Colonial memories and marital norms in commercial matchmaking between Japan and Northeast China

Chigusa Yamaura

(Oxford University)

Date/Time May 18, 2017 6:30 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract How do Japanese men and Chinese women come to see one another as potential marriage partners after just one or two brief meetings? The marriages this project examines were arranged via Japanese matchmaking tours to northeast China and often sealed over the course of only a few days. Dr. Yamaura will argue that these pairings are based not on attraction stemming from difference, but rather on perceptions of marriageability rooted in historically and socially constructed conceptions of proximity. Based on twenty-six months of multi-sited fieldwork in Tokyo and in two bride-sending communities in northeast China between 2007-2013, the project ethnographically explores the construction of marital relations across borders. In particular, it demonstrates the ways in which contemporary transnational intimate relationships are shaped and informed by colonial memories, marital norms and values, and the normativities of marriage.
Bio Chigusa Yamaura (Ph.D. 2013, Rutgers University) is a cultural anthropologist specializing in the culture and society Japan and China. Dr. Yamaura holds the positions of Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and Junior Research Fellow at Oxford’s Wolfson College. She is also a visiting researcher at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, until September 2017. Dr Yamaura’s research interests include border-crossing and colonial memories in East Asia, as well as marriage, desire, and gendered life-course expectations. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on Japanese-Chinese cross-border matchmaking practices. Dr Yamaura’s work has appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies, Anthropological Quarterly, and in an edited volume, Intimate Japan, from the University of Hawaii (forthcoming).