Problems of Sham Marriage between Filipinas and Japanese

by Momoyo Tanaka

Now, sham marriage is a big problem in Japan.  In May 9th 2012, Filipina hostesses and Japanese men were arrested in Tokyo for suspected sham marriage.  In 2010, 5,212 Filipina women and Japanese men couple got married.  This is the second largest amount in the world next to China.  However, 40.5% of them were divorced.  Probably, some divorces were related to sham marriage.  Then, what is the background of the sham marriage problems?  There are two reasons that Filipina hostesses get sham marriage: money and visa.

First, Filipina hostesses need money.  Because brokers arrange for visas, travels, and job placement and lend some money when they came to Japan, hostesses need to return it at high interest.  Also, hostesses were robbed of their passport by brokers to prevent escaping.  They cannot escape from and change the club where they work.  Moreover, hostesses’ wages are low because brokers exploit them.  So, a lot of Filipina hostesses get married to Japanese men, not in love, because of money, like hostesses in the video named “Filipina hostess”.

After that, there is a problem of the visa.  When Filipina women came to Japan to work as hostess, they need an entertainer visa.  Once Filipino can get a visa easily, but in 2005, the U.S criticized Japan as the country that allows sex-trafficked.  So, Japan changed the condition to get visa strictly.  It becomes very difficult to get a visa because it takes 2 years of training or internship.  The number of Filipina hostesses dropped 90%, from 82,471 to 8,607 in 2006, and there become a lot of illegal immigrants.  But if they get married, they can get a marriage visa. Therefore, some Filipina hostesses get married to Japanese men to motive to get marriage visa, and to continue to live in Japan legally.

In conclusion, to get money and a visa, a lot of Filipina hostesses get sham marriage to Japanese men.  However, not every Filipina hostesses get sham marriage.  Such situation causes discrimination against not only legal Filipina and Japanese couples, but also every Filipino.  Thus, sham marriage between Filipina hostesses and Japanese men is a very big problem in Japan now.


1 The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. 2010.“Government’s Statistics” May 18, 2012

2 “Uramono News”. May 18, 2012

3 “Filipina Hostess on Vimeo”. May 18, 2012

4 Lecture slides for class 6 (Filipinas in Japan) by Prof. Robert Moorehead


4 thoughts on “Problems of Sham Marriage between Filipinas and Japanese

  1. Not all Filipino women are working as hostess or club dancers in Japan.

    Most Filipinos have bachelors degrees especially those younger generations.

    The “hostess” or “Japayuki”, a term which is known as counter part of Japan’s “karayuki” era have long gone since 2010s. But not denying the fact that Japayukis era boomed in 1990s. Let me share the point of view here. Japayukis (a term which Filipinos used to refer to women working in Japan as enterainer), have a history how it all began as they were refered to as Japayuki or hostess. Before, they only work as entertainers, the ones who are only working as waitresd, dancers and singers. But unfortunately, as club businesses become larger and larger, a certain mafia began exploiting this field. Those mafias, Japanese refer to as Yakuzas. Some customers whom other suspected as yakuzas began taking out women and get them start to work not only as an entertainer but also an undertable worker,sidelining for one night stands in exchange of large sum of money. No differ from hostesses which Filipinos look down as big no no in their own country. That’s how it all started. Most clubs in mid to late 90s were run by yakuzas. It was said that they exploit and traffked women by recruiting Filipinas, making them sign a contract with huge allowances but in turn, they only give half of what was promised. Even Filipino community did not tolerate this scheme.

    Now adays, Filipinos work not as hostess but in delicate tough jobs of their perspective fields like medical, factories, business companies.. The only problem is their opportunity to stay longer legally in Japan because Alien visa have very limited time allowed for foreigners to stay in Japan. Another problem is the language barrier. Though many Filipinos had passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, some companies does not entertain foreigners who are not fluent in Japanese. Only 50-60% Filipinos are lucky enough to have decent jobs in companies.

    The hostess thing is also a problem in the Philippines that they want to give an end. That is why only a few are allowed to travel in Japan even if you have legal documents. The only ticket they get is that sham marriage. Which is also a big problem at the Immigration. They cant say no to legally married couples.

    We should not stereotype Filipino women. My mother is not a hostess and my father is a Japanese. Most Filipinos have abilities and skills, it is just that they have less opportunities and chances because Japan only have limited opportunities offered to foreigners.

  2. What is goona happen Pilipina got dobel marriage in Japan and srilanka? That Pilipina working in hostess club and Mary Japanese man fir visa, that she have Eto child’s with srilankangut and living in Pilipin?

  3. The Japanese immigration have law about that kind of fake marriage? If immigration officer know that they have fake marriage what will happen to them?

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