The Evolution of Transnational Families

Bi-National Marriages between Japanese Women and Pakistani Men

Author: Masako Kudo

Abstract:

This article examines transnational family development by drawing on the findings of longitudinal research on bi-national marriages between Japanese women and Pakistani men. This type of marriage increased in Japan during the 1990s after a surge in male labor migrants from Pakistan. Very little attention has been given to bi-national relationships between women of the global North and men from the global South. This article explores the ways in which gender, nationality, and other factors intersect in the creation of transnational families. More specifically, it focuses on transnationally split family dynamics in which Japanese wives relocate to Pakistan with their children while their Pakistani husbands remain in Japan to work. These transnational strategies bring the families various opportunities in terms of economic advancement, children's education, and the provision of care for the elderly. However, they also encounter various challenges as their life-courses unfold. Thus, this article highlights both the possibilities and limitations of these transnational families and shows how these Japanese women contest and negotiate their roles and positions within transnational households.



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© 2007 ILO/Crozet M.