What’s driving Brazil-Japan migration? The making and remaking of the Brazilian niche in Japan

Naoto Higuchi, Kiyoto Tanno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Since the late 1980s the Brazilian population in Japan has steadily increased, despite the long-term recession in the late 1990s. In this paper we will examine the mechanism of the constant increase of Brazilians in Japan, focusing on the institutional context of their incorporation into the Japanese labor market. On the demand side, Brazilians solved an acute labor shortage in the economic boom period, but long-term recession and casualization of the labor market made them compete with other peripheral workers such as Japanese women and the aged. Thus Brazilians have been marginalized within the secondary labor market since the late 1990s. On the supply side, recruiting agencies and labor contractors established a “just-in-time” labor delivery system, which enabled “flexible staffing” in a highly fluctuating labor market. As a result, demand and supply for Brazilian workers is still on the increase. Working in Japan is getting less attractive for Japanese Brazilians but is more of a viable option for them, driving further migration from Brazil to Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Japanese Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Japanese Brazilians
  • Labor market
  • Migration systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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