Accepted paper:

"Globally mobile self" as postponed hope: gendered trans-pacific migration of the young Japanese

Author:

Etsuko Kato (International Christian University)

Paper short abstract:

Based on fieldwork in Canada, Australia and Japan, this paper examines how the covert gender and class inequality in contemporary Japan affects the migration behavior and discourses of Japanese women and men, and what kinds of “hope” are distributed to what groups.

Paper long abstract:

Based on fieldwork and interviews in Canada, Australia and Japan, this paper examines how the covert gender and class inequality in contemporary Japan affects the migration behavior and discourses of Japanese women and men, and what kinds of "hope" are distributed to what groups. While elite young men are socially most expected to be "internationalized, global human resource" that serves Japanese society, non-elite young women are actually the most active migrants to overseas and are willing to work for either host countries or home countries. Some elite women and non-elite men join this group. Non-elite women, who are the most peripheralized workers in homeland, appear to be most hopeless in domestic settings, but are actually the freest to leave homeland. Migration industry, itself feminized, keeps selling to these women hope of becoming globally mobile, career-oriented self, although in reality chances are rare. Elite men, meanwhile, are encouraged to work globally while promised to remain in mainstream, which at the same time means that they are pressured to be home-bound. In either case, "self as a globally mobile specialist" remains more in illusion than in reality.

panel MMM31
The causes and diversity of migration processes (IUAES Commission on Migration and Diaspora)