Chigusa Yamaura lecture on Colonial memories and marital norms in commercial matchmaking between Japan and Northeast China, Tokyo May 18, 2017

Gregory Noble's picture
May 18, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Chinese History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

The Contemporary Japan Group at the Institute of Social Science (ISS, or Shaken),

University of Tokyo, welcomes you to a lecture by


Chigusa Yamaura

 (University of Oxford)


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



Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Akamon Sōgō Kenkyūtō Room 549, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo



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.



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).


The ISS Contemporary Japan Group provides English-speaking residents of the Tokyo area with an opportunity to hear cutting-edge research in social science and related policy issues, as well as a venue for researchers and professionals in or visiting Tokyo to present and receive knowledgeable feedback on their latest research projects. Admission is free and advance registration is not required. Everyone is welcome.
For more information, including maps and a list of past lectures, please visit our website:
or contact
Gregory W. NOBLE (