Geographical review of Japan series B
Online ISSN : 1883-4396
ISSN-L : 1883-4396
Article of the Special Issue
International Marriage Migrants to Rural Areas in South Korea and Japan: A comparative Analysis
KAMIYA HirooLEE Chul Woo
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2009 Volume 81 Issue 1 Pages 60-67


This paper considers the phenomenon of the increasing female marriage immigrants to rural areas and small and medium size towns in South Korea and Japan. The focus of our comparative analysis is to find the common patterns of international inflow migration in the two East Asian countries. Both countries have similar economic, social and cultural backgrounds; for instance, the widening income gap between rural areas and urban areas, and the decreasing fertility rate as a result of the accelerated economic development process in both countries are supposed to be the main causes of international marriage migration. In the second section, the current status of international marriage migration in South Korea and Japan is described. Female immigration to Japan from Asian countries began to appear in mid 1980s, while in South Korea marriage migrants became apparent in the mid 1990s. The regional patterns of marriage migrants in each country show a similar tendency to marry men from rural areas and small and medium size towns. However cross-border marriage is becoming more common in all areas of Japan than before. In section three, we will present some common features of international marriage migration between South Korea and Japan. The origins of the female migrants, the features of the receiving rural communities, the role of the match making industry and the decision making process of migrants are examined in order. In the final section, we discuss the possibility of whether or not the international marriage can transform the rural communities of South Korea and Japan, and present future research tasks.

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© 2009 The Association of Japanese Geographers
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