With a focus on Brazilian migrant workers in Japan, this study produces a comprehensive picture of the forces driving transnational labour migration, both in the countries of origin of foreign workers and within Japan. How are Japan s labour institutions changing under globalisation? What are the implications of these changes for the lives of people in Japan? Asking these and other questions, Kiyoto Tanno demonstrates how Japanfs labour shortage has established a trans-national employment systemf and shows that globalisation is the very cause of the breaking up of Japan as a middle class society. He also discusses the impact of concepts of nationality and family registration on the lives of foreign workers of Japanese descent in Japan.