Abstract

In the early twentieth century, government officers and the mass media demonized mutually constitutive Japanese beetles and bodies as deadly yellow perils. The Japanese beetle, second-generation Japanese Americans, and the Asiatic farmer transformed anti-Asian and anti-immigration policies during the early twentieth century. The metaphor of Japanese immigrants as invaders formed the central vehicle that dehumanized them and persuaded the larger American public that these foreigners ought to be eradicated. Their increasing presence occurred as the United States grappled with the problem of dealing with those aliens inside its borders. The story of Japanese insect, plant, and human immigrants is not simply one of inclusion–exclusion or even colonizer–colonized. These historical depictions of Japanese immigrants can be situated within a long trajectory of continuing practices of the animalization and dehumanization of other racialized groups, including Mexican immigrants.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 831-852
Launched on MUSE
2013-12-23
Open Access
No
Archive Status
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