Career Development of Japan’s Business Women Overseas

A/Prof. Nobuko Hosogaya1, Noriko Arai1, Asuka Takeuchi1

1Sophia University, , Japan

This paper is proposed to depict distinctive patterns of trans-career competency of Japanese businesswomen. Samples of this study is categorised as self-initiated expatriates (SIEs), who depart from Japan and participate in foreign firms. Although there have been volumes of studies on Japanese business expatriates, they have not tended to focus on female expatriates. I have ascertained the grounds for Japanese businesswomen’s preference and formation of their career goals by in-depth interviews with some Japanese female professionals working overseas. Their conventions and preferences are different from typical patterns of their male counterparts. Japanese male expatriates generally spend three to five years of overseas assignments and return to Japan and their career must be completed in Japan, but female SIEs never prefer to return, though some express their discontent with living or work conditions in host community. In terms of their career-competency, they have been developed through transnational stages initially from Japan where they attained high level of academic background. These female expatriates do not necessary demonstrate new trend as this type of female expatriates could have been found in several decades ago. However, their mobility and new milieu in overseas have brought their opportunities in overseas position often with career development.


Nobuko Hosogaya is associate professor of industrial sociology and human resource management at the Faculty of Economics, Sophia University, Tokyo. Her resent research has been concerned with the impact of globalization on human resource management in Japanese multinational corporations, and career development of female expatriates. For some years she was an active member of Japan Society of Human Resource Management and committee member for International Relations in the Japanese Sociological Society.



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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