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Helena Hof

Helena Hof, Dr.

  • Oberassistenz Lehrstuhl sozialwissenschaftliche Japanologie
  • Programmentwicklung und Studiengangsberatung MAMES
+41 44 634 40 91
ZUB 4-420

Sprechstunden nach Vereinbarung.


  • Sozialwissenschaftliche Japanforschung
  • Migration und Mobility
  • Gender
  • Arbeitsmarkt, Beschäftigungsverhältnisse und Selbstständigkeit/Startups
  • Komparative Städteforschung, Diversität in Metropolen
  • Singapur und vergleichende Forschung innerhalb Asiens

Laufende Projekte

Since 03/2021 QuaMaFa (Qualification and Skill in the Migration Process of Foreign Workers in Asia) is a four-year collaborative project looking into different aspects of qualifications and skills in the process of migration.
Since 12/2019

NODE – New and Old Diversity Exchange NODE – New and Old Diversity Exchange.
The NODE UK|Japan network is led by the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Research into Superdiversity and Waseda University’s Institute for Asian Migrations. Initially funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Japan Foundation, NODE brings together social sciences, arts and humanities academics from the UK and Japan to develop new knowledge and insight about migration-driven socio-demographic change.

Wissenschaftlicher und beruflicher Werdegang

02/2020  Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich
Since 03/2021 Research Fellow, Socio-Cultural Department, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (GER) [part-time]
2018 – 2019 Research Associate/Postdoctoral Fellow, Waseda Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies and Institute of Asian Migrations, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
2019 Lecturer, Graduate School of Global Studies, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
2015 – 2019 PhD in International Studies, sociological/regional focus on East and Southeast Asia
2015 – 2018 Research and Teaching Assistant, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
2013 – 2015 Master of Arts in International Relations, sociological/regional focus on East and Southeast Asia, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
2013 – 2014 Teaching Assistant in the International Study Program, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
2012 Trainee in the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Japan, Tokyo
2010 – 2011 Study abroad (BA) at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan
2008 – 2012 Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, major: sociology of East and Southeast Asia, University of Bonn, Germany



Hof, Helena. 2022. The EU Migrant Generation in Asia: Middle-Class Aspirations in Asian Global Cities. Bristol University Press, Global Migration and Social Change Series.

Journal articles and book chapters

Hof, Helena and Jaafar Alloul. 2023. Migratory class-making in global Asian cities: The European mobile middle negotiating ambivalent privilege in Tokyo, Singapore, and Dubai. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2023.2271669

Hof, Helena. 2022. ‘Die mixed embeddedness ausländischer Unternehmer*innen in Tōkyōs Startup-Ökosystem.’ [The mixed embeddedness of foreign entrepreneurs in Tōkyō’s startup ecosystem] In: Chiavacci, David; Wieczorek, Iris. Japan 2022. München: VSJF – Vereinigung für sozialwissenschaftliche Japanforschung, 233-259.

Hof, Helena, Simon Pemberton and Emilia Pietka-Nykaza. 2021. 'EU migrant retention and the temporalities of migrant staying: A new conceptual framework.' Comparative Migration Studies. 10.1186/s40878-021-00225-5 Watch Youtube trailer here.

Hof, Helena and Yen-Fen Tseng. 2020. 'When “global talents” struggle to become local workers: The new face of skilled migration to corporate Japan.' Asia and Pacific Migration Journal 29 (4): 511-531. DOI: 10.1177/0117196820984088

Hof, Helena. 2020. 'Intersections of Race and Skills in European Migration to Asia: Between White Cultural Capital and ‘Passive Whiteness’. Ethnic and Racial Studies. DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2020.1822535

Hof, Helena. 2020. Opting Out for Getting In: Existential Mobility in European Graduates’ Migration to Asia.' Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies. DOI: 10.1080/15562948.2020.1755761

Hof, Helena. 2020. ‘Locally Embedded Cosmopolitans? European Millennials’ Boundary Work in Singapore and Tokyo’ In Contemporary European Emigration, Brigitte Suter und Lisa Åkesson (eds). Routledge: pp. 39-57.

Hof. Helena. 2019. ‘The Eurostars Go Global: Young Europeans’ Migration to Asia for Distinction and Alternative Life Paths.’ Mobilities. DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2019.1643164.

Hof, Helena und Gracia Liu-Farrer. 2019. ‘Gender, Labour and Migration in Japan.’ In The Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture, Mark Pendleton, Jennifer Coates und Lucy Fraser (eds). Routledge: pp. 189-98.

Hof, Helena. 2018. ‘‘Worklife Pathways’ to Singapore and Japan: Gender and Racial dynamics in Europeans` Mobility to Asia’, Social Science Japan Journal, Special Issue Winter 2018, 21 (1): 45-65.

Liu-Farrer, Gracia und Helena Hof. 2018. ‘Ōtebyō: the Problems of Japanese Firms and the Problematic Elite Aspirations.’ Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies (Waseda), 34: 65-84.


Hof, Helena. 2019. ‘Mobility as a Way of Life: European Millennials’ Labour Migration to Asian Global Cities.’ Waseda Universität, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies.

Book reviews

Hof, Helena. 2022. Book review of “Transnational Musicians. Precariousness, Ethnicity and Gender in the Creative Industry” (Beata M. Kowalczyk, 2020, Routledge). Intersections, 47 (July 2022)

Hof, Helena. 2022. Book review of “Studying Japan: Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods” (eds. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher, 2020, Nomos). Social Science Japan Journal.

Book review of Expatriate Managers: The Paradoxes of Living and Working Abroad, Anna Spiegel, Ursula Mense-Petermann and Bastian Bredekötter (2019). Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration, 2020, 4(2): 275-277.

Book review of `Migration, Whiteness, and Cosmopolitanism: Europeans in Japan`, Milos Debnar. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, XI+235 pp., 89.99€ (ISBN 978-1-13756526-6). Social Science Japan Journal, 2017, 20(2): 235-38.


Hof, Helena. 2022. ‘How COVID-19 changed migration (research): Constrained research practices, constrained migrant subjects.’ Blog post of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, 3 June (

Organisation akademischer Veranstaltungen

Graduate Student Workshop Zurich, Convenor (with Nora Gilgen and Chiara Fusari)

Graduate Student Workshop Facing Methodological Challenges in Asian Studies. Online. November 19, 2020. Covenor (with Nora Gilgen and Fynn Holm)

International Conference The Question of Skills in Cross-border Labor Mobility, Waseda University, Tokyo, September 20–21, 2018. Co-convenor (with Brenda Yeoh, Michiel Baas and Gracia Liu-Farrer)

Wissenschaftliche Gutachtertätigkeiten

10/2020 – Reviews Editor for Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration (Intellect Books)

2019 –

Reviewing activities for academic journals (Applied Mobilities, Comparative Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Global Networks, Japan Jahrbuch, Ethnic and Migration Studies, Mobilities, Sociology of Race)

Stipendien, Auszeichnungen und Ehrungen

2019 – 2023 Early-Career Scientists Award, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Principal Investigator, Project title: “Tokyo's attractiveness for global talent: a comparative study of Tokyo, Singapore, and Sao Paulo”
09/2020 Graduate Campus University of Zurich GRC Short Grant for the Graduate Student Workshop Facing Methodological Challenges in Asian Studies (with Nora Gilgen and Fynn Holm)
2017 Haraguchi Memorial Asia Research Fund, Waseda University
2015 Haraguchi Memorial Asia Research Fund, Waseda University
09/2015 Valedictorian MA Program, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University
2014 Highest Honors List of the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University
2013 – 2018 Future Leader’s Program for Regional Governance and Cooperation in Asia
2009 – 2012 NRW-Stipendium (scholarship of the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)

Institutionelle Verantwortlichkeiten

Academic Advisor and Program Development for the Master of Arts in Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (MAMES)

Member of the Executive Board, VAUZ (Association of Academic Mid-Level Faculty Staff of the University of Zurich)

Member of the Senate of the University of Zurich

Mitgliedschaften in akademischen Vereinigungen

European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS)
German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF)
Swiss Association for Gender Studies (SAGS)
International Migration Research Network (IMISCOE)
International Sociological Association (ISA):

  • RC30 - Sociology of Work
  • RC31 - Sociology of Migration
  • RC32 - Women, Gender, and Society

Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE)