Main Article Content
Globalization has made it easier for retirees to select their desired place to live. International retirement migration (IRM) has become an exclusive activity of retirees from the First World countries. Many of them ventured to spend their retirement years or even the rest of their lives in less developed or developing destinations overseas. Though the idea of Shukatsu or the preparation for the end of life of an individual is nothing new in Japan, the term was just covered in the media recently and garnered attention both domestically and internationally. This article aimed to address two later-life strategies employed by Japanese retirees in response to Japan's super-aged population structure, including IRM and Shukatsu. The practices of Shukatsu (e.g., self-management of one’s last will and funeral arrangements) stemmed from the idea of Japanese people not wanting to become a burden to others, even after they have departed from life. On the other hand, IRM is a long-term or permanent move involving searching for a better way of life at a new destination abroad during the third age and beyond. Like Shukatsu, IRM is a popular alternative among younger old persons to financially, physically, and emotionally sustain their independence. Many Japanese retirees and senior citizens of Western countries chose to retire in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand and Malaysia. Due to unclear timing requirements for the Japanese people retiring abroad, IRM could be considered a pre-episode of Shukatsu before returning to Japan or a part of Shukatsu for those who intended to spend the rest of their life at the destination abroad. The authors reviewed the literature on IRM and Shukatsu regarding Japanese retirees in light of the nexus of these two strategies and policy implications in both sending and receiving countries. Suggestions for further research were also discussed.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
All rights reserved. Apart from citations for the purposes of research, private study, or criticism and review,no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any other form without prior written permission by the publisher.
Ameba. (2019). Shukatsu in Thailand. [Online URL: https://ameblo.jp/sakonnakhonlife/entry-12466719148.html] accessed on June 20, 2020. [in Japanese]
Asahi Shimbun. (2018). Average Life Expectancy, Highest Updated for Both Sexes: 2nd Place for Women and 3rd Place for. [Online URL: https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASL7N51XSL7NUTFK01Y.html] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Benson, M. and O'Reilly, K. (2009). Migration and the search for a better way of life: a critical exploration of lifestyle migration. The Sociological Review 57(4): 608-625.
Cabinet Office. (2018). 2017 White paper on Aging society (full version). [Online URL: https://www8.cao.go.jp/kourei/whitepaper/w-2017/html/zenbun/index.html] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Duangkaew, S. (2015). Lifestyle migration of Japanese: a case study of retired Japanese in Chiang Mai province, Thailand. Japanese Studies Network-Thailand (JSN) 5(1): 57-75.
Duangkaew, S. (2016). Lifestyle Migrarion of Japanese Longstayers and that Impact in Chaing Mai, Thailand. Doctoral dissertation. University of the Ryukyus, Japan. [Online URL: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12000/33727] accessed on June 15, 2020.
Duangkaew, S. (2019). Cross cultural interaction of Japanese retirees through clubs in Thailand. International Journal of Crime, Law and Social Issue 6(2): 75-90.
Fried, L. P. (2014). The Third Demographic Dividend and The Global Challenge of Longer Lives. [Online URL: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-third-demographic-div_b_5527023] accessed on July 1, 2019.
Fried, L. P. (2016). Building a third demographic dividend: strengthening intergenerational well-being in ways that deeply matter. Public Policy & Aging Report 26(3): 78-82.
Fujioka, H. (2017). Change in the choice of funeral location by bereaved families: analysis of the obituary columns in the Shimotsuke Shimbun since the 1990’s. Journal of Human Geography 2018(1): 49-71. [in Japanese]
Howard, R. W. (2008). Western retirees in Thailand: motives, experiences, wellbeing, assimilation and future needs. Ageing & Society 28(2): 145-163.
Howard, R. W. (2009). The migration of westerners to Thailand: an unusual flow from developed to developing world. International Migration 47(2): 193-225.
Kawahara, M. (2010). Adaptive strategy of Japanese senior long-term stayers and local community responses in Chiangmai. The journal of Thai studies 10: 35-55.
Kimura, Y. and Ando, T. (2018). The View Point of Japanese Mass Media for Shukatsu (The Activity of Preparation for Aging and Death. [Online URL: https://ynu.repo.nii.ac.jp/?action=pages_view_main&active_action=repository_view_main_item_detail&item_id=8839&item_no=1&page_id=59&block_id=74] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Kunakornwong, W. (2019). Preparation Before the End Choose to Stay or Go Hopefully. [Online URL: https://tdri.or.th/2019/04/attitude-toward-palliative-care-in-thailand/] accessed on June 15, 2020.
Lastel. (2019). Lastel at Shin-Yokohama. [Online URL: http://lastel.jp/shinyokohama/] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Loanstreet. (2019). Buying Property in Malaysia as a Foreigner. [Online URL: https://loanstreet.com.my/learning-centre/buying-property-in-malaysia-as-a-foreigner] accessed on June 15, 2020.
Long Stay Foundation. (2020). About Long Stay. [Online URL: http://www.longstay.or.jp/longstay/] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Matsumoto, A. (2017). Special Feature: Growing Shukatsu Business. [Online URL: https://www.weekly-economist.com/20171003feature/] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. (2012). Research Report on Dissemination and Enlightenment Toward the Creation of a Safe and Reliable "Life Ending Stage". [Online URL: http://www.meti.go.jp/press/2012/04/20120426006/20120426006.html] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. (2018). Number of Households and Household. [Online URL: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/k-tyosa/k-tyosa18/dl/02.pdf] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia. (2016). Malaysia My Second Home Programme. [Online URL: http://www.mm2h.gov.my/index.php/en/] accessed on June 15, 2020.
Nakano City. (2020). Nakano City. [Online URL: https://www.city.nakano.nagano.jp/kouminkan/2020082100045/] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
NewSphere. (2013). Is the "End of Life" Boom Fueling the Industry? Overseas Media Pay Attention to Changes in Japanese Funerals. [Online URL: https://newsphere.jp/national/20131231-1/] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Nikkei style. (2019). How Much of Pension Can I Get? Elder Lifestyle Deciphered by Data. [Online URL: https://style.nikkei.com/article/DGXMZO46702940Y9A620C1PPE001/] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Ochiai, E. (2009). Care diamonds and welfare regimes in East and South‐East Asian societies: bridging family and welfare sociology. International Journal of Japanese Sociology 18: 60-78.
Okamoto, M., Shimada H. and Saito, N. (2017). View of Life and Death among Elderly People and Preparatory Actions for the End of life-A Comparison of Elderly Persons Living in Urban and Rural Areas in Japan. [Online URL: http://www.nurs.juntendo.ac.jp/file/iryokangokenkyu13_2_07.pdf] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Rodriguez, V. (2001). Tourism as a recruiting post for retirement migration. Tourism Geographies 3(1): 52-63.
Shimada, H. (2020). "The Average Cost is 2.31 Million Yen, Which is the Highest in the World", So Japanese People Can't Stop "Leaving Funerals". [Online URL: https://president.jp/articles/-/38439] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Shimae, K. and Tamagawa, T. (2011). Development of Funeral Service and Funeral Industry after the World War. [Online URL: https://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/120006784917/] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Shukatsu Counselors Association Inc. (2019). What is Shukatsu? [Online URL: https://www.shukatsu-csl.jp/about_shukatsu] accessed on June 15, 2020. [in Japanese]
Spelde, R. M. (2020). Buying Property in Thailand: Thailand Real Estate Laws. [Online URL: https://www.samuiforsale.com/knowledge/overview-property-law-thailand.html#1] accessed on June 15, 2020.
Statistics Bureau of Japan. (2018). Population Estimation (As of October 1, 2018) Summary of Results. [Online URL: https://www.stat.go.jp/data/jinsui/2018np/index.html#a05k30-a] accessed on June 20, 2020. [in Japanese]
Syukatsulabo. (2019). Let's Take Shukatsu Bus Tour! Contents, Benefits, Participation. [Online URL: https://syukatsulabo.jp/article/6394] accessed on June 20, 2020. [in Japanese]
Syukatsulabo. (2020). What is the Situation of Shukatsu Overseas? English/Death with Dignity /Culture. [Online URL: https://syukatsulabo.jp/article/6314] accessed on June 20, 2020. [in Japanese]
Tangchitnusorn, K. and Wongboonsin, P. (2014). International retirement migration of retirees from developed countries: decision-making process and impacts on destinations. Journal of Demography 30(1): 21.
Teh, B. (2018). Retirement migration: the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program and the Japanese retirees in Penang. International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies 14(1): 79-106.
Thailand Immigration Bureau. (2018). Statistics Division, Thailand's Immigration Bureau. Bangkok: Statistics Division, Thailand's Immigration Bureau.
The District Economics Research Institute of Kumamoto Area. (2017). Survey about Shukatsu: What is Shukatsu for Family. [Online URL: https://www.dik.or.jp/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/p_syukatsu_1.pdf] accessed on June 20, 2020. [in Japanese]
Toyota, M. and Xiang, B. (2012). The emerging transnational "retirement industry" in Southeast Asia. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 32(11/12): 708-719.
United Nations. (2019). World Population Ageing 2019: Highlights. New York: United Nations.
Wong, K. M. and Musa, G. (2014a). International second home retirement motives in Malaysia: comparing British and Japanese retirees. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research (20)9: 1041-1062.
Wong, K. M. and Musa, G. (2014b). Retirement motivation among ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ participants. Tourism Management 40(0): 141-154.
Wongboonsin, P. and Tan, J.-P. (2019). Care relations in Southeast Asia: the family and beyond. Boston: Brill.
Wongboonsin, P. and Wongboonsin, K. (2014). Demographic dividend and the future of Asia. In Transformation of the Intimate and the Public in Asian Modernity, edited by E. Ochiai and L. A. Hosoya, pp. 91-115. Kyoto: Brill.
World Bank. (2020). Fertility Rate, Total (Births per Woman) - Japan. [Online URL: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?locations=JP] accessed on June 20, 2020.
Yoshida, E. (2015). International Retirement Migration in Thailand: From the Perspective of Welfare and Social Participation. [Online URL: http://www.kuasu.cpier.kyoto-u.ac.jp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/International-Retirement-Migration-in-Thailand.pdf] accessed on June 20, 2020.