EXPORTING JAPAN: Politics of Emigration toward Latin America

Article excerpt

EXPORTING JAPAN: Politics of Emigration toward Latin America. By TOAKE ENDOH. vii and 267 pp.; maps, diagrs., bibliog., index. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009. $50.00 (cloth), ISBN 9780252034022.

This book examines the phenomenon of Japanese migration to Latin America between the 1870s and the 1960s. Much of the contemporary literature on international migration focuses on immigration and its social, economic, and political impacts in the receiving country. In this case study, however, the subject is examined from a different perspective, and this book focuses on the politics and the processes of emigration in the sending country, Japan.

The study is divided into three parts. The first provides an overview of the historical evolution and the geographical patterns of early Japanese settlement in Latin America. The first chapter documents the initiation of the migration process in the 1870s and its dramatic increase after the turn of the century as tens of thousands of Japanese emigrated to southern Brazil and Peru between then and the late 1930s. The nature of post-World War II emigration, which varied in its character, motivations, and geographical orientation (for example, to the Brazilian sertw, Bolivia, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic), is the focus of the second chapter.

The second part of the book examines the dynamics of Japanese emigration. The third chapter briefly documents the early public discourse and promotion of Latin American emigration by politicians and the private sector that began in the 1870s and continued until the early twentieth century. Then, Toake Endoh demonstrates, increasing population growth and competition for scarce resources contributed to the Japanese governments decision, beginning around 1920, to adopt an active proemigration policy intended to alleviate social tension and potentially social unrest. The government also viewed emigration as a means of advancing a broad national strategic initiative to increase Japanese influence overseas and to establish secure international sources of key raw materials. …