Over the last decades, my research has examined themes on global Asia (particularly Japan) and its links to North America and the Pacific world from a historical perspective. Funded by the Social Science and Humanities of Research Council of Canada, my current project tackles the history of Japanese migrations through the lens of marriage, divorce, gender relations and state control in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. With a focus on imperial Japan, its Asian colonies, Hawai‘i, and the Pacific Northwest of the continental United States and Canada, I examine the interconnected worlds that Japanese labourers (women and men), prostitutes, farmers, merchants, diplomats, bureaucrats and social reformers created, lived, contested and travelled through.
In earlier work, I examined the intersection of women from the global south, care work and colonialism, among Filipina domestic workers, caregivers and nurses in Toronto, Canada in the late twentieth century.
I am the author of Gendered Passages: French-Canadian Migration to Lowell, Massachusetts, 1900-1920 (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008).
- Y. Takai. Gendered Passages: French-Canadian Migration to Lowell, Massachusetts, 1900–1920. New York: Peter Lang, 2008.
- Y. Takai. “Recrafting Marriage in Japanese Hawai‘i, 1885-1913,” Gender & History 31, no. 3 (October 2019): 646–664.
- Y. Takai. “East Coast, West Coast: Using Government Files to Study Immigration History,” co-authored with Lisa Chilton, Histoire sociale/Social History 47, 96 (May 2015): 7–23.
- Y. Takai. “Negotiating the Transpacific Passages: Japanese Migrants, Steamship Companies, and State Regulators in Early-Twentieth-Century Pacific Northwest,” The Journal of American Ethnic History 30, no. 3 (March 2011): 7–34.
- Y. Takai. “Asian Migrants, Exclusionary Laws, and Transborder Migration in North America, 1880–1940,” Organization of American Historians Magazine of History 23 (October 2009): 35–42.
- Y. Takai. “‘C’était beaucoup de travail.’ Le travail non rémunéré des Canadiennes-Françaises de Lowell (Massachussetts) au vingtième siècle,” Genre et travail migrant. Mondes atlantiques, XIXe-XXe siècles, sous la direction de Manuela Martini et Philippe Rygiel, 183-198. Paris: Publibook, 2009.
- Y. Takai. “Ambivalence of Return Home: Revaluating Transnational Trajectories of Filipina Live-In Domestic Workers and Caregivers in Toronto from 1970 to 2010” with Mary Gene De Guzman. In Dirk Hoerder et al. eds., Towards a Global History of Domestic Workers and Caregivers: 222–241. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, 2015.
- "Via Hawai‘i: The Transmigration of Japanese" in The Meiji at 150 Digital Teaching Resource.
Keywords: Japanese diasporas; transnational migration; global Asia, the United States, Canada; social history; women, gender, sexuality; race; class; borders and borderlands; marriage; nineteenth century; twentieth century