Migration and Care between the Philippines and Japan for the Past 40 Years: Analysis through the Lens of Intersectionality

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Chiho OGAYA, Ferris University, Japan
This paper will give an overview of the interrelated nature of care and migration between the Philippines and Japan for the past 40 years, and will explore how national policies of care and migration in these two countries have created gender and class-specified migration. This paper will also argue the “familiar” consequences of this flow of Filipino women to Japan: the existence of Japanese Filipino Children (JFC) and their relationship to the Japanese state.

Since the 1970s, Filipino women migrated in different ways to Japan, which has been refusing to accept so-called “unskilled labor" from foreign countries. First, women entered Japan as "entertainers" and worked as hostesses at night clubs for Japanese male customers. Many of those women got married to Japanese men and created their own families in Japan afterwards. They offered care work as "wife" within the Japanese family. Nowadays, more and more Filipino women engage in different types of "care" for elderly people in Japan as a profession.

Simultaneously, JFC, as “born out of place” offspring of migrant Filipino mothers and Japanese fathers, began to come to Japan as migrant workers in the care sector. The existence of JFC mirrors the intersectional discrimination in Japanese society; they were born as a consequence of the inequality based on gender and ethnicity between the Philippines and Japan, then they were ignored by the Japanese state, and now they have begun to be exploited as “unskilled labor”. This also reflects the nature of the Immigration Control Policy of the Japanese government which has been clinging to its restrictive principle, in a complex way.

This paper will provide an overview of the evolution of migration between the Philippines and Japan to explore how the feminization of migration and “care" in Japanese society have been interrelated across state, market and family dimensions.