Asian Peruvians

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Asian Peruvians
Chinatown Lima Peru.jpg
Chinatown in Lima
Total population
15% of Peru's population[1][2])
Regions with significant populations
Lima · La Libertad · Lambayeque
Spanish · Chinese · Japanese · Korean · Indian languages ·
Buddhism · Catholicism · Hinduism · Islam · Judaism · Protestantism · Shintoism · Sikhism.
Related ethnic groups
Asian Latin Americans

Asian Peruvians, primarily Chinese and Japanese, constitute some 15-20% of Peru's population, which in proportion to the overall population is one of the largest of any Latin American nation.

Peru has the second largest population of Japanese people in Latin America after Brazil and the largest population of Chinese people in Latin America.

Despite the presence of Peruvians of Japanese heritage being quite recent, in the past decade they have made significant advancements in business and political fields; a past president, Alberto Fujimori and his daughter, Keiko Fujimori, who ran for the presidency in 2010, along with several past cabinet members, and one member of the Peruvian congress are of Japanese origin.

East Asians[edit]

Asian slaves, shipped from the Spanish Philippines to Acapulco (see Manila-Acapulco galleons), were all referred to as "Chino" meaning Chinese. In reality they were of diverse origins, including Japanese, Malays, Filipinos, Javanese, Timorese, and people from modern day Bangladesh, India, Ceylon, Makassar, Tidore, Terenate, and China.[3][4][5][6] Filipinos made up most of their population.[7] People from this diverse community of Asians in Mexico were called "los indios chinos" by the Spanish.[8] Most of these slaves were male and were obtained from Portuguese slave traders who obtained them from Portuguese colonial possessions and outposts of the Estado da India, which included parts of India, Bengal, Malacca, Indonesia, Nagasaki in Japan, and Macau.[9][10] Spain received some of these Chino slaves from Mexico, where owning a Chino slave was a sign of high status.[11] 16th century records of three Japanese slaves, Gaspar Fernandes, Miguel and Ventura, who ended up in Mexico showed that they were purchased by Portuguese slave traders in Japan and brought to Manila from where they were shipped to Mexico by their owner Perez.[12][13][14] Some of these Asian slaves were also brought to Lima, where it was recorded that in 1613 there was a small community of Asians made out of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Malays, Cambodians and others.[15][16][17][18]


Filipinos form the oldest Asian ethnic group in Peru and the rest of Latin-America.[19] The bulk of Filipinos served as mariners in the transpacific Manila Galleon trade, which had Lima, Peru as a secondary port to Acapulco, Mexico. Their total number is unknown due to high levels of assimilation. Both Filipinos and "native" Peruvians practice Catholicism and have a Hispanic culture and Spanish names. These factors facilitate assimilation.


Historic communities inhabited by people of Chinese descent are found throughout the Peruvian upper Amazon, including cities such as Yurimaguas, Nauta, Iquitos and the north central coast (Lambayeque and Trujillo). In contrast to the Japanese community in Peru, the Chinese appear to have intermarried much more since they came to work in the rice fields during the Viceroyalty and to replace the African slaves, during the abolition of slavery itself.


Japanese immigrants arrived from Okinawa; but also from Gifu, Hiroshima, Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures. Many arrived as farmers or to work in the fields, but after their respective contracts were completed, settled in the cities.[20] In the period before World War II, the Japanese community in Peru was largely run by Issei immigrants born in Japan. "Those of the second generation", (the Nisei), "were almost inevitably excluded from community decision-making."[21]


Koreans in Peru formed Latin America's seventh-largest Korean diaspora community as of 2005, according to the statistics of South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.[22] They are relatively small in size compared to both the Chinese and Japanese communities in Peru.

Other groups[edit]

Indians in Peru form a tiny minority in the country. The first immigrants from India to have arrived in Peru were businessmen who had gone there in the early 1960s. Later on, the community grew in number marginally until the early 1980s, after which many of its members left due to the severe local economic crises and the prevailing terrorism.[citation needed]

An estimated 10,000 Palestinians live in Peru alone, many of these families who arrived after the first Israel wars in 1948-49 had reestablished and bettered themselves in Peru when it comes to socioeconomic status.[citation needed]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Walton Look Lai, Chee Beng Tan, eds. (2010). The Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 12. ISBN 9004182136. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  4. ^ María Herrera-Sobek, ed. (2012). Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions, Volume 1 (illustrated ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 59. ISBN 031334339X. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  5. ^ Wolfgang Binder, ed. (1993). Slavery in the Americas. Volume 4 of Studien zur "Neuen Welt" (illustrated ed.). Königshausen & Neumann. p. 100. ISBN 3884797131. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  6. ^ Arnold J. Meagher (2008). The Coolie Trade: The Traffic in Chinese Laborers to Latin America 1847-1874. Arnold J Meagher. p. 194. ISBN 1436309433. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  7. ^ James W. Russell (2009). Class and Race Formation in North America (illustrated, reprint ed.). University of Toronto Press. p. 27. ISBN 0802096786. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  8. ^ Claudia Paulina Machuca Chávez (Fall–Winter 2009). "El alcalde de los chinos en la provincia de Colima durante el siglo xvii" (PDF). Letras Históricas (in Spanish). Ciesas Occidente (Núm. 1): 95–116. 
  9. ^ Déborah Oropeza Keresey (July–September 2011). "La Esclavitud Asiática en El Virreinato de La Nueva España, 1565-1673" (PDF). Historia Mexicana (in Spanish). El Colegio de México. LXI (núm. 1): 20–21. 
  10. ^ Déborah Oropeza (Fall–Winter 2009). "Ideas centrales en torno a la esclavitud asiática en la Nueva España" (PDF). Historia Mexicana (in Spanish). Encuentro de Mexicanistas 2010 (La esclavitud asiática en el virreinato de la Nueva España, 1565-1673) (Núm. 1): 2. 
  11. ^ Walton Look Lai, Chee Beng Tan, eds. (2010). The Chinese in Latin America and the Caribbean (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 13. ISBN 9004182136. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  12. ^ The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network (May 14, 2013). "Japanese slaves taken to Mexico in 16th century". asiaone news. 
  13. ^ Torres, Ida (May 14, 2013). "Records show Japanese slaves crossed the Pacific to Mexico in 16th century". Japan Daily Press. 
  14. ^ Phro, Preston (May 15, 2013). "To Mexico in Chains: The Tale of Three 16th Century Japanese Slaves". Rocket News 24. 
  15. ^ Leslie Bethell (1984). Leslie Bethell, ed. The Cambridge History of Latin America. Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Latin America: Colonial Latin America. I-II (illustrated, reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0521245168. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  16. ^ Ignacio López-Calvo (2013). The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru. Fernando Iwasaki. University of Arizona Press. p. 134. ISBN 0816599874. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  17. ^ Dirk Hoerder (2002). Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium. Andrew Gordon, Alexander Keyssar, Daniel James. Duke University Press. p. 200. ISBN 0822384078. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  18. ^ Fernando Iwasaki Cauti (2005). Extremo Oriente y el Perú en el siglo XVI. Volume 12 of Colección Orientalia (illustrated ed.). Fondo Editorial PUCP. p. 293. ISBN 9972426718. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  19. ^ "Filipino American History". Northern California Pilipino American Student Organization. California State University, Chico. May 4, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2011. These Filipino pioneers were known as the "manong generation" since most of them came from Ilokos Sur, Iloilo, and Cavite in the Philippines. 
  20. ^ Irie, Toraji. "History of the Japanese Migration to Peru," Hispanic American Historical Review. 31:3, 437-452 (August–November 1951); 31:4, 648-664 (no. 4).
  21. ^ Higashide, Seiichi. (2000). Adios to Tears, p. 218., p. 218, at Google Books
  22. ^ 재외동포현황 - 중남미 (Status of overseas compatriots - Central/South America), Overseas Korean Foundation, 2005, retrieved 2008-09-27