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Filipina Modern: “Bad” Filipino Women in Japan

  • Nobue Suzuki

Abstract

Julie, in her early twenties in the early 1990s, thought going to Japan offered a sure way to acquire the kind of modern appearance that many Filipinas her age desired.1 Faced with financial difficulty, she also decided to go to Japan to earn money to enable her younger sisters to continue their schooling. She convinced herself by saying, “Find some means to raise money. School, school, school. Money, money, money! I’m the eldest and I must be strong!” In the end, Julie went to Japan, got a job as a bar hostess, worked hard, and saved. But she did not give all the money to her family. She gave about 20 percent to her parents and kept 80 percent for herself. After marrying Masaki, a Japanese public employee, in 1995, she began investing in property in the Philippines. As a sign of her middle-class life, human value, and security, she now owns a fancy 4.8 million-peso ($12,000 @ $1 = PhP25) condominium near the foreign embassies, overlooking Manila Bay. For Julie, working and marrying in Japan enabled the realization of her multiple goals of being simultaneously filial and modern.

Keywords

Single Mother Marital Dissolution Affective Relationship Visa Holder FILIPINO Woman 
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.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    For details, see Nobue Suzuki, “Between Two Shores,” Women’s Studies International Forum 23, no. 4 (2000a): 431–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    See for example, Karen Kelsky, Women on the Verge (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 4.
    See Catherine Ceniza Choy, Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 5.
    Dilip Gaonkar, “On Alternative Modernities,” Public Culture 11, no. 1 (1999): 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 6.
    Fenella Cannell, Power and Intimacy in the Christian Philippines (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    The number of Filipino spouses is surmised based on people who hold “spouse-or-child”(n = 45,510), “permanent” (n = 32,760), and “long-term” (n = 18,246) visas in 2002. About 10 percent of the “spouse-or-child” visa holders are children. Many long-term visa holders are former spouses and the custodians of Japanese children. See Ministry of Justice, Annual Report of Statistics on Legal Migrants (Tokyo: Ōkurashō, 2003). Of the total Filipino-Japanese marriages, 1 percent consists of Filipino men-Japanese women unions. A majority of Filipina-Japanese couples throughout the 1990s, and 40.6 percent in 2002, have lived in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures followed by the Tōkai area consisting of Aichi, Shizuoka, and Gifu prefectures (16.6 percent of registered Filipinos).Google Scholar
  7. See Ministry of Justice, Annual Report and Ministry of Health and Welfare, Vital Statistics (Tokyo: Ōkurashō, 2003).Google Scholar
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    See Mike Douglass, “The Singularities of International Migration of Women to Japan,” in Japan and Global Migration, ed., Mike Douglass and Glenda Roberts (London: Routledge, 2000), 91–120;Google Scholar
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  13. 11.
    For a fuller account of the images of Filipinas in Japan from the 1980s, see Nobue Suzuki, “Women Imagined, Women Imaging,” U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal English Supplement 19 (2000b): 142–175.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    Douglass, “Singularities.” For more complicated life trajectories of eldest daughters and others, see Nobue Suzuki, “Transgressing ‘Victims,’” Critical Asian Studies 35, no. 3 (2003): 399–420;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  18. 20.
    Nobue Suzuki, “Inside the Home,” Women’s Studies 33, no. 4 (2004): 481–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 22.
    Dinah Jowan, “Interview: Watashi no Japayuki taiken,” Bessatsu Takarajima No. 54, Japayuki-san Monogatari (Tokyo: JICC, 1986), 113–121.Google Scholar
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    Nobue Suzuki, “Gendered Surveillance and Sexual Violence in Filipina Pre-Migration Experiences to Japan,” in Gender Politics in the Asia Pacific Region, ed. Brenda Yeoh, Peggy Teo, and Shirlena Huang (London: Routledge, 2002), 99–119. Annulment of marriage is a possibility, but many Filipinos simply leave their marriages without complicated and costly legal procedures.Google Scholar
  21. 28.
    Ministry of Health and Welfare, Vital Statistics (Tokyo: Ōkurashō, 1996). Unlike Japanese intra-ethnic divorces, there are no statistics on divorce cases per 1,000 population among the non-Japanese population.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley 2005

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  • Nobue Suzuki

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