Complexities of the Experiences and Negotiations of Their Belongings of Migrant Filipino Women Married to Japanese Men
In the line of research on migration and gender, many studies have tended to focus on how migrant women who enter the paid-work can negotiate the gender relations with their husbands and families (George 2005, Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994, Parreñas 2001).
Compared with the migrant women who began to work in the countries of destination, migrant Filipino women in Japan tend to cease work when they get married to Japanese men. They usually concentrate on the house chores and childcare, and then start again to work outside after their children grow up. This follows the dominant working pattern of women in the Japanese society, or the dominant gender division of labor.
Based on the census and interviews of approximately 40 Filipino women, the paper explores how these women experience and negotiate the conjugal and familial relations and their belongings by focusing on their social positions. It points out that many women pursue to create the equal relations with their family members. Even if there are gender and ethnic inequalities within the family relations, they have some capacity to negotiate within the family more than outside their home. On the other hand, some women feel secure outside the conjugal relations. For instance, those who have experienced domestic violence by their (ex-) husbands find their belongings in the households with their children after their divorce. Others see a paid-work as a place of their own in the “native” society. This paper argues that these various experiences and negotiations show the various routes to social inclusion of mixed married migrant women in Japan.