European Association for Japanese Studies

Finding their niche: Unheard stories of migrant women

Megha Wadhwa

18.08.2023 at 17:00

Finding their niche: Unheard stories of migrant women

Film documents the life of two Indian migrant women who moved to Japan as trailing spouses and the challenges they faced in ‘finding their niche’

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Duration (in minutes):
58 minutes

Year of Production:


Hindi/English (Subtitled in English)


This film documents the life of two Indian women migrants who moved to Japan more than a decade ago as trailing spouses. Jyoti, 41 and Mandeep, 39, grew up in the state of Punjab, northern India, in middle-class households. They received a good education and had promising careers in India. Then, in their early 20s, they each agreed to marry men living in Japan by arrangement. The women were excited to move to a foreign country and to be with their husbands but they had no prior knowledge of Japan. Having witnessed at a distance the lives of their relatives settled in the US, UK and Canada, they had similar expectations for their own future lives in Japan. But the reality was to prove different from the expectation. In place of comfort, luxury, love, and fun, loneliness and fear took over. Through personal narratives told by the women, we examine past, present and future expectations and see how these affect their roles as Indian women, wives, mothers and workers in a foreign country, as well as the challenges they faced in ‘Finding their Niche’.

Director's biography

Megha Wadhwa is a migration researcher and Japanese and Indian studies Scholar. She is a Research Associate at Free University of Berlin, and a visiting scholar at Sophia University, Tokyo, which is also her alma mater. Her research passion lies in understanding the similarities and differences in the migration trends of Indians in Japan, Singapore, Germany and other places around the globe. Her research focuses on identity, ethnicity, race, social class, women and skills in migration. She is originally from New Delhi and was a resident of Tokyo for about 15 years before she moved to Berlin in 2021. She is the author of the book ‘Indian Migrants in Tokyo: A Study of Socio-Cultural, Religious and Working Worlds’ (Routledge:2021). She is also trained in fieldwork filming and past works include ‘Daughters from Afghanistan’ (2019) and the 7-minute documentary ‘Indian cooks in Japan.’ (2020). She has also written several articles on the Indian community in Japan and other topics for The Japan Times and other mediums. Currently her project focuses on “Indian Professionals in Japan and Singapore: Migration Trends, Labor Market Integration and Challenges and is a part of the research project” supported by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as a part of the “Small Subjects” funding initiative.

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