Transgressing "Victims"

Reading Narratives of "Filipina Brides" in Japan

Author: Nobue Suzuki


This article traces the discourse on Filipina hanayome (brides) in administratively mediated international marriages ( kokusai kekkon ) in Japan from the mid 1980s to the present. In narratives of "international marriages" in the late 1980s, "Filipina" came to index the "problem of brides from Asia." As seen elsewhere, various textual and media representations have depicted rural Filipino women as socioeconomic victims and sexually subjugated women. Simultaneously, however, constructions of Filipina hanayome in rural Japan have been given local twists. Drawing on examples from largely neglected written texts in Japanese and from an ethnographic vignette, the article next focuses on sexual subjectivity and economic autonomy, two dimensions of the women's lives in which they struggle to recapture their own ways of imputing meanings to their lives vis-a `-vis various social forces. In so doing, this article interrogates certain feminist and popular depictions of hanayome.
Regions: East Asia
Countries: Japan

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September 2003
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