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SHE IS NOT LIKE A 'TYPICAL' KOREAN MOM: JAPANESE MARRIAGE MIGRANT MOTHERS’ ROLE

ABSTRACT

South Korean mothers are well-known for their intensive involvement in their children’s education through sharing information among mothers, investment in private tutoring, and intervention in education-related decisions of their children. Likewise, Japanese mothers’ involvement has gained comparable academic attention regarding the importance placed on their children’s education. Given the growth of the Korean marriage market, owing to the increase in (mostly female) marriage migrants from adjacent countries including Japan, the question arises concerning whether Japanese female marriage migrants would display similar patterns of involvement in their children’s education after relocating to Korea. Based on in-depth interviews conducted in 2014 with 21 Japanese-Korean young adults, who were all born to a Japanese-born mother and a Korean-born father, I demonstrate in this study the following. 1) Japanese-born mothers did not use networks among other mothers to obtain education-related information, nor did they intervene in the decision-making processes of their children; 2) fathers of interviewees were rarely involved in their children’s education nor the childrearing, strengthening the conventional image of the father as being the breadwinner; 3) Japanese mothers’ active religious involvement further strengthened the autonomy of their children in education.

Key words: Japanese mother, Japanese-Korean; maternal involvement; South Korea; autonomous learning; the Unification Church; marriage migrant