Abstract. Viktoriya Kim, College of International Studies, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
Integration and Ageing of Marriage Migrants in Japan: The Role of Local and Transnational Networks
It has been two decades since the start of the large influx of female marriage migrants from former Soviet countries (mainly, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) to Japan. Currently there are about 16,000 nationals of the abovementioned countries, with approximately 3,500-4,000 of them being female marriage migrants. The questions raised in this presentation are how these women settled in Japan and the role of networks in their settlement process. For this reason, I will discuss the local networking initiatives for migrant integration by the Japanese government – multicultural community building. Next, I will introduce the functions of online transnational Russian-speaking communities. And finally, the experiences of women of both types of networks and how these will affect them in the process of ageing. The data for this study has been collected during my ethnographic fieldwork with Russian-speaking females (48) in Japan. This study argues that due to ambiguous goals of the integration initiatives in Japan, female marriage migrants tend to rely on local ethnic networks and online transnational networks, which empower them in daily lives, but simultaneously limit their knowledge of Japanese society and networks with Japanese nationals.