Japanese migration to Latin America began in the late nineteenth century, and today the continent is home to 1.5 million persons of Japanese descent. Combining detailed scholarship with rich personal histories, The Japanese in Latin America is the first comprehensive study of the patterns of Japanese migration on the continent as a whole. When the United States and Canada tightened their immigration restrictions in 1907, Japanese contract laborers began to travel to Latin America to work in mines and on plantations. Daniel M. Masterson, with the assistance of Sayaka Funada-Classen, examines Japanese agricultural colonies in Latin America as well as the subsequent cultural networks that sprang up within and among them, and the changes that occurred as the Japanese moved from wage labor to ownership of farms and small businesses. Masterson also explores recent economic crises in Brazil, Argentina, and Peru that combined with a strong Japanese economy to cause at least a quarter million Latin American Japanese to migrate back to Japan. Illuminating authoritative research with extensive interviews with migrants and their families, The Japanese in Latin America examines the dilemma of immigrants who maintained strong allegiances to their Japanese roots even as they struggled to build lives in their new countries.
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