Ex-Filipino hostesses become caregivers

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Japan and the Philippines was completed in 2006. This agreement allowed the two countries to exchange a total of 12,000 caregivers in the next two years.

However, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimates that 500,000 caregivers will be needed by 2016 because of the aging population in Japan. Under the circumstances, many ex-Filipino hostesses, currently living in Japan as wives of Japanese husbands, are being drawn to the nursing care business. These ex-hostesses speak and understand Japanese well, because they’ve lived in Japan for over 20 years, and they have valid visas as wives of Japanese.

A spokesperson for Japan Nursing Care Center Corp says 17 of 22 students at its nursing qualification level 2 courses are Filipinos. Since the level 2 qualification doesn’t require writing exams, but only 132-hour practical training, it is easier for them to obtain a license even if they are not good at writing and reading Japanese.

More than 1,000 Filipinos have graduated from Tokyo Caregiver Academy which has offered caregiver courses to Filipinos since 2005. In 2006, the Licensed Filipino Caregivers Association in Japan (LFCAJ) was established with about 2,000 qualified caregivers.

“My husband doesn’t want me to work as a hostess anymore. I can work as a hostess only when I’m young. I have actually been interested in the caregiver job for awhile,” says a 24-year-old Filipino woman living in Chiba Prefecture.

A caregiver’s job is actually better than a hostess or factory job in which the majority of Filipinos in Japan are involved. While hostess and factory jobs offer low salaries, caregivers can earn more than 1,000 yen per hour. They say that they can make use of their communication skills in Japanese, which they learned as hostesses.

To Filipinos, who grow up in the traditional family system, the situation of the Japanese aging population seems strange. Many Filipino caregivers say, “Why don’t families take care of the elderly in Japan?” The Filipinos are good at taking care of the elderly and know how to communicate with them.

A man in his 60s who lives in a nursing home says, “Filipino caregivers are better than Japanese. They speak better Japanese than Japanese people.” Another man in his 70s also says, “It is much better to be taken care of by them than living alone at home. Are they Filipinos? I don’t care. I just appreciate the fact that someone takes care of me.”

One insider at a nursing home says, “Even if they can speak Japanese, foreigners cannot take care of old people. They can’t tell them stories and sing songs together.” Some Japanese people say Filipinos are stealing job opportunities in Japan. Whatever the complaints may be, the government cannot deny the fact that more caregivers are necessary. (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)

  • 0

    rjd_jr

    "Hostesses" huh? Nice, love the blurb about a 24 year old lady who is "too old" to be a hostess. Interesting article with lots of positives, but my bet is that most here will reply to the last paragraph, lol.

  • 0

    outofmydepth

    i say anyone who is willing to be caregiver and can pass the test should be one. in this country there is so much stuff about being unique...not our culture...they dont understand. there are no national boundries to kindness, thoughtfulness and caregiving. actually, those filipinos who want to come here and do the work japanese people dont want to do are UNIQUE and we should treasure them.

  • 0

    tokyotom

    I have seen many hostesses older than 24, most are older than that although they claim to be 20......

  • 0

    javnation

    "Hostesses for 1000en per hour" now things are improving in Japan..........Maybe I will retire here :)

    Jav

  • 0

    RMGTTF

    "hostess and factory jobs offer low salaries"....caregivers can earn more than 1,000 yen per hour

    WTF? I don't know it for sure but hostess must earn way more than that, factory jobs on the average offer 1,000 yen per hour so I say the article is full of bs

    sing songs together.”

    Yeah I forgot all old people loves singing songs with their caregivers

  • 0

    ronaldk

    I worked as a bartender at a snack in the boondocks of Wakayama City a long while back and the hostesses there got 1500 yen/hour.

  • 0

    tokyotom

    hostesses get much more than 1000 yen per hour, uriage back, shime, all sorts of "clips" from these "clip joints"

  • 0

    Taka313

    Hostess workers transitioning to caregivers...

    Well, we know that they know how to pour drinks, so...there's that.

    Taka

  • 0

    wilbur

    if you're doing a job that no locals want, i don't think it can be called 'stealing'

  • 0

    RMGTTF

    It is stealing!!. Those jobs are for all those kawaii and efficient Robots (big sarcasm)

  • 0

    electric2004

    Where can I get mine?

    And the government pays, so that I have her both a nurse and a hostess? Perfect!

  • 0

    Leopalace

    From what I've seen, Filipino hostesses do a pretty good job of singing songs with japanese.

  • 0

    potchari

    Ex-hostesses?? I'm sure with a little tip here and there a little special care(?) will be given. Once a hostess always a gold digger

  • 1

    soothsayer

    rjd_jr,

    my bet is that most here will reply to the last paragraph, lol.

    I admit that it was tempting, but I've got to say that one of the real insiders, the old bloke who said he was just happy to have someone care for him regardless of nationality is probably voicing the opinion of most people. As you said, lots of positives in this article, and I for one am not going to let a couple of dodgy quotes about singing ability and hikkikomori having jobs stolen from them spoil it!

  • 0

    jonobugs

    What? Filipinos can't sing? I thought Karaoke was more popular in the Philippines than in Japan!

  • 0

    Hawkeye

    Caregivers is an interesting concept for registered aliens from the Philippines. When they were hostesses they were caregivers in another way and now the Japanese are finding better use for them.

  • 0

    Pukey2

    sooth:

    I for one am not going to let a couple of dodgy quotes about singing ability and hikkikomori having jobs stolen from them spoil it!

    Damn! rjd_jr was just waiting to pounce on people like you!

  • 0

    Xentrix

    yeah, I agree Filipinos are good in caring people. But they are just deprived from lack of high level working opportunities. Thanks to the good job possibilities for Filipinos in Japan. They love their neighbor countries.

  • 0

    zanza123

    1000 yen per hour, that is just chump change, compared to the US. Either this article's information is false, or some folks are getting robbed while on their way over to Japan.

  • 0

    shmave

    Trying to be positive: I think it's good that the filipinas are actually making better of themselves than sticking with the hostess/performer scene. Like the 24yo, in the article, at 40-50y/o, how far can you get with so-limited experience?

    On the other hand: Oh no! Now where are the 50-60y/o single Japanese men going to find 20y/o women to marry them? Wait a minute!...That's why the hostesses shifted to caregivers...so they can now find 70-90y/o men to marry them! Ahhh.....inheritance¥¥ sooner.

  • 0

    GG2141

    I don't really think that the mind-set of a Hostess will translate well into a care-giver.

    Then again, the option of a "happy ending" after a sponge bath is appealing.

    Still, I think it is a bad idea having predatory Hostess vampires taking care of the aged.

  • 0

    Good_Jorb

    1000 yen per hour, that is just chump change, compared to the US. Either this article's information is false, or some folks are getting robbed while on their way over to Japan.

    Actually it's almost the exact same wage. Perhaps you were thinking about nursing wages?

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-09-26-elder-care_x.htm

  • 0

    gerriburn

    I'm also a Filipino and it's sad reading some of the comments being written here. This article is supposed to be taken on a positive light, giving chances to the unfortunate "hostesses" from being corrupted for a measly change. At least that would give them the opportunity to better themselves and help their family back in the Philippines as well.

    As for "stealing the jobs" there will always be Japanese who would feel that way, same with Americans vis-a-visa Mexicans.

  • 0

    infinite_trial

    have you read the part where it says that these filipinas are married to japanese citizens and have valid visas?

    Wait a minute!...That's why the hostesses shifted to caregivers...so they can now find 70-90y/o men to marry them! Ahhh.....inheritance¥¥ sooner.

    when you guys get old, it won't matter who'd take care of you. at least these people are willin to clean your/someone else's cr@p which your/their families couldn't do.

  • 0

    leileichan

    I'am a filipino and I have a sister in Japan and now studying to become a caregiver...I strongly disagree with some of the comments written here,though it's your opinion...but the fact that these hostesses became a caregivers and leaved their old job being entertainers is a very big wow already...because they decided to changed their lives before it's too late...because being a caregiver is a long term career...and you guy's must agree that filipino's are the best caregivers in the universbecause we took very good care of your old ones...

  • 0

    freedomv26

    I read with an open mind all your comments on foreign workers like me. I respect your opinion and that is your opinion and not necessarily the truth of the matter. Filipinos like me, work hard to earn a living.. there maybe some who capitalize on their bodies to earn money to send home, but do you know why they do that? for all you know it is a matter of life and death for them.. so can anyone blame them or do we have the right to judge them? I am a caregiver here in Japan and a dedicated one. I care for my patients just as I would if they were my loved ones. We Filipino caregivers are trained to really render human service and treat our patients as human beings, with dignity, with compassion.

  • 0

    Yonissa Yano

    i think everyone has the right to say anything,but i believed that anybody whose intentions are clean enough and who just wanted to work for a living in order to survive is something that is considerable.As long she/he never hurts anybody.Others are too judgemental,but the question is "are you sure that when you grow old,you can still manage to take care of your own self?"what if even your family ignores you and worst, leave you alone in a nursing home?nobody's perfect in this world!NOT EVEN YOU!

  • 0

    prosesandlyrics

    so it's true that "dogs bark at strangers." lol~~~~ people who don't know both worlds will always have foul comments. Being a hostess at night and a professional caregiver at daytime, so far has been the most fulfilling career for me. You can say all the worst words against filipino hostess/caregivers like me but the hell i'd care..Taking care of the elders at a young age is a like an advance course regarding how well can you manage yourself before you reach the senescence stage. I learn a lot from the elders, their stories of happiness and hardships, I share what I've learned from them to my customers in clubs, and they appreciate it..People who's on the right frame of mind will understand the depth of this professions, but those with minds smaller than nuts will always talk cheap.

  • 1

    Gloryjean Salvacion

    im filipina/japanese lived 18 years japan i both dont agree what they says about hostess and caregiver.im been married and divorce and re marry ,i did work both,as a person i want to experience hostess job,im bored at day japanese were noisy at all,so i want to met pinays i found happiness with them ,they cooked delicious at the bar,im been there for eating and play but with salary 3 days 4-5 hours but work at the company 5 days a week,so i want to experience again care giver worked then i take exams same as japanese kanji to become permanent then they trained me 3 months ,i passed all im here 4 years now,this job is low salary not 1000 yen per hour but work same as teacher and nurse,obligations is very important at his job,coz life saving,they wants more filipino the manager told me coz branches open again and again 14 branches and 1 big hospital.they known filipino were trusted,loving,interesting,thoughtful,understanding.and so many qualities,as as me,dont say bad to others ,as a person coz person is not perfect but love them with all youre hearts as the bible says

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