chapter  6
14 Pages

Emotional Ambiguity: Japanese Migrant Women in Mixed Families and their Life Transition

WithNaoko Maehara

Through the narratives of Japanese migrant women in Ireland, this paper focuses on their

perceptions of ‘home’ and their emotional processes in the context of their life transition.

In order to explore the interactive and relational nature of their emotional processes,

three questions are examined. How do migrant women manage their emotions in the

process of constructing motherhood as their main social identity? How do their emotional

orientations complement or conflict other emotion rules? In changing social and familial

settings, how are their feelings navigated? The narratives of two Japanese mothers

illustrate their contradictory, inconsistent and ambiguous emotional experiences which

are created through physical mobility and transnational family relationships. Through

changing social roles, obligations and expectations, they participate in different ‘feeling

rules’ to frame the lived experiences in which their relationships with their new country

and home place are renewed. Through changing their life course, they also experience

‘emotional resonance’ or ‘dissonance’ with others, which affects their sense of belonging/

non-belonging in different places. The context of motherhood provides examples of such

dynamics of multiple, interdependent processes in which subjectivities and feelings

emerge.