In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Japanese media devoted considerable attention to the issue of "Asian brides", who married Japanese through introduction. This paper compares the overlapping yet differing representations of the brides by marriage agencies, by rural public bodies, and in the media. It aims to identify the way in which Japan made sense of the sudden increase of foreign spouses of Japanese, and to provide a better understanding on the discursive conditions immigrant wives faced in Japan.In the promotional rhetoric by marriage agencies and rural public bodies, the brides were rendered non-threatening to the prospective husbands, with their racial markers being either understated or overstated to maximize their marriageability. The media constructed an image of marriages between disadvantaged "Asian" women and rural farmers, and successfully placed them outside the framework of homogenised middle-class identity.The portrayals revealed the complexity of changing gender, race, and class relations in Japan. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.