About the Book
This book is an interdisciplinary collection of essays on the society and cultures of twenty-first century Japanese transnationals: first-generation migrants (Issei), and their descendants who were born and grew up outside Japan (Nikkei); and Japanese nationals who today find themselves living overseas. The authors-international specialists from anthropology, sociology, history, and education-explore how individual and community cultural identities are deeply integrated in ethnic and economic structures, and how cultural heritage is manifested in various Japanese transnational communities. These papers use individual cases to tackle the bigger issues of personal identity, ethnic community, and economic survival in an internationalized global world. This book, then, offers new perspectives on the anthropology, sociology, history, and economics of an important, though largely under-reported, transnational community. While previous studies have focused on a few specific and well-known cases-for example, the World War II internment of Japanese Americans and their attempts at redress, Japanese agriculture workers in Brazil, or temporary "returnee" dekasegi workers-this book examines Japanese transnationalism from a broader perspective, including Japanese nationals living overseas permanently or temporarily, and Europeans of Japanese ancestry who have recently rediscovered their Japanese roots. Besides looking at Japanese and Nikkei migrants in North and South America, this volume examines some little-explored venues such as Indonesia, Spain, and Germany. The connections among all these Japanese transnational communities-real or imagined are explored ethnographically and historically. And instead of simply focusing on social problems resulting from racial discrimination-and the political actions involved in implementing or fighting it-this volume offers more nuanced dialogue about the issues involved with Japanese transnationalism, in particular how ethnic identity is formed and how Japanese transnational communities have been created, and re-created, all over the world. Also, while until now less attention has been paid to fitting the Japanese case into a larger theoretical framework of globalization and migration studies, the papers presented here-along with a detailed theoretical introduction-attempt to rectify this.