Tokyo Pengyou


  • Jamie Coates Independent Scholar



China, Japan, migration, friendship, play, media


This ethnographic film follows a young Chinese musician's struggles in Japan, demonstrating how emergent socialities and convivialities form through playful scenarios and the interplay of digital and analogue worlds. It explores how desire, disappointment and creativity shape young Chinese people's social bonds while living abroad, revealing the complicated nature of friendship in migration contexts. Based on long-term fieldwork in Tokyo's unofficial Chinatown, Ikebukuro, the film also serves as a reflection on the role of friendship in anthropological research.

Author Biography

Jamie Coates, Independent Scholar

Jamie Coates is interested in how affects, imaginaries, and worlds emerge and circulate at differing scales. His past ethnographic inquiries include Sino-Japanese human mobilities and urban imaginaries, with particular focus on how young Chinese people re-imagine co-ethnic and regional relationships. He is currently investigating how the proliferation of digital technologies allows these imaginaries to scale in new ways. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University, and has since taught at the University of Sheffield, conducted research at Waseda University, and served as a visiting fellow at Sophia University. He is currently an independent scholar.




How to Cite

Coates, J. (2018). Tokyo Pengyou. Journal of Anthropological Films, 2(1), e1538.