Cover image for Strangers in the ethnic homeland : Japanese Brazilian return migration in transnational perspective
Strangers in the ethnic homeland : Japanese Brazilian return migration in transnational perspective
Tsuda, Takeyuki.
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Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xx, 431 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
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DS832.7.B73 T78 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Since the late 1980s, Brazilians of Japanese descent have been "return" migrating to Japan as unskilled foreign workers. With an immigrant population currently estimated at roughly 280,000, Japanese Brazilians are now the second largest group of foreigners in Japan. Although they are of Japanese descent, most were born in Brazil and are culturally Brazilian. As a result, they have become Japan's newest ethnic minority.

Drawing upon close to two years of multisite fieldwork in Brazil and Japan, Takeyuki Tsuda has written a comprehensive ethnography that examines the ethnic experiences and reactions of both Japanese Brazilian immigrants and their native Japanese hosts. In response to their socioeconomic marginalization in their ethnic homeland, Japanese Brazilians have strengthened their Brazilian nationalist sentiments despite becoming members of an increasingly well-integrated transnational migrant community. Although such migrant nationalism enables them to resist assimilationist Japanese cultural pressures, its challenge to Japanese ethnic attitudes and ethnonational identity remains inherently contradictory. Strangers in the Ethnic Homeland illuminates how cultural encounters caused by transnational migration can reinforce local ethnic identities and nationalist discourses.

Author Notes

Takeyuki Tsuda is the associate director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California at San Diego.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Tsuda (associate director, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, Univ. of California, San Diego) has produced a penetrating ethnographic study of Brazilians of Japanese descent who have been "return" migrating to Japan in large numbers as unskilled foreign workers (they are now Japan's newest and second largest ethnic minority). Based on several years of field work in Brazil and Japan, where the author lived and worked in the Japanese-Brazilian communities, the book presents a fascinating social and cultural portrait of these "strangers" in their so-called ethnic homeland; it is an insightful look at what Japanese and their Brazilian relatives think of each other and of the concepts of identity, nationality, and the difference between ethnicity and race. Considered a "positive" minority in Brazil, the Japanese-Brazilians find themselves forced into low-status jobs in Japan and looked down on for exhibiting un-Japanese "foreign" characteristics. Ironically, the new immigrants find they like many of these qualities that make them different from Japanese and end up feeling more "Brazilian" than before they came to Japan. The book is very readable, with many anecdotes based on the author's experiences and observations. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels and libraries. M. D. Ericson University of Maryland University College

Table of Contents

Preface: The Japanese Brazilians as Immigrant Celebritiesp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introduction: Ethnicity and the Anthropologist: Negotiating Identities in the Fieldp. 1
Part 1. Minority Status
1. When Minorities Migrate: The Japanese Brazilians as Positive Minorities in Brazil and Their Return Migration to Japanp. 55
2. From Positive to Negative Minority: Ethnic Prejudice and "Discrimination" Toward the Japanese Brazilians in Japanp. 103
Part 2. Identity
3. Migration and Deterritorialized Nationalism: The Ethnic Encounter with the Japanese and the Development of a Minority Counteridentityp. 155
4. Transnational Communities Without a Consciousness? Transnational Connections, National Identities, and the Nation-Statep. 221
Part 3. Adaptation
5. The Performance of Brazilian Counteridentities: Ethnic Resistance and the Japanese Nation-Statep. 263
6. "Assimilation Blues": Problems Among Assimilation-Oriented Japanese Braziliansp. 323
Conclusion: Ethnic Encounters in the Global Ecumenep. 355
Epilogue: Caste or Assimilation? The Future Minority Status and Ethnic Adaptation of the Japanese Brazilians in Japanp. 377
Referencesp. 397
Indexp. 423