Aimi Muranaka

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University of Duisburg-Essen

The role of Japanese intermediaries and language schools in the integration of Vietnamese skilled workers in the IT-sector in Japan

This project examines roles of the Japanese intermediary companies and educational institutions on the qualified Vietnamese IT workers. Exposed to the labor shortage, Japan seeks the skilled foreign workers to fulfill its workforce need, despite the lack of official migration policies. The previous studies also suggest the importance in the role of intermediary and other actors (e.g. educational institutions) in the migration. The current study hence addresses following two questions: how these intermediary and educational institutions contribute to the formation of the Vietnamese IT skilled workers? Secondly, in the male-dominant IT-sector, what are the experiences of female IT specialists from Vietnam in the labor market integration like? This project provides a study of Vietnamese migrants in Japanese labor market, which principally concentrated on Vietnamese workers in low-skilled sector, and this research hence adds a case in the literature of migration in Asia.

Aimi Muranaka works as post-doc at Institute of East-Asian Studies in Duisburg-Essen University. She is also visiting fellow at Sophia University in Tokyo. She has completed her Ph.D. in Duisburg-Essen university, and she has conducted qualitative fieldwork in her work which shed light on how Japanese private intermediary actors contribute to ‘make’ a cross-border labor market between Japan and Vietnam. Her study has combined semi-structured interview, participant observation and documentary approaches. Her research interest is marketisation of migration, skills/qualifications in migration and brokerage.



Muranaka, Aimi (2024): “Being a Foreigner During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Researcher Positionality in Online Interviews”. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 25(1). DOI: 10.17169/fqs-25.1.4075

Muranaka, Aimi. 2023. “‘Framing’ and ‘Packaging’ of Foreign Skilled Workers: Diversity of the Intermediary Actors in the Cross-Border Labour Market Between Japan and Vietnam”. Globalizations. DOI: 10.1080/14747731.2023.2165376

Tran, Huy An and Aimi Muranaka. 2022 “Editorial – Transnational Flows of Contemporary Asia: Trends and Futures”.The German Journal on Contemporary Asia. 162/163: 7-14.

Muranaka, Aimi. 2022. “Brokerage in the cross-border labour market: Recruitment and training of Vietnamese IT workers by Japanese temporary staffing firms.” Asian Studies Review.  46(4): 578-596. DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2022.2093836

Muranaka, Aimi. 2022. “Beyond blue ocean? The roles of intermediaries in the cross-border labour market between Japan and Vietnam.” Global Networks. 22(3): 514-529. DOI: 10.1111/glob.1235610.

Muranaka, Aimi. 2020. “Labor Crossings: The Making of Transnational Labor Markets between Japan and Vietnam.” Ph.D Thesis.