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The Immigrant Identity | The “trailing spouses” of Japan with Megha Wadhwa

Over 40,000 Indian migrants currently live in Japan, 30% of whom are females and known as “trailing spouses”. They often find themselves with a total dislocation of culture, language and know-how. The hopes and dreams of hard academic work of the past is often substituted with unexpected isolation, loneliness and unanswered expectations.

Today I am joined by migration researcher and Japanese and Indian Studies Scholar, Dr Megha Wadhwa as we deep-dive into her research of immigrant identity in Japan and how it has redefined her perspectives of life.

About Dr Megha Wadhwa

Dr. Megha Wadhwa is a migration researcher and Japanese and Indian studies Scholar. She is a Research Associate at Free University of Berlin, and a visiting scholar at Sophia University, Tokyo, which is also her alma mater. Her research passion lies in understanding the similarities and differences in the migration trends of Indians in Japan, Singapore, Germany and other places around the globe. Her research focuses on identity, ethnicity, race, social class, women, and skills in migration. She is originally from New Delhi and was a resident of Tokyo for about 15 years before she moved to Berlin in 2021. She is the author of the book ‘Indian Migrants in Tokyo: A Study of Socio-Cultural, Religious and Working Worlds’ (Routledge:2021). She is also trained in fieldwork filming and her recent documentaries include ‘Daughters from Afghanistan’ (2019) , ‘7-min documentary - Indian cooks in Japan’(2020) and ‘Finding their Niche: Unheard stories of migrant women (2022). She has also written several articles on the Indian community in Japan and other topics for The Japan Times and other mediums. Currently her project focuses on ‘Indian Professionals in Japan and Singapore: Migration Trends, Labor Market Integration and Challenges’ and is a part of the research project – ‘Qualifications and Skill in the Migration Process of Foreign Workers in Asia’(QuaMaFA), supported by Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (BMBF) as a part of the ‘Small Subjects’ funding initiative.

Watch her documentary trailer here:


Dr Megha Wadhwa (

Megha Wadhwa: Indian cooks in Japan at the mercy of their bosses and the state? • Graduate School of East Asian Studies (

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