Quality of Life in Japan and Emigration: The Perspectives of Japanese Skilled Immigrants in Australia

Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 13)


The number of Japanese citizens living outside Japan has been increasing in the last four decades: it has risen almost threefold since the mid-1980s. What drives Japanese nationals to move away from their home country? Drawing on the narratives of 32 Japanese skilled immigrants in Australia, this study argues that their perceptions of QOL haves played a major role. These perceptions differ across individuals’ life stage and gender, and particularly the time of immigration. This study found distinctive differences in the QOL perceptions between those who arrived before the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima disasters in 2011 and those who came after 2011. Many studies have already pointed out the significance of “lifestyle migration,” where non-economic factors have attracted Japanese immigrants to Australia. While acknowledging its importance for those who arrived before 2011, this study found that the most prominent drivers for the post-2011 Japanese immigrants were not lifestyle, but rather their acute perceptions of environmental, economic, and socio-political risks that could undermine the long-term QOL for themselves and their families.


Quality of life QOL Japanese skilled immigrants Australia Lifestyle migration Work-life balance Gender equality Environmental risks Disaster 



Dr. Nana Oishi is Associate Professor in Japanese Studies at the Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne. Dr. Iori Hamada is Lecturer in Japanese Studies at Monash University. We would like to thank the Editorial Board and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable advice and insightful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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