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Marriage, migration and the international marriage business in Japan

Nakamatsu, Tomoko (2002) Marriage, migration and the international marriage business in Japan. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis examines the development of the international marriage business in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s, and the experiences of female participants from China, South Korea, and the Philippines who married through this system and currently live in Japan.

The study treats these women as active female migrants and contributes to a gendered understanding of the process of contemporary migration. The thesis argues for an acknowledgement of the way in which the international marriage business served the purposes of marriage and migration for women in male dominant and economically stratified societies in Asia, without downplaying the fact that the same system and its ideology oppresses women. The study argues that, for these women, participation in international marriage by introduction was about marriage and migration. Analysis of the intricate sites of marriage and migration was thus critical to understanding their experiences. The thesis also argues for recognition of the diverse and complex experiences of the women participants.

Part I of this study investigates the macro-economic, social and political factors that influenced development of the international marriage business in Japan. It analyses representations of international introduction marriage and its female participants, and maps the ways in which patriarchal gender ideology in the international marriage business system intersects with global capitalism, and other hegemonic power relations operating in contemporary Japan.

Part II examines the marriage and migration experiences of 45 women. The section identifies conflicts faced by the women and examines processes of negotiation inside and outside the family domain. It investigates the extent of the women's agency in their decision to many and live in a foreign country, covering interconnected arenas of marriage, family, paid work, involvement in women's groups and questions of legal citizenship. The women's narratives demonstrate the importance of articulating a structurally embedded analysis with active female agency in the study of international marriage migration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Asian Studies
Supervisor(s): Warren, Carol and Thiele, Beverly
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