Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism 9780822385134

A multidisciplinary study of the transnational cultural identity of Brazilian nationals of Japanese descent and their mo

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Searching for Home Abroad: Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism
 9780822385134

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searching for home abroad •••••

searching for home abroad Japanese Brazilians and Transnationalism •••••

Edited by

jeffrey lesser •••

Duke University Press Durham and London 2003

© 2003 Duke University Press All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper  Designed by Amy Ruth Buchanan Typeset in Quadraat by Tseng Information Systems, Inc. Library of Congress Catalogingin Publication Data appear on the last printed page of this book.

••• Karen Tei Yamashita, ‘‘Circle K Rules,’’ in Circle K Cycles. Copyright © 2001 by Karen Tei Yamashita. Reprinted with the permission of Coffee House Press, Minneapolis.

For Eliana, Aron, and Gabriel •••

contents •••••

Acknowledgments • ix Glossary • xi jeffrey lesser • 1 Introduction: Looking for Home in All the Wrong Places jeffrey lesser • 5 Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei: A Short History of Identity Building and Homemaking shuhei hosokawa • 21 Speaking in the Tongue of the Antipode: Japanese Brazilian Fantasy on the Origin of Language koichi mori • 47 Identity Transformations among Okinawans and Their Descendants in Brazil Interlude karen tei yamashita • 67 Circle K Rules

angelo ishi • 75 Searching for Home, Wealth, Pride, and ‘‘Class’’: Japanese Brazilians in the ‘‘Land of Yen’’ joshua hotaka roth • 103 Urashima Taro’s Ambiguating Practices: The Significance of Overseas Voting Rights for Elderly Japanese Migrants to Brazil takeyuki (gaku) tsuda • 121 Homeland-less Abroad: Transnational Liminality, Social Alienation, and Personal Malaise keiko yamanaka • 163 Feminization of Japanese Brazilian Labor Migration to Japan daniel t. linger • 201 Do Japanese Brazilians Exist? Contributors • 215 Index • 217

acknowledgments •••••

Like many academic collections, Searching for Home Abroad has wandered down (or perhaps up) a long road on its way to completion. The authors worked very hard on their chapters, and we all benefited greatly from careful readings by Dr. Lane Hirabayashi and an anonymous reader for Duke University Press. Dr. Hirabayashi was a splendid colleague throughout the preparation of this manuscript, reading some of the material more than once and always insisting that we bring the work to a higher level. His attention to detail and his superb critiques were crucial to the intellectual labor of this volume and I, in the name of all the authors, thank him for his efforts.While each author was responsible for her/his own translation and transliteration, I would like to thank Joshua Hotaka Roth, who, like me, was in São Paulo conducting research during much of the final preparation of this manuscript. He was a constant help in translating material from Japanese to English and working with me in the final editing of some of the chapters. In the early stages of the project, Jayme (Akers) Feagin of the department of history at Emory University was very helpful in the preparation of the manuscript. Special thanks go to Ryan Lynch, also of the department of history at Emory University, for her invaluable help in the final stages in the preparation of the manuscript. Finally, I would like to thank Valerie Millholland for her support of this project, Miriam Angress and Leigh Anne Couch for their help with my constant questions, and Patricia Mickelberry for a magnificent job of copy-editing this volume.

glossary •••••

Many of the terms used in this volume are highly debated, and readers are urged to look carefully in each essay for discussions of usage. This glossary is therefore not a definitive guide. Assen and Haken Gyosha: Japanese words referring to labor brokers ( gyosha) who act as intermediaries (assen) between workers and employers by hiring the former and dispatching (haken) them to work in the latters’ factories. colônia-jin: a term by Japanese and their descendants in Brazil to represent permanence rather than a desire to return to Japan. dekasegui (including the Portuguese variant dekassegui or the Japanese romanization dekasegi ): in its original usage in Japan, this term was used for people who left their birthplace to work temporarily elsewhere. More recently it has come to mean foreign workers of Japanese descent in Japan. empreiteira: contract employment firm.These companies recruit Brazilian workers to and in Japan. front door and back door: types of governmental policies controlling admission of unskilled foreign workers. A front-door policy makes contract labor programs legally available to unskilled foreign workers; a back-door policy officially prohibits unskilled foreign workers from being employed but in practice admits them through the ‘‘back door’’ of artificial contract labor programs. gaijin: outsider or foreigner; a person who is not Japanese. In Brazil this term is often used by Nikkei for non-Nikkei Brazilians. haiku: Japanese seventeen-syllable poetry.

xii • Glossary

imin: immigrant. isei (or issei): Japanese immigrants (to Brazil or elsewhere). japonês: person of Japanese descent (sometimes restricted to those born in Japan). jus sanguinis and jus soli: jus sanguinis (law of blood) refers to the principle of citizenship law by which one becomes a citizen of a nation by being born to a parent who is a citizen, whereas jus soli (law of land) refers to a rule by which one becomes a citizen by being born in the territory of a state. Kasato Maru: the first ship with Japanese immigrants to Brazil (1908). kenjin-kai: prefectural association. mestiçagem: racial and cultural mixing. mestiço: person of mixed race. Nihonjin: Japanese. nihonjin-kai: Japanese associations. Nikkei: person of Japanese descent born overseas. Nikkeijin: see Nikkei. Nipo-brasileiro: Japanese Brazilian. nisei (or nissei ): child of Japanese immigrants (to Brazil or elsewhere). san k (three k’s): a term used to describe the work that migrant workers accept, usually in factories—kitani (dirty), kitsui (difficult), kigen (dangerous). sansei: grandchild of Japanese immigrants (to Brazil or elsewhere). saudade: a term used frequently in Brazil that includes notions of homesickness, nostalgia, and longing. Seicho no Ie: a nationalist religion that became popular after World War II for its belief that Japan was the center of the world and that the center of Japan was its emperor. transnationalization: social process by which characteristics (social, economic, technological, political, etc.) arewidelydiffused beyond the borders of their countries of origin. Tupi: name of the largest indigenous nation in South-West Brazil—almost annihilated during the colonial period. Uchinanchu: a term used by Okinawans for themselves. Uchinanguchi: Okinawan dialect. Yakuza: Japanese word referring to organized criminal gangs or their individual members. Yamatonchu: a term used by Okinawans to designate Japanese from the mainland. Yonsei: great-grandchild of Japanese immigrants (to Brazil or elsewhere).

jeffrey lesser •••••

Introduction: Looking for Home in All the Wrong Places •••

Is home a place or a state of mind? Is it both? Does a person have multiple homes or just one? Can home change rapidly, like the weather, or is the process of homemaking and home breaking a constant one? The authors who have contributed to Searching for Home Abroad analyze these questions by examining a rarely studied but extraordinary case of transnational homemaking, breaking, and transforming: the migration of hundreds of thousands of Japanese to Brazil in the first half of the twentieth century, followed by the migration of hundreds of thousands of Brazilians to Japan in the last decades of the same century. The terms used to describe both movements are highlycontested.Were Japanese citizens who went to Brazil believing they would build a ‘‘New Japan’’ immigrants or imperialists? Are Brazilians who qualify for special labor visas because of their ostensible Japanese descent involved in a ‘‘return’’ to Japan, a classic labor migration, or something altogether different? Does the term Nikkei, now regularly used by scholars of ethnicity to refer to people of Japanese descent, have much meaning when notions of gender, class, generation, national identity, and subethnic identity are introduced? By approaching these questions from a number of perspectives, this volume expands a discussion of ethnicity by introducing significant, and complicating, nuances into notions of modernity, globalization, diaspora, and transnational identity. Some of the essays examine Japanese immigrant and Japanese Brazilian life in Brazil while others analyze the so-called dekassegui (or, in the Japanese romanization, dekasegi ) movement of Nikkei and their often non-Nikkei spouses and ‘‘mestiço’’ children to Japan. All contextualize Brazilians as part of a broader minority

2 • Jeffrey Lesser

experience in Japan or analyze the Nikkei experience as that of a Brazilian minority. However, one author asks whether ‘‘Japanese Brazilians’’ exist outside of academic taxonomies or should exist within them, while another, on Uchinanchu (Okinawan) identity in Brazil, suggests that ‘‘Japanese’’ and ‘‘Japanese Brazilian’’ ethnicity are culturally imperialist markers. The volume comes to no conclusion: the multiple experiences and perspectives of the search for home abroad are not easily resolved. The essays in this volume seek to complicate rather than resolve. The authors are based in different disciplines and bring different national and intellectual traditions to scholarly research. Yet what ties all the essays together is that notions of ‘‘home,’’ and its related concept of ‘‘diaspora,’’ are constantly in play. At one level, ‘‘home’’ for Japanese Brazilians is related to ‘‘nation,’’ although whether that nation is Japan or Brazil appears to be in flux. Indeed, much of the evidence generated in Searching for Home Abroad suggests that Brazilian Nikkei ethnicity is related mightily to nationalism but that the sense of nationalism comes most into play in the places where Nikkei are not. This is most notable when Brazilians move to Japan and find themselves feeling, and being perceived, as fully Brazilian, often for the first time. In other words, the chapters in this volume often suggest that home(land) and ethnicity have an inverse relationship. The authors often come to very different conclusions about identity, although all understand transnationalism as a historic and continuing phenomenon. Shuhei Hosokawa sees ethnic strategy among Japanese immigrants arriving in Brazil in the early twentieth century as a bizarre mixing of Japanese and Brazilian national identity formation, while Koichi Mori sees Brazilian nationalism among Nikkei primarily as a means of separating those of Uchinanchu (Okinawan) descent from those of mainland Japanese (Naichi) background. Daniel Linger’s work with individual Brazilians living in Japan leads him to wonder if diaspora is an appropriate term for Brazilians in Japan and if Japanese Brazilians even ‘‘exist.’’ Keiko Yamanaka and Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda, on the other hand, study community institutions and come to a rather different conclusion: that Japan is a place where Japanese Brazilians are made. The essays herein, by looking at different phenomena at different levels—experiential, organizational, discursive—come to a wide range of conclusions. Yet all seem to agree that ethnicity is nothing if not situational, even if the scholarly study of the phenomenon often leads to conclusions determined by discipline, by topic, and by degree of resolution. Nikkei ethnicity does not mean the same thing in Japan as it does in Brazil; it does not mean the same thing in the factory as

Introduction • 3

it does in the bank; and it does not mean the same thing for an immigrant to Brazil as it does for her/his grandchild. This collection, then, raises many important questions about the different elements that make up ethnicity and the conditions under which those ethnic markers are highlighted or minimized. ••• Searching for Home Abroad opens with my short history of migration and identity, wherein I seek to contextualize the stories of Japanese and Brazilians while arguing that notions of nation are never simply spatial; I suggest that, at least in some cases, home is where you are not. Shuhei Hosokawa, an ethnomusicologist, continues along these lines, showing how Japanese immigrants and Brazilian nissei (the first generation born in Brazil to Japanese immigrant parents) sought to use myths of language to cement a place for themselves atop Brazil’s racial pantheon. By tearing apart The Tupi Lexicon, a dictionary/primer on ethnic construction written by one of the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in Brazil, Hosokawa takes the position that Japanese Brazilian ethnicity is Brazilianization gone haywire. Koichi Mori, a Japanese anthropologist resident in Brazil, comes to a rather different conclusion in his study of Uchinanchu (Okinawan) ethnicity, urging readers to reevaluate the notion of Nikkei ethnicity. His research suggests that Brazilians of Okinawan descent have successfully built an identity in Brazil that is different from that of (mainland) ‘‘Japanese’’ Brazilians. Karen Tei Yamashita’s ruminations on her experiences as a Japanese American (U.S.) artist and scholar living among Nikkei in Japan provide an interlude between Brazil and Japan. Her ‘‘Circle K Rules’’ brings a human face to the subjects of academic study in the other chapters. The contribution by Angelo Ishi, a Brazilian who lives in Japan, marks a chapter of Searching for Home Abroad that locates Brazilians in Japan. He argues that the dekassegui migration is economically rather than emotionally motivated, but that it is the ability to consume in an uppermiddle-class ‘‘Brazilian’’ way that allows Nikkei to see their success in Japan in a Brazilian manner. The anthropologist Joshua Hotaka Roth does much the same thing, locating people physically in Brazil and psychologically in Japan. He examines how older Japanese citizens who are long-term residents of Brazil renegotiated their own ambiguous identities in response to the institution of an absentee ballot system in Japan in 1999. He sees nationality as an attempt to fix identity among people who refuse to accept such exacting categories, and his elderly subjects ‘‘can both identify and disidentify with Japan practically in the same breath . . . They

4 • Jeffrey Lesser

can be Japanese and therefore Brazilian.’’ The anthropologist Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda sees things differently. His essay proposes that migration is not always liberating and that Nikkei in Japan are filled with ethnic self-consciousness. It is exactly the clash that takes place as the multiple expectations of foreignness and sameness collide that is the topic of Keiko Yamanaka’s chapter. She argues from a sociological perspective that Nikkei women workers in Japan have to be contextualized within a broad framework of foreign female labor that has become a hallmark of Japanese immigration policy. The volume concludes with Daniel T. Linger’s challenge to the entire notion on which the collection is based: is there a social/ethnic group that can be defined clearly as ‘‘Japanese Brazilian’’? The essays that make up Searching for Home Abroad suggest no easy and comfortable agreement on ethnicity. Even so, the authors seem to concur, at least implicitly, that ethnicity is not ‘‘natural’’ but constructed, and as such is highly mutable. Sometimes that construction is explicit and ethnicity/identity/home seems to be a resource that is deployed in certain ways at certain moments. Perhaps this ethnicity is ‘‘Brazilian’’ and has specific national-cultural dimensions. Without a doubt, many readers in the United States will be surprised to think of ethnicity as currency in the marketplace of jobs, marriage partners, or cultural action, but a number of the essays suggest just that, whether their subjects live in Brazil or Japan. Sometimes, however, ethnicity seems less strategic in its construction. Indeed, ethnicity sometimes appears to be ‘‘real’’ in that it is an emotional (and thus perhaps not explicitly strategic) way for people to comfortably think about themselves in both comfortable and awkward circumstances. Perhaps, then, Brazilian ethnicity is not an é (from the verb to be [ser] in its nontransitional usage) but an está (from the verb to be [estar] in its transitional usage). Wondering if a Brazilian of Japanese descent está Nikkei perhaps offers the ideal ending to a group of essays meant to challenge and provoke rather than to resolve and satisfy.

jeffrey lesser •••••

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei: A Short History of Identity Building and Homemaking •••

Japanese diplomat Sho Nemoto arrived in Brazil in September 1894, just as Brazil’s planters were becoming disillusioned with European laborers who seemed more interested in protesting against labor and social conditions than in working as replacements for slaves (Holloway 1980, 36, 48). The Brazilian elite’s hunt for submissive labor melded well with the Japanese government’s desire to export its land-based citizens, who they proposed were the ‘‘whites’’ of Asia. In a self-penned front-page article in the widely read newspaper, Correio Paulistano, Nemoto wrote of his ‘‘enchantment’’ with Brazil, where Japanese immigrants ‘‘could be perfectly settled’’ and ‘‘improve our standard of living, buy property, educate our children, and live happily.’’ 1 Building on his homeland’s remarkable economic growth in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, the diplomat sold Japanese immigrants as everything Europeans were not: quiet, hard-working, and eager to become Brazilian. Nemoto left Brazil without a colonization contract—the lack of treaty between the two countries made such formal deals impossible—but within fifteen years the bureaucratic problems were resolved (Saito 1961, 26–27). Between 1908 and 1941 some 189,000 Japanese immigrants would settle in Brazil (followed by another 50,000 after World War II), almost all with some sort of subsidy. In general, Japanese immigrants were well received by a Brazilian elite that often placed them in a hierarchical position equal or superior to Europeans. In Japan there was similar enthusiasm for migration to Brazil, believed to be a country of immense potential wealth. It was a cause for celebration when the Kasato Maru arrived in Santos with its Japanese immigrant passengers in June 1908. São Paulo’s inspector of agri-

6 • Jeffrey Lesser

culture, J. Amândio Sobral, was impressed that almost 70 percent of the newcomers were literate and ‘‘in flagrant contrast . . . with our [Brazilian] workers’’ did not seem poor. Class status was accompanied by an ethnic reclassification of immigrants who arrived in ‘‘European clothing’’ all of which ‘‘had been purchased in Japan and made in Japanese factories.’’ The attempt to place Japan in a European category is clear: the Japanese had ‘‘combed hair that was perfectly in harmony with their ties.’’ The living and eating quarters on the Kasato Maru were in an ‘‘absolute state of cleanliness,’’ and everyone had ‘‘clean clothes’’ and ‘‘clean bodies’’ and even ‘‘carried toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and razors.’’ The inspector was particularly pleased that the newcomers liked ‘‘our food, made in our way and with our spices,’’ an unknowing reflection of the fact that the majority aboard the Kasato Maru were from Okinawa, a tropical region where the eating of pork and highly spiced food was common.2 The immigrants themselves seemed equally pleased: a strange twist of fate put the docking during a festa juninha celebration that the newcomers mistakenly believed was in their honor.3 The early years of immigration never lived up to the unrealistic expectations since Japanese were as unwilling to suffer bad treatment as other immigrants. Both Japanese and Brazilian officials, however, were eager to continue settlement, and Japanese-run colonies seemed a perfect solution to the labor problems. With the help of the São Paulo state government, Japanese firms began to purchase large plots of land in regions where little agricultural development had taken place. This meant an end to the difficulties with Brazilian landowners and the opportunity to focus on settlement and production such that the profits would flow toward the immigrants themselves, both discouraging existing immigrants from returning to Japan and encouraging potential immigrants to move to Brazil. The colonies were a success, helping to encourage a nascent Japanese Brazilian culture with constant cultural reinforcement from the homeland. A widespread nihon gakko (Japanese school) system was established with curriculums modeled on Imperial ones and printed materials from Japan. Brazilian-based Japanese-language newspapers were widely read and by 1918 three newspapers were published in São Paulo. In 1929 the Nippak Shinbun began publishing some pages in Portuguese for the growing number of Brazilian born Nikkei (the general term for those born in Brazil of Japanese descent) who were unable to read Japanese well.4 It was in the twenties, just as Nikkei ethnicity began to emerge, that Brazilian commercial interests in Japan exploded. Japan became an important market

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei • 7 table 1. Japanese Immigration to Brazil, 1908–1941 Years

Number

–

,

–

 , 

–

, 

 –

, 

Source: Hiroshi Saito, ‘‘Alguns Aspectos da Mobilidade dos Japoneses no Brasil,’’ Kobe Economic and Business Review 6th Annual Report (1959): 50.

for everything from rice to coffee, and Japanese immigrants and their production were seen as crucial both to the buying and selling parts of the equation.Yet the increasing official ties between Brazil and Japan were challenged by a new public campaign against the large numbers of ‘‘nonwhite’’ immigrants flowing into Brazil. Japanese were a particular target, and from the 1920s forward Japanese and Nikkei were considered both the ‘‘best’’ and ‘‘worst’’ minorities simultaneously. The twenties marked a decade of increasing Japanese visibility in Brazil. There emerged political movements to limit new Asian entries because ‘‘the yellow cyst will remain in the national organism, unassimilable by blood, by language, by customs, by religion’’ (Reis 1931, 233–38).5 At the same time the Japanese government worked hard to make sure that immigrants would fit well into Brazilian norms by being ‘‘strong and healthy in body and soul, lov[ing] labor, and hav[ing] perseverance.’’ 6 By the 1930s, the situation had become more tense. In 1933 members of the Constitutional Convention, charged with producing what would become the Constitution of 1934, heavily debated Japanese immigration, conflating issues of imperialism, assimilation, and nationalism. Thus, while the immigrant stream from Japan to Brazil would slow between 1933 and 1950, the discussion of the social place of Japanese and their descendants remained a national topic. The reaction of immigrants and Nikkei was to play an aggressive role in constructing a multifaceted Japanese Brazilian identity, one that would be constituted and contested in many ways. Some insisted on Portuguese as a language of both internal and external communication while others fervently supported secret societies linked to emperor worship. These surface differences, however, only masked a shared desire to find a space within the Brazilian nation

8 • Jeffrey Lesser

that would include Nikkei identity. The nature of this coveted citizenship was always in dispute, but angry outbursts from nativists and repressive state policies during the World War II era did not prevent a Japanese Brazilian identity from emerging and flourishing. There were thousands of pages of debates, articles, advertisements and books on Japanese immigration that circulated in the mid-1930s. Suffice it to say that those who opposed Japanese entry used essentially nationalist (‘‘they are stealing our jobs and land’’) and racist (‘‘they will pollute our race’’) arguments. Those in favor tended to focus on production levels (in 1936 Japanese farmers produced 46 percent of the cotton, 57 percent of the silk, and 75 percent of the tea in Brazil even though they comprised less than 3 percent of the population), and the eugenics model claimed that Japanese were biologically superior to Brazilians of mixed backgrounds (Normano and Gerbi 1943, 39). The disparate positions were eventually resolved in the Constitution of 1934, passed in late April, which included an immigration amendment modeled on the United States National Origins Act of 1924. Passed by a vote of 146 to 41, an annual quota of 2 percent of the number of immigrants from each nation who had arrived in the previous fifty years was fixed, giving farmers preferential treatment.7 The amendment was ‘‘designed sharply to restrict (Japanese) immigration while causing as little offense as possible to Japan,’’ a buyer of growing quantities of cotton, wool, manganese, and nickel.8 These commercial ties—one diplomat wrote from his post in Tokyo, ‘‘Get me out of here before [they] propose to buy Sugar Loaf [the famous hill overlooking Rio de Janeiro]’’—helped to maintain relatively cordial diplomatic relations in spite of Japanese outrage at what was seen as Brazilian racism.9 Even so, the new quota officially reduced entry to 3,500 per year, a marked drop from the 23,000 who entered in 1933. In spite of the constitutional restrictions, 10,000 Japanese immigrated to Brazil in 1935, a 50 percent reduction from the previous year.10 Heated debates in the Japanese and Nikkei communities about how to situate themselves within Brazilian culture were mirrored in majority society as well. While entry of Japanese immigrants dropped markedly between 1935 and 1942 (to a total of 15,000), discussions of immigration continued to focus on the Japanese (Crissiuma 1935; Rodrigues de Mello 1935). In a 1935 interview with the Tokyo Nichi-Nichi Shinbun former Minister of War Pedro Aurélio de Góis Monteiro, party to a profascist contingent within the Vargas government that some years earlier had sought a ban on nonwhites, claimed, ‘‘In order to form an excellent Brazilian type, I consider it necessary to adopt the excellent Japa-

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei • 9

nese element.’’ 11 Such comments illustrate a number of key points: an elite affinity for fascism, a political need to assuage the Japanese government in the years after the Constitution of 1934 (the interview was published in Japan, not Brazil), and the growing sense that if Japanese were desirable immigrants it might mean that they were ‘‘white.’’ Of course social conservatives did not take a pro-Japanese position simply because of new ideas about race. Representatives of multinational firms like Mitsui and Mitsubishi hinted that their purchases of Brazilian cotton were contingent on immigration policy (Guimarães 1936).12 In 1936 the quota rose officially to 3,480, but in fact over 8,000 Japanese entered Brazil and relations between the two countries seemed better than they had in years.13 By 1937 a new sense of urgency regarding Japanese immigration was felt in the Brazilian foreign ministry, the Itamaraty. Pro-U.S. Foreign Minister (and former ambassador to Washington) Oswaldo Aranha, along with numerous members of the military, believed that Japan was plotting to divide South America into colonies. Other diplomats feared that Brazil’s population was too racially weak to prevent the plot (McCann 1973, 116; Hilton 1975, 13).14 The imposition of the totalitarian Estado Nôvo (New State) by Getúlio Vargas in November 1937, just four days after the Japan/Germany Anti-Comintern Pact was extended to include Italy, markedly changed the ways in which immigrant ethnicity would be treated in Brazil. Corporatist in nature, the Estado Nôvo banned all political parties, and the new nationalist state rhetoric mobilized nativist groups to attack Japanese immigration viciously (R. C. P. 1938, 119–23). New decrees sought to diminish ‘‘foreign’’ influence in Brazil, modifying the ways in which the Japanese and Nikkei community operated. Japanese Brazilian newspapers were censored and then banned while the Nikkei community kept a low profile in the face of racist attacks. Even so, Japanese immigrants and their descendants continued to be seen as the least assimilated, and assimilable, of minority groups and reports from the Political and Social Police claimed that ‘‘the naturalized Japanese is always Japanese.’’ 15 In 1938 a wide-ranging brasilidade (Brazilianization) campaign began. This state-driven homogenization program sought to preserve an imagined Brazilian identity from the encroachment of ethnicity by eliminating distinctive elements of immigrant and minority culture. New legislation controlled entry and prevented foreigners from congregating in residential communities. Decrees required that all schools be directed by native-born Brazilians and that all instruction be in Portuguese and include ‘‘Brazilian’’ topics. In early 1939 Justice Minister Francisco Campos decided that all foreign-language publica-

10 • Jeffrey Lesser

tions had to be accompanied by Portuguese translations. The ministry of war began drafting children of foreign residents into the army and stationing them outside the regions of their birth. Speaking foreign languages in public and private (including in houses of worship) was banned, and the Brazilian children of foreign residents were prohibited from international travel.16 The brasilidade campaign led many immigrants to contemplate a return to Japan, although action was rare. Nikkei, however, had a different attitude.Why, they asked, was their Brazilian citizenship not a guarantee of recognition as a nonforeigner? Wasn’t Brazil a heterogeneous society where eugenics proved that Japanese had become Brazilians? 17 Many thus took Brazilian nationalist positions within the context of Japanese Brazilian ethnicity, dividing themselves from the immigrant generation. The Nikkei position, however, did not resonate among the political elite who took an increasingly bellicose stance toward resident foreigners. Until the end of 1941 Vargas sought to maintain relations with both the Allied and Axis powers, but after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of that year, Brazil moved firmly into the Allied camp. In March 1942 the Vargas regime ruptured diplomatic relations with Japan, and five months later German U-boats began sinking ships off Brazil’s coast. War was declared and the Vargas regime compelled Japanese to move from areas defined as ‘‘strategic.’’ 18 Reports of Japanese spies (virtually all were inaccurate) were carried daily in the press, often with disingenuous claims that they had been disguised as fishermen or farmers.19 When five cargo boats were torpedoed outside of Santos harbor in July 1943, Vargas ordered all residents with Axis passports, including some four thousand Japanese, to move from the coast to interior regions within twenty-four hours. The social and ethnic tension created by the anti-Japanese attitudes led members of the Japanese and Nikkei community to strike back against the public order by becoming increasingly ‘‘Japanese.’’ Emperor worship, always strong among those educated in the first quarter of the century, soon began to replace ancestor worship as a form of identity preservation in Brazil (Reichl 1995, 42).Those who did not actively show their loyalty to Japan were defined as enemies and the underground Japanese-language press was filled with denunciations of those judged to have lost their ‘‘right’’ to be ‘‘Japanese’’ (Maeyama 1979, 594). A group of secret societies emerged whose ultra-Japanese nationalism mixed with a desire to reinforce a space for Japanese Brazilian identity. Soon the tripartite debate on hyphenated ethnicity (between Nikkei, Brazilians, and Japanese) exploded into bloodshed and the destruction of property.20

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei • 11

These movements would be confined to historical footnotes had they not begun to expand enormously after it became clear in 1944 that an Allied victory was assured. In July of that year Brazil sent 25,000 troops to Italy, causing immense nationalist and anti-Axis feeling in Brazil. For two months, beginning in June and ending with Japan’s surrender after the United States dropped the atomic bombs, Japanese immigrants were the last ‘‘enemy aliens’’ in Brazil. It was during this period of intense anti-Japanese propaganda that the secret societies garnered their widest support. The idea of Japan’s defeat had little resonance among immigrants and Brazilian-born rural dwellers because the Japanese educational system (in both Japan and Brazil) taught national invincibility. This combined with a ban on Japanese-language newspapers in Brazil and the poor circulation of Brazilian newspapers in rural areas. Newsreels of the surrender ceremonies were never seen by Japanese farmers who had no access to cinemas, and those in rural areas often received their news about the war from hidden short-wave radios, clandestine newspapers,or neighbors’ oral reports (Kumusaka and Saito 1970, 167–75). The secret societies represented a counterattack on the way Brazilian national identity was defined.The most powerful of these societies was the Shindo Renmei (Way of the Subjects of the Emperor’s League), whose leaders were retired Japanese army officers furious at Brazil for ‘‘becoming an enemy country.’’ The group emerged after the Estado Nôvo was toppled in a 1945 coup and a subsequent period of wide political debates created openings for maximalist responses. The Shindo Renmei became public in August 1945, following Japan’s surrender, and demanded new spaces for Japanese Brazilian ethnicity. Its goals were to maintain a permanent Japanized space in Brazil through the preservation of language, culture, and religion among Nikkei, and to reestablish Japanese schools.21 What the Shindo Renmei did not promote was a return to Japan. Home was Brazil, and by December the Shindo Renmei claimed a membership of 50,000, all of whom believed that Japan had won the war.22 By mid-1946 Shindo Renmei propaganda included altered photos of President Truman bowing to Emperor Hirohito, ‘‘press’’ reports of Japanese troops landing in San Francisco and marching toward New York, and notices that the recently deposed Getúlio Vargas would be signing surrender documents in Tokyo.23 Most frightening to majority Brazilians was the discovery that fanatical youth had been recruited to assassinate those who spoke against the movement and thus against the place of Japanese in Brazil. Between March and September 1946, sixteen people were assassinated while numerous silk, cotton, and mint farmers had their homes and fields destroyed.24

12 • Jeffrey Lesser

For Nikkei trying to assert their identity as a component of the Brazilian nation, the killings were disastrous.The government, itself in a moment of transition to democracy following the end of the Estado Nôvo, was equally concerned about its inability to control a civil war. In mid-1946, the police arrested four hundred Shindo Renmei members and scheduled eighty leaders for deportation to Japan.This only heightened tensions, and the new Japanese government was asked to send documents to Brazil that would make clear the Allied victory. The papers, however, were dismissed as false by Shindo Renmei.25 Soon thereafter, the violence turned outward. In late July 1946 there were a series of violent incidents between Brazilians and Japanese in the city of Oswaldo Cruz (São Paulo). When a Shindo Renmei member said in a bar that he would ‘‘kill three or four Brazilians,’’ a riot ensued, ending with three thousand Brazilians hunting down immigrants and screaming ‘‘lynch the Japanese.’’ 26 By late 1947 a number of factors began to marginalize the secret societies. Efforts to raise funds for Japanese war victims, without ever declaring winners and losers, created groups that recognized defeat but, in a typical expression of minority group politics, took the position that a ‘‘family matter’’ should not be discussed with majority society. At the same time, continued Nikkei economic ascension in Brazil and the growth of a sansei generation marginalized still further those who pledged loyalty to the emperor. By 1950 Nikkei considered themselves Brazilian, even as society at large continued to define them as ‘‘Japanese.’’ It was in the fifties, just as Nikkei established themselves in the middle and upper classes, that new immigrants from Japan began to enter in significant numbers. The United States occupation of Okinawa following World War II led almost 54,000 small land owners and farmers to settle in Brazil between 1952 and 1988, some 43 percent of them following relatives who had migrated prior to the war.27 Older Japanese residents were shocked by the new attitudes toward everything from the emperor to sexual relations. The newcomers were equally aghast: they had trouble understanding old dialects filled with Japanized Portuguese words and wondered if earlier immigrants had become Brasil-bokê (made nuts by Brazil) (Vieira 1973, 83–89). Along with the Okinawans came tens of thousands of Chinese and Korean immigrants who were stunned to find that in Brazil they had become ‘‘Japanese.’’ There are no reliable statistics on the numbers of Chinese in Brazil, but the Korean population currently stands at about 100,000, based mainly in São Paulo. As Korean and Chinese immigrants ascended the economic ladder, propelling the social integration of their children through university educations,

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei • 13

an ugly joke started to circulate among the São Paulo elite: ‘‘Guarantee your place at the University of São Paulo tomorrow—kill a Jap today.’’ Such attitudes have led some Nikkei to the conclusion that they can only become Brazilian by changing their appearance, and many women have plastic surgery on their eyes. High levels of interethnic marriage (almost 46 percent overall and over 60 percent in some regions of the country) are also a fact of life in the Nikkei community, due in part to the entry of Japanese Brazilians into the middle and upper classes, which has decreased the pool of partners for those unwilling to ‘‘marry down.’’ Another important factor is that many members of the majority have developed a model-minority stereotype, making Japanese Brazilians seem like especially good marriage partners. Strategies like intermarriage or plastic surgery have divided the Nikkei population. For the 340,000 mestiços in Brazil’s more than 1.2 million citizens of Japanese descent, the use of multiple identities is common. Many Nikkei mestiços reject their Japanese background in social situations, yet in the economic sphere, whether it be applying for a job or advertising sexual services, they believe that being Japanese provides an important advantage. For nonmestiço Nikkei the situation is somewhat different. They are viewed as Japanese, which is one important reason that some 175,000 dekasegui currently live and work in Japan, along with 55,000 mestiço Nikkei and non-Nikkei spouses.28 Since cultural identity is intimately tied to class status, wage differentials play an important role in this migration (almost $2 billion was remitted officially in 1996, although that quantity has diminished along with the strength of the Japanese economy). Yet oral histories with dekasegui indicate that questions of identity are critical to the decision to leave Brazil for Japan. A thirty-seven-year-old university professor who migrated in 1991 is typical: ‘‘In Brazil I am a stranger even though I like Brazil. I feel like I do not have Brazilian nationality, and I feel like a gypsy. I wanted to make myself the perfect Brazilian but this is impossible. But here in Japan I also feel like a foreigner’’ (Watanabe 1995a, 350–51). In Japan dekasegui are considered to be ‘‘Brazilians’’ whose role is to provide temporary labor and little more, which leads many Nikkei to feel uncontestedly Brazilian for the first time in their lives. Cultural statements, such as wearing Brazilian-made jeans rather than Levi’s, are often used to express identity, and newspapers meant to serve the dekasegui community promote a stereotype of Brazil most often found outside the country. A color photo of a group of bikini-clad young Nikkei women, both mestiça and not, was recently splashed across the front page of the Tokyo-based newpaper Jornal Tudo Bem; ‘‘A Guide

14 • Jeffrey Lesser

to Guarantee Your Luck This Summer’’ reads the headline in a proud nod to the Brazilianization of Japan (Linger 2001a; Linger 2001b; Mori 1995a; Mori 1995b; Ninomia 1992; Chigusa 1994).29 The question of how to maintain a hyphenated identity in a hesitant national culture is as present today as it was in the twenties and thirties. Pressure from majority society to become Brazilian is matched by an immigrant generation that complains that the sansei and yonsei generations have become ‘‘too Brazilian.’’ In the early 1980s the Diário Nippak newspaper began publishing a biweekly Portuguese-language supplement that sought to explore the history of Japanese immigration and ‘‘the duality of being Nipo-Brazilian.’’ Another Nikkei newspaper recently asked, ‘‘Who Are We?: Japanese or Brazilian?’’ 30 The Portuguese-language Made in Japan is produced in Tokyo for those ‘‘who understand Japan and Brazil’’ while a São Paulo weekly targeted toward teenagers and produced by the primarily Japanese-language Diário Nippak has articles about places for young Nikkei to meet. As one nineteen year old interviewed during the weekly ‘‘Nikkei night’’ at a dance club stated, ‘‘Here [inside the club] we feel at home, we are all from the same nation.’’ 31 To which nation he referred was not clear, but the search for home abroad continues today as it did one hundred years ago. notes 1 Correio Paulistano, 20 October 1894, p. 1. See also Estado de S. Paulo, 30 September 1894, and Correio Paulistano, 24 October 1894. 2 Okinawans (Ryukyans) were considered a lower-status minority group. They spoke a dialect related to ancient Japanese that was incomprehensible to most mainland Japanese (naichi-jin). Between 1908 and 1912 some 17 percent of all Japanese immigrants to Brazil were from Okinawa (746 of 4,540), making Okinawans the second largest group after those from Kumamoto (24 percent, or 1,083 of 4,540), the third largest group being those from Hiroshima (14 percent, or 629 of 4,540). Lesser 1999, 212. 3 Teijiro Suzuki, secretary of the Hospedaria dos Imigrantes, quoted in Handa 1980, 13. 4 Interview by author with Tetsuya Tajiri (a former journalist), at Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros, São Paulo, 24 June 1994. A complete discussion of Japanese newspapers in Brazil can be found in Handa 1987, 602–16. 5 Projecto 391, Article 5, 22 October 1923, ‘‘Parecer apresentado á Commissão de Finanças da Camara dos Deputados em 4 de Julho de 1924 por S. exca. o Sr. Dr. Francisco Chaves de Oliveira Botelho, Deputado pelo Estado do Rio de Janeiro,’’ Diário

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei • 15

6

7 8

9 10

11 12 13

14

15

16 17 18 19 20 21

do Congresso Nacional, 8 July 1924. Clovis Bevilaqua to Fidelis Reis, 17 October 1921, in Filho 1934, 44. See translation of ‘‘Folder for Prospective Emigrants to Brazil,’’ in Joseph C. Grew to Secretary of State, 2 November 1934, 832.52 J 27/777, National Archives and Record Center, Washington, D.C. (hereafter narc-w). Constituição de 16 de Julho de 1934, Article 5, para. 19, g and art. 121, para. 6. Report of Joseph C. Grew (U.S. Embassy, Tokyo), 4 Aug 1934, 739.94/2, narc-w. John M. Cabot, Third Secretary, U.S. Embassy, Rio de Janeiro to Secretary of State, 31 May 1934, 832.55/94, narc-w. Carlos Martins Pereira e Sousa (Brazilian diplomat in Tokyo and later wartime ambassador to the United States), quoted in Hilton 1975, 11. Annaes da Sessão Ordinario de 1935, Assembléa Legislativa do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo: n.p., 1935), 1:658–704, 790–807, 994–1025; 2:84–97; 3:542–53. Projeto de lei 49, 1 October 1935, São Paulo State Legislative Assembly, quoted in Tenório 1936, 271. Annaes da Assembléa Constituinte de 1935 (São Paulo: Sociedade Impressor Paulista, 1935), 1:246–53; 2:360–61. Table 1: ‘‘Entrada de Imigrantes Japoneses no Brasil (de 1908 a 1941),’’ in Revista de Imigração e Colonização 1, no. 3 (October 1940): 123–24 (misprinted). Translation of Tokyo Nichi-Nichi Shinbun, 30 May 1935, L 622 M 9653, Arquivo Histórico Itamaraty, Rio de Janeiro (hereafter ahi-r). U.S. Ambassador Hugh Gibson to Sec. of State, 8(?) May 1936, 832.55/115, narc-w. Secretaria da Agricultura, Industria e Comercio, DTCI: Boletim da Directória de Terras, Colonização e Immigração 1, no. 1 (October 1936): 96. Comissão de Elaboração da História 1992, 138. Jorge Latour (Warsaw), ‘‘A Infiltração Japoneza no Brasil: Estudo offerido á Secretaria de Estado das Relações Exteriores por Jorge Latour,’’ May 1936, L 622 M 9653, ahi-r. Jornal do Brasil, 19 January 1938. Secret Report on Japanese colonies, 18 June 1939, Arquivos das Polícias Políticas, Setor: Japonês, Pasta II, Arquivo Público do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Decree Law 1.545 (25 August 1939), Arts. 1, 4, 7, 8, 13, 15, 16. Hirata 1939, 7–10; Udihara 1939, 7–10. Diário da Noite, 30 September 1942. Estado de S. Paulo, 8 April 1942. New York Times, 15 November 1942; Estado de S. Paulo, 16 December 1942; Fujii and Smith 1959, 49. Hekisui Yoshii, ‘‘Gokuchû Kaiko-roku’’ (Memories from Prison), 1948 manuscript, cited in translation in Miyao and Yamashiro 1992b, 262. Translation of Shindo Renmei documents can be found in Perigosa Atividade 1944, 567–71.Willems and Saito

16 • Jeffrey Lesser

22

23

24 25 26 27

28 29 30

31

1947, 143. Analysis of the Shindo Renmei and similar movements can be found in Maeyama 1979, 589–610; Miyao and Yamashiro 1992a, 265–360; and Tigner 1961, 515–32. See translation of Shindo Renmei objectives and statutes in the report of João André Dias Paredes to Major Antonio Pereira Lira (State Police Chief, Paraná), 30 April 1949, Secretária de Estado de Segurança Pública, Departamento da Polícia Civil, Divisão de Segurança e Informações. No. 1971-Sociedade Terrorista Japonesa. Arquivo Público Paraná, Curitiba. Botelho de Miranda 1948, 11. Tigner 1954, 42. Estado de S. Paulo, 26 March 1946; Correio da Manhã, 6 April 1946; A Noite (Rio de Janeiro), 13 April 1946. Other newspapers that regularly ran stories, often on a daily basis for weeks in a row, were Correio Paulistano, Diário de São Paulo, and Folha da Noite. Neves, O processo da ‘‘Shindo-Renmei,’’ 97, 124. O Dia, 6 April 1946 and 4 May 1946; Botelho de Miranda 1948, 160–61. Handa 1987, 660. Tigner 1954, 45. As atividades 1946, 523–30. Revista Cruzeiro (Rio de Janeiro), 31 August 1946. Between 1953 and 1959 over 30,000 new Japanese immigrants settled in Brazil, followed by another 16,000 in the following decade. More than 81 percent of all Japanese emigrants between 1952 and 1965 settled in Brazil (Flores 1975, 65–98). Nakasumi and Yamashiro 1992, 424, table 2. Sims 1972, 246–66. Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros, Pesquisa da População, 19, table 2.1, and 43, table 3.4. Thirty-five thousand Peruvian Nikkei also live in Japan. Jornal Tudo Bem, 19 July 1997. Imigrantes Japoneses: Na União, a Sobrevivência, Diário Nippak Página Um (19 September 1980); Criação x Identidade x Formação: Os Descendentes e a Literatura, Diário Nippak Página Um (12 July 1980); Quem Nós Somos? Japão Aqui 1, no. 3 (July 1997): 38–44. Advertisement for Made in Japan in Jornal Tudo Bem, 19 July 1997; Bailes Agitam a Noite 1997, 28–34.

references As Atividades das Sociedades Secretas Japonesas e a Ação Repressiva da Polícia de São Paulo, Publicadas Pela Impressa. 1946. Arquivos da Polícia Civil de São Paulo 12, no. 2: 523–30. Bailes Agitam a Noite da Moçada Nikkei. 1997. Revista Nippak Jovem 1, no. 2 (13 April): 28–34. Botelho de Miranda, Mário. 1948. Shindo Renmei: Terrorismo e Extorsão. São Paulo: Edição Saraiva. Chigusa, Charles Tetsuo, ed. 1994. A Quebra dos Mitos: O Fenômeno Dekassegui Através de Relatos Pessoais. Tokyo: IPC.

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei • 17 Comissão de Elaboração da História dos 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. 1992. Uma Epopéia Moderna: 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec. Crissiuma, Eddy de F. 1935. Concentração Japonesa em São Paulo. Geografia 1, no. 1: 110–14. Filho, Calvino, ed. 1934. Factos e Opinões Sobre a Immigração Japoneza. Rio de Janeiro: n.p. Flores, Moacyr. 1975. Japoneses no Rio Grande do Sul. Veritas 77 (Porto Alegre): 65–98. Fujii, Yukio, and T. Lynn Smith. 1959. The Acculturation of the Japanese in Brazil. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. Guimarães, Moreira. 1936. No Extremo Oriente: O Japão. Rio de Janeiro: Alba. Handa, Tomoo. 1980. Memória de um Imigrante Japonês no Brasil. São Paulo: T.A. Queiroz/Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros. . 1987. O Imigrante Japonês: História de sua Vida no Brasil. São Paulo: T.A. Queiroz/Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasilieros. Hilton, Stanley E. 1975. Brazil and the Great Powers, 1930–1939: The Politics of Trade Rivalry. Austin: University of Texas Press. Hirata, João. 1939. A Quem Cabe Engrandecer o Brasil. Transição 1, no. 1 (June): 7–10. Holland, Dorothy, and Jean Lave, eds. 2001. History in Person: Enduring Struggles, Contentious Practice, Intimate Identities. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press; Oxford: James Currey. Holloway, Thomas. 1980. Immigrants on the Land. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Kumusaka, Y., and H. Saito. 1970. Kachigumi: A Collective Delusion among the Japanese and Their Descendants in Brazil. Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal 15, no. 2: 167–75. Lesser, Jeffrey. 1999. Negotiating National Identities: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Linger, Daniel. 2001a. The Identity Path of Eduardo Mori. In History in Person: Enduring Struggles, Contentious Practice, Intimate Identities, edited by Dorothy Holland and Jean Lave, 217–24. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press; Oxford: James Currey. . 2001b. No One Home: Brazilian Selves Remade in Japan. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Maeyama, Takashi. 1979. Ethnicity, Secret Societies, and Associations: The Japanese in Brazil. Comparative Studies in Society and History 21, no. 4: 589–610. McCann, Frank D., Jr. 1973. The Brazilian-American Alliance, 1937–1945. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Miyao, Susumu, and José Yamashiro. 1992a. A Comunidade Enfrenta um Caos sem Precedentes. In Comissão de Elaboração da História dos 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil, Uma Epopéia Moderna: 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec. . 1992b. A Comunidade Nipônica no Período da Guerra. In Comissão de Elabo-

18 • Jeffrey Lesser ração da História dos 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil, Uma Epopéia Moderna: 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec. Mori, Koichi. 1995a. Burajiru Karano Nikkei-Jin Dekassegui no Tokucho to Suii [Evolution and current situation of Brazilian dekasseguis in Japan]. In Os Dekasseguis Brasileiros de Origem Japonesa—Coletanea de Teses, edited by Masako Watanabe, 491–546. Tokyo: Editora Fukutake. . 1995b. Nikkei-Shudanchi Ni Totteno ‘‘Dekassegui’’ no Motsu Imi [The significance of the dekasegui phenomenon in the Japanese Brazilian community]. In Os Dekasseguis Brasileiros de Origem Japonesa—Coletanea de Teses, edited by Masako Watanabe, 547–84. Tokyo: Editora Fukutake. Nakasumi, Tetsuo, and José Yamashiro. 1992. O Fim da Era de Imigração e a Consolidação da Nova Colônia Nikkei. In Comissão de Elaboração da História dos 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil, Uma Epopéia Moderna: 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec. Ninomia, Masato, ed. 1992. Dekassegui: Palestras e Exposições do Simpósio sobre o Fenômeno Chamado Dekassegui. São Paulo: Estação Liberdade/Sociedade Brasileira de Cultura Japonesa. Normano, J. F., and Antonello Gerbi. 1943. The Japanese in South America: An Introductory Survey with Special Reference to Peru. New York: John Day. Perigosa Atividade Nipônica em São Paulo. 1944. Arquivos da Polícia Civil de São Paulo 8, no. 2: 567–71. R. C. P. 1938. Um Perigo para a Nacionalidade: A Immigração Japoneza. Mensario do ‘‘Jornal do Commericio’’ 1, no. 1: 119–23. Reichl, Christopher A. 1995. Stages in the Historical Process of Ethnicity: The Japanese in Brazil, 1908–1988. Ethnohistory 42, no. 1: 31–62. Reis, Fidélis. 1931. Paiz a Organizar. Rio de Janeiro: A. Coelho Branco. Rodrigues de Mello, Astrogildo. 1935. Immigração e Colonização. Geografia 1, no. 4: 25– 49. Saito, Hiroshi. 1961. O Japonês no Brasil: Estudo de Mobilidade e Fixação. São Paulo: Editora Sociologia e Política. Sims, Harold D. 1972. Japanese Postwar Migration to Brazil: An Analysis of the Data Presently Available. International Migration Review 6, no. 3 (fall): 246–66. Tenório, Oscar. 1936. Immigração. Rio de Janeiro: Pimenta de Mello e Cia. Tigner, James L. 1954. The Okinawans in Latin America: Scientific Investigations in the Ryuku Island, report no. 7. Washington, D.C.: Pacific Science Board/National Research Council, Department of Army. . 1961. Shindo Renmei: Japanese Nationalism in Brazil. Hispanic American Historical Review 41, no. 4: 515–32. Udihara, Massaki. 1939. Assimilação. Transição 1, no. 1 (June): 7–10. Vieira, Francisca Isabel Schurig. 1973. O Japonês na Frente de Expansão Paulista: O Processo

Japanese, Brazilians, Nikkei • 19 de Absorção do Japonês em Marília. São Paulo: Pioneira, Editora da Universidade de São Paulo. Watanabe, Masako, ed. 1995a. Kyôdôkenkyû dekassegui-nikkei-baurajiru-jin: Shiryô-hen (Group Study: Brazilian Dekaseguis), vol. 2. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. . 1995b. Os Dekasseguis Brasileiros de Origem Japonesa: Coletanea de Teses. Tokyo: Editora Fukutake. Willems, Emilio, and Hiroshi Saito. 1947. Shindo Renmei: Um Problema de Aculturação. Sociologia 9: 133–52.

shuhei hosokawa •••••

Speaking in the Tongue of the Antipode: Japanese Brazilian Fantasy on the Origin of Language •••

A lingua tupi nunca foi objecto de estudos rigorosos no Brazil. [The Tupi language has never been the object of rigorous studies in Brazil.] —Arthur Neiva, Estudos da Lingua Nacional Tupão, tupi Não sei que mais Ja me esqueci de onde sou [Tupão, tupi I don’t know any more I’ve already forgotten where I am] —From ‘‘Brasileiro em Toquio,’’ lyrics by Pedro Luís e A Parede And to imagine a language means to imagine a form of life. —Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

The origin of language is a daunting question for modern linguists. That does not mean, however, that this issue has disappeared from contemporary discussion; it remains a common subject of popular scientific study. This is particularly true in Japan, where discourse on the origin of national language is so popular that ‘‘one can scarcely pick up a daily newspaper or weekly magazine without finding some article . . . ‘announcing’ the ‘discovery’ that the Japanese language is genetically related to this or that language, generally some language whose geographical position from Japan is quite as remote as is the probability that it has anything to do with Japanese’’ (Miller 1980, 18). The ob-

22 • Shuhei Hosokawa

session with origin that linguist Roy Andrew Miller sketches may come from the decisive influence of nihongo (Japanese language) on Japanese national identity—the nation is essentially monolingual and its language is used in only one country. The popularity of the discourse on the origin of the Japanese language certainly stems from the equation of race, territory, and language among the Japanese population. When searching for the ‘‘lost’’ origins of language, one cannot avoid entering the realm of a mythical and utopian imagination born of the circumstantial ideology of race, nation, geography, history, religion, literature, and, of course, language. The Japanese literary critic Osamu Murai emphasizes the expansionist implications within the discourse on the origin of Japanese language and race that ‘‘shows conspicuous traces of the invasion of Asia by modern Japan. . . . The discourse on the sacred and faraway ‘origin of Japanese’ plays the role of veiling the invasion and colonial domination of the real Japan’’ (1993, 156). In Murai’s view, the endless debate between the hypotheses of the ‘‘south’’ (that Japanese came from Melanesia or the Indian subcontinent) and of the ‘‘north’’ (that Japanese came from Siberia or Mongolia) is nothing more than the epistemological transposition of the East-West axis, a relationship that is historically more enduring and ideologically more hierarchical.The south-north axis ‘‘deletes the Other’’ of the West in order to secure Japanese identity (ibid., 158; see also Murai 1992). In other words, by positing the south or the north as the place of origin, Japanese nationalism not only romanticizes the ancient and the exotic but also justifies the political integration of Okinawa and Hokkaido, the southern and northern islands territorialized by the government in the 1870s. Naturally, the discourse on the origin of the Japanese language cyclically endorses the south-north axis, insofar as the ‘‘identification of the race and the language’’ is taken for granted: Ur-Japanese came with that Ur-Japanese language (Miller 1977, chap. 6). Rokurô Kôyama, however, posited that the Japanese language and a seemingly unrelated Amerindian language, Tupi, in fact sprang from a common Polynesian source. Given that Kôyama was a Japanese Brazilian immigrant, the explanation for this is not a simple one, since the political, historical, and social conditions surrounding the theory’s textual production were not the same as other such studies of language. Kôyama’s aim was unique: he focused less on the origin of the Japanese language and race than on the foundational mythmaking of an ethnic minority by authenticating the language within Brazilian national ideology. This makes his work distinctive within the abundant litera-

In the Tongue of the Antipode • 23

ture on the origins of the Japanese language and on Tupinology. According to the Tupi linguist Wolf Dietrich, ‘‘Experience in the field of Indo-European languages has shown that the reconstruction of a single proto-language is only a hypothetical construct, but may never have been a historical reality’’ (1990, 7– 8n.2). This being accurate, Kôyama’s ‘‘mythological reality’’ in view of proto– Tupi-Japanese language warrants examination. Kôyama found himself obsessed with the indigenous Tupi language in part because of the monolingualism of Japanese native tradition. Speaking only one language was, and is, unremarkable in the context of the Japanese homeland but, on emigration, travelers come to recognize their linguistic isolation. To be monolingual is to admit a unilateral contact/contract: Japanese immigrants could speak, but societies outside of Japan could not hear them. Language, as much as physiognomy, was a determinant for the ethnic identity of Issei in Brazil. Were it not for the language barrier, a kind of linguistic exile, Kôyama would not have needed the Tupi. Thus monolingualism both restrained and enabled his life and imagination, and his texts suggest an existential tension that urged him to redefine his hyphenated identity. His notion of a Japanese-Tupi language provided a foundational narrative that anchored the doubly marginalized position of his community in both Japan and Brazil. The dominant model of the Brazilian nation is that of the miscegenation of three races—Africans, Europeans, and the indigenous. The Tupi, a large group in the central-western part of Brazil, were almost completely annihilated by the Europeans during the colonial period. Ironically, the Tupi became an evocative symbol of Brazilian nativism starting in the sixteenth century when the accidental aural similarity of some Portuguese and Tupi words were interpreted by missionaries as a justifying sign for catechism (Geipel 1993, 13). More recently such notions have reappeared in contemporary pop songs such as ‘‘Festa da Música’’ (Gabriel O Pensador) and ‘‘Tubitupy’’ (Lenine). The African/European/Tupi model was carefully crafted by Brazil’s elites and prevailed long before the Japanese settled in Brazil in the early twentieth century. Kôyama’s concern was how ‘‘newcomers’’ such as Japanese immigrants would become a legitimate part of the Brazilian nation. Convinced of the importance of etymology, he articulated a double identity through the intricate interplay between Japanese national and Japanese Brazilian ethnic identity, constructing the dual self-categorization of being both Japanese and Brazilian by establishing the indigenous peoples as Brazilian and Japanese, as national and ethnic ancestors.1

24 • Shuhei Hosokawa

the tupi and i Rokurô Kôyama (1886 Kumamoto–1976 São Paulo) immigrated to Brazil in 1908 as one of four interpreters (he had studied Spanish) aboard the Kasato Maru, the first ship that brought Japanese immigrants to Brazil. He was known as the ‘‘father of Nikkei journalism’’ because he was responsible for a mimeographed newspaper on the Kasato Maru. In 1921 he established a newspaper called Seishû Shinpô (Semánario de São Paulo or São Paulo Weekly) in Bauru, a small city in the state of São Paulo. The newspaper continued until 1941, when the government prohibited publication of media in foreign languages. In 1935 Kôyama moved to the city of São Paulo, the state capital, led an amateur circle of haiku writers, and published three private anthologies after World War II. According to his posthumous memoirs, Kôyama became interested in the ‘‘primitive people who look[ed] like the Japanese’’ on his second day in Brazil, when another interpreter, who had been in Brazil for several years, tried to relax his anxious compatriots on the train from the port by telling them jokingly about a strange tribe of Brazilian natives called Tupi. Kôyama, while wondering if these ‘‘primitives’’ spoke Japanese, had a vision of a naked man crouching on the huge rock alongside the railway. This dramatic moment led him to want to both live in Brazil and to study the Tupi culture (Kôyama 1976, 435–40).Whether fictional or not, this close encounter with the imagined tribe influenced his three books on the Tupi: The Tupi Lexicon (1951) and Investigation of Meaning-Sense of Each Syllable in the Composition of Human Verbal Language through Original Meaning of the Tupi Language Nhem (1970, vol. 1; 1973, vol. 2). Kôyama’s starting point in transforming Japanese into Tupi was the physical resemblance between the two peoples. ‘‘The looks of Tupi-Guarani natives were exactly the same as we Japanese. From the first sight I cannot forget them. The more I look at them, the more I find the resemblance. When we meet and contact each other, we smile at each other more peacefully than when we see Europeans. Did we Japanese and Tupi-Guarani originally come from the same Polynesian seed? Have we encountered each other again after four thousand years? Was the language of Tupi-Guarani natives the same as that of the very ancient Japanese?’’ (1951, 1).2 In this passage Kôyama’s fantasy crosses geographical and historical spaces. The Tupi, Japan’s brother race, had waited for the coming of family from afar, and the Japanese had now arrived in their brothers’ land. Such empathy is crucial for this imaginary history. The spatial distance between the remote Asians and the archaic indigenous population is juxtaposed to the temporal one. The fact that the definition of tupi is ‘‘ancestor’’ convinced

In the Tongue of the Antipode • 25

Kôyama of the mythological relationship between the two races. Kôyama also translated tupi as ‘‘supreme father’’ in The Tupi Lexicon, thereby making the associative path between the Japanese and the Tupi smoother. Positing a Tupi respect for ancestry, as evidenced by their self-identification, he aptly associates it with the Japanese folk-belief system venerating ancestry that formed the base of Shintoism, the Japanese national religion. lexical imagination: toponymy and belated romanticism Kôyama’s first Tupi work, The Tupi Lexicon, contains approximately 2,500 words.3 Although Kôyama does not make his criteria for selection explicit, many of the entries are related to nature: one hundred minerals, ninety plants, seventy relating to water, fifty fishes, fifty animals, forty insects, forty relating to the forest. Kôyama, like those authors listed in the Lexicon’s bibliography, tends to stress nature in Tupi life. His equation of the primitive and nature presupposes a parallel equation between the civilized and culture. Kôyama also includes a relatively large number of toponymies (at least fifty). Bauru, the name of the city where he lived for ten years, means ‘‘muddy river.’’ By relating the singular place (Bauru) with a more general meaning (muddy river), he used the Tupi understanding of Brazilian geography to unveil, so to speak, a virtual Brazil whose past predated Cabral’s ‘‘discovery’’ by thousands of years. Such toponymies were designed to encourage the Japanese-speaking readers of The Tupi Lexicon to see the land they inhabited as familiar. According to one of Kôyama’s primary references, Theodoro Sampaio’s O Tupí na Geographia Nacional, ‘‘In Tupi, the names of places are usually accomplished phrases that translate an idea, an episode, a feature characteristic of the places to which it is applied; they are, it is enough to say, true definitions of local milieu’’ (1928, ii). For Sampaio the common intelligibility of toponymies from the time when Tupi was spoken in the state of São Paulo (around the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) was so lost that such toponymies had become ‘‘true enigmas.’’ Semantic reconstruction of ‘‘fossilized or cruelly adulterated’’ place-names—through techniques including orthography and orthoepy—thus constituted ‘‘salvaging a historic monument’’ (ibid., xxxiv). Such a historical view of how to recover the past through knowledge of meaningful toponymies conferred a certain legitimacy to the history of the territory now called Brazil. Sampaio and otherTupinologists of the early twentieth century saw the Amerindian language as historical evidence of the transaction between natives (who offered the sound-meaning) and colonizers (who im-

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mortalized it by the graphic system). The Tupi people were almost extinct in Sampaio’s (and Kôyama’s) Brazil, but their culture was still present, surviving in the form of nomenclature. This is why traditional Tupinologists privileged lexicography and philology over morphology and phonology.4 It is clear that Kôyama was part of this intellectual tradition when he remarked, ‘‘Although nowadays in Brazil very few speak Tupi or Guarani except the pure primitive, the Tupi language lives in the names of cities, towns, everywhere in Brazilian states. Tupi [language] lives everywhere in one-third of the names of railway stations in Brazil. Tupi lives in place-names, in daily life of Brazilians, in names of things, of animals and plants, of mountains, rivers, and fields. Tupi lives especially beautifully, sweetly, brightly in the names of Brazilian women’’ (1951, 14). Kôyama’s image and knowledge of Tupi was that of a belated Romanticist—he adopted the ‘‘noble savage’’ concept common among the Tupinologists but rejected by his contemporary ethnologists. The Brazilian Romantic authors in the nineteenth century were no longer missionaries and travelers who had direct contact with indigenous people, but rather ‘‘historians’’ who quoted the writings of these harbingers and, more importantly, aimed at ‘‘feeding the spirit of nationalism’’ (Francisco Adolpho de Varnhagen’s 1840 speech, quoted in Haberly 1983, 17) by means of authenticating an almost extinct native culture. In Plinio Ayrosa’s words, ‘‘Every Tupi word or phrase has a forcefully spontaneous, clear, easy, and logical translation [in a civilized language like Portuguese]. If it is not immediately understood, it is because the word is adulterated by use after centuries and is ill-written’’ (1933, 99). Romanticism is constitutive of nationalism, a position taken by Theodoro Sampaio, another significant author for Kôyama. ‘‘I want to see the love of Brazilians for the past of their land and the desire to know and to demonstrate esteem for what they inherited from the primitive inhabitants, the masters of the country. . . . This is nationalist sentiment. . . . It is likely that the American race [raça americana], though defeated, does not lose everything. If in the blood of descendants the dosage diminishes until it is extinguished, the memory of the primitive inhabitants will not be lost as far as the names of places survive where the civilization shows its triumph’’ (Sampaio 1928, i–ii). This type of nostalgic view, which overlooks the bloody sacrifices made by ‘‘primitive inhabitants,’’ leads to the reduction of the indigenous culture to an index for ‘‘national geography.’’ Accusing certain Jesuit authors of suggesting that Tupi and its enemies are genetically equivalent, Sampaio distinguishes the noble savage from the ignoble one: ‘‘Historically and ethnographically the Tupi is one ethnic group, speaking one language in South America, and is a group that is not to be

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confused with very different peoples and different languages commonly called Tapuya. The name Tupi can be, from this point of view, a national name. This will never be the case with Tapuya. The Tupi was a great nation with its own language. This is not the case for the Tapuya. It is neither nation nor language’’ (ibid., ix; emphasis added). In these quotes, the idea of the noble savage is really a Romantic conception of nation (one language, one culture).Tupi, recognized as a national group, becomes the champion-name for Brazilian natives. Nationalization of the savage is the Romantic concept of Brazilian nationalism (see also Freitas 1936, 32–37, 52–57; Burns 1968, chs. 3–6). pastorale under ethnic pressure Is it useful to place Kôyama’s work in this Romantic tradition? Certainly there are important differences between the Brazilian authors and the Japanese journalist. For the former, theTupi question centers on how the indigenous peoples can contribute to the construction of a national identity among the heterogeneous mixture of Brazilian peoples by means of converting the historical past into an authenticated myth. The Tupi are ‘‘agglutinative’’ in terms of ideology because they have become an invisible cement, a common denominator for what Brazilians think about their national past. Kôyama, in contrast, calls on the Tupi for the racial and cultural legitimization of the Japanese as a part of the Brazilian nation. ‘‘Turning Brazilian’’ is not easy for people with Asian physiognomy, even in a country extolling racial democracy.5 Kôyama celebrates the racial equality of Brazil as if such an affirmation were a passport for immigrants to become Brazilian citizens. If the Tupi were recognized as constituent to the Brazilian nation, their brother race by definition becomes truly Brazilian. What is at stake is the imaginary bond with the Japanese as evidenced by physical appearance and endorsed by linguistic compatibility. Among the many virtues of Tupi culture, he especially admired their ‘‘real communal and collective society’’ (Kôyama 1951, 8). To learn the language of the peaceful tribe involved learning about their noble mind. He imagined their idyllic life: ‘‘The natives got up early every morning. The first thing they did was bathe in a river nearby. Then after breakfast they went out to work: farming, fishing, hunting, and providing food for the tribal society. Women worked at home. At night the people gathered together around the fireplace. It was customary for the elder of the oka [house or home, in Tupi] to tell [stories] to young men who took care of the fire’’ (ibid., 8). This passage is

28 • Shuhei Hosokawa

based on ideas in Angyone Costa’s Introdução á Arqueologia Brasileira (1934, 255), but Kôyama added two inventions: the women’s exclusive engagement in domestic work and the family gathering around fireplace telling stories. These two alterations from Costa’s illustration evoke the idealized life of Japanese immigrants on the wild frontiers. By the time The Tupi Lexicon was published in 1951, most Japanese lived in cities and suburbs far away from the frontiers. The frontier life that Kôyama depicted now evinced nostalgia. Kôyama’s idealization of Tupi life led him to omit from The Tupi Lexicon a practice that all other authors who had studied Brazilian indigenous life had included since the sixteenth century: anthropophagy. Though it is clearly mentioned by the authors Kôyama consulted (Ayrosa 1933, 22; Costa 1934, 264), he was reluctant to retell it to his readers. Of course, ‘‘lexicon’’ as a textual form does not necessitate ethnographical precision, but the neglect of this notorious practice may indicate Kôyama’s unintentional emphasis on the bucolic image of the Tupi. In short, he picked up from Tupinology only what was related to a nostalgic vision of the Tupi wilderness in order to consolidate the affinity between the Tupi and Japanese immigrants on the frontiers. It is likely that the communal image in The Tupi Lexicon was deeply related to issues that involved the Japanese immigrant population in the late 1940s more than with the simple adoption of the noble savage cliché. The years immediately after World War II in Brazil were ones of communal conflict between those who believed in the victory of Japan in the Pacific war (kachigumi, or ‘‘victorists’’) and those who recognized its defeat (makegumi, or ‘‘defeatists’’). Their antagonism reached its peak in 1946 and 1947 when more than twenty makegumi were assassinated by the militant faction of the kachigumi. This terrifying conflict and its resulting ‘‘ethnic’’ trauma were critical for the transformation of identity. ‘‘Japanese settlers abroad’’ became ‘‘NipoBrazilians’’ because the confusion involved practically all immigrants and their families in Brazil. Japanese immigrants began to think less about returning to Japan and more about taking up permanent residence in Brazil. They started defining themselves as the forefathers of Brazilian citizens rather than as Japanese settlers. Postwar efforts for assimilation began with the change in ethnic self-ascription to Nipo-Brazilian. This hyphenated self-categorization was also called koronia, borrowed from the Portuguese word colônia (colony), which entered the parlance of immigrants toward the end of the 1940s.The use of the Portuguese term indicates the beginning of a new assimilative identity of the Japanese-speaking generation.

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This postwar situation in the Japanese Brazilian community coincided with the conceptualization and completion of The Tupi Lexicon. Kôyama, a makegumi sympathizer and one of the earliest immigrants to claim the right of permanent residence in Brazil, worried about the impact of the sociopolitical circumstances on the Japanese Brazilian community, and this concern underlay his good-hearted intentions in the preface to his lexicon: ‘‘If people understand, speak and hear this native language, they will have poetic sentiment and a sense of humor, and consequently their hearts will be softened. So I published this book especially for Japanese-Brazilians’’ (5; emphasis added). The Tupi Lexicon, then, is not simply dilettantism; it is a call to calm ethnic tension and to unite Japanese in Brazil through a ‘‘poetic sentiment and a sense of humor.’’ from grammar to intuition The final pages of TheTupi Lexicon deal with concise grammar. Although this part includes irrelevancies from a linguistic point of view (for example, Kôyama, relying mostly on the work of Ayrosa, mentions Portuguese parts of speech such as articles that are absent from both Japanese and Tupi), it is important in terms of further linguistic fantasies. Kôyama’s only original remark about grammar lies in his association of composite words with the composition of Japanese (Chinese) ideograms.With his neologism kongengo, he identifies ‘‘root-origin-words’’: several basic monoor bi-syllables that designate elements such as water, stone, person, and animal (on the composite substantives, see Ayrosa 1933, 45–46; Sampaio 1928, 19–20, 137–38). For example, ita (stone) + oca (house) = itaoca (cave); pira (fish) + juba (gold) = pirajuba (golden fish). Many Japanese ideograms have similar semantic constructions based on the combination of the left (hen) and right (tsukuri) parts. For example, a hen that designates the ‘‘person’’ (亻) + a tsukuri that designates the ‘‘master’’ (主) = to dwell (住).The structure of the letter for ‘‘to dwell’’ then implies that to dwell or to inhabit means to be a master-person in the space occupied. One might compare this grammatological exegesis of Japanese-Chinese ideograms to the compound word in European languages. As hens refer to elements such as human beings, trees, fish, land, and water, Kôyama draws the conclusion that ‘‘the Tupi expressed what the hen of Japanese ideogram designated by sound [of root-origin-words]’’ (Kôyama 1951, 121). Hen itself is not to be pronounced. Therefore root-origin-words, or sounds without the graphic, can be seen as

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complementary to hen, or graphic without sounds. Kôyama had thus demonstrated a certain linguistic affinity between two apparently incommensurable languages. This giant leap from the nonliterate tongue to the graphism of the antipode implied to Kôyama that the Japanese and the Tupi may have perceived the world in similar ways. His conviction was reinforced by a number of Tupi words whose sound he believed corresponded to Japanese semantics and/or phonetics: tori (‘‘a species of bird’’ in Tupi and ‘‘bird’’ in Japanese); and ura (‘‘worm’’ in Tupi, and ‘‘back’’ or ‘‘shallow waters’’ in Japanese). Some Japanese place-names even seem to make sense in Tupi: Tiba (Chiba) means ‘‘zone’’ in Tupi, while Kamakura (a medieval capital) can refer to kamarua in Tupi (breast pushed out). In this case, there was no actual relationship between the meanings of the Tupi and Japanese words. Rather, Kôyama was struck by the fact that some phonetic arrangements in Tupi sounded like Japanese. This essay will demonstrate that as he delved further into his study of Tupi, Kôyama became convinced of the causality, not the coincidence, between Tupi phonetics and Japanese semantics. ‘‘Translating the indigenous language of Tupi through Portuguese into Japanese, I found many Tupi words whose sound and meaning are exactly the same as Japanese. . . . I imagine that when one makes a comparative study of the Tupi and Japanese ancient words that still survive in local dialects, one will surely discover many Polynesian words’’ (Kôyama 1951, 135). In spite of such connections, Kôyama was never completely satisfied with The Tupi Lexicon because it depended on Portuguese books and, as a result, failed to demonstrate the immediate relationship of Tupi with Japanese: ‘‘The two languages resemble each other closely. Yet it is still difficult to conclude that the indigenous and Japanese look alike linguistically as much as they do physically’’ (ibid., 1; emphasis added). Kôyama’s lifelong task was to unveil a linguistic resemblance between the two languages that might in turn prove the more obvious physiognomic one. The demonstration of a biological and linguistic link with the indigenous people thus would legitimate both the Japanese presence in Brazilian territory but also their inclusion in Brazilian nation. Such a position was not widely accepted since the ‘‘oriental’’ appearance of Japanese immigrants and their descendants had long betrayed their efforts of assimilation with mainstream Brazilian society, because ‘‘physiognomy often allows instant categorization’’ (Lesser 1999, 169; see also 15, 108). The social label japonês was given by Brazilian society, not chosen by immigrants or their descendants. Thus a ‘‘fixed price’’ physiognomy became negotiable in the sense that it created a visible anchor for becoming Brazilian. Led by the conviction that similar peoples speak

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in similar tongues, Kôyama attempted to find a one-to-one lexical correspondence between the two languages. moment of epiphany Twenty years after the publication of The Tupi Lexicon, Kôyama took a much more openly defiant attitude toward modern linguistics, which dealt, he believed, only with the mechanical explanation. ‘‘As for Japanese linguistics and grammar, I am completely ignorant and uneducated. I am also a complete stranger of Western linguistics and phonetic law and have no sensibility for them’’ (Kôyama 1970, 4). His use of nhem (‘‘tongue’’ in Tupi) in his new work—which had the mystifying title Investigation of Meaning-Sense of Each Syllable in the Composition of Human Verbal Language through Original Meaning of the Tupi Language Nhem—as opposed to the use of Tupi go (‘‘Tupi language’’ in Japanese) in The Tupi Lexicon, shows his purportedly ‘‘emic’’ point of view. What is his alternative method? My method is as follows. I do not classify [the words] as noun, pronoun, verb, auxiliary verb, adverb, and so on. Western linguistics and phonology did not exist ten thousand years ago [when Tupi was used], and I hear that Japanese linguistics was created only about a hundred years ago through imitation of Western-like linguistics. Does it make sense to compare nonliterate nhem and Japanese according to such [linguistic] law? I will analyze nhem with no application to Western linguistic law. I do not rely on Portuguese grammatica or research at all. I start my research with picking up words that share the same sound or meaning in nhem and Japanese. (Kôyama 1970, 4) Close the books, he admonishes, to hear the sound of nhem and feel the basic correspondence between sound and meaning. Nhem is the very language his ancestors spoke in their hunting-and-gathering life thousands of years ago. It exists in the combination of sound and meaning that underlies contemporary Japanese. To put it simply, Kôyama’s archeology presumes that: (1) there lived Ur-Japanese-Tupi peoples in Polynesia; (2) thousands of years ago they moved to Japan and Brazil; and (3) those who moved to Japan became literate and civilized and forgot their original language, while those who migrated to Brazil maintained their original culture. Various theories of such a large-scale human migration were part of the earliest efforts of natural anthropology to uncover the eternal enigma of the origin of homo sapiens. One of the books in Kôyama’s library confirmed the Tupi-Polynesian theory: ‘‘The Pacific has never

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been an obstacle [for human flow], and it was, on the contrary, a tie between the Asian and Oceanian world and the New World. . . . The New World was since the pre-historic epoch a center of convergence of races and peoples’’ (Rivet 1957, 173). Polynesia is thus posited as the cradle of Tupi and Japanese by Kôyama’s Tupinology (see Yaguello 1991, 22). Yet how did Kôyama become convinced of this Polynesian connection? The moment of revelation came when he began to question why iko (let’s go) in Tupi meant the same thing in Japanese. The Tupi-Portuguese dictionary says i in Tupi means ‘‘water’’ or ‘‘small,’’ while ko designates ‘‘here,’’ ‘‘to strike,’’ ‘‘to stomp,’’ ‘‘to smash,’’ ‘‘to bear,’’ ‘‘to grow,’’ ‘‘to keep,’’ ‘‘nutrition to be thirsty.’’ Combining two meanings of i and nine of ko turns out eighteen possible meanings of iko: water-here, to strike water, to stomp water, to grow water, to keep water. Inspiration ran through Kôyama’s body. I was at a loss [about how to think about the meaning of iko]. Is it soundsense [onkan, Kôyama’s neologism] from such feeling of necessity [in daily life]? All of a sudden, I grasped the meaning of iko [let’s go] for the first time because the word reminded me of my own life in virgin forest as a pioneer: I got thirsty while cutting the trees and went to a faraway fountain at the bottom of a ravine. Strong thirst before drinking water and satisfaction after it. ‘‘Ah, this is tongue, this is sound-language [ongo, Kôyama’s neologism] the human being speak.’’ Iko, iko, iko, iko, iko, iko! I cried by myself, iko, iko! In the sound-language the human being speaks, each sound does store meaning [emphasis added]. I have to research and sense it. My whole blood got hot as if blind eyes had seen the light. (1970, 9–10) This episode is reminiscent of Helen Keller’s w-a-t-e-r experience in that both recount a revelatory moment in which the immediate bond between sound, meaning, and referent is recognized by way of an unexpected sensory shock. Mark Freeman interprets Keller’s well-known episode as the discovery of the ‘‘meaning of meaning itself.’’ ‘‘From wordless sensations emerged genuine thought’’ (Freeman 1993, 56). From that point on, little Helen inferred that everything—not only water—has a name and, more important, every name has writing and sound. ‘‘The acquisition of language, she realized, entailed significantly more than merely names to an already meaningful world. Rather . . . language veritably created a world’’ (ibid., 56). Freeman sees in Helen’s w-a-t-e-r episode the dramatic birth of self by means of the discovery of a meaningful world constructed by language. If Helen comprehends from w-a-t-e-r the corre-

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spondence between graphism, sound, and referent, Kôyama extrapolates from i-ko the whole gamut of lexical correspondence between the two languages. Appearance aside, however, a basic difference exists between the two episodes of revelation: Kôyama’s discovery was not based on the immediate grasp of sensory data but on a later recollection thereof. His long-forgotten moment in a deep forest became retrospectively highlighted as a crucial flash of ‘‘turning Tupi’’ and assured him of a link between his personal existence and a millennium of history behind it. How he felt, sensitized, and sensed was vital to how he constructed his Tupi world. This sensibility of his own past was critical for Kôyama in his deciphering of Tupi. Reflection and recollection are concomitant to him. In writing about Tupi, he did not intend to investigate the Other; it was rather an act of writing his own story from an ancestral point of view. His frequent use of awkward coinages—‘‘to research-and-sense’’ (kenkyû-kansei ) and ‘‘meaning-sense,’’ ‘‘signification-sense’’ (imi-kansei )—allowed Kôyama to stress the priority of senses over reason, of intuition over logic. His procedure can thus be called ‘‘affective science.’’ Kôyama claimed that his nhem cognition is based on ‘‘fifty years of pioneer life in primitive forest and colonial life’’ (1970, 3). It is true that he spent fifty years in Brazil, but he mostly lived in cities. Exaggerating, if not entirely perjuring, his autobiographical past as a pioneer, he invents a self-image designed to make an irrefutable affinity with the primitive peoples. It is possible that Kôyama never even met an indigenous person since his memoir does not mention any such actual encounters. from coincidence to correspondence How is it possible to connect these two seemingly incommensurable languages? As the example of iko shows, Kôyama was able to associate, through the process of double translation (from Tupi to Portuguese to Japanese), one Japanese syllable with a variety of meanings. He used this polysemy in order to densify the semantic network, dedicating a major part of Investigation, Volume 1 to a ‘‘dictionary’’ of Tupi-Japanese correspondence. He showed what each Japanese phoneme means in Tupi, presupposing a one-to-one phonetic correspondence between two languages without considering any possible deviation in the transliteration of a nonliterate language to Portuguese and then to Japanese. He was conscious of probable corruption in alphabetic transliteration by the Portuguese, who tended to judge from their natural predisposition and to

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confuse /f/ and /h/, /j/ and /y/, and so on. He thought that Japanese linguists, owing to their racial affinity with Tupi, might have been more precise than Portuguese ones in detecting and analyzing spoken Tupi (Kôyama 1951, 15). Since Portuguese books were the only sources for linguistic data available, Kôyama was unable to discard such information. Kôyama never trusted Western linguistics, but he could not abandon it; instead, he abused it. Portuguese guidelines functioned as a kind of grid through which to decipher the Tupi-Japanese code. In cases where the Portuguese literature did not explicitly indicate the Tupi meaning of a certain Japanese syllable, he inferred it from other examples using that same syllable. An example of Kôyama’s cryptic procedure to invent the meanings of a syllable is as follows. To establish the meaning of ho, missing from Portuguese books (probably because Portuguese has no aspirate h), Kôyama first collected several Tupi words containing ho- (ho-e, ho-i-to, ho-o-u), then overlapped them, subtracted the residue (–e, -i-to, and o-u), and inferred the common denominator of ho. This method of deciphering was facilitated by his credo that ‘‘each sound does store meaning,’’ which allowed him to ‘‘cut and paste’’ agglutinative words in order to adapt them to Japanese semantics.6 Transcription in ideograms escalates the polyvalence of each phoneme because it usually represents more than one meaning. In addition, one ideogram can refer to several sounds, while one sound can be written by several ideograms. Homonyms and synonyms in the two languages also contributed to the expansive number of possible combinations of sound and meaning. Once the table of monosyllabic correspondence was established, it became relatively simple to expand it to bi- and trisyllabic tables. Kôyama’s problem was no longer in finding a meaning but rather choosing the appropriate one. Since a notion of phonetic corruption had already caused debate among the Brazilian Tupinologists about putative Portuguese influences on Tupi pronunciation and transliteration, Kôyama, knowingly or not, set up an ad hoc rule of phonetic exchangeability. tupi as ur-language Deploying the method analyzed in the previous section, Kôyama interpreted hundreds of words in his second Tupi book, Investigation, Volume 1. Kôyama could have applied this method to every existent word, but he did not. His lexical choices illuminated his ethnic and linguistic ideology. No matter how slippery his logic might seem, his choices were always consistent and coherent.

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He systematically excluded words related to, for example, modern civilization and sexuality, and he privileged place-names, proper nouns, and terms of Japanese ancient history (Kôyama 1970, 125–39). For Kôyama, the Tupi language was about nature and the past. Kôyama interpreted Kashiwara, the name of a town enshrining the mythological founder of the Japanese empire, as follows: Kashiwara = Koshiara (‘‘past’’ in Tupi) = Ko (to bear, to grow) + shi (light) + ara (sun). This reading thus matched Amaterasu, the Japanese Sun deity. By the same token, Kôyama reconstructed the archeological Japan according to Tupi palimpsest: Jômon (the most ancient civilization known in Japan) = Ji (together) + yo (descendant) + mo (to make) + mu (cooperation); Yamato (the first historical kingship known) = Ya (fruit) + ma (place) + to (hole, fold). The list continues.7 Kôyama’s reinterpretation of ancient Japan is in harmony with an exuberant nature and good-hearted people. His exegesis is not to confront equally one language with another but to tame the tongue of antipode according to his native language. ‘‘It’s extremely easy,’’ notes Marina Yaguello, ‘‘for a speaker inventing a language to create its vocabulary by applying neological principles, but extremely difficult to escape from the syntactic straitjacket of his or her native language’’ (1991, 98). Japanese was thus the natural starting point, and the final destination, of his linguistics. To Kôyama, the relationship between Tupi and Japanese was not reciprocal: Japanese words could be deciphered through the Tupi grid, but such was not the case with the inverse. In other words, Tupi provided a ‘‘paleo-semantic’’ dimension that was veiled for a millennium in the process of linguistic evolution (or corruption) of Japanese. If Tupi is Ur-Japanese, then could it possibly be the mother of all other languages? To examine this possibility, Kôyama extended the palimpsest method to non-Tupi place-names of Brazil: Brazil = Burajiru = bura (full) + jiru (gather, have, sink, swallow); Paulista = Paurisuta = pa (feather) + u (soil) + ri (remain, flow) + su (move, change) + ta (fire, rod). The Tupi atlas covered the whole world and its heroes, including Mexico, the Andes, Mississippi, Kennedy, the Sahara, Babylonia, Cleopatra, Rome, Plato, Christopher Columbus, Madagascar, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Polynesia. After these toponymies were established, Kôyama challenged the exegesis of ordinary nouns in Chinese, Korean, Ainu, Malay, Syrian, Portuguese, and English (Investigation, Volume 1) and French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, and Hebrew (Investigation, Volume 2). Of course, the names and words with which he deals are filtered through Japanese transliteration. One example—water—may suffice to understand his method: Mizu (Japanese) = mi (few, little, body, top) +

36 • Shuhei Hosokawa

zu (fall); Aguwa (‘‘agua,’’ in Portuguese) = a (place, thing, person) + gu (sure) + wa (to swallow, round); Wa-a-ta-a (‘‘water,’’ in English) = wa (something to drink) + a (burgeoning, cut, throw) + ta (fire) + a (cut, throw). And so on. Kôyama articulated the phonetic combinations of each language regardless of intonation, accent, and other features (desemantization), then rewrote them in Japanese script.This ‘‘Japanization’’ was followed by ‘‘Tupification,’’ the allocation of Tupi meaning(s) obtained through monosyllabic semantics to each syllable. In doing this, Kôyama invented an impeccable translation system: Language X—Japanese transliteration—Tupi-Portuguese decipher—Japanese translation. While no word was untranslatable as long as it could be transliterated in Japanese, Kôyama did not interpret the semantic composition of nonJapanese words. For example, he demonstrated how Wa-a-ta-a (water) can be semantically reconstructed, but he does not tell his readers the implications underlying ‘‘something to drink + cut/throw + fire + cut/throw.’’ But how might phonetic operations have been affected as Kôyama sought to comprehend Tupi (and other languages) without written mediation? For twenty years he ‘‘researched and sensed’’ Tupi for one hour a day with his secretary, and the language existed only in valuable combinations of sound and meaning. In other words, Kôyama used ‘‘raw materials’’ to stimulate linguistic fantasy, opening a secret treasure box for customized sound symbolism. His coinage ongo (sound-language) revealed his focus on sound and his separation of the conventional relationship between sound and meaning.While Kôyama told his readers little about the meanings of his ‘‘universal etymology,’’ it is certain that he was not aware that his concerns were shifting from the origin of Japanese to that of language more generally. sound symbolism and monogenetic hypothesis From a linguistic point of view, this shift meant much more than Kôyama thought. His starting point, The Tupi Lexicon, consists of an orthodox process of lexical translation: semantic transfer of word from one linguistic system to another. It presupposes two (or three) distinct linguistic systems that can be related by means of the transparency of semantic correspondence (or at least approximation).The relationship between the signified and the signifier inside each system and between systems is thought to be arbitrary in concordance with modern linguistics. Investigation, Volume 1 presumes a totally different hypothesis: although the relationship between the signified and the signifier inside each system is arbi-

In the Tongue of the Antipode • 37

trary, that between systems is undeniably motivated (not arbitrary). Language, in Kôyama’s view, is mimetic and congruent as well as synesthetic. His iko epiphany is exemplary because he finds these two syllables congruent with the sense of thirst in his recollection. He admits the principle of analogy and phonetic mimesis in proto-Japanese-Tupi. If the orthodox translation process is anchored by the supposed semantic identity of different lexemes (lexical units), the palimpsest that Kôyama posits identifies similar phonemes (phonetic units) designating different meanings in different languages. It is only the decision of which to stress—meaning or sound—that is different. What matters in Investigation, Volume 1 is the congruity not between the signifier and the signified in Japanese or in Tupi but rather that congruity between the signifiers in these two languages. While identifying a semantic unit with a phonetic one, Kôyama admits a motivated expression of phonetic substance and denies the double articulation put forth by structural linguistics. His idea comes closer to sound symbolism: meaning is intrinsically perceived in sound (Dogana 1983, 58; see also Todorov 1972). Different from the sound symbolism in a monolinguistic system that often searches for the affinity between linguistic sound and the nature of things it denotes (e.g., onomatopoeia, color perception, or emotive expression of vowels and consonants), Kôyama applies it to an interlinguistic one in which the relationship between the signifier and the signified in his mother tongue is taken as unquestionably natural, while that relationship in foreign languages is susceptible to fantastic construction. Kôyama locates in Japanese and Tupi the ‘‘residue of archaic expressive form’’ (Dogana 1983, 288). When he extrapolates the principle of congruity and analogy to other languages, he alludes to the monogenetic hypothesis or the idea of ‘‘derivation of all the languages from only one mother language’’ (Eco 1994, 71). Throughout European intellectual history, according to Eco, certain sanctified languages have been repeatedly posited as the origins of languages. Hebrew and Sanskrit were no more verisimilar candidates than Celtic and Basque (see Bergheaud 1985; Yaguello 1991, 21; Sarmiento 1985). The quest for the origin was always dependent on the mythicopolitical imagination. For example, Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen (1876), an official historian of post-independence Brazil, explored the innovative theory that Tupi and all the ancient languages derived from theTuran, a tribe on the shore of the Nile.The political implication of such an astonishing theory was that Brazilian Indians were not primitive creatures but the descendants of classical civilization.8 For Kôyama, the Tupi represented both the Ur-Japanese and the UrBrazilians. The Tupi allowed the Japanese in Brazil to celebrate the myth of

38 • Shuhei Hosokawa

peaceful racial blending, thus fortifying the authentic Brazilianness of the Japanese, a group excluded from the foundational myth. Whereas The Tupi Lexicon had the implicit intention of establishing peace within a divided community— it textually addresses an intra-ethnic group—the Investigations are explicitly designed to affirm the Brazilian racial myth. Reference to Tupi was, for the blind poet, a ‘‘foundational fiction’’ (Sommer 1991) that acknowledged a minority group. This fiction was not intended to build up a new counternarrative that potentially subverted the narrative of the dominant society, but rather it took part in the hegemonic order. It did not aim at ethnic separation but at social integration. Kôyama’s striking admiration of racial democracy in Brazil is evident in the final paragraph of Investigation,Volume 2: ‘‘In the middle of nineteenth century a universal language, Esperanto, invented by Zamenhof in Europe, became popular. But it seems to me that it is Brazil [rather than Esperanto] that is realizing the universal ideal of the equality of human beings because this country does not discriminate against any immigrant from any place in the world. I suppose that in some centuries ethnic languages from all over the world will acknowledge the one-sound-one-proper-meaning of Tupi sound-language as examined in Portuguese books’’ (35). For Kôyama, it is only when people around the world ‘‘sense’’ the Tupi sound symbolism hidden in all the languages that they will be able to communicate with each other. Like the Tupi of the past, the world will become truly peaceful. conclusion: fantastic linguistics and the construction of identity The origin of language, long after its exile from the garden of linguistics, still enchants numerous popular scientists. Such theories, nevertheless, find a legitimate place in the ‘‘fantastic linguistics’’ or ‘‘all the discourses and all the practices that the gradual constitution of an official discipline marginalized and sometimes even excluded from the scientific field’’ (Auroux et al. 1985, 11). Apart from the two most forbidding questions—the origin of language and the universal language—glossolalia, lapsus, incommunicative language, and fictional language are among the privileged objects of this discipline. What is at stake lies not in the objective truth-value but in the singularity of the author (ibid., 18). This is conditioned by history, or more precisely, by the margin of history. What we find in fantastic linguistics is not neglect or abandonment of modern science, but its abuse and twisting.9

In the Tongue of the Antipode • 39

The fantastic linguists overlook the orthodoxy of linguistics. They ‘‘refuse the linearity of signifier, confuse the paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes, articulate the language in a unique manner, add to signifier infinite exegesis, etc.’’ and tend to connect the imaginary language to ‘‘extrinsic elements such as the location, sex or genius of people’’ (Aroux et al. 1985, 23). The task of fantastic linguistics is to locate the glossophiles in the wider context of knowledge by questioning why and how they failed to construct the authentic objects of the modern linguistics. By virtue of their out-of-placeness they illuminate the limits of scientific discourse by blurring and bypassing the boundary between science and fantasy. Even if the linguistic imagination often refers to the past (myth of the origin of language) or the future (utopia of the universal language), the questions raised indicate the critical conditions of present languages. All of these features clearly operate in Kôyama’s analysis. Kôyama neglected modern linguistics, yet at the same time his ideas were profoundly based on the historical conditions in which he lived. He constructed a labyrinth full of confusion between logic and intuition, assumption and fact, personal recollection and objective description. His texts are not so much degenerated science as a narrative rooted in personal experience and collective sentiment. Physical similarity between the Tupi and the Japanese was the only visible clue as Kôyama tried to demonstrate how linguistic affinity proved its genetic counterpart. Ad hoc rules were added when the result contradicted the phantasm of absolute priority. Such narrative inventions intended to save the fantasy often lie behind the operation of folktales. Thus Kôyama’s quest for the meaning of names looks more like folk etymology than linguistics. In attributing the Tupi signification to various words in various languages, he named the world, watched it from Tupi eyes, heard the language from Tupi ears, and felt how the Tupi ‘‘sensed’’ the world. By so doing, he attempted to break down the limits of language and the limits of the lived world. The incommensurability of language is naturally reciprocal but unevenly influences the lives of hosts and guests. Kôyama’s initial profession as interpreter made him keenly aware of the alien position of his mother tongue in his second homeland. To recognize one’s native language as foreign is to feel his/her forked tongue. One way to escape from the prison of language is to ‘‘master’’ others’ language, but another more radical way to do so (at least in ideological terms) is to insist that even the Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, monolingual as immigrants, are imprisoned unless they notice that any language is equally distant from the Ur-language of Tupi.

40 • Shuhei Hosokawa

The incommensurability of the two languages was short-circuited by the invention and intervention of a ‘‘third space,’’ an archaic space that allowed any semantic investment, any imaginary reference, any surreal fantasy. This space, deemed Tupi by Kôyama, is blank enough to be filled with arbitrary meanings and interpretations since it is already full of national symbolism and exotic clichés. Kôyama was searching for a narrative to redeem the patent marginality of his community with respect to demography, culture, and language. He was not unaware of the subaltern position of his native language in Brazil and of the limited influence of his work. Publishing a work in Japanese in Brazil could not help but contain the ‘‘double articulation’’ of national/ethnic friction. In the disclosure of native language, the Issei generation yearned for the lost origin that had been unwittingly resistant to the monolingualism of Brazil. Kôyama neither altered the incompatibility of the two languages nor the Brazilian view on japonês. Yet, his writings were not meaningless. Rather, Kôyama attempted to become Brazilian through strategic use of mythical imagination and physical resemblance. Far from being the quirk of a blind recluse or a linguistic absurdity, his Tupi-Japanese-Brazilian world articulates the sociopolitical, affective, and ideological conditions of the Nikkei community. It is ‘‘true fantasy’’ embedded in the mythicohistorical consciousness of a minority group. notes I owe thanks to Mr. Katsunori Wakisaka, son-in-law of Kôyama, for providing valuable personal information about the author and his private publications. 1 The notion of ‘‘ethnic’’ is hard for Japanese to understand, as they see that one word, minzoku, is designated to mean both ‘‘nation’’ and ‘‘ethnic unit’’ interchangeably, even in academic texts (Tanaka 1991, 175–76). This polysemic translation of the word minzoku by the Meiji intellectuals in the late nineteenth century might reflect the nationalistic circumstances in which ethnology, anthropology, and folk studies were established. The duality of national and ethnic categories is also discussed in Hosokawa 1999. 2 All translations are by the author. 3 Kôyama consulted the following references (Kôyama 1951, 3–4): Padre Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, Vocabulario y Arte y Tesoro: Guarany (o Tupi)—Español (1639); Plinio Ayrosa, Primeiras Noções de Tupy (1933); Baptista de Castro, Vocabulario Tupy-Guarany (1936); Theodoro Sampaio, O Tupí na Geographia Nacional; Diccionario Guarany-Castellano (1901); P. H. Cuasch [P. Antonio Guasch], Diccionario Castellano-Guarani y GuaraníCastellano [no further data]; Affonso Antônio de Freitas, ‘‘Os Guayanas de Pirati-

In the Tongue of the Antipode • 41

4 5

6

7

ninga,’’ Etnographia Paulista (1910); Alfredo d’Escragnole [Afonso de Escragnolle] Taunay, Os Indios Caingangs: Monographia [no further data]; Angione[Angyone] Costa (1934), Introdução á Arqueologia Brasileira: Etnografia e Historia, Biblioteca Pedagógica Brasileira, Editora Brasiliana, series 5, vol. 34; Paul Rivet, As Origems [sic] do Homen Americano, Instituto Progresso Editorial. Among these ten references, I could consult only five (Ayrosa, Sampaio, Guasch, Costa, and the French original of Rivet). Although I admit that my reconstruction of Kôyama’s Tupinology is rather incomplete, the contribution of the books I cannot consult must not be significant. Almost all the entries in The Tupi Lexicon derive either from Primeiras Noções de Tupi of P. Ayrosa or from O Tupí na Geographia Nacional of Theodoro Sampaio. The information from two unconsulted Guarani-Castilian dictionaries should be as minimally incorporated in Kôyama’s work as Guasch’s dictionary. ‘‘Os Guayanas de Piratininga’’ by Affonso Antônio de Freitas may not be much incorporated in Kôyama’s text as far as I judge from his discussion on the same subject found in his Vocabulario Nheengatú (1936, 43–44). On the Tupi philology, see also Ayrosa 1967 and Chermont de Miranda 1946. Kôyama used the terms of Tupi and Tupi-Guarani interchangeably. Tupi is not a language but a variant of the Guarani, a domestic language of Paraguay. An interesting exception is Mário de Andrade, for whom the nasalization of Portuguese in Brazil was a Tupi influence (1991). Sociologists more often doubt than affirm the Brazilian racial equality (see Andrews 1991; Bastide and Fernandes 1959; Fernandes 1972; Fontaine 1985; Hellwig 1992; Skidmore 1973; Winant 1994). ‘‘Racial’’ problems in Brazil are predominantly concerned with the white-black spectrum. Indigenous and Asian groups are filed under a different category: ethnic friction (Lesser 1999, 10–11). One of the rules of Tupi etymology for Theodoro Sampaio was ‘‘to decompose the vocabulary etymologically restored by its agglutinated elements, always easy to detach, and to put it, in this way, in conditions of being translated’’ (1928, 129). This was exactly the methodology of Kôyama, though ‘‘cut-and-paste’’ etymology is common in fantastic linguistics. As much as the comparative philologists of his time, Sampaio thought that the agglutinative languages such as Tupi were less evolved than the inflective ones such as Portuguese. The tendency to associate the Tupi with the great past can be found in the articles by other Japanese who might have been inspired by The Tupi Lexicon. For instance, Tadao Oka provides many examples (‘‘Tupi-go to Man’yô Kotoba’’ [Tupi language and Man’yô language], Paulista Shinbun, 10 June 1959). For him, Shikishima (ancient embellished name for Japan) consists of ‘‘shi (light) + ki (descendant) + shima (shine).’’ In other words, Japan is celebrated since its beginning as ‘‘country of shining descendants.’’ To be sure, Oka and Kôyama knew each other, and probably it was the latter who hinted at re-reading Man’yô Shû (Man’yô language) in Tupi. (Pub-

42 • Shuhei Hosokawa lished in the eighth century, Man’yô Shû was the first poetic collection known in Japan). Kôyama also interpreted one poem from Man’yô Shû in Investigation, Volume 1 (137). Yoshio Ikeda, in his turn, deciphers the ancient Egyptian and Okinawan languages according to TheTupi Lexicon (‘‘Nazo noTupi-go’’ [MysteriousTupi language], August–November 1976, Paulista Shinbun), while an anonymous article applies aTupi grid to Japanese dialects (Nippaku Mainiti Shinbun, 26 February 1963). It is likely that Kôyama’s death disintegrated the interest in Tupi among these amateur glossophiles. 8 It is intriguing to compare Kôyama and Varnhagen in terms of Tupi monogenetic theory. The latter discovered the Tupi words rha, ioh, and siu, designated alike in ancient Egypt as the sun, the moon, and the stars, respectively (Varnhagen 1876, 27–28, 137–38). Tupi’s staple deity, Tupan (Tupã), god of thunder, maintains in itself a resonance with the Egyptian To-Pan (Pan of the country). This ‘‘Pan’’ can be also called ‘‘Khen,’’ which corresponds to Jupiter, god of thunder (ibid., 62–63). According to Varnhagen, the Tupi emigrated from Egypt during the fifth and sixth centuries b.c. Forming the most ancient of emigrations, they traveled to the farthest place, or southern Brazil. As a result, Tupi contains the oldest languages such as Greek, Assyrian, Phoenician, and so forth. In addition, Varnhagen found lexical correspondence with Mongolian,Tartarian, Basque, Arabian, Hungarian, Malay, and some other languages. The similarity with Kôyama’s approach is obvious. Curiously enough, Varnhagen never argued the Tupi connection with westEuropean languages. His comparative philology emphasizes exotic and/or ancient cultures. Varnhagen also analyzed the signification of Tupi as ‘‘ancestor’’ in detail (ibid., 4), with Tupi being the exotic Adam, originating from Egypt. Varnhagen theorized that linguistic influence was concomitant with the conquest; to the extent that the Egyptian (Turanian) empire enlarged, its language affected the Semitic languages. Varnhagen’s knowledge of ancient Egypt clearly borrowed from post-Napoleonic Orientalism. (On the impact of the Turanian theory on the ArabBrazilian cultural identity, see Lesser 1999, 43) TheTupi language was also a subject of comparative philology by Lucien Adam, a fin-de-siècle French intellectual (1968 [1896]), which implies an intermittent interest in the Brazilian indigenous people in France since Jean de Léry. 9 On the ‘‘nonfantastic’’ (scientific) search for the origin of language, see Lamb and Mitchell 1991; Miller 1971; Ruhlen 1994.

references Adam, Lucien. 1968 [1896]. Matériaux pour Servir à l’Etablissement d’une Grammaire Comparé des Dialectes de la Famille Tupi. Paris: J. Maisonneuve.

In the Tongue of the Antipode • 43 Andrade, Mário de. 1991. Aspectos da Música Brasileira. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Villa Rica. Andrews, George Reid. 1991. Blacks and Whites in São Paulo, Brazil 1888–1988. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Auroux, Sylvain, Jean-Claude Chevalier, Nicole Jacques-Chaqui, and Christine Marchello-Nizia. 1985. La Linguistique Fantastique. Paris: Clims-Denoël. Ayrosa, Plinio. 1933. Primeiras Noções de Tupi. São Paulo: Centro do Professorado Paulista. . 1967. Estudos Tupinológicos. São Paulo: Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros. Bastide, Roger, and Florestan Fernandes. 1959. Brancos e Negros em São Paulo. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional. Bergheaud, Patrice. 1985. Le Mirage Celtique: Antiquaires et Linguistes en GrandeBretagne au XVIIIe Siècle. In La Linguistique Fantastique, edited by Sylvain Auroux et al., 51–60. Paris: Clims-Denoël. Burns, E. Bradford. 1968. Nationalism in Brazil: A Historical Survey. New York: Frederick A. Praeger. Chermont de Miranda, Vicente. 1946. Estudos sôbre o Nhêengatú. Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional. Costa, Angyone. Introduçao á Arqueologia Brasileira: Etnografia e História. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional. Dietrich, Wolf. 1990. More Evidence for an Internal Classification of Tupi-Guarani Languages. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag. Dogana, Fernando. 1983. Suono e Senso: Fondamenti Teorici ed Empirici del Simbolismo Fonetico. Milan: Franco Angeli. Eco, Umberto. 1994. La Búsqueda de la Lengua Perfecta. Barcelona: Crítica. Fernandes, Florestan. 1972. O Negro no Mundo dos Brancos. São Paulo: Difusão Européa do Livro. Fontaine, Pierre-Michel, ed. 1985. Race, Class, and Power in Brazil. Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California. Freeman, Mark. 1993. Rewriting the Self: History, Memory, Narrative. London: Routledge. Freitas, Affonso Antônio de. 1936. Vocabulário Nheengatú. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional. Geipel, John. 1993. Brazil’s Unforked Tongue. History Today 43: 11–14. Guasch, Padre Antonio. 1961. Diccionario Castellano-Guaraní y Guaraní-Castenllano. Seville: Ediciones Loyola. Haberly, David T. 1983. Three Sad Races: Racial Identity and National Consciousness in Brazilian Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hellwig, David J., ed. 1992. African-American Reflections on Brazil’s Racial Paradise. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Hosokawa, Shuhei. 1999. Nationalizing Chô-Chô-San: The Signification of ‘‘Butterfly Singers’’ in a Japanese-Brazilian Community. Japanese Studies 19, no. 3: 253–68. Kôyama, Rokurô. 1951. Tupi Tango Shû [The Tupi lexicon]. São Paulo: Teikoku Shoin.

44 • Shuhei Hosokawa . 1970. Tupi Ongo Niemu no Gogen Imide Jinrui Ongo Kôsei Ichion Ichion o Imi Kansei Kenkyû [Investigation of meaning-sense of each syllable in the composition of human verbal language through original meaning of the Tupi language Nhem], vol. 1. São Paulo: private publication. . 1973. Tupi Ongo Niemu no Gogen Imide Jinrui Ongo Kôsei Ichion Ichion o Imi Kansei Kenkyû [Investigation of meaning-sense of each syllable in the composition of human verbal language through original meaning of the Tupi language Nhem], vol. 2. São Paulo: private publication. . 1976. Kôyama Rokurô Kaisôroku [Memoir of Rokurô Kôyama]. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros. Lamb, Sydney M., and E. Douglas Mitchell, eds. 1991. Sprung from Some Common Source: Investigations into the Prehistory of Languages. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Lesser, Jeffrey. 1999. Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Luís, Pedro e A Parede. 1999. ‘‘Brasileiro em Toquio.’’ É Tudo Real. WPCR-10445. Miller, Roy Andrew. 1971. Japanese and the Other Altaic Languages. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. . 1977. The Japanese Language in Contemporary Japan: Some Sociolinguistic Observations. Washington, D.C.: Hoover Institution. . 1980. Origins of the Japanese Language: Lectures in Japan during the Academic Year 1977. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Murai, Osamu. 1992. Nantô Ideology no Hassei [The birth of ideology on Southern Island]. Tokyo: Fukutake Shoten. . 1993. Kigen to Seifuku [Origin and conquest]. Hihyô Kûkan 11: 156–61. Neiva, Arthur. 1940. Estudos da Lingua Nacional. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional. Rivet, Paul. 1957. Les Origines de l’homme Américain. Paris: Gallimard. Ruhlen, Merritt. 1994. The Origin of Language: Tracing the Evolution of the Mother Tongue. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Sampaio, Theodoro. 1928. O Tupí na Geographia Nacional. Bahia: Secçaõ Graphica da Escola de Aprendizes Artifices. Sarmiento, Ramon. 1985. Le Basque et la Racine du Savoir. In La Linguistique Fantastique, edited by Sylvain Auroux et al., 61–73. Paris: Clims-Denoël. Skidmore,Thomas E. 1993 [1973]. Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Sommer, Doris. 1991. Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America. Berkeley: University of California Press. Tanaka, Katsuhiko. 1991. Gengo Kara Mita Minzoku to Kokka [Ethnos and nation seen from language]. Tokyo: Iwanami. Todorov, Tzvetan. 1972. Le Sens des Sons. Poétique 11: 273–308. Varnhagen, Francisco Adolpho de. 1876. L’origine Touranienne des Américains Tupis-Caribes

In the Tongue of the Antipode • 45 et des Anciens Egyptiens Mondré Principalement par La Philologie Comparée: Et Notice d’une Emigration en Amérique Effectuée à Travers l’Atlantique Plusieurs Siècles avant notre Ere. Viena: Librairie I. et R. de Faesy and Frick. Winant, Howard. 1994. Racial Conditions: Politics, Theory, Comparison. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1997. Philosophical Investigations. Translated by G. E. M. Anscombe. Oxford: Blackwell, I, §19. Yaguello, Marina. 1991. Lunatic Lovers of Language: Imaginary Languages and Their Inventors. London: Athlone Press.

koichi mori Translated by Joshua Hotaka Roth •••••

Identity Transformations among Okinawans and Their Descendants in Brazil •••

The goal of this essay is to analyze identity transformations among Okinawans and their descendants in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. No single contemporary Okinawan-Brazilian identity exists; instead, Uchinanchu (a term used by Okinawans to distinguish themselves from mainland Japanese, who are known as Yamatonchu) identity in Brazil is highly contextual and thus in certain moments appears almost hyper-Japanized, while at others it is defined in contrast to Japaneseness, often via a language of Brazilian cultural identity. The evershifting nature of Uchinanchu identity, which can over the course of even a single afternoon be defined in what appears to be contradictory ways, makes it a fascinating example of how collective memory operates and of the ways in which majority culture is critical to the creation of minority (or perhaps better, subminority) identity. According to estimates of the Okinawan Prefectural Association, there are currently about 140,000 people of Okinawan descent living in Brazil. The creation of Uchinanchu identity among this group is tied to a series of critical historical moments in Okinawan/mainland Japanese relations in Brazil. The new identities constructed as a result of each historical circumstance do not merely replace each other. Rather, the result is an Uchinanchu identity repertoire that, at the beginning of the new millennium, is employed depending on social context. ••• Uchibori Motomitsu (1989, 27) uses the term minzoku to refer to an intermediate social category that is generated between the small-scale commu-

48 • Koichi Mori

nity and the overarching society embodied by the nation-state. According to Uchibori, minzoku stands between community and nation-state and is constituted through the collective actions of labeling (nazuke) by others and through self-ascription of identity (nanori). What starts out as an immaterial label begins, through repeated ritual practice and the development of a body of commonly held myths, to be symbolized as a temporally continuous reality. Uchibori argues that this process of ethnogenesis resembles the development of the nation-state, as both involve ideological negotiation between self and other. At times, negotiation between nazuke and nanori occurs through the use of strategically chosen cultural elements. The emergent minzoku is gradually realized and normalized, girded by its myths and specific temporal continuity. Thus, the minzoku becomes an objective reality that possesses a certain shared culture, but this culture is not necessarily general or systematic. As Barth (1969, 14–15) has noted, it is important to keep in mind that while the symbols of ethnicity (ethnic identity) suggest different qualities, they are not necessarily based on objective differences.1 Ethnicity has the goal of setting ethnic boundaries; as ‘‘boundary markers’’ or ‘‘symbolic elements,’’ people choose from a number of cultural elements given social relevance by the group (Shôji 1997, 77–78). Through speech and action, cultural elements come to symbolize boundaries (identities) and are endowed with an objective reality. Such symbols emerge from people’s daily lives and delineate boundaries that are neither completely empty nor arbitrary. Within the framework of the Brazilian nation-state, Uchinanchu identity emerged out of the identity labeling practices of several different groups— Japanese government authorities in Brazil, Brazilians of Yamatonchu descent, and Brazilians of other ethnic backgrounds—and out of the self-ascribed identity of people of Okinawan descent themselves. Within this negotiated process of self and other, symbolic elements from Okinawan culture were mobilized to signify difference from others and reflected in speech, rituals, or events. An excellent example is the Okinawan dialect (Uchinanguchi), which many secondgeneration Okinawan Brazilians have little knowledge of and do not use in their daily lives. Yet many have had contact with the dialect at home or at social events, and they pepper both their spoken Portuguese and Japanese with Okinawan words to distinguish themselves from mainland Japanese. Arts and crafts, ancestor worship, food, and other ethnic practices are also markers of Uchinanchu identity. The (cultural) elements selected as boundary markers do not necessarily retain the original qualities, meanings, or functions they possessed within pre-migratory Okinawan culture. For example, when

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Okinawans refer to ancestor worship as a distinctive religion, the significance they perceive is different from that perceived within Okinawan folk society, since ancestor worship as practiced by Okinawans was shaped by the Brazilian context and helped to form a new ethnic culture.2 Of course, this negotiation between self and other was affected by changes in national consciousness and the social and economic circumstances within which it existed. Along with any changes in a self-ascribed identity, symbolic cultural elements must also be modified in order to remain consistent with that identity. Thus it is critical to remember that Okinawan descendants in Brazil by no means have a single Uchinanchu identity. Indeed, depending on context, they may self-ascribe as kenjin (prefectural people), colônia-jin (settlers), nisei (second generation), nihonjin (Japanese), or burajirujin (Brazilian). Even the most generalized of such terminology includes within itself notions of Okinawan ethnic identity.3 becoming japanese: kenjin identity and the negation of okinawanness Following the formal annexation of Okinawa by Japan in 1897, both Okinawans and members of the Japanese government embraced the start of modernization by portraying the southern archipelago as premodern and backward (Toyama 1990, 1–19). Things Okinawan were to be swept away as the region was modernized and assimilated into the mainland. Prefectural identity was thus born. According to Koguma, this prefectural identity was based on Okinawan subordination to the Japanese nation, but it also expressed a local desire to sweep away the ‘‘primitive,’’ ‘‘unhygienic,’’ and ‘‘insane’’ aspects of Okinawan ‘‘cultural backwardness’’ in the face of a ‘‘modern’’ Japan (Koguma 1998, 18–49). The belief among Okinawans that they should assimilate into some kind of ideal modern Japan was brought to Brazil by both mainland and Okinawan immigrants. In both Brazil and Okinawa, Uchinanchu leaders in the early twentieth century called themselves kenjin specifically to avoid identifying themselves as Okinawan. Of the 781 Japanese immigrants who arrived in Brazil aboard the Kasato Maru in 1908, 325 (41.6 percent) were from Okinawa. The Japanese migrants were sent to six different coffee plantations and began their new lives as colonos (agricultural laborers), with Okinawans being farmed out to two of these plantations, Canaan and Floresta. A variety of problems arose. Because these migrants had arrived during the latter half of the harvest period, in a year when the coffee crop itself was rather small, they had a less-than-normal amount

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of work. In addition, the heavy labor on coffee plantations and the difference between the conditions promised by labor contractors and actual life on the plantations led migrants to flee. Others organized labor disputes, and some were dismissed from their jobs. While Okinawans suffered alongside other immigrants, the Japanese government, fearing an end to emigration to Brazil, sought to blame Okinawans, rather than the plantation owners, for the problems. They directed Japanese emigration companies to avoid recruiting Okinawans, and from 1913 to 1916 unofficial measures prohibited Okinawan migration to Brazil, leading in 1919 to a formal ban. Even so, Okinawans became the most numerous prefectural group of immigrants from Japan in the prewar period. In reports addressed to the foreign ministry in Japan, Japanese officials stationed in Brazil made many references to Okinawan difference. The following report, republished in Yabiku (1987), provides a sense of how Japanese officials in Brazil perceived Okinawan migrants based on the Japanese government’s understanding of Okinawan identity prior to migration. Report to the Foreign Ministry from Vice Consul Misumi Yôzo, branch office chief at the Consulate General of Japan in Riberão Preto (March 15th, 1918) Although Okinawans comprise 45 percent of the migrants from ourcountry, unhappily we cannot say that their achievements have been good. They are extremely different from Japanese mainland [hompo naichi ] migrants. Since the arrival of Okinawan contract laborers [kumiai imin], mainland Japanese on the plantations have been criticized for (1) their inability to settle in the agricultural sites they were assigned, (2) their tendency to cause trouble, (3) their organizing of strikes, and (4) their record of producing the greatest number of runaways. We must inform all Japanese migrants of these accusations, while recognizing that the primary responsibility resides with the Okinawan migrants. . . . Considering that there are few problems involving mainland Japanese migrants and that there are many involving Okinawan migrants, we are forced to question the suitability of Okinawan characteristics for selection (as immigrants). With regards to their ways and customs, mainland Japanese migrants suffer from their association with Okinawans who have (1) a high rate of false families [nise kazoku], (2) culinary inferiority, (3) uncleanliness of living quarters, (4) uninhibited display of nudity, and so on. Immediately on arrival, the relationships between father and child or husband and wife in these primarily Okinawan false families are transformed, and it

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is hard to endure the fact that Brazilians may have contempt for the morals of our people. In addition, Okinawan consumption of whole-dog stews, the tattoos on their wives’ hands, and other such special customs clearly draws the Brazilians’ attention to them. In order to ensure that the directors of agricultural lands will make use of our migrants long into the future, it would be advisable for us to help them understand the differences among Japanese prefectures, and to indicate whether or not migrants from specific prefectures are allowed. Even when considering people to settle in newly cleared land, it would be advisable to distinguish between Okinawans and mainland migrants. Plantation owners, having already determined that Chinese are not suitable to work on their plantations and, having requested Japanese workers, will not welcome Okinawans since they are perceived as Chinese. . . . Thus, we must not fail to recognize that in every agricultural region here, Okinawans are gradually provoking contempt and aversion, and that this will affect the reputation of mainland migrants and may in the future serve as an excuse for their expulsion. At this time, we have reached the conclusion that we should severely control the selection of Okinawan migrants, limiting the numbers of such passengers and supplying the majority of passengers from the ranks of mainland Japanese. (Yabiku 1987, 99–100) These views were not limited to Japanese officials but were widely held among mainland Japanese who were starting new lives together with Okinawans on Brazilian coffee plantations. Based on differences in language, customs, and physical characteristics, mainland Japanese recognized Okinawans as different from and inferior to themselves. One of the curious results of this otherness was the attempt by Japanese to classify Okinawans as Chinese, Korean, or as descendants of exiles (Vieira 1973). Such categorization, however, did not stop at the borders of ethnic communities. Indeed, when Japanese laborers and their official representatives were in contact with Brazilian plantation owners and workers, they often insisted, along with the previous national categorizations, that Okinawans were not ‘‘true’’ Japanese or that they were ‘‘second-class’’ Japanese. How did migrants from Okinawa Prefecture view themselves? Onaga Josei and Shiroma Zenkichi, leaders of the early community of Okinawans in Brazil, put it this way in the first issue of Kyūyō, the journal of the Kyūyō (Okinawa Sun) Association, created in 1926 to fight against Japanese government policies that denied formal subsidies to Okinawans wishing to immigrate to Brazil.

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This discriminatory treatment [referring to the restrictive measures taken with regard to the passage of migrants from Okinawa Prefecture beginning in 1919] is clearly based on a number of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings stem from the fact that our shortcomings as people of Okinawan Prefecture have been completely exposed since coming to this free country, and that these have caused resident Japanese imperial authorities and other thoughtful people to furrow their brows in distress. When I think of this, there is no alternative at this time than to recognize the foolishness of fighting with ignorant and mean people who treat us as if we were Chinese and even gloat conceitedly about it to foreigners, or of trying in vain to express our indignation at the authorities’ misconceptions. We have no options but to admonish ourselves and attempt to improve on the shortcomings that have been generally disdained.4 Alas! How sad! If even we who are predisposed to view ourselves favorably feel that there are many among us people of the prefecture who lack some aspects of common sense, how much more would such a view pervade among those of other prefectures? 5 This passage shows that Okinawan leaders in Brazil were willing to fight the stereotypes proffered by mainland Japanese. Yet, these struggles were conducted by using, and sometimes twisting, the language of the majority. Onaga and Shiroma, for example, seemed to accept the idea that Okinawan culture was filled with ‘‘shortcomings’’ and ‘‘nonsense’’ and that mainlanders suffered from this association. Indeed, they agree with Japanese officials that Okinawans should strive to make themselves better ‘‘Japanese.’’ Such positions were not exclusive to Onaga and Shiroma. An article published in Kyūyō in 1926 by someone using the pen name Juquia no Gussei (the Fool of Juquia, in a possible reference to the train line between the Brazilian port of Santos and the city of Juquia) advised migrants to throw off old customs and sweep away Okinawan ‘‘superstitions,’’ principally ‘‘primitive’’ cultural practices such as the use of shamans in ancestor worship. Interestingly, the author does not criticize the ancestor worship practiced by mainland Japanese, only the use of intermediaries as part of the Okinawan tradition. Clearly, Okinawan leaders both in Okinawa and in Brazil in the prewar period believed that many superstitious aspects of Okinawan culture had to be eradicated.6 Okinawa, in its modernization, faced economic poverty and overpopulation, and emigration was seen as a resolution of these problems. Thus, migration to Brazil was critical, especially after the United States and other coun-

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tries closed their doors in 1908. In both Brazil and in Okinawa, this formed the backdrop of a movement to overturn the restrictions on Okinawan migration. This in turn was critical to the early process of Uchinanchu identity. In 1926, for example, the Conference for Okinawan Volunteers established the abovementioned Kyūyō Association in Brazil. The process of naming the group reveals early negotiations over identity. Some Okinawan leaders in Brazil wanted it to be called the Okinawa Prefectural Association (Okinawa kenjin-kai), while others opposed using Okinawa in the formal title believing that ‘‘emphasis would just further exacerbate discrimination’’ (Yabiku 1987, 96). In the end, the name Okinawa was indeed repressed, and the association was denominated the Kyūyō kyōkai,or Sun Association. Similar positions negating the public expression of Okinawanness were taken at the local level, where many associations, although separate from mainland Japanese groups, referered to themselves as Japanese. The desire for inclusion became formalized in a list of recommendations that the Kyūyō kyōkai adopted to correct what were perceived as flaws in Okinawan culture and behavior. Kyūyō Association, ‘‘Fourteen Points of Mutual Agreement’’ (1926). 1. We should not go out wearing Okinawan-style Japanese clothes. 2. We should not carry children on our backs. 3. We should not expose our bodies to others, especially to foreigners. 4. We should do our best not to go about barefoot. 5. We should eliminate the habit of drinking, singing, and raising a ruckus when a baby is born. 6. As far as possible, we should adopt Brazilian-style lodgings and give up the practice of sitting on matting with our legs crossed. 7. As much as possible, we should speak either in normal dialect [Japanese] or in Portuguese. We should refrain from using Okinawan dialect especially in front of Japanese from other prefectures. 8. We should dedicate ourselves to interacting with Brazilians and other foreigners. 9. When burying the dead, Brazilian memorial customs should be followed and all the appropriate paperwork taken care of. 10. We should give up the habit of blindly trusting the words of others. We must take great care with regards to this because it is this habit that has led us to foment strikes and run away from the agricultural lands where we were contracted to work.

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11. We must work for the public good. 12. We must dedicate ourselves to patience and remain in one place. 13. We must not be led astray by the small temptations that confront us. 14. When meeting new migrants, people living in cities should refrain from boastful words. The vast majority of city dwellers do not really know what plantation life is like. Their boastful language thrusts deeply into the minds of the newly arrived migrants visions of endless work and paltry remuneration on the plantations and results in the continuous stream of runaways. All of those who go to meet new arrivals at Santos Harbor should be very careful in this regard. As this document makes clear, Okinawans were trying to become not only Japanese but Brazilian as well. One explanation for this was the surge in nationalism that took place in both Japan and Brazil beginning in the 1920s. This reached its peak in Brazil with the Revolution of 1930, which eventually led to a dictatorship that lasted until 1945. Brazilian nationalist policies, such as attempts to repress foreign-language schools and newspapers, became the norm in the 1930s. Some Japanese who had intended to migrate only temporarily to Brazil and who were constructed within Japanese discourse as ‘‘subjects’’ reacted against the laws by creating a system of Japanese-language (cultural) education and rituals of emperor worship in order to guarantee a sense of continuity (Maeyama 1996; Lesser 1999, 130–33). Others were deeply influenced by the new policies, notably those born in Brazil who no longer had access to Japanese-language education and thus became essentially Portuguese monolinguists. Brazilian policies intended to nationalize immigrants (who in 1934 represented 68 percent of the Nikkei population or about 67,000 people) also fostered conflict among nisei (who numbered about 32,000) who struggled between their sense of Brazilianness (nationality) and Japaneseness (ethnicity) (Kôyama 1934). becoming nihonjin in brazil: colônia-jin and nisei identity By the 1950s, Okinawans rejected the labels applied to them by others while maintaining their political determination to assimilate with Japan. They modified their prewar identity based on prefecture and began to describe themselves as colônia-jin, using the same term as mainland Japanese and their descendants in Brazil used to represent a sense of permanent residence rather than a desire to return to Japan.The idea of permanent settlement emerged from within Bra-

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zil’s ethnic Japanese society in various ways. One was related to language and nation: all immigrants and their descendants in Brazil are referred to by members of majority society as Japanese, a national term that makes no distinction between the citizen of Japan, the immigrant to Brazil, and the Brazilian of Japanese descent. In response to this collapsing of categories, descendants of Japanese immigrants, who generally speak little or no modern Japanese, refer to themselves within the ethnic context (when using the Portuguese language) as nihonjin. This word, when used in Japan and written in kanji, simply means ‘‘a Japanese person.’’ Yet the same term, when written with the katakana syllabary for foreign words, is transformed in Brazil to mean Japanese immigrants and their Brazilian descendants. This is supremely ironic: it is exactly the Japaneselanguage term for Japanese that is being used within a Portuguese linguistic context to distinguish Japanese Brazilians from Japanese. Another form of ethnic identity was constructed following the end of World War II, as many immigrants in Brazil engaged in relief activities for wardevastated Japan. This effort helped bring to an end the factional fighting between those who thought Japan had won the war and those who thought it had lost, thus unifying the community and holding important symbolic meaning for the Okinawan/mainland ethnic division. Working together to help Japan provided the opportunity for ‘‘migrants and their descendants to throw off their sense of belonging to pre-migratory Japan, and to fundamentally change their Japanese [now Brazilianized] identity’’ (Maeyama 1996, 59). According to Maeyama (1996), the postwar period led many Japanese immigrants to decide to settle permanently in Brazil. Prewar identities symbolized by terms that referred to a transient Japanese community as ‘‘Japanese brethren in Brazil’’ (zaihaku dôhô) or ‘‘fellow countrymen in Brazil’’ (zaihaku hôjin) were now transformed into new and permanent identities as represented in discourses about ‘‘settlement’’ (colônia) and ‘‘permanent settlers’’ (colônia-jin). Again language construction was critical: the term colônia-jin was constructed by adding the Japanese suffix -jin (person) to the Portuguese term colônia (settlement). Japanese and their descendants were thus transformed from Japanese in Brazil to Japanese from/of Brazil. Indeed Japanese and their descendants took on the identity of colônia and colônia-jin in place of the label japonês that had been imposed on them. In other words, the division between Japanese in Japan and Japanese in Brazil became more significant than any differences among Okinawans and mainland Japanese in Brazil. The arrival of 53,600 postwar Japanese immigrants, the rise in influence of the nisei generation, and the acceptance

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among those educated in Brazil of an ideology of racial democracy that asserted that Brazil was uniquely free of discrimination significantly weakened the hierarchy between Japanese and Okinawans.7 The changes in ethnic identity did not completely end the tension between Japanese and Okinawans in Brazil, whose contact increased markedly in the postwar era as people moved into urban areas and out of ethnically segregated agricultural colonies. One result of the new contact was that openly discriminatory language became much less acceptable but continued to circulate behind the backs of those at whom it was directed; for example, the slighting term ‘‘Mr./Ms. Okinawa’’ (Okinawa-san) continued to be used among those of mainland descent but was avoided in conversation with Okinawans, who would have understood the sarcasm behind the superficially polite term. Uchinanchu, however, worked hard to minimize their outsider status by emphasizing their shared experiences as migrants with all other Japanese. For example, many Okinawans replaced their prewar emperor worship with new Japanese religions. A particularly large number converted to Seicho no Ie, a nationalist religion that became popular after the war for its belief that Japan was the center of the world and that the center of Japan was its emperor. Such nationalist religious ideology was embraced by Okinawans because of its Japanese connotations (Mori 1992). Others continued to practice ancestor worship under the rubric of Japanese or colônia-jin, with no special emphasis on their Okinawanness. Indeed, the term colônia-jin used in general Japanese Brazilian society after the war was readily accepted by Okinawans because it did not contain any implication of ethnic hierarchy. Instead it emphasized the difference between those who immigrated to and were born in Brazil and the Japanese in Japan. This idea was furtheremphasized as second-generation Okinawans began to emphasize their ‘‘shared experience as children of immigrants’’ using another non-ethnic term, nisei, to describe themselves. brazilian uchinanchu: the formation of ethnic identity Since the 1970s, a new Brazilian-Uchinanchu (Burajiru no Uchinanchu) identity has arisen among those of Okinawan descent and continues to be a prominent form of self-ascription. This new form of identity should not suggest that other forms such as colônia-jin or nisei have disappeared. Rather, Uchinanchu self-ascription is used among Okinawans but not when in contact with those

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of mainland descent. Why, after decades of trying to erase the differences between Okinawans and mainlanders, did the term Burajiru no Uchinanchu come into prominence? 8 Certainly there is historical precedent for this kind of identity because many of the postwar relief activities discussed above were conducted along prefectural lines. The Okinawan Relief Committee (formally known as the Okinawan Relief Committee for the Accredited Brazilian Red Cross Wartime Devastation Relief Association for Fellow Countrymen) independently supplied Japan with relief supplies, money to memorialize the war dead, and aid for students, a relief effort that continued through December 1951. In other words, this group simultaneously positioned itself as a formal constituent member of the ‘‘settlement’’ (colônia) by participating in a relief movement undertaken by general Japanese Brazilian society while maintaining itself as distinct from organizations of mainland descent. Another critical issue in the emergence of Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity was the change in residential patterns in the city of São Paulo. In the decades after the war, many of Japanese descent began to move from rural areas to the center of São Paulo in hopes of better education for their children and increased economic opportunities. While those of mainland and Okinawan descent generally lived in residential areas distinct from each other, even in those areas where there was mixing these groups established independent formal community entities. Furthermore, the groups held different economic niches in the city. Those of Okinawan descent were highly concentrated in wholesale fruit and vegetable vending (including vendors of pastel, a flat, deep fried, egg roll– like snack), seamstressing, and construction, while those of mainland descent were concentrated in the laundry business and as grocery owners. Segregated residential and commercial patterns, which resulted in the creation of autonomous social institutions based on prefectural descent, led to a resurgence of discriminatory labels directed at Okinawans on the streets, in families, and at schools. Francisca Vieira (1973), who in the early 1970s researched Nikkei-jin society in the city of Marília in the interior of São Paulo state, provides examples of this. I entered the Japanese-language school in the city of Mogi das Cruzes at the age of fourteen. In this school, mainlanders and Okinawans were often set in opposition to each other. One day, I had a fight with some classmates, and they called me an Okinawano barbarian [ yabanjin no Okinawano]. I had no idea why Okinawanos would be thought to be barbarians. I went home

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and asked my father to explain why Okinawans were barbarians. I couldn’t accept my father’s explanation. —from a second-generation man of Okinawan descent Japanese don’t like Okinawanos. One of my girlfriends (a second-generation mainlander) told me that her parents are always saying that if she did not marry another mainlander, it was preferable that she marry a Brazilian rather than an Okinawan. Now she’s dating a second generation of Okinawan descent, but no one in her family knows about it. Even Brazilians distinguish between Okinawans and mainlanders. Someone pointed at me once and said, ‘‘You’re not Japanese.’’ —from a second-generation woman of Okinawan descent Okinawanos probably have a sense of tranquillity in the knowledge that they are lacking (in relation to mainlanders). My wife’s younger brother is married to an Okinawan woman, and it is probably because she realizes her inferiority that she really makes a concerted effort.’’ —from a second-generation man of mainland Japanese descent (75–79) Experiences such as these led second-generation Okinawans to realize the meaning behind the Portuguese term Okinawano/a. But how did secondgeneration people of Okinawan descent react to this label when applied by second-generation mainlanders? A leader of the youth association within an Okinawan prefectural association had this to say about the term Okinawano. To me, this word appears to distinguish Okinawans racially from other Japanese. No corresponding term applies to anyone from the mainland prefectures. This kind of term is only applied to those of Okinawan descent. I think this is a kind of discrimination. The fact that this term appears just as it is in the association name negates the fact of our Japaneseness.Therefore, we have asked the first-generation leaders of the prefectural association to change its Portuguese name. After all, Okinawans come from Japan too. Of course we know that Okinawans built the Ryukyu Kingdom, and that this was subjugated by Satsuma [a feudal domain in southern Kyushu, corresponding to present-day Kagoshima]. We also are aware that because of Okinawa’s position as an island along trade routes that had strong ties to China, its culture is considerably different from that of Japan.9 Continued discrimination and the development of urban residential and social ‘‘communities’’ gave geographical definition to the mainland and Uchi-

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nanchu subcategories. Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity was undergirded by a particular Okinawan descendant social world, using cultural elements such as song, dance, and music to construct a sense of communal solidarity. A new, backward-looking Brazilian-Uchinanchu culture was produced through the mobilization of these cultural elements. In São Paulo, for example, various groups have created ‘‘Okinawan’’ music about the Uchinanchu experience in Brazil that utilize old melodies as well as Okinawan dialect. Such songs have, for example, titles like ‘‘Konketsu/Mestiço’’ or ‘‘Nisei.’’ 10 Ethnic logos skillfully combine both Brazilian and Okinawan symbols such as the green and yellow of the Brazilian flag and the red-circle pattern of the Okinawan flag. Such hybrid cultural expressions contain symbolic and explicit messages of love for the ‘‘new Brazilian homeland’’ while fostering Uchinanchu identity. Thus Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity has served as the backdrop for the creation in Brazil of new ethnic folk music, theater, and other cultural forms that give expression to the shared experiences and memories of Okinawan immigrants. For example, the play Honorable Kasato Maru Immigrants (Homare no kasatomaru imin), produced in the late 1970s, focused on the Okinawan nature of the early arrivals while insisting that these immigrants rapidly became Brazilian. From the 1960s to the 1970s, other developments facilitated the rise of Brazilian-Uchinanchu self-ascription. The rise in prominence of ethnicity in the United States had an impact on Brazilian national ideology, which began to move from an assimilationist principle to one based on cultural relativism. The traditional pressure placed on all ethnic and immigrant groups to ‘‘assimilate’’ weakened, and Maeyama argues that those ‘‘who in the 1950s tended to shun things Japanese, in the 1960s moved toward reevaluating them’’ (1984, 453). The same phenomenon took place among those of Okinawan descent who in the 1950s may have eschewed things Okinawan for things Japanese but in the 1960s came to find value once again in things Okinawan. For example, Okinawan sumo became a part of the annual ceremonies organized by the Okinawan Prefectural Association, and in 1974 ancient music, karate, traditional dance, and folk-song contests were added as well. Okinawan ethnic organizations flourished in Brazil and began to sponsor events that centered on traditions and arts. The opening speeches for these events, and the pamphlets produced to represent them, highlighted such ostensible Okinawan-style values as ichareibachodei (brotherhood), yuimaaru (cooperativeness), respect for elders, and gentleness. By insisting that these collective values were distinct from mainland culture, Okinawan community leaders helped to formalize BrazilianUchinanchu identity.

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Just as Okinawan descendants were marking their cultural autonomy, many began to achieve a new degree of economic stability and success. This led the second generation to become more involved with broader social issues and provided an excellent opportunity for a new style of self-ascription. When more Uchinanchu politicians were elected than Yamatonchu politicians during the general elections in 1970, Okinawan-Brazilians remarked that the places of the two groups had been reversed. More than anything else, these developments led Okinawan-Brazilians to assert that a presumed solidarity, openness, and cooperativeness exceeded those of mainland descent and that Okinawan te-gei (looseness with time) resembled Brazilian society’s horario brasileiro (Brazilian time/looseness with time). This gave rise to the theory that Okinawans possessed the qualities most favorable for immigrants in Brazil. In other words, the culture and customs that until the 1950s had been considered shortcomings to be thrown aside in attempts to become Japanese now were reconstructed as virtues and strengths that made those of Okinawan descent the ‘‘best’’ Brazilians. Freed from the stigma attached to being Okinawan, the emerging Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity emphasized the cultural differences with mainland descendants while denying any racial difference between the groups. Within the Okinawan cultural context, the Okinawan-language terms Uchinanchu and Yamatonchu are used in opposition to each other. While those of Okinawan descent use these terms to place themselves as the top of both a Japanese and a Brazilian hierarchy, ‘‘outsiders’’ tend not to understand the implications of the words. Put differently, using Okinawan words when speaking Japanese or Portuguese is much like using Portuguese words (like colônia-jin) in the Japanese-language context and Japanese words (like nisei) in the Portuguese language context. In all the cases, the fundamental meanings of the words are clear only to those who ostensibly speak the ‘‘minority’’ language. In other words, terms like Uchinanchu and Yamatonchu enable those of Okinawan descent to make cultural distinctions, without an implied hierarchy, when speaking to those of mainland descent. These terms also are a rejection of the Portuguese-language term Okinawano, often used by those of mainland descent to imply that Okinawans (and their Brazilian descendants) are racially distinct from Japanese.Yet Uchinanchu recognizes Okinawa’s cultural differences while asserting that Okinawans and Japanese are racially the same people. Thus, in 1997, the youth movement of the Associação Okinawana do Brasil (Okinawan Association of Brazil) requested that the association change its Portuguese name to Assoçiação Okinawa Ken-

Identity Transformations • 61

jin do Brasil (Association of Okinawan People from Brazil), a change that was eventually approved. The self-ascribed term Okinawa kenjin apparently guaranteed their racial Japaneseness. Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity was not only constructed discursively. Indeed, visits that prewar migrants to Brazil took to Okinawa in the 1970s (one result of a rapid rise in social class during the decade) were critical to this new ethnic formulation. These visits were not merely touristic in nature, since visitors often remained for two or three months. One of the major incentives for these trips was to bring to Brazil ancestral tablets, remains of relatives, and other religious symbols related to ancestor worship that had been left in Okinawa in the care of family prior to World War II. In fact, until World War II the remains of Okinawans who died in Brazil were sent back to Okinawa, as it was viewed as the homeland to which migrants would return. The postwar visits involved the ‘‘migration of ancestors’’ from Japan to Brazil, yet this was not solely a migration of objects, since encounters with family members in Okinawa helped to crystallize Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity in a deeply personal way. Parallel to the movement of ancestral tablets was a decision among Uchinanchu to purchase cemetery plots in Brazil in which members of the patrilineal descent group (monchu) would be buried. In order to support this project, collection of monchu membership fees in Brazil took the place of those previously collected in Okinawa. The establishment of a Brazilian monchu that had previously existed only in Okinawa did not imply the severing of relations with the premigratory space, since both branches shared a continuous history.Thus, when Brazilian Uchinanchu go to Okinawa, they always pay respects to ancestors there, maintaining the linkage between Brazilian and Okinawan monchu. The use of ancestor worship as means of expressing Uchinanchu identity can be also seen in the adoption of shamanic practices. While shamans had been central to ancestor worship in Okinawan folk society, immigrants prior to the war tried to repress such practices. However, the postwar recreation of the physical institutions necessary for ancestor worship led directly to the emergence of shamans as a critical aspect of Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity. This new, and hybrid, shamanic activity was very different from that in Okinawa and in mainland Japan. For example, almost all shamans and their ritual assistants in Brazil have incorporated beliefs and practices surrounding Nossa Senhora da Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil. This has led many Brazilian Uchinanchu to maintain two separate, yet linked, altars in their homes: one for Okinawan spirits and the other for Nossa Senhora da Aparecida. Shamans thus

62 • Koichi Mori

have multiple ethnic options in their practice, all of which reinforce BrazilianUchinanchu/mainlander and Brazilian-Uchinanchu/Okinawan boundaries by inserting Brazilian national identity into the mix. For example, when a person is ill and consults a Brazilian-Uchinanchu shaman, the first thing she will determine is if the illness is caused by a ‘‘Brazilian’’ or by a lack of attention to Uchinanchu spirits. This determination will lead to a cure based either in reference to Nossa Senhora da Aparecida or in reference to Okinawan ancestral deities. The Brazilian-Uchinanchu religious world thus derives from both Brazilian and Okinawan understandings of the divine and spiritual and reconciles the tension between nationality and ethnicity (Mori 1998; Mori 1999). It is an example of the ‘‘invention of tradition’’ based on Brazilian-Uchinanchu identity and serves as a multiple boundary marker. conclusion: 1993, a party commemorating eighty-five years of okinawan migration to brazil In 1993 the Okinawan Prefectural Association’s youth group (comprised primarily of second- and third-generation Brazilians of Okinawan descent) organized an event in Liberdade Plaza (a space in São Paulo traditionally linked to Japanese immigrants) that attracted several thousand spectators. For the first time, Brazilian Uchinanchu left prefectural centers and took over a public ‘‘Japanese’’ space. At this celebration, aspects of Okinawan culture that had previously symbolized inferiority and premodernity were highlighted. Central were Okinawan arts including drumming, traditional dances, karate performances, and processions in which participants dressed in traditional clothing. All fifty-seven presidents of the Okinawan prefectural associations in Brazil were in attendance, and their speeches, peppered with Okinawan dialect, emphasized values presumed to be uniquely Okinawan, like kind-heartedness (chimugukuru) and brotherhood (ichareibachodei). Liberdade Plaza overflowed with the Okinawan official flower, the hibiscus, wide-rimmed hats, dragons, and Okinawan flags. Each represented the wealth and refinement of Okinawan culture and the unity of Okinawan descendants in Brazil. Pamphlets emphasizing the experience of discrimination at the hands of mainlanders and the Japanese government were distributed: ‘‘We have faced the bitter experience of repeated prohibitions and restrictions on our migration . . . and this has given rise to indignation among Okinawan immigrants. Many of us have gathered repeatedly and gone to the general consulate to urge that proper measures be taken to resolve this, but to

Identity Transformations • 63

no effect’’ (from a pamphlet distributed by the Associação Okinawana do Brasil, 1993).The past and the present had come together as Brazilian-Uchinanchu identities remained in motion.11 notes 1 Barth’s main argument is that identity is not an expression of clear-cut and objective differences. In other words, actual ethnic cultures are not the same as the cultural elements that act as boundary markers between various ethnicities. The necessary condition for ethnic groups is not a commonly held ethnic culture (language, customs, values); rather, it is a question of whether or not the cultural elements that act as symbols of ethnicity and culture effectively mark the differences and the boundaries with others. 2 The formation of a new ethnic culture comes about through what Ota (1993) refers to as a process of ‘‘objectification of culture.’’ 3 My theoretical perspective is strongly influenced by Shingaki Makoto (1998), who analyzed how Uchinanchu subjectivity in Hawai’i and Okinawa is constructed via mutual discursive relations. 4 Article by Onaga Josei in Kyūyō (São Paulo, 1926), 1: 1. 5 Article by Shiroma Zenkichi in Kyūyō (São Paulo, 1926), 1:1. 6 Kyūyō (São Paulo 1926), 1:1. 7 Postwar statistics from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (jica 1997, 257). A careful examination of the myth of racial democracy can be found in Skidmore 1974. 8 Identity is not characterized by continuity, integrity, rationality, or regularity. It is fundamentally ‘‘mixed, relational, and inventive’’ (Clifford 1988, 10). 9 Interview by Koichi Mori withYogui Akeo, nissei, engineer, and vice-president of the Associação Okinawa Kenjin do Brasil (Okiwanan Prefectural Association of Brazil), São Paulo, April 2000. 10 The two songs were written by Nobuo Agena, a professor of Minyo (traditional Okinawan music) in Brazil, and are frequently sung at Okinawan-Brazilian events. This music can be found on Agena’s self-produced compact disc entitled Okinawa no kokoro (Okinawan spirit). 11 The concept of ‘‘identities in motion’’ is analyzed in Daniel Linger’s chapter in this volume (see also Linger 2001).

references Aoki, Tamotsu, ed. 1997. Bunka-jinruigaku, Volume 5. Minzoku no Seisei no Ronri. Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten.

64 • Koichi Mori Barth, Fredrik. 1969. Introduction. In Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, edited by Fredrik Barth. Boston: Little Brown. Clifford, James. 1988. The Predicament of Culture. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Comissão de Elaboração da História dos 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. 1992. Uma Epopeia Moderna: 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec. jica. 1997. Kaigai IjuTokei [Immigration statistics].Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency. Koguma, Eiji. 1998. ‘‘Nihonjin’’ no kyōkai: Okinawa, Ainu, Taiwan, Chōsen: Shokuminchi shihai kara fukki undo made. Tokyo: Shinyôsha. Kôyama, Rokurô. 1934. Zaihaku Nihon Ishokumin Nijū-go-shūnen Kinen Kan [Statistical publication commemorating twenty-five years of Japanese immigration to Brazil]. Bauru: Seishu Shimpo-sha. Kyūyō-Kyōkai. 1926. Kyūyō 1, no. 1. Lesser, Jeffrey. 1999. Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Linger, Daniel T. 2001. No One Home: Brazilian Selves Remade in Japan. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Maeyama, Takashi. 1984. Burajiru nikkeijin ni okeru esunishitei to aidentitei: Ninshiki teki, seiji teki genshō to shite. Minzokugaku kenkyō 48, no. 4: 444–58. . 1996. Burajiru nikkeijin to esunishiti-burajiru imin no bunka jinruigakuteki kenkyū. Tokyo: Ochanomizu Shobô. Mori, Koichi. 1992. Vida Religiosa dos Japoneses e Seus Descendentes no Brasil e Religiões de Origem Japonesa. In Comissão de Elaboração da História dos 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil, Uma Epopeia Moderna: 80 Anos da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil, 559–601. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec. . 1998. Processo de ‘‘Amarelamento’’ das religiões tradicionais brasileiras de possessão: Mundo religioso de uma okinawana. Estudos Japoneses 18: 57–76. . 1999. Burajiru ni okeru okinawa shaman no seifu katei to sono jujutsu shūkyō sekai. In Okinawa Shamanizumu no shakai shinrigakuteki kenkyū (Heisei 8/9 nendo monbusho kagaku kenkyuuhi josei hokokusho), edited by Hideshi Ohashi, 66–77. Sendai: Tōhoku University, Social Psychology Department. Ohashi, Hideshi, ed. 1999. Okinawa Shamanizumu no shakai shinrigakuteki kenkyū (Heisei 8/9 nendo monbusho kagaku kenkyuuhi josei hokokusho). Sendai: Tōhoku University, Social Psychology Department. Ota, Yosinobu. 1993. Bunka no kyakutaika. Minzokugaku kenkyū 57, no. 4: 383–406. Shigeo, Tanabe, ed. 1989. Jinruigakuteki ninshiki no bōken-ideorogii to purakutisu. Tokyo: Dōbunkan. Shingaki, Makoto. 1998. Okinawa no kokoro: hawaii ni okeru ‘‘uchinanchū’’ to iu shutaisei ni tsuite no ikkōsatsu. Imin Kenkyū Nenpō 4, no. 3: 20–40.

Identity Transformations • 65 Shôji, Hiroshi. 1997. 2 Minzoku-kyokai Toshiteno Gengo. In Bunka-jinruigako, Volume 5: Minzoku no Seisei to Ronri, edited by Tamotsu Aoki. Tokyo: Iwanami-shoten. Skidmore, Thomas. 1974. Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought. New York: Oxford University Press. Toyama, Ichiro. 1990. Kindai Nihon Shakai to ‘‘Okinawajin.’’ Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Hyōronsha. Uchibori, Motomitsu. 1989. Minzokuron Memorandamu. In Jinruigakuteki ninshiki no bōken-ideorogii to purakutisu, edited by Tanabe Shigeo, 27–43. Tokyo: Dōbunkan. Vieira, Francisca Isabel Schürig. 1973. O Japonês na Frente de Expansão Paulista. São Paulo: Pioneira de Ciências Sociais. Yabiku, Mosei. 1987. Burajiru Okinawa Imin Shi. São Paulo: Zaihaku Okinawa Kenjinkai.

Interlude

karen tei yamashita •••••

Circle K Rules •••

政 Japanese Rules 1. Remove your shoes when entering houses and buildings. 2. Always bring omiyage 1 when you visit as a guest. 3. Don’t leave your chopsticks stuck in your rice bowl like two posts. 4. Avoid the number four. 5. Dress according to your age and the season. 6. For the same work: Pay men 1,200 yen per hour; pay women 900 yen per hour. 7. Use the toilet slippers, but don’t forget to leave them with the toilet. 8. Enryo 2 until your host insists. 9. Wash outside the bath before soaking, and don’t bring the towel in with you. 10. Drive on the left side of the road; if it’s too narrow, drive in the middle. 11. When wearing a kimono, wrap yourself left over right. 12. Follow the table for incremental salary increases and title changes according to a man’s age. 13. His opinion is her opinion is my opinion is your opinion. I agree.

1. gift 2. to hesitate, show reserve, stand on ceremony

68 • Karen Tei Yamashita

The Rule Board (A large sign written in both Japanese and Portuguese at Homi-Danchi, a condominium complex housing some 8,000 people—2,000 of whom are Brazilian—in Homi-gaoka, Toyota City)

Let’s respect the rules of the residential condominium! Please do not park without requesting permission. Let’s stop driving motorcycles at high speeds. Please don’t use the plaza late at night and before the sun rises. Let’s stop throwing cans and bottles in the streets and around the buildings. Please don’t write on the walls or objects. During parties or reunions in apartments, please take care with the noise. * Let’s stop barbecuing on the verandah. Let’s take care with noise pollution. * Please regulate the volume on your television and stereo system. * Conversing in loud voices bothers your neighbors. Please put trash out in accordance with the determined models and in the appropriate location. Do not throw objects or trash out of apartment windows. * In particular, the throwing of cigarettes is common; please do not throw them. The residential condominium is a place where many people live communally. Let’s collaborate to have a pleasurable daily life, thinking also of our neighbors. —Municipal Corporation for Habitational Conservation Chubu Branch / Nagoya Office

Interlude • 69

In addition to the Rules Board, flyers are also distributed throughout HomiDanchi explaining the following regulations in Portuguese: Precautionary Notice for Daily Living ¬ In these public housing units live various people, each with a different rhythm of life. Furthermore, the culture and customs of Japan are different from that of other countries. Thus, we ask that each person respect the regulations of communal life, to avoid any problems with your neighbors.

− Do not turn on radios and televisions at high volume, principally in the early morning and late hours at night. Also during this time, take care not to make noise in the corridors or even in your apartment.

® It is prohibited to raise cats, dogs, or any other animal in the apartment because this may cause inconveniences for your neighbors. ¯ In each home, the trash must be separated by category.This trash should be left in specific locations on specific days of the week. It is prohibited to throw trash out on the previous night or at other inappropriate times. Stray dogs and other animals can spread the trash during the night, causing inconvenience to the residents and neighbors.

° The activities of the Association are realized through the financial resources given monthly by residents to the Residential Condominium Association.These monthly revenues are used for the operational costs of the Association, such as the realization of events, printing of bulletins, acquisition of equipment, celebratory notices and condolences, etc. Condominium dues serve to cover the costs of indispensable services for the daily activities of the condominium, such as the cost of electricity to illuminate stairs, corridors, passages, halls, and rooms for reunions; maintenance and repairs of installations; cleaning the land; piping and drainage; and water for collective use, etc. Any late payments will cause delays in the operation of the Association and this will cause, in the last analysis, inconveniences to the residents themselves. Do not forget to pay your monthly Residential Condominium Association dues before the due date in the same manner as your rent.

± Notifications of the Association of Condominium Residents and the City are circulated through clipboards. As soon as you have read these notices, pass them to the next resident.

² From time to time, the Association of Condominium Residents has a clean-up, cutting of grass and weeds, etc., in the form of a group event. This work is realized by the residents, and the cooperation of everyone is requested. On the other hand, there are also festivals and other events of fraternization. Try to participate to promote friendship with other residents.

70 • Karen Tei Yamashita

J The Brazilians have had difficulty following all these rules. No loud music. No late-night conversations in the plaza. No churrasco. No speeding around on motorcycles. An extremely detailed categorizing of trash (burnables, cans, bottles, breakables, large items) with specific methods for disposal, specific days and times, and specific locations for specific removal. Brazilians forget to pass the clipboard or don’t read the contents. Finally, the group clean-up days are monthly on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. While their Japanese neighbors are outside trimming hedges, sweeping paths, and cutting grass, the Brazilians turn over in their beds, preferring to pay the fine rather than wake up on a Sunday at such an ungodly hour. In the meantime, the Japanese residents are at their wit’s end. The Brazilians are unruly. Their presence has made a muck of a tidy routine. Not living in these housing units, it’s difficult to imagine. A tour of Homi-Danchi and its environs gives you a sense of an oppressive quiet—the sound of sleeping people who work the night shift, the sound of a silent majority who want very badly to be accepted, the sound of people trying very hard to be quiet. Even the children seem to play quietly. This is as quiet as Brazilians can possibly be. This is probably as ruly as it gets. Brazilians are a very physical people. They touch each other a lot. They kiss and hug.They kiss and hug when meeting, and kiss and hug when taking leave. It takes some practice to master getting that close to someone’s face with just the right brush of the cheek. Even though it all seems so natural and friendly, there are rules about all this touching. One Japanese man got carried away and grabbed a Brazilian woman’s breasts. She hauled out a metal pipe and nearly beat him to a pulp. Later he explained his impulsive excess: those breasts were just too beautiful to believe. Still, Brazilians have an expectation about the abraço. They send embraces in their messages.They send beijos.Their expectation is that this show of affection is a demonstration of warmth and openness. Without it, the world would be a cold place; thus, cultures who find this kissing disconcerting are a cold people. Frio. Americans and Japanese hardly show affection in public; to kiss a mere acquaintance seems a little overdone. A handshake is just fine. Or how about a little bow. It’s probably not about cold or hot; it’s more like what’s comfortable for a body to do. Brazilians kiss. Japanese get naked together in hot baths. One of the well-known nisei/sansei traumas has been that their parents don’t show physical affection for each other or their children. A lack of such affection among Nikkei in Brazilian or even American society is cause for an

Interlude • 71

Brazilian Rules 1. There are no rules. 2. All rules may be broken or avoided. 3. Dar um jeitinho. (There is always a way.) 4. Always bring your babies and small children to parties. 5. Men on the verandah with beers; women in the kitchen. 6. When leaving a party, give yourself an hour to kiss or hug each person goodbye. 7. Females: Two kisses in greeting; three kisses to marry; four to avoid living with your mother-in-law. 8. Males: Left hand on his shoulder. Right hand patting his belly. 9. Nothing is sacred: tell a joke. 10. Taking advantage of a situation is not necessarily stealing. 11. Since nothing works, doing nothing may be the best approach.

identity crisis as in: ‘‘I thought my parents didn’t love me.’’ Since one side of my family is the distant sort, and the other touchy-feely, I’ve had to learn that affection can be defined in many different ways. Still, growing up and seeing that Japanese never even shook hands, I had some idea that they also never touched each other. Working with a Japanese director on one of my plays and seeing her put my Japanese characters in physical contact with each other finally abolished this assumption.

ª

ANNOUNCEMENT: Japanese do in fact touch each other.

ª

Abraços e beijos. It’s a fine art among the Latins. It’s easy to think that the rule is not hugging and kissing, that rules separate us. But it’s also possible to think that hugging and kissing are rules in themselves, that without them we shall be separate. And then again, I embrace you from great distance. It’s a long embrace without rules.

72 • Karen Tei Yamashita

J I remember years ago seeing a pamphlet for Japanese travelers explaining with cartoons a series of possible scenarios in foreign places and the appropriate behavior. There was everything from shaking hands to sitting (not stepping up) on the toilet seats. This had to do with the nature of the Japanese toilet, which is on the floor. You have to crouch over it. The Brazilians have fondly dubbed it the ‘‘motoquinha’’ meaning that you ‘‘ride’’ it much like a motorcycle. Now public places often have stalls marked ‘‘Western Toilet,’’ and hotels and homes boast of the most sophisticated toilets in the world. A company named Toto sells a toilet with a heated seat, bidet, and air-drying system. Truly amazing. Somehow the nozzle for the bidet can squirt you in the vagina or the anus. Yes, there are clearly two picture signs to choose from. My friend’s father demonstrated his home model and asked me if we had such toilets in America.When I said probably not, he jokingly said in that case, he probably couldn’t travel there. Furthermore, since he got his new toilet, he never uses toilet paper anymore. I began to feel that I needed my own pamphlet with cartoons explaining a series of possible scenarios and appropriate behavior. If I pressed the button for bidet, how could I raise the temperature of the water? More importantly, how could I make the squirting water stop? Then there’s this odd feature in women’s toilets in some public places: the sound of flushing. On first inspection, I was unable to read the Japanese explanation, so I kept trying to flush the toilet by passing my hand over the sensor. Curiously, all I got was the recorded sound of flushing. Nowater. Just the sound. Finally I dragged an interpreter into the stall for an explanation. Ah! Apparently Japanese women have found the sound of peeing offensive, so, to mask it, they flush and pee at the same time. It’s an enormous waste of water, so Toto invented the sound of flushing.™ Finally, Japanese bathrooms, even the most luxurious (marble counters, ikebana, perfumed soap and all), never have paper towels. You’re supposed to bring your own towel, and I always forget. As a result, the bathrooms are quite litter-free. Who knows? With Toto, one day they may be toilet paper-free. Under such conditions, imagine the concern of a Japanese woman who told me that she had been traveling back and forth to Brazil for several years before she realized that she should have been throwing her toilet paper into the receptacle provided in the stall. A world traveler, she could not remember this practice in any other country she had visited. Was it the plumbing system? Didn’t the paper dissolve? she wondered. She wanted to apologize as if this were a great faux pas; had she caused dozens of toilets to clog in her innocent wake? A Brazilian friend, Ana Maria Bahiana, has written a book, America: A to Z,

Interlude • 73

American Rules 1. Speak English. 2. He who has makes the rules. 3. Smoking is prohibited in public places and on airplanes. 4. Just do it. 5. When in doubt, consult your attorney. 6. Drink Coke. Enjoy the real thing. 7. We are the world. 8. We are the happiest place on Earth. 9. We accept American Express, Mastercard, or Visa.

sold in airports, detailing all the habits and situations of American life that Brazilians find exasperating, funny, unexplainable, or odd. Under ‘‘B’’ is bidet. There are no bidets in the USA, she notes. Ana Maria misses her bidet, but I can’t remember that anyone really used it in Brazil; it was usually filled with dirty laundry. Women use them to wash their panties. Nevertheless, all houses seem to have them. The construction outlets sell the toilet with a matching bidet. It’s a pair. Of course public places in Brazil don’t have bidets. Some don’t have toilet paper or paper towels either. In that case, there might be a woman who offers you these essentials for a small fee. This woman supposedly also cleans the bathroom, scrubbing the toilets and mopping the floors. The fee you pay is probably her dinner. But every now and then, you may not have any change for the toilet lady; you’ve got to run out of the ladies’ room and hope she doesn’t come chasing after you. American women did away with pay toilets a long time ago.This was a major act of feminism at the time. In fact, an Asian American woman rose to political fame on this platform: pee for free. Still there’s ground to cover here. Queuing up in endless lines for the ladies’ room in theaters always reminds you that a man was probably the architect. The thing about American public toilets is the great amount of paper in them: gigantic toilet paper rolls so you will never be without, and paper towels that finally fill and spill over the trash receptacles. Most importantly, American toilets usually have paper seats. You can hear the women in the other stalls

74 • Karen Tei Yamashita

ripping them out of the containers and slapping them down on the seats. You never know what could be yucking up the seat of a toilet. Some women must use the hover method where you sit without touching. Heck, some people must just sit on the seat anyway. Who knows, maybe someone is stepping up and crouching. What all this toiletry has to say about rules is probably not erudite. The Romans invented plumbing. If you’ve ever tried to fix the plumbing, you feel as if nothing has changed since the Romans. At Versailles, we’re told, no toilets existed; you simply disappeared for a moment behind the velvet curtains along the walls. At the Iso Gardens in Kagoshima, a guide dressed in a kimono shows you the toilet where the Lord Shimazu sat, his bowel movements falling into a bed of fragrant cedar leaves. You look in the toilet and sure enough: branches of cedar leaves. Some rules are rituals. Some habits.

Circle K Rules 1. Immigrate into your own country. 2. Learn to cook your favorite meals. 3. Ask the next question.

angelo ishi •••••

Searching for Home, Wealth, Pride, and ‘‘Class’’: Japanese Brazilians in the ‘‘Land of Yen’’ •••

Imported car, illusion of a miserable man He buys a used cellular phone And his fashion is like a playboy . . . Just wait for the day I’ll go back to Brazil And then send all those guys To their ‘‘fucking mother’’ —from ‘‘Kaishão,’’ lyrics by Rodolpho ‘‘Bilu’’ Marques, a Brazilian living in Japan 1 I wake up every day and get on the full train I am always late to arrive in the workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Finally, today is Saturday I pick up my girl and run to the dance hall Today is Sunday, and I am afraid Of arriving late to the workplace Dance, dance, dance until you are satisfied Because you will not be regretful for it. —from ‘‘O Rap ’n’ Dido,’’ lyrics by Rodolpho ‘‘Bilu’’ Marques 2

76 • Angelo Ishi

prologue: searching for money abroad How have Japanese Brazilian migrants constructed and changed their lifestyles in Japan, and how have they interpreted and reinterpreted their migration experience? Although the aforementioned songs were excerpted from the same cd and composed by the same person, the lyrics show two distinct interpretations of the experience of Brazilians living in Japan. The first song describes the migrant as a ‘‘miserable’’ person waiting for the day that he will return to Brazil so that he can send all those who made his life in Japan uncomfortable to ‘‘their fucking mother.’’ 3 The second song, on the other hand, describes the migrant as someone who, despite a stressful routine, does not want to go back to Brazil—he is just waiting for Saturday, when he can spend the day dancing. How can one understand these two different positions? That is the ‘‘story’’ of this essay. ••• For many of the 250,000 Brazilians of Japanese ancestry currently living and working in Japan, the ‘‘land of their ancestors’’ is nothing more than ‘‘a land full of yen.’’ 4 Indeed, what appeared to move such a large number of Japanese Brazilians (Nikkei) to the other side of the world was a desire to earn the maximum in the minimum of time.5 At a more theoretical level, the dekassegui (used here to refer to those of Japanese descent who work in Japan) boom since the end of 1980s is part of the increasing globalization of the labor market that combined with chronic Brazilian economic crises and a labor shortage in Japanese industry. On the surface, there is a vast difference between the ‘‘third-class’’ Brazilian currency and the Japanese ‘‘first-class’’ yen.6 Many dekassegui believe that ten years of Brazilian wages could be matched in just one year as a manual worker in Japan. A paradox of this ‘‘yen rush’’ (both gold and money happen to be represented by the same ideogram in Japanese language) is that these ‘‘yen raiders’’ live and work legally in Japan because local legislation allows those of Japanese descent special visa status. However, the primarily economic motivations for migration have not led Brazilian Nikkei in Japan to define themselves as ‘‘economic refugees.’’ The transnational experience of the Brazilian Nikkei working and living as dekasseguis in Japan, then, is much more complex than a simple mathematical formula based on wage differentials, depending instead on the peculiarities of their cultural, social, and economic adaptation. ‘‘Dekas-

In the ‘‘Land of Yen’’ • 77

segui,’’ then, is a matter of subjective interpretations, a political, cultural, and ideological construction. To understand the process of adaptation of Brazilian Nikkei in Japan, an understanding of the contemporary phrase ‘‘urban middle class’’ is critical. According to the last census, the majority of Nikkei in Brazil held ‘‘urban middle class’’ status: 90 percent of the population lived in urban areas, with only 23 percent of them earning less than five minimum-salaries a month.7 Moreover, several surveys confirm that the social profile of dekasseguis was similar to that of the general Nikkei community in Brazil. One such survey, commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (jica 1992), found that more than 40 percent of Nikkei living in Japan had graduated from universities and that most held white-collar jobs just prior to leaving for Japan.8 Why did members of the Brazilian urban middle class decide to go to Japan as low-prestige factory workers? While there are any number of individual motivations to migrate to Japan, one group motivation appears to have been an attempt to construct in Japan a typical Brazilian middle-class life: buying a house or apartment, a new car, starting and/or owning a business. For some Nikkei, working in Japan was more a way to prevent a decline in social status than an effort to seek a better life or improve their social condition in Brazil. While Nikkei from a range of middle-class positions moved to Japan, what linked them was a dream or desire for an idealistically ‘‘sweet’’ Brazilian middle-class life after settling in Japan. My focus on the positive aspects of the dekassegui experience contrasts with those in the Japanese and Brazilian media and academy who often focus on the ‘‘dark side’’ of the dekassegui phenomenon, reinforcing the image of Nikkei workers as ‘‘poor people who suffered in bad working and living conditions in a strange country like Japan.’’ 9 Critical to my study is an examination of the contradictions between what subjects have said to interviewers during surveys about their lives and how they behaved ‘‘in fact.’’ For example, survey data frequently reports that Brazilian Nikkei in Japan express a strong desire to return to Brazil, but there is a gap between this discourse and the actual practice of spending longer time than desired. That kind of gap can only be understood if one undertakes an extensive and detailed understanding of life histories of Nikkei both in Brazil and in Japan, and by comparing their survey answers to their behaviors in different times and in different situations.10 My research also seeks to surpass the limitations of orthodox participant

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observation methods, in which a researcher ‘‘lives’’ within a specific community for an extended period of time. More than an ethnography of Brazilians in a specific place, my research is based on a ten-year ‘‘crusade’’ throughout Japan, visiting the places where Brazilians live and attempting to gain an overall picture of the dekassegui community.11 When I began this research, I was a graduate student as well as the editor of a Brazilian newspaper published in Japan. My own experiences thus being very different from those of blue-collar workers, I adopted a methodology of participant observation in activities organized by Brazilians—from home parties to music festivals—rather than relying exclusively on formal interviews and quantitative surveys. I also conducted indepth interviews in the places where Nikkei worked and lived in an effort to have ‘‘deep’’ interactions. I interviewed people of a wide variety of ages, origins, and generations, including eighty-year-old pioneers of Japanese immigration to Brazil and sevenyear-old children of Nikkei currently living in Japan. For the most part, however, informants were Nikkei of the second and third generations (nisei and sansei) whose ages varied from twenty to thirty. Such a demographic spread is a natural consequence of the fact that the majority of Nikkei in Japan are of these generations. I have underlined the special roles played by some key persons, places, and institutions, like the business owners, the restaurants that function as Brazilian meeting places, and Portuguese-language media. In addition, I analyzed news and editorial letters published in the Brazilian newspapers in Japan. Almost all interviews were conducted in Portuguese, and much of the data was collected in informal dialogues. Although the experience of Nikkei in Japan is the main theme of this essay, I visited Brazil several times in order to research the effects of ‘‘the dekassegui experience’’ on the Nikkei community and the adaptation of returning Nikkei in Brazil. losing and recovering self-esteem in japan Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. . . . I feel better now, alleviated because I have unloaded But one minute ago, I confess I even cried The impression I’ve had was the same of our work here in Japan Where we work hard, with bad smell and dirty hands And we have to eat that cold food I’m longing for that food my mother used to prepare

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So I want to go back to Brazil And send everything to the lá, rá, rá, rá . . . ! (Sam 1999, 143)12 The author of these eschatological lines was a dekassegui working in a Japanese factory. In addition to this song, ‘‘Dekokôssegui,’’ he wrote a novel based on his experiences.13 His parody and the parallel he draws between dekassegui and dekokôssegui (which could be translated as ‘‘deka-shit-segi’’) has much in common with the song ‘‘Kaishão,’’ cited at the beginning of this essay. The lyrics reveal how ‘‘going to Japan’’ was seen as a shaming and undesirable choice; in fact, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, dekassegui were seen as a symbol of failure in both the micro-Nikkei community and macro-Brazilian society. Only ‘‘losers’’ were condemned to work far from a beautiful Brazil where Japanese immigrants and their descendants had ascended the social ladder in a move from agriculture to urban business ownership during the course of the twentieth century. Today Nikkei are seen by other Brazilians as a ‘‘good,’’ ‘‘hardworking’’ and ‘‘relatively wealthy’’ people.14 Evidence of this position surfaced in a debate I organized in 1988, when the dekassegui boom was beginning and Nikkei were celebrating the eightieth anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil. The discussion about the dekassegui was rejected by Nikkei community leaders who treated dekassegui as a ‘‘problem’’ that ought to be ignored and concealed.15 Outside of the Nikkei community, there was also a belief that movement to Japan was a problem, in large part because Brazilian society was deeply influenced by a nationalistic ideology (strengthened during the military dictatorship) of ‘‘Brazil, love it or leave it.’’ In other words, moving overseas connoted a hateful and unpatriotic act. To make matters worse, because dekasseguis often performed unskilled, manual labor, moving to Japan appeared to be a rejection of the middle-class dream. In Brazilian society, physical labor has been historically associated with negative and derogatory images—something members of the middle class want to avoid at all costs. Yet, despite their stigmatization, the dekasseguis proved to be quite creative and positive in their assessments of how they were making a living in Japan. from university to factory: white-collar vs. blue-collar During more than ten years of listening to the voices of the dekasseguis, I have not found that the majority of Nikkei were worried about their identities in

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the scholarly sense. Thus, while analyzing the cultural shocks that Nikkei experience as a result of the differences between Japan and Brazil is important, it is not enough. In other words, traditional scholarly discussions based on the dichotomous opposition of Japanese versus Brazilian seem to be incomplete. The Nikkei to whom I spoke were very much concerned with life projects, careers, and determining how to use the money they earned in Japan. One of the first special reports on the dekassegui published by a major Brazilian newspaper used the headline ‘‘University Graduate Becomes Factory Worker in Japan.’’ 16 More than questions like ‘‘Who am I—Japanese or Brazilian?’’ or ‘‘Where are my roots?’’ Nikkei seemed most interested in finding a convincing answer to ‘‘Why must I do dirty work when I used to be an engineer?’’ This was precisely the dilemma expressed to me by a Brazilian living in the town of Oizumi who had been a high-school teacher in São Paulo. ‘‘My salary was not so bad if compared to my friends, but it was not enough to keep the life standard I wanted,’’ he said about his motivation for migration. Nikkei in Brazil are known for their relatively high education level. Many have degrees from top-ranked universities and worked as engineers, doctors, and lawyers before moving to Japan. As blue-collar workers, however, they face professional identity conflict.This has implications both for adaptation and for the nature of their relationship with Japanese culture and its emphasis on gakureki (educational background; also reflected in the expression gakureki shakai, or ‘‘academic record–oriented society’’). A Brazilian member of the International Association of Hamamatsu Prefecture (an area with many Brazilians and some discrimination problems) once said to me ironically, ‘‘Oh, you are a student [ryugakusei ]? So you are lucky. You are well treated by the Japanese, and don’t suffer like the dekasseguis.’’ 17 The aforementioned high-school teacher also noted this when commenting on adaptation issues different from those of a typical gaijin (foreigner). ‘‘When I compare my intellectual job with the manual labor I’m doing now, I fall into depression,’’ he said. ‘‘Sometimes I fear I will go crazy due to the repetitive work. I don’t suffer because my work is heavy, but I can’t stand it because it is a manual labor, too simple for me.’’ Nikkei in Japan also suffer from what could be called a class identity conflict. They are mainly from urban middle-class origins, but in Japan they occupy the lowest position in the host society’s social pyramid. As one of my friends—a Nikkei that was ‘‘successful’’ with girls in Brazil—said, ‘‘We dekasseguis are blue-collar workers in Japan. And the girls, especially those that work in the office of my factory, don’t want to have deep relationships with us because they prefer white-collar guys.’’

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Both native Japanese and immigrants believe that Nikkei in Brazil have high status and possess a relatively comfortable economic situation, while Japanese see dekasseguis in a negative light. Even the term dekassegui in Japan connotes this, as it was originally applied to peasants from the northern and southern parts of the country who moved to big cities like Osaka and Tokyo for winter seasonal work. Furthermore, if a descendant of an immigrant comes to Japan to work in a san K (three K: kitsui [hard], kitanai [dirty], kiken [dangerous]) job, the implication is that the parents or grandparents were economically unsuccessful in Brazil. In this sense, Nikkei in Japan are symbols of a ‘‘past, poor Japan’’ that modern Japanese prefer to ignore (see Ishi 1994b). Many informants tell me that Japanese people are ‘‘cold,’’ ‘‘stupid,’’ and ‘‘unkind,’’ but they have limited answers to the question ‘‘Who are the Japanese you have had contact with?’’ The Japan they know is the workplace (frequently small factories), and the Japanese people they meet day after day are dissatisfied young people who hate their san K jobs; that is, both Japanese and dekasseguis are working where people do not want to be employed. Japanese women prefer not to marry blue-collar men even if they are Japanese (thus putting a different twist on my friend’s comment about girlfriends above). In other words, because dekasseguis are foreigners (and a foreigner is in a lower and more fragile position than a native Japanese), they often function as scapegoats for those natives treated badly by other Japanese prior to the appearance of foreigners in the workplace. middle-class for a moment For the majority of dekasseguis, becoming upwardly mobile in Japanese society seems almost impossible.They lack language fluency, and Japanese companies seem reluctant to accept foreigners into skilled jobs: lawyers, doctors, or engineers in Brazil have little chance of working in their own profession in Japan. Not surprisingly many dekasseguis want to ‘‘save enough yen and go back to Brazil as soon as possible.’’ One person told me, ‘‘Our life in Japan is not our real life,’’ which I interpret to mean, ‘‘I don’t feel like myself in Japan.’’ Many dekasseguis seem to be patiently waiting to return to Brazil and recover their self-respect in order to enjoy ‘‘real’’ life. For nisei and sansei (the children and grandchildren of the original immigrants from Japan to Brazil), the time frame for going back to Brazil is not so clear. Many do not know how many yen they want or need to earn, and they rarely have a specific purpose for which they are earning money. In other words,

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they gradually extend their stay in Japan since the final goal, which ostensibly includes a return to Brazil, is never clearly defined. How, then, does an engineer who has become a factory worker deal with his decline in social class? ‘‘The only thing I can do is to try not to think about this difference,’’ answered the aforementioned university professor. Others convince themselves that ‘‘this [is] a short-term, temporary situation—a better life [is] waiting for [them] in the future.’’ Such is the case of Rodolpho ‘‘Bilu’’ Marques, the singer/composer whose lyrics open this chapter. If music can be characterized as a ‘‘passive’’ way to cope with an identity crisis, many dekasseguis seek a more active way to make their stay in Japan more enjoyable by ‘‘taking advantage of a limited number of chances’’ or ‘‘occupying any small space.’’ Dekasseguis have found a peculiar way to deal with the class and professional identity conflicts that engulf them. As they discovered the difficulties in becoming white-collar workers in Japan, and the even more difficult task of becoming middle class as blue-collar workers, they chose instead to accept a ‘‘poor,’’ hard-work routine on weekdays tempered by the re-creation of a ‘‘Brazilian way of life’’ and a ‘‘middle-class, decent lifestyle’’ on weekends and holidays. Brazilian Nikkei in Japan act as good citizens at work and in contact with Japanese society, but radically transform themselves outside the workplace on weekends as they promote relationships among dekasseguis. This transformation is achieved in part by ‘‘middle-class’’ consumptive patterns. These include both the purchase of items such as new cars, high-quality cameras or stereos, as well as social time spent in Brazilian ‘‘ethnic spaces’’ such as restaurants, bars, food stores, internet cafes, and video rental stores.18 Dekasseguis have also opened dance halls, beauty salons, automobile dealerships, and even shopping centers. In 1997 a group of Brazilian shop owners in Oizumi, described by the Japanese media as ‘‘Brazilian Town’’ because almost 15 percent of the town’s 40,000 residents are Brazilian, decided to rent an entire floor of a large building as an ethnic shopping center called Brazilian Plaza. Since then, at least three other shopping centers have opened: one in the same city (Joia Building), one in Aichi Prefecture (Villa Nova Komaki), and one in Nagano Prefecture. Ethnic leisure and ethnic business are linked, allowing dekasseguis to feel ‘‘good’’ on weekends and holidays. The success of the shopping-center concept for and by Brazilians in Japan is clearly related to the shopping-center boom that took place in Brazil’s urban centers in the 1980s. In Japan, as in Brazil, some of the most popular shops are fashion stores. Yet in Japan, Brazilians consume fashion differently than they do in Brazil. For example, dekasseguis spend exorbitant amounts of money on

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jeans imported from Brazil, often made by companies that are considered too expensive in the Brazilian context. When I asked people why they spent 15,000 yen ($150) for a pair of Brazilian jeans, a typical answer was, ‘‘I prefer wearing pants made in Brazil because I did not feel comfortable wearing Japanese ones.’’ On the surface, such responses seem to be means by which Brazilians differentiate themselves from Japanese. There is, however, another equally important reason related to marking the difference (and consequently achieving success) among Brazilians themselves. In other words, the only people who ‘‘understand’’ the value of expensive, elegant, and ‘‘cool’’ Brazilian brands— such as jeans from Zoomp, Forum, Khelf, or M.Officer; perfumes from O Boticário; and lingerie from DeMillus and DuLoren—that are unknown in Japan are middle-class Brazilian consumers. For those who wear blue-collar uniforms in factories during the week, changing into Zoomp jeans for the weekend marks Brazilian, not Japanese, status. Fashion shows organized in Brazilian discos are aimed at informing dekasseguis about the latest trends in spring/summerorautumn/winter collections from São Paulo—not from Paris, New York, or Tokyo. That dekassegui fashion may be ‘‘out’’ from the perspective of major Japanese fashion magazines, or even from the perspective of fashionable Brazilians, is immaterial to dekasseguis, for their cultural referent is not to be considered chic by Japanese or by those in Brazil, but by Brazilians in Japan. between two lives The songs on the cd ‘‘Kaisha de Música’’ help to illustrate how Brazilians are challenging life in Japan. Twenty-seven years old at the time of the project in 1997, bandleader Henry Assaoka was, like all the dekasseguis who participated in making the cd, inspired by his san K job.19 ‘‘Our concept was that we did not want to make songs similar to what were already released in Brazil,’’ Assaoka said. ‘‘We were sure that there were important things that should be told about Brazilians in Japan.’’ None of the participants had been professional musicians in Brazil, although some had been involved in serious amateur activities. Assaoka himself had worked in an instrument store, and another member of the group, Carlos Miyasato, had led his own band in Curitiba, the capital of the state of Paraná. The most well-known band member, Rodolpho Marques, widely known as DJ Bilu, was one of the top disk jockeys in a growing dekassegui market for Brazilian discos. Together, the three created the Cooperative of Brazilian Musicians in Gunma Prefecture (Cooperativa dos Músicos Brasileiros de Gunma-ken) to

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implement the cd project, and as Assaoka notes, ‘‘When we began to look for sponsors, we found it was surprisingly easier than we first expected.’’ The costs of the cd were entirely covered by nine well-known ethnic businesses in Brazilian Town in Oizumi. In terms of professional identity, the release of the cd marked a turning point for the participants since they achieved the status of musicians within Japan’s Brazilian community, despite the fact that cd was never a hit. This change, however, was more psychological than material. With the exception of DJ Bilu, who earns a reasonable income as a full-time, professional deejay, the other members continue to work in activities unrelated to music. What is their ‘‘real’’ profession: factory worker or musician? The answer may be found somewhere between those two seemingly antithetical points. raiders of the lost self-esteem Something happens in my heart When I’m alone, lost on Route 354 Oizumi is an image of contact with freedom A green-and-yellow oasis, a wonderful city I want to go back to Brazil, but I want to stay here Enjoying my Japanese noodles, rice wine, and cherry blossoms I want to stay here, but I want to go back there Enjoy the Carnival and fish in the Pantanal —From ‘‘De cá seguindo,’’ song and lyrics by Mikio Yto, a Japanese Brazilian working in Japan 20 ‘‘Da cá seguindo’’ is quite different from ‘‘Dekokôssegui.’’ While both play linguistically with the term dekassegui, each deals with the Japanese experience from a distinct point of view. The dekassegui in ‘‘Dekokôssegui’’ have no hope for happiness in Japan. Yto’s ‘‘Da cá seguindo,’’ on the other hand, suggests that it is possible to be happy in the new country. At the heart of both songs lies the issue of identity management. On weekdays, Nikkei in Japan live in the sphere of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, as ‘‘foreign laborers’’ in a repetitive routine, as unnamed, classless people in a ‘‘cold’’ Japanese society. Yet on the weekends they become something like the character that John Travolta plays in Saturday Night Fever: dancing the night away and driving a cool car. Leisure, hobbies, and passion take place in forty-eight hours of a condensed middleclass life, helping dekassegui to recover (if only partially) their original status

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within Brazilian networks.21 ‘‘Rap n’ Dido,’’ the second song cited at the beginning of this essay, expresses this trend, describing a factory worker who waits anxiously for Saturday, when he can run to the dance hall with his girlfriend. What links these songs is the sense of catharsis involved in sharing bad experiences with compatriots, a point emphasized when these songs are sung by dekassegui in karaoke bars. For the characters in the songs, the weekday routine may be shitty, but the weekend holds plenty of dignity. Mori (1995) has described young dekasseguis who prioritize leisure, as opposed to saving money, as ‘‘life-enjoying’’ people. What I see, however, can be detected in all members of the community, regardless of age. My reference to the Travolta character is not intended to suggest that dance and leisure are the only ways for recharging energy or that all dekassegui experience the same consuming or leisure ‘‘syndrome.’’ Each dekassegui has found a way to ‘‘enjoy’’ life and ‘‘spend’’ money, depending on circumstances such as marital status or age. A middle-aged, married dekassegui might not dance all the night, but he might instead have his ‘‘Travolta moment’’ singing in a karaoke bar. What is important here is that these one or two days of self-esteem recovery give dekasseguis the psychological balance necessary for enduring the next five weekdays of hard work on the industrial line. During the week, they shut their mouths because they cannot reveal their tormented sentiments to Japanese partners in the Japanese language. But among Brazilian friends they have the pleasure of speaking in their native language and understanding each other. A male factory worker in Japan can, when he meets a Brazilian woman, provide a self-introduction using his ‘‘original’’ social condition: ‘‘I’m a lawyer (in Brazil).’’ In restaurants owned by Brazilians, nobody would disapprove of speaking in loud voices or of kissing a friend—they are meeting people that share common social and cultural codes. Rejuvenation through weekend leisure is not an exclusive strategy of Brazilian migrants in Japan. Indeed, it is a common strategy of all modern workers, migrant or not. Yet other large foreign-resident groups in Japan (Korean, Chinese, Filipinos) have not opened big discos or three-story shopping centers, nor do they send photos of themselves seated comfortably in their Porsches for publication in ethnic newspapers. While such behavior is not exclusive to dekasseguis, it is more evident among them than with other migrants and minority-group members. In other words, much of dekassegui identity is based on class, a word that in Portuguese (as in English) can also mean wealth, fine manners,orelegance of dress and behavior.Though classless at first, the dekasseguis have searched—and found—their own lost class.

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Many of the leisure activities that involve a search for class take place in ‘‘Brazilian’’ shopping centers, where members of the middle class find a clean and secure place designed for shopping and leisure (Ishi 2001a). In analyzing these spaces, a well-known opinion leader in Brazil notes that the comfortable environment is ‘‘artificial’’ and hinders its users from the notion of ‘‘real life’’ (Toledo 1997). That is precisely what attracts dekasseguis to the Brazilian Plaza in Oizumi. The dekassegui do not have to go back to Brazil to recover their ‘‘real’’ lifestyle; they have it in Japan, which has become ‘‘home, sweet home abroad’’ instead of ‘‘Yen Town.’’ 22 The Brazilian Town of Oizumi is an ‘‘oasis’’ (to use song lyrics) or an ‘‘ethnic enclave’’ (to use academic language). If, as Walt Disney said, Disneyland was designed to help people to forget the world outside their walls, dekasseguis certainly forget Japan in their ‘‘Brazil-land.’’ 23 from victims to heroes Two particular macro- and microlevel factors helped dekasseguis (re)achieve self-confidence and change their ‘‘history.’’ On the national level, as Brazilian citizens, they have become objects of political interest, as Brazilian politicians find it impossible to ignore their voting potential. At the level of the Nikkei community, dekasseguis have been elevated to the category of special envoys who are being ‘‘prepared’’ (in Japan) to become the next leaders of the Nikkei community upon returning to Brazil.24 Brazilian Society Moves On the macrolevel, the main shift in thewaydekasseguis are perceived (and how their Japanese experience is evaluated) comes from the Brazilian government. When former Foreign Minister and President Fernando Henrique Cardoso announced that he would hold a face-to-face meeting with a group of dekassegui representatives during an official visit to Japan, they became ‘‘important’’ to their country. In 1995 the foreign ministry began the so-called Conselhos de Cidadãos (Citizen’s Council), designed to listen to dekassegui voices and reflect them in central government policy.25 The council was just one part of the Programa de Assistência aos Brasileiros no Exterior (Assistance Program for Brazilians Living Overseas) that included the creation of a new consulate in Nagoya, capital of the prefecture where the largest number of dekasseguis reside. Moreover, the Tokyo consulate, formerly located in the same building as the embassy, was given a new and separate building to better attend the needs of dekasseguis.

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In the private sector, the Banco do Brasil—which has formal branches and representatives in many of the localities where dekasseguis live—organized free seminars in first-class hotels (like the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo). The bank invited Brazilian political and economic leaders to explain how dekasseguis could successfully invest in businesses after returning to Brazil. As a member of the organizing committee, I had a chance to read the post-meeting comments of participants and found that many used almost the same phrase: ‘‘I never had been so well-treated in my long stay in Japan.’’ The media (both ethnic and mainstream) played a fundamental role in this identity shift by spreading the new image of dekasseguis as ‘‘brave and courageous citizens, fighting for their ideals’’ (president of São Paulo State Bank, quoted in Chigusa 1994, 7). ‘‘FH chega ao Japão para visita de três dias: Saga dos dekasseguis aproxima dois países,’’ a 13 March 1996 article in Estado de S. Paulo (one of Brazil’s largest newspapers), provides an example of how the contributions of dekasseguis became a priority with both the public and private sectors: ‘‘Dekasseguis today guarantee the account balance of our country with their remittances of more than $2 billion [U.S.]. In Japan, they contribute an estimated $250 million in taxes to the central, provincial, and local governments. And they spend at least $350 million per year in international phone calls. Part of this money goes to the Brazilian Telephone Company. The average account balance of the more than 33,000 people in branches of the Banco do Brasil in Tokyo and Hamamatsu is $25,000.’’ Dekasseguis also discovered that they had the power to attract not only goods and services but even Brazilian celebrities to Japan. Prior to 1980, only musicians that had local fans (for example, bossa nova singers) were in a position to perform in Japan. In 1995 this changed when the rock group Paralamas do Sucesso performed special shows for dekassegui. These performances represented more than simple leisure, as they led dekasseguis to understand that they constituted an important market thanks to their economic power. If they could not go to Brazil, ‘‘Brazil’’ would come to them—not in Tokyo, but in Oizumi. Ethnic Community Moves The reinterpretation of dekassegui life on the macrolevel also took place at the microlevel of the Nikkei community. Their new positioning was related primarily to cleaning up the ‘‘dirty’’ image of working in san K jobs. In order to justify their position as unskilled laborers in Japanese factories, many—especially the leaders of what was called the ‘‘Nikkei colony’’ in Brazil—used to say that

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‘‘experiencing Japan’’ would be an excellent step in a young Nikkei’s (nisei and sansei generation) self-improvement. By improving Japanese-language skills and discovering Japanese ancestral culture, community leaders believed, their children and grandchildren would ‘‘rediscover’’ their Japanese roots. Dekassegui would also benefit the Nikkei community on their return to Brazil because they would understand the secrets of Japanese economic success. Most important, by saving large quantities of money, dekassegui could start new businesses, achieve economic stability, and contribute to the further development of Brazil. Such images recur in speeches by Brazilian representatives in the Kaigai Nikkeijin Taikai (Convention of Japanese Living Abroad), an annual gathering of Nikkei from around the world that takes place once a year in Tokyo. The ‘‘myth’’ of the possibilities inherent in experiencing Japan helped Nikkei of all generations convince themselves that they were not going to Japan for monetary reasons, but rather to visit their homeland. While I believe that the motivation was economically based, Nikkei often responded to surveys (like jica 1992 and Watanabe 1995) by claiming that they were just taking advantage of the unique opportunity of knowing the land of their ancestors and a First World country. Few dekasseguis behaved as community leaders would have wanted. Among the hundreds of dekasseguis I met, only one did exactly what was expected by studying the Japanese language in class every night after work, taking ikebana (flower arrangement) and tea ceremony lessons on weekends, and winning a Japanese-speech contest for foreigners in the city where she lived. In one interview, she spoke of her wonderful Japanese experience and how happy she was: ‘‘Now I feel I can communicate better not only with my friends in Japan but also with my grandfather in Brazil.’’ Not inconsequentially, she also saved a lot of money, enough to buy a big house and improve her husband’s grape plantation in Brazil.This particular Japanese experience was widely reported in Nikkei newspapers in Brazil as an example of a successful dekassegui even though she does not represent the norm. In fact, it is exactly for this reason that her story was considered newsworthy. inverting positions: feeling saudade Although dekasseguis cannot substantially change their working and living environment, they can alter their interpretations of their experiences in Japan. This allows them to see themselves in a superior position in relation to the

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Japanese—inverting the original social hierarchy in which the Japanese are on top. A common claim among my informants was ‘‘We are working hard now but we will soon have a better life. Japanese people are miserable because they work their entire lives and will not have a good standard of living like in Brazil. And they will never have their own house.’’ Another inversion of roles can be found in phrases like ‘‘The Japanese economy would be nothing without our presence’’ and ‘‘If the dekasseguis had not come, Japanese industry would have shut down.’’ Brazilians gave special importance to saudade, a term (though difficult to translate) that includes notions of homesickness, nostalgia, and longing—a sentiment Portuguese speakers believed to be exclusively theirs. In his study about the ‘‘anthropology of saudade,’’ Da Matta (1993) posits that Brazilians believe the sentiment is a core of their national identity. Davis (1979), analyzing culture in the United States, has proposed a ‘‘sociology of nostalgia’’ and notes that ‘‘nostalgic reactions’’ appear during transitional lifecycle situations that demand a radical change in identity. Along with several examples of individual transitional situations (for instance, getting older or getting married), Davis cites examples of experiences that should lead groups to similar reactions on a collective level: wars, earthquakes, and other phenomena that obligate people to worry about their future and to rethink life and existence, in their society and in the world. The most significant distinction between Brazilian saudade and U.S. nostalgia may be in how people evaluatewhat theyare feeling. Da Matta describes saudade as something very positive, something that Brazilians enjoy. This seems to be somewhat like the notion of love in U.S. culture, which is used for naming choices and preferences of all kinds. ‘‘In the USA one could even love the love, and similarly, in Brazil, one could feel saudade for saudade,’’ notes Da Matta (1993, 29). At the individual level, migration to Japan was a radical (if not traumatic) experience, and at the collective level, the ‘‘dekassegui phenomenon’’ was an unprecedented transition in Nikkei community. Yet many dekasseguis demonstrate an explicit tendency toward strengthening their saudade. In a suggestive article entitled ‘‘Brazilians Rediscover Brazil in Japan’’ (International Press, 3 September 1995), a major dekassegui newspaper suggests that ‘‘Brazilians massage saudade’’ (massagear a saudade), that is, they view nostalgia and homesickness in a positive way. Throughout the Portuguese-language media in Japan, articles, advertisements, poems, and letters refer to saudade. Journalists and advertisers, columnists and readers—all of them manage this concept, con-

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sciously or unconsciously. Thus, saudade might be concerned with parents, with a wife or husband, or with the tropical fruits of Brazil. Below are some examples of how saudade is expressed both implicitly and explicitly. My Mother To my mother: I love you so much Even if I am distant from you I do not forget you And as time goes by I feel more and more saudade The month we spent together Was not enough, But what is important Is not how much time we have spent together, But how we have spent this time. (Marcus Kimura Lopes, International Press, 30 April 1995)26 I will live a piece of our past, of the saudade, where I still can find a piece of you . . . my unforgettable love. (Excerpt from Marcelo Nishimura, ‘‘Inesquecível amor . . .’’ [Unforgettable love], International Press, 19 March 1995)27 ‘‘Alegria Alegria—A Bit of Saudade of Brazil (Advertisement for a Brazilian shop in Shizuoka Prefecture) ‘‘Kill that saudade for Brazil now!’’ (Advertisement for the black beans used in the Brazilian traditional dish feijoada) ‘‘Saudade for Brazil? Use I.T.S.!!’’ (Advertisement for prepaid international phone cards) The object of saudade is not just people or concrete things, but some symbolic reference to Brazil. A chapter in A Quebra dos Mitos, a book comprised of letters sent to the newspaper International Press, is entitled ‘‘Moments of Reflection.’’ One letter represents well the symbolic meanings: ‘‘In Japan I have met compatriots from many parts of Brazil, who I would not know if I continued to live in my homeland, [the city of ] Londrina. When I go back to Brazil, I certainly will visit the friends from around Brazil who I have met in Japan. I want to eat a delicious pirarucu in Amazon and drink chimarrão’’ (C.S., cited in Chi-

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gusa 1994,142). C.S., the author of this letter, is from Londrina, a city in the state of Paraná with high concentration of Nikkei. C.S. has never visited the Amazon or Rio Grande do Sul, but he yearns for their regional foods (pirarucu is an Amazonian fish; chimarrão is the typical tea of Rio Grande do Sul). In other words the motivation for his saudade is not some actual taste he has experienced in his homeland, but an idealistic image of tastes that every Brazilian dreams about experiencing someday. In the same book I wrote an essay in which I remember a classic poem that is included in all Brazilian textbooks, ‘‘Canção do Exílio’’ (Song from Exile), by the great Brazilian poet Gonçalves Dias (Ishi 1994a). Every Brazilian knows its opening strophe. My homeland has palm trees where the sabiá sings, the birds that sing here do not sing as there.28 A number of poems by dekasseguis have—consciously or not—been a parody of this poem. My Homeland, I Love You Oh! My Brazil . . . I have not left you because of the lack of desire of being in your tropical lands And I do not believe that they could exist Something like your beautiful palm trees in other lands Oh! My loved Brazil If I have left your comfortable environment And come to an unequal world It was because of my interest and certainty Of knowing that there is no other country like you My Brazil, you are the only one! (Antonio Rubilar Valente, International Press, 4 June 1995)29 It is important to note that neither the references to Gonçalves Dias nor the ideology of saudade are exclusive to Brazilians in Japan. Margolis (1994) interviewed a Brazilian resident in New York City who said, ‘‘The bird songs are prettier in Brazil’’ (192), and she cites another informant who ‘‘described the saudades (homesickness, longing) she feels when she thinks about weekends back home, ‘the days of sociability’ when family and friends came together for a leisurely lunch or cookout’’ (179). This idea of sociability is a curious one be-

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cause it often involves feelings for items not appreciated at home. The famous Brazilian dish, feijoada, is not an obligatory item on the Nikkei menu in Brazil, but in Japan many Brazilians want to eat feijoada every week. They ‘‘miss’’ something they did not particularly like before. More than the concrete taste of feijoada, they are eating it as a symbol of Brazilianness. As Da Matta (1993, 23) states, ‘‘As members of Brazilian society, we learn how to feel saudade in the same way that we learn how to enjoy Carnival and eat feijoada’’ (Da Matta 1993, 23) Along these lines, the increasing interest in and search for samba parties by Nikkei in Japan deserves special attention. Samba is undoubtedly a symbol of Brazilian culture, but when compared to Brazilians in general, Nikkei as a group appear to lack interest in samba and carnival (there are, of course, exceptions).Why did Nikkei suddenly begin to appreciate samba nights and organize carnival parades in dance halls and city festivals all over Japan? One reason is related to a violent sort of ‘‘Japan bashing’’ that becomes the counterpoint to an exaggerated idealization of Brazil and is a common theme in conversations among dekasseguis and in letters sent to dekassegui newspapers. Shinitiro Fujita sent a letter to International Press criticizing the crimes of the terrorist sect Aum Shinrikyo in Japan and concluded by citing a famous Brazilian pop song: ‘‘I don’t know why, but I remember this song: ‘I lived in a tropical country, blessed by God and naturally beautiful.’ ’’ Criticizing Japan and glorifying Brazil is ‘‘necessary’’ here for maintaining a desire to return home. It is a partly self-conscious form of mind-control since many Nikkei consider themselves guests in Japan and resist defining themselves as migrants with the long-term connotations of that word. What enables the dekasseguis to stay in Japan as ‘‘guest workers’’ is precisely the certainty that they have an (imagined) ‘‘home, sweet home’’ in Brazil that will welcome them whenever they decided to return. Without saudade, they fear, they will lose the tie with the country they love so they constantly and intentionally maintain saudade. It is the imaginary bridge that connects them to a Brazil that ‘‘made the difference,’’ something that dekasseguis have but Japanese do not. epilogue: what are they looking for? Behavior reveals as much as words, and in the role-playing game called ‘‘dekassegui,’’ Brazilians have managed their identities, their human relationships, their lifestyles, their labor choices, and even their leisure time and hobbies in

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an effort to maximize scarce resources and overcome the handicaps inherent in any transnational migration process. Changes in Nikkei ethnic identity are deeply related to dekassegui identification with class and job. Most Brazilians did not expect much social mobility in Japan and, after facing the crude reality of life there, became pragmatic, seeking realistic solutions for their needs. Given the contrast between their weekday, blue-collar life and their middleclass life on weekends, for example, it is apparent that dekasseguis turn to leisure not just for relaxation but to recover (at least momentarily) their selfesteem. If they cannot change their situation, they can change their interpretation of it. In this ‘‘affirmative action,’’ they have been helped by political and economic shifts in both public and private sectors and have made use of that powerful tool called saudade. Many dekasseguis have given up their goals of self-realization and professional satisfaction in the workplace. Self-realization now takes place on weekends (or during other free time), in spaces outside the workplace (such as ethnic enclaves or on returning to the homeland), and with Brazilian, but not Japanese, friends and compatriots. The future possibilities for professional satisfaction remain uncertain, since employment is still undertaken ‘‘just for the money.’’ 30 Meanwhile, dekassegui have developed a strong desire for social ascension among Brazilians in Japan and believe that working in Japan is a way to realize their life goals (when these are clear) or dreams (when ideas about what to do with the money are unclear). Brazilian store owners in Japan sit in the middle of these two opposite vectors, since their main job has shifted from manual labor to business management. But because theirclientele is composed mainly of Brazilians, they are inactive in local (Japanese) society and are not (yet) fully recognized as members of ‘‘high society’’ by host Japanese. Shop owners look successful to other migrants, but their sentiment of saudade is essentially the same as that of factory workers—‘‘a lovely Brazil is waiting for us.’’ The ideology of saudade, then, is complementary to Chaplin-Travolta identity-management strategies and other means of recovering and maintaining self-esteem. It is an ideology of hope and redemption, with one vector directed to the past and another to the future. It suggests to dekasseguis that past life in Brazil was prettier than current life in Japan (even if it was not so pretty in fact) and signals that better days should come in the future when the dekasseguis will—presumably—return to Brazil.While the nostalgic and paradisiacal Brazil may be far away, Saturday Night Fever is close enough to alleviate the ‘‘shitty’’ routine of Japanese ‘‘hell.’’

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••• December 31, 1999. On the eve of the millennium, I found yet more evidence that dekasseguis had refined the art of finding happiness (of sorts) within undesirable circumstances. I began by visiting the producer of the aforementioned cd, who told me that he was busy—and happy about it—working on a special radio program for Brazilians in Oizumi. I then visited the disco Made in Brazil in the neighboring city of Ota, where I witnessed the countdown to the New Year. The disco was empty because ‘‘people [celebrate] this moment with their families and friends at home,’’ explained the managers. I was lucky enough to find one of these parties, where about thirty people were eating and drinking both Brazilian and Japanese foods, in a very animated mood. There was no crying, no tears. ‘‘Did you expect to come into the new millennium so far from Brazil?’’ I asked them. ‘‘We have to dance to the music’’ was the meaning of nearly all the replies. Everyone was hopeful. One o’clock a.m. Some of the partyers got in their car to go to the neighboring prefecture of Tochigi, where, they said, the biggest Brazilian disco in the country—Sunshine, in Oyama—was open. I joined them, and found over a thousand dekasseguis, including children and elderly people, enjoying their night fever. Then I met, playing live music, Marcelo Uchiyama, the author of the following song (from the ‘‘Kaisha de Música’’ cd).Uchiyama once dreamed of being a singer in Brazil but started his Japanese-yen raid as a blue-collar worker. He tried to succeed as a professional musician in Japan, but he now works in a white-collar job as a reporter for ipc-tv, the Brazilian broadcast service in Japan. On weekends he gets satisfaction from playing in pubs and bars. His trajectory reveals as much as his message.31 Time goes on and I’m still here Always dreaming about a happier day I’m suffering because I decided myself To fight for an ideal To take an adventure in the destiny Without knowing what could happen With my Latin heart Sensitive and juvenile (Excerpted from the song ‘‘I’ll Go Back’’) And they continued to play their music . . . as we must do with our tentative analysis.

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notes 1 I translated all of the songs cited in this essay from Portuguese, with permission of the producers. I include original lyrics in the notes. The lyrics for ‘‘Kaishão’’ follow. Carro importado, ilusão de um pé-rapado Compra um celular usado Usa roupa de playboy Espera um dia eu voltar para o Brasil E pra puta que os pariu Poder mandar essa cambada. 2 The original lyrics for ‘‘O Rap n’ Dido’’ follow. Finalmente chegou o sabadão Pego minha mina, vou correndo pro salão É domingo, já estou preocupado Sabendo que segunda vou chegar atrasado. Dance, dance, dance pra valer Porque você não vai se arrepender. 3 Although this song does not clearly specify who ‘‘those guys’’ are, the author told me in an interview that he was referring to empreiteiras, the companies that recruit Brazilian workers to and in Japan. Most Brazilians are not directly contracted by Japanese companies but are part-time workers contracted by empreiteiras. Many dekassegui believe that empreiteiras offer bad working and living conditions for Brazilian migrants, and several scandals related to these companies have been reported in the media and discussed by scholars. 4 According to the latest data from the Japanese Immigration Office of the Ministry of Justice, in December 2000 there were 254,394 Brazilian nationals with Alien Registration in Japan. Brazilians are the third-largest foreign community in Japan after Koreans and Chinese. However, the number of Brazilian Nikkei in Japan may be larger than statistics show, since first-generation Nikkei who have not renounced Japanese nationality do not need visas to enter and work in Japan and therefore are not counted. 5 According to the 1988 census conducted by the Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros (Center for Japanese Brazilian Studies), the Nikkei population in Brazil was 1,280,000, less than 1 percent of Brazil’s total population. This number includes original Japanese immigrants and their descendants, including mestiços. I follow the most widely accepted definition of Nikkei, meaning any person who has at least one Japanese ancestor. The term Nikkei has yet to be included in the two major Brazilian dictionaries, which register only nisei (or nissei) and nipo-brasileiro. Older generations used to call themselves Nihonjin (which means Japanese), while some of the sansei (third-generation Nikkei) call themselves nissei (which technically means

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6

7

8

9

10 11

‘‘second-generation Nikkei’’). Some scholars use Nikkeijin, perhaps in accordance with the terminology adopted by Japanese Ministry of Justice while others use Burajiru Nikkeijin, which might be translated as ‘‘Brazilian-Japanese’’ or ‘‘Brazilian Nikkei.’’ I use the term Nikkei because it is largely used in the Japanese Brazilian community, both in Japan and Brazil, and especially by the ethnic media. Brazilians use the term dekassegui to define both a social phenomenon and the people involved in it. In Japan, this term was used for people who left their homeland to work temporarily in another place. It has been recently incorporated into the major Brazilian dictionary Dicionário Houaiss as decasségui. I use the spelling ‘‘dekassegui’’ because it has been adopted by the ethnic media and by migrants themselves. I give priority to dekassegui rather than migrant because the majority of informants resist seeing themselves as migrants or immigrants, regardless of the length of their stay in Japan. In Brazil there is a minimum-salary system, based on the notion that one minimumsalary is the minimum necessary for living decently. Brazilians know that one minimum-salary is far from sufficient, but many employers pay even less than one minimum-salary to workers, especially in unskilled jobs and in rural regions. According to the 1988 census conducted by the Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros, 55 percent of Nikkei identify themselves as ‘‘middle-class.’’ For discussions about class in Brazil and Latin America, see Zenteno 1977. The most recent large-scale survey on dekasseguis in Japan was conducted in 1998 (see Kajita 1999). According to the findings, 19 percent of Nikkei have graduated from or are studying in universities. Thirty percent have completed only primary or junior high school, 37.1 percent have completed high school, and 11.3 percent have a professional degree.These numbers are far higher than the figure for the Brazilian population, where 81 percent have completed only primary or junior high-school according to the official government census in 1996 (see Almanaque Abril 1999, 155). The questionnaire found that, in terms of ‘‘working experience,’’ only 2.7 percent had ‘‘blue-collar jobs’’ before going to Japan and only 6 percent worked in agriculture—confirming the urban white-collar background of dekasseguis. Forty-two percent of respondents went to Japan after 1995, and most were teenagers or in their early twenties. This suggests that a new generation of Nikkei have abandoned Brazil (and their education). Journalists have written some of the most powerful reports about dekassegui. In chronological order, see Fujisaki 1991, Watkins 1996, Takahashi 1992, and Nishino 1999. About the limitation of surveys, see also Ishi 1999. Margolis (1994) has studied the Brazilian community in New York and analyzes some implications of their middle-class backgrounds. Tsuda (1999) has done interesting fieldwork in Oizumi and also writes about the middle-class origins of dekasseguis.

In the ‘‘Land of Yen’’ • 97 12 The original lyrics for ‘‘Dekokôssegui’’ follow. Ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko,ko . . . Agora estou melhor, aliviado porque descarreguei Mas um minuto atrás, confesso que até chorei A impressão que eu tive, foi do trabalho aqui no Japão Onde fazemos força, fedemos, sujando a mão E ainda temos de agüentar aquela bóia-fria Que saudade daquela comida que mamãe sempre fazia Por isso eu quero voltar pro Brasil! E mandar tudo pra lá rá lá rá . . . ! 13 Sonhos que de cá Segui, by Silvio Sam (1997), a former dekassegui who returned to Brazil, is a fictitious book based on true experiences and real people. Another interesting view of the dekassegui experience can be found in Kakazu 1998. 14 On the strategies of upward mobility of Japanese immigrants in Brazil, see Maeyama 1982. 15 See O Exodo dos Nikkeis / Como Ganhar Dinheiro no Japão, Japão Agora, March 10 1989. 16 Universitário Vira Operário no Japão, Folha de São Paulo, 19 May 1991. 17 Ryugakusei means ‘‘foreign students at universities,’’ and most are from Asian countries. Almost all students from Brazil arrive with scholarships and are welcomed as an elite by Japanese. For details about how Japanese treat ryugakuseis and dekasseguis, see Ishi 1994b. 18 On the rise of businesses and services for Brazilians in Japan and how this has led to lifestyle changes, see Ishi, in Watanabe 1995. See also Higuchi and Takahashi 1998, Ikegami 1997, and Jomo Shimbunsha 1997. On ethnic entrepreneurs in the United States and ethnic business in general, see Light and Bonacich 1988 and Wilson and Portes 1980. 19 On the back cover of the cd is the following message: ‘‘Observation: The lyrics of all these songs refer to the lives of dekasseguis in Japan. . . . Read our lyrics carefully. Any similarity with the facts is not a mere coincidence.’’ 20 The original lyrics of ‘‘De cá seguindo’’ follow. Alguma coisa acontece no meu coração Se estou sozinho, perdido na 354 Oizumi é um cenário de encontro com a liberdade Oásis verde-amarelo, um encanto de cidade Quero voltar pro Brasil, mas quero ficar Curtindo o meu lámen, o saquê, o sakurá Quero ficar por aqui, mas quero voltar Pegar um Carnaval e pescar no Pantanal.

98 • Angelo Ishi 21 The parody of Saturday Night Fever is not due to any delirium on my part but was inspired by the massive use of this expression (in Portuguese, Embalos de sábado à noite) by ethnic newspapers, both in the titles and texts of their reports on the leisure and weekend activities of dekasseguis (for instance, see Os Embalos de Sábado na Crystal, Tudo Bem, 15 July 1995). In Saturday Night Fever, a young blue-collar worker finds redemption on weekends. See also Ishi 2001a. 22 I owe this term to the Japanese filmmaker Shunji Iwai, who, in Swallow Tail (1995) gives a dark description of the saga of strangers of Asian origins in Japan. The scenery of his story is the fictitious Yen Town, the place where dreams might come true. 23 The oppositions of weekday/weekend, Yen Town/Brazilian Town, Chaplin/Travolta, and low-class/middle-class are inspired by the concepts of ‘‘Casa vs. Rua’’ (home and street) and ‘‘Pessoa vs. Indivíduo’’ (person and individual), as proposed in Da Matta 1991. Da Matta states that Brazilians have different patterns of behavior according to the place, the situation, and the people with whom they are relating. At home (casa) they are more apt to be recognized as people (pessoas) with rights, with their own rules, names, defined hierarchical positions, and special treatment from familiars and friends. The opposite place is the street (rua), where the same Brazilian is an anonymous citizen and becomes an individual (indivíduo) who has to obey laws, rules, and hierarchies determined by others, and where everyone must be equally treated. If one considers Brazil a big casa, then Japan becomes a new rua for dekasseguis. Going to Japan can be compared to the movement from casa to rua, from pessoa to indivíduo. 24 Mori (1995) has analyzed the gradual change of opinion about dekassegui from ‘‘negative’’ to ‘‘positive’’ among Nikkei. 25 Conselhos de Cidadãos are under the management of consulates, both in the United States and in Japan. I have been a member of the Tokyo Consulate’s council. For details about Brazilian government policy shifts, see Ishi 1999. 26 The original lyrics of ‘‘Minha mãe’’ follow. Minha mãe Eu te amo demais Apesar de estar distante Não te esqueço E cada dia que passa Estou com mais saudades O mês que passamos juntos Foi muito pouco Mas o importante Não é quanto tempo passamos juntos Mas como aproveitamos esse tempo.

In the ‘‘Land of Yen’’ • 99 27 The original lyrics of ‘‘Inesquecível amor . . .’’ follow. Viverei um pouco do passado, da saudade, onde ainda poderei encontrar um pouquinho de você . . . inesquecível amor. 28 Sabiá is a bird known for its very beautiful singing.The opening strophe of the poem in its original language follows. Minha terra tem palmeiras Onde canta o sabiá As aves que aqui gorjeiam Não gorjeiam como lá. 29 The original lyrics for ‘‘Pátria que te quero pátria’’ follow. Ah! Meu Brasil . . . Não te deixei por causa do Marasmo de pisar em tuas terras tropicais Nem por pensar que poderia existir Algo como os teus lindos coqueirais Ah! Meu idolatrado Brasil Se eu saí do teu berço e afago E vim para um mundo desigual Foi com o fito de interesse e certeza De saber que não existe pátria igual Meu Brasil, tu és o único! 30 On the change in the ‘‘job identity’’ of dekasseguis, see Ishi 1996. 31 The original lyrics of ‘‘Vou Voltar’’ follow. O tempo passa e ainda estou aqui Sempre a sonhar com um dia mais feliz Estou sofrendo porque eu mesmo quis Lutar por um ideal Me aventurar pelo destino Sem saber o que iria acontecer Com o meu coração latino Sentimental, menino.

references Almanaque Abril. 1999. São Paulo: Editora Abril. Barth, Fredrik. 1969. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. Boston: Little Brown.

100 • Angelo Ishi Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros. 1990. Pesquisa da População de Descendentes de Japoneses Residentes no Brasil, 1987–1988. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros. Chigusa, Charles Tetsuo, ed. 1994. A Quebra dos Mitos: O Fenômeno Dekassegui através de Relatos Pessoais. Atsugi: IPC Produção y Consultoria. Da Matta, Roberto. 1979. Carnavais, Malandros e Heróis: Para uma Sociologia do Dilema Brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Guanabara. . 1991. A Casa e a Rua. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Guanabara Koogan. . 1993. Antropologia da Saudade. In Conta de Mentiros: Sete Ensaios de Antropologia Brasileira, edited by Roberto Da Matta, 17–34. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco. Davis, Fred. 1979. Yearning for Yesterday: A Sociology of Nostalgia. New York: Free Press. Os Embalos de Sábado na Crystal. Tudo Bem. 15 July 1995. Fujisaki, Yasuo. 1991. Dekassegui Nikkei Gaikokujin Rodosha. Tokyo: Akashi. Glazer, Nathan, and Daniel Moynihan, eds. 1975. Ethnicity: Theory and Experience. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Hayao, Kawai, and Uchihashi Katsuto, eds. 1997. Shigoto no Soozoo. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. Higuchi, Naoto, and Satie Takahashi. 1998. Ethnic Business of Brazilians in Japan: Microstructural Development for Entrepreneurship and Ethnic Market Concentration. Ibero America Kenkyū 20, no. 1: 1–15. Ikegami, Shigehiro. 1997. Burajirujin to Kokusaika suru Tiiki Shakai: Kyojuu, Kyooiku, Iryoo. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. Ishi, Angelo Akimitsu. 1994a. Estas nossas canções do ‘‘exílio.’’ In A Quebra dos Mitos: O Fenômeno Dekassegui através de Relatos Pessoais, edited by Charles Tetsuo Chigusa, 135– 37. Atsugi: IPC Produção y Consultoria. . 1994b. Quem é quem no tribunal da discriminação. In A Quebra dos Mitos: O Fenômeno Dekassegui através de Relatos Pessoais, edited by Charles Tetsuo Chigusa, 35–51. Atsugi: IPC Produção y Consultoria. .1995a. ‘‘Dekassegui Business’’ no Hassei to Dekassaguisha no Seikatsu Kankyoo no Henka—Shokuseikatsu, Leisure, Media nado no kanten kara. In Kyodo Kenkyū Dekassegui Nikkei Burajirujin, edited by Watanabe Masako. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 241–87. . 1995b. Por um punhado de ienes. In Sobrevivências Projeto Plural, edited by Cremilda Medina and Milton Greco, 353–58. São Paulo: ECA/USP/CNPq. . 1996. Dekassegui Keikensha no Manga kara Hanshin Daishinsai made: Porutogarugo Media no Kaishingeki. In Esunikku Media [Ethnic media], edited by Shiramizu Shigehiko, 95–147. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. . 1997. Daisotsu Gishi ga Sankei Rodosha ni NattaToki: Dekassegui Nikkei Burajirujin no Shigoto to Identity. In Shigoto no Soozoo, edited by Kawai Hayao and Uchihashi Katsuto, 101–40. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. . 1999. Working in Japan: The Multiple Meanings and New Trends of Brazilian’s ‘‘Dekassegui’’ Experience. Annual Review of Labor Sociology 10: 45–68.

In the ‘‘Land of Yen’’ • 101 . 2001a. De Charles Chaplin a John Travolta. In Viagem ao Sol Poente, edited by Cremilda Medina, 55–69. São Paulo: ECA/USP. . 2001b. Burajiru o Shiru Tameno 55 shoo. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. jica. 1992. Nikkeijin Honbo Shuro Jittai Chosa Hokokusho. Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency. Jomo Shimbunsha. 1997. Samba no Machi Kara: Maebashi. Gumma Prefecture: Jomo Shimbunsha. Ojiityan! Ichii ni: Dekasseguisha ga Benrontaikai ni shutsujoo. Jornal Paulista (13 March 1992). Kajita, Takamichi. 1999. Japanese Brazilians after Ten Years’ Stay in Japan: Reexamination of Their Reality of Life According to a Questionnaire to the Brazilian Workers in 1998. Kokusai Kankeigaku Kenkyū 25: 1–22. Kakazu, Agenor. 1998. Crônicas: De um Garoto que Também Amava os Beatles e os Rolling Stones. Jundiaí: Editora Literarte. Light, Ivan, and E. Bonacich. 1988. Immigrant Entrepreneurs. Berkeley: University of California Press. Maeyama, Takashi. 1982. Imin no kaiki undo. Tokyo: Nippon Hoso Shuppan Kyokai. . 1996. Ethnicity to Burajiru Nikkeijin. Tokyo: Ochanomizu Shobo. Margolis, Maxine. 1994. Little Brazil: An Ethnography of Brazilian Immigrants in New York City. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Medina, Cremilda, ed. 2001 Viagem ao Sol Poente. São Paulo: ECA/USP. Medina, Cremilda, and Milton Greco, eds. 1995. Sobrevivências Projeto Plural. São Paulo: ECA/USP/CNPq. Mori, Koichi. 1995. Burajiru kara no Nikkeijin Dekassegui no Tokucho to Suii. In Kenkyū Dekassegui Nikkei Burajirujin, 491–546. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. Ninomiya, Masato, ed. 1993. Dekassegui Gensho ni Kansuru Symposium Hokokusho. São Paulo: Burajiru Nihon Bunka Kyokai. Nishino, Rumiko. 1999. Herculano wa Naze Korosareta Noka. Tokyo: Akashi. Olzak, Susan. 1992. The Dynamics of Ethnic Competition and Conflict. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. O Povo da Diáspora. Veja (7 August 1991): 37–38. Sam, Silvio. 1999. Dekassegui: Com os Pés no Chão . . . no Japão. São Paulo: Ysayama Editora. Shigehiko, Shiramizu, ed. 1996. Esunikku Media [Ethnic media]. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. Takahashi, Yukiharu. 1992. Ikoka Modoroka Dekassegui Japon. Tokyo: Kodansha. Toledo, Roberto Pompeu de. 1997. Pensamentos Numa Praça de Shopping. Veja (March 19): 142. Tsuda,Takeyuki. 1999.Transnational Migration and the Nationalization of Ethnic Identity among Japanese Brazilian Return Migrants. Ethos 27, no. 2: 145–79. Watanabe, Masako, ed. 1995. Kyodo Kenkyū Dekassegui Nikkei Burajirujin. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten.

102 • Angelo Ishi Watanabe, Masako, ed. 1999. Soka Gakkai Zainichi Burajirujin Menber no Soshikika to Seikatsu Jittai, Shinko Katsudo, MeijiGakuin Daigaku Ronso. Tokyo: Meiji Gakuin Daigaku. Watkins, Montse. 1996. Passageiros de um Sonho–a Experiência Recente dos Brasileiros no Japão. Kanagawa: Luna Books. Wilson, Kenneth, and Portes, Alejandro. 1980. Immigrant Enclave: An Analysis of the Labor Market Experiences of Cubans in Miami. American Journal of Sociology 86: 295– 319. Yamanaka, Keiko, and Eunice Koga. 1996. Nikkei Burajirujin no Nihon Taizai Chokika to Esunikku Komyuniti no Keisei. Iju Kenkyū 33: 55–72. Zenteno, Raúl Benítez, ed. 1977. As Classes Sociais na América Latina. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra.

joshua hotaka roth •••••

Urashima Taro’s Ambiguating Practices: The Significance of Overseas Voting Rights for Elderly Japanese Migrants to Brazil •••

Japanese Brazilians sometimes express their affiliation with Japan in ways that make Japanese Americans nervous. Whether in the millenarian movement following World War II in which many Japanese Brazilians refused to believe that Japan had lost, or in the later postwar celebrations of visits by members of the Japanese imperial family, Japanese Brazilians maintained their ties with Japan with little apparent concern for what this might meant for their integration into Brazilian society. A blurring of boundaries between immigrant group and ancestral homeland became anathema to most Japanese Americans. After all, they had suffered the consequences of American failure during World War II to distinguish between them when Japanese Americans were interned and their property on the West Coast expropriated. However, what appears to be a blurring of boundaries from an American perspective may not be so in the Brazilian context. And what appears to be a clear declaration of Japanese identity may in fact be a more ambiguous form of identification. In the summer of 1999 the Japanese government instituted an absenteeballoting system for the first time to allow Japanese citizens living overseas to participate in national level elections. Although intended originally for the greatly increased number of Japanese businesspeople temporarily stationed abroad since the 1980s, the vast majority of Japanese who registered to vote at the consulate in São Paulo, Brazil, were old immigrants who had already spent the majority of their lives in Brazil. As one leader of the Japanese community in Brazil stated, it was ‘‘the sincere wish of the elderly [migrants] to have the chance to cast a vote, even just once, before dying’’ (jica 1984, 55). To observers, voter registration appeared to be a ritual of identification with Japan,

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another example of Japanese Brazilians blurring the distinction between themselves and their ancestral homeland, seemingly oblivious to the fears this might provoke among certain minorities in the United States. In the United States, where voting rights have been the cornerstones of women’s and minorities’ struggles for citizenship, an immigrant minority’s interest in elections in their native homeland would appear to be a disengagement with politics in their adoptive homeland. Certain Asian American scholars have been concerned that the recent academic focus on diaspora and transnationalism erode the hard-fought gains that Asian Americans have made in ‘‘claiming’’ America for themselves (Wong 1995, 2–5).They fear that those who cultivate a nostalgia for ancestral homelands may end up reinforcing stereotypes of Asian American cultural difference and equivocal loyalties, a fear that has become all the more salient in the atmosphere of paranoia following the 9/11 terrorist attack. Many Japanese migrants to Brazil were motivated to register out of nostalgia for the Japan they knew many years ago. Yet nostalgia, which often stems from a conservative desire to preserve the past and resist change, can potentially take on a different form, one that opens up possibilities in the present local context rather than one that is fixed on a past and distant one (Battaglia 1995).1 Transnational connections and local engagement need not be inversely related to each other, and voter registration for Japanese elections did not signify a disengagement from Brazilian politics but can be interpreted as a critique that could potentially spur reform in the Brazilian context. Neither did registration constitute an absolute declaration of Japanese identity. Further investigation of the idioms through which immigrants expressed their relationship with Japan revealed some surprising ambiguities. Discussing the actual trips they had made to Japan after decades living in Brazil, many immigrants described how they could not recognize the modern, consumeroriented Japan that had arisen during the postwar period. Thus, the identification with Japan through the ritual of voter registration did not preclude a different kind of impression formed through less formal interactions (Block 1989).2 Were they Japanese? Were they Brazilian? Such mutually exclusive identity labels inadequately expressed the complex identifications of Japanese immigrants to Brazil. In the Brazilian context, voter registration for Japanese elections expressed both a strong identification with Japan and a means of effectively engaging the Brazilian context.

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absentee ballots Between 1908 and 1941, roughly 190,000 Japanese migrated to Brazil. Most prewar migrants had intended to work for five or possibly up to ten years in Brazil but ended up staying indefinitely. Initially, low wages made return difficult. Later, World War II made travel impossible. Moreover, after the war, the devastated Japanese economy deterred most from returning. In fact, economic conditions spawned another wave of about 70,000 Japanese migrants to Brazil in the 1950s.3 Japanese lawmakers were pressured into instituting absentee ballots for national elections following the enormous increase in the numbers of Japanese businessmen working overseas in the 1980s (Yamaguchi 1994; Kotani 1998). The Association to Realize an Absentee-Ballot System for Japanese Residing Overseas (Kaigai Zaijusha Tohyo Seido no Jitsugen o Mezasu Kai), formed in December 1993 in Los Angeles, spearheaded this movement along with similar groups in New York, Australia, and Thailand. None of these voting-rights groups were formed under the auspices of a long-established Japanese immigrant organization, and no comparable group existed in Brazil, whose community was more numerous than any other. Arguing for the establishment of an absentee-ballot system, Kanai Kitoshi, head of the Japanese Overseas Voters Association in Los Angeles, made the case that the Japanese constitution guaranteed its citizens the right to vote regardless of race, sex, class, and origins.4 The movement did not aim to change the Japanese constitution, he argued. It only sought to push the bureaucracy to make the provisions that would allow Japanese citizens living overseas to realize their right to participate in elections as stipulated under the existing constitution. It was purely a matter of logistics—a matter of instituting an absentee-ballot system. From May of 1999, however, older Japanese immigrants in São Paulo have been registering to vote in far greater numbers than have been temporary Japanese businessmen. Between 17 May and 1 July of that year, out of a total of 1,627 people who applied to register to vote at the consulate in São Paulo, only 297 (18 percent) were under sixty years of age, and they too might have included a significant number of postwar immigrants rather than businessmen.5 By the end of April 2000 the São Paulo consulate had registered 10,000 Japanese nationals to vote. These numbers were significantly higher than in any other city in the world, including Los Angeles and New York where so many Japanese business-

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men have been stationed. At the end of March 2000 the Los Angeles consulate had registered only 1,767, and the New York consulate only 2,543.6 Amino Yataro, the head of the Federation of Japanese Prefectural Associations in Brazil (Burajiru Todofukenjinkai Rengo), suggested why so many Japanese immigrants in Brazil have registered to vote. The Federation that Amino headed represented the old guard of the Japanese community in Brazil. Unlike Kanai in Los Angeles, who embraced a rights discourse about overseas voting, Amino reframed it as an identity issue: ‘‘Both before and after the war, a fairly large number of Japanese moved to Brazil, and it is hard to say now whether they are Japanese or Brazilian. If we look at the color of their passports, clearly they are red [the color Japanese passports generally had been]. They have not naturalized as Brazilians. Since birth, however, they have not participated in an election. What nationality are they [nanijin nan daro ka]? [The voting rights issue] comes from this problem of identity’’ (jica 1984, 34). Amino felt many Japanese in Brazil had suffered from a split-identity complex, and he advocated participation in Japanese elections as a way of providing them with official recognition of their status as full-fledged Japanese. A similar interpretation of the significance of voter registration was common in the news media. The Nikkei Shimbun, one of two daily Japanese language newspapers in São Paulo, quoted eighty-six-year-old Taniguchi Shinji, the first person in Brazil to successfully register, as saying, ‘‘It has been sixty-five years since I came to Brazil. And for a long time, I’ve dreamed of casting a vote in a Japanese election. . . . It would be nice if I could live until next year’s election, but I feel happy today [having registered].’’ 7 For him, and for many of those I interviewed, being able to register to vote was a confirmation that their Japanese identities had remained intact through several decades living in Brazil. It was a statement about something essential and unchanging in their core that was linked to the place called Japan.When I interviewed them, old Japanese immigrants explained rather unproblematically that they had decided to register to vote ‘‘because after all, we are Japanese’’ ( yappari nihonjin dakara). For some Japanese migrants to Brazil, the extension of voting rights to overseas Japanese was a belated yet important gesture on the part of the Japanese government to recognize their full status as Japanese nationals. Two days after Mr. Taniguchi became the first Japanese Brazilian to register to vote at the consulate in São Paulo, an article in the Nikkei Shimbun reflected on his wish, fulfilled at long last, to vote in Japanese elections: ‘‘This is the wish of an immigrant [imin]. Because he is not a throw-away person [kimin] and has finally been recognized as a Japanese national with the right to vote, I would like him to register

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his namewith head held high.’’ 8 The authorof this statement was drawing from a discourse more than fifty years old that charged the Japanese government with having actively promoted emigration to Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s purely as a means of alleviating perceived population pressures and unemployment in Japan. They accused the Japanese government of having abandoned them, rather than having supported and celebrated them as patriotic representatives of a far-flung Japanese empire.9 Not all Japanese immigrants, however, felt the need to proclaim or reclaim their Japanese identities through registering to vote. Among those who registered, some apparently felt that it was obligatory, since voting in Brazilian elections is mandatory for Brazilian citizens who are of age. Also, according to one of the consulate staff involved with voter registration, many elderly immigrants mistakenly thought that registration might affect their eligibility for welfare benefits from the Japanese government. Many more of those eligible to vote have not even bothered to register. The 10,000 who had registered at the São Paulo consulate by the end of April 2000 comprised only 14 percent of the roughly 70,000 Japanese nationals residing in Brazil.10 More may yet register, and others possibly have not done so because they are too sick or frail to go to the consulate, or may live too far in the interior of the country to make the trip to São Paulo.The consulate staff has made a few trips to register people in several smaller cities with concentrations of Japanese, but much of the population is still out of convenient reach. Moreover, some older immigrants have actively objected to the idea of voting in Japanese elections. Many local Japanese associations (nihonjin-kai ) were split on the issue of voter registration. Even while cultivating a Japanese ethnic identity through participation in Japanese association activities, some wanted to distinguish their ethnic Japanese identity from a national identity.11 If you asked them what their nationality was, they would answer simply ‘‘brasileiro’’ or ‘‘nipo-brasileiro,’’ rejecting the term ‘‘japonês,’’ which is used by other Brazilians and which fails to distinguish between Japanese from Japan and Japanese immigrants in Brazil. These immigrants took a position more similar to Japanese to that of Japanese Americans. They had struggled to make their homes in Brazil and wanted to overcome the stereotype of the unassimilable Japanese by identifying more explicitly with Brazil. Many Japanese immigrants began to identify with Brazil more strongly after they began raising families there. They no longer thought of themselves negatively, as Japanese displaced to Brazil, but positively, as having become the ‘‘ancestors of Brazilians’’ (burajiru no senzo ni naru). They considered their children

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to be productive and fully integrated members of Brazilian society, and felt that through their descendants, they had become ancestors of Brazilians (Maeyama 1996, 238–39; Maeyama 1972). Even some who had been Japanese ultranationalists in the 1940s had ended up ardent patriots of Brazil later in their lives and had decided to ‘‘bury their bones’’ (hone o umeru) in Brazil (Maeyama 1996, 239– 40). Some of those who had decided to bury their bones in Brazil may have felt their decision made it difficult for them to register to vote in Japanese elections. I suggest, however, that almost all of those who did register, even those who had done so ‘‘because after all they were Japanese,’’ had an equally strong commitment to Brazil as did those who did not register. In addition, in the Brazilian context, registering to vote in Japanese elections would not immediately have been interpreted by other Brazilians as an indication of their divided loyalties. at the consulate The Japanese consulate is located on Paulista Avenue, in the heart of São Paulo’s new business district. Buildings thirty to forty stories high on both sides of the avenue are the headquarters for the largest international and domestic businesses. Art museums and galleries in building lobbies add to the wealthy cosmopolitan atmosphere. For elderly Japanese immigrants, both the location of voter registration as well as the occasion itself demanded that they dress in their best attire. On several days when I visited the consulate, I found a line of elderly gentlemen in suits and ladies in dresses lined up at the side entrance of the building in which the consulate is located. Elderly Japanese immigrants rarely came to Paulista Avenue, and they were clearly excited, as if they were on an excursion or a field trip with their peers. One Monday in June 1999, members of Japanese associations from the neighborhoods of Itaqueira and Jabaquara had scheduled to visit in groups. In order to avoid having too many people come at the same time, the consulate had set up a schedule whereby residents of each district could come register during different weeks in May, June, or July 1999. Monday mornings generally seemed the busiest time of the week at the consulate. When I arrived at the side entrance of the building that day, about fifteen elderly Japanese stood in line at the security desk to receive visitor passes to enter the building. Others who had completed their registration milled about just outside, waiting for the friends with whom they had come. I took the elevator up to the consulate and found the room for voter registration bustling with activity. Registrants sat squinting at their forms and talking to their friends in the seventy or eighty chairs ar-

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ranged in neat rows facing several long desks behind which sat consulate staff. A couple of the consulate staff guided thevisitors to the back of the room,where they picked up the forms that they would have to fill out, while others helped those who had trouble filling out all of the required information, and finally several staff at the desks in front scrutinized and officially accepted the forms. People who had not brought the required identification to prove their Japanese nationality—a current passport or some other form of documentation—were told what they needed and asked to come back. Their documents would be sent to their home districts in Japan, where their identities could be verified. Although registration would not be complete until verified in Japan, many applicants felt an exhilarating sense of fulfillment after submitting their documents and filling out the necessary forms. I approached them as they walked away from the front desk and requested a few minutes for an interview. Some who had come in groups felt uncomfortable speaking on their own and wanted to get back to their friends. But others were eager to talk about themselves and their experiences. For Mrs. Iwase, a woman in her mid-sixties, registering to vote took on a very particular significance. She admitted that she knew much more about Brazilian than Japanese politics and in fact held such strong opinions about Brazilian politics that her daughter had been provoked into asking her why she did not take Brazilian citizenship and vote in Brazilian elections. She wouldn’t take that step, however. She caught her breath, momentarily speechless, and then related that when her family had emigrated from Kobe almost fifty years before, her elder sister was ill and hadn’t passed the physical exam.12 They left her sister in the care of relatives in Japan with the intention of eventually reuniting, but then the war broke out, and she has lived apart from the rest of her immediate family ever since. Mrs. Iwase has visited her sister in Japan several times over the years, but she felt that abandoning Japanese citizenship in favor of Brazilian would signify another abandonment of her sister, and this she could not bring herself to do. Mrs. Iwase paused again, looked down, visibly emotional. Her husband put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her. She had said enough, and they excused themselves. Registering to vote at the Japanese consulate was for her a means of confirming her commitment to her sister. Mr. Takeda, a man in his mid-sixties, was one of those who, in reply to my question about why he had wanted to register to vote, had quickly replied, ‘‘Because I’m Japanese,’’ as if such an answer were self-evident. He taught Japanese language privately to the second- and third-generation Japanese Brazilian children in the town where he lived. He was one of the dwindling number

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of first-generation immigrants in his town and took pride in the accomplishments of his generation in the field of agriculture.The Japanese had introduced and produced many types of vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes and persimmons and certain types of cabbage that Brazilians today take for granted. I met him two years later working in Japan for a car-parts maker near the city of Toyota where he served as an interpreter and quality-control inspector. He had gone to Japan because he could not make enough in Brazil to pay the college expenses for his three children. He confided that people at his factory did not treat him as he had expected. Although he spoke Japanese fluently, he was treated like a foreigner ( gaijin atsukai sareta)—no differently than the secondand third-generation Japanese Brazilians for whom he acted as interpreter. He was committed to working for at least two or three more years until his children had all graduated and established careers for themselves in Brazil, but he seemed more convinced than ever that his long-term future was in Brazil rather than Japan. For the Horiguchis, a husband and wife couple in their late fifties, registration signified two somewhat different things. The husband had immigrated to Brazil in 1958 when he was just eighteen years old. Cotia, the huge Japanese Brazilian agricultural cooperative, had arranged to bring young, single Japanese men to work on Brazilian farms, and Mr. Horiguchi had come as a Cotia immigrant youth (Cotia tandoku seinen imin). The wife had come as a small child with the rest of her immediate family. Mrs. Horiguchi wanted to vote because she felt like a foreigner in Brazil, yet didn’t feel like a full-fledged (ichininmae) Japanese either. She felt half baked (chuto hampa) and thought that taking advantage of voting rights would make her feel fully Japanese. Mr. Horiguchi claimed to have come to registration primarily to accompany his wife. He did not feel it necessary to register in order to realize his identity as Japanese. It may be significant that while his wife had never been back to Japan, he had been back twice. Many of those who had traveled back to Japan after several decades in Brazil expressed ambivalent feelings about their experience of return. Specifically, when I asked Mr. Horiguchi and several others about their trips to Japan, they replied that they had felt like Urashima Taro, the protagonist of a Rip-Van-Winkle–like Japanese folktale that almost all Japanese learn as children. In identifying with Urashima Taro, they pointed to their surprise at the extent to which Japan had changed in the years that they had been away. But their reference to Urashima Taro had other layers of significance that I came to understand some time after my interviews. Before exploring those layers, however, I must describe this folktale in more detail.

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urashima taro Versions of the Urashima Taro story appear in the Kojiki and the Nihongi, mythohistorical records from the eighth century, and oral versions were widely distributed throughout Japan long before becoming canonized in Japanese children’s books (Fukuta 1999, 188). As told in one modern children’s book version, Urashima Taro was a fisherman who lived alone with his aged mother by the ocean. One day he saved a sea turtle that was being teased by several boys on the beach. Later when he was fishing, the same turtle approached Taro’s boat and invited him to come to the Kingdom of Ryugu at the bottom of the sea. The princess of Ryugu received him in her palace, feasted him, and dressed him in kimono. The days turned to months, and months to years without Urashima Taro noticing. Eventually, however, he dreamt of his mother and decided he should return home. Reluctantly, the princess agreed that he should go, and as a parting gift, she gave him a beautifully decorated box, which she warned him not to open. When Urashima Taro finally reached the shores of his village, he could not recognize the landscape of houses and trees, nor anyone he met. He asked an old man if he knew the Urashima family. The old man recalled that when he was a child he had heard a legend about an Urashima who had gone to the Kingdom of Ryugu and never returned. His mother had waited and waited for him, and eventually passed away. Lost in reverie, Urashima Taro opened the box the princess had given him. Out of the box emanated white smoke that enveloped him, transforming him into a wrinkled and white bearded old man. (Tanaka Hiroshi 1993) The tale of Urashima Taro obviously shares with Rip Van Winkle the motif of ‘‘years thought days,’’ although on a longer timescale and with more severe consequences. In the version written down by Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle slept in the enchanted Catskill Mountains for just twenty years (Irving 1992 [1905]). He returns home to find that his little daughter had married and become a mother. His own wife, who had always complained so bitterly about his carefree ways, had since died, and he finds that old age suits him much better than youth, for he can loaf about at the pub and tell stories about times past without having to justify how he spent the day. While Rip Van Winkle’s inability to meet his obligations to his wife are the source of comedy, Urashima Taro’s unmet obligations to his mother are the

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source of tragedy.The filial bond is especially explicit in one version of the story in which he pays a visit to his mother’s grave after opening the box he received from the princess. In this version, the box contains a crane’s feather and a mirror as well as white smoke. Urashima Taro looks into the mirror and sees to his surprise that he has turned into an old man. The crane’s feather attaches to his back, and he then flies up into the sky and circles over his mother’s grave (Seki 1963, 111–4). Incremental changes that might normally go unnoticed within a given geographical and social context reveal themselves as startling transformations for those who leave and later return. Limited communications may lead migrants to imagine their homelands just as they were when they left them, leading to frequently shattered expectations on their return. Urashima Taro likewise returns home after several generations—in some versions 300 years—in the Kingdom of Ryugu under the sea and is shocked by the changes to his village upon return. Mr. Horiguchi and others referred to themselves as UrashimaTaro to express their surprise at how Japan had transformed. To some extent, the homeland they had returned to was no longer recognizable to them, and their reference to Urashima Taro indicated a degree of disidentification with the new postwar Japan. Especially for those who had immigrated to Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s, traveling back to Japan for the first time in the 1970s made the discontinuities in their lives excruciatingly explicit. Many cities had to be rebuilt from scratch after being destroyed in firebombs during World War II. A whole generation of young men, the companions of prewar immigrants, had died during the war. In addition to the transformation of urban centers, the villages from which many had emigrated had changed beyond recognition—rice paddies having disappeared as new houses were built and roads were paved and widened.13 In addition to other factors, such an experience of return could have played a part in some Japanese immigrants’ resolve to ‘‘bury their bones’’ in Brazil and become ancestors of Brazilians. Mr. Horiguchi’s experience of return was not one of complete disidentification. There were many things he could recognize and identify with, but he was also disturbed by the direction of change. When I asked him in what way he had felt like Urashima Taro, he replied, ‘‘In my case, I had come from a farming village. There were some changes in the environment, some houses had been built, opened up. . . . Friends, they hadn’t changed that much. People who had gone to elementary and junior high with me, my cohort, they looked after me. . . . Here in Brazil I use standard Japanese, but with friends in Japan, there are dialects, from region to region there are dialects, we soon switch into that

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[laughs]. . . . As for young people’s feelings, however, I just don’t understand them [laughs].’’ For the husband, return involved a degree both of alienation and identification. He felt distant from the younger generation. At the same time, he felt continuity in the friends who had survived from his school days and felt at home using the regional dialect of Fukushima Prefecture in the northeastern part of Japan. He identified with this dialect, which he did not have much opportunity to use in Brazil, where he mingled with immigrants from many different regions of Japan and had to use a more standard form of Japanese. As with Mrs. Iwase, who identified with her sister, Mr. Horiguchi identified with things that were local and particular (his regional dialect and old schoolmates), rather than with the Japanese nation per se. Although his wife, Mrs. Horiguchi, and Mr. Takeda interpreted their acts of voter registration in terms of identity, for Mrs. Horiguchi it was to shore up an identity which she felt was only partially, rather than fully, Japanese; and for Mr. Takeda, who at one level had considered himself fully Japanese, his later experience of return to Japan led him to express a certain ambivalence. ambiguating practices While voter registration after decades in Brazil on the surface appeared to reinforce the stereotype of the unassimilable Japanese migrant, many individuals came to the consulate with a variety of particular identifications underlying their decisions to register to vote. In addition, the references several of them had made to the tale of Urashima Taro contained a double meaning. By associating themselves with the protagonist of one of the most widely known Japanese folktales, those elderly immigrants were at one level identifying with things Japanese. The content of the story, however, signals disidentification with homeland.UrashimaTaro is at once a storyof disidentification with homeland, and a very Japanese story. The double meanings embedded within the reference to Urashima Taro exemplifies Bahktin’s understanding of hybrid constructions: ‘‘It frequently happens that even one and the same word will belong simultaneously to two languages, two belief systems that intersect in a hybrid construction—and consequently, the word had two contradictory meanings, two accents’’(Bakhtin, quoted in Young 1995, 20–21). The story of Urashima Taro allows Japanese immigrants to acknowledge their distance from Japan and at the same time identify with it. Some Japanese immigrants, such as Mrs. Horiguchi, may at times have felt conflicted about

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their identities, but I resist casting the condition of most Japanese immigrants as a ‘‘problem of identity’’ that could only be resolved through the act of voter registration, as have Amino Yataro and other leaders of the Japanese Brazilian community. Rather than pathologizing the condition of Japanese Brazilians, it may be useful to consider the positive aspects of their multiple identifications. References to Urashima Taro indicate that identity was not ‘‘resolved,’’ but rather that the act of voter registration itself may have represented an ambiguous form of identification, in which they were declaring themselves model Brazilians precisely through their identification with Japan. How could this be so? In Brazil, Japanese immigrants and their descendants are commonly thought of as the one group that has resisted mestiçagem (racial and cultural mixing). Mestiçagem is a cornerstone of Brazilian ideology that celebrates the creation of a unique Brazilian race and culture through the gradual incorporation and assimilation of immigrant groups. The voter-registration movement feeds into these assumptions about the unassimilable Japanese who have retained their cultural and racial identities. Are they Brazilian? Are they Japanese? The status of Japanese and Japanese Brazilian identity obsesses both the popular media and academic writing. The double meanings of their references to Urashima Taro invite consideration of the very actions and narratives involved in registering to vote as ambiguating practices. Referring to the first several decades of the twentieth century, Jeffrey Lesser makes the acute observation that while many scholars have taken mestiçagem to mean the emergence of a new and uniform Brazilian ‘‘race’’ out of the mixing of peoples, ‘‘[it was in fact] . . . often understood as a joining (rather than mixing) of different identities, as the creation of a multiplicity of hyphenated Brazilians rather than a single, uniform one’’ (Lesser 1999, 5). Lesser argues that an early form of multiculturalism existed in the first half of the twentieth century and that Japaneseness was not seen by Brazilian bureaucrats and cultural commentators as a trait that necessarily had to be eliminated in Japanese immigrants. In many discussions about how to shape the future of Brazil, Japan was often viewed as a model to emulate. Japanese immigrant groups could be perceived by other Brazilians as being exemplary Brazilians precisely because they possessed cultural traits that were seen as being both characteristic of the Japanese and desirable for Brazil. In some sense, the Japanese were a model minority, but in a sense different from that of the Japanese in the United States. In the United States, Asian Americans became a model for other minorities to

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emulate, and as some scholars have pointed out, this concept of model minority developed as a conservative response to the civil-rights movement—as a means of putting African Americans in their place by suggesting that hard work and a positive attitude, rather than civil discord and obstreperous demands, were the means to betterment. In Brazil, the Japanese were a model not for other minorities but for Brazilian society in general. In contemporary Brazil, wracked by economic and social problems, Japan continues to symbolize the society Brazil may one day attain. Few immigrants at the consulate, when I asked them about their feelings about Japan and Brazil, failed to remark on the high level of violence in Brazil. Newspapers of the ethnic Japanese community in Brazil, as well as those of the Japanese Brazilian community in Japan, frequently carried stories about murders, assaults, robberies, economic instability, and political corruption in Brazil. Yet such criticisms were not those of disinterested foreigners but rather those of concerned residents. They made such criticisms because they were invested in Brazil. Likewise, their insistence on the tranquility and stability of life in Japan made the same point—that Brazil could improve itself to resemble Japan more. One old immigrant commented on the differences in daily life: ‘‘First of all, in Brazil, the walls of houses are made so you can’t see inside. High walls. In Japan, they don’t have them, right? The walls are low, and on the tops, sneakers and such are left out to dry. And bicycles are left out leaning against them. I worried that they would be stolen. I was impressed by how secure and safe things were there.’’ In their positive evaluations of Japan, Japanese Brazilians did not wash their hands of all things Brazilian. In registering to vote in Japanese elections they critiqued Brazil, but without renouncing it. For Brazilians not of Japanese ancestry, voter registration may have appeared to imply such a renunciation, but it would also have prompted them to think about what was wrong with Brazil, not what was wrong with the Japanese immigrants. Understanding how Japan was widely held up as a model of a possible Brazilian future helps us interpret voter registration as something more complex than a declaration of Japanese identity. Instead, it is a contribution to a productive discourse that provokes reform in Brazil. No doubt, many at the consulate seemed nostalgic for a peaceful and stable Japan, free of modern Brazilian social ills. Yet their nostalgia entailed an active engagement with the local rather than their removal from it. As Debbora Battaglia writes in relation to Trobriand residents in Port Morsbey, New Guinea, ‘‘practitioners of nostalgia, ‘lapsing’ into it, may thereby come to realize a pro-

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ductive capacity’’ (1995, 93). Japanese immigrants’ embrace of Japan can thus be interpreted as a form of ‘‘practical nostalgia’’ through which they register their discontent with what appeared to them to be the Brazilian status quo of corruption, violence, economic instability, and extreme disparities in wealth. The identification with Japan expressed in voter registration should not be interpreted as something peculiar to the first generation of Japanese migrants to Brazil. Although registration was restricted to those who still held Japanese citizenship, thus excluding most later generations of Japanese Brazilians, these later generations could express their identification in various other forums. Just as first-generation migrants could be model Brazilians precisely by acting Japanese, second- and third-generation Japanese Brazilians have started acting more Japanese too, at least symbolically, as they have helped organize and construct increasing numbers of Japanese-culture museums and festivals, sporting events, and volunteer groups throughout the states of São Paulo and Paraná where most of the Japanese Brazilian population is concentrated. Until the sometimes bitter experiences of the ‘‘return’’ migration of latergeneration Japanese Brazilians to work in Japan since the late 1980s (see Roth 2002; Linger 2001), it was, ironically, first-generation Japanese migrants to Brazil who probably had a more ambivalent attitude toward Japan than did the later generations.The issei were the ones who had traveled back to Japan and experienced the shock of returning to their homeland to find it a changed place— what we might call the Urashima Taro effect. Japanese Brazilians defy the assumption of gradual assimilation with passing generations. The ‘‘identity’’ of those who registered to vote was not just ‘‘Japanese.’’ Elderly Japanese immigrants’ reference to themselves as Urashima Taros indicates that they could both identify and disidentify with Japan practically in the same breath. Observers may not have picked up on the internal complexity of those who registered to vote. Nonetheless, in the Brazilian context, such a declaration of Japanese identity could be interpreted as an engagement in local issues rather than a renunciation of them. notes 1 Mexican immigrants in the United States, who have recently gained the right to vote in Mexican national elections, do not thereby disengage themselves from politics in the United States. They may, for instance, help elect a Mexican government that can pressure the U.S. government to develop policies more favorable toward Mexican migrants.

Ambiguating Practices • 117 2 Block (1989) discusses how cognition is based on two fundamental processes: individual interactions with the environment and ideology produced through ritual. These forms of cognition can exist simultaneously, although ideology often attempts to subvert cognition based on individual experience. 3 For overviews of the history of Japanese immigrants and their descendants in Brazil, consult Saito 1961; Maeyama 1972, 1982, 1996, 1997; Hosokawa 1995; and Lesser 1999. For literary accounts of this history, see Ishikawa 1997 [1939], and in English, Yamashita 1992. 4 Speech made at the Conference for Overseas Japanese in Tokyo, 1994. 5 Consulate of Japan, São Paulo, Zaigai senkyo jinmeibo toroku shinseijin nenrei (1999). 6 Information provided by the Japanese consulate in New York. 7 Nikkei Shimbun, 4 May 1999, p. 6. 8 Nikkei Shimbun, 5 May 1999. 9 Maeyama Takashi notes the 1920s discourse centering on whether immigrants (imin) were treated more as kimin (thrown away people), but leaves open the question of whether or not the government actually used emigration in a calculated fashion to relieve population pressures (1982, 54–57). 10 In 1989 the Japanese Brazilians were reported to number more than 1,200,000 (Centro de Estudos 1990, 16; Fujisaki 1991, 45), although Japanese government sources from 1986 estimated the number of overseas Japanese for all of Latin America to be just over 630,000 (the vast majority in Brazil) (Tanaka 1993, 204–5). In any case, however, the numbers of Japanese nationals is far less and declining every year as the generation of older immigrants gives way to younger generations who do not hold Japanese citizenship. In 1978 there were 124,366 Japanese nationals with permanent residency in Brazil (jica 1984, 72). In 1993 this number had declined to 91,060 (Tanaka 1995, 204–5), and today it is roughly 70,000 and continues to decline. 11 See Lesser 1999 for a detailed look at the variety of ways in which Japanese and Arab immigrants in Brazil negotiated their national and ethnic identities. 12 In his novel Sobo (1939), which won the first prestigious Akutagawa literary prize in Japan, Ishikawa Tatsuzo describes in marvelous detail how one group of migrants in the early 1930s experienced the Kobe emigration center and its medical exams. 13 In Okamura Jun’s fascinating video documentary (Kokkyo wa yume no naka de: Burajiru ni wattata Urashima Taro, n.d.) an aged migrant narrates his entire life history, not just his experience of return, through an elaboration of the Urashima Taro story.

references Bahktin, M. M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Translated by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.

118 • Joshua Hotaka Roth Battaglia, Debbora. 1995. Rhetorics of Self-Making. Berkeley: Universityof California Press. Bloch, Maurice. 1989 [1985]. From Cognition to Ideology. In Ritual, History, and Power: Selected Papers in Anthropology, edited by Maurice Bloch. London: Athlone Press. Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros. 1990. Pesquisa da População de Descendentes de Japonêses Residentes no Brasil. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Nipo-Brasileiros. Consulate of Japan, São Paulo. 1999. Zaigai senkyo jinmeibo toroku shinseijin nenrei. Fujisaki, Y. 1991. Dekasegi nikkei gaikokujin roudousha [Nikkeijin migrant workers]. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. Fukuta, Ajio, ed. 1999. Nihon Minzoku Daijiten: Jō [Encyclopedia of Japanese Folklore]. Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan. Hosokawa, Shuuhei. 1995. Samba no kuni ni enka ga nagareru [The sounds of enka in the country of samba]. Tokyo: Chuo Koron-sha. Ishikawa, Tatsuzo. 1997 [1939]. Sobo. Tokyo: Shincho Bunko. jica. 1984. Kaigai e no michi: Nihonjin no kaigai hatten [The road overseas: Japanese citizen’s contributions to overseas development]. Keihatsu document no. 1087. Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency. Kotani, Atsushi. 1998. Zaigai Senkyoho ni tsuite. Senkyo 51, no. 7: 5–21. Lesser, Jeffrey. 1999. Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Linger, Daniel Touro. 2001. No One Home: Brazilian Selves Remade in Japan. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Maeyama, Takashi. 1972. Ancestor, Emperor, and Immigrant: Religious and Group Identification of the Japanese in Rural Brazil (1908–50). Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 14, no. 2: 151–82. Maeyama, Takashi. 1982. Imin no nihon kaiki undou [Return to Japan movement]. Tokyo: Nihon housou shuppan kyoukai. . 1996 [1982]. Aidenteitei to tekiou sutoratejii: Sono rekishiteki hensen [Identity and adaptation strategy: Their historical transformations]. In Esunishitei to burajiru nikkei-jin: bunka jinruigaku teki kenkyuu [Ethnicity and Japanese-Brazilians: Cultural anthropological research]. Tokyo: Ochanomizu Shobou. . 1997. Iho ni ‘‘nihon’’ o matsuru [Worshiping ‘‘Japan’’ from afar]. Tokyo: Ochanomizu Shobou. Roth, Joshua Hotaka. 2002. Brokered Homeland: Japanese Brazilian Migrants in Japan. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Saito, Hiroshi. 1961. O Japonês no Brasil: Estudo de Mobilidade e Fixação. São Paulo: Editôra Sociologia e Política. Seki, Keigo, ed. 1963. Folktales of Japan. Translated by Robert J. Adams. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tanaka, Hiroshi. 1991. Zainichi gaikokujin [Foreigners in Japan]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. . 1993. Urashima and the Kingdom beneath the Sea. Tokyo: Kodansha International.

Ambiguating Practices • 119 Wong, Sau-ling C. 1995. Denationalization Reconsidered: Asian American Cultural Criticism at a Theoretical Crossroads. Amerasia Journal 21, nos. 1 and 2: 1–28. Yamaguchi, Tateyoshi. 1994. Zaigai Senkyo Seido ni tsuite. Senkyo Jiho 43, no. 3: 20–36. Yamashita, Karen. 1992. Brazil Maru: A Novel. Minneapolis, Minn.: Coffee House Press. Young, Robert C. 1995. Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture, and Race. London: Routledge.

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Homeland-less Abroad: Transnational Liminality, Social Alienation, and Personal Malaise •••

The recent interest in transnational processes in anthropology and sociology has led some critics of the approach to openly wonder what is so new about transnationalism (see Foner 1997; Mintz 1998). Of course, the constant movement of peoples, commodities, capital, and information across national borders as well as the development of transnational communities has been occurring for centuries (Glick Schiller et al. 1995; Foner 1997; Mintz 1998; Portes and Rumbaut 1996). Undoubtedly, transnational communities have been fundamentally reconfigured by the advent of better communications and transportation technologies, which have increased the speed, efficiency, and volume of transnational flows across national borders (Foner 1997, 362). Although this does make current transnational communities appear different from past ones (Mintz 1998, 124), the difference is mainly a matter of degree and not of kind. Instead, what is new about the transnational perspective is its emphasis on the subversive, counterhegemonic, and transgressive nature of such crossborder processes (see Appadurai 1996; Basch et al. 1994, 290; Glick Schiller and Fouron 1990; Guarnizo 1997; Kearney 1991; Portes and Rumbaut 1996). For instance, Aihwa Ong (1999) argues that the practice of flexible citizenship on a transnational scale in which individuals obtain political rights and residence in multiple countries is a personally advantageous adaptation to the vicissitudes of global capitalism and shifting international political conditions. Likewise, Roger Rouse (1991, 13–14) describes the emergence of ‘‘transnational circuits’’ of migrants who organize their activities not around singular national identities but within a new ‘‘postmodern social space’’ of transnational communities spread across a variety of sites, enabling them to effectively respond to

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changing economic constraints and limited opportunities in various locales by constantly circulating between these places. Because the emergence of transnational studies seems to be connected to the desire for an emancipatory politics, the liberating potential of transnationalism is celebrated even if the transmigrants themselves do not have any political motives or conscious intentions to resist their subordination (Guarnizo and Smith 1998, 5). Perhaps this emphasis on the empowering and positive effects of transnational mobility has been taken too far or is somewhat misplaced since transnational dislocation can also produce disorienting experiences of social unrootedness and ungroundedness resulting in a loss of a firm sense of place (Portes and Rumbaut 1996, 158–59; Stonequist 1937). By its very nature, transnational displacement can produce conditions of liminality and social alienation among migrants, who are geographically separated from their country of origin but remain socially marginalized in the host society. Such liminal social detachment can be highly problematic, ultimately producing a disorienting state of ‘‘homeland-lessness’’ abroad, where neither the sending or receiving country serves any longer as a stable source of social belonging. Such problematics of transnational mobility are apparent in the return migration of the Japanese Brazilians to Japan as unskilled factory workers and in the personal problems and difficulties they confront in their ‘‘ethnic homeland.’’ Contrary to Lisa Malkki’s assertion (1992, 33–34), an analysis of the negative aspects of transnationalism is not an attempt to pathologize migratory displacement and locate its problems solely in the minds of individuals instead of in the larger sociopolitical conditions that cause physical dislocation and deterritorialization. Territorial rootedness and confinement is not the only natural state of psychological health for individuals, and many of those who are uprooted and deterritorialized do not have any negative experiences or suffer from psychological difficulties. In addition, dispersed transnational migrant communities themselves can provide the social support needed for individuals to overcome such personal difficulties. However, it is also true that transnational migration is not always a liberating, empowering, and emancipatory experience. The Japanese Brazilians began ‘‘return migrating’’ to Japan in the late 1980s because of a severe Brazilian economic crisis coupled with a crippling shortage of unskilled labor in Japan. Most Japanese Brazilians work as temporary migrant laborers in factories of small and medium-sized Japanese companies in the manufacturing sector. Although they are relatively well-educated and mostly of middle-class status in Brazil, they still earn five to ten times their

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Brazilian salaries in Japan as factory workers. An open Japanese immigration policy toward the Nikkeijin and well-established transnational labor recruitment networks between Japan and Brazil have also contributed to the migrant flow (see Tsuda 1999a). Currently estimated at over 280,000, the Brazilian Nikkeijin have become the second-largest population of foreigners in Japan after the Chinese, and their numbers continue to increase at a steady pace despite the prolonged Japanese recession.1 A vast majority of them are of the second and third generations who were born and raised in Brazil, do not speak Japanese very well, and have become culturally Brazilianized to various degrees. Because of narrow definitions of what constitutes being Japanese, they are ethnically rejected and treated as foreigners in Japan despite their Japanese descent, and thus have become the country’s newest ethnic minority. Therefore, although the Japanese Brazilians are return migrating to their ethnic homeland of Japan, it does not feel like a true homeland, because their sense of affiliation to their country of ethnic and ancestral origin is quickly overshadowed by the disorientation and personal distress caused by their social alienation. ‘‘return migration’’ and social alienation Although the concept of alienation has been abstracted from its original Marxist and Durkheimian sense and has taken on a multitude of diffuse meanings (see Geyer and Heinz 1992), it originally referred to a subjective individual feeling of estrangement or detachment from an object, which is produced by certain sociocultural conditions. For Emile Durkheim, society was the object from which individuals could feel alienated and detached because of anomic social conditions. According to Karl Marx, individual workers under capitalist economic conditions are alienated and estranged from their own labor and its products, which are experienced as alien, external, and hostile forces that ultimately dominate them by enabling the accumulation of private property and the empowerment of capitalist forces. One of the most difficult experiences for the Brazilian Nikkeijin as transnational migrants is the social alienation they experience in Japanese society as an ethnically segregated, immigrant minority. The Japanese Brazilians feel socially separated and estranged from the Japanese even though they work in the same factories and live in the same towns and apartment buildings, and interaction between the two groups is minimal in most cases. At the factory where I conducted participant observation (which I will refer to as Toyama), the Nikkeijin and Japanese workers always remained apart during break and

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lunch hours, sitting in separate rooms or at different tables and conversing only among themselves. Sometimes if a group of Japanese Brazilians were sitting at a certain table during break, the Japanese would avoid that table (even if there was room), complaining that the Nikkeijin were ‘‘taking over’’ their break areas. Interethnic interaction was limited at most to brief smiles or greetings in the morning and short exchanges of a few words or simple questions. Although the Japanese Brazilians work together with the Japanese on the factory assembly lines, general conversation between the two groups was kept to a bare minimum and was usually limited to work instructions. A number of times, I witnessed Brazilian Nikkeijin and Japanese workers performing the same task together on the same machines for hours without exchanging even a single word. Outside the workplace, the social alienation of the Japanese Brazilians and their lack of interaction with the Japanese is also quite notable. Only a few have sustained social relationships with their Japanese co-workers outside the factory. Although some Japanese companies invite their Nikkeijin workers to company parties and outings, most of my Japanese and Japanese Brazilian informants reported that socializing outside such formally organized occasions was very rare. Few of the Brazilian Nikkeijin have contact with their Japanese neighbors or participate in local community activities.2 Even though they do not live in geographically segregated immigrant enclaves, there is a certain amount of residential segregation—a good number of Japanese Brazilians live in apartments where a notable proportion of the residents are other Nikkeijin.3 As a result, what interaction the Brazilian Nikkeijin do have with the Japanese outside the factory is generally limited to clerks and workers at local stores, banks, and municipal offices. According to a recent research survey, 44.3 percent of the Japanese Brazilians report that they have almost no social contact with the Japanese and 15.8 percent have only minimal contact. Only 14.5 percent have active relationships with the Japanese (Kitagawa 1996). In fact, the only Japanese Brazilians who seem to have sustained daily contact with Japanese are those who work as bilingual liaisons in local government offices or in Japanese companies and broker firms that employ Nikkeijin workers. Of course, there are always rare Japanese individuals who make efforts to surmount linguistic and ethnic barriers and actively talk with the Japanese Brazilians at work, invite them to dinner at home, and occasionally go out with them in the evenings. In fact, one of my Japanese informants had even learned some Portuguese and spent more time socializing with the Nikkeijin than with his Japanese friends. I also met a few Japanese who participated as volunteers

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in the Japanese Brazilian ethnic community, claiming that they preferred to spend time with the Nikkeijin because they felt more comfortable and less socially inhibited with them than with other Japanese. Despite these exceptions, most Brazilian Nikkeijin feel quite alienated and detached from the Japanese, and very few felt they were socially accepted. The experiences of social alienation among the Japanese Brazilians caused by their transnational migration to Japan can be better understood by an examination of the nature and causes of their social marginalization and isolation.4 The Japanese Brazilians are ethnically rejected as foreigners by the Japanese because of exclusionary notions of Japanese ethnonational identity, which are restrictively defined by both racial descent and culture. As a result, despite their Japanese descent, the Brazilian Nikkeijin are marginalized ethnically and socially because of their cultural differences (see also Mori 1992, 163).5 Most Japanese I interviewed did not recognize any significant ‘‘Japanese’’ cultural characteristics among the Brazilian Nikkeijin. In fact, the Japanese Brazilians are constantly called gaijin (foreigners) by the Japanese when they are being referred to collectively or impersonally and when being introduced to others. Since a majority of the Brazilian Nikkeijin cannot speak Japanese effectively, language is obviously a significant cultural barrier. Social separation, however, is also a reflection of Japanese group dynamics, where any means of social differentiation seems to produce mutually exclusive social groups constituted according to insider/outsider distinctions. Of course, this is not a matter simply of exclusionary group dynamics based on ‘‘us’’ versus ‘‘them’’ distinctions. It is quite evident that the avoidance behavior of the Japanese is sometimes motivated by latent ethnic prejudice toward the Nikkeijin, which is based on both negative preconceptions of their migration legacy and social status and unfavorable opinions of their ‘‘Brazilian’’ cultural behavior (see Tsuda 1998b). Likewise, some Japanese Brazilians claim that their Japanese relatives look down on them or are ashamed to meet them because they are believed to have returned to Japan as impoverished migrants despite the fact that their parents or grandparents ‘‘abandoned’’ Japan decades ago with intentions to succeed economically in Brazil (Ishi 1992, 70; Ishi 1994, 39). The Brazilian Nikkeijin also respond to their ethnic rejection by actively withdrawing into their own social groups and isolating themselves in acts of ethnic self-segregation, thus contributing to their own social alienation. In this manner, most of the Nikkeijin do not actively seek out relationships with the Japanese, mainly because the Japanese do not seek out relationships with them, thus exacerbating the social distance between the two ethnic groups. In

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addition to such self-imposed ethnic pressures, the temporary sojourner mentality of the Japanese Brazilians also causes them to socially isolate themselves in Japan. Although the Japanese Brazilians are beginning to settle long-term or permanently in Japan (see Tsuda 1999b), many continue to view themselves strictly as sojourners who intend to return to Brazil in a few years, after accumulating sufficient savings. This leaves them little incentive to make efforts to integrate themselves into Japanese society and establish long-term, meaningful relationships with the Japanese. However, despite their self-perceived temporary status, the Brazilian Nikkeijin have already created very extensive and self-contained immigrant communities in various parts of Japan (such as in Oizumi’s Brazilian Town in Gunma Prefecture, as well as in Hamamatsu and Toyohashi cities in Aichi Prefecture), which are supported by a vast array of Brazilian restaurants, food stores, discos, barbers, entertainment centers, clothing stores, and Nikkeijin churches. Large labor-brokers are especially active in such communities, providing extensive employment, housing, transportation, and other social services mainly in Portuguese. Nikkeijin assistance centers offer everything from information and translation to counseling services, and local government offices have bilingual Nikkeijin liaisons who take care of alien registration and other administrative needs. Therefore, although the Nikkeijin remain only a small part of the local population and are residentially scattered among the Japanese, such cohesive immigrant communities enable them to conduct their lives exclusively within their own extensive social and institutional networks, causing them to ethnically segregate themselves in Japanese society. liminality and communitas In this regard, transnational migration and dislocation can be a socially alienating experience for individuals for two reasons. By its very nature, migration is a socially disruptive process that separates migrants from the society in which they have resided. Of course, there are many ways for migrants to maintain a sense of psychological attachment and transnational engagement in their country of origin, such as remaining ‘‘in touch’’ with acquaintances and events back home (especially with the progress in global communications and media networks). However, because the pure geographical distance (especially in the case of the Japanese Brazilians) and physical absence make close and immediate contact with their home country difficult, most experience their physical dislocation and separation as profoundly alienating. As a result, many Japanese

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Brazilians develop very strong feelings of saudade (homesickness and longing) toward Brazil in Japan. ‘‘Eu me sinto muito saudade do Brasil ’’ (I feel a lot of longing/homesickness toward Brazil) is a sentiment commonly heard among Nikkeijin return migrants, reflecting their sentiments of loss and alienation from their home country. In fact, 60 percent of them cite saudade as the biggest social problem they experience in Japan (see Kitagawa 1997). In addition, migrants are also frequently socially marginalized and segregated in the host country as ethnically different immigrant minorities. In this manner, they tend to experience a type of double social alienation—although their ties to their home country have been severed or attenuated by the physical dislocations of migration, they are unable to develop attachments to the host society because of their socioeconomic marginalization and isolation. Using Victor Turner’s terminology (1969; 1974), transnational migrants are in a state of liminality as marginal beings who are ‘‘betwixt and between’’ two societies without truly being part of either (van Gennep 1960).6 The liminal social alienation of Japanese Brazilian return migrants from both Brazilian and Japanese society is demonstrated by the relative lack of hierarchical social differentiation among them in Japan. As Turner observes, liminal periods are characterized by ‘‘society as an unstructured or rudimentarily structured and relatively undifferentiated comitatus [or communitas] . . . of equal individuals’’ (1969, 96). In contrast to ordinary, nonliminal social periods when individuals are part of a hierarchical social structure, transnational migrants frequently find themselves in a comparatively unstructured and egalitarian state. This liminal state of relatively undifferentiated social equality is especially notable among transnational migrants who come from a variety of different socioeconomic backgrounds in their home country. Although a majority of the Japanese Brazilians can be broadly classified in Brazil as middle class, considerable differences still exist among them both in terms of occupational level and economic wealth. While many of them are white-collar office workers or professionals, their occupations range from factory workers, farmers, and small business owners to doctors, lawyers, and engineers. There are wide differences in their salary levels, ranging from under $400 a month (26.4 percent) to more than $1,600 a month (21.4 percent) with the others distributed widely in between (São Paulo Humanities Research Center 1987–1988). Despite their relatively high level of education as a group, there remains notable variation in educational background, with the major division being between those who are university educated and those who are not. However, when Japanese Brazil-

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ians return migrate to Japan and are separated from Brazilian society, such social distinctions and differences in occupation, wealth, and education are suspended. In addition, a vast majority of the Brazilian Nikkeijin migrants are employed as unskilled factory workers of equally low occupational status in Japan. As Turner notes (1969, 97, 125), individuals who enter a liminal state frequently experience a decline in social status to the lowest rungs of society, causing previous status distinctions to recede. In fact, less than 1 percent of the Brazilians who are registered as foreigners in Japan have come with visas designated for educational or professional activities. Surveys also indicate that only 3.5 to 7 percent of them are employed as office workers in Japan (jica 1992; Kitagawa 1992). Those who have become business owners are also very limited in number. In the factories, all of the Nikkeijin perform similar types of unskilled or low-skilled manual labor with little differentiation in skill or salary level.7 The lack of social differentiation among them is symbolized by the identical uniforms they wear at work, which do not indicate any differences in social rank or status.8 Japanese employers also house the Nikkeijin in very similar apartments in terms of size and quality.9 In this manner, few overt differences in social status, occupational type and rank, income, and living standards remain among them in Japan. Indeed, even gender differences and inequalities are somewhat reduced since both men and women do very similar jobs in the same factories and wear identical uniforms, although women earned lower wages overall.10 Within the household, previous hierarchical status differences become less prominent as both husband and wife become wage earners, leading to more egalitarian patterns of household decision-making, authority, and distribution of duties and chores (Grasmuck and Pessar 1991, 93–94, 148–56).11 A few of my female Nikkeijin informants who were exclusively housewives in Brazil told me that they are able to make more demands on their husbands in terms of household chores in Japan because they now work outside the home and make a substantial financial contribution to the family. Many Japanese Brazilians were keenly aware of how previous social-status distinctions recede in Japan and are replaced by a sense of socioeconomic equality. As they frequently remark, ‘‘Todos são iguais aqui no Japão’’ (all of us are equal here in Japan). One Brazilian Nikkeijin gave a typical statement, variations of which are reiterated by many: ‘‘Economically, all of us become equals in Japan, the same thing. Everything is leveled out. There aren’t differences in salary here, and we all do the same work. We don’t know what others did in Brazil or whether they were rich or poor or what their educational level was.

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We don’t really care about this anymore.’’ A second-generation nisei woman similarly contrasted the socioeconomic equality that prevails in Japan with the hierarchical social differences that existed in Brazil: ‘‘Regardless of your cultural level in Brazil and whether you were a doctor or engineer or manager, when you come to Japan, everyone becomes a manual laborer with the same wage and has to accept the same orders as subordinates of the Japanese. We are all equal here. We are all peons in Japan and we don’t feel differences between rich and poor anymore.’’ Prior differences in socioeconomic level, education, and occupation in Brazil completely lose their importance among the Japanese Brazilians in Japan because such distinctions are virtually irrelevant to their work and employment. Almost none of the Japanese employers and labor brokers I interviewed considered such personal credentials when hiring the Japanese Brazilians, and some did not even ask the Nikkeijin for personal background information because it was viewed as unimportant for unskilled factory work.12 Instead, the most important criteria for selecting workers were proper visa status, language ability, age, and facial features (i.e., whether the individual looks like a ‘‘pure Japanese’’ or of mixed descent, which is less preferred).13 Other criteria included personal demeanor and attitude, health, and past employment history in Japan.14 Gilberto, a well-educated Japanese Brazilian, spoke about Japanese indifference to the previous socio-occupational status of the Nikkeijin: ‘‘Our educational level means nothing here in Japan, even if you have a Ph.D. This is not something that the Japanese demand of us, or even bother to ask, although sometimes they note such things when we apply for jobs. Even if I say that I owned a house in Brazil, am university educated, and was a federal government bureaucrat, they wouldn’t believe me anyway. In the factory, no one knows or cares about how educated you are or whether you were of high social status in Brazil. For the Japanese, we are all just unskilled factory workers.’’ In fact, I myself directly experienced this phenomenon during my first day on the job at Toyama. The manager of the subcontracting firm that employs Nikkeijin for Toyama had heard from the labor-broker firm that the Nikkeijin who had entered the factory that day was actually an American graduate student conducting research. Just in case I had any pretensions of flaunting my former social status in the factory, the manager came all the way to my section to tell me, ‘‘I don’t care whether you are a student, or a researcher, or how educated you are. Here at Toyama, you are an unskilled factory worker, and all that concerns me is how productive you are as a worker. Is that clear?’’ Such low levels of recognition among the Japanese Brazilians of their former

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socioeconomic differences are further reinforced by their predominant tendency to not talk about their previous lives in Brazil or their former socioeconomic status back home. At Toyama, conversation among the Brazilian Nikkeijin was focused exclusively on their present lives in Japan and revolved around daily factory work, current and previous jobs and salaries in Japan, occurrences within the factory, problems and issues raised by living in Japan, complaints about the Japanese, and recent happenings and current news in Japan. Others talked about their families and their day-to-day activities outside the factory. Practical information and suggestions related to employment and living in Japan were also freely exchanged. However, notably, they divulged almost nothing about their former lives in Brazil. In fact, talk of Brazil itself was usually in very general terms, focusing on general living conditions, contrasts with Japanese society, or specific news from back home. Among my interviewees as well, only a few claimed to ask new acquaintances about what they did for a living in Brazil or talk freely about such issues. The reasons for this reluctance are varied. Some felt that talking about the past would stir up bad memories of the economic problems they had faced in Brazil, which had forced them to come to Japan as unskilled migrant workers. As one individual explained, ‘‘If someone asks others about their past lives in Brazil, they respond, but in general, it is not agreeable to bring up bad memories. There are people in Japan who lost everything economically in Brazil and have come to restart their lives. We want to forget our past in Brazil, and if we talk about it too much, we become sad and homesick. In general, we are focused more on our present and future plans—more of what we will do than what happened in the past.’’ Another was more explicit, saying, ‘‘We avoid talking about our Brazilian lives because we were poor and had trouble surviving back home. We didn’t have enough money and felt incapacitated.’’ Unwillingness to talk about the past was especially strong among those who were of lower socioeconomic status in Brazil, while those with higher status, education, and greater wealth were not as reluctant to speak about their relatively privileged former lives. In fact, some of the latter seemed to have a certain need to reveal how they were well-off in Brazil in order to demonstrate that they did not migrate to Japan because they were poor or had serious economic problems like some of theircompatriots. As one older Nikkeijin man remarked, ‘‘You can easily tell whether the person was rich or poor by whether or not he talks about his past life in Brazil.’’ However, in order to avoid personal conflicts, even those who were rela-

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tively well-to-do generally do not mention their former status in Brazil. Such individuals realize that speaking and boasting about how well-off they were back home evokes negative reactions from the others. Wilson, who had been a large agricultural producer in Brazil, recounted his experiences in this respect: ‘‘When I first got to Japan, I would boast a lot about how much land my parents owned and how we have a big house in the countryside, but I don’t do this anymore. The Japanese didn’t believe me, and among the Nikkeijin, it made me look stupid. They would say, ‘If you lived so well in Brazil, why in the world did you have to come to Japan?’ ’’ A Japanese Brazilian woman who told me that she was one of the poorer Nikkeijin in Brazil expressed her resentment against individuals who engage in such self-ingratiating displays: ‘‘There are those who were of higher level in Brazil, those who were lawyers and were university educated, but who were unemployed, and so came to Japan. For instance, a couple I know always talks a lot about what they had in Brazil, how nice their lives were. They are alienated from the others. Our attitude is: if you were so rich in Brazil, why don’t you just go home?’’ Therefore, the behavioral norm among the Japanese Brazilians who were of higher socioeconomic status in Brazil is to eventually stop speaking about their former lives in order to avoid resentment and jealousy from those who were less fortunate. ‘‘Those who are still talking about what nice lives they used to have in Brazil have not yet gotten used to living in Japan,’’ remarked Gilberto. ‘‘I used to talk a lot about my father’s fazenda [plantation] and how I had a job as a federal government bureaucrat, but I have left this kind of behavior behind.’’ Of course, some consciousness of prior status differences among the Japanese Brazilians does exist. While migration can homogenize previous social differences among immigrants, it can also accentuate such differences. The latter can occur when groups with considerable internal ethnic and political differences that were socially distinct in their country of origin are suddenly brought into close contact in the host society (McKeown 1999, 324–25).15 A number of Japanese Brazilians mentioned that in Brazil they tended to associate only with those of similar social status and wealth but in Japan suddenly found themselves living in close proximity to Nikkeijin of various socioeconomic levels. Although prior social status is generally not discussed, differences in educational level sometimes can be detected by general demeanor and manner of speaking, especially with those few who are uneducated. Some of those who had been college-educated in Brazil, for instance, felt that many of the Brazilian Nikkeijin in Japan did not seem very educated or knowledge-

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able, making it hard to have meaningful conversations or to talk about social or political issues. Differences in former lifestyle and Japanese language ability also become apparent. One young man spoke about his reactions to the unexpected sociocultural diversity among his fellow Nikkeijin in Japan as follows: ‘‘In Brazil, I assumed that all the Japanese Brazilians were like the ones I was associating with—middle-class, university-educated, and speaking Japanese rather well. Then I come to Japan and see types of Japanese Brazilians I’ve never seen before who don’t speak any Japanese and know nothing of Japan. Some of them are uneducated. I was also surprised to find Nikkeijin who are country bumpkins. And there are those who just spend all their time partying at discos and have no interest in literature or political issues. You meet Nikkeis like this in Japan for the first time.’’ In addition, many Brazilian Nikkeijin in Japan come into direct contact for the first time with Nikkeijin from different regions of Brazil. Although Japanese Brazilians generally do not feel any notable regional differences among themselves because a majority of them are from the neighboring and industrialized states of São Paulo and Paraná, those from the state of São Paulo (called paulistas) sometimes mentioned differences between themselves and cariocas (those from Rio de Janeiro) and nordestinos (those from the northeastern part of Brazil). Others also noted differences between Japanese Brazilians from urban areas and those from the rural interior of Brazil. For instance, those from rural areas (many of whom were farmers) have less trouble with physical labor in Japan and generally tend to speak Japanese better, because they were raised in Japanese colônias (agricultural villages). In general, however, the state of economic and social equality that predominates in Japan overshadows any lingering differences among the Brazilian Nikkeijin in social status, education, or regional origin. Most of my informants agreed that social differences within the migrant community in Japan were relatively minor, especially when compared with the differences they felt among themselves in Brazil. Nikkeijin transmigrants in Japan thus live in a vaguely egalitarian and socially undifferentiated community as liminal, marginal beings alienated and isolated from both Brazilian and Japanese societies. Not being part of the hierarchical social structures of either society, Nikkeijin are only minimally influenced by status distinctions and differences among themselves.

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unrootedness and loss of homeland Turner (1969; 1974) regards the state of egalitarian communitas that predominates during liminal periods as a positive and necessary aspect of all societies that enables them to produce a sense of morality and social obligation, as well as respect for social authority and norms among its members. Indeed, Turner’s vision of society involves a dynamic balance between ordinary periods of social structure and liminal periods of antistructure that produce artistic and intellectual creativity, social critique and contemplation, and cultural rejuvenation.16 However, it is quite evident that liminality is not always a positive state that reinvigorates society and promotes social cohesion. Since liminality is by definition a state of separation and detachment from society, it can be quite alienating for the individuals involved, as they are rendered marginalized beings deprived of the social attachments and affiliations that normally sustain them. This may not be a significant problem when liminality is merely a temporary, transitional rite of passage from which individuals emerge ready to be reincorporated into society with greater status and self-realization. However, transnational migration can produce a more prolonged period of social alienation and detachment, which can lead to disorienting experiences of social unrootedness in which migrants feel they do not truly belong to either the sending or receiving society. Therefore, the transnational movement, rather than liberating or empowering Japanese Brazilians, leaves many of them feeling socially unanchored. In Brazil, the Japanese Brazilians had situated themselves as a ‘‘Japanese’’ minority by strongly identifying with Japan as the ethnic homeland.17 Many of them emphasized their Japanese descent and heritage and retained a strong sentimental attachment to Japan as the ancestral homeland because of the prestige it conferred on them as an ethnic minority group. Because Japan was associated with positive images in contrast to the negative aspects of thirdworld Brazil, a good number of them developed feelings of nostalgia and longing for first-world Japan. As a result, when they are socially alienated and marginalized in Japan as liminal transmigrants, theyexperience a disorienting loss of theirethnic homeland, which had given them a strong sense of ethnic identity, belonging, and rootedness in Brazil. Since Japan has become a place of social detachment and estrangement instead of attachment and identification, it ceases to be experienced as a true homeland. Even though it technically remains their country of ethnic and ancestral origin in an objective sense, Japan is no longer asso-

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ciated with the feelings of affiliation and fondness that make homelands subjectively meaningful. Therefore, in addition to being geographically separated and detached from their natal homeland of Brazil, they are also alienated from their ethnic homeland, which had served as the basis for their sense of ethnic identity. The loss of both the natal and ethnic homeland caused by the dislocations of transnational migration undoubtedly produces a disorienting sense of ‘‘homeland-lessness’’ abroad. In fact, one of my informants, Roberta, even remarked, ‘‘Nós somos um povo sem pátria’’ (we are a people without a homeland). Such statements reveal a consciousness among the Japanese Brazilians of the double social marginality involved in transnational mobility, which has caused them to become ethnic minorities in both of the societies in which they have resided. Although they were socially differentiated in their natal homeland of Brazil as an ethnic minority because of their perceived ‘‘Japanese’’ racial and cultural differences, when they return migrate to their ethnic homeland of Japan, they are socially excluded and marginalized as ethnic minorities because they are so culturally ‘‘Brazilian.’’ Because of the ethnic disorientation caused by their socially alienated state of transnational liminality, many of my Japanese Brazilian informants experience a disruption of the Japanese identities they had developed in Brazil and are forced to reconsider their ethnicity in Japan (see Tsuda 1999c). For some, return migration even produces an identity crisis. Consider the experiences of Fabio, a nisei who spoke Japanese quite well: ‘‘At first in Japan, I did feel an identity crisis and didn’t know who I was. Because I had convinced myself that I was so Japanese in Brazil and took pride in this, I wanted to be seen as Japanese in Japan. But the Japanese didn’t accept me. The Nikkeis always have this problem—of not knowing whether you are Japanese or Brazilian.’’ While many Japanese Brazilians ethnically reorient themselves in Japan by redefining themselves as ‘‘Brazilians’’ and reaffirming and strengthening their personal attachment to Brazil as the real homeland where they truly belong, their prolonged absence and separation from their home country as liminal transmigrants makes it difficult for them to ethnically resituate and ‘‘re-root’’ themselves. social alienation and personal malaise Of course, ethnic disorientation, unrootedness, and loss of homeland are not the only potentially negative consequences of the social liminality and alienation that transnational migrants experience. Because migrants are detached

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from both their home society as well as host society, such an anomic state of social disruption can also have negative psychological effects, making them more prone to personal malaise and psychological disorder. Numerous studies have documented higher rates of mental disorder and illness among migrants (Malzberg 1969; Portes and Rumbaut 1996, 159; Stonequist 1937, 203).18 As might be expected, the incidence of mental disorder among Japanese Brazilians increases in Japan with the psychological stresses of migration and the various social difficulties that they confront, although the overall rate remains low. Dr. Décio Nakagawa, a psychiatrist in São Paulo who specializes in the treatment of Japanese Brazilian migrants who have returned to Brazil, estimates that 2 to 3 percent of them suffer from psychological problems, which is notably higher than the rate of mental illness among the general Nikkeijin population in Brazil.19 Such individuals usually show minor psychological symptoms such as mild neurosis, persecutory delusions, slight paranoia, auditory hallucinations, anorexia, and insomnia, which can be cured with proper treatment and do not have lasting effects. Socially alienated individuals are more vulnerable to psychological malaise primarily because of the lack of social support that would enable them to endure personal difficulties. The most frequently noted psychological disturbance among socially alienated Nikkeijin migrants is hallucination.There have been a number of cases in which Japanese Brazilians who could not speak any Japanese and are socially isolated from both the Japanese and their compatriots in Japan begin to hear voices in Portuguese and eventually construct an illusion that they have an imaginary friend with whom they have conversations in the factory.20 Such a make-believe friend provides them with a sense of companionship and is a way to deal with intense solitude and social alienation. Because such alienated individuals lack any social support and collectively shared ‘‘public symbols’’ to understand and cope with their personal difficulties, they are forced to resort to the use of intensely personal symbols (sometimes on the imaginary level) which have exclusively personal and idiosyncratic meanings that can be understood only by the person who constructed them.21 Social alienation and the lack of social support in Japan can, on very rare occasions, even lead to more extreme forms of psychological malaise such as suicide, which is quite rare among Nikkeijin, but does occur sporadically in Japan. As Durkheim notes (1951, 209), socially alienated and isolated individuals whose ties to society have attenuated no longer recognize any authority and norms of conduct except their own, causing society to lose its power to prohibit them from taking their own lives. This excessive individualization and

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atomization can lead to what Durkheim calls ‘‘egoistic suicide.’’ Because of their ethnic and socioeconomic marginalization in Japan, a number of Brazilian Nikkeijin expressed considerable frustration at suddenly being placed in a powerless position in Japan as subordinates of the Japanese who must dutifully comply and submit to their instructions and demands. One of the recurring motifs in my interviews involved frustration over either their inability to voice their opinions, suggestions, and complaints at work or the unwillingness of the Japanese to accept or even listen to their opinions. As a result, some of my informants felt that they simply have to keep quiet and ‘‘to swallow’’ (engolir) their problems and resentments, which can eventually lead to the inner build-up of hostility. This pent-up aggression can become quite overwhelming for those who do not have families, relatives, or Brazilian social groups within which they can release their frustrations (desabafar) by openly voicing their complaints. In certain cases, such anger and frustration can be turned inward, resulting in a type of egocentric suicide.22 When inner restraints are weak, such aggression can be turned outward as criminal behavior (against the Japanese) and, in the most extreme cases, as murder. For instance, one homicide involved a Nikkeijin who came alone to Japan with hopes of earning an instant fortune but had to switch to a difficult job after the salary for his first job was too low. His mounting frustrations at work and at his difficulties in dealing with the Japanese finally exploded when he killed a Japanese neighbor who refused to assist him with street directions because he could not speak Japanese well (Asahi Shimbun, 30 February 1992). According to Durkheim, anomic periods of disruption that alienate individuals from society also create a state of normlessness where traditional social customs and pressures have weakened, therefore producing feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and uncertainty. A somewhat analogous condition occurs among immigrants trapped in a state of transnational liminality who feel that the social norms and values from their home country no longer have as much force and relevance but who have not yet adopted the cultural values of the host society. Such a loss of meaning and cultural values due to migrant dislocation was quite apparent among some Nikkeijin transmigrants. Although Japanese Brazilians have ethnically situated themselves as a Japanese minority in Brazil by affiliating themselves with Japan and the Japanese, thus conferring ethnic prestige and meaning on their minority status, when they return migrate to Japan, such previous positive meanings of Japan and Japanese cultural values are challenged and eventually denied, sometimes without being replaced by a

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new set of relevant ethnic beliefs.23 Hiromi, a middle-aged man, related his experiences in this respect: ‘‘When we were in Brazil, we were all japonês and had these Japanese values that we treasured. Now that we have come to Japan, we have lost these Japanese values since we are not accepted as Japanese here and don’t know whether we are truly Japanese or Brazilian. So we desperately search for new values to believe in.’’ In addition to such disruption of ethnic identity and meaning, transnational migration also disrupts the previous social and occupational status of migrants, leading to a profound sense of socioeconomic anomie. Not only do they lose their middle-class professional status as they become unskilled factory workers in Japan, but most Brazilian Nikkeijin had to quit their jobs or close their businesses in order to migrate and will be unable to return to their previous careers even when they repatriate. This uncertain socioeconomic future is especially acute for lower-class Japanese Brazilians who were forced to migrate to Japan for economic survival, because they lack well-defined plans and future objectives and sometimes do not wish to return to Brazil because of the economic uncertainty awaiting them back home. At the same time, because they are socially marginalized as low status, unskilled foreign workers in Japan, they have little hope for future occupational mobility in the host society. Some are overcome by a sense of insignificance in Japan as they find themselves working in large impersonal Japanese factories mechanically repeating a menial task as a mere cog among hundreds of unskilled workers on the assembly line. alienation from the self at the workplace The negative, alienating effects of transnational migration are not only the product of social liminality and marginalization in the host society; transmigrants are also subject to a capitalist mode of factory production, which is a profoundly alienating experience. Of course, they are not the only ones who experience this type of alienation. In a Marxist sense, all individuals who work under the conditions of capitalist production are alienated from both their labor and its products, which are appropriated by the capitalist as exchangeable commodities for the accumulation of capital, thus becoming an abstract force of domination that individuals can no longer control (Marx 1978 [1844], 72, 74). Although white-collar workers are also subject to capitalist wage-labor and thus reproduce the conditions of abstract domination and coerced labor in the act of production, they generally experience their labor as less alienat-

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ing because of the personal contact and interaction they have with other employees during production (Fromm 1969). This also enables them to avoid the self-alienation typically associated with manual factory labor. Therefore, for migrants who were originally of middle-class socioeconomic status in their home countries and worked in less-alienating office settings, the sudden change to unskilled factory jobs abroad adds to the general alienation they already experience in the host society. Because a good number of labor migrants in the contemporary world have middle-class, not workingclass, backgrounds, this is a rather common experience and contributes to the ‘‘personal malaise’’ caused by transnational migration (see Grasmuck and Pessar 1991; Margolis 1994; Massey et al. 1987; Piore 1979; Portes and Bach 1985). This is especially true for Japanese Brazilians. According to a census of Brazilian Nikkeijin in Brazil, 43.3 percent were professionals, managers, or office workers, and another 20.9 percent were in private business (São Paulo Humanities Research Center 1987–1988). As a result, only 0.8 percent of those who return migrated to Japan were unskilled workers in Brazil (jica 1992). In Japan, however, more than 90 percent of Nikkeijin in Japan are employed as manual laborers (Kitagawa 1992). A theory of self-alienation is indeed embedded in Marx’s analysis of the nature of working-class, factory production. Marx’s theory of the self begins with the assumption that individual self-awareness is not merely an abstract consciousness realized through pure thought but is a ‘‘humanly sensuous consciousness’’ (1976 [1844], 111) grounded in the actual, material world. In other words, individuals realize themselves as self-conscious beings by appropriating nature and producing objects through their own free life-activity (labor), thus allowing them to contemplate and reflect on themselves and their individuality in the ‘‘objective world’’ they have created (ibid., 76, 88). Therefore, in order to attain self-consciousness through this type of material objectification of the self, the individual’s labor must be free, creative, and voluntary life-activity. However, under the capitalist system of wage-labor, workers are alienated from their labor since it is exchanged for a mere subsistence wage, thus becoming an activity the worker is forced to pursue as a necessary means of physical subsistence. Because of the coercive nature of wage-labor, individuals become unable to objectify themselves and attain self-consciousness through their labor, which instead becomes a source of self-alienation (what Marx calls ‘‘self-estrangement’’ or ‘‘loss of the self ’’ [ibid., 74–75]). In this manner, the

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alienation of workers from their labor in the act of capitalist production alienates them from their self, thus eventually denying them their humanity. Although I did not question my informants about the experience of selfalienation on the assembly line at Toyama from a specifically Marxist perspective, this alienation is quite evident to anyone who has labored under the conditions of factory production. Indeed, the Brazilian Nikkeijin sometimes characterized themselves as ‘‘robots,’’ ‘‘machines,’’ and even ‘‘slaves’’ in the factories. Obviously, none of my co-workers at Toyama expressed any kind of personal fulfillment or enjoyment in the monotonous and repetitious drudgery of assembly-line work and instead variously described it as ‘‘hard,’’ ‘‘difficult,’’ ‘‘disliked,’’ ‘‘dirty,’’ ‘‘noisy,’’ ‘‘tedious,’’ ‘‘boring,’’ ‘‘too fast,’’ ‘‘tiring,’’ ‘‘heavy,’’ and even ‘‘painful.’’ A few of those who had recently arrived in Toyama from Brazil and were therefore unaccustomed to manual labor (especially the young women) complained bitterly about the onerous nature of the work and requested that their Japanese supervisors transfer them to tasks that were less difficult and fast-paced. I even knew a Nikkeijin woman who had previously been hospitalized because of the physical difficulty of factory work. Even those who had become accustomed to their factory jobs continued to describe their work in a strongly negative manner. ‘‘I hate my job at the factory,’’ a young Nikkeijin man from another factory remarked. ‘‘I spend all day moving galvanized rods from one rack to another. They are dipped in this hot metallic solution, which can burn through your uniform if you’re not careful. Then I carry these heavy rods to a preparation rack and have them lifted up on a crane. If I’m not careful, the things could hit and injure me. Then I go back and do it over and over again for the entire day. Before you know it, your gloves and uniform are coated with the grime. The whole place is hot, noisy, with people shouting at each other. It’s a very difficult job no matter how long you’ve been at it.’’ Almost none of the Japanese Brazilians wished to perform such labor, but were simply coerced by their situations to work in exchange for wages, which were necessarily in order to accumulate savings and hopefully improve their financial condition. As a result, instead of being a freely chosen, self-affirming activity, factory labor was despised as coercive and alienating and would have been actively shunned had it not been a necessary means of subsistence. Such common sentiments were clearly expressed by Tadashi, one of my friends at Toyama: ‘‘No one likes this kind of work. The Japanese shun this labor as dirty, dangerous, and difficult, so they have foreigners like us come to Japan to do it. We have no choice—we have to do what the Japanese tell us to do in order

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to feed our families back in Brazil. Besides this, my Toyama job does not do anything for me. I don’t learn anything from the job, I don’t acquire any skills that will be useful for my future, I don’t feel any pride or satisfaction in my job. I just do it because I have to.’’ However, even if labor is forced and thus alien to the self, it can still be a form of self-realization in a limited sense. A number of Japanese Brazilian workers who entered Toyama for the first time felt the need to demonstrate their abilities to the Japanese and to prove their worthiness as capable workers (especially because some feel the Japanese look down on Brazilians). As a result, factory labor was initially experienced not simply as a coercive means of subsistence but as a partial reflection and evaluation of the self. However, given the unskilled and monotonous nature of this labor, its function as a demonstration of self-worth was only temporary. One Nikkeijin woman was most explicit about her experiences in this regard: ‘‘When I first came to Toyama, I had heard that the Japanese think that Brazilians can’t do even this type of menial work. So I worked really hard to demonstrate to the Japanese that I am a capable worker, that I’m competent. However, anyone can do this work [i.e., it is not really a reflection of one’s own abilities], so now I’m just used to it and don’t care about proving anything about myself. I just work now to get paid.’’ True self-realization was impossible not only through such unskilled labor but also through its products. Since the labor of the Japanese Brazilian workers itself was coercive and alien to the self, the products of such labor (air conditioners in the Toyama factory) were obviously not ones that the Nikkeijin workers would have freely chosen in order to embody and objectify themselves and to serve as reflections of who they were. Also, given the absolute uniformity of the mass-produced air conditioners, they did not reflect individual differences in ability and character and therefore could not become a source of self-reflexive contemplation and awareness among the Japanese Brazilian as material objectifications of themselves. More importantly, however, a mode of production based on a detailed division of labor obviously means that the labor of one worker does not produce an entire product but only makes a miniscule contribution to each product. For example, my task on the assembly was to attach pressure gauges and utility cables onto the side of the air conditioners by using an air tool. As a result, even after toiling away for countless hours, I did not make a single whole machine and none of the air conditioners that rolled off the assembly line were entirely the result of my labor.Therefore, since there could be no personal iden-

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tification between workers and any of the air conditioners that had been collectively produced by them, the products of their labor were not true reflections and expressions of their selves. This contrasts with craft-artisan factories in which the worker actually produces an entire product from beginning to end. As Kondo argues (1990, chap. 7), personal alienation does not exist in such factories, although not for the reasons she provides but because the artisans are able to objectify themselves in products that are entirely their creation. As a result, although such workers are still alienated from the products of their labor, which are appropriated by the employer and converted to capital, their personal creations remain true embodiments of their skill, personal qualities, and self-worth, which then results in the reflexivity and evaluation necessary for effective self-realization and awareness. Because the assembly-line workers at Toyama were deprived of this critical means of self-objectification, the production process alienated them from their natural ability to attain and enhance self-consciousness through their productive activity. Finally, another source of self-alienation inherent in capitalist production is the inherent social estrangement between workers in the factory. Although Marx argues that the alienation of workers from their labor and its products, along with their self-consciousness, causes them to become estranged from ‘‘other men’’ (namely capitalists), who are constituted as an antagonistic and hostile class that confronts them (1978 [1844], 77–79), he did not seriously consider the social distance between workers on the factory floor and its relation to selfestrangement, because of his materialist conception of self-consciousness. Undoubtedly, the noise and fast pace of assembly-line work stifled any meaningful human interaction between production workers at Toyama. However, it is also quite evident (and was patently obvious at Toyama) that the division of labor necessary for capitalist production does not require much (if any) actual social interaction and communication between workers on the assembly line. Instead, the ‘‘cooperation’’ between workers was strictly mediated by the assembly line itself and by the machine tools that connected their productive activities. The workers on the assembly line stood apart from each other and were assigned tasks that were so minute and detailed that they could be performed alone. Therefore, the cooperation between workers in the act of production was enabled not by human interaction per se, but solely by the mechanical link of the conveyor belt between them that moved each machine from one worker to the next. For this reason, factories are able to employ foreign workers who cannot speak a single word in the native language without any

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disruption in the production process. In fact, the only human communication that occurred during production at Toyama was between Japanese supervisors and the assembly-line workers who were assigned tasks by them. As Marx himself was quite aware, humans reproduce themselves as selfconscious subjects not merely by constructing an immediate, sensuous, objective environment through their life activity and labor, but also through their social interactions with other individuals (1978 [1932], 158). According to George Herbert Mead, consciousness of self is possible only when it becomes an object to itself. In order to make the self an object of contemplation and reflection in this manner, individuals must experientially ‘‘get outside [themselves]’’ by adopting and taking on the ‘‘attitude of the generalized other’’ toward themselves (that is, the opinions and attitudes that the social group has of them) (1977 [1956], 202). In other words, individuals objectify themselves not merely in terms of the products of their labor in a Marxist sense but by also imagining themselves through the eyes and attitudes of others, thus constituting the self as a reflexive object of evaluation. For this to happen, of course, social interaction with others is necessary so that individuals can understand the attitudes that others have of them. In this sense, the social alienation between workers that prevails in factory production results in a weakening of this type of reflexive self-consciousness. Since the Japanese Brazilians on the assembly line could not socially interact with each other or with the Japanese, they were unable to assess the ‘‘attitude of the generalized other’’ by monitoring and interpreting other individuals’ comments and reactions toward them. In fact, a good number of my informants expressed a certain amount of uneasiness during interviews at their general lack of knowledge about what the Japanese think of them (including possible ethnic prejudices). ‘‘I have no idea what my Japanese co-workers think of me because I have no interaction with them in the factory,’’ one of them remarked. ‘‘I don’t know if they like me or dislike me or are just indifferent. It bothers me sometimes because I’ve never been in such a situation before.’’ In this way, the Brazilian Nikkeijin are temporarily alienated from the usual social process of reflecting on their selves as objects in the eyes of others, which makes selfconsciousness possible. The general self-alienation in the factory caused by an inability to both materially and socially objectify myself was certainly part of my own subjective experience as a participant observer on the Toyama assembly line. Normally when I began the day, I would have to readjust to the task assigned to me and would be conscious of what I was doing as I worked on the first set of machines

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that came down the assembly line. However, after repeating the same mechanical motion hundreds of times on countless machines that marched relentlessly by, my self-consciousness would sometimes slowly recede as my physical body seemingly took on a life of its own, automatically going through the repetitive motions while I literally lost consciousness of what I was doing. Then, something would jar me back to consciousness, which was an equally eerie sensation, because I would suddenly realize that I had not thought of anything for the preceding several minutes (an experience I had always thought impossible). Sometimes, I even realized that I had no memory of working on the last several machines that had passed by me on the conveyor belt, and I would briefly run down the assembly line to recheck my work. Sure enough, the pressure gauges and utility cables would always be properly installed. This disturbing loss of self-consciousness would usually occur when there were no slowdowns and breaks in production or opportunities to speak or observe others for prolonged periods of time. This inability to socially constitute oneself as a conscious subject during factory work was so disorienting precisely because it is such a natural and normal part of most other human activities. Of course, self-consciousness can be maintained even during prolonged periods of social alienation and lack of interaction with others by reflecting on one’s past social experiences and memories and by conversing with oneself (as I frequently did on the assembly line when I found myself lapsing into a state of ‘‘self-unconsciousness’’) (Mead 1977 [1956], 204–5). However, the self is not simply an essence derived from past ‘‘generalized others’’ but is continuously reconstituted and remade under shifting social conditions, a process that becomes very difficult when individuals enter into a new social context (such as the Toyama factory) but find themselves alienated from other individuals with no basis for expressing and redefining their selves in response to the new situation. In addition, the experience of self-alienation does not weaken over time as individuals become accustomed to the routines of factory work (Giddens 1979, 148). In fact, the situation seems to be the opposite. It is precisely when work becomes habitual that the self becomes disengaged from the activity. When individuals first take on the rigors of factory work (especially if they are previously unaccustomed to it), they are forced to monitor themselves until they learn and get used to the procedures while self-consciously attempting to avoid mistakes. In addition, new Nikkeijin workers often wish to demonstrate their personal competence to their Japanese superiors (a desire I also had somewhat at first), and thus even the coercive and alien nature of factory labor can initially

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be experienced as a self-reflexive manifestation of personal abilities and qualities. However, as workers get used to and master the work so that it becomes routine, repetitive, and tedious, it no longer requires any active, self-conscious effort or engagement on the part of the worker, who is literally reduced to a mindless automaton. In other words, factory work eventually becomes nothing more than a habitual, conditioned daily routine (such as tying shoes) that involves no self-reflexivity or deliberation. Only a rudimentary awareness of the physical movements and mechanical operations of the body remains. Although such self-estrangement occurs only during work and does not appear to be terribly significant in an individual sense when compared to the psychological disturbances mentioned earlier, it is a much more widespread experience, shared by most Japanese Brazilians, and thus contributes in a general sense to the alienating nature of their transmigrant experience in Japan. In addition, the problem of self-estrangement on the job is more serious for those Japanese Brazilian migrants who do not have family or close friends in Japan and thus continue to be isolated outside the factory environment. Even among those who have a cohesive network of acquaintances, the alienation from self inherent in their experiences as unskilled migrant workers undoubtedly contributes to the loneliness, solitude, and general alienation that many complain about in Japan, as well as to the personal malaise that some of them experience. liminality as community: immigrant resilience to social alienation The alienation caused by transnational liminality is not absolute. Although transnationalism involves a liminal detachment from the home society and marginalization from the host society, migrants still have their own ethnic community from which they can draw emotional support and social companionship, thus countering the negative and potentially debilitating effects of social and self-alienation. Indeed, the social liminality that migrants experience increases the internal cohesion and solidarity of their immigrant communities, enhancing their supportive social power. Because of the absence of hierarchical social differentiation, which emerges from the migrants’ general alienation from society, the relatively egalitarian and homogeneous communities within which such migrants live produce an ‘‘intense comradeship’’ (Turner 1969, 95) or what Durkheim would refer to as mechanical solidarity. This sense of increased collective unity among the Japanese Brazilians was expressed most directly by one informant: ‘‘In Brazil, we were less cohesive and integrated be-

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cause there were lots of differences among us. We tended to associate only with those of the same social level and from the same region. Here, we are all united. We are all Brazilians, doing the same work and subordinate to the Japanese. We have similar experiences and suffer from the same problems living in a foreign country. When I see fellow [Japanese] Brazilians in Japan, I feel like going over and greeting them. In Brazil, it was never like this.’’ A number of other Brazilian Nikkeijin I spoke to likewise mentioned the greater ease of social relationships and friendships with other Nikkeijin in Japan compared to Brazil because status differences no longer interfere. ‘‘In Brazil, an educated, rich [Japanese Brazilian] doctor from São Paulo would never interact with a less-educated farmer from the countryside,’’ one of them noted. ‘‘But here in Japan, we don’t care about such things because we’re all equals who all face the same difficulties in Japan and are all in the same boat. So we are all united and socialize more freely.’’ Of course, this enhanced social cohesion among Japanese Brazilian migrants in Japan does not mean that conflicts do not exist within their immigrant community. The social distinctions that do emerge among them sometimes become a source of jealousy and even animosity.Those Brazilian Nikkeijin who speak Japanese well and are therefore promoted to mini-supervisor status on the factory flooror who become translators and liaisons in Japanese companyor local government offices are the source of much resentment from those who remain lowly assembly-line workers. Financially successful migrants who flaunt their newfound wealth in Japan are disliked by those who are less successful or are living frugally in order to save their earnings. Of course, there are other factors that reduce social cohesion and make it sometimes difficult to establish meaningful social relationships with other fellow Nikkeijin in Japan, such as long working hours, an itinerant and temporary lifestyle (most switch jobs and move rather frequently within Japan), and their goal-oriented mentality (to earn as much money as possible in a short period of time), which reduces their interest in social activity. Indeed, some Brazilian Nikkeijin feel that such factors make relationships more difficult in Japan than in Brazil. However, these internal conflicts and problems do not overshadow the general sense of communal solidarity that prevails among them as socially equalized migrants. As a result, despite such difficulties, most Japanese Brazilians generally engage in active relationships with each other in Japan. In addition to maintaining close contact with relatives and friends and co-workers in the factory, more than half of the Nikkeijin also pursue interactions and relationships with other Nikkeijin living in the neighborhood (Kitagawa 1997).

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On the factory floor at Toyama, the Nikkeijin workers would naturally gravitate toward each other and congregate during work breaks and lunch periods in order to talk and chat, thus countering the effects of their social alienation from the Japanese workers. Notably, these ethnic groups were quite loose in composition, allowing individual Nikkeijin to freely associate and circulate, and were generally not arranged in exclusive cliques, although acquaintances generally tended to sit together. Because the Japanese Brazilians were of equal status in the factory, groups could easily form on the basis of common ethnic and sociooccupational experiences, and interaction was always open and collegial. In most cases, social acceptance was quite quick, if not instant, so that strangers quickly became acquaintances and even friends. There were no differences between social superiors and subordinates that could inhibit interaction or cause internal group divisions, as is often the case in nonliminal social periods. This social openness among the Nikkeijin was in marked contrast to the Japanese workers in the factory, where supervisors and section leaders did not socialize and sit in the same groups as assembly-line workers during break periods. Although the egalitarian camaraderie among the Japanese Brazilians was not merely a function of their liminal socioeconomic equality in Japan but also a national characteristic notable among them in Brazil, it seemed more spontaneous and less inhibited by status considerations than in Brazil. While some of my informants reported antagonisms and divisions among Nikkeijin workers in other factories, they were not noticeable at Toyama. Of course, the free socializing extended beyond the factory into local residential life. Despite the itinerant and temporary lifestyle of most of the Japanese Brazilians and their long hours in the factory (including overtime on weekends), the amount of socializing that occurs among them in local communities is quite remarkable, especially in cities with high Nikkeijin immigrant concentrations, like Oizumi. Informal gatherings in apartments were quite frequent, especially on weekends, when relatives and friends would congregate for no specific purpose except to socialize and talk. Sometimes, when I conducted interviews, other Nikkeijin would be gathered at the same apartment (or would be summoned for the occasion). At other times, small parties, dinners or informal meals, and even churrascos (Brazilian barbecues) were arranged. Gatherings at local Brazilian restaurants or eateries were also quite frequent, and the most popular restaurants in Oizumi would frequently be packed to overcapacity on weekends. As indicated by this relatively strong social activity and camaraderie both within and outside the factory, most Japanese Brazilians are part of very co-

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hesive and extensive social networks of relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Although they are separated and excluded from Japanese society, they can rely on their own cohesive immigrant communities, through which they obtain the companionship, social support, and mutual understanding necessary from them to overcome the debilitating effects of the social and self-alienation they experience as transnationally marginalized, liminal beings in Japan. This accounts for the remarkable resilience of many migrants in the face of the negative psychological effects of transnational displacement, alienation, and unrootedness. As Durkheim notes, individuals who are well-integrated in social groups are able to endure adversity and difficulty and avoid personal trauma: ‘‘The bond that unites them with the common cause attaches them to life and the lofty goal they envisage prevents their feeling personal troubles so deeply. There is, in short, in a cohesive and animated society a constant interchange of ideas and feelings from all to each and each to all, something like a mutual moral support, which instead of throwing the individual on his own resources, leads him to share in the collective energy and supports his own when exhausted’’ (1951, 210). In this sense, it is no surprise that those Japanese Brazilians who come to Japan alone without their families experience a much higher rate of mental disorder because they have less social support with which to overcome the personal difficulties caused by their social alienation and solitude in Japan.24 Among the Nikkeijin migrants with mental disturbances that Dr. Nakagawa treated, 63 percent were single, divorced, or widowed, with only 37 percent of them married (Nakagawa 1994). Given that research surveys show that only 20 to 40 percent of Nikkeijin live in Japan without their families (Japan Statistics Research Institute 1993; Kitagawa 1993), the rate of mental disorder is more than four times higher among those without families.25 Internal group solidarity within the migrant community therefore enables Japanese Brazilians to share their negative experiences in Japan with each other, thereby making their alienated existence in Japan socially meaningful. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular topics of conversation among the Nikkeijin is ethnic criticism of the Japanese, which takes place in restaurants, at home, and at work during break and lunch periods. Although these ‘‘Japan-bashing’’ sessions are often wide-ranging and sometimes involve negative commentary on various aspects of Japanese society, they are frequently based on critical assessments of the manner in which Japanese Brazilians are treated in Japan. In general, the Japanese are characterized as cold, impersonal, and lacking affection in their social relationships, which the Nikkeijin allege is a product of Japanese upbringing. For instance, one of my Nikkeijin friends at Toyama made

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some typical remarks in this regard: ‘‘In Brazil, people always talk to each other during work, unlike the Japanese who just work and don’t say anything. Company employees in Brazil always go out together after work and go to friends’ houses to talk. In Japan, even among the Japanese, I don’t think this happens. The Japanese don’t associatewith each otheroutside the factory. Even when one of the workers from our factory comes to our apartment to tell us something, he doesn’t come inside even when we invite him for coffee.’’ Such negative assessments of the Japanese by Japanese Brazilians are based not only on their socially alienating factory experiences but also on their interactions with the Japanese in the local community.The impressions of one of my nisei co-workers were widely shared by his compatriots: ‘‘The Japanese are cold and don’t have human warmth, even among themselves. It is because of their upbringing. In Brazil, we always invited people into our houses, and we visited neighbors and friends all the time without hesitation. The Japanese don’t have this custom and are very reluctant to have guests. They just go out to drink in bars, but then only with other men. Even neighbors don’t have contact with each other here—they are strangers. In Brazil, neighbors always go out into the street, greet each other, and chat and go to each other’s houses.’’ Most Nikkeijin claim that the Japanese are cold and unaffectionate toward each other but even more so toward foreigners. Others characterize the Japanese as very insular in their thinking and limited in their knowledge of anything outside their own small world. Their supposed lack of contact and unfamiliarity with peoples from other countries is generally considered by Japanese Brazilians to be a serious deficiency, especially when relating to foreigners. In this manner, a majority of my Nikkeijin informants felt that such Japanese emotional coldness and cultural reluctance to interact with outsiders was the primary cause of their social alienation and isolation in Japan. Some of them even claimed that the Japanese are prejudiced and racist, and therefore interpreted their experience of ethnic rejection and exclusion in Japan as ‘‘discrimination.’’ In one survey of Nikkeijin migrants in Japan, out of fourteen possible reasons for why the Japanese Brazilians feel discriminated against in Japan, ‘‘lack of social acceptance by Japanese’’ ranked fourth (Kitagawa 1993). Among my informants who spoke about this issue, a large majority felt that the Japanese tendency to avoid them was discriminatory behavior based on Japanese ethnic prejudice. Roberto, one of my friends in Oizumi, spoke about this: ‘‘Lots of Japanese look down on the Japanese Brazilians, and so they don’t mix with us at all. There was only one factory I worked at where the Japanese cared for me—the others showed no interest. The Japanese dislike those who are dif-

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ferent from them and discriminate against them. When I first got to Japan, my friend would say that the Japanese are racist, and I spoke out against him at the time. But now, I agree with him.’’ Another individual’s comments on this issue reflected those of Roberto: ‘‘The Japanese always keep us separated from them because of the prejudices that they have. I was almost offended when I first saw the separation at Toyama. There are some Japanese who simply don’t like us and don’t trust us because we are culturally different. So they don’t try to talk with us or make friends—they don’t even speak one word to us. If you don’t understand Japanese culture and act just like the Japanese, they discriminate against you and you can’t enter their group. Therefore, most [Japanese] Brazilians experience discrimination here. In Brazil, this type of discrimination exists only toward blacks.’’ Some Japanese Brazilians attribute their social alienation in Japan not only to Japanese ‘‘coldness’’ and ethnic ‘‘discrimination’’ but also to the purported ‘‘fear’’ of outsiders and foreigners among Japanese. ‘‘Os japoneses têm medo de nós’’ (the Japanese fear us) is another frequently used expression among Japanese Brazilians. ‘‘When a [Japanese] Brazilian approaches, the Japanese keep their distance and don’t talk to us because they fear us,’’ one informant voiced a concern on the minds of his companions during a dinner conversation. ‘‘They also avoid us when we walk around the streets in a group or sit together during break time [in the factory].’’ One of my Nikkeijin co-workers at Toyama elaborated further on this point: ‘‘The Japanese are scared of us because we don’t speak Japanese. I notice that they are afraid to remain near me. I see this fear in the trains. When a [Japanese] Brazilian sits near a Japanese on the bench, the Japanese leaves and moves to a different seat. Japanese women especially avoid sitting close to Brazilians.’’ Although Durkheim and others tend to equate the experience of social alienation with normlessness and loss of meaning, it is quite apparent that socially marginalized migrants are frequently able to rely on commonly held cultural attitudes prevalent in their own ethnic communities in order to ascribe meaning to their state of alienation. By interpreting their social alienation from Japanese society through their own cultural understandings of Japanese ‘‘coldness,’’ ‘‘discrimination,’’ ‘‘racism,’’ and ‘‘fear,’’ the Japanese Brazilians are able to counter the meaninglessness that often accompanies migrant alienation in the host society and thus to comprehend and cope with their negative experiences in Japan. Since these meanings are not simply individual, personal symbols but public symbols held collectively by the entire migrant community, individual experiences expressed through them can be readily understood

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and shared by others, thus providing the group support that enables Brazilian Nikkeijin to overcome their personal alienation in Japan through a sense of common experience and mutual acknowledgment among ethnic peers. At the same time, by interpreting their social isolation as a product of Japanese coldness, insularity, and discrimination, such interpretations enable them to avoid acknowledging their own cultural and linguistic inability to relate to the Japanese and the extent to which they themselves are responsible for their social alienation in Japan. Undoubtedly, by airing complaints and grievances about the Japanese in the presence of such cohesive ethnic groups, the Japanese Brazilians can also relieve themselves of the frustrations and emotional difficulties that accumulate in their daily lives and ease the negative psychological impact of migrant marginality and alienation in the host society. One Japanese Brazilian spoke of the crucial role of his family in this regard: ‘‘I would have nothing here in Japan without my family. With them, it becomes much easier to neutralize the bad sentiments from the outside that we have living in Japan. We can separate out our Brazilian lives in the family from the outside and complain about the Japanese and help each other out. I spend a lot of time with my wife talking about the problems we encounter here in Japan.’’ Another individual had similar experiences: ‘‘It is much easier to overcome our problems in Japan with the family. We can liberate our frustrations instead of keeping them inside and can talk about difficulties at work and what we don’t like about the Japanese. We end up feeling that our problems have been alleviated. With the family, we can protect ourselves more. Without my wife here, I would be more influenced by the bad experiences I have outside [in Japanese society].’’ Both within and outside the family context, I witnessed (and participated in) a number of instances of what can be described as ‘‘ethnic pep talks’’ among groups of Japanese Brazilians, in which they would criticize the negative attributes of the Japanese and collectively affirm the validity of their own beliefs and values. The cathartic effect of such ‘‘group sessions’’ was quite apparent and was crucial for the successful psychological adjustment of Japanese Brazilians to their profoundly alienating experiences in Japan. Of course, cohesive migrant communities not only counter the negative effects of social alienation from the host society but also alleviate the psychological difficulties caused by prolonged separation from the homeland. The greatest personal difficulty among single sojourners in Japan is the loneliness and homesickness they experience as a result of their separation from families, relatives, and friends back home in Brazil. In this respect, the Nikkeijin again

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rely on their ethnic peers and communities to matar a saudade do Brasil (literally, to ‘‘kill’’ their homesickness for Brazil) by frequently reminiscing about Brazil, sharing information and news from back home, and praising the positive aspects of their home country (such as its friendly people, sheer size, agriculture, natural resources, sports heroes, and food). In addition, the extensive ethnic communities that the Japanese Brazilians have created in places such as Oizumi and Hamamatsu enable them to partially alleviate their alienation from Brazilian society and their feelings of homesickness by buying and eating Brazilian food, avidly consuming Brazilian media products available in Japan (satellite TV, music, newspapers, magazines, and videocassettes), organizing Brazilian festivals, playing in Nikkeijin soccer leagues, and wearing clothes with distinctive ‘‘Brazilian’’ styles (see Tsuda 2000). In this manner, despite the psychological difficulties caused by the liminal alienation inherent in transnational mobility, many migrants are able to draw strength from their own ethnic and immigrant communities to effectively resist some of the potentially debilitating effects of dislocation and social marginalization, which range from simple homesickness and daily frustrations to psychological malaise and loss of existential meaning. Migrant communities become a critical source of emotional support and affiliation, cultural meaning, and a ‘‘home away from home,’’ all of which make the experience of migrant displacement less alienating. conclusion: is transnational liminality a temporary rite of passage? Undoubtedly, modernity is characterized by the increasing movement of populations around the world, enabled by advances in global transportation and communication networks. Although this enhanced mobility across national borders and the ability of people to expand their activities beyond the hegemonic confines of local nation-states is certainly liberating and provides new possibilities for practice and consciousness, there are also potential problems and difficulties experienced by those involved in the transnational moment. Despite the spatial and ideological emancipation that it seemingly provides, transnational migration is an inherently alienating process as migrants become socially liminal beings who are not only physically separated from their home country but socially isolated from the host society by ethnic marginalization and exclusion. Although this general social alienation produces an undifferentiated and egalitarian community among transmigrants in which pre-

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vious status distinctions recede, such liminal conditions can lead to various disorienting experiences, including loss of homeland, ethnic and socioeconomic unrootedness, solitude, and loss of meaning, all of which can result in various forms of psychological malaise. In addition to the negative effects of transnational dislocation and marginality, many migrants are also subjected to the self-estranging process of factory work, in which estranged labor and social isolation make workers unable to constitute themselves as objects of self-reflexivity both in their material and social production.Therefore, the liminality inherent in transnational migration alienates migrants not only from society but also from themselves through a partial loss of subjectivity. At the same time, however, transnational migration is an inherently contradictory process in which the socially alienating conditions it engenders can also enable migrants to overcome its negative effects. Because transnational social alienation produces an egalitarianism within the migrant community that enhances its cohesiveness, migrants are able to rely on that community for much-needed social support and shared cultural understandings that allow them to counter the alienating effects of social marginalization and the loss of meaning they experience in the host society. However, what will happen to Japanese Brazilians in the future as they become a permanent immigrant presence in Japanese society? Although most Nikkeijin come to Japan as temporary sojourners, the immigrant settlement process is already quite advanced, as many continue to prolong their stays while others have decided to remain in Japan indefinitely or even permanently (see Tsuda 1999b). Will those Brazilian Nikkeijin who remain in Japan eventually overcome their social alienation and marginalization and effectively incorporate themselves into mainstream Japanese society? Will they come to identify with Japan as the ethnic homeland, a place of social belonging and affiliation? Or will they remain permanently liminal beings who continue to remain socially alienated and ‘‘homeland-less’’ in Japan because of ethnocultural difference? According to Turner and van Gennep, liminality is only a transitional rite of passage that will eventually lead to reincorporation into the social structure under a new social status. However, it is quite evident that some immigrants never escape from their marginalized conditions and remain unable to incorporate themselves into the host society through cultural assimilation and social acceptance (Chavez 1991, 258–59).26 Although some of my Japanese Brazilian informants mentioned that they would seek to better integrate themselves in Japanese society were they to remain in Japan permanently, many of

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those who had actually decided to settle were not making any serious attempts to learn Japanese and adopt Japanese standards of behavior. Many of these individuals continued to insist on their separate Brazilian identity and on their cultural differences, thus ensuring their continued ethnic marginalization in Japan. Others felt that their Brazilian cultural differences were so ingrained that they would never disappear even if they attempted to assimilate in order to be accepted by Japanese society. ‘‘Even if I remained in Japan for the rest of my life, I would be unable to become culturally Japanese,’’ one of my roommates in Oizumi once remarked, echoing the sentiments of a number of his compatriots. ‘‘I just can’t change my Brazilian ways. The differences start with something as basic as the way we walk. It is simply impossible.’’ 27 As recent criticisms of earlier models of ethnic assimilation indicate, the adaptation of immigrant minorities is not always a unidirectional process that eventually leads to assimilation. Nor can it even be assumed that immigrants inevitably prolong their stays in the host society and eventually become permanent settlers. Many Brazilian Nikkeijin remain temporary migrants who return to Brazil in several years, while others have become repeat sojourners who circulate back and forth between Brazil and Japan. Using van Gennep’s terminology, migration is not always a transitional rite of passage that separates migrants from their home society in order to incorporate them into the host society. Most Japanese Brazilian immigrants remain in a permanent state of social liminality in which they are alienated from and marginalized in both societies. Therefore, they will not eventually identify with Japan as a homeland and come to feel that they truly belong in their country of ethnic origin. Instead, their homeland will continue to be Brazil, the country where they were born and raised, as well as socially accepted. However, while they will definitely remain ‘‘homeland-less’’ in Japan, they will by no means remain ‘‘homeless’’ in Japan. Home as simply a place of residence that feels secure and familiar must not be conflated with homeland, which involves social belonging and feelings of emotional attachment to a country of origin. Although Japan is no homeland for Brazilian Nikkeijin immigrants, it has become a home for many of them who have come to feel well situated and comfortable there. This is especially true for those who live in the ‘‘Little Brazils’’ of Japan, such as in Oizumi and Hamamatsu where they have constructed very cohesive, self-contained, and extensive Brazilian communities that somewhat resemble their Brazilian homeland. In fact, more than a few of my informants living in Oizumi remarked that they do not really feel like they are living in a foreign country since much of their daily interaction

154 • Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda

takes place among compatriots often in familiar settings reminiscent of Brazil, which enables them to maintain their former lifestyle to a certain extent. In this manner, these immigrant communities have literally become a ‘‘home away from homeland.’’ notes 1 This excludes the approximately 650,000 Korean-Japanese who are still registered in Japan as ‘‘foreigners.’’ Although 80 percent of them have been born and raised in Japan, they have not been granted Japanese citizenship and many have not naturalized. 2 In order to promote interethnic interaction and understanding in local communities, a number of local Japanese city governments and international exchange associations organize special events, festivals, and cultural activities that bring the Japanese and the foreign residents together. A number of Japanese Brazilians also belong to local Japanese Christian churches (although there are a good number of exclusively Nikkeijin congregations that have formed in Japan), and those with children in Japan participate in local school activities. 3 A mere 12.7 percent of the Nikkeijin live in apartment complexes in which the other residents are exclusively Japanese, while 33.6 percent live in apartments where more than 25 percent of the residents are also Nikkeijin (Kitagawa 1997). The proportion is higher in communities in which the Nikkeijin population is highly concentrated. 4 For other studies on the marginalization and alienation of migrants, see Horton 1996; Jongkind 1992; Kalekin-Fishman 1992; Portes and Rumbaut 1996, 157–59; and Stonequist (1937). 5 In a similar vein, Ong (1996, 738–39) observes that notions of cultural difference (instead of racial difference) are being increasingly employed in the ethnopolitical discourse in western Europe to marginalize immigrant or minority groups. 6 Although Turner (1969) found examples of liminality in rites of passage, religious monasteries, millenarian movements, and among hippies, he did not consider migration. However, others have analyzed the liminal nature of the migrant experience. For instance, Park (1928) portrayed immigrants as a hybrid personality type on the margins of two worlds. Chavez (1991) and Naficy (1993) have explicitly conceptualized migration as a transitional liminal period. 7 The only notable difference in salary is between men and women. Also, those who have remained at the same company for a longer period sometimes receive slightly higher wages. 8 Turner also notes that individuals who are in a state of ritual liminality wear minimal and simple clothing (or no clothing at all) as an indication of the lack of rank, role, and status.

Homeland-less Abroad • 155 9 Some Nikkeijin are housed in dormitory rooms. Others are placed in standard Japanese apartments where normally four Nikkeijin would share two very cramped hachijyoma rooms (the size of eight tatami mats) with a small kitchen and bathroom. 10 In Toyama there were few jobs and tasks that required physical strength and therefore both men and women did similar work. In factories (such as in the auto industry) where jobs require more physical exertion, mostly male Nikkeijin workers are employed. 11 Turner (1969, 102) also notes the lack of sexual differentiation among initiates undergoing liminal rites of passage.The reduction of gender inequality is especially notable among migrants who come from patriarchal societies in which women remain domestic housewives who earn no income and are socially subordinate to the husband. 12 In fact, only two employers I spoke with took the educational and occupational background of Nikkeijin job applicants into consideration. One employer assigned those of higher educational level to more complicated jobs involving computers. The other employer felt that better-educated Nikkeijin were more responsible and diligent as workers, but still did not place much emphasis on such differences. 13 Among these various factors, Japanese language ability was probably the most crucial. Not only were those who spoke Japanese preferred by employers, they were also given opportunities to become tantosha (supervisors for Japanese Brazilian workers in the factories) or to work in company offices as Nikkeijin liaisons and translators at higher pay levels. 14 In terms of the last criterion, some employers are predisposed against Japanese Brazilians who have changed jobs frequently in the past, the assumption being that such individuals are less reliable and responsible, tend to be potential troublemakers, and are most likely to quickly quit their jobs again. 15 For instance, this also occurs among Turkish guest-workers in Germany who come from varying ethnic backgrounds in their homelands (Mandel 1989). 16 In a similar vein, Park (1928) also emphasizes the positive aspects of liminality. He argues that migration produces marginal individuals (a hybrid personality of two worlds) who are emancipated from the inhibiting constraints of custom and tradition and are able to become enlightened cosmopolitans. 17 SeeTsuda 2001 for a historical analysis of the ethnic status of the Japanese Brazilians in Brazil. 18 However, Malzberg (1969) notes that if differences in sociodemographic characteristics between native-born and immigrant populations (such as age, sex, urban/ rural distribution, and socioeconomic status) are considered, the rates of mental illness are not very different (according to statistics from New York State) (Portes and Rumbaut 1996, 162, 166). 19 Although mental illness is relatively rare among the Japanese Brazilians in Japan, the issue has received rather prominent coverage in Portuguese newspapers in Japan.

156 • Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda 20 This ‘‘imaginary-friend syndrome’’ is mentioned by Nakagawa (1994) and has also been described in Nikkeijin Portuguese newspapers in Japan. 21 However, Obeyesekere (1981) warns against a simplistic dichotimization between private and public symbols, because individuals give meaning and expression to even intensely personal and subjective psychic experiences and disturbances by using collectively held cultural forms (public symbols). 22 See De Vos (1973, chap. 17) for an analysis of this type of suicide. 23 Most Japanese Brazilians end up reacting against Japanese society and adopting a nationalist Brazilian ethnic identity in Japan, which replaces their previous ‘‘Japanese’’ ethnic identity (see Tsuda 1999c). 24 The connection between mental illness and solitude among Nikkeijin migrants is also mentioned in an International Press article (12 February 1995, sec. A, p. 7) in which a Japanese psychiatrist, who treats Nikkeijin patients, mentions that living with a group of people who share the same language and culture in Japan is critical for the mental health of the Japanese Brazilians. 25 Among those in my interview sample, only 30 percent were without their families in Japan. 26 Permanent liminality is a phenomenon that even Turner (1974, 233) seems to have acknowledged. 27 The only ones who will eventually fully incorporate themselves into Japanese society are the children of current Japanese Brazilian immigrants.These children are facing strong cultural pressures in Japanese schools and those who migrate to Japan with their parents at a young age are becoming completely assimilated, at the level of both culture and self-consciousness. They will eventually be fully accepted as Japanese and disappear into mainstream Japanese society, in which case Japan will become the only homeland with which they truly identify.

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Homeland-less Abroad • 157 De Vos, George A. 1973. Socialization for Achievement: Essays on the Cultural Psychology of the Japanese. Berkeley: University of California Press. Durkheim, Emile. 1951. Suicide: A Study in Sociology. Translated by John A. Spaulding and George Simpson. New York: Free Press. Foner, Nancy. 1997. What’s New about Transnationalism? New York Immigrants Today and at the Turn of the Century. Diaspora 6, no. 3: 355–75. Fromm, Erich. 1971.Work in an Alienated Society. In Racism: A Casebook, edited by David J. Burrows and Frederick R. Lapides, 63–86. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. Geyer, Felix, ed. 1996. Alienation, Ethnicity, and Postmodernism. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. Geyer, Felix, and Walter R. Heinz, eds. 1992. Alienation, Society, and the Individual: Continuity and Change in Theory and Research. New Brunswick, Maine: Transaction Publishers. Giddens, Anthony. 1979. Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure, and Contradiction in Social Analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press. Glick Schiller, Nina, and Georges Eugene Fouron. 1990. Everywhere We Go, We Are in Danger: Ti Manno and the Emergence of a Haitian Transnational Identity. American Ethnologist 17, no. 2: 329–47. Glick Schiller, Nina, Linda Basch, and Cristina Szanton Blanc. 1995. From Immigrant to Transmigrant: Theorizing Transnational Migration. Anthropological Quarterly 68, no. 1: 48–63. Gonzalez, Nancie L., and Carolyn S. McCommon, eds. 1989. Conflict, Migration, and the Expression of Ethnicity. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. Grasmuck, Sherri, and Patricia R. Pessar. 1991. Between Two Islands: Dominican International Migration. Berkeley: University of California Press. Guarnizo, Luis Eduardo. 1997. The Emergence of a Transnational Social Formation and the Mirage of Return Migration among Dominican Transmigrants. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 4, no. 2: 281–322. Guarnizo, Luis Eduardo, and Michael Peter Smith. 1998. The Locations of Transnationalism. In Transnationalism from Below, edited by Michael Peter Smith and Luis Eduardo Guarnizo, 3–34. Volume 6 of Comparative Urban and Community Research. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Horton, John. 1996. Immigration, Alienation, and Political Change: A Positive Case from Los Angeles. In Alienation, Ethnicity, and Postmodernism, edited by Felix Geyer, 65–78. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. Ishi, Angelo A. 1992. Burajiru Nikkei Dekasegi Rodosha to Nihon no Shinzoku [Brazilian Nikkei dekasegi workers and Japanese relatives]. Mare Nostrum 5: 69–72. . 1994. Quem é Quem no Tribunal da Discriminação [Who is who in the tribunal of discrimination]. In A Quebra dos Mitos: O Fenômeno Dekassegui através de Relatos Pessoais [The breaking of myths: The dekasegi phenomenon through personal accounts], edited by Charles Tetsuo Chigusa, 35–51. Atsugi-shi, Japan: International Press Corporation.

158 • Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda Japan Statistics Research Institute. 1993. Tokei Kenkyū Sanko Shiryo no.38: Nikkei Burajirujin Shuro/Seikatsu Jittai Chosa [Statistical research reference: Survey of Brazilian Nikkeijin employment and living conditions]. Tokyo: Nihon Tokei Kenkyujo. jica. 1992. Nikkeijin Honpo Shuro Jittai Chosa Hokokusho [Report on the surveyof the Nikkeijin working in our country]. Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Association. Jongkind, Fred. 1992. Ethnic Identity, Societal Integration, and Migrants’ Alienation: State Policy and Academic Research in the Netherlands. Ethnic and Racial Studies 15, no. 3: 365–80. Kalekin-Fishman, Devorah. 1992. Systems, Situations, and the Individual: An Integrated View of Alienation as Related to Migrants. In Alienation, Society, and the Individual: Continuity and Change in Theory and Research, edited by Felix Geyer and Walter R. Heinz, 75–89. New Brunswick, Maine: Transaction Publishers. Kearney, Michael. 1991. Borders and Boundaries of State and Self at the End of Empire. Journal of Historical Sociology 4 no. 1: 52–74. Kitagawa, Toyoie. 1992. Gunma-ken Oizumi-machi ni Okeru Nikkeijin Rodosha Hiaringu Chosa: Eijyuka Shikou to Ukeire Kibanseibi [Survey hearing of Nikkeijin workers in Gunma-ken, Oizumi-machi: The intention to become permanent and the fundamental framework for their acceptance]. In Hito no Kokusaika ni Kansuru Sogoteki Kenkyū: Tokuni Gaikokujin Rodosha ni Kansuru Chosa Kenkyū o Chushin ni [General survey on the internationalization of people: Especially focusing on the survey research about foreign workers], 89–154. Tokyo: Tokyo University. . 1993. Hamamatsu-shi ni Okeru Gaikokujin no Seikatsu Jittai/Ishiki Chosa: Nikkei Burajiru/Perujin o Chushin ni [Survey of living conditions and consciousness of foreigners in Hamamatsu City: Focusing on Nikkei-Brazilians and Peruvians]. Hamamatsu: Hamamatsu Planning Section/International Exchange Office. . 1996. Hamamatsushi ni Okeru Nikkei Burajirujin no Seikatsu Kozo to Ishiki: Nippaku Ryokoku Chosa o Fumaete [The lives and consciousness of the Brazilian Nikkeijin in Hamamatsu City: Based on surveys in both Japan and Brazil]. Toyo Daigaku Shakai Gakubu Kiyo 34, no. 1: 109–96. . 1997. Burajiru-taun no Keisei to Deasupora: Nikkei Burajirujin no Teijyuka ni Kansuru Nananen Keizoku Oizumi-machi Chosa [Diaspora and the formation of Brazil-town: A continuing seven-year Oizumi-town survey about the settlement of Brazilian Nikkeijin]. Toyo Daigaku Shakai Gakubu Kiyo 34, no. 3: 66–173. Kondo, Dorinne K. 1990. Crafting Selves: Power, Gender, and Discourses of Identity in a Japanese Workplace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lamphere, Louise. 1992. Introduction: The Shaping of Diversity. In Structuring Diversity: Ethnographic Perspectives on the New Immigration, edited by Louise Lamphere, 1–34. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Malkki, Lisa. 1992. National Geographic: The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorialization of National Identity among Scholars and Refugees. Cultural Anthropology 7, no. 1: 24–62.

Homeland-less Abroad • 159 Malzberg, Benjamin. 1969. Are Immigrants Psychologically Disturbed? In Changing Perspectives in Mental Illness, edited by Stanley C. Plog and Robert B. Edgerton, 394–421. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. Mandel, Ruth. 1989. Ethnicity and Identity among Migrant Guestworkers in West Berlin. In Conflict, Migration, and the Expression of Ethnicity, edited by Nancie L. Gonzalez and Carolyn S. McCommon, 60–74. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. Margolis, Maxine L. 1994. Little Brazil: An Ethnography of Brazilian Immigrants in New York City. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Marx, Karl. 1978 [1844]. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. In The MarxEngels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 67–125. New York: W.W. Norton. . 1978 [1845]. Alienation and Social Classes. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 133–35. New York: W. W. Norton. . 1978 [1849]. Wage, Labor, and Capital. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 203–17. New York: W. W. Norton. . 1978 [1867]. Capital. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 294– 438. New York: W. W. Norton. . 1978 [1932].The German Ideology. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, 147–200. New York: W. W. Norton. Massey, Douglas S., Rafael Alarcón, Jorge Durand, and Humberto Gonzalez. 1987. Return to Aztlán: The Social Process of International Migration from Western Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press. Mead, George Herbert. 1977 [1956]. Self. In George Herbert Mead: On Social Psychology, edited by Anselm Strauss, 199–246. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. McKeown, Adam. 1999. Conceptualizing Chinese Diasporas, 1842 to 1949. Journal of Asian Studies 58, no. 2: 306–37. Mintz, Sidney. 1998. The Localization of Anthropological Practice: From Area Studies to Transnationalism. Critique of Anthropology 18, no. 2: 117–33. Mori, Koichi. 1992. Burajiru kara no Nikkeijin ‘‘Dekasegi’’ no Suii [Changes in the Nikkeijin Dekasegi from Brazil]. Ijyu Kenkyu 29: 144–64. Naficy, Hamid. 1991. The Poetics and Practice of Iranian Nostalgia in Exile. Diaspora 1, no. 3: 285–302. Obeyesekere, Gananath. 1981. Medusa’s Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ong, Aihwa. 1996. Cultural Citizenship as Subject-Making: Immigrants Negotiate Racial and Cultural Boundaries in the United States. Current Anthropology 37, no. 5: 737–62. . 1999. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Park, Robert E. 1928. Human Migration and the Marginal Man. American Journal of Sociology 33, no. 6: 881–93.

160 • Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda Piore, Michael J. 1979. Birds of Passage: Migrant Labor and Industrial Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Plog, Stanley C., and Robert B. Edgerton, eds. 1969. Changing Perspectives in Mental Illness. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. Portes, Alejandro, and Robert L. Bach. 1985. Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press. Portes, Alejandro, and Rubén G. Rumbaut. 1996. Immigrant America: A Portrait. Berkeley: University of California Press. Rouse, Roger. 1991. Mexican Migration and the Social Space of Postmodernism. Diaspora 1, no. 1: 8–23. São Paulo Humanities Research Center. 1987–1988. Burajiru ni Okeru Nikkeijin Jinko Chosa Hokokusho [Population survey report about Nikkeijin in Brazil]. São Paulo: Sanpauro Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyujo. Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1992. Death without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press. Smith, Michael Peter, and Luis Eduardo Guarnizo, eds. 1998. Transnationalism from Below. Volume 6 of Comparative Urban and Community Research. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Stonequist, Everett V. 1937. The Marginal Man: A Study in Personality and Culture Conflict. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons. Strauss, Anselm. 1977. George Herbert Mead: On Social Psychology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tsuda, Takeyuki. 1998a. Ethnicity and the Anthropologist: Negotiating Identities in the Field. Anthropological Quarterly 71, no. 3: 107–24. . 1998b. The Stigma of Ethnic Difference: The Structure of Prejudice and ‘‘Discrimination’’ toward Japan’s New Immigrant Minority. Journal of Japanese Studies 24, no. 2: 317–59. . 1999a. The Motivation to Migrate: The Ethnic and Sociocultural Constitution of the Japanese-Brazilian Return Migration System. Economic Development and Cultural Change 48, no. 1: 1–31. . 1999b. The Permanence of ‘‘Temporary’’ Migration: The ‘‘Structural Embeddedness’’ of Japanese-Brazilian Migrant Workers in Japan. Journal of Asian Studies 58, no. 3: 687–722. . 1999c. Transnational Migration and the Nationalization of Ethnic Identity among Japanese-Brazilian Return Migrants. Ethos 27, no. 2: 145–79. . 2000. ‘‘Acting Brazilian’’ in Japan: Performative Rituals as Ethnic Resistance among Japanese-Brazilian Return Migrants. Ethnology 39, no. 1: 55–71. . 2001. When Identities Become Modern: Japanese Immigrants in Brazil and the Global Contextualization of Identity. Ethnic and Racial Studies 24, no. 3: 412–32. Tucker, Robert C., ed. 1978. The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: W. W. Norton.

Homeland-less Abroad • 161 Turner, Victor. 1967. The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. . 1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. . 1974. Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. van Gennep, Arnold. 1960. The Rites of Passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Yoshino, Kosaku. 1992. Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan: A Sociological Enquiry. London: Routledge.

keiko yamanaka •••••

Feminization of Japanese Brazilian Labor Migration to Japan •••

In January 1998, on a Sunday afternoon in Hong Kong, I witnessed tens of thousands of Filipina housemaids congregated in parks, on sidewalks, and between buildings, celebrating their day off. Clustered in every possible space, they sat on plastic sheets to spend hours picnicking, chatting with friends, and exchanging letters and photos from home. It was a scene both astonishing and saddening. These foreign women are temporary workers on contract, serving Hong Kong’s middle-class households as live-in maids who cook meals, clean houses, and tend children for their employers. In exchange they receive wages that are beyond reach in their home country. The personal costs of this work in the alien environment are, however, heavy. As Nicole Constable (1997) reports in her ethnographic study of these immigrant women, lack of personal freedom, exacerbated by separation for extended periods of time from their own families, is demoralizing. The sight of the Filipina maids in Hong Kong struck me at oncewith its sharp contrast to the situation, familiar to me, of Japanese Brazilian women in Japan employed in factories, living as they do with their families in small but comfortable apartments.1 Like the Filipinas in Hong Kong, they are of third-world origin, having migrated to a first-world country where they provide cheap and expendable contract labor. Unlike the Filipinas in Hong Kong, however, they are immigrants with ancestral ties to the host country and are therefore entitled by law to live and work in Japan with their families. That being the case, it remains to be explained why Nikkeijin women in Japan are factory workers accompanied by their families, whereas Filipinas in Hong Kong are housemaids who have left their families behind.

164 • Keiko Yamanaka

What follows is a case study of the feminization of Japanese Brazilian labor migration to Japan in the context of female migration throughout the AsiaPacific in the 1990s.Underlying the entire analysis is the fact that Japan’s immigration policy prohibits employment of unskilled foreigners which, at the peak of the economic boom in 1990, prompted the government to admit Nikkeijin and their families as legal residents—because they were not regarded as entirely foreign—for up to three years. As a result, by 1996 some 200,000 of these return migrants, 40 percent of them females, had arrived from Brazil, as well as smaller numbers from other Latin American countries. Most of them obtained work in small- to middle-scale manufacturing industries. feminization of regional migration in the asia-pacific Migration Patterns By the mid-1990s the Asia-Pacific, with a migrant population estimated at more than five million, had become one of the most active sites of international labor migration in the world (Yamanaka 1999). This was due to its rapidly developing economy and the increasing regional integration that resulted in growing economic disparity between a few rich countries and their many poor neighbors. The five developed countries with mature economies—Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore—currently import labor, whereas the two countries that developed most recently—Malaysia and Thailand—import labor and simultaneously export surplus labor. Most neighbors of these seven labor importers in East, Southeast, and South Asia suffer from stagnant economies and large populations, and therefore export surplus unskilled labor, while importing none. The seven labor-importing countries differ significantly from one another in the histories of their nation-states, levels of industrialization, demographic profiles, and ethnic relations. Immigration policies and enforcement mechanisms differ accordingly (Yamanaka 1999). Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan import unskilled labor through an officially sanctioned front-door policy comprising a number of state-run contract worker programs promulgated to benefit labor short industries. Malaysia and Thailand also admit unskilled foreigners on legal contract, but their porous national borders comprise a ‘‘loose door’’ through which a much larger number of foreigners enter unnoticed. In contrast, Japan and Korea officially prohibit unskilled foreigners from being employed, while admitting them through covert back-door practices contrived to facilitate their entry when they are needed. These contrasting immigra-

Feminization of Labor • 165

tion policies and practices have resulted in patterns of immigration that vary by industry, occupation, legal status, visa category, nationality, ethnicity, and gender. During the 1980s economic restructuring accelerated in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, as a result of which dependence on foreign labor in manufacturing industries declined. Meanwhile, the demand for female domestic helpers grew considerably, as an increasing number of middle-class women entered the labor force. Consequently, gender emerged as a critical factor shaping the demographic and occupational profiles of their foreign labor forces (Shah et al. 1991; Filipino Migrant Workers 1994; Cheng 1996; Lim and Oishi 1996; Wong 1996; Yeoh et al. 1999). Table 1 shows occupation and immigration characteristics of legal female immigrant workers in five labor-importing countries: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Japan. In the 1980s Hong Kong moved much of its production to southern China where abundant, inexpensive migrant labor was available, while the foreign maid population increased within the colony. By the mid-1990s Hong Kong employed more than 152,000 foreign maids, mostly from the Philippines, accounting for 76 percent of its entire immigrant population. The remaining 24 percent were mostly male workers engaged in large construction projects. Likewise, in Singapore during the same period, there were 81,000 female domestics accounting for 23 percent of the migrant workforce. Taiwan employed some 17,000 foreign women in both private homes and convalescent hospitals, which constituted 10 percent of all contract laborers in the country. Malaysia harbored about 100,000 female migrants working as domestics on contract, mostly from Indonesia, accounting for 14 percent of the legal migrant population. Moreover, Malaysia and neighboring Thailand hosted a large but unknown number of illegal migrants from Myanmar, Indonesia, and other nearby nations (Pillai 1995; Sussangkarn 1995). In both countries, females, most of them engaged in domestic service, sex industries, and other components of the informal economy, comprised a substantial proportion of the illegal, undocumented population (Hugo 1993; Stern 1996; Asia Watch 1993). Despite growing public and international concern for their health and human rights, accurate information is not yet available, nor have effective public policies addressed the dire needs of immigrant women working under substandard conditions in Southeast Asia. The fact that Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan admit large numbers of foreign women as domestic helpers for household employment, while Japan and Korea admit none, is a result of the official policy adopted by the latter

Domestic Helper

Domestic Helper

Domestic Helper/ Nursing Worker

Domestic Helper

Factory Worker

Entertainer

Convalescent Attendant

Singapore

Taiwan

Malaysia

Japan

Japan

Japan

Major Occupation

Hong Kong

Country

Long-term Resident (Nikkeijin)

Unavailable

,

, (,)

, ( ,)

 , ( ,)

, (,)

, (,)

Number of Females (total N of immigrants)

Short-term Resident

Long-term Resident (Nikkeijin)

Contract Worker

Contract Worker

Contract Worker

Contract Worker

Immigration Status

Brazil

Philippines ( %), Russia (%), Korea ( %), other

Brazil (%), Peru (%), Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina

Indonesia ( %), Philippines (%), Thailand, other

Philippines (%), Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia

Philippines ( %), Sri Lanka (%), Indonesia (%), other

Philippines (%), Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, other

Country of Origin (% of the total)

table 1. Legal Female Immigrant Workers in the Mid-1990s: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and Japan

Yamanaka ( )

Japanese Ministry of Justice ()

Japan Immigration Association ()

Pillai ()

Tsay ()

Wong ( )

Cheng ( ), Levin and Chiu ()

Source of Information

Feminization of Labor • 167

two countries excluding unskilled foreign labor regardless of sex. Nonetheless, a large number of unskilled workers enter through various back-door practices. For instance, 32,000 female entertainers arrived in Japan in 1997 as ‘‘skilled’’ performers, the majority of whom were Filipinas working as bar hostesses (Yamanaka 1993; Japanese Ministry of Justice 1998). Japan was also home to an estimated 300,000 foreigners who had entered the country with valid visas (tourist, student, or other) and had illegally overstayed them to work in the unskilled sector (Morita and Sassen 1994; Lie 1994; Sellek 1994; Yamanaka 2000a). Governmental statistics estimated that 40 percent of those illegal workers were females employed in service and manufacturing industries, of which the majority were assumed to work in the sex industry (Japanese Ministry of Justice 1996). Likewise, by the mid-1990s Korea hosted an estimated 130,000 illegal visaoverstayers toiling in manufacturing and construction industries (Lee 1997; Park 1998; Kim 1999; Lim 1999). Studies have found that nearly 40 percent of illegal workers in Korea are females engaged in textile, clothing, and other manufacturing industries (Park 1993; Park 1994).Yet, little is reported in the literature about employment and working conditions of these immigrant women in Korea. Japanese Brazilian Women in Japan In June 1990, at the height of its economic expansion, Japan opened a major back door, contravening the policy prohibiting foreign unskilled labor, when it implemented the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law (hereafter ‘‘the 1990 Revised Immigration Law’’) that defined immigrants of Japanese descent as long-term residents. This new ethnic category allowed people of documented Japanese ancestry up to the third generation, regardless of nationality, to stay three years in Japan with no restriction on their socioeconomic activities (Yamanaka 1996). Spouses and children of these Nikkeijin were also permitted to stay, usually up to one year. Visas of both the Nikkeijin and their families in this category could be easily renewed, as a result of which many of the immigrants remained beyond the initially designated periods. This liberal policy and the strong demand for labor in manufacturing industries encouraged the immigration of the 200,000 Brazilian Nikkeijin, including their families, who had arrived by 1996 to settle in major manufacturing cities throughout the country, of which Hamamatsu is a good example. From the beginning of this migration boom, the population included a high proportion of females. In 1990, the year the law changed, 21,145 registered Bra-

168 • Keiko Yamanaka

zilians in Japan were female, comprising 37.5 percent of the 56,429 total. By 1996 this had increased to 86,760 or 43.0 percent of a total of 201,795 (Yamanaka 1996, 79–82). The estimated 80,000 working-age Brazilian women, most of them engaged in factory labor, form the largest group of females of a single nationality in Japan’s population of immigrants who arrived in the 1980s and 1990s. As a result, by the mid-1990s these Brazilian assembly-line workers also constituted the largest female immigrant occupational group in the workforce. The pattern of utilization of female immigrant labor in Japan (and Korea) that excludes domestic service, differs sharply from that of other laborimporting Asian countries in that all others utilize their women workers primarily in domestic service. Why does Japan import factory women from South America, but not housemaids from Asia? Why does Japan limit passage through its door to Nikkeijin? International migration theory predicts that the presence of a critical mass of women in an immigrant population, as contrasted with an overwhelmingly male immigrant population, will have significant consequences for both the immigrant community and the receiving society (see Morokvasic 1984). Therefore, it is necessary to examine the nature of these consequences of the large percentage of women in the newly arrived Nikkeijin population of Japan: what are the roles played by Nikkeijin women in the settlement process in their ancestral homeland? What has been the long-range impact of this large percentage of women in the Nikkeijin community and in the local Japanese community? gender, ethnicity, and class in regional migration Gendered and Racialized Process Castles (1984, 12) defines the guest-worker system as ‘‘institutionalized discrimination, designed to recruit and control temporary migrant workers’’ of foreign origin. Under this system, all migrants, both female and male, are subject to discriminatory labor practices and oppressive policies because of their class and ethnicity. Immigrant women, however, face problems, and therefore require solutions, unique to their gender and sex. Gender-specific problems are particularly serious in the Asia-Pacific where most females are employed in a narrow range of reproductive labor, including housemaid, entertainer, and sex worker (Truong 1996). Feminist theory attributes this skewed distribution of occupations among female immigrants to existing gender relations of patriarchal capitalism that

Feminization of Labor • 169

divide the two sexes into reproductive tasks for women and productive tasks for men (Tyner 1999). From early childhood, girls and boys learn socioeconomic roles specific to their sexes—girls to be homemakers and boys to be breadwinners. Girls are socialized to become family caregivers and sex objects with few opportunities to develop other marketable skills. This results in the subordinate position of girls and women in households and labor markets at all levels: local, national, and international. Imbued with patriarchal gender ideologies, agencies of labor exchange practice discriminatory recruitment against female applicants. Women have little choice but to conform to the expectations for their sex by becoming domestic workers, sex workers, and manual laborers at low wages and with low prestige in the host country. The emerging feminization of migration in the Asia-Pacific is, therefore, a socially constituted process of regional labor exchange participated in, and negotiated by, many parties, including the migration industry, state policymakers, employers, migrants’ families, and the migrants themselves (Tyner 1999, 673). From its onset, this gendering of migration is a racialized process as well, linking the local sexual division of labor by gender, ethnicity, and class with the international division of labor by ethnicity and nationality—colloquially, ‘‘race’’—between labor-importing countries and labor-exporting countries (Nash and Fernández-Kelly 1983; Ward 1990). Colonialism, imperialism in the Asia-Pacific, and global capitalism have historically shaped the international division of labor in trade and production between core and periphery (Lim 1983). In the 1960s and 1970s Japanese, American, and European multinational corporations relocated their production sites to take full advantage of the abundant and inexpensive supplies of natural and human resources in their peripheral sectors, including nations then rapidly industrializing—Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea (Wallerstein 1982; Martin et al. 1995; oecd 1998). As the latter nations successfully upgraded their production from labor-intensive to capital-intensive to become the core sectors of their regions in the 1980s, they also exported labor-intensive production to their peripheral sectors, namely to those countries that today are industrializing rapidly— Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, and Vietnam. In all of these countries that have engaged in labor-intensive, exportoriented production, young, rural females comprise a large proportion of the local workforce that mass-produces a variety of goods from textiles, garments, and shoes to electronics. Since the 1970s anthropological and sociological literature has amply documented the economic and social roles of female workers in the growing international division of labor in Asian countries (Kung 1983;

170 • Keiko Yamanaka

Heyzer 1986; Ong 1987; Lo 1990; Wolf 1992; Brinton 1993; Roberts 1994). Clearly, female workers from rural, ‘‘peripheral,’’ or third-world areas are triply vulnerable because of their gender, class, and ethnicity, and are subject to exploitation as inexpensive, disposable, and tractable labor in the process of capitalist expansion. Class, Gender, Sex, and the State By the late 1980s full employment, rising living standards, and rapidly aging populations forced Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia to seek foreign workers for labor-short occupations and industries shunned by local workers. In the meantime, the capital-intensive and information-based economy that increasingly characterized these countries in the 1990s required a large number of highly trained personnel in a wide range of professions, to which young, educated women have been drawn in large numbers.2 As these women faced conflict between employment and household tasks, they delegated the latter to foreign housemaids.The transfer of foreign women from the ‘‘periphery’’ (e.g., the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and others) to work in reproductive labor in the ‘‘core’’ (e.g., Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia) has enabled middle-class women in the core to enter the skilled and professional labor force, moving up the occupational ladder. Labor-importing governments have been willing to administer contract labor programs in order to satisfy the middle-class demand for foreign housemaids (see Chin 1998). Such public policy suggests an ideological agreement between these governments and their householders to maintain the existing sexual division of labor. By allowing massive deployment of foreign maids in private homes, labor-importing governments have avoided a divisive societywide debate over gender equity, while individual couples have avoided confronting the question of sharing household and childcare tasks between the sexes (Huang and Yeoh 1998). The proliferation of third-world domestics in a few rich Asian countries in the 1990s is therefore a consequence of three confluent forces in the region: rapid economic expansion, patriarchal gender ideology, and relaxed immigration policies. In addition to the problems associated with their sex, ethnicity, and class, foreign domestics face problems inherent in their occupation.Working and residing in private homes, live-in maids increase the risk of suffering violations of contract terms and abuses by employers and family members (Cox 1997; Shah and Menon 1997; Yeoh et al. 1999). Because hiring legal migrant workers is expensive, incurring not only their salaries but also large financial levies, secu-

Feminization of Labor • 171

rity bonds, and other fees required by law, employers are motivated to illegally undercut wages, require long working hours, and demand that more tasks be done than was initially agreed (Yeoh et al. 1999; Wong 1996; Constable 1997). If a migrant woman is unwilling to comply with her employer’s demands, emotional, physical, and even sexual assaults may be used against her to enforce compliance (Constable 1997). Moreover, the receiving state often regards immigrant women’s childbearing capability as a threat to the integrity of national boundaries and to ethnic homogeneity. Governments usually adopt strict exclusionary policies by which unskilled migrants are prohibited from obtaining social welfare services, establishing permanent residence or citizenship, and integrating socially with the local population (Wong 1997). Migrants are thus prevented from reuniting with their families in the host country and from marrying citizens or permanent residents of the host society. In an extreme form of control of female bodies, some states require immigrant women to take periodic pregnancy tests and to leave the country immediately if they become pregnant (ibid., 161). changing patterns of japanese women’s employment Like other Asian women, Japanese women have contributed significantly to the economic development of their country from the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 1880s to the ‘‘economic miracle’’ in the 1960s (Nishinarita 1985; Brinton 1993). During the 1950s massive waves of rural-to-urban migration brought hundreds of thousands of girls and boys to the rapidly developing industrial zones on the Pacific Coast following their junior high school graduation. Girls worked as assembly-line operators until they married, while boys became skilled laborers remaining in the stable—essentially lifetime—labor force (Nakamura 1993; Roberts 1994). By the early 1960s full employment and rising wages in the service sector began to shrink the pool of young women willing to work in factories, while completely doing away with those who once supplied domestic service to middle-class households. The rapid spread of electrical appliances drastically reduced manual tasks in most households, virtually eliminating employment of housemaids (Shiota 1994). Facing looming labor shortages, Japanese manufacturing firms vigorously pursued heavy mechanization to cut redundant labor while recruiting new sources of laborelsewhere (Reubens 1982).This was accomplished in twoways. Outside the country, many firms relocated production to export-processing

172 • Keiko Yamanaka

zones in other Asian countries where local young women supplied abundant, cheap, and docile labor (Kitamura 1992, 62–68). Within Japan, many firms moved factories from urban centers to semi-urban and then to rural areas where they could tap a reservoir of middle-aged women during the nonharvesting season (Iyotani 1996). To help firms short of labor, the Japanese government encouraged women and the elderly to participate in the workforce (Japanese Ministry of Labor 1991; Goto 1993). The calls for labor, however, met only limited success within the country. By the mid-1980s many firms found themselves left with too few workers, even females or the elderly, to support the kinds of industrial production that could not be exported elsewhere. Statistics on Japanese women’s economic activities clearly demonstrate the stagnant labor supply in manufacturing industries between 1965 and 1990. In 1965, 30.7 percent of women in the workforce engaged in primary industries (e.g., agriculture, fisheries, and forestry), while 41.4 percent were in service industries and 22.4 percent in manufacturing industries (see table 2a). By 1990 the equivalent percentages had changed to 8.5 for the primary industries and 60.1 for service industries, but the percentage for the manufacturing industry remained virtually unchanged at 23.5. In the same period, the occupational distribution of women also showed drastic changes: female farm labor dropped from 29.9 to 8.4 percent and service workers increased from 39.8 to 53.4 percent (see table 2b). However, the women’s share remained almost constant for production workers, increasing only from 20.3 to 20.9 percent. During the same decades proportions of skilled female workers doubled from 5.1 to 11.4 percent and among managerial workers, from 0.3 to 0.7 percent. The last statistic demonstrates the steady but very slow growth in female professionals and corporate managers in Japan. Despite significant changes in the distribution of industrial employment and occupations among Japanese women, their labor-force participation rates have shown little change in recent years. According to published data, by 1970 82 percent of Japanese female students advanced to senior high school rather than entering the labor force. Among all females fifteen years of age and over, 49.9 percent were in the labor force, accounting for 39.3 percent of the national labor force ( Japan Almanac 1999 1998, 248; Japanese Ministry of Labor 1995, 345–47). By 1990 female students’ enrollment in senior high school had reached 94 percent, while rates of female representation in the labor force remained at about the 1970 level—50.1 percent, accounting for 40.6 percent of the national workforce. Breakdown of the statistics for 1990 by age shows that for women who are between twenty and fifty-four years of age, the labor-force

Feminization of Labor • 173 table 2. Japanese Female Workers by Industry and Occupation, 1965–1990 a. Industry

Year

Agriculture, Sales, Service, Fishing, Mining Finance Number % %

Manufacturing %

Other* %

 

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b. Occupation Clerical, Craft, Sales, Service, Operative, Mining, Transport Construction Professional Managerial Laborer % % % % %

Year

Number

Agriculture, Fishing %

 

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* Other is the total of those industries in electricity, gas, heat, and water supply; transport and communication; government; and not elsewhere classified. Source: Government of Japan (1998, 84–85).

participation rate peaks at 75.1 percent among those aged twenty to twentyfour (Japanese Ministry of Labor 1995; see figure 1). This rate drops to 61.4 percent for the twenty-five to twenty-nine age bracket (which is the period of average age at marriage and childbearing) and further to 51.7 percent for the thirty to thirty-four age bracket (child rearing ages). Then it rises to 62.6 percent and 69.1 percent for brackets thirty-five to thirty-nine and forty to fiftyfour, respectively.

Ages 15–19

Ages 25–29

Ages 20–24

80

80

80

70

70 60

60

50

50

50

40

40

40

30

30

30

20

20

20

10 0

10 0

10 0

60

1970 1980 1990

Ages 30–34

70

1970 1980 1990

Ages 35–39

Ages 40–54

80

80

80

70

70

70

60

60

60

50

50

50

40

40

40

30

30

30

20

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20

10

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10

0

1970 1980 1990

0

Ages 55–59

1970 1980 1990

0

80

70

70

70

60

60

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50

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50

40

40

40

30

30

30

20

20

20

10

10

10

0

0

80

1970 1980 1990

0

figure 1. Female Labor Force Participation Rates in Japan, 1970–1990 (by percentage)

1970 1980 1990

Ages 65+

Ages 60–64

80

1970 1980 1990

1970 1980 1990

1970 1980 1990

Feminization of Labor • 175

In sum, these statistics verify the labor shortages widely reported by Japanese manufacturing firms in the mid-1980s. They show that (1) Japanese women’s labor-force participation has reached its highest level ever, leaving little room for further increase under the existing institutions of family, labor, and technology; (2) employed women have been drawn massively to the service industries and occupations, as a result of which the percentage of the female workforce engaged in manual jobs in the manufacturing industries has remained unchanged during the twenty-five years from 1965 to 1990; (3) despite increased levels of education and sweeping technological changes, Japanese women have experienced very little professional and organizational mobility during the same decades. This last point contrasts sharply with the occupational mobility achieved by educated women during two decades of ‘‘economic miracles’’ in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia, where large numbers of foreign maids are imported to provide domestic service for middle-class households, freeing their women to pursue other occupations. japan’s ‘‘back-door’’ immigration policy Legal Nikkeijin By 1988 the ‘‘foreign-worker problem’’ in Japan had become a national concern. The numbers of foreigners arrested for illegal labor, most of them from Asia, increased while many factories went bankrupt when they failed to recruit sufficient workers. In that year the number of male arrestees reached 8,929, exceeding for the first time that of female arrestees (5,385). Until then, female entertainers, mostly Filipinas, comprised the major unskilled foreign labor force, outnumbering all others arrested for illegal employment (Morita and Sassen 1994; Ito 1992). After 1988, there was a rapid increase in male arrivals from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia, and China in response to a rising demand for unskilled labor in manufacturing, construction, and service industries (Morita and Sassen 1994, 156). Japan’s immigration law prohibiting unskilled foreign labor continued to be an obstacle to both foreigners and their employers. To cope with this problem, a variety of organizations, including government ministries, business organizations, research institutions, political parties, and labor unions, drafted proposals for guest-worker programs. The incumbent conservative government, however, considered ethnic and class homogeneity to be of key importance to Japanese society in the context

176 • Keiko Yamanaka

of progressive globalization. Faced with the dilemma of how to ameliorate the shortage of labor on the one hand and maintain social homogeneity on the other, the Japanese government came up with a solution. In December 1989 it revised its 1951 immigration law without changing its central provisions,which limited imported labor to skilled occupations. It did so by introducing two measures designed to increase the supply of inexpensive labor, while reducing illegal immigration and virtually stemming the tide of unwanted foreigners (Yamanaka 1993; Yamanaka 1996; Cornelius 1994; Weiner and Hanami 1998). First, it made employers of illegal workers subject to criminal penalties— two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of two million yen ($20,000). This was clearly designed to reduce the flow of illegal workers, most of whom came from neighboring Asian countries. Second, the Revised Immigration Law established a new ‘‘long-term resident’’ visa category exclusively for Nikkeijin without Japanese citizenship but with documented Japanese ancestry up to the third generation. This new category allowed Nikkeijin to engage in unskilled labor, a step apparently taken with the intention of supplying much-wanted additional unskilled labor from abroad but ethnically ‘‘Japanese.’’ 3 In short, the legal admission of Nikkeijin was a political compromise made by the Japanese government to accommodate labor-starved employers while at the same time maintaining social homogeneity in the face of accelerating transnationalization. By constructing the new category of Nikkeijin, the government could maintain the core principle of its nationality and immigration laws, jus sanguinis (law of blood), which gave the revision process the appearance of being technical rather than political (Yamanaka 1996).The conservative agenda of maintaining ethnic and social homogeneity was thus upheld and, in view of the fact that a precedent for special admission of descendants of former emigrants had been set by European countries, criticism of Japan for being ‘‘racially’’ oriented was deflated. Nikkeijin and Asians The ‘‘racial’’ consideration was nonetheless a factor in the government’s decision to revise the law. In June 1990, a month after the law took effect, Kokusai Jinryu (a journal published by the Japan Immigration Association with the cooperation of the admissions bureau of the Japanese Ministry of Justice) published a special issue on ‘‘Return Migration of Nikkeijin,’’ which included discussion of the law change. In an interview for the magazine, a foreign affairs ministry official, Katsunori Toda, emphasized the importance of Japan’s blood tie with Nikkeijin in South America, especially the largest group, 1.2 million in

Feminization of Labor • 177

Brazil (Gaimusho, Rodosho, Homusho 1990, 11–16). According to him, their remarkable socioeconomic success in their adopted countries would assure their return after a few years of employment in Japan. In his opinion, Asian immigrants would not return to their homelands. The number of Nikkeijin workers is not as many as that of workers from Asia. . . . There are not many Nikkeijin first of all, and the majority is very well off. . . . Some Nikkeijin who have grown up in remote Japanese communities of Brazil are more Japanese than contemporary Japanese who have grown up in Japan. The blood tie is so strong that we should regard them as Japanese up to about the third generation. . . . Such [well-off ] Nikkeijin will come to work in Japan. Money is not their goal. . . . If they return home with good knowledge of Japan, this would be effective grassroots public relations for Japan. This is why Nikkeijin are different from Asians whose goal in coming to Japan is solely to make money. Another difference is that Asians would not return to their homelands but might settle down here. They would send for their families and have babies. (Ibid., 12) The Revised Immigration Law has thus opened a golden backdoor of opportunity to ethnic Japanese from South America. The same law, however, closed the door to other unskilled workers, most of whom were Asians without Japanese ancestry. Many Japanese employers, threatened by criminal penalties, discharged their undocumented workers and replaced them with Nikkeijin. Despite its official rhetoric, the Japanese government does not strictly enforce the law banning hiring of the undocumented, but it does occasionally deport foreign workers. The large number of illegal visa-overstayers—a number that has remained at the 300,000 level since the beginning of the 1990s—demonstrates this.This lax implementation of the criminal code is indicative of the important contribution undocumented labor makes to employers who cannot afford to hire documented Nikkeijin workers, who, because of their authorized status, command higher wages than do undocumented Asians. a case study of nikkeijin women in hamamatsu Research for the following findings was conducted in both Japan and Brazil between 1994 and 1998. In March and November 1994 I conducted personal interviews with members of sixty-three Nikkeijin households in Hamamatsu and Toyohashi, in central Japan. I conducted a similar study in July 1995, with members of thirty-three households of Nikkeijin in Brazil who had returned

178 • Keiko Yamanaka

from Japan to three major southern cities: São Paulo, Londrina, and Porto Alegre. Altogether, these field studies yielded data (here called the Nikkeijin Data) containing information from a total of 171 individuals fifteen years of age and over—81 women and 90 men. This paper draws primarily on the female sample (Yamanaka 1997). Having collected the Nikkeijin Data, I then conducted a study, between September and December 1998, of social changes currently sweeping Hamamatsu and neighboring cities. Intensive interviews with more than fifty Japanese citizens, both Nikkeijin and other foreign residents in Japan, yielded information regarding public responses to the growing foreign populations on the one hand and rapidly developing immigrants’ organizations and community activities on the other. Hamamatsu is a city of half a million located in western Shizuoka Prefecture, 257 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. It and its satellite cities, including Kosai and Iwata, are headquarters for several major automobile and motorcycle companies, including Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda, together with their thousands of contractors and subcontractors comprising a layered pyramidal hierarchy: companies at the top, large contractors below, with sub- and subsubcontractors in increasing numbers and of diminishing size toward the base. These subcontractors supply parts to be assembled on the way up the pyramid to ultimately become vehicles. The lower on the pyramid, the poorer are job security, remuneration, and working conditions for employees—with undocumented foreigners at the bottom. Contiguous to, and west of, these cities lie Toyohashi, a city of 350,000, and its neighbors, Toyokawa, Toyota, and others, in the eastern part of adjacent Aichi Prefecture. This area will be referred to here as Tokai, after the region of which it is a part. These cities host another giant automaker, Toyota, and its thousands of subcontractors. Immigrant workers, both documented and undocumented, are attracted to this industrial area because of the chronic labor shortage there among small-scale employers. In order to obtain some understanding of the increasingly diverse immigrant populations in Tokai, I also studied a small group of undocumented Nepalese visa-overstayers there and in their homeland on several occasions between 1994 and 2000 (Yamanaka 2000a, 71–72). By 1995 an estimated 3,000 Nepalese nationals were working illegally in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Tokai, and elsewhere. My sample was drawn from the Nepalese population of Tokai, estimated at 500. It comprises 30 females and 159 males of working age. Most are of Tibeto-Burman language-speaking ethnic groups (often described and self-described as ‘‘Mongols’’) of the Himalayan ‘‘middle-hills’’ of western

Feminization of Labor • 179

and eastern Nepal.4 Most of them have entered the country on valid tourist visas, then overstayed them, and when interviewed were working for smallscale employers in manufacturing and construction industries. Data from this study (here called the Nepalese Data) provide information rarely available on the subject of Asian workers illegally employed in industrial production in Japan. They reveal the nature of emerging labor-market inequality (based on legal status, nationality, ethnicity, and gender), resulting from the 1990 immigration reform. nikkeijin population and employment in tokai Until 1988 few Brazilians lived in Hamamatsu. Some 1,900 Korean permanent residents, descendants of prewar colonial immigrants, had comprised the city’s largest ethnic minority (Weiner 1994; Yamawaki 2000). Most of them, particularly those of young generations, adopted Japanese names, language, and behavior, thus remaining almost completely invisible. In response to Japan’s booming economy, in 1989 the first wave of Brazilians, 815 in number, arrived to make their way to Hamamatsu. In 1990, with the implementation of the Revised Immigration Law, the Brazilian influx to the city grew suddenly to 3,500 (see table 3). Hundreds and thousands followed each year for the next ten years. By late 1998, 10,000 Brazilian nationals and their families had registered as alien residents, accounting for two thirds of Hamamatsu’s foreign population of 16,000, and comprising 3 percent of its total population.5 As these statistics suggest, by the late 1990s Hamamatsu was spearheading the unprecedented grassroots globalization that is currently sweeping Japan in many nonmetropolitan, working-class locales. Prior to the Nikkeijin influx, residents of these localities rarely saw ‘‘foreigners’’ with their distinctive language, behavior, and physical appearance. In the first few years of contact, Hamamatsu citizens and Nikkeijin experienced serious miscommunication and conflict based on linguistic and cultural differences.6 The Revised Immigration Law had been intended and expected to attract Nikkeijin as culturally familiar supplements to the shrinking Japanese workforce and to stem the alarming influx of non-Japanese labor migrants from such Asian countries as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines. But these expectations and intentions proved to be ill-fated. On arrival the Nikkeijin immediately found themselves to be regarded not as Japanese but as cultural strangers. They were treated as lower-class migrants from a backward country. Japanese, on the other hand, found the Nikkeijin to be disturbingly alien,

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% Age < 

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N of Residents* % Female

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% Age < 

Brazilian Population

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N of Residents

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N of % Foreign/ Foreigners* Residents

Total HC Population

hamamatsu city

Source: Japan Immigration Association (1987–1999); Hamamatsu City Municipal Office (1987–1999). * Number of registered foreign residents.

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N of Residents* % Female



Year

Brazilian Population

japan

table 3. Brazilian Resident Population in Japan and Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, 1986–1998

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% Brazil/ Foreigners

Feminization of Labor • 181

despite the Japanese features of many of them, because of their foreign dress, demeanor, behavior, and Portuguese language.7 My interviews and surveys with 81 Nikkeijin women in Tokai and in the three Brazilian cities reveal that nisei (second) and sansei (third) generations Japanese of prime working age (fifteen to forty-four years) constitute the majority (n=57) of the female sample. Many of them are accompanied by their young children (see table 3). Also included in my sample are a small number (8) of older Issei (first-generation) and nisei women aged forty-five and older, as well as a substantial number (16) of Brazilian wives of Nikkeijin men (Yamanaka 1997, 30). As this sample and others demonstrate, the immigrant population is heterogeneous by generation and ethnic background, which adds further complexity to the analysis of identity and immigration experiences (see Kitagawa 1993). The Nikkeijin Data suggest that young adult nisei and sansei had been well educated in Brazil: half have a high-school education and one third have some years of college or a bachelor’s degree. Prior to coming to Japan, most had held white-collar or professional occupations, such as nurse, dentist, teacher, accountant, bank teller, secretary, sales clerk, retailer, or student. In Japan, almost all of them work as temporary machine operators or assembly-line workers producing automobile and motorcycle parts and electrical appliances. For many of these nisei and sansei and their Brazilian spouses, contract labor in Japanese factories therefore represents downward social mobility, however economically profitable it may be. A few have found clerical jobs in labor brokers’ offices and sales jobs as clerks in imported-goods stores catering to Brazilian customers.The older Issei and nisei have few marketable skills, but many, being fluent in the Japanese language, have found jobs that require and reward their cultural competence and experience, such as interpreter or convalescent attendant. Some took jobs that do not require physical strength, such as gatekeeper or food processor (Yamanaka 1997). The guest-worker system embodies institutional discrimination as defined by Castles (1984). For Nikkeijin workers, this is manifest in the laborcontracting system by which they are employed on short-term contracts by job brokers (assen or haken gyosha), who in turn send them to their workplaces in subcontractors’ factories.This means that technically they do not belong to the factory workforce, but to the brokers’ stables of employables. As a result, they are subject to being hired and fired at will by the brokers. Their jobs generally require physical strength and on-the-job experience but not complex technical or language skills. The Nikkeijin guest-worker system is thus designed to

182 • Keiko Yamanaka

serve subcontractors (factory owners) as an expendable shock absorber (or ‘‘adjustment valve’’ in the Japanese phrase) between peak and slack periods of the economy so that their Japanese workers’ jobs and wages will remain secure during times of recession. In the early period of their settlement, most Nikkeijin and their families rely heavily on job brokers (as their employers) for many other aspects of their lives as well, including obtaining official documentation, children’s education, housing, and furniture, for all of which the brokers charge substantial fees. wage analysis: gender, nationality and legality InTokai, wages of Nikkeijin workers dropped by some 20 percent in 1992, when the Japanese economy fell into deep recession. Likewise, the available hours of overtime work on which workers depended decreased substantially. During the depth of the recession, hundreds of Nikkeijin were discharged and found it necessary to return to Brazil. Nonetheless, the hourly earnings of full-time Nikkeijin factory workers ranged from 900 to 1,000 yen (about $9 to $10 at 102 yen per dollar in 1994) for women eighteen to forty-four years old, and from 1,100 to 1,450 yen ($11 to $14.50) for men eighteen to fifty-four years old (Yamanaka 2000b, 140–42). These rates result in monthly earnings of 216,000 to 240,000 yen ($2,160 to $2,400) for females and 264,000 to 348,000 yen ($2,640 to $3,480) for males (calculated on the basis of eight working hours plus two hours of overtime for four 6-day weeks). From these monthly earnings Japanese brokers deduct the brokerage fee, taxes, rent, utility costs, debt, interest, and other expenses. Yet, the Nikkeijins’ monthly earnings equaled more than twenty to thirty times the minimum monthly wages (the equivalent of $100 in 1995) allowed by the Brazilian government at home. Nikkeijins’ high monthly earnings indicate that Japanese subcontractors place high value on their willingness and capacity to engage in arduous, even dangerous, unskilled labor on demand. In order to appreciate the market value of Nikkeijins’ labor, however, their earnings must be compared to those of other categories and ranks of unskilled workers in the local labor market, and the collective characteristics by which the 1990 Revised Immigration Law has defined them. These characteristics include legal status (whether legal resident or not), ethnicity (whether of Japanese descent or not), and nationality (whether Japanese or not). Moreover, workers are also defined by sex in two ranked categories with long-established Japanese patterns of wage and social discrimination against women (see Brinton 1993).

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Table 4 presents monthly and hourly wages earned by workers of contrasting nationalities, legal statuses (equivalent to ethnicity in this context), and sex employed in the manufacturing industry in western Shizuoka Prefecture. First, it provides information on the average monthly earnings in 1994 for male and female Japanese workers of ages nearest the average age for immigrant workers of each sex (thirty to thirty-four for males and twenty-five to twenty-nine for females) who work for small-scale employers in the manufacturing industry (here the Japanese Data) (Shizuoka Prefecture 1995). Because information on the hourly pay rate for Japanese is not available, it is calculated by dividing the monthly wages for each category of workers by the total of their usual working hours per month. Second, table 4 includes information on Nikkeijin workers’ average hourly wages. This was obtained from the Nikkeijin Data and is based on presumed monthly earnings (calculated as eight working hours plus two hours of overtime for four 6-day weeks). Third, it includes similar information for undocumented Nepalese workers based on the Nepalese Data. In comparing average wages of foreigners and Japanese, it should be noted that there are substantial differences in treatment experienced by workers according to their seniority (age or experience), employment status (whether regular or temporary), and designated working hours (whether full-time or part-time). Regular Japanese workers are entitled to lifetime employment, social security benefits (including pension, medical insurance, and unemployment insurance), dependents’ allowance, transportation allowance, annual bonuses, and annual vacations. Japanese temporary and part-time workers (disproportionately women and the elderly) are denied many of these benefits. Most foreign workers are employed temporarily and are usually excluded from such fringe benefits. The earnings shown in table 4 are the average monthly earnings, including overtime income, for workers of all employment categories. Monthly Earnings Comparing the average monthly earnings of Japanese and foreigners, a cursory glance may give the misleading impression that foreign workers earn more than Japanese workers. However, foreigners’ working hours per month average considerably more than those of Japanese: 240 for foreigners of both sexes; 195 for Japanese men; and 181 for Japanese women, and foreigners are denied valuable benefits taken for granted by Japanese employees. Consequently, some foreigners surpass the monthly earnings of Japanese, but at the cost of significantly more working hours and fewer or no benefits. That is, documented

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Nikkeijin and Nepalese Workers, by Sex and Age

table 4. Hourly and Monthly Wages (Japanese Yen*) in Manufacturing Industries in the Tokai Area: Japanese,

Feminization of Labor • 185

Nikkeijin males earn on average 306,000 yen ($3,060) per month (without benefits), whereas Japanese males earn 291,690 yen ($2,917) per month (for fewer working hours and with substantial benefits). Undocumented Nepalese males are not far behind these other two groups with earnings averaging about 265,920 yen ($2,659) per month. Turning to female workers, Japanese earn on the average 173, 739 yen ($1,738) per month, while documented Nikkeijin earn 228,000 yen ($2,280) and undocumented Nepalese 201,360 yen ($2,104). It cannot be overemphasized that foreign workers cost their employers significantly less than do Japanese, because employers do not provide them the benefits, entitlements, and job security that they must provide Japanese regular employees. It is the relatively inexpensive and flexible labor that foreign, and especially undocumented, workers offer that motivates employers to employ them at standard wages (Yamanaka 2000a, 88–89). Hourly Wages In order to demonstrate the effect that being in each category (nationality/legal status and sex) has on the market value of workers, table 4 also shows hourly wages earned by those in each category of workers and compares its percentage of the wages earned by those in a specified reference category. Three comparisons are made. Comparison 1 indicates the hourly wages for Nikkeijin (legal workers) and Nepalese (illegal workers) of each sex as percentages of those for Japanese of each sex. This provides an estimate of the effect of nationality and legal status on wages, holding sex constant. Results reveal that documented Nikkeijin males earn 85 percent of the hourly wage earned by Japanese males.Undocumented Nepalese males earn 74 percent of the Japanese hourly wage. Nikkeijin and Japanese females make almost identical hourly wages. Nepalese females earn 87 percent of the hourly wage of Japanese females. Comparison 2 demonstrates gender effects on wages for workers of the three nationalities. Results include the facts that (1) Japanese females make 64 percent of the wages earned by their male counterparts; (2) Nikkeijin females earn 75 percent of Nikkeijin male wages; and (3) Nepalese females earn 76 percent of Nepalese male wages. Finally, in order to demonstrate the combined effects of nationality/legal status and gender on wages, comparison 3 uses Japanese males as the reference category. The hourly wages earned by Nikkeijin males, Nepalese males, Japanese females, Nikkeijin females, and Nepalese females are each expressed as a percentage of the hourly wages earned by Japanese males. Results show that (1) Nikkeijin male labor is valued at 85 percent of Japanese male labor;

186 • Keiko Yamanaka

(2) Nepalese male labor is valued at 74 percent; (3) Japanese female labor is valued at 64 percent; (4) Nikkeijin female labor is valued at 64 percent; and (5) Nepalese female labor is valued at 56 percent. This wage analysis, based on Nikkeijin Data, Nepalese Data and Japanese Data, sheds light on the systematic ways by which the Tokai labor market ranks sex, nationality, and legal status of unskilled workers. Among all, worker’s sex makes the largest difference in determining his or her hourly wage, with females penalized by a 25 to 36 percent loss of earnings. Of the three nationalities of women, Japanese suffer the greatest gender deficit as compared to Japanese men. Foreign nationality reduces market value of Nikkeijin workers by more than 15 percent for males but not for females. When combined with illegal status, foreign status further undercuts wages. Consequently, undocumented males earn 11 percent less and undocumented females 12 percent less than documented workers of their respective sexes. Without doubt the most striking finding illustrated by this table is that illegal status is penalized less than gender, as a result of which female Japanese citizens earn wages 15 percent lower than illegal foreign males. gender in the back-door policy More research is necessary before conclusive statements can be made about wage dynamics. However, it is important for the present analysis to understand that Nikkeijin (legal immigrant) women are rewarded equally to Japanese women, whereas Nepalese (illegal immigrant) women are discriminated against as a combined result of their entirely foreign and illegal status. If this were the rule, one would expect that, for reasons of profit maximization, Japanese employers would be most strongly motivated to hire undocumented females. But this is not the case. Subcontractors of major manufacturing firms, especially those subcontractors with more than 100 employees, routinely exclude undocumented Asians from their labor force, even though Japanese labor brokers often send these workers to them. This is explained by the fact that subcontractors fear legal sanctions and in addition are under pressure from higher-order companies in the subcontractor pyramid to maintain a lawabiding image. Therefore, it is largely the mini- to small-scale employers at or near the bottom of the pyramid (and thus relatively remote from sanctions from on high) who depend heavily on labor provided by undocumented, mostly male, workers. Under present immigration law, female representation among

Feminization of Labor • 187

undocumented immigrants is inevitably small. For example, I estimate the proportion of females in the Nepalese population analyzed here to be less than 20 percent.8 Despite official rhetoric on the criminality of illegal employment, the Japanese government has been reluctant to rigorously enforce the legal sanctions that were put in place to prevent the entry of undesirable foreigners. This laxity of enforcement is in response to employers’ dire need for cheap, flexible labor. Occasionally, well-publicized incidents of enforcement are deemed necessary to demonstrate to workers, employers, and the public that immigration officers are alert to the situation and have it under control. Such ‘‘ineffective,’’ sporadic implementation of the immigration law has been effective in achieving its dual, latent aims. First, it controls and keeps under surveillance the inflow of undesirable foreigners, preventing them from settling permanently with families. The small percentages of females in the Tokai illegal Nepalese community demonstrate this point. Second, it allows weaker employers access to willing, inexpensive, and tractable labor, which is no longer to be found in the local labor market. These economic and social contexts of Japan’s back-door immigration policy go far toward explaining the increasing feminization of Nikkeijin immigration, a trend that promises significant economic and social benefits for Japanese manufacturers and the government. First, Nikkeijin women are many, young (at least at present), and because of the large wage differential between Japan and their third-world home, are highly motivated to take jobs shunned by young Japanese women. Second, employers regard them as secondary earners in the family because of their gender, as they do Japanese women as well, and therefore pay both only two-thirds of the hourly wages for Japanese men.Third, their legal status (a consequence of their Nikkeijin ethnicity) allows them to live with their families in Japan, which benefits their employers by enhancing the social stability of their work force. Last, as noncitizens, Nikkeijin exempt both employers and the state from responsibility to provide them social welfare, social security, and health benefits. Pregnant women and children under fourteen are especially vulnerable to the withholding of health benefits from their employed family member(s). An estimated 80,000 working-age Nikkeijin women from Brazil have thus provided the manufacturing industries with an ideal supplement to the dwindling Japanese female labor force of the 1990s. Although other unskilled sectors, such as leisure and entertainment services, are severely short of Japanese labor, the government regards manufacturing as the most important sector for

188 • Keiko Yamanaka

national economic survival and therefore it attends that sector’s every need. Consequently, the 1990 legal construction of Nikkeijin ethnicity enabled many parties to avoid fundamental changes in the institutions of gender, labor, and family, thus contributing to the preservation of patriarchal gender ideologies and practices. By supplementing Japanese women with Nikkeijin women in factories, employers avoided demands for organizational reforms to eliminate gender inequity in theworkplacewhile the Japanese government was enabled to avoid an increase in child-care subsidies and facilities that had been requested by employers and working families. At the same time, Japanese couples and the society at large avoided confronting unequal gender roles that assign women to reproductive roles and men to productive roles. Moreover, the then incumbent conservative government avoided complaints and accusations byone of its most influential constituencies—small- to middle-scale factory owners, many of whom might otherwise have faced expensive mechanization or bankruptcy. gender roles and female immigrant labor Traditionally Japanese men have been solely engaged in ‘‘public spheres’’ of endeavor—economically productive activities outside of the home such as wage or salaried employment, artisanship, agriculture, entrepreneurship, professions, and corporate and bureaucratic administration. Women have been confined to the ‘‘domestic sphere’’ (Rosaldo 1974; Caulfield 1981). There they are in charge of meeting household needs, including care and education of children, maintenance of the house, cooking and marketing, managing household finances, and caring for aged parents (Imamura 1987; Uno 1991; Uno 1993). The rising cost of living and education now drives many middle-class women to economic activities outside the home, often part-time, for additional income (Houseman and Osawa 1998; Wakisaka and Bae 1998). The traditional sexual division of labor in households, however, remains largely unaltered, forcing many women to leave the public labor force in order to fulfill their domestic obligations of marriage, motherhood, household management, and filial piety. As graph 1 demonstrates, Japanese women’s labor force participation rates drop sharply between twenty-five and thirty-four years of age, and rise quickly afterward. This pattern of women’s labor-force participation rates demonstrates their strong commitment to their homemaker roles. This pattern also highlights the severe disadvantages encountered by women in building skills and careers in the labor market. The extremely low proportion of managerial positions held by women attests to the personal hard-

Feminization of Labor • 189

ships they face at work and home, together with the pervasive institutional resistance to women’s upward occupational mobility within organizations. This deep-seated patriarchal order clearly explains, at least in part, why there is no demand for housemaids among middle-class households in Japan. In casual conversations, Japanese commonly refer to the small size of their houses as the main reason they do not import foreign maids. However, the fact that Japan’s population density (867 people per square mile) is much less than that of Singapore (14,425), Hong Kong (16,626), and Taiwan (1,541), all of which import maids, counters that explanation (Population Research Bureau 1996). The rigid separation of women and men in their public and private roles accounts for the proliferation of entertainment businesses catering to men (Douglass 2000). Dedication to their corporate duty requires ‘‘salarymen’’ to occasionally entertain colleagues and customers at bars (see Allison 1994). By the late 1970s, as young Japanese women were increasingly drawn into skilled and prestigious occupations, the entertainment industry suffered a chronic labor shortage. The industry’s solution was to import young women from Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and recently Russia (Ito 1992). The state accommodated this practice by granting ‘‘professional entertainer’’ visas to these foreign women, whose primary duties were to serve drinks and provide conversation and companionship to male customers. Despite numerous reports of abuse, exploitation, and human-rights violations perpetrated on the entertainers by customers, employers, and brokers, many of whom are reported to be involved in organized crime ( yakuza), the Japanese government continues to allow them to recruit foreign female entertainers in large numbers each year (International Organization for Migration 1997). In sum, Japan’s deployment of immigrant women as factory workers and barmaids, but not as housemaids, is a phenomenon reflecting the deeply embedded gender ideology of Japanese society and culture, together with its xenophobic immigration policy and rapidly dwindling female labor force (Ito 1996). In the short-run, both foreign and local women profit economically. The foreigners acquire jobs and make more money than they did at home, while the locals derive more money and prestige in newly found skilled jobs than they did in the jobs they left to the foreigners. However, in the long run, unequal labor exchange widens the economic and social gap between the immigrants and the citizens. Noncitizen women will remain in the host society as an underclass of temporary contract workers denied opportunities to rise economically or socially, whereas citizen women will continue to increase their skills and income through training and seniority.

190 • Keiko Yamanaka

evolving nikkeijin communities Based on European and North American immigration experience, Castles and Miller (1993, 25) predict the formation of ethnic-minority communities once the number of immigrants reaches a critical mass. According to this model, as the many and diverse needs of the immigrants begin to be met at their destination, their social networks will tend to grow into small-scale ethnic communities with their own institutions and enterprises. Although immigration policies, business cycles, and public attitudes toward immigrants in the host society significantly influence the development of these immigrant populations, their communities tend to remain resilient and flexible. This is because family and community ties sustain the flow of immigrants, while the growing ethnic economy functions to absorb incoming immigrants and their families. The instances of Turkish guest workers in the former West Germany and Mexican workers in the southwestern United States demonstrate that sharp economic downturns and anti-immigration policies do not necessarily lead to drastic changes in immigration flows (Massey et al. 1987; Martin 1994). A similar situation is rapidly developing in those Japanese manufacturing cities in which a sizable Nikkeijin population has settled. In Hamamatsu, for example, with the arrival of more than 10,000 Brazilians by 1997, this city of 570,000 witnessed rapid growth of Brazilian small businesses attending to the needs of the immigrants and their families (Yamanaka 2000b).These establishments, mostly Nikkeijin owned, include retail stores selling imported Brazilian food, drinks, clothing, cosmetics, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, tapes, and compact discs. There are also a variety of Brazilian commercial services and cultural organizations, including restaurants, discos, banks, travel agents, documentation services, language schools, hobby and sports clubs, day-care centers, and the like. Brazilian Catholic churches provide weekly Portuguese services for their congregations in various locations. Portuguese weekly newspapers and daily radio and television programs report Nikkeijin cultural and social activities and other news and provide important public space for communication and exchange of opinions within the immigrant population. Clearly Nikkei Brazilians in Hamamatsu comprise a lively cultural enclave complete with familiar goods, activities, and symbols. Nikkeijin women, as well as their menfolk, are at the center of Hamamatsu’s expanding Brazilian social and cultural scenes. This finding is consistent with that of recent literature on immigrant women elsewhere that suggests that

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women characteristically play major roles in uniting families, developing social networks, and thus solidifying ethnic communities and occupational niches (Morokvasic 1984; Gabaccia 1992). By 1998, a few Nikkeijin, usually those most fluent in Japanese, had begun to interact with the main Japanese population. This was most evident in the area of education. As table 3 shows, 18 percent of the city’s Brazilian population in 1998 were children under fourteen years of age. One third of these Portuguese-speaking minors attended public elementary and junior high schools while their parents worked. Japanese teachers and the city’s board of education were ill-prepared for the sudden increase in Brazilian pupils and experienced great difficulty in coping with it. In response, the city administration and its affiliated organizations hired bilingual Nikkeijin women as advisors, coordinators, and teachers to assist policymakers in the development of multilingual and multicultural programs (Ikegami 2001, 124–39). At the end of the 1990s, nearly ten years after the Nikkeijin influx, a majority of the Japanese Brazilians in Hamamatsu still express their intention to return to Brazil. Realistically, however, it is clear that as they prolong their stay the possibility that they will do so diminishes. The expansion of Brazilian cultural and social activities is a significant indicator of growing interest in longterm settlement among Nikkeijin immigrants. A recent article in Veja, a weekly Brazilian magazine comparable to Newsweek, reports that for Brazilians, life in Japan is comfortable as all necessities are provided within their ethnic communities (O Iene Volta 1999, 62–64). Similarly, an article in Made in Japan, a Portuguese-language magazine published in Tokyo, discusses the increasing numbers of babies born to Brazilian couples in Japan (Os Novos Immigrantes 1999, 20). In 1994 1,725 Brazilian babies were registered at Brazilian consulates in Tokyo and Nagoya. In 1998 their number more than doubled to 3,820, indicating that on the average ten babies had been born daily among Brazilian couples that year. ‘‘Today many Brazilians want to establish themselves in Japan for economic reasons.When the first group began to arrive in the 1980s, they worked hard, leaving little time for leisure and diversion,’’ says Etsuo Ishikawa, President of the Brazilian Association. Ten years later, as the Japanese economy has entered recession, Brazilians must change their plans. ‘‘Now we earn less money than at the beginning of the migration movement, so it is impossible to collect enough in a few years of labor to return to Brazil,’’ explains Ishikawa. ‘‘It is also natural for the Brazilians who have decided to extend their

192 • Keiko Yamanaka

residence permanently in Japan to fall in love, enjoy themselves, marry, and have children.’’ (Ibid.) This Nikkeijin view can be contrasted with the opinion of Japanese foreign affairs ministry official Katsunori Toda, quoted above in the discussion of ‘‘Japan’s ‘Back Door’ Immigration Policy.’’ significance of nikkeijin ethnicity The consequences of Japanese Brazilian labor migration to Japan demonstrate that Nikkeijin ethnicity has been a double-edged sword for both the receiving state and the 230,000 immigrants. For the Japanese state, the policy of embracing Nikkeijin ethnicity was a convenient means to maintain ‘‘racial’’ purity while responding to the domestic labor shortage. But it has also spawned a populous minority community with a distinct and alien culture and identity, thereby subverting the very purpose of the policy. To the immigrants who took advantage of their governmentally redefined ethnicity, the policy seemed to promise privileged access to economic opportunities and cultural integration in Japan, their now immensely wealthy ancestral homeland. Instead, it has relegated them to the position of a disadvantaged ‘‘ethnic’’ minority in the society. Despite the official definition of Nikkeijin as ‘‘Japanese’’ based on their ancestry, most Japanese citizens regard them as behaviorally strange and culturally inferior as a result of their Nikkeijin ethnicity and their third-world nationality. The experience of the Nikkeijin ethnic community in Japan is sociologically striking when compared with that of the 700,000 Koreans who have lived in Japan for several generations as permanent residents (Kajita 1998). Like many Nikkeijin, the Koreans are physically indistinguishable from the dominant population, but unlike most Nikkeijin, they have assimilated to Japanese language and culture and are therefore behaviorally scarcely distinguishable from the dominant population. Yet the Japanese state regards Korean descendants as foreigners based on their nationality (or lack of Japanese citizenship), while Japanese citizens treat them as culturally inferior based on their foreign ancestry. As a result, nearly a century after their forebears began to arrive in search of a better life, Koreans remain socially stigmatized and economically segregated by the nation in which they and their parents were born and raised, whose language they speak, and whose culture they largely share. Whether Nikkeijin will continue to be marginal to Japanese society as an

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‘‘alien’’ population or will become socially integrated depends on the attitudes and actions of both parties to the relationship. It depends on the Japanese definition of Japanese nationality, citizenship, and membership in Japanese society, and it depends equally on the ways in which Nikkei Brazilians define ethnicity and nationality for themselves, as well as for their children. Nikkeijin women will play a major and increasing role in determining the futures of their families and communities in their adopted society. Meanwhile, Japanese and Nikkeijin peoples will continue to interact in their daily lives at work, schools, shopping centers, and other venues, each having a significant impact on the other’s beliefs and behaviors, including most importantly those related to issues of identity, nationhood, economic equality, and social justice (Yamanaka 2002). notes 1 In this article, I use the term Nikkeijin primarily to refer to those who have ‘‘returned’’ from Brazil to work in Japan since the late 1980s. Returned Nikkeijin from Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Mexico are also to be found in Japan, but the Brazilians comprise the vast majority of Nikkeijin there. 2 For example, in Singapore the labor force participation rate of women from twentyfive to forty years of age increased by 17 percent from 1980 to 1990. Among single women, the labor force participation rate increased from 35.6 percent in 1970, to 68.9 percent in 1990, while among married women it rose from 14.7 to 43.2 percent during the same period (Wong 1996: 121; Yeoh and Huang 1998). 3 This widely cited explanation for the creation of Japan’s long-term residence visa category has been recently challenged by Japanese sociologist Kajita (2000). According to him, his interviews with high level officials in the Ministry of Justice revealed that the category was created primarily in order to deal with Japan’s unresolved problems of Japanese nationals stranded in China after World War II. The officials also explained, Kajita reports, that the long-term residence category was not intended to ameliorate the serious labor shortages prevalent at the time of the Revised Immigration Law. 4 The majority of Nepalese undocumented workers in Tokai belong to ethnic groups that the British designated ‘‘martial races’’—for example, the Magar, Gurung, Limbu, and Rai—whose tradition of foreign service as Gurkha soldiers in the British and Indian armies produced a culture of emigration and a remittance economy in rural Nepal (Des Chene 1993). 5 In November 1998 other major nationalities registered in Hamamatsu included 1,695 Koreans, 973 Filipinos, 892 Chinese, 876 Peruvians, and 436 Vietnamese.

194 • Keiko Yamanaka 6 Steven Weisman, In Japan, Bias Is an Obstacle Even for the Ethnic Japanese, New York Times, 13 November 1991, section A, pp. 1, 3. 7 As discussed below, the Nikkei Brazilian population in Japan includes an unknown but high proportion of non-Nikkeijin spouses of Nikkeijin and their children (mestiços) who are admitted as family members of legal residents. Consequently, the physiognomy of the Nikkeijin population is heterogeneous. 8 Most Nepalese women working in Tokai are wives or sisters of Nepalese men who haveworked in Japan since the early 1990s.Theycame to Japan to join their husbands or brothers when the latter had saved enough money to send for them.

references Alavi, Hamza and Teodor Shanin, eds. 1982. Introduction to the Sociology of ‘‘Developing Societies.’’ New York: Monthly Review Press. Allison, Anne. 1994. Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in aTokyo Hostess Club. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. AsiaWatch and Women’s Rights Project. 1993. Modern Form of Slavery: Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand. New York: Human Rights Watch. Baxter, Diane, and Ruth Krulfeld, eds. 1997. Beyond Boundaries: Selected Papers of Refugees and Immigrants (Series V.) Arlington, Va.: American Anthropological Association. Bernstein, Gail Lee, ed. 1991. Recreating Japanese Women, 1600–1945. Berkeley: University of California. Berreman, Gerald D., ed. 1981. Social Inequality: Comparative and Developmental Approaches. New York: Academic Press. Brinton, Mary C. 1993. Women and the Economic Miracle: Gender and Work in Postwar Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. Brown, Judith, and Rosemary Foot, eds. 1994. Migration: The Asian Experience. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Castles, Stephen. 1984. Here for Good: Western Europe’s New Ethnic Minorities. London: Pluto Press. Castles, Stephen, and Mark J. Miller. 1993. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. New York: Guilford Press. Caulfield, Mina Z. 1981. Equality, Sex, and Mode of Production. In Social Inequality: Comparative and Developmental Approaches, edited by Gerald D. Berreman, 201–19. New York: Academic Press. Cheng, Shu-Ju Ada. 1996. Migrant Women Domestic Workers in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan: A Comparative Analysis. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 5, no. 1: 139–52. Chin, Christine B. N. 1998. In Service and Servitude: Foreign Female Domestic Workers and the Malaysian ‘‘Modernity’’ Project. New York: Columbia University Press.

Feminization of Labor • 195 Constable, Nicole. 1997. Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Filipina Workers. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Cornelius, Wayne A. 1994. Japan: The Illusion of Immigration Control. In Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective, edited by Wayne A. Cornelius, Philip L. Martin, and James F. Hollifield, 375–410. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Cornelius, Wayne A., Philip L. Martin, and James F. Hollifield, eds. 1994. Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Cox, David. 1997. The Vulnerability of Asian Women Migrant Workers to a Lack of Protection and to Violence. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 6, no. 1: 59–75. Des Chene, Mary. 1993. Soldiers, Sovereignty, and Silences: Gorkhas as Diplomatic Currency. South Asia Bulletin 13, nos. 1 and 2: 67–80. Douglass, Mike. 2000.The Singularities of International Migration of Women to Japan: Past, Present, and Future. In Japan and Global Migration: Foreign Workers and the Advent of a Multicultural Society, edited by Mike Douglass and Glenda S. Roberts, 91–119. London: Routledge. Douglass, Mike, and Glenda S. Roberts, eds. Japan and Global Migration: Foreign Workers and the Advent of a Multicultural Society. London: Routledge. Filipino Migrant Workers in Malaysia. 1994. Asian Migrant 7, no. 1: 16–23. Gabaccia, Donna. 1992. Introduction. In Seeking Common Ground: Multidisciplinary Studies of Immigrant Women in the United States, edited by Donna Gabaccia, xi–xxvi. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. Gaikokujin Toroku Kokusekibetsu Junin Chosahyo. 1987–1999. Hamamatsu: Hamamatsu City Municipal Office. Gaimusho, Rodosho, Homusho, Nikkeijin no U-turn Gensho wo ko Miru. 1990. Kokusai Jinryu 38 (July): 11–16. Gordon, Andrew, ed. 1993. Postwar Japan as History. Berkeley: University of California Press. Goto, Junichi. 1993. Gaikokujin Rodosha to Nihon Keizai. Tokyo: Yuhikaku. Government of Japan, Statistics Bureau, Management, and Coordination Agency. 1998. Japan Statistical Yearbook 1999. Tokyo, Government Printing Office. Haines, David W., and Karen E. Rosenblum. 1999. Illegal Immigration in America: A Reference Handbook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood. Heyzer, Noeleen. 1986. Working Women in South-East Asia: Development, Subordination, and Emancipation. Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press. Houseman, Susan, and Machiko Osawa. 1998. What Is the Nature of Part-time Work in the United States and Japan? In Part-time Prospects: An International Comparison of Parttime Work in Europe, North America, and the Pacific Rim, edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly and Colette Fagan, 232–51. London: Routledge. Huang, Shirlena, and Brenda Yeoh. 1998. Maids and Ma’ams in Singapore: Constructing Gender and Nationality in the Transnationalization of Paid Domestic Work. Geography Research Forum 18: 21–48.

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daniel t. linger •••••

Do Japanese Brazilians Exist? •••

Moacir Aoki is searching for home abroad. He claims to have come home— to his own essential Japaneseness—in Japan. While Moacir fits the model of a diasporic returnee, it would be a mistake to assume that other Japanese Brazilians have likewise ‘‘returned,’’ for their notions of and attitudes toward ‘‘home’’ often differ markedly from Moacir’s. César Kawada, for example, seems little concerned with home and altogether less invested in roots. César is as much at home, or not-at-home, in Japan as he would be anywhere else. In Brazil or abroad, César is more or less at home within himself. How then can he be considered a member of a diaspora? The stories of Moacir and César, two Brazilians of Japanese descent living in Japan, suggest that it is misleading to refer to Japanese Brazilians collectively as a diaspora and call into question whether they, and others like them, should be regarded as ‘‘Japanese Brazilians’’ at all.1 césar kawada and moacir aoki I interviewed César Kawada and Moacir Aoki during my mid-1990s field research on Japanese Brazilians living in Toyota City, an industrial suburb of Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture.2 They are among the more than 200,000 Brazilians currently residing in Japan, most of whom work in Japanese factories. Those Brazilians, whether of Japanese descent or married to Nikkeis, are with few exceptions legal migrants. The overwhelming majority were admitted to Japan by virtue of a 1990 law designed to relieve Japan’s industrial labor shortage by attracting (supposedly) assimilable foreigners. As Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party magazine put it, ‘‘If Japan admitted many Asians with differ-

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ent cultures and customs than those of Japanese, Japan’s homogeneous ethnic composition could collapse. However, if Nikkeijin were admitted, this would not be a problem. . . . Nikkeijin, as relatives of the Japanese, would be able to assimilate into Japanese society regardless of nationality and language’’ (Yamanaka 1996, 76, quoting Nojima 1989, 98–99; emphasis added). The legislation had Brazilian ‘‘relatives of the Japanese’’ in its sights. More Japanese descendants live in Brazil, the chief destination for Japanese emigrés since the first decades of this century, than anywhere else in the world.3 Although Brazilian Nikkeis have done relatively well, unskilled manual labor in Japan has proved attractive to many, prompting what several writers have called a ‘‘return’’ to Japan (Oka 1994; Yamanaka 1996; Koyama 1998; Sellek 1997; Tsuda 1999). Though Brazilians’ work is hard and often dangerous, it pays many times a white-collar salary back in São Paulo or Belém. In Toyota City, foreigners could attend Sunday-morning Japanese lessons sponsored by the Toyota International Association. There I met César and Moacir, classmates in the small advanced section. The two are friends and appear to have much in common. Both hail from the state of São Paulo, both are college-educated, both had white-collar jobs in Brazil, and both think of themselves as, in Brazilian terms, privileged. Moreover, the two came to Japan at roughly the same time (in the early 1990s) and since then have labored in lowlevel manufacturing jobs. But however much César and Moacir’s life histories and ‘‘positionalities’’ may superficially resemble one another, their senses of who they are and how they are connected to Japan and to Brazil differ strikingly. César, forty-two, is a nissei, the son of Japanese immigrants. His wife (who has also worked in Japan) currently lives in Brazil, as does his nineteen-yearold daughter by a previous marriage. César holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and has done graduate study in financial administration. Before coming to Japan in 1991, he spent twelve years as an executive in a large chemical firm, supervising a team of accountants. The position paid relatively well but, given Brazil’s eternal economic turmoil, was highly stressful and offered little long-term security. César is thinking ahead to his retirement. His aim is to save enough to permit him to return to Brazil and live off the interest. That will take, he estimates, at least ten years. César currently builds carburetors for lawnmowers in a shop with old machines, poor quality control, and an authoritarian hierarchy—the antithesis of his earlier image of Japanese technological sophistication and workplace democracy. This is his fourth unskilled job in Japan. Moacir, thirty-three, is a sansei, a third-generation Japanese Brazilian. He

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arrived in Japan in 1990 and is unmarried, with no children. Trained in criminal law, he now does quality control at a Toyota auto-parts factory—a job, he says, a child could master. He is concerned that his physical appearance is not stereotypically Japanese and is upset that he is sometimes mistaken for a mestiço or a southeast Asian. Unlike César, Moacir ardently wishes to become a Japanese citizen. Because unbroken residence is one of the many requirements for Japanese naturalization, he has never once returned to Brazil since his arrival in Japan. César, in contrast, has made several trips back. On a Sunday afternoon after Japanese class, we walk, at César’s suggestion, to a nearby grill, a branch of a large chain in the region. The restaurant affects a subdued quasi-American style. The small but tasty steaks arrive on sizzling platters, garnished with a few potatoes and vegetables. We talk over the Muzak as we eat. César and Moacir are well acquainted, but they do not always see eye to eye, especially on questions of race, ethnicity, and identity. Though César is a nissei and Moacir a sansei, and though César speaks better Japanese, it is Moacir who feels ‘‘more Japanese.’’ Daniel: Do you think you discovered some part of yourselves that’s Japanese, here in Japan? Moacir: Ah, a lot. I feel Japanese. I don’t have Brazilian characteristics. Brazilians are just black coffee. . . . I don’t like the Brazilian system. I’m more oriental. I didn’t feel that shock [when I arrived here]. My system [in Brazil] was more Japanese. Now, people who were in the Brazilian system feel a lot of difference. Daniel: In Brazil, at home, was it more— Moacir: It was Japanese. [We ate] Japanese food. [Well,] my sister doesn’t eat Japanese food. My mother made mine separately. It was me who didn’t eat Brazilian food. We took [our shoes] off in the house. So here that didn’t bother me. Daniel: And at home you spoke . . . ? Moacir: No. That’s the core of the problem. If I spoke Japanese . . . it would be a lot easier for me to get my naturalization. [At home we spoke] just Portuguese. Daniel: But the system of the house, what was it, then? Moacir: My sister’s was more occidental. My sister is more Brazilian. Not me, I’m more Japanese. For example, I like things really . . . really in the Japanese style.

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César: Systematic. Moacir: Really systematic. Daniel: And in Brazil did you feel Brazilian or Japanese? Moacir: A normal person, not Brazilian and not Japanese, but I tended more to the Japanese side. Daniel: Did people call you ‘‘Japanese’’ there? 4 Moacir: No, they called me by name. César: These days [in Brazil] things have changed a lot. After Japan became a superpower, Brazilians started to have more respect for Nikkeis. Today few people are called ‘‘Japanese,’’ but in the old days, it was common. I’m from the fifties, I know how much I suffered. Not at the level of discrimination, but from jokes. When I was a kid, it was common to hear jokes like, ‘‘Japonês garantido come cebola peida fedido’’ [A real Japanese eats onions and makes stinking farts]. That was normal at that time. Moacir: Coming to Japan, eh. . . . How can I say it simply . . . a certain piece of clothing settled over me. A jacket that I was lacking, it completed me. Daniel: Mm-hmm. It fit. Moacir: Exactly. Daniel: And César, what about you? César: Ah, for me . . . being in Brazil or Japan . . . it really doesn’t make much difference to me. Moacir: Whether we like it or not, we’re Japanese, right? César: Because when I was in Brazil I thought Japan was really something. A great power. I thought everything was just so, but arriving here, it was a total disillusionment. Especially in my area, the factory. So all that admiration I had for Japan went down the drain. Today I look at it as a run-of-the-mill country. If I’d arrived here and learned something that I could take back to Brazil and pass on to businessmen, okay, I’d feel I’d accomplished something, but I came here and didn’t find anything of what I’d heard about Japan. it was really disillusioning. Honestly, I’ve got nothing to pass on, at least in my area. Daniel: But did the same clothing settle over you? César: No, no, no [clicks tongue]. It was a normal thing. . . . There are times when it’s preferable to be a Japanese descendant, there are times when you don’t want to be a Japanese descendant anymore. When you feel good, it doesn’t matter if you’re Brazilian, if you’re a descendant or not.

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Daniel: [It’s fine] just being César? César: Right, yes, being César, right. Daniel: Do Japanese people accept you as Japanese? César: I don’t think so. There’s that old story that our parents went to Brazil and abandoned Japan, right, Japan was in a bad state. So what did they do? They simply left the country, and now what’s happened, the situation reversed. It’s as if it was a punishment from God, the situation reversed and now [we’re] coming back here, so there are people who don’t pardon the fact that [our parents] left at a difficult moment. I have relatives here. I haven’t contacted them. Maybe it’s my individualism, but . . . I haven’t found any need to contact them. Another thing is their age—they’re quite old. And I have to say there’s a certain pride too, I’m here working, if I had come on vacation then I would act differently, but I came here to work, to earn money, because things are lousy over there. I think I wouldn’t be welcome, so I prefer not to visit. I would feel sort of ashamed. Daniel: But if they did accept you as Japanese, would you like it? César: Yes, I wouldn’t have any problem with that. Moacir: I don’t know, there are a lot of Brazilians who really don’t like that. They don’t consider themselves Japanese.They don’t accept being called Japanese here. If I called those Brazilians Japanese, they’d get mad as hell at me, they’d practically want to kill me. They’d say, ‘‘Listen, I’m not Japanese, I’m Brazilian.’’ Moacir: I’ve got it bad, because I’m not considered either a Brazilian or a Japanese. Everyone calls me a mestiço, but I’m not a mestiço. The Brazilians say I’m not Japanese, the Japanese say I’m not Brazilian. My [Japanese] friends say, ‘‘You’re not a Brazilian, much less a Japanese,’’ so then I go nuts. ‘‘What am I then?’’ And they say, ‘‘You must be a Filipino.’’ Then I say, ‘‘That’s too much, you’re insulting me.’’ So they say, ‘‘You don’t have a Brazilian face . . . and certainly not Japanese features.’’ I say, ‘‘But I have to be one of those two.’’ Moacir: I work with a guy, right away he liked me. So he always invites me to go around with him, to bars. ‘‘Come on.’’ ‘‘No, no, I don’t drink.’’ ‘‘Come on, come on,’’ till one day I said, ‘‘Well, okay, let’s go.’’ So he introduced me to everyone, ‘‘This guy here works with me. He’s a Brazilian, he doesn’t speak much Japanese,’’ he explained everything. So

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we kept going to his favorite bar. One day he said, ‘‘Now let’s go to my house, I’ll introduce you to my wife.’’ I went to meet his wife, she’s also really cool. He [was] really informal, he made me feel at home. He came over to my place, too. It was just him, and just with me. There were other Brazilians who worked with me. He didn’t treat them badly but he just went around with me. One time I was in the hospital and he came to visit, he brought his wife with him. He’s always been one-hundred percent with me. Moacir: I’m like this, I wouldn’t marry a gaijin [in this context, a Brazilian not of Japanese descent]. My mother, too, she doesn’t want me to marry a gaijin, but my sister doesn’t care. My uncles also used to keep to themselves, not mixing races, but then everyone started mixing, mixing here, mixing there, and they don’t care anymore. But me. . . . [My sister] got married, she doesn’t care if the guy is a Japanese or if he’s a Martian. César: Something that doesn’t even exist today is a Brazilian race. I mean, what’s the Brazilian race today, it’s a mixture. So . . . this mixture of races will reach a point in, let’s say, two or three hundred years, then maybe you’ll have a Brazilian race. A color that’s more or less brown, a little dark. Daniel: If that happens, then Brazilian Nikkeis as a group will disappear. César: That’s right, they’ll disappear. I mean, already today. . . . I studied Japanese when I was a kid—today few do. If you go to those cities where there used to be a high concentration of Nikkeis, today they’ve scattered. Either [laughs] they’re in Japan, or they went to another city, to the big cities. Daniel: I’m working in the middle school, where almost all the kids are— 5 Moacir: Mixed, right. Daniel: Mixed. Moacir: Really, when I came here too, I just met mestiços, [and] just Japanese [-Brazilians] married to gaijin. I found it strange, because in my city we don’t have this, well, we have it, but not so frequently. Daniel: And do you think this mixture of races is a good thing? César: Mmm, I don’t see any problem with it, I don’t see any. Daniel: What do you think, Moacir? César: Moacir thinks it’s more. . . . [all laugh] Daniel: You’ve got more reservations, right? Moacir: I’m more Hitlerist, I don’t like mixing races. I don’t like it. . . . I can’t

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say I wouldn’t ever drink from that well. But I do whatever’s possible to keep things this way. As for the future, you never know. searching for home in moacir and césar In a recent anthology on identity, Rapport and Dawson propose, as a working definition, ‘‘Home . . . is where one best knows oneself ’’ (1998, 9). The definition offers a point of departure, but the ‘‘where’’ remains ambiguous. Suppose one thinks of home as a mental space rather than a physical place. That mental space of self-knowing may be, but is not necessarily, conceptually bound to a geographical location. One might, in other words, feel at home in Brazil, in Japan, in one’s family, in oneself—or not at home anywhere. In what mental spaces do Moacir and César best know themselves? How, if at all, are those mental spaces linked to geographical places? Moacir’s concern with his appearance betrays anxiety over unresolved identity. Moacir thinks he has to be either Japanese or Brazilian. His face and body send mixed signals. How is he to decide who he is? In his narrative, the move to Japan relieves his distress. A ‘‘piece of clothing,’’ a ‘‘jacket,’’ settles over him. A Japanese co-worker singles him out from among the other Brazilians at the factory, offering him a personal connection that affirms the primacy of his Japanese descent. For Moacir, blood ties are paramount: being home means living among kin. ‘‘Whether we like it or not,’’ he insists, ‘‘we’re Japanese.’’ He condemns the mixing of races, which he sees as, lamentably, part and parcel of Brazilian life. If racial fusion is integral to Brazil, mysteriously tainting even his own physical aspect, Moacir wants no part of it. What remains, the final step of his return, is securing the Japanese citizenship that once and for all will resolve his phenotypic ambiguity and put a seal on his sense of blood solidarity. César’s perspective differs radically. Having suffered discrimination in Brazil during his youth, he knew himself to be an outsider there. But he never, so it would seem, saw Japan as an alternative homeland. To him, Japan was a modern ideal and a place to earn and learn. And Japan did in fact deliver a high salary, but the industrial practices of midsized Japanese firms offered no useful guidelines for a Brazilian professional administrator such as César. He comes to regard Japan as a ‘‘run-of-the-mill country,’’ toward which he feels, mainly, indifference. Having lived in Japan many years, he has never even looked up his Japanese relatives. He fails to connect emotionally with Japan either as a model of efficiency or a community of kin.

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For the more detached, analytical César, the question of identity seems altogether less pressing. Acknowledging his blood-borne Japanese origins, he expresses a certain ambivalence, or perhaps indifference, about them: ‘‘There are times when it’s preferable to be a Japanese descendant, there are times when you don’t want to be a Japanese descendant anymore.’’ Again: ‘‘Being in Brazil or Japan . . . it really doesn’t make much difference to me.’’ In citing his experiences of ridicule as a youth in Brazil, I think he is intimating that for all Moacir’s talk of Japanese roots, as a sansei his friend never felt the full weight of ethnic difference, nor does he appreciate the distance Nikkeis have traveled toward acceptance in Brazil. That is, César implicitly characterizes Moacir’s perceptions and aspirations as ingenuous, perhaps romantic. Thus he lets pass without comment Moacir’s declaration that, like it or not, they are Japanese, as if to distance himself from what he views as a naïve claim. César contemplates with equanimity Brazil’s evolution toward a fused-race future, in which the Nikkei community vanishes as Nikkei blood further tints the emerging brown Brazilian mix. Not only is César’s attachment to Japaneseness lukewarm, but he evidently sees no compelling case for the continued existence of an identifiably Nikkei community in Brazil. The specter of a future ‘‘Brazilian race’’ disquiets Moacir, but having the appearance of plain destiny, it neither excites nor disturbs the matter-of-fact César. In sum, Moacir will finally be at home, so he imagines, once he is naturalized: his sense of home is intimately linked to residence and belonging in a physical place: Japan. In contrast, César is at home, or at least reasonably content, wherever he might be living.The men’s sentiments are bound up with personal values and inclinations. For Moacir, Japan is endogamous and superbly organized; it preserves the blood purity and systematicness congenial to his own perceived nature. César, the pragmatist, came to Japan, a country of high wages, to save money for his retirement in Brazil, a country of low prices. If Japan is homogeneous, so be it; if Brazil is heterogeneous, so be it. For César feels no apparent burning need to resolve issues of national or personal identity, or to link his understanding of himself to his place of residence. are japanese brazilians a diaspora? Some recent scholarly literature, cited earlier, has described Japanese Brazilian migration to Japan as a ‘‘return.’’ The 1990 amendment to Japan’s immigration law declares that Japanese Brazilians are ‘‘relatives of the Japanese.’’ Moacir Aoki, the returnee, affirms, ‘‘Whether we like it or not, we’re Japanese.’’

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‘‘Return’’ implies previous absence from a point of origin; ‘‘relatives’’ implicitly share bloodlines; the pronouncement ‘‘we’re Japanese, like it or not’’ suggests biological fate. Hence in the eyes of Japanese lawmakers, many Japanese citizens, some Nikkeis, and some scholars, Japanese Brazilians constitute what could be termed a Japanese diaspora. According to this view, biological descent binds together native-born Japanese and the globally dispersed offspring of native-born Japanese into a substantial, recognizable collectivity. The statement sounds commonsensical. But for a long time anthropologists have refused to take commonsense relatedness at face value, treating it instead as an object of analysis. The first such object was kinship, the topic of innumerable ethnographic monographs. Kinship is a conceptual complex that creates networks of relationship from the imagined sharing of an essential substance usually figured as ‘‘blood.’’ That is, kin terms and degrees of so-called blood relationship are ultimately matters of cultural agreement, not biological determinism (Schneider 1980). Field research has detailed enormous cultural diversity in reckonings of blood relatedness. Ethnographers have asked how such reckonings are invented, circulated, and understood and what rights, duties, responsibilities, and demands they entail. Kinship, in short, early on became a crucial domain of anthropological theory, and though studies of kinship per se have declined in number, the insights generated have proved to be of wide relevance. For blood is not the only idiom of relatedness. Even in kinship systems, people customarily establish ties through law, for example by marriage or adoption. And shared belief establishes bonds among the faithful.6 Recent works on ‘‘imagined communities’’ and ‘‘invented traditions’’ amplify these long-standing anthropological concerns.7 The idea is that ethnic and national groups are quintessentially artificial constructions, welded together by interested elites through discourses and practices that propose common essence, language, culture, and history. Like kin groups and religious groups—like all groups—ethnicities, races, and nations are conjured up through symbols and stories that enmesh people in webs of relatedness. Diasporas are special cases of ethnic groups, which are special cases of kin relations. To characterize a group (‘‘Japanese Brazilians’’) explicitly or implicitly as a diaspora is to draw a boundary around a set of persons on the basis of certain assumptions and to forward certain allegations about those so enclosed. Diaspora-thinking underpins the 1990 Japanese immigration law. That act presupposes first of all that identity is constituted through blood, which is inherited from progenitors. Diaspora membership is thus kinship writ large.

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‘‘Nikkeis are relatives of Japanese’’ because they are tied by blood to common ancestors. Second, the group history is reckoned from a particular moment, a primordial era in which the ancestors inhabited a homeland. Nikkeis ‘‘originated’’ in Japan—not on the Korean peninsula, say, or in the Rift Valley. Third, a key element in the historical narrative is an exodus from the native land, the commonsense understanding that native Japanese migrated from the homeland to Brazil in the early decades of the twentieth century. Finally, the descendants, now scattered among alien populations, are thought to long for and have the right to return to their primordial territory (hence Nikkeis, viewed as willing returnees, are granted license to reside once more on their native soil). To characterize a set of persons as a diaspora is therefore to constitute an ethnic group and impute to it a historical trajectory, moral entitlements, and a collective mental state. This is powerful ideological work.8 For an anthropologist to accede to a diasporic characterization is to commit herself to a particular group-constitutive story. In this case, to accept the logic of the 1990 immigration law would be to subscribe to the Japanese government’s view of relatedness and history. I cannot see a strong reason to endorse that account, and doing so would undermine consideration of broader issues. Understanding how diasporic claims constitute groups requires a willingness to see such claims as less than absolute—as provisional, strategic, rhetorical, or arbitrary. This willingness demands a noncommittal, rather than a polemical, eye. A noncommittal attitude can be uncomfortable, for it can move one to challenge those with whom one sympathizes. There are indeed occasions when the contradictions of ‘‘strategic essentialism’’ (Spivak 1990) may be preferable to critical detachment. Moreover, none of us can, or wishes to, maintain a skeptical attitude in all aspects of life. Nevertheless, anthropological skepticism has served, by and large, as a valuable corrective to divisive ideologies of racial, ethnic, gender, and national difference, often tinged with presumptions of superiority, that have played immensely destructive roles in human relations. Our skeptical predisposition should not be lightly surrendered. Whether or not Japanese Brazilians are a diaspora is, ultimately, a political and personal issue for certain actors—among them Japanese politicians and Japanese Brazilians themselves.The Japanese government has declared Nikkeis a diaspora. As for Japanese Brazilians, the evidence is equivocal. Both Moacir and César, for example, view the migration of Japanese to Brazil as a historical watershed; both know myths of the Japanese homeland; both have felt alienation in Brazil; both self-identify as nikkeis. But César’s desire for ‘‘return’’ to

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Japan, more practical than nostalgic, seems insubstantial: his attachment to and attraction for ‘‘the homeland’’ seem lukewarm at best. While César’s marked indifference is not widely shared among Nikkei migrants, as it turns out, the militantly diasporic Moacir too is an anomaly. As Moacir himself observes, ‘‘There are a lot of Brazilians who . . . don’t consider themselves Japanese. . . . If I called those Brazilians Japanese, they’d get mad as hell at me, they’d practically want to kill me.’’ I met many Nikkeis who vigorously denied that they were Japanese, not because they rejected the notion of a common ancestry, but because they wanted to emphasize the alienation they felt from native-born Japanese. Indeed, there is now convincing evidence that for many, probably most, Japanese Brazilians in Japan, their supposed return has a boomerang effect. It triggers a mental distancing from Japan and an intensified attachment to Brazil (Koyama 1998; Tsuda 1999; Kawamura 1999; Linger 2001). Even if such Nikkeis felt themselves to be Japanese in Brazil, they become Brazilian in Japan. In a manner of speaking, many diasporic Japanese turn into diasporic Brazilians, longing for ‘‘return’’ to São Paulo or Paraná. But if some Japanese Brazilians experience migration to Japan as a return, whereas most experience it as a kind of exile, does it make sense to assert that Nikkeis see themselves as a diaspora? Perhaps we could characterize Japanese Brazilians as a dual diaspora, suspended between two possible homelands (Linger 2001, 26). But even this more complex formulation deals inadequately with the perspectives of many Nikkeis, as César Kawada reminds us. One should never assume that spatialized ethnic roots are necessarily important to those with hyphenated nationalities, even when they have a clear ethnic identity and recognize an ethnic history of migration or displacement. Members of a so-called diaspora may not, in other words, see themselves as displaced from an ethnic home, or they may not care very much one way or the other. César seems equally at home in Brazil and Japan, and not much at home in either—nor does he seem to mind this untethered state. César is not a diasporic Japanese, nor are most Japanese Brazilians I knew in Toyota City. Except perhaps in the imaginations of those who designed the new immigration law, diasporic Japanese are, I believe, a rarity. do japanese brazilians exist? Throughout this essay, I have referred to ‘‘Nikkeis,’’ or ‘‘Japanese Brazilians,’’ as if such a designation were meaningful. But the more closely one examines the category ‘‘Nikkei,’’ the more slippery it gets. It certainly does not have

212 • Daniel T. Linger

the same meaning for those, such as César and Moacir, who place themselves within it. One should not suppose, then, that such categories are important self-designations, and one should certainly not assume that they have common content for everyone who uses them. Those are empirical questions, difficult to answer with certainty but answerable in principle. But a more fundamental issue is less easily resolved. Increasingly I wonder whether I myself should be characterizing people such as Moacir and César as ‘‘Japanese Brazilians.’’ For in choosing to focus on presumed groups such as ‘‘Japanese Brazilians,’’ one directs attention to, and tends to reify, a theoretical abstraction. One runs the risk of contributing to perceptions of race, ethnicity, origins, and communities that may be of dubious analytical (though significant ideological) value. I therefore use the terms ‘‘Nikkei’’ and ‘‘Japanese Brazilian’’ gingerly, to refer to those who recognize in some way both ‘‘Japanese’’ and ‘‘Brazilian’’ components within themselves. I do not know precisely whom I can so categorize (though, by my definition, César and Moacir qualify), and my criterion tends to efface what I believe to be, for most, much more important aspects of identities. I use the collective label with misgivings, for I do not wish to unduly privilege what may be a minor component of self-identity. Nor am I comfortable with reducing millions of people to a one-dimensional ascription that does the ideological work of ethnicizing them and, by extension, ethnicizing the world at large. Writing in the wake of the terrible century just concluded, I wonder whether this particular sociological conceit merits a central place in the theories of the century just begun. Obviously, ethnic self-identifications are of great significance to some. My own ethnic self-identification as an American Jew matters to me, in my own way and sometimes very much. But the salience of public self-identifications should not be assumed, and their personal content is never self-evident.9 I prefer to view self-identifications, popular terminology, and official characterizations with a degree of reserve. One conclusion of this paper is that ‘‘Japanese Brazilians,’’ as I have provisionally defined them, do not necessarily view themselves as a diaspora. A second is that the very term ‘‘Japanese Brazilians’’ conjures up a group that does not necessarily, in any existentially or analytically significant form, exist. A third is that social scientists, myself included, should think long and hard before offering accounts that take ideologically bounded groups as central foci of our analyses. In the end, as he himself affirms, César may just be César.

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notes Many thanks to Hugh Raffles for his valuable commentary on this paper. 1 The interview was conducted in Portuguese. I carried out fieldwork in Japan during the summer of 1994 and from July 1995 to July 1996, about fourteen months altogether. ‘‘Moacir’’ and ‘‘César’’ are pseudonyms. 2 I have used the customary Portuguese romanizations and inflections for Japanese terms taken into Portuguese (e.g., Nikkeis, nisseis, sanseis). 3 Brazilians of Japanese descent number approximately 1.5 million. Folha de São Paulo (‘‘Brasil Japão’’ section 1995) gives a comprehensive journalistic overview of Japanese immigration to Brazil. See Lesser 1999 for an illuminating recent discussion of Japanese and other non-European immigrants. 4 Brazilian Nikkeis are sometimes tagged with the nickname ‘‘Japanese’’ (japonês). 5 For approximately nine months during 1995–96 I worked as a volunteer teacher for Brazilian students at Homi Middle School in Toyota City. 6 See Schneider 1969. 7 See, respectively, Anderson 1991 [1983] and Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983 for influential formulations of these concepts. Weber (1946 [1921]) anticipated their arguments. 8 There is, of course, nothing intrinsically wrong or unusual about identifying with or reifying a collectivity: all of us do it all the time. But in adopting such a perspective one becomes a partisan. And though partisans are ideologically armed to fight certain battles or forward certain policies, they cannot easily question the vision that underwrites their partisanship. 9 See Chodorow 1999 and Linger 2001.

references Anderson, Benedict.1991 [1983]. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Chodorow, Nancy. 1999. The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. ‘‘Brasil Japão 100 anos’’ (caderno especial). 1995. Folha de São Paulo, 19 October. Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, eds. 1983. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kawamura, Lili. 1999. Para Onde Vão os Brasileiros? Imigrantes Brasileiros no Japão. Campinas: Editora da Unicamp. Koyama, Chieko. 1998. Return Migration of Japanese-Brazilians: The Transformation of Ethnic Identity in the Company of their Ancestors. Master’s thesis, University of Florida.

214 • Daniel T. Linger Lesser, Jeffrey. 1999. Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. Linger, Daniel T. 2001. No One Home: Brazilian Selves Remade in Japan. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Nojima, Toshihiko. 1989. Susumetai nikkeijin no tokubetsu ukeire [Toward the special admission of the Nikkeijin]. Gekkan Jiyü Minshü (November): 92–99. Oka, Takashi. 1994. Prying Open the Door: Foreign Workers in Japan. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Rapport, Nigel, and Andrew Dawson. 1998. The Topic and the Book. In Migrants of Identity: Perceptions of Home in a World of Movement, edited by Nigel Rapport and Andrew Dawson, 3–17. Oxford: Berg. Schneider, David M. 1969. Kinship, Nationality, and Religion in American Culture: Toward a Definition of Kinship. In Forms of Symbolic Action, edited by Robert F. Spencer, 116–125. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Schneider, David M. 1980. American Kinship: A Cultural Account. 2d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sellek,Yoko. 1997. Nikkeijin: The Phenomenon of Return Migration. In Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity, edited by Michael Weiner, 178–210. London: Routledge. Spencer, Robert F., ed. Forms of Symbolic Action. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1990. The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. New York: Routledge. Tsuda,Takeyuki. 1999.Transnational Migration and the Nationalization of Ethnic Identity among Japanese-Brazilian Return Migrants. Ethos 27, no. 2: 145–79. Weber, Max. 1946 [1921]. The Nation. In Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited and translated by H. H. Gerth and C.Wright Mills, 171–79. NewYork: Oxford University Press. Weiner, Michael, ed. Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity. London: Routledge. Yamanaka, Keiko. 1996. Return Migration of Japanese-Brazilians to Japan: The Nikkeijin as Ethnic Minority and Political Construct. Diaspora 5, no. 1: 65–97.

contributors •••••

shuhei hosokawa is Associate Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,Tokyo Institute of Technology. He has published numerous books in Japanese including The Aesthetics of Recorded Sound (1990), Enka in the Country of Samba (1995) and Japanese Films Go to Brazil (1998). He is the coeditor (with Toru Mitsui) of Karaoke around the World: Global Technology, Local Singing (1998) and has published articles (in English) in journals including Japanese Studies, Cultural Studies, Popular Music, and the British Journal of Ethnomusicology. He is currently working on the cultural history of Japanese popular music from the mid-nineteenth century. angelo ishi is a Brazilian of Japanese descent. He was born in São Paulo and studied at the University of São Paulo School of Journalism, Niigata University, and Tokyo University. He is coauthor of Global Japan: The Experience of Japan’s New Immigrants and Overseas Communities. He has lived in Japan since 1990, where he teaches in several universities and produces and narrates a Portuguese-language radio news program.

daniel t. linger is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research focuses on identity, transnational experience, politics, cities, cultural theory, and face-to-face interaction. He is the author of Dangerous Encounters: Meanings of Violence in a Brazilian City (1992) and No One Home: Brazilian Selves Remade in Japan (2001). jeffrey lesser is Professor of History and director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program at Emory University. He is the author of Negotiating National Identity: Minorities, Immigrants, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil (Duke University Press, 1999) and Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question (1994). He has twice been a Fulbright Fellow and has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education (Fulbright-Hays), the American

216 • Contributors Council of Learned Societies, and the Ford Foundation. He is currently studying race relations in São Paulo after World War II.

joshua hotaka roth is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College. He received a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1999. He is the author of Brokered Homeland: Japanese Brazilian Migrants in Japan (2002). Currently he is researching sports within the Japanese Brazilian community in Brazil. takeyuki (gaku) tsuda received his Ph.D. in anthropology in 1997 from the University of California at Berkeley and is currently Associate Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California at San Diego. He taught at the University of Chicago as a Collegiate Assistant Professor for three years and has published numerous articles in anthropological and interdisciplinary journals as well as a book titled Strangers in the Ethnic Homeland: Japanese Brazilian Return Migration in Transnational Perspective (2003). He is co-editor of the forthcoming second edition of Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective. keiko yamanaka, a sociologist, is Lecturer in the Asian American Studies Program of the Department of Ethnic Studies, and Research Associate in the Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of California, Berkeley. Since 1994, she has been studying global labor migration and social transformation in Japan, focusing on two contrasting populations: 250,000 documented Brazilian immigrants of Japanese descent and 3,000 undocumented Nepalese immigrants.

karen tei yamashita is the author of four novels: Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic of Orange, and Circle K Cycles. She also teaches literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

index •••••

Agriculture: Cotia cooperative, 110. See also Labor: agricultural Anthropology, 31, 209–10 Anthropophagy, 28 Assimilation, 7, 9, 13 Bidet. See Toilets Brasilidade, 9 Brazil: as anti-Japan, 133 Chaplin, Charlie, 84, 93, 98 n.23 Citizenship, 10, 103, 105, 109. See also Voting Colonization, 5, 6; agriculture, 49, 51, 56; fear of Japanese, 9 Commerce and production, 7–9, 122 Constitution of 1934, 7, 9 Dekassegui, 13, 76; acting ‘‘Japanese,’’ 68–69; criticism of Japan, 147–48; definition, xi; discos, 75–76, 94, 126, 132; fashion, 83, 151; image in Japan, 81, 132, 140, 153; social gatherings, 146, 151; ‘‘Travolta moment,’’ 85. See also Middle class: wearing of jeans; Music: dekassegui; Travolta, John

Diaspora, 2, 208–12 Discrimination, 52–53, 123, 148, 150, 155 n.14, 182, 205; in language, 56–57, 213 n.4; in the workplace, 168 Education, 6, 11–13, 77 Empreiteira: definition of, xi. See also Labor Ethnic jokes, 12–13, 29, 204 Eugenics, 8, 10 Exile, 211 Food, 6, 57, 203 Gender, 4, 26, 28, 67, 71–74, 128. See also Labor Generational issues, 10, 14, 70–71, 181; children, 191 Globalization, 76 Hamamatsu, Japan, 80, 87, 126, 151, 153, 167, 177–80, 190 Homesickness. See Saudade Immigration: Brazilian immigration legislation, 5, 7–8; Brazilian quotas, 8–9; Japanese immigration legislation, 50,

218 • Index Immigration (continued ) 164, 167, 175, 192, 201, 210–11; legislation, 171, 178; sojourner mentality, 126, 153; U.S. immigration legislation, 8, 52–53 Intermarriage, 13, 57, 181, 206. See also Race-mixing Japan: criticism of, 147; foreign residents, 85, 95 n.4, 154 n.1; return to, 110, 116, 209; as winner of World War II, 10–14. See also Dekassegui; Shindo Renmei Japanese: as Egyptians, 42 n.8; as Europeans, 6, 9; as Indians, 23–25, 28, 32; labeling in Brazil, 28, 30, 48, 55, 58, 107, 137, 204, 213 n.4; as ‘‘noble savages,’’ 26, 28; Yamatonchu (definition), xii, 47 Japanese Brazilians: contrast with Japanese Americans, 103–4, 105; plastic surgery among, 13 Karaoke, 84 Kasato Maru, 5–6, 49; definition, xi Keller, Helen, 32–33 Labor: agricultural, 6, 8, 49, 110; brokers, 126, 129, 181; disputes, 50; domestic, 163, 165–66, 170; factory work, 77, 79, 84, 93 n.3, 110, 123–24, 128–29, 137–39, 146, 167, 171, 181, 201, 204; gender, 128, 154 n.7, 155 n.10; international migration of, 164; recruitment, 123, 164; sex work, 13, 165, 167–69, 189 Language, 55, 60, 129, 132, 155 n.13, 191; acquisition, 87; Esperanto, 38; legislation, 10; linguistic isolation, 85, 123, 125, 136; Okinawan dialect (Uchinanguchi), 48, 53; origins, 21–42; preservation, 7, 11–12, 112–13, 132 Mental illness, 135, 147, 155 n.19, 156 n.24 Middle class, 80, 82, 96 n.7, 138, 163, 171;

consumption, 77; shopping centers, 83, 86; wearing of jeans, 13, 82–83 Music: dekassegui, 75, 79, 83–84, 94; Muzak, 203; Okinawan, 59; popular, 23, 87; rap, 75–76, 78–79 Newspapers: bilingual, 6, 14; censorship, 9; for dekassegui, 78, 89; Japaneselanguage, 6, 10, 14, 24, 106; Okinawan, 51–52; Portuguese-language, 5, 11, 13–14, 87 Nostalgia. See Saudade Oizumi, Japan, 80, 94, 96 n.11, 146, 148, 151, 153; as ‘‘Brazilian town,’’ 82, 84, 86–87, 126, 153 Okinawans, 2, 6, 12; as Chinese or Korean, 51; dialect, 48; relief movements among, 57; Uchinanchu (definition), xii, 47 Public culture: festivals, 6, 62, 92; museums, 116 Propaganda. See Shindo Renmei Race-mixing, 1, 23, 114, 206; mestiço, xii, 1, 13, 95 n.5, 194 n.7, 205–6; notion of blood, 208 Racism, 8–9, 129; anti-foreigner movements, 9–10; myth of racial democracy, 38–39, 56, 63 n.7, 206. See also Discrimination; Ethnic jokes; Eugenics Religion, 10; ancestor worship, 10, 25, 49, 52, 56, 61, 112; Christianity, 154 n.2, 190; Seicho no Ie, 56; shamanic practices, 61–62; Shinto, 25 Revolution of 1930, 54 São Paulo, 108, 132; residential patterns, 57 Saudade, 89–93, 104, 127, 130, 133, 151; definition of, xii Schools, 6, 11, 57

Index • 219 Shindo Renmei, 11–12, 15–16 nn.21, 22, 28, 55, 103, 108 Toilets, 67, 72, 73–74 Toyota City, 68, 201–2, 211, 213 n.5 Travolta, John, 84, 85, 98 n.23; as identity management strategy, 93; Saturday Night Fever, 98 n.1

Vargas regime, 8; Estado Novo, 9, 12 Varnhagen, Francisco Adolfo de, 37, 42 n.8 Voting: Brazilians in Japan, 86; Japanese in Brazil, 103–16 Winkle, Rip Van, 110–11

Library of Congress Cataloging-inPublication Data

••• Searching for home abroad : Japanese Brazilians and transnationalism / edited by Jeffrey Lesser. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 0-8223-3112-8 (cloth : alk. paper) isbn 0-8223-3148-9 (pkb. : alk. paper) 1. Brazilians—Japan. 2. Japan—Ethnic relations. 3. Alien labor, Brazilian—Japan. 4. Japanese—Brazil. 5. Brazil— Ethnic relations. I. Lesser, Jeffrey. ds832.7.b73s43 2003 305.895'6081—dc21 2003001724