Keiko Yamanaka, Lecturer

Closed (1) Voluntary Associations and Labor Recruiters in Nikkeijin Migration from the Philippines to Japan

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

General description of the project:

As governmental policies on cross-border migration become formalized and regulated in Asia, roles of intermediaries that connect migrants to employers become expanded and complex. The existing literature has grown analyzing the migration industry including the structures, networks and relationships with migrants and employers. Most studies examine private profit-making organizations and governmental agencies that dominate the labor recruitment activities across national borders.

This study adds an inquiry regarding the roles of non-profit voluntary associations that help migrants acquire documents necessary for migration and their relationships with private corporations that recruit them for employment. Behind the intricate relationships between the two types of intermediaries is forgotten history of Japanese migration to the Philippines in the early 1900s. An outbreak of the Pacific War and Japan's defeat in the War changed the fate of Nikkeijin (people of Japanese descent) who were left behind in the Philippines. A half century later Japan's revised immigration law opened an opportunity for Nikkeijin to migrate to Japan for employment. A trickle of Nikkeijin Filipino migrants to Japan begun in the 1990s.

This study investigates how the two types of intermediaries, nonprofit associations and profit-making organizations, coordinate the tasks between documentation and recruitment in the Philippines and Japan. Apprentices in this project conduct research to locate the existing studies that analyze roles of voluntary associations in labor migration and their relationships with labor brokers, employers and migrants.

Research Context and Methods:
Since the mid-2010s, my Japanese colleague and I have already collected much data about Nikkeijin Filipino migration to Japan. We have knowledge of Nikkeijin associations, Japanese labor recruiters, recruitment routes and industries and employment in Japan. The data need to be complemented by theories and examples of voluntary nonprofit associations in labor migration.

In this academic year, I will concentrate on organizing theories and reviewing literature relevant to the project. Welcome to apply is any undergraduate students interested in the project as described above.

The apprentice expected to:
(1)assist me with my research needs, by surveying literature (internet, books, book chapters and academic journal articles) relevant to the project themes, and other tasks; and

(2)develop own research interests and conduct an independent study.

By the end of this project, the apprentice(s) will improve knowledge and skills of collecting information, literature and statistics about labor migration.

Qualifications: (1)Each apprentice must have good skills of handling internet information and using Microsoft Excel and Word. (2)Each apprentice is expected to major in social sciences and humanities, such as sociology, demography, political science, history, anthropology, geography, and have some familiarity with East and Southeast Asia.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Related website:
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Closed (2) Building the Data Base of Life History Book Project

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

From 2002 to Spring 2021, students who took my courses, “Asian American Women: Theory and Experience” and “Gender and Generation in Asian American Family,” in the Asian American Studies Program, wrote a Life History Paper as the term paper. After the course ended, many students volunteered to contribute their manuscripts to a volume of Biographies of Asian Immigrant Women and Men, a collection of real-life stories of immigrants from various Asian countries to the U. S. By now, there are a total of 17 such volumes. I plan to analyze them and write a book in order to share the wealth of “extraordinary” experiences of “ordinary” immigrant women and men from Asia. During this semester, a student apprentice work toward building the data base for the book project.

A Life History Paper is written based on an oral interview conducted by a student with an immigrant originally from Asia. Commonly the informant is a close relative, such as mother, father and grandmother, of the students who chose to interview the informant. The paper interweaves the three major elements: a personal life-long story of the informant, the historical and social contexts in which the informant lived at origin (home country) and destination (U.S.), and the informant’s personal agency and beliefs that enabled the informant to go through the different life stages up to the point of writing.

As an apprentice, a student on this project reads a life history paper in a Volume that constitutes a chapter, write the paper’s summary, and records the main data of the life story. The data includes: (1) the informant’s demographic information, (2) historical contexts of the society in which the informant grew up, (3) application for, and process of, an immigrant visa, (4) life experience as an immigrant in the U. S., and (5) the main theories that the author used to analyze the life history.

The original life history papers are provided online.

Qualifications: (1) high-level writing skills and is capable of analyzing a life history paper, collecting the data as described above, and producing a data set for each volume; (2) a responsibility to communicate with me about the task and meet by ZOOM once a week throughout the semester. Expectations: (1) An apprentice majors in social sciences and humanities, preferably Ethnic Studies. (2) It is desired, not required, for the apprentice to have taken courses in Asian American Studies.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: E-mail:

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