IGS Research Project 2021

IGS Research Project 2021


Gender and Politics in East Asia

Researcher Ki-young Shin (Professor, IGS)
Mari Miura (Professor, Sophia University)
Jackie Steele (Designated Associate Professor, Nagoya University)
Summary East Asia has attracted global attention as a region that has achieved economic development, but the path of development of political democracy is not uniform. The aim of the research is to undertake a comparative analysis by surveying both male and female legislators in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, to find out what factors improve or hinder women’s political representation in the East Asian countries, and how to put political systems that foster gender diversity in place.

Women’s Cross-border Activism in East Asia

Researcher Fumie Ohashi (Associate Professor, IGS)

Today we find many feminist activists raising their voices in various public spaces, such as the streets, squares, public transportation, university campuses, chambers of parliament, media, cyber space, etc. Through activism in such spaces they achieve global solidarity in working towards solutions for common problems. This study will discuss how such activism has evolved in East Asia, especially focusing on (1) The joint labor movement of the local/migrant domestic workers in regard to the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189); (2) Women’s anti-militarization activism; and (3) The transregional/transnational activism of Chinese feminists in the 2010s.

Gender Analysis of Capital, Body and Mobility

Researcher Fumie Ohashi (Associate Professor, IGS)
Mariko Adachi (Visiting Researcher, IGS)
Hiroaki Itai (Affiliated Researcher, IGS/Associate Professor, Senshu University)
Summary This project analyses changes in the function of capital after the global financial crisis by focusing on Saskia Sassen’s concept of ‘expulsions’. Examining the ‘normalisation’ of ‘expulsions’ from a gender perspective enables comprehension beyond the conventional analytical frameworks of ‘fragmentation of the body’ and the inclusion/exclusion dichotomy.

Assisted Reproductive Medicine and Gender

Researcher Yukari Semba (Project Lecturer, IGS)
Summary Assisted reproductive medicine has advanced remarkably in recent years, and medical technologies including the use of donated sperm/eggs/embryos and surrogacy have become common in society without enough discussion on their pros and cons within society and expert groups. In this situation, women, as the sex who give birth, are more affected by these medical technologies. This research aims to investigate the influence of reproductive medicine on women both domestically and overseas.

Gender Analysis of International Labor Migration from the Perspective of Sending Countries

Researcher Keiko Hirano (Project Lecturer, IGS)
Summary Global political and economic factors affect the immigration policies of receiving countries. As well, economic and cultural factors in sending countries have affected international migration policies. This project examines international migration issues from the perspective of sending countries, examining such cases as 1) Mexico and US migrant labor and 2) Migration policies in the General Election 2019 in Indonesia.

External Funds 2021

Migration Policy Interactions Between Receiving Country-Sending Country: A Comparative Study from International Sociology

[JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A), 19H00607]
Period 2019 – 2021
Researcher Keiko Hirano (Project Lecturer, IGS) [Co-Investigator],
Akihiro Koido (Professor, Hitotsubashi University) [Principal Investigator]

This research project aims to analyze migration issues by examining the effect of dynamic policy linkage between receiving–sending countries. Co-researcher conducts the analysis of migration policies in Indonesia, and will interview migration policy makers at its Manpower ministry.

IT-BPO International Division of Labor and Gender in Emerging Asia

[JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), 20H01468]

Period 2020 – 2022

Fumie Ohashi (Associate Professor, IGS) [Co-investigator],
Mariko Adachi (Visiting Researcher, IGS) [Co-Investigator],
Yoshie Hori (Professor, Waseda University) [Principal Investigator]


This joint research project envisages a new theory of international political economy through empirical study of Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industries developed in different regions of Asia. Comparative analysis of each region will provide insights into many questions, such as ways in which female labor is allocated under the latest modes of the international division of labor; ways in which the emergence of a middle class and their consumption will pan out; the manner they witness the urbanization; and just how democracy will accommodate the shift of socioeconomic relations.

Domestic and Care Workers in Japan in the Age of International Gendered Division of Reproductive Labor: A Genealogy of Solidarity

[JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), 19H01578]

Period 2019 – 2021
Researcher Fumie Ohashi (Associate Professor, IGS) [Co-investigator]
Keiko Hirano (Project Lecturer, IGS) [Co-Investigator]
Aya Sadamatsu (Professor, Keisen University) [Principal Investigator]

This research project will discuss how Japan is facing an international division of reproductive labor by focusing on the following two topics: (1) Unequal relations of employers/agencies/labor; (2) Labor regime surrounding the domestic workers and care workers, arguing that this regime can be changed through workers’ individual/collective actions based on their limited social capital.

Research on How Other Countries Dealt with the Conflict between Gamete Donor Anonymity and Donor Offspring’s Right to Know

[JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 18K00034]
Period 2018 – 2021
Researcher Yukari Semba (Project Lecturer, IGS)

In Japan, donor insemination has been carried out anonymously since its first implementation. Recently, egg donation is receiving increasing attention, and it may generate discussions regarding donor anonymity. This research aims to explore what kind of discussion took place before passing legislation for securing donor offspring’s right to know, and to clarify their situation after the law took effect in other countries.

Politics of Gender Quota: Institutionalization and Backlash

[JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 19K12604]
Period 2019 – 2021
Researcher Ki-young Shin (Professor, IGS)

This study analyzes the effects of the gender quota system, that was introduced to enhance women’s representation in the Korean legislatures. South Korea has introduced a gender quota system in the early 2000s by which parties are required to nominate women to a certain percentage of political party candidates. However, women still make up less than 20% as of 2019. This outcome has raised questions about the effect of the current quota system. Previous studies have pointed out that one of the reasons the quota system did not work was quota backlash, that is, various forms of resistance to quota’s implementation and defamation of the quota women. This study aims at clarifying the reasons why gender quota system does not work in South Korea by analyzing parties’ recruitment pattern, the political career path of women legislators elected by quota, and (in)formal forms of quota backlash over the past 15 years.

Migrant Women and the Reproductive Sphere in Hong Kong: Gender Analysis of Hong Kong as a Global City

[JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 19K12603]
Period 2019 – 2021
Researcher Fumie Ohashi (Associate Professor, IGS)

This research project will analyze how the reproductive labor power of migrant women has been allocated in Hong Kong by collecting oral histories from Chinese domestic workers, foreign domestic workers, and their employers. Hong Kong has shifted its economic strategy from export-oriented manufacturing in favor of becoming a “global city.” While establishing itself as the international financial/trade center of East Asia in the 1970s-1980s, Hong Kong started to accept foreign domestic workers. This trend coincided with the labor reallocation of Chinese women who migrated from mainland Canton, becoming domestic workers in Hong Kong. Even today, this dynamism of the trans-local and trans-national migration of women has been affecting the socio-economic relations of Hong Kong. By collecting “memories of care” from the different migrant women and employers in Hong Kong, this project will shed light on the shift of labor in the? reproductive sphere against the background of “global city” development.

Reintegration of Indonesian returning migrants: Worker stratification analysis at the destination

[JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 21K12395]
Period 2021 – 2023
Researcher HIRANO Keiko (Project Lecturer, IGS) [Co-Investigator],
NAKATANI Junko (Osaka Sangyo University) [Principal Investigator]

This study clarifies the process of migrant reintegration and compares the actual situation of migration in different worker groups for returning migrants in Indonesia. In particular, it employs a field survey to elucidate how returnees build a new life based on their work experience in destination countries, after returning home. In this study, we will analyze three different worker stratification of migrant workers, such as “unskilled” labor related to domestic work, technical intern trainees in Japan, and care workers engaging in nursing and long-term care.

Norway-Japan: Bridging Research and Education in Gender Equality and Diversity

[Norway Research Council, INTPART, 287699

Period 2019 – 2021
Researcher Masako Ishii-kuntz (Trustee and Vice President, Ochanomizu University)
Ryoko Kodama (Professor, Ochanomizu University/Researcher, IGS)
Yoko Totani (Director, IGS/Professor, Ochanomizu University)
Yukari Semba (Project Lecturer, IGS)
Kumi Yoshihara (Project Research Fellow, IGS)
Junko Sano (Project Lecturer, Keio University/Affiliated Researcher, IGS)
Derek Kenji Pinillos Matsuda (Lecturer, Center for International Education)
The Center for Gender Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

A collaborative project with the Center for Gender Studies of NTNU. This project analyzes the current state of gender equality and diversity in Norway and Japan, considering the social, cultural, historical and political backgrounds of both countries. The aim of the project is to develop new perspectives for researching gender and diversity issues through comparative understanding of the differences and similarities of the two societies. Individual research projects are organized according to members’ research interests.