Between Menace and Model Citizen: Lima's Japanese-Peruvians, 1936-1963
AuthorDuMontier, Benjamin John
AdvisorPieper-Mooney, Jadwiga E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Japanese-Peruvian community in Lima, Peru used different understandings of race to assert its role in the country. This dissertation examines the changing racial and ethnic characterizations of Japanese residents in Peru between 1936 and 1963. Using archival research and oral histories this dissertation traces the category of “enemy alien” in Peruvian policy, a racial and legal category which overlapped with global conversations about anti-Asian “yellow peril” fears. This analysis pays close attention to one national context – Peru—and takes a long view on nation-state policies that influenced the lives of immigrants. In this context, I argue that understandings of race among Japanese-Peruvians had to do with the placement of Japan in global politics—and were not uniformly negative, depending on the historical moment. Peruvian officials formed their political agenda – and the subsequent treatment of Japanese-Peruvians –not solely in response to U.S. policies and interests in national security. Instead, domestic policies in the 1930s and actions by Japan abroad shaped the changing ways of addressing Japanese-Peruvians before, during, and after World War II. After the war, however, the Japanese-Peruvian community developed their own survival strategies amid changing national and global designations for their racial and political identities. They exploited the racial ambiguity that newspapers, government policies, and Peruvian laborers had towards Japan to claim new citizenship rights. This dissertation uses oral histories to trace how changing international political relations – and war – affected the efforts of immigrants to create a new homeland.
Degree ProgramGraduate College