Strategic invisibilization, hypervisibility and empowerment among marriage-migrant women in rural Japan

Shinya Uekusa, Sunhee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper draws upon qualitative interview data to explore the everyday experiences of marriage-migrant women in Tohoku, Japan–particularly in the disaster-affected Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. What is it like to live in rural farming and fishing communities as marriage-migrant women? What are their prospects for ‘passing’? Although many chose to live in rural communities and to deal with oppression by strategically invisibilizing themselves, it complicated their disaster experiences. We argue that the Tohoku disasters have caused two major issues: (1) some marriage-migrant women remained invisible and experienced exacerbated vulnerability due to their invisibility and isolation, and (2) others became ‘hypervisible’ but experienced backlash from their family and community, which they originally avoided by invisibilizing themselves. The main objective of this paper is to understand their diverse experiences in pre/post Tohoku disasters through their personal stories, with reference to their visibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2782-2799
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 2
Externally publishedYes


  • Marriage-migrant women
  • Tohoku disasters
  • strategic invisibilization
  • visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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