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Exporting Japan

Politics of Emigration to Latin America

Toake Endoh

Publication Year: 2009

Exporting Japan examines the domestic origins of the Japanese government's policies to promote the emigration of approximately three hundred thousand native Japanese citizens to Latin America between the 1890s and the 1960s. This imperialist policy, spanning two world wars and encompassing both the pre-World War II authoritarian government and the postwar conservative regime, reveals strategic efforts by the Japanese state to control its populace while building an expansive nation beyond its territorial borders. _x000B__x000B_Toake Endoh compellingly argues that Japan's emigration policy embodied the state's anxieties over domestic political stability and its intention to remove marginalized and radicalized social groups by relocating them abroad. Documenting the disproportionate focus of the southwest region of Japan as a source of emigrants, Endoh considers the state's motivations in formulating emigration policies that selected certain elements of the Japanese population for "export." She also recounts the situations migrants encountered once they reached Latin America, where they were often met with distrust and violence in the "yellow scare" of the pre-World War II period.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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Notes on the Translation and Usage of Japanese Names and Words

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pp. vii-viii

In this book, Japanese names and words are Romanized based on the modified Hepburn style. The names of Japanese persons are written with the family names first, followed by the given name, except for Japanese who themselves adopt the customary Western style (the given name first, followed by the family name). ...

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pp. 1-14

On September 14, 2004, three helicopters hovered over the Colonia Guatapara in the state of São Paulo—a Plymouth Colony for Japanese immigrants to Brazil and their descendents.1 One of the helicopters, carrying Koizumi Jun’ichirō, the prime minister of Japan, suddenly descended and landed where about a hundred Guatapara residents were standing. ...

Part I. Origins, Historical Development, and Patterns of Japanese Migration to Latin America

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1. The First Wave of Japanese Migration to Latin America

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pp. 17-34

In the history of Japan—an island nation surrounded by oceans on all sides— overseas migration was a natural undertaking. From ancient times, Japan sent its people overseas to obtain exotic goods, or to learn of different cultures and ideas. ...

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2. The Second Wave: Post-World War II Period

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pp. 35-56

In December 1952, only eight months after Japan regained its independence, 54 Japanese citizens got on board the Santosu-maru, destined for Brazil. They were part of the first contingent of postwar Japanese emigrants to South America and the Caribbean. ...

Part II. Latin American Emigration as a National Strategy

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3. Building the Emigration Machinery

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pp. 59-79

The great earthquake that devastated the Tokyo metropolitan area in September 1923 was a watershed for the beginning of the government of Japan’s intervention into Japanese Latin American emigration. The Yamamoto Gonbei cabinet (September 1923–January 1924) created a relief program for some of the quake victims who had lost homes, families, and jobs, ...

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4. Post-World War II Resurgence of State-Led Migration to Latin America

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pp. 80-98

With the end of World War II, global demographics were radically changed through massive cross-border migration. After years abroad, both the perpetrators and the displaced victims of imperialism began to make their ways home. These included soldiers returning from the front lines, citizens of empires who had migrated outward to their colonies, ...

Part III. State Expansion through Human Exclusion

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5. Social Origins of Japanese Emigration Policy

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pp. 101-137

The surge in Japanese migration to Latin America beginning in the 1920s and its reemergence in the post–World War II period were consequences of the purposeful and powerful forces applied by Japanese officialdom, which claimed that the national emigration policy was instrumental in addressing the demographic crisis and poverty that plagued the country. ...

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6. Latin American Emigration as Political Decompressor

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pp. 138-169

This investigation into the social origins of the Latin American emigration policy sheds light on the highly contentious political climate of the southwest in the periods of national crisis in the 1920s and in the postwar period of the 1950s. The Japanese state—prewar authoritarian and postwar conservative— resolutely cracked down on the core elements of social radicalism ...

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7. State Expansion through Emigration

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pp. 170-196

The previous chapter described how Japan’s emigration policy toward Latin America served as a political decompressor, controlling the fermentation of the political situation in the southwest in the interest of stability and order. This exclusionary aspect is in fact just one side of the Janus-faced policy. ...

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pp. 197-204

The present study on the politics of Japanese emigration to Latin America has been driven by three major conundrums: the unorthodox pattern of emigration from high to low economies, the insistence of the migrant-sender state of Japan upon emigration despite numerous setbacks, and the geographical concentration in the origins of the emigrants. ...


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pp. 205-238


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pp. 239-252


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pp. 253-267

E-ISBN-13: 9780252091100
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252034022

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2009