Helena Hof

Helena Hof, Dr.

Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer Social Science of Japan

Phone: +41 44 634 40 91

Room number: ZUB 4-420


Office hours upon appointment.

Research Interests

  • International migration and mobility
  • Gender
  • Labour market
  • Cities and metropolitan diversity

Education and professional experience

02/2020  Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich
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 (during BA program) at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan
2008 – 2012 Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, major: sociology of East and Southeast Asia, University of Bonn, Germany


Journal articles

Hof, Helena and Yen-Fen Tseng. Forthcoming. 'When “global talents” struggle to become local workers: The new face of skilled migration to corporate Japan.' Asia and Pacific Migration Journal 29: 4.


Hof, Helena. '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. 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. ‘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.


‘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. ‘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.


‘‘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.



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

Book reviews


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 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 20(2): 235-38.

Organization of Academic Events

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)

Scientific Reviewing Activities

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

2019 –

Reviewing activities for academic journals (Ethnic and Racial Studies, Mobilities, Applied Mobilities, Comparative Migration Studies)

Grants, Awards and Honors

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)

Institutional Responsibilities

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

Membership in Academic Associations

International Sociological Association:

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