Japanese working holiday makers in Australia and their relationship to the Japanese labour market

Before and after

Kumiko Kawashima*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)


The Working Holiday is a relatively new but rapidly growing form of transnational mobility. In Australia, Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) form the largest group of Japanese temporary migrants, and their numbers have been increasing. In this paper, I will discuss the experience of returned WHMs in the light of Japanese labour practice. For my interlocutors, the motivations for taking a Working Holiday were frequently related to their dissatisfaction with their status and future prospects as workers. In order to understand this popular but under-researched form of transnational migration, it is therefore important to consider their self-perceptions about their worker status when they re-entered the Japanese workforce, and how they think their life course has changed due to the Working Holiday experience. The employment experience of WHMs upon their return to Japan illuminates their position in the home society in which their migratory decision-making was situated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-286
Number of pages20
JournalAsian Studies Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


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