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The Affinity of the Eye

Writing Nikkei in Peru

Ignacio López-Calvo

Publication Year: 2013

In The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru, Ignacio López-Calvo rises above the political emergence of the Fujimori phenomenon and uses politics and literature to provide one of the first comprehensive looks at how the Japanese assimilated and inserted themselves into Peruvian culture. Through contemporary writers’ testimonies, essays, fiction, and poetry, López-Calvo constructs an account of the cultural formation of Japanese migrant communities. With deftly sensitive interviews and comments, he portrays the difficulties of being a Japanese Peruvian. Despite a few notable examples, Asian Peruvians have been excluded from a sense of belonging or national identity in Peru, which provides López-Calvo with the opportunity to record what the community says about their own cultural production. In so doing, López-Calvo challenges fixed notions of Japanese Peruvian identity.

The Affinity of the Eye scrutinizes authors such as José Watanabe, Fernando Iwasaki, Augusto Higa, Doris Moromisato, and Carlos Yushimito, discussing their literature and their connections to the past, present, and future. Whether these authors push against or accept what it means to be Japanese Peruvians, they enrich the images and feelings of that experience. Through a close reading of literary and cultural productions, López-Calvo’s analysis challenges and reframes the parameters of being Nikkei in Peru.

Covering both Japanese issues in Peru and Peruvian issues in Japan, the book is more than a compendium of stories, characters, and titles. It proves the fluid, enriching, and ongoing relationship that exists between Peru and Japan.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-11

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Foreword: Peruvian Japonisms - Fernando Iwasaki

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pp. xi-xiii

The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru by Ignacio López- Calvo is a unique and amazing book. I consider it unique because its field of study covers both Japanese issues in Peru and Peruvian issues in Japan, and I find it amazing because he has found enough...

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pp. xv-17

I would like to express my deep gratitude to Mark Anderson, Ricardo Bedoya, Lilian Dávila, César Ferreira, Charlotte Graig, Augusto Higa, Elsa Higashide Kudo, Fernando Iwasaki, Jorge Kishimoto, Alejandro Lee, Debbie Lee-DiStefano, Gonzalo López...

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A Note on Translation

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pp. xvii-21

In cases where the text’s English version does not appear in the works cited and no page numbers are included after the quotation, the translation is mine. Otherwise, the English version is quoted from printed sources....

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pp. 1-30

This book analyzes the cultural and identitarian formation of a migrant community: the population of Japanese descent within Peru. More specifically, it focuses on the strategies used by Japanese and Nikkei authors to insert themselves and their culture(s) into the

Part I. Nikkei Testimonials

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pp. 31-53

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1. Seiichi Higashide’s Adiós to Tears: Flexible Citizenship, American War Propaganda, and the Birth of Anti-Japanese Hysteria in Peru

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pp. 33-66

For some time now, anthropologists have praised how the flexible transnationalism of “nomadic” or multiply displaced subjects allows them to elude repressive state structures and state disciplining. In this context, referring to the cultural logics of Chinese...

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2. Okinawa, el reino de la cortesía and Okinawa: Un sigloen el Perú: Dialogues with Nationalism and Renegotiations of (Sub)Ethnicity

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pp. 67-90

this chapter explores the cultural and political messages in two books that blend historical study and testimonials: Ricardo Munehide Ganaja Kamisato’s Okinawa, el reino de la cortesía, y testimonio de un peruano okinawense (Okinawa, the Kingdom of Kindness...

Part II. Nikkei Narratives

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pp. 91-113

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3. Nippo-Peruvian Self-Identification in Augusto Higa’s La iluminación de Katzuo Nakamatsu and Japón noda dos oportunidades

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pp. 93-114

Chapter 3 analyzes two works by Augusto Higa Oshiro, a Peruvian Nikkei author born in Lima in 1946. After graduating from the University of San Marcos with a bachelor’s degree in Peruvian and Latin American literature, he worked as editor of the Instituto...

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4. Lima [plus] Seville = Okinawa: The Japanese as Caricature in Fernando Iwasaki’s España, aparta de mí estos premios

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pp. 115-135

Fernando Iwasaki (1961–),1 with José Watanabe, is one of the most international Peruvian authors of Japanese origin. Although his opus does not generally treat the Japanese or their identity, four of his texts refl ect this ethnicity: the historical study Extremo Oriente...

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5. Carlos Yushimito’s Post-nationalist and Post-identitarian Short Stories

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pp. 136-159

Carlos Yushimito del valle (1977–) was considered a rising literary star in Peru, even before the prestigious Granta magazine featured him, in 2010, among the twenty-two best young Spanish-language writers under thirty-five.1 As he explains in an interview...

Part III. Nikkei Poetry

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pp. 161-183

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6. Japanese Culture and the Politics of Cultural Belonging in José Watanabe’s Poetry

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pp. 163-181

In an essay titled “Aspectos de la cultura del Japón” (Aspects of Japan’s Culture), Peruvian writer Javier Sologuren posits that “the poetic feeling, nourished by a profound love for nature and its revelations, is a living constant underlying all forms where the...

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7. Gender Roles, Sexuality, and Uchinanchu Cultural Identity in Doris Moromisato’s Poetry

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pp. 182-198

Whereas Fernando Iwasaki avowedly tries to de-ethnify his public discourse, the Nisei Doris Moromisato Miasato’s case (1962–) is different: not denying her Japanese cultural heritage, she celebrates her Okinawan identity, particularly after 1990.1 Her...

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pp. 199-209

Why study literature and other forms of cultural production in relation to Nippo-Peruvian identity and history? As seen in previous chapters, Nikkei writing may be interpreted as a call for acceptance into the imaginary of the Peruvian nation, which challenges...


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pp. 211-245

Chronological List of Analyzed Works

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pp. 247-248

Works Cited

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pp. 249-258


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pp. 259-262

About the Author

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pp. 263-284

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599875
E-ISBN-10: 0816599874
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816525980
Print-ISBN-10: 0816525986

Page Count: 283
Illustrations: 15 photos
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 832316041
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Affinity of the Eye

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Japanese -- Peru -- Ethnic identity.
  • Japanese -- Peru -- Intellectual life.
  • Peru -- Emigration and immigration -- History.
  • Peruvian literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Japanese in literature.
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