Fellow Researchers Profile

Hilary J. Holbrow

Hilary J. Holbrow

International Research Fellow

Assistant Professor of Japanese Politics and Society, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Indiana University

[Research Themes]
Élan vital for Japan


  • Economic Sociology, Organizations, HR management, Migration



2014.01-2017.05 Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA
2011.08-2013.12 Master of Arts, Sociology Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA
2008.09-2009.06 Inter-University Center for Japanese Studies, Yokohama, Japan
2003.09-2004.04 Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (formerly Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies)
2001.09-2005.05 Bachelor of Arts, East Asian Studies, Boston University, Boston, USA


Hilary Holbrow is Assistant Professor of Japanese Politics and Society at Indiana University. Her research focuses on diversity in Japanese firms. She examines how Japanese firms integrate women and highly skilled foreign workers, and how they can create a positive work environment for employees of all backgrounds. As Japan's population declines, this research illuminates how Japanese firms can best attract, retain, and use a diverse workforce to maintain their existing advantages amidst intensifying global competition.

Dr. Holbrow earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at Cornell University. She is a member of the US-Japan Network for the Future and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University's Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, as Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Harvard Sociology Department, as a Coordinator for International Relation for Japanese local government in Okinawa, and as a Press Assistant at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC. Her research has received support and recognition from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Blakemore Foundation.


  • "When All Assistants Are Women, Are All Women Assistants? Gender Inequality and the Gender Composition of Support Roles," RSF: Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, November 2022.
  • "Detangling Capital from Context: A Critical Investigation of Human Capital Explanations for Immigrant Wage Inequality," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, December 2020.
  • "Detangling Capital from Context: A Critical Investigation of Human Capital Explanations for Immigrant Wage Inequality." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, October 2018.
  • “Comparing the Experiences of High-Skilled Labor Migrants in Sweden and Japan,” International Journal of Japanese Sociology, March 2017. (With Sayaka O. Törngren).
  • “Too Few Women at the Top: The Persistence of Gender Inequality in Japan,” Work and Occupations, March 2017.
  • “Economic Integration of High-Skilled Migrants in Japan: The Role of Employment Practices,” International Migration Review, September 2016. (With Kikuko Nagayoshi).
  • "Global Talent: Skilled Labor as Social Capital in Korea," Work and Occupations, February 2016.
  • "Conformity to Labor Market Norms and Access to Job Search Assistance: A Case Study From Japan," Work and Occupations, May 2015.
  • "Why Asian Americans Are Becoming Mainstream," Daedalus, Summer 2013. (With Victor Nee).


  • “A Dull Knife Still Cuts Deeply: Ethnic Biases and Wage Inequality in the Workplace.”
  • “Capitals or Contexts? An Investigation of Competing Explanations for Immigrant Wage Inequality.”
  • “Evidence for Discrimination in Job Assignment and in Pay Determination at Elite Japanese Firms.”