Recrafting 'selves' : identity transformation among Japanese women students studying in Australian universities

Ichimoto, Takae (2005). Recrafting 'selves' : identity transformation among Japanese women students studying in Australian universities PhD Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Ichimoto, Takae
Thesis Title Recrafting 'selves' : identity transformation among Japanese women students studying in Australian universities
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2005
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Carmen Luke
Brigid Limerick
Total pages 306
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Formatted abstract

How women conceptualise their cultural identities, gender perceptions, and their presentations of self in the wider world in the context of globalisation and internationalisation, is significant and is the focus of this thesis. This study of 17 Japanese women enrolled in postgraduate programs in three Australian universities presents the women's lived cross-cultural experiences and their interpretations of how overseas higher education influenced the recrafting of both their identity and their Japanese femininity. This study is based on a sociological 'multiple-case approach' using the process of ‘reflective conversations'. Conversational semi-structured individual interviews were combined with focus groups and personal reflective journaling to explore the meaning and context of the participants' narratives. 


By linking globalisation, higher education, and the transformation of Japanese women's femininity and identity, this thesis investigated: i) women's subjective understandings of Japanese cultural and gender identity and its relation to their motivations to study in Australia; ii) the personal and professional influences of their cross-cultural and educational experiences; iii) their transforming gender perceptions; and iv) their perceptions of their recrafted selves. A feminist, postmodern position on identity and concepts of self is taken, arguing that the self is socially, culturally and historically (re)constructed, unfixed and multi-dimensional. 


The women's narratives illustrate how they creatively manoeuvre and make choices to craft a new self that accommodates both the local and the global in their lives. The analysis of the women's narratives reflects new and distinctive features of an emerging Japanese cosmopolitan woman. The women see the world as a place for experimentation where they can develop their multi-dimensional identities through their own creative adaptation of self. This ultimately leads them to create for themselves alternative images of the ideal Japanese women. The women's sense of femininity and Japaneseness are no longer seen as pre-determined and immutable, but malleable and open to choice. Such women's intentional unfixity of self highlights the discursive, and hence political, phenomenon of the women experimenting with an expanding sense of self by moving from an externally defined identity constructed in Japanese society, to a self-crafted hybridised identity. I argue that this emergent identity has the potential to provide new directions and new maps for understanding and managing women's transforming selves that go beyond those static images of Japanese women which have historically dominated research as well as Japanese women's lived experiences of normative femininity. 

Keyword Japanese students -- Australia -- Attitudes
Japanese students -- Education (Higher) -- Australia
Women college students -- Japan -- Attitudes
Students, Foreign -- Australia -- Attitudes

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 17 Jun 2013, 11:06:01 EST by Mr Lachlan Wong on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service