Accepted Paper:

Long-stay as a form of Japanese international retirement migration: rethinking mobility of older adults from a comparative cultural perspective  


Mayumi Ono (Okayama University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the cross-border movement of retirees from a comparative cultural perspective.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores cross-border movement of retirees from a comparative cultural perspective. Comparing the conceptualization of transnational mobility of Japanese older adults with currently dominant Western concept of international retirement migration (IRM), this paper aims to rethink mobility at the existential level.

Retirees' aspiration to seek for better ways of life through transnational mobility is an emerging global phenomenon. While retirees in North America and Western Europe have a long history of migration, technological advancement and affordability of long-distance travel has also facilitated the growth of retirement migration on an international scale. IRM has largely been studied in the field of tourism and migration from interdisciplinary approach, which anthropologists have offered ethnographic accounts on the phenomenon. Studies on European cases of IRM argue that the boundaries between tourism and migration, which have been considered to be different types of mobility, have become blurred. However, IRM as a key concept of mobility has not fully discussed beyond the currently dominant Western concept.

The transnational mobility of elderly Japanese people throughout Asia is recognized as one of the emerging cases, an overall relatively new phenomenon. It is noteworthy that the Japanese concept of 'rongusutei' (long-stay) or 'kaigai choki taizai'(overseas long-term stay) is different from English term 'retirement migration'. While the English term 'retirement migration' represents mobility, Japanese counterparts 'long-stay' or 'overseas long-term stay' represent immobility with the use of 'stay'. This paper examines the culturally distinct use of long-stay, and how it plays a crucial role in commoditization of Japanese retirement migration.

Panel P064
Keywords of human mobility: a comparative cultural perspective (EASA/JASCA joint panel)