This groundbreaking study explores the recent dramatic changes brought about in Japan by the influx of a non-Japanese population, Filipina brides. Lieba Faier investigates how Filipina women who emigrated to rural Japan to work in hostess bars-where initially they were widely disparaged as prostitutes and foreigners-came to be identified by the local residents as “ideal, traditional Japanese brides.”Intimate Encounters, an ethnography of cultural encounters, unravels this paradox by examining the everyday relational dynamics that drive these interactions. Faier remaps Japan, the Philippines, and the United States into what she terms a “zone of encounters,” showing how the meanings of Filipino and Japanese culture and identity are transformed and how these changes are accomplished through ordinary interpersonal exchanges. Intimate Encounters provides an insightful new perspective from which to reconsider national subjectivities amid the increasing pressures of globalization, thereby broadening and deepening our understanding of the larger issues of migration and disapora.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Relations of Cultural Production
PART ONE Figures of Desires
1. Sites of Encounter
2. America and Other Stories of Filipina Migration to Japan
3. Japan in the Kiso Valley, the Kiso Valley in Japan
PART TWO Terms of Relations
4. Kindred Subjects
5. The Pressures of Home
6. Runaway Stories
Lieba Faier is Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Intimate Encounters is the first 'thick description' of the on-going changes wrought by the recent entry of a non-Japanese population, i.e., Filipina women, into rural Japanese life. It broadens and deepens our understanding of what it might mean to write transnational, diasporic histories."—Vicente L. Rafael, author of The Promise of the Foreign: Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines
"Intimate Encounters is fascinating on a topic both timely and important: cultural encounters at the crossroads of global capital, transnational migration, and national meaning-making. Examining the migratory travel routes of women struck by the desire or need to pursue greater prosperity elsewhere, Faier distinguishes her account by beautiful prose, deft ethnography, and a keen attentiveness to the role played by—and complexity of—desire."—Anne Allison, author of Millennial Monsters and Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan
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