Mass Female Exodus:
The Working Holiday as a Gateway to Opportunity for Japanese Women

Antonija Cavcic, Toyo University [About | Email]

Volume 24, Issue 1 (Article 1 in 2024). First published in ejcjs on 16 April 2024.

Abstract

Although students suspending their studies for economic or personal reasons is hardly new, there has been an uptick in numbers in the last decade. In a post-Abenomics context of stagnant wages and overtime work, there has been a trend among students, especially female students, who either delay employment or explore different avenues to boost their credentials and employability for more lucrative positions. For some it involves studying abroad or embarking on a working holiday late into their degrees. This article reveals the underlying factors influencing this phenomenon based on testimonials of female students who have suspended their studies to go on a working holiday. Through discourse analysis of both working holiday testimonials and taking into account media discourse surrounding the subject, this paper sheds light on several push/pull factors influencing the trend and explores the gratifications of gap year experiences and their potential to shift attitudes towards more flexible work/study options in Japan.

Keywords: Student Mobility, Gap Year, Emigration, Discourse Analysis

Introduction

Although impacted by the pandemic in early 2020, the flow of international students, for the most part, has been growing exponentially. According to UNESCO’s findings, student mobility numbers doubled from 2000 to 2015, and this is also expected to bifold by 2025 (Guruz, 2011). In a European context, this has been easily enabled by the Erasmus+ programme. However, for non-EU based tertiary-level students, study abroad opportunities are often provided through one’s university’s exchange partnership agreements, whereby credits from classes taken abroad can be smoothly transferred to one’s total credits. As a convenient and comfortable option, this is appealing for students wishing to venture abroad for a semester or two. Although specific degrees or courses with career paths can be major pulls for these prospective study abroad students, financial matters such as tuition, living costs, and pathways to employment also have a significant influence. Thus, for students with financial difficulties, or those wishing to take a break from their studies or work for various reasons, taking a gap year or embarking on a working holiday is an attractive alternative.
 
While anyone employed in the education sector or involved in student mobility administration might be familiar with the Working Holiday (henceforth referred to as ‘WH’) scheme, it is not necessarily common knowledge among educators or tertiary-level students in Japan. This is partly due to the assumption that the passage from graduation to full-time employment in Japan is a seamless flow. It has been argued that the “message from the wider society is that unless you join the short, intense race to stable lifetime employment, you are a failure for life” (Kawanishi, 2020). Nevertheless, the WH scheme can be loosely defined as a bilateral agreement in which citizens of either country from the ages of 18 to 35 (depending on the country) can study and work in any of the partner countries for one or two years. Japan established its first WH agreement with Australia in 1980. Since then, it expanded the number of partner countries to a total of 27 destinations as of June 2023. Some of these countries include Anglosphere Commonwealth countries (such as Canada, the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand), but the list also includes Asian destinations like Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, a handful of European countries, and a few South American countries including Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay (MOFA, 2023). However, as Fujioka, a researcher on working holiday trends, notes, the most popular destination has been and remains to be Australia (Fujioka, 2017, p13). Interestingly, Fujioka also found that among those who embark on a WH, many have had tough job-hunting experiences or had worked in a harsh environment prior to considering a WH programme. Some of the contextual factors contributing to this were the collapse of the bubble economy in the 1990s, followed by the Lehman shock in 2008, which resulted in mass layoffs, and the rise in temp or contract jobs. In this relentlessly harsh climate of instability, the clichéd “salaryman” model of working in the same company until retirement has become “something beyond reach for most younger workers just entering the labor market” to the extent that young jobseekers feel the need to accrue a variety of skills and credentials (on top of work experience) simply to navigate an unstable work environment (Uno & O’Day, 2020). However, aside from economic or employment-related factors, WH makers’ motivations can vary wildly; thus, it is essential to take into account the intersecting reasons which compel these individuals to go abroad.
 
In 2004 when the Japan Association of Overseas Studies asked former internship and WH makers (which comprised 895 females and only 226 males) why they decided to attempt a WH, the three most frequently cited reasons were as follows: i) 83. 6% expressed a desire to live abroad; ii) 53.3% wanted to improve their foreign language skills; and iii) 41.9% had simply longed to go overseas for no particular reason (Fujioka, 2017, p.102). Naturally, acquiring language skills and other transferrable skills (34.7%) are relatively predictable factors, but a longing to go overseas, live abroad, and work abroad (33.5%) were also quite significant. And this was not something specific to the early 2000s, let alone students. Study abroad and WH magazines in Japan from the early 1990s reinforced similar motivations of women already engaged in full-time employment. Figure 1 (below) is a sample of snippets taken from educational publisher ALC’s Kaigai kyariya appu jiten [trans. Guide to Career Development Overseas].

Figure 1. Kyaria appu jiten, December 1991

As the snips demonstrate, the same kind of rhetoric regarding a desire to enhance one’s career or a longing to live or at least experience living abroad was evident in both advertisements, columns, and features of these kinds of magazines at the time. Stories of former OL (so-called “office ladies”) who left their Tokyo stock market jobs or what not to embark on a WH to “Kyariyaa appu” (to enhance their career options) or others who simply wanted to a break between jobs or to leave their hectic work lifestyles were not uncommon. In terms of migration-related push and pull factors, the ratio of push to pull factors was arguably quite close.
 
Two decades later in the 2010s, former prime minister Abe Shinzō’s “Womenomics” was launched to close the gender employment gap in Japan. While the overall statistics indicated more women had joined the workforce, a closer inspection of the data revealed that more women were simply engaged in non-regular employment (Bucholz, 2019), and this was also exacerbated by the pandemic in the early 2020s. As Crawford argues, Japanese women became the ‘shock absorbers’ of the Japanese economy given that 710,000 of the 970,000 employees who had been laid off in April 2020 were women (2021). What we have then is decades and generations of women struggling to find stable and equitable jobs or trapped in positions with unfavourable conditions because there is seemingly nowhere else to go. Hence, the appeal of the WH scheme as a gateway to opportunities abroad (if not permanent migration) in a post-pandemic context of rising inflation and rising uncertainty. Media discourse has also drawn attention to this phenomenon. In 2023, Asahi Shimbun had a running opinion piece called Nihon wo detta riyuu [trans. “Why I left Japan”] in which it reported that a record number of Japanese nationals were emigrating abroad and featured the stories of those who left as well as their motives. Common reasons included the lack of work-life balance, the stagnant wages and salaries, and rigid work culture (Asahi Shimbun, 2023). Table 1 (below) is a sample of articles reinforcing similar discourse published within the same year.

Table 1. Media Discourse on the Recent Emigration Phenomenon
 
Due to the ongoing media attention, book publishers have also cashed in on the popularity of the phenomenon and published books regarding working holiday makers’ experiences while offering advice on how to leave “cheap Japan” and realise one’s dreams (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Yasui nippon kara waahori! cover
 
This recent discourse surrounding the phenomenon of young Japanese “fleeing” Japan for opportunities abroad echoes not only the economic factors driving the quasi-exodus, but the frequency and emphasis on the large demographic of women in such articles suggests there are greater factors influencing the trend. What, then, are some of the recent push and pull factors? In an online 2022 survey conducted with a total of 335 respondents aged from 18 to 31, the greatest reason to go on a WH was to “gain experience” (55.2%). This was followed by “improving one’s language skills” at 51.6%, and closely followed by “I want to live abroad” at 50.7% (Value Press, 2022). While the former two reasons seem to suggest some kind of impermanence or eventual return to Japan to resume job-seeking activities, the response “I want to live abroad” is a bit ambiguous regarding the time frame.  And while these surveys gather a lot of quantitative data that seem to indicate that the WH scheme is a career investment between jobs or prior to entering the workforce, determining individual push and pull factors can provide greater insight into the employment and economic issues that young women face and hope somehow to overcome by gaining more skills and experience or simply leaving the country. This, then, brings me to my research questions. While acknowledging that any number of interrelating factors contribute to one’s personal decisions, the two major research questions are nevertheless:


•       What are the push and pull factors driving Japanese women abroad based on their personal study abroad (SA)/WH testimonials?
•       What can be done to address/improve the push factors (particularly regarding labour relations and economic factors)?


To gain insight into these questions, this study essentially involved a discourse analysis of working holiday testimonials in light of recent media discourse surrounding the subject. As well as shedding light on the major factors influencing the trend, this paper also aims to explore the psychological gratifications of WH/gap year experiences and their potential to shift attitudes towards more flexible work/study options in Japan.

Methodology

Considering that at the time of writing, many working holidays makers are currently abroad, this study primarily took into consideration Web-published WH testimonials or interviews from the beginning of “Womenomics” policy in 2012 through to the beginning on 2023. As noted, the research approach basically involved a discourse and sentiment analysis of 30 WH testimonials (sourced online). In retrospect, to gain more meaningful and current data, conducting semi-structured interviews on site would have been ideal. However, due to time and logistical complications, this was not possible.

Sources

The testimonials were sourced from 10 different Japanese WH and expat-related websites (including WH and SA agencies), as well as blogs in June, 2023. See Table 2 below.

Table 2.  WH Testimonial Sources

Testimonial Selection Criteria

To ensure both a diverse sample while specifically focusing on female WH makers’ experiences, the following factors were considered when selecting samples:

i) Both short- to long-term WH experiences were considered given that as a factor, one’s WH duration may provide insight into their motivations.

ii) As the study specifically aims to determine the reasons why Japanese WH makers are using the opportunity to leave the country, testimonials and interviews with Japanese females aged between 18-35 (the general WH age range) were taken into account.

iii) As the “Lehman Shock” in 2008 and Japan’s 3.11 triple disaster in 2011 had significant and enduring effects on the Japanese economy and employment systems, the samples were taken from the beginning of “Womenomics in 2012 through to early 2023 (after the World Health Organisation declared that a global health emergency, COVID-19 was over). This calamity-ridden time frame that spans about a decade is particularly characterised by economic turmoil and the rise in unstable employment, and this is potentially related to “push” factors.

iv) To ascertain whether some WH locations had location-specific “pull” aspects, the sample included a range of Japan’s WH bilateral partner regions (covering Oceania, Europe, North America, and Asia).

Methods of Analysis

Given that the format and styles of presenting and publishing WH experiences varied (namely, interviews, blogs, and prose-like testimonials), both qualitative and quantitative data were manually sorted and coded in order to isolate and identify patterns as well as to gain meaningful insight regarding responses regarding push/pull factors. Each testimonial was placed into a single file, which formed the corpus, and personal information such as the name of the individuals was removed. Since the sample was relatively small, quantitative data such as WH destinations and durations of stays were manually categorised and summarised in the forthcoming charts in the results section. Qualitative findings, such as one’s reasons to embark on a WH, their retrospective thoughts on the experience, as well as push/pull factors, were also manually analysed and coded into various categories. In addition, a basic discourse analysis of co-occurrence patterns, word frequency, linkage, as well as a sentiment analysis of the corpus were performed using the text mining tool User Local. The data and results were then interpreted and tabulated. These findings will henceforth be outlined in the following section with accompanying charts and tables.

Findings and Discussion

Before discussing the key discourse analysis findings, it is worth briefly mentioning some basic trends regarding the popular WH destinations, the duration of the stay, and the general age of the participants.

Destinations

Firstly, as Figure 3 illustrates, the most favourable countries by far were Australia, New Zealand and Canada. However, as I made sure to include destinations over several continents, other major destinations which appeared to be popular were Ireland, the UK, South Korea, and Germany.

Figure 3. Popular WH Destinations

Admittedly, a larger sample would have painted a more accurate picture, but the results nevertheless echo recent media reports and findings from Fujioka’s study which indicate that Australia remains to be one of the top WH destinations. While its proximity to Japan (including minimal time differences), high wages, and geographical isolation from conflict zones make Australia appealing to young Japanese hoping to gain work experience in a safe and comfortable environment, other “pull” factors such as various pathways to permanent residency are worth taking into consideration.

Age

Regarding the age of WH makers, as Figure 4 illustrates, the majority were between 25 to 30 (or in their late 20s). Some of the individuals’ ages were not explicitly stated, but information which indicated they had graduated from university or worked in a company for several years before going on a WH was a way generally to estimate their age range. Given that at least 40% of the WH makers in my sample were between 25 to 30, it is not unreasonable to infer that aside from “reskilling,” some of these individuals might have used the WH system as a last chance or last-ditch effort to change their lives or see what kind of employment opportunities exist abroad. 

Figure 4. Age of WH Makers
 

Duration

As for the average duration of WH stays (refer to Figure 5 below), the standard one-year trip was by far the most popular, signalling that the WH might be considered a career step or gap-year like break before deciding one’s next plan of action. That said, two participants from the sample stayed on for two years and two other WH makers either managed to receive work visas or became engaged to a local and then permanently relocated to their WH destination country. In that sense, we could also argue that the WH potentially serves as a gateway to better employment opportunities or lifestyles abroad. In any case, one thing the individuals in the sample seemed to have in common, which was sometimes explicitly expressed, was some kind of dissatisfaction with their lives and/or no particular ties to their jobs or present situations.

Figure 5. Average Length of WH Stay
 
More pertinent, however, is what triggered some of the WH makers to go abroad in the first place. More often than not, this can be partly determined by looking into their pre-departure situations. Figure 6 provides general insight into the WH makers’ pre-departure situations.

Pre-departure Situations

While some of their pre-WH situations were explicitly stated or detailed, some of them were vague or unspecific. Others had gone through several jobs so multiple industries were listed. For that reason, I had to code the responses based on the industry and type of employment (whether they were working part-time, full-time or juggling several casual jobs as furiitaa). Aside from one individual who worked at the national taxation office, most of the industries listed are generally low paying (such as childcare, customer service, or secretarial work). What is also notable is that almost one third of the sample were full-time salaried employees who had left their jobs. Part-time staff or freeters (so-called “free-arbeiters” who chose to shift between part-time or casual jobs rather than landing full time positions) were also fairly common, as well as students who either deferred university for a year or simply quit university altogether. While this may indicate that there are possibly systemic issues regarding conditions and opportunities for salaried female employees in Japan, these are merely assumptions or inferences. Thus, knowing these individuals’ motivations (whether explicit or implicit) is essential when trying to determine the push and pull factors driving young women to leave everything behind and embark on working holidays.
 

Figure 6. Coded Findings Regarding Motivations & Pre-WH Occupations

Push and Pull Factors

When trying to ascertain the push and pull factors, it was once again necessary to code the responses while taking into account the multiple and intersecting factors which motivated each individual. The overall factors are reflected in Figure 7 below.

 Figure 7. Motivations – General
 
Push Factors
When considering potential psychological push factors, escaping reality is perhaps the most obvious factor, as well as self-discovery or soul-searching. The same could be said about being in between jobs/or taking a career break. Some level of stress or dissatisfaction with one’s life or occupation is arguably driving young women in their 20s to 30s to pack their bags and get away from it all, even if it is just for a temporary change of scenery. This might also be tied to economic or career-related motivations such as actively seeking employment abroad. Although the potential for higher income jobs is alluring in countries like Singapore or Australia, perhaps the lack of promotion, work-life balance and other welfare benefits in Japan are key factors to consider. In addition, almost half of the WH makers expressed a desire to experience living abroad or to simply relocate to another country permanently, which resonated a kind of “I want out” sentiment. In some cases, even just wanting to experience living abroad can be considered as a sort of trial or stepping stone to see what it is like before “the real thing” per se. Although some of these aspects could also be considered pull factors, some degree of dissatisfaction with one’s current life or lifestyle in Japan cannot be overlooked as a push factor. With its stagnant wages, gender pay gap, and not to mention systemic barriers (such as double income limits) that deter women from taking on higher paying positions or leadership roles, taking a leap of faith while one is still young and employable might not be such a fickle decision in the long run.
 
Pull Factors
While acknowledging that some push and pull factors overlap, compared to push factors which drive individuals to leave their homelands, specific pull factors can vary depending on the country. However, considering the results reflected in Figure 7, some of the common pull factors include language acquisition, unique cultural experiences, reskilling, and the opportunity to travel. Interestingly too, some WH makers cited romantic relationships that they had formed abroad as reasons to leave everything behind and continue to either live abroad or find a means to relocate permanently. Generally, though, rather than the “work” in working holidays, gaining experience, or being exposed to new experiences seem to be greater pull factors. Further findings regarding WH makers’ values, motivations and deeper concerns will be revealed in the following section which covers the discourse and sentiment analyses.

Discourse Analysis Findings – Co-occurrence and Overall Word Frequency

Prior to finally discussing how some of the push factors can be addressed, the co-occurrence patterns and overall word frequency findings from the discourse analysis will provide insight into WH makers’ values and attitudes on the subject. Referring to the circled areas in Figure 8’s co-occurrence chart, some of the attitudes towards working holidays become apparent. Desires associated with “wanting something new” (top left corner), “being able to make friends/travel or work” (large cluster), “something different to Japan” (upper right cluster) and [having a] “good experience” (lower right cluster) reinforce the idea that quite a number of WH makers are seeking a change of scenery or wanting to start with a clean slate. As for the word cloud in Figure 9, although “working holiday” and “studying languages,” and the various destinations were pronounced, the most protruding verbs were “can” and “work”. This contrasts the findings from the initial question regarding WH makers’ motivations, where holiday and travel seemed to precede work. This may indicate that the discrepancy between one’s initial motivations and their lived experiences. It may also highlight that while travel is an added bonus, for some of these individuals, the working holiday is less about “holiday” and more about work, if not more favourable employment opportunities leading to permanent residency.

Figure 8. Co-occurrence Chart

 Figure 9. Word Cloud

Discourse Analysis Findings – Sentiment Analysis

Looking now at the sentiment analysis, as Figure 10 illustrates, the tone of the corpus was mostly neutral. However, the overall sentiment was more positive than negative, and expressions of joy occupied the top spot. Nevertheless, utterances exuding tones of sadness and fear were similarly prominent. While it is tempting to attribute this to the fear/anxiousness associated with attempting new experiences or the sadness related to one’s dissatisfaction with their pre-WH circumstances, it would ignore the fact that various factors contribute to these emotions and tones. It must also be noted that sentiment analyses (interpretations of a text’s tones/emotions) which are performed by artificial intelligence tools can be limited, if not biased. Due to this, any assumptions or inferences derived from the findings are not only debatable, but unreliable.

Figure 10. Sentiment Analysis

 
Discourse Analysis Findings – Word Frequency and Linkage

In regard to the word frequency findings, the most frequent nouns (reflected in the top left chart of Figure 11) were relatively predictable considering that language acquisition and work were frequently cited subjects of discussion. Interestingly, in the verb frequency chart (Figure 11, top right), “think,” “can,” and “go” were immediately followed by “work.” This once again indicates that the work was possibly prioritised over travel, especially considering that “visit” or “travel” did not even appear in the top ten most frequently used verbs. Regarding linkage, the bottom of Figure 11 reveals that “Uni-defer,” “English-study,” and “life-fulfilling” topped the list in terms of score and frequency; thus we could probably infer that taking a break off work or studies to improve one’s language abilities (or gain more credentials) was perceived as a fulfilling and rewarding experience for many of the sample’s WH makers. Notable too is the linkage of “work-circumstances” and “anxiety-relief” further down in the list. Although one cannot simply assume that the correlations outright indicate that many of the WH makers’ pre-departure work environments induced stress or anxiety, as one of the most influential push factors for mature WH makers, it cannot be discounted and it must be addressed.

Figure 11. Word Frequency and Linkage

Conclusion

From soul-searching to job seeking, the findings of this study regarding the motivations of Japanese WH makers since the implementation of Womenomics seem to indicate that very little progress has made in terms of labour relations and equity in the workplace for women in Japan. By employing methods of discourse analysis, while also taking into account recent media discourse related to Japanese WH makers and record-breaking emigration figures, this paper has shed light on several concerning push factors influencing the trend of women either temporarily or potentially permanently leaving the country. As I have argued in this paper, the major push factors are largely related to women’s employment circumstances on the premise that many of the WH makers in my sample were motivated to improve their language abilities and soft skills (presumably to secure better positions upon their return to Japan or overseas). However, there were also some WH makers who wanted a change of scenery, to escape reality, or needed a bit of time for soul-searching. And while mainstream media reports continue to boast about the swarms of travellers “pouring” into Japan (Kajimoto & Swift, 2023) and pumping money into the economy, at the same time we are seeing that quite a number of Japanese women are quietly leaving—perhaps not in swarms or droves, but in consistent trickles. Naturally, this is unsustainable for Japan with its rapidly ageing and dwindling population paired with its deteriorating competitiveness and economic robustness. Instead of earnestly working on the key factors which may have driven talented Japanese women abroad, the ongoing employment issues regarding poor work-life balance, lack of promotion, and stagnant or uncompetitive salaries remain largely unaddressed. Consequently, for women starting to feel disillusioned with their jobs or with their employment prospects in general, working holidays seem like a beacon of light. Ultimately, talented human resources will go where they are treated better and paid better, and that is the harsh reality Japan now faces.
 
Taking this context into account, how can these push factors be addressed? One of the major issues is that many businesses in Japan are hesitant to offer more generous salaries or provide more flexible contracts or work environments for full-time employees when it is just as easy to hire contract or part-time workers to do the equivalent and demand less (Chen 2018; Ozaki and Genda 2019). Liu-Farrer and Hof similarly argue that despite Japan’s demographic crisis, “big firms have been able to continuously draw people in for at least a number of years if not permanently” and “this seemingly endless supply of willing workers explains the big firms’ lack of urgency in reforming their organizational practices and curbing abusive practices” (2018, p. 80). Ideally, these are matters that need to be addressed by the Ministry of Labour and Welfare as well as the Ministry of Education by implementing new policies. Some possible suggestions include:

§  Introduce and mandate a gap-year program at all universities (ideally prior to commencing one’s degree or in one’s third year)
§  Pay equity as well as wage increases across the board to deal with the rising costs of living (especially for single, young females with or without children)
§  Greater employment protection and welfare support for anyone in non-regular employment
§  Mandate and normalise year-round staff recruitment and university enrolment
§  Introduce gender quotas, particularly in fields where women are under-represented as well as penalties for business that fail to reach these targets
 

It is debatable whether these suggestions would make a difference in a context notorious for its strong resistance to change, but without any kind of legislative intervention, I believe very little will change any time soon. In any case, it is hoped the findings and discussions from this paper will give institutions in the education and employment sectors an opportunity to reassess their current support systems and programmes for female employees. If progress fails to materialise, it might just be the case that trickles of women flowing out of the country will become droves, and in the worst case scenario, an exodus of talented women seeking employment in countries which embrace diversity, tolerance, and lifestyles that value a comfortable work-life balance. As Liu-Farrer and Hof remind us, in order to change the work culture in Japan, “not only do the companies need to reconsider their career structures, but individual employees also need to reflect on their career choices and life priorities” (2018, p.81). And on this note, rather than “work” or “holiday,” I argue that this very time for reflection is perhaps the greatest affordance of the working holiday.

References

ALC. (December, 1991). 海外キャリアアップ事典 : OL留学を成功させる本 [trans. Guide to Career Development Overseas]. ALC.
 
Asahi Shimbun. (2023). わたしが日本を出た理由 [trans.Why I left Japan]. Asahi Shimbun. https://www.asahi.com/rensai/list.html?id=1730
 
Buchholz, K.(2019, March 6). Half of Japanese female employees work part-time. Statista Daily Data. https://www.statista.com/chart/17262/number-of-japanese-women-working-part-time/    
 
Chen, W. D. (2018). Upward wage rigidity and Japan’s dispatched worker system. Economic Modelling, 73, 152–162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econmod.2018.03.010    
 
Crawford, M. (2021, February 15). Abe’s Womenomics Policy, 2013-2020: Tokenism, gradualism, or failed Strategy? The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 19(4),  https://apjjf.org/-Mark-Crawford/5540/article.pdf                   
 
Fujioka, N. (2017). 若年ノンエリート層と雇用・労働システムの国際化――オーストラリアのワーキングホリデー制度を利用する日本の若者のエスノグラフィー [trans. The young non-elite cohort and the internationalisation of employment and labour systems: An ethnography of Japanese young people using the Australian working holiday scheme]. Fukumura Shuppan.
 
Guruz, K. (2011). Higher education and international student mobility in the global knowledge economy. SUNY Press.
 
Kajimoto, T., & Swift, R. (2023, July 19). Visitors to Japan top 2 million in June for the first time since COVID. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japan-visitors-top-2-mln-june-first-time-since-pandemic-2023-07-19/
 
Kawanishi, Y. (2020). Shuukatsu utsu, the Psychological Toll of Job-Hunting in Japan.
electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies, Vol. 20(3),  https://japanesestudies.org.uk/ejcjs/vol20/iss3/kawanishi.html
 
Liu-Farrer, G., & Hof, H. (2022, October 26). Ōtebyō: The problems of Japanese firms and the problematic elite aspirations. Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/wiapstokyu/34/0/34_65/_article/-char/en
 
MOFA. (2023). ワーキング・ホリデー制度 [trans. Working holiday scheme]. https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/toko/visa/working_h.html
 
Ozaki, T. and Genda, Y. (2019]. 賃金上昇が抑制されるマカニズム [trans. Mechanism of containing wage growth], Kinyuu Kenkyuu [trans. Monetary and Economic Studies, Vol. 39(4) pp. 55-106.

Uesaka, T. (2023). 安いニッポンからワーホリ! [trans. From cheap Japan to working holidays!]. Tōyōkeizai shinpōsha.
 
Uno, S., & O’Day, R. (2020, September 15). Japanese freelance workers struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic: Social Media, critique, and political resistance. The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. https://apjjf.org/2020/18/Uno-ODay.html
 
User Local. (n.d.). Aiテキストマイニング by ユーザーローカル. AIテキストマイニング by ユーザーローカル. https://textmining.userlocal.jp/
 
Value Press. (n.d.). 6割以上が「コロナがなければワーキングホリデーしていた」と回答。コロナ前後の意識の変化は? [trans. More than 60% said they would have gone on a working holiday if it weren’t for Corona. How did attitudes change before and after Corona?]. Value Press. https://www.value-press.com/pressrelease/305894

Appendix A – Media Discourse Sources

 
Horiuchi, K. (2023, January 23). 日本人、静かに進む海外流出 永住者が過去最高の55.7万人に [trans. Japanese people are quietly moving abroad, with the number of permanent residents reaching a record high of 557,000]. Asahi Shimbun. https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASR1R5RGFR1MULFA02K.html
 
Iwama, Y. (2023, November 11). ワーキングホリデー参加者が急増 円安でも「海外経験」[trans. Despite the weak yen, the number of working holiday makers is rapidly increasing in order to gain experience overseas]. Nikkei. https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOUC269NE0W3A920C2000000/
 
Maeda, K. (2023, March 6). Japanese workers become migrants seeking better pay overseas. Nikkei Asia. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-trends/Japanese-workers-become-migrants-seeking-better-pay-overseas
 
Mouke, T. (2023, July 31). なぜ今、若い女性が日本を捨てて海外に行くのか...高齢化が進み年金依存の生活者が増える日本の悲しき末路 [trans. Why young women are now abandoning Japan and going abroad... The sad end of Japan’s ageing population and increasing dependence on pension funds] . Yahoo! News Japan. https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/33da13cd6a3fa7a98d583fafd0949b8293d08dd8
 
NHK. (2023, February 3). “安いニッポンから海外出稼ぎへ” ~稼げる国を目指す若者たち~ NHK クローズアップ現代 全記録. [trans. “Escaping from cheap Japan to work abroad” - Young people have their eyes on countries where they can earn more]. NHK. https://www.nhk.or.jp/gendai/articles/4746/
 
NNA. (2023, December 5). 【オーストラリア】日本人へのワーホリビザ発給数、過去最高に(NNA)[trans.Australia: Record number of work holiday visas issued to Japanese]. Yahoo! News Japan. https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/d76eec6a0f85baed7ba662dffd0b3c0c6d31faaf
 
Oonishi, N., & Suzuki, K. Asahi Shimbun. (2023, March 18). 海外脱出、夢と現実 ~ 大石奈々さん、鈴木謙介さん [trans. Escaping Abroad, Dreams and Reality – Ooishi Nana and Suzuki Kensuke]. Asahi Shimbun. (March 18, 2023). https://digital.asahi.com/articles/DA3S15584267.html
 
Oshiro, N. (2023, May 3). Young Japanese seek way out of country, hit on working holidays. Nikkei Asia. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Work/Young-Japanese-seek-way-out-of-country-hit-on-working-holidays
 
Sasaki, Y. (2023, March 2). 活路は海外? 静かに増加、「日本を離れる」女性たち [trans. Is overseas the only way out? The number of women leaving Japan is quietly increasing]. Nikkei. https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOLM21D1V0R20C23A2000000/
 
Szeto, W. (2023, March 9). Gender inequality driving wave of female Japanese immigrants to Canada. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/japan-women-immigration-canada-gender-inequality-1.6769111
 
Uesaka, T. (2023, November 4). 9割の親世代が驚愕「これが令和のワーホリか!」 [trans. 90% of parents are shocked and wondering, “Is this the working holiday of the Reiwa Period?" Minimum wage is 2,000 yen per hour, 400,000 yen per month working part-time at a cafe...]. Toyo Keizai. https://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/710587

Appendix B - Testimonial Main Sources
 

Affinity. (n.d). Experience. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://affinity-japan.com/category/blog/experience/

Cinanamoroll. (n.d). Experience. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://cinanamoroll.hatenablog.com.
 
ISS. (n.d). Voices. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://www.iss-ryugakulife.com/voices
 
Last Resort (n.d). Experiences. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://www.lastresort.co.jp/experience
 
New Zealand Study-abroad Center. (n.d). Experiences. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://newzealand-ryugaku.com/experiences
 
Ryuugaku Kurabeeru. (n.d). Experiences. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://ryugaku.kuraveil.jp/experiences/
 
Sekai-juu. (n.d.). Life. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://sekai-ju.com/life/
 
Smaryu. (n.d.). Column. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://smaryu.com/column
 
Study Abroad (GIO CLUB). Experiences. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://www.studyabroad.co.jp/working_holiday/
 
World Avenue. (n.d). Experiences. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from https://www.world-avenue.co.jp/experiences

About the Author

Antonija Cavcic: Currently a lecturer at Toyo University, Antonija's research interests include trends in language use and gender representation in print and digital media. Generally, though, she is involved in research concerning both language education and Japanese culture and society.

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