international students who find it not only difficult to understand the Japanese language but also the job-hunting system itself. Besides international students’ problem, some Japanese companies are resistance to hiring international students. Sugimoto and HA (2020) conducted a survey of companies in Niigata Prefecture and found that local companies have no plans to expand overseas and do not feel the need to hire foreign employees. The majority of respondents (50.7%) said that they do not feel the need to hire foreign employees. The thinking on foreign employees is still limited to developing overseas business. This suggests that they are not being treated in the same way as Japanese employees. Furthermore, in addition to Japanese language skills and specialized knowledge, foreign language skills and knowledge of the structure of Japanese companies are also required of foreign employees. The difficulty for international students not only come from themselves’ ability, but also come from Japanese company side. In recent years, more than 60% of international students enrolled in Japanese universities want to find a job in Japan (JASSO, various years’ editions). Furthermore, the number of foreign employees in Japan has been increasing in recent years. It is necessary to help them to find an appropriate job and identify what they really feel difficult in their job hunting.

4. Research Questions

LGBT and non-Japanese labors face numerous difficulties as the aspect of diversity management, but companies often mentioning the importance of their efforts, focusing only on one or the other. Nako (2020) summarized the evolution of diversity management, which began in the United States in 1964. At first, it influenced employment policies for racial and other minorities and women, and later affirmative action and equal employment opportunity laws also promoted diversity strategies. Furthermore, since the 1980s, the shift has been from “it’s great that we are all the same” to “each one of us is special and the particularity of it is a source of greatness. At the same time, the definition of diversity has also changed, evolving into more and more dimensions, merging all the dimensions of attributes that an individual possesses. As a result, it is possible to see that there are some diversities that are essentially stand-alone diversities. From a business administration perspective, it is very meaningful for companies to implement LGBT initiatives. Kawashima (2020) said that the area of research on SOGI2 is a venture-like existence, which leads to the discovery of new ideas and values. Kawashima (2020) also stated that the idea is to develop an environment where individuality and diverse abilities can be demonstrated from the perspective of fostering human resources who can demonstrate their abilities, such as LGBT, etc. In business, ensuring diversity is a source of competitiveness for companies. Morinaga (2018) also stated why companies need diversity: the spread of the Internet since the 1990s has led to rapid globalization. Human resources, which are labor resources, have become more diverse. The products that companies offer are also becoming more globalized, and the value that they offer must be diversified. As the need for innovation that can respond to these changes increases, organizations that are rich in diversity and can see change as an opportunity are the ones that can innovate. The key to success is to fuse different subjectivities in a heterogeneous manner, without homogenizing the “people” who make up the organization. Back to LGBT people, they work in the company, as a risk-management, the company should and must do this management for them.

On the other hand, as an important aspect of diversity, international or foreigner employees also should be paid enough attention to. According to a survey by the Japan Student Services Organization (2018), the percentage of international students who graduated in 2016 who wanted to work for Japanese companies exceeded 60%. That means international students will become foreigner employees after they graduated from the university if they choose work in Japan. There are many studies on employment analysis and employment support for foreign nationals or international students. For example, Dai (2020) conducted a study on the behavior of foreign-born high-level personnel in Japan in choosing their working place of employment and the influencing factors. They found that the percentage of foreign nationals in the total regional population had a significant systematic effect, while regional income standards and average wages had no effect. In addition, Ogawa et al. (2018) argued that international students come from different cultural backgrounds, they may have different ideas about what role they should play in Japanese society as they become adults. Ogawa et al. (2018) also pointed out that from this perspective, it is important to inform the parents what kind of companies their children are working in. Furthermore, Lee (2019) discussed personal role consciousness when making employment decisions through an interview with a university senior international student who comes from South Korean. The results showed that before becoming a foreign employee from a foreign student, there is a factor that influences interpersonal relationships: position for the family. In this way, there are research results that focus on either LGBT people or foreigners, but it is hard to find research that focuses on both in terms of business administration.

This study will conduct semi-structured interviews with people who are (or were) both LGBT people and foreign students in Japan. The author conducted an interview to find out what difficulties they faced during their job search or at work, and how they overcame them. Considering the process of change in thinking, the following research questions were formulated.

1) What difficulties did they face in job hunting or while working?

2) What aspects influence decisions when they looking for solutions to solve a problem?

3) What kind of process do double-minority (LGBT and non-Japanese) people use to solve problems which they face in Japan when they were doing job hunting or working in a Japanese company?

5. Methods & Research Targets

This study used the modified Grounded Theory Approach (M-GTA) proposed by Kinoshita (2007) as the analytical method. There are four types of Grounded Theory Approach, the most important of which is the original version presented by Strauss & Corbin (1967). GTA is a method of analysis that is particularly appropriate for research in human services, where people can achieve or fail to achieve certain goals due to the interaction of internal or external factors in society, and where processes exist. In the human service field, it is universal that many phenomena have processes, and it seems to be easy to achieve goals. Furthermore, compared to the original version, M-GTA is more about the generation of concepts directly from the interpretation of data in the analysis. Another difference is that M-GTA does not intercept the data; the emphasis of M-GTA is to analyze the data based on the researcher’s awareness of the problem. The M-GTA emphasizes analyzing the data based on the researcher’s awareness of the problem, carefully analyzing the human behavior and consciousness reflected in the data, as well as the factors and conditions that constitute them. Based on those reasons, this study adopted the qualitative analysis method of M-GTA. Furthermore, since this research involves human subjects, the ethical review was passed under strict review by the Ethical Review Committee for Human Subjects at Ritsumeikan University as “Kinugasa-Human-2021-3” issue.

The research participants for this study are foreign workers in Japan. All of them have the attribute of double minority and are non-Japanese nationals as well as LGBT people. Face-to-face or online interviews with a total of 10 participants between June 2021 and August 2021 with their consent. The interviews were recorded, and the data were processed and organized using M-GTA analysis. The personal information of the interviewees, such as age and sexual orientation, is shown in Table 1. Since the information is extremely private, pseudonyms and age groups were used to avoid identification.

6. Results

A total of 12 people were interviewed for this study using M-GTA. Based on all

Table 1. Participants’ basic Information.

aName is pseudonyms.

6.1. Standards for Handling Interpersonal Relationships in the Workplace

There are three concepts that make up this category: C13: the effect of camaraderie based on “inside and outside”, C2: communication with Japanese people, and C3: reactions to direct LGBT-related questions in the workplace.

C1: The effect of camaraderie based on “inside and outside”

The concept of “inside and outside” is known to be a part of many Japanese cultures, and in fact, this division can be seen among “double minorities” such as foreign nationality and LGBT people with different sexual orientations. Murata (2020) analyzed the boundary consciousness transformation of foreign national technical intern trainees and found that they recognized employees as “Japanese” and “technical intern trainee” in the workplace, and that they were originally transformed from the member of trainees to the consciousness of a “cushion” of “Japanese” and “trainees”. Likewise, it was thought that the “double minority” people also recognized that they were from outside the country due to their foreign nationality, based on such statements as the loneliness they felt when they spent a major holiday in their home country in a foreign land.

The LGBT community is divided into those who are LGBT and those who do not come out to the public unless they are also LGBT. There is also a line between trustworthy and untrustworthy friendships, and people will only disclose themselves if they have a certain level of relationship or if they feel they will not be ostracized if they come out.

C2: Communicating with Japanese people

All participants mentioned communication with Japanese people. All participants also seem to have difficulty in communicating with Japanese people. Due to cultural differences, it is unclear how to communicate with them. Kusumoto (2018) discussed communication between Japanese and Chinese people in the workplace and found that communication problems occur due to language issues and non-language issues caused by differences in consciousness. Some participants claimed that even if they had partied at home or visited each other regularly, they could not say that they got along with each other. Even if they wanted to communicate with Japanese, they would have to give up communication due to the language barrier described below. In addition, the LGBT status makes it even more difficult to relate to Japanese LGBT people, making it difficult to communicate with Japanese people who are usually involved, but even more difficult to relate to Japanese people who are LGBT. In addition, due to the unique way Japanese people interact with others, “double minority” people often stop communicating with Japanese people from the start rather than thinking about how they can communicate with them.

C3: Reactions to a direct LGBT-related question in the workplace

It was found that “double minorities” are not often asked LGBT-related questions in the workplace. Only one person said that such questions bothered him a little. They also said that it did not make them depressed or interfere with their work. Most of the interview participants try to avoid LGBT-related questions, and if they are asked about their relationships or families at work, they respond in their own way. Such as creates an imaginary girlfriend or lies about not having a girlfriend. It may be that they are foreigners, but after answering in such a way, they seem to be less likely to be asked questions related to their private life at work. Regarding the invisibility of sexual minorities, Otsubo (2020) argued that “consideration” for sexual minorities is also lacking because non-LGBT people don’t show sufficient care to LGBT people. Although it is possible to make them visible by coming-out, a workplace that lacks consideration for sexual minorities may make it difficult for LGBT people to do coming-out, and even more difficult for foreigners who have another minority aspect. Thereby, double-minority people tend to end such questions quickly when they are asked LGBT-related questions.

6.2. Way to Utilize the Unique Nature of Double Minorities

Similarly, there are three concepts that make up this category: C4: the impact of the label “foreigner,” C5: the difference in treatment depending on the spoken language, and C6: the construction of a career. Each concept will be explained in detail.

C4: The impact of the “foreigner” label

One aspect that double minority people have is “foreign nationality” which is perceived as “foreigner” mainly in workplaces where there are Japanese nationality workers. Igarashi (2000) found out that there are four types of Japanese employees, two of which have negative attitudes toward non-Japanese employees, and one is “amplified discomfort type” and the other is “individualistic type”. Those types of Japanese employees were pointed out that either have a significant stereotype of foreigners, or have no problem working with foreigners, but do not actively socialize with non-Japanese people in their personal lives. Having this label has led to negative events such as difficulty in choosing an industry for employment, building a career and being told that there is prejudice against foreigners.

On the other hand, being a “foreigner” allows them to refuse invitations that Japanese LGBT people find difficult to refuse, or to avoid questions that might trouble them by not communicating with their Japanese colleagues. Double minority people were able to discover that the impact of the label “foreigner” is not only a negative one, but on the contrary, there are benefits that take them in a positive direction.

C5: The difference in treatment depending on the spoken language

In fact, double-minority people show considerable differences in their Japanese levels. Some can barely speak Japanese, while others have an advanced level of Japanese. Furthermore, depending on the language used in the workplace, the content of the work or the relationships between people can be greatly affected. In fact, some of the participants said that they only used Chinese every day, even though they were working in Japan. Others do their work life in English, which is the official language. In some cases, the language barrier prevented them from performing their duties and they were switched to other jobs. Since the language barrier has some impact on the lives of double-minority people as well as on their work, it seems necessary to follow up on the language aspect to some extent, even though the workplace and private life are separated. Meng & Nakai (2020) emphasized the need to learn the inter-action skill of native speakers of Japanese in order to develop Japanese language skills in the workplace, and the inter-action skill that can be used in actual conversation. On the other hand, it is discovered that the ability to use English, the third language other than the mother tongue and Japanese, has a considerable impact on work.

C6: The construction of a career

Due to the two aspects of minorities that double minorities have, when they think about the career plan they want to have in the future, they not only consider the aspect of “foreigner” but also the aspect of LGBT. When considering whether or not to do coming-out in the workplace, or when a supervisor asks an unpleasant question or takes an unpleasant attitude in terms of language, they weigh the two things and make a choice based on their future career plans. If it interferes with the career path they have outlined, they will try to avoid the minority part of their lives, but if it has no impact, they will not care what the consequences are. Based on this, the axis of trying to omit negative elements in the construction of the career one is aiming for can be seen behind events such as coming out to former colleagues after retirement or coming out to colleagues in online meetings. In fact, Fujita & Takahashi (2021) conducted an outing case study and pointed out that in Japanese society, there is a tendency for “homosexuality” to be regarded as “inappropriate behavior” and that there is a flaw in society’s perception that outing behavior is detrimental to LGBT people. This affected double minority people as well, as they would become accustomed to “syncretism” in Japanese culture and avoid showing parts of themselves that are perceived as “different”. At the same time, it is believed that they chose to do coming-out themselves in order to avoid the worries caused by “outing” when telling people about their sexual orientation.

6.3. Methods to Deal with the External Environment of the Workplace

In this category, causes from the external environment other than the workplace are considered to be behind the problems that double minorities face in the workplace. There are also three constituent concepts: C7 conflicts between double minority people and their families, C8 the influence of the COVID-19, and C9 other possible external environments. It will be discussed in detail how each of these three concepts influences the work life of the person concerned.

C7: Conflicts between double minority people and their families

In this concept, double-minority people seem to be significantly influenced by the cultural background of their country of origin and education at home. Wei & Liu (2019) surveyed LGBT students in China and found that although many have come out at school, they have not come out to their family, siblings, or other familiar people. Thereby, in the Japanese workplace, instead of being asked much about their future lifestyles, questions from home about their marital status and the inability to disclose their sexual orientation to their families are seen as points of concern. In addition, it has been observed that sometimes they find it stressful to not be able to see their parents and relatives in their country of origin easily because they work in a different country. This led some of the participants to give up working in Japan and return to their home countries. On the other hand, due to the differences in cultural backgrounds, the constraint of being a “One-child policy” was seen to be a major factor when blamed for marital status. This may be one of the reasons why they are not able to do coming-out to their families, since the idea of taking over the family business or leaving offspring is concentrated in one person.

C8: The influence of the COVID-19

In 2020, a new coronavirus caused a huge stir in the world, and double minority people were also affected. Bapuji et al. (2020) pointed out that even after the new coronavirus, there are concerns that it will lead to a negative cycle in the workplace, such as increased absenteeism, a shift in the focus of life away from work, and job turnover. However, in addition to the generally negative effects, positive effects were also found in this research. First of all, as a negative impact, they worked from home more often and could not meet their colleagues at work in personal, which affected their abilities to learn their jobs slightly. Furthermore, they were asked by the company and the government to refrain from eating out as much as possible, so they were not able to hold dinner parties or class reunions, and they were not able to experience events that would deepen their friendship. In addition, communication with Japanese colleagues was also reduced, and some of the participants lamented that all the drinking parties they had originally planned were cancelled, leaving them in an isolated environment. On the other hand, there were people who were either saved or happy due to the effects of the new coronavirus. Those who were not good at communicating with strangers in the first time did not have to force themselves to have “meaningless” conversations, and those who were not good at large gatherings such as drinking parties and year-end parties avoided the problems that could have occurred in person. Furthermore, those who have trouble declining the custom of going to a cabaret club, which is unique in Japan, can also avoid this kind of trouble. A further finding was that the new coronavirus caused people who originally came to Japan on business trips to work in Japan.

C9: Other possible external environments

When analyzing the problems that double minorities face in the workplace, they do not seem to have much trouble with the housing issue that is often discussed before. They are guaranteed to have a place to live because the company is well prepared in advance, either by providing a dormitory or by letting them live in company housing at a reasonable price. However, if they are not living in Tokyo or Osaka when they are looking for a job or changing jobs, such physical restrictions make it difficult for them to balance their studies and current job, making it difficult for them to concentrate on their job-hunting. In addition, the job-hunting cycle was too long and not all foreign nationals were welcome in the job-hunting process, and sometimes they were rejected based on their nationalities alone. In addition, due to mass media reports, it was sometimes made fun of for their minority status, and it was relatively difficult for them to cope with such situations. As an example, it was thought that there were few good reports about China in Japan, and sometimes people would say things just based on nationality. Shimizu et al. (2019) conducted a classroom-style analysis of the impact of mass media on cross-cultural integration, and found that while there was a positive impact, there was also concern about the possibility of the formation of stereotypes about other countries.

6.4. Diverse Ways of Being in an Organization as an Individual

In this category, new findings are summarized based on how double minority people are as individuals in the organizations they belong to. While the individual versus the organization has been analyzed in many studies, this study found three new concepts: C10: thoughts about work in Japan, C11: thinking about “LGBT” issues on a micro level, and C12: interpretations of LGBT people in their workplace. Each of these will be discussed in detail.

C10: Thoughts on working in Japan

Many double minority people consider their work in Japan to be material that they can use in their future careers, and once they have a job in Japan, they recognize it as a point of self-promotion, even if they change jobs or return to their home countries in the future. Yasuda (2009) showed the results of a study of trust relationships with foreigners, found that Japanese people are more likely to consult with foreign workers about work than about their private lives, and that they tend to want to be consulted rather than to ask someone. Thereby, the Japanese work atmosphere is characterized by “distance” and they consider such distance to be useful in protecting their private lives. Furthermore, they absorb what they see and hear in the workplace to improve themselves, and they have probably also acquired the philosophy of prioritizing work in the Japanese workplace. In a company where such a thing is established, regardless of sexual orientation or nationality, getting the job done will be the top priority, and there will be no need for minorities to draw attention to themselves.

C11: Thinking about “LGBT” issues on a micro level

Although the results are only for the LGBT aspect, it shows that the people involved hardly think about the macro perspective. According to Yan (2021), it can be indicated that the percentage of LGBT who have done coming-out in the workplace for all LGBT people is very low. It seems that there is still a tendency in society today to think more microscopically about LGBT-related issues in the workplace. Recently, it is clear that they often work in the workplace with the perception that they are one LGBT person, and they try to think of other people as other people, even when other people are affected or are confronted with LGBT-related jokes in the workplace. Of course, not all people involved in the study have such views, but many of the participants in this study made nuanced statements that people think differently because they are different. As minorities among minorities, they did not see them thinking from a macro perspective. They also stated that it is difficult to trust companies that mention LGBT in such a public forum.

C12: Interpretation of LGBT people in your workplace

Likewise, this concept can be analyzed in relation to the LGBT aspect, but from the perspective of foreign nationals, they tend to consider the Japanese workplace to be a relatively comfortable place to work in terms of LGBT people; even if they are LGBT, they have the right to choose whether or not to do coming-out. In fact, Yukawa (2020) stated that the attractiveness of the Japanese workplace from the perspective of foreigner employees’ resources is “good human relations” and “company atmosphere”. Regarding human relations, foreigner employees’ communication with Japanese people is not frequently as that between Japanese people, so it can be said to be comparatively satisfactory. Furthermore, due to the aforementioned label of “foreigner”, they do not feel as much pressure from their co-workers. Furthermore, as long as the sexual expression that they usually want to express the same as their physical sex, they will not be suspected, and they can live without any worries in the LGBT aspect. Even if they are a little unwilling, if they dress like heterosexuals, they will not feel any LGBT-related worries at all. On the other hand, it can be interpreted that the level of acceptance for transgender people in the Japanese workplace is still low.

7. Discussion

Based on the results of the above analysis, it is clear what aspects and factors are when double minorities confront and solve problems, from before they join the company to when they change jobs or return home. Therefore, the process summarized that double minorities go through from the time they face a problem to the time they actually solve it. In a broad sense, there are three periods of time: before joining a company (before coming to Japan), after joining a company, and after changing jobs (after returning to Hometown). However, after changing jobs (after returning to Hometown) period, the process of problem solving is the same as the process from the beginning, so it is described as the same process in the process diagram. The process has a total of nine steps.

P1: Starting job hunting

P2: Problem occurrence

P3: Solving the problem

P4: Joining the company

P5: Facing the problem again

P6: Determining the criteria for decision-making

P7: Finding a solution

P8: Execution

P9: Keeping Working

Problem-solving process will be described for the periods of before joining a company (before coming to Japan), after joining a company, and after changing jobs (after returning to Hometown) respectively.

8. Conclusion

This study combines two aspects of previous diversity management research: foreign national workers and LGBT workers. The idea of a single minority was replaced by the idea of multiple minorities, and the research focused on what problems and worries workers with two minorities face in the Japanese workplace. After about two months of research, and with the consent of a total of 12 participants, the interview data were processed by using M-GTA, a qualitative analysis method. New findings were obtained for each of the three research questions that were formulated. A number of problems were discovered in job hunting and working, such as “the impact of the COVID-19” “the difference in

The route will be displayed as follows: Before entering the company (before coming to Japan) After entering the company After changing jobs (after returning to Japan) .

Figure 1. Process diagram.

treatment depending on the spoken language” and “communication with Japanese people”. In order to ameliorate such problems, four aspects were also found to influence decisions in the search for solutions: standards for handling interpersonal relationships in the workplace, way to utilize the unique nature of double minorities, methods to deal with the external environment of the workplace, and diverse ways of being in an organization as an individual. Finally, the process of double minority people was also clarified from problem occurrence to problem solving when seeking employment in Japan or working for a Japanese company. As Figure 1 showed in three periods, such as before entering the company (before coming to Japan), after entering the company, and after changing jobs (after returning to hometown), there are a total of nine processes from P1 “starting job hunting” to P9 “keeping work” and they follow a cycle like route. In addition, the direction of future research is guided from two angles: “research on transgender people only” and “people with more than five years of work experience”.

8.1. Research on Transgender People only

Since there were no foreign nationals of transgender people in this survey, it was not able to analyze the transgender aspect of the survey, and since they were categorized under the relatively large concept of LGBT, the analysis of individual sexual minorities may have been deficient. Tatai (2018) stated that there is a lack of spotlight on how transgender people, a sexual minority different from LGB, live their daily lives and there are omissions on transgender labor issues. One of the participants mentioned that he has seen ridicule in the workplace when the appearance differs from the physical gender. Compared to other sexual minorities, transgender people are expected to have more problems because it is relatively easier to identify them by their appearance. It is expected to conduct a study limited to transgender and foreign nationals in the future.

8.2. People with More than Five Years of Work Experience

In this paper, double minority people have been working for a maximum of four and a half years, and it was unable to interview people who have been working for more than five years. It is possible that there are cases where a person joins a company and as a newcomer is not able to do his or her job well due to unfamiliarity with the work or lack of knowledge. Of course, it became clear that each of the double minorities faced problems in their respective aspects, but it is also possible that there are influences brought about by the aspect of being a newcomer. Since such influences can easily be confused during the newcomer period, it can be difficult to discern which aspect is really causing the problem. In fact, the same statement was found in the interviews of the people concerned. Takase & Kawano (2018) analyzed the relationship between the sense of inappropriateness of work and years of working and found that there was a significant negative relationship, stating that the ability to adapt to the workplace also improves with increased years of working. It can be expected that people who have been working for the same company for a long time will have different problems from those found in this paper. In the future, to interview people who have been working for Japanese companies for more than five years and verify what they think these problems are in their work.


The author would like to express gratitude to Dr. Takashi Moriya for his guidance in conducting this study, and to the office staff and professor who conducted the ethical review. This research was conducted by twelve research participants who willingly agreed to be interviewed. It is also necessary to appreciate them for providing with rare and valuable data on diversity management and other minority studies.


1Social infection anxiety is one of the 14 social contagion and moral condemnation items developed by Buck et al. (2013) and is the anxiety that the in-group (heterosexuals) may think that one is homosexual.

2Acronym for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

3All concepts are named after the C means Concept.

Cite this paper: Yan, Y. (2021) Problems That Double-Minority People Face in the Workplace and the Problem-Solving Process —Using the Examples of People Who Are LGBT and Non-Japanese. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 9, 593-609. doi: 10.4236/jss.2021.99044.

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