Between Entertainers and High-Skilled Elites: Skills, Study, and Marriage



Debnár attempts to explain the growth of European migration to Japan, especially in terms of the ‘gray zone’ delineated by the apexes of high-skilled and female entertainer migrations. Detailed analysis of three cases in different periods illustrates the changing character of migration and the main factors discussed in the chapter. Through a discussion of different forms of (highly) skilled migration, international marriages, and student migration, the chapter identifies a complex interplay of changing structural factors and social changes that affect the increasing number of Europeans migrating to Japan. Individualization of societies and the influence of Japanese culture are identified as the main factors in attempting to understand the meaning of migrants’ narratives explaining the choice of Japan despite a relative lack of opportunities, many constraints, and questionable outcomes.


Mobility Capital Foreign Student Migration Decision Japanese Language Student Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. AMF, Association for Multi-cultural Families.1986. Sugao No Kokusai Kekkon: Gaikokjin Wo Otto Ni Motta Joseitachi No Taiken Essei-Shū [International Marriage as It Really Is: A Collection of Esseys by Japanese Women with Foreign Husbands]. Tokyo: Japan Times.Google Scholar
  2. Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at Large. Public Worlds. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  3. Arango, Joaquín.2000. Explaining Migration: A Critical View. International Social Science Journal 52(165): 283–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Atkinson, Will.2010a. Class, Individualisation and Perceived (Dis)advantages: Not Either/Or but Both/And? Sociological Research Online 15(4).Google Scholar
  5. ———.2010b. Class, Individualization and Late Modernity: In Search of the Reflexive Worker. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bauman, Zygmunt.1998. Globalization: The Human Consequences. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. ———.2000. Liquid Modernity. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  8. ———.2001. The Individualized Society. Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity and Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Beck, Ulrich. 1992. Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Theory, Culture & Society Series. Sage.Google Scholar
  10. ———.2013. Why ‘Class’ Is Too Soft a Category to Capture the Explosiveness of Social Inequality at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century. The British Journal of Sociology 64(1): 63–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Beck, Ulrich, and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim.2002. Individualization. Theory, Culture and Society. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Beck, Ulrich, Anthony Giddens, and Scott Lash.1994. Reflexive Modernization. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  13. Befu, Harumi. 2000. Globalization as Human Dispersal: From the Perspective of Japan. In Globalization and Social Change in Contemporary Japan, eds. J. S. J. Eades, Tom Gill, and Harumi Befu. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.Google Scholar
  14. Befu, Harumi, and Sylvie Guichard-Anguis, eds. 2001. Globalizing Japan: Ethnography of the Japanese Presence in Asia, Europe, and America. The Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies Series. Nissan Ins. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Benson, Michaela, and Karen O’Reilly.2009. Migration and the Search for a Better Way of Life: A Critical Exploration of Lifestyle Migration. The Sociological Review 57(4): 608–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bestor, Theodore C. 2000. How Sushi Went Global. Foreign Policy, No. 121 (November): 54.Google Scholar
  17. Budmar, Patrick. 2012. The Curious Case of the Eroding Eikaiwa Salary. Japan Times, July 3.Google Scholar
  18. Castles, Stephen.2010. Understanding Global Migration: A Social Transformation Perspective. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(10): 1565–1586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Castles, Stephen, and Mark J. Miller.1993. The Age of Migration. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  20. ———.2009. The Age of Migration, 4th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  21. Daliot-Bul, M.2009. Japan Brand Strategy: The Taming of ‘Cool Japan’ and the Challenges of Cultural Planning in a Postmodern Age. Social Science Japan Journal 12(2): 247–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fauri, Francesca. 2015. European Migrants after the Second World War. In The History of Migration in Europe: Perspectives from Economics, Politics and Sociology, ed. Francesca Fauri. Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Favell, Adrian.2008. Eurostars and Eurocities. In Studies in Urban and Social Change. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publisher.Google Scholar
  24. Findlay, Allan M2011. An Assessment of Supply and Demand-Side Theorizations of International Student Mobility. International Migration 49(2): 162–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Findlay, Allan M., Russell King, Alexandra Stam, and Enric Ruiz-Gelices.2006. Ever Reluctant Europeans: The Changing Geographies of UK Students Studying and Working Abroad. European Urban and Regional Studies 13(4): 291–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Findlay, Allan M., Alexandra Stam, Russell King, and Enric Ruiz-Gelices.2005. International Opportunities: Searching for the Meaning of Student Migration. Geographica Helvetica 60(3): 192–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frühstück, Sabine, and Wolfram Manzenreiter.2001. Neverland Lost: Judo Cultures in Austria, Japan, and Elsewhere Struggling for Cultural Hegemony at Vienna Budokan. In Globalizing Japan: Ethnography of the Japanese Presence in Asia, Europe, and America, eds. Harumi Befu and Sylvie Guichard-Anguis, 69–93. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Fujita, Yuiko. 2009. Cultural Migrants from Japan. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  29. Giddens, Anthony.1990. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press in association with Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. ———.1991. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  31. Goodman, Roger.2001. Images of the Japanese Welfare State. In Globalizing Japan: Ethnography of the Japanese Presence in Asia, Europe, and America, eds. Harumi Befu and Sylvie Guichard-Anguis, 116–193. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Guráň, Peter, and Jarmila Filadelfiová. 1995. Hlavné Demografické Trendy a Rodina: Svet – Európa – Slovensko [Main Demographic Trends and Family: World – Europe – Slovakia]. Medzinárodné stredisko pre štúdium rodiny.Google Scholar
  33. Guráň, Peter, Jarmila Filadelfiová, and Miloš Debnár. 2014. Contemporary Family in Slovakia: Demography, Values, Gender and Policy. In Family and Social Change in Socialist and Post-Socialist Societies: Change and Continuity in Eastern Europe and East Asia, ed. Zsombor T. Rajkai, 164–209. Brill.Google Scholar
  34. Howard, Cosmo. 2007. Introducing Individualization. In Contested Individualization Debates about Contemporary Personhood, ed. Cosmo Howard, 1–23. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Inglehart, Ronald, and Wayne E. Baker.2000. Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values. American Sociological Review 65(1): 19–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Iwabuchi, Kōichi.1994. Complicit Exoticism: Japan and Its Other. Continuum 8(2).Google Scholar
  37. ———.2002a. Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. ———.2002b. ‘Soft’ Nationalism and Narcissism: Japanese Popular Culture Goes Global. Asian Studies Review 26(4): 447–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jesenský, Mikuláš. 2009. Štát Terorista Zabíjal a Unášal Aj Vlastných. SME.Google Scholar
  40. Joas, Hans.1996. The Creativity of Action. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  41. Kamoto, Itsuko.2008. Kokusai Kekkonron!? [Theory of International Marriage !?]. Kyoto: Hōritsu Bunkasha.Google Scholar
  42. Kawashima, Kumiko.2010. Japanese Working Holiday Makers in Australia and Their Relationship to the Japanese Labour Market: Before and After. Asian Studies Review 34(3): 267–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. ———. 2012. Becoming Asian in Australia: Migration and a Shift in Gender Relations among Young Japanese. Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific (31).Google Scholar
  44. Kell, Peter, and Gillian Vogl.2012. International Students in the Asia Pacific: Mobility, Risks and Global Optimism. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kelsky, Karen.2001. Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. King, Russell.2002. Towards a New Map of European Migration. International Journal of Population Geography 8(2): 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. King, Russell, and Enric Ruiz-Gelices.2003. International Student Migration and the European ‘Year Abroad’: Effects on European Identity and Subsequent Migration Behaviour. International Journal of Population Geography 9(3): 229–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Klekowski von Koppenfels, Amanda.2014. Migrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Komisarof, Adam.2011. On the Front Lines of Forging a Global Society: Japanese and American Coworkers in Japan. Reitaku University Press.Google Scholar
  50. ———.2012. At Home Abroad: The Contemporary Western Experience in Japan. Reitaku University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Lehmann, Angela.2014. Transnational Lives in China: Expatriates in a Globalizing City. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Liu-Farrer, Gracia.2009. Educationally Channeled International Labor Mobility: Contemporary Student Migration from China to Japan. International Migration Review 43(1): 178–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. ———.2011a. Labour Migration from China to Japan: International Students, Transnational Migrants. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. ———.2011b. Making Careers in the Occupational Niche: Chinese Students in Corporate Japan’s Transnational Business. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37(5): 785–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Massey, Douglas S., Joaquín Arango, Graeme Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pellegrino, and Edward J. Taylor.1993. Theories of International Migration: A Review and Appraisal. Population and Development Review 19(3): 431–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McCargo, Duncan. 2000. Contemporary Japan (Contemporary States and Societies). Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  57. Meissner, Fran, and Steven Vertovec.2015. Comparing Super-Diversity. Ethnic and Racial Studies 38(4): 541–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Morawska, Ewa T.2009. Sociology of Immigration: (Re)making Multifaced America. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mozumi, Kazuyo.2010. ‘Rūgakusei 30mannin Keikaku’ No Jisshi Kanōsei Wo Meguru Hitokōsatsu (Considering the Feasibility of the ‘Plan to Accept 300,000 Foreign Students’). Tōkyō Jōhō Daigaku Kenkyū Ronshū 13(2): 40–52.Google Scholar
  60. O’Reilly, Karen.2012. International Migration and Social Theory. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  61. Oishi, Nana.2012. The Limits of Immigration Policies: The Challenges of Highly Skilled Migration in Japan. American Behavioral Scientist 56(8): 1080–1100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Portes, Alejandro.2010. Migration and Social Change: Some Conceptual Reflections. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(10): 1537–1563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Said, Edward W.1978. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  64. Satō, Machiko.2001. Farewell to Nippon : Japanese Lifestyle Migrants in Australia. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press.Google Scholar
  65. Scott, Sam.2006. The Social Morphology of Skilled Migration: The Case of the British Middle Class in Paris. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32(7): 1105–1129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Scott, Sam, and Kim H. Cartledge.2009. Migrant Assimilation in Europe: A Transnational Family Affair. The International Migration Review 43(1): 60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Takita, Yōko.1988. 1980nendai Ni Okeru Nihon Ryūgaku No Shintenkai [New Development in Study in Japan in 1980s]. Kokusai Seiji (87): 106–123.Google Scholar
  68. Tsukasaki, Yūko.2008. Gaikokujin Senmon/gijutsu-Shoku No Koyō Mondai [Problems of Employment of Foreign Skilled Labor]. Tokyo: Akaishi shoten.Google Scholar
  69. Urry, John.2000. Sociology Beyond Societies: Mobilities for the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  70. Van Hear, Nicholas.2010. Theories of Migration and Social Change. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(10): 1531–1536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Vertovec, Steven.2007a. Introduction: New Directions in the Anthropology of Migration and Multiculturalism. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30(6): 961–978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. ———.2007b. Super-Diversity and Its Implications. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30(6): 1024–1054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Vlastos, Stephen, ed.1998. Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  74. Vogel, Ezra F.1979. Japan as Number One: Lessons for America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Waters, Johanna L.2006. Geographies of Cultural Capital: Education, International Migration and Family Strategies Between Hong Kong and Canada. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 31(2): 179–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Williams, Allan M., and Vladimír Baláž.2005. What Human Capital, Which Migrants? Returned Skilled Migration to Slovakia From the UK. International Migration Review 39(2): 439–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Yamashita, Shinji.2008. Transnational Migration in East Asia. In Senri Ethnological Reports. Suita, Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyDoshisha UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations