Exporting Japan: Politics of Emigration to Latin America

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Exporting Japan: Politics of Emigration to Latin America
By Toake Endoh
University of Illinois Press, 2009
280 pp. $50.00
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The career of the Peruvian strongman Alberto Fujimori reminded the world that Latin America, especially Brazil and Peru, is home to a sizable Japanese diaspora. It is lesser known that the influx of Japanese to the region, which took place both before and after World War II, was in large part organized and financed by the Japanese state. Its triple purpose was to get rid of undesirables, build a base outside the Japanese islands to secure commodities and food for the homeland, and create a channel for political influence abroad. Having cast out people it did not want, the government then sent teachers to instill loyalty to the home country and to encourage them to keep speaking Japanese. This previously untold story bespeaks both the profound insecurity of Japan's geostrategic position and the inventiveness of its elites in looking for solutions.