A New Hope? Japanese Retirement Migration to Malaysia


In post-growth Japan, some people are looking to Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, as a source of new hope. A notable change in the recent pattern of global migration is the movement of people within Asia. Previous studies on Asian migration have mostly considered the movement of people from Asia to Europe and North America. Yet in recent years, countries in Asia have emerged as major receiving sites of intra-regional migration.

Joining Dr Natali Pearson on SSEAC Stories, Dr Shiori Shakuto takes a closer look at Japanese retirement migration to Malaysia, revealing some of the motivations for inter-Asian migration, and what that might tell us about their hopes and dreams for a different kind of life.

About Shiori Shakuto:

Shiori Shakuto is a Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sydney. Her feminist research bridges household economies with transnationalism, with a particular focus on the movement of people and (domestic) things between Japan and Malaysia. Her recent projects have focused on the rise of Japanese migration to Malaysia in the aftermath of various disasters – at the scales of personal, national and environmental. Shiori’s research shows how transnational movement destabilises heteronormative lifecourse, and how gendered household practices in turn shape and reshape the existing hegemonic geopolitical relations. She is the co-editor of the Special Issue, “Gender, Migration and Digital Communication in Asia” (2022).

For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website: www.sydney.edu.au/sseac.

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Natali Pearson

Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.

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