Commoditization of Lifestyle Migration: Japanese Retirees in Malaysia

Mayumi Ono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: This paper aims to explore the relationship between mobilities created from individual choices and the market factors driving lifestyle migration. The transnational mobility of elderly Japanese throughout Asia is considered one of the emerging cases of international retirement migration in Asia, an overall relatively new phenomenon. Through examining the sociocultural aspects of lifestyle migration in the case of Japanese international retirement migration to Malaysia, this paper argues that lifestyle migration, as a form of consumption, results in self-realization that has a culturally specific meaning for Japanese retirees. By linking tourism and migration, this paper proposes that the mobilities market serves as a mediator of transnational human mobilities and argues that the commoditization of Japanese international retirement migration reflects on both the socioeconomic and sociocultural aspects of Japan as an aging society. Ethnographic data, alongside media discourse analysis, demonstrates how the expectation of self-realization is mediated through the promotion of Malaysia as a destination country of Japanese international retirement migration and their culturally specific understandings of retirement lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-627
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 8 2015


  • Commoditization of migration
  • Japanese international retirement migration
  • Lifestyle migration
  • Malaysia
  • Mobilities market
  • Neoliberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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