AbstractsWomens Studies

Filipina intermarriage in rural Japan: An anthropological approach.

by Yoshimi Umeda

Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom)
Year: 2010
Record ID: 1391672
Full text PDF: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/2065/


This is a study of forty Filipina women married to Japanese men living in a rural farming district in northern Japan. The thesis is concerned with four main areas of enquiry: the initial adjustment of the Filipinas to their new environment; their performance of local gender roles; the religious practices that the women carry out; and the social activities in which they participate. It is an account of the difficulties individuals face and the adjustments they have to make when they decide to settle in a foreign country. It is also an account of the problems of 'accommodation' experienced by Filipinas encountering Japanese society. The difficulties that the women face in their marital lives and the way in which they deal with them indicate both particular characteristics of Japanese society and certain qualities of Filipino personhood. By looking at a transnational experience from this perspective, the thesis attempts to trace the contours of the dynamic interaction between the Filipinas and the Japanese, on the one hand, and between forces of social reproduction and individual choices, on the other. All the Filipinas portrayed here met their spouse (directly or indirectly) through a public intermarriage introduction service provided by Japanese municipal government. Since the intermarriage introduction service was aimed at solving an issue of significant social concern in Japan, namely the 'bride famine' being experienced in rural areas, it is not surprising that there is an extensive body of literature concerning the problem published in Japanese, whereas the lived experiences of these Filipinas have not been much explored. More generally, while marriage between people from different countries has become increasingly common, not much research has yet been conducted on the subject yet. The thesis is therefore intended as a contribution to the ethnography of female transnational migration as well as to that of Filipina intermarriage.