Nissan Seminar: Life Stories of Indian Migrants in Tokyo: Fairytales and Nightmares

Convener(s): Professor Jennifer Guest and Dr Chigusa Yamaura

Speaker(s): Dr. Megha Wadhwa, Research Associate, Institute for East Asian Studies/Japanese Studies, Free University Berlin

These seminars will occur live and will not be recorded. Unauthorized recording is strictly prohibited.

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“Life Stories of Indian Migrants in Tokyo: Fairytales and Nightmares”

Abstract: Indians in general love Japan, particularly the Japanese values of punctuality, patience and civic and social responsibility. These are qualities most Indians wish to incorporate in their everyday social and professional lives. According to official statistics, the number of Indians in Japan has risen from 7,478 in 1997 to 40,202 in December 2019. While this increase might appear substantial, the community is small compared to the number of Indians in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Singapore and Malaysia. The proportion of Indians in Japan relative to other nationalities such as Chinese, Koreans and Brazilians is also small. So why the big difference? Megha Wadhwa will be talking about her recently published book, Indian Migrants in Tokyo: A Study of Socio-Cultural, Religious and Working Worlds (Routledge 2021), and will reflect on the opportunities and challenges for Indian migrants in Japan and the efforts they make to establish a ‘home away from home’ in Japan.

Megha Wadhwa, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at the Institute of East Asian Studies/Japanese Studies, Free University Berlin. She is also a visiting fellow at the Institute of Comparative Culture, Sophia University Tokyo. Her research since 2013 has focused on the Indian Diaspora in Japan. She has written several articles on the Indian community for The Japan Times and is also the author of Indian Migrants in Tokyo: A Study of Socio-Cultural, Religious and Working Worlds. (Routledge 2021). She has also been conducting research about Indian migrant restaurateurs and cooks since 2017 as part of the Sophia Research Project on Priority Areas ‘Refugees and new migrant support: the role of the Church, other religious groups, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the sustainable social integration of the displaced population into JapanHer most recent project, as of 2021, focuses on Structural change in Indian skilled worker migration to Japan” that is a part of bigger project – "Skill" in the Migration Process of Foreign Workers in Asia, supported by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as a part of the “Small Subjects” funding initiative. She also trained in documentary filmmaking. Her recent documentaries are ‘Daughters from Afghanistan’ (2019) and a 7-minute film on Indian cooks in Japan (2020).