Japanese Peruvian

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Japanese Peruvians
Al Fujimori.jpg
Keiko Fujimori 2.jpg
Santiago Fujimori 2.jpg
Rafael Yamashiro 2.jpg
Total population
0.3-0.4% of the Peruvian population[1]
Regions with significant populations
Lima, La Libertad Department, Lambayeque Department
Spanish, Japanese
Predominantly Roman Catholicism,
Protestantism, Shintoism, Mahayana Buddhism,[2]
Related ethnic groups
Chinese Peruvian, Japanese Brazilian, Asian Latinos

Japanese Peruvians (Spanish: Peruano-Japonés or Nipo-peruano, Japanese: 日系ペルー人, Nikkei Perūjin) are people of Japanese ancestry who were born in or immigrated to Peru. The immigrants from Japan are called the issei generation. Second and third generation Peruvians are referred to as nisei and sansei in Japanese. The yonsei are the fourth generation after the issei.

Japanese Peruvians comprise the second largest ethnic Japanese population in Latin America after Brazil (1.5 million). This ethnic group composes today approximately 0.3% of the population of Peru.[3]


Japanese were among the Asian slaves who were shipped from the Spanish Philippines in the Manila-Acapulco galleons to Acapulco were all called "Chino" which meant Chinese, although in reality they were of diverse origins, including Japanese, Malays, Filipinos, Javanese, Timorese, and people from Bengal, India, Ceylon, Makassar, Tidore, Terenate, and Chinese.[4][5][6][7] Filipinos made up most of their population.[8] The people in this community of diverse asians in Mexico was called "los indios chinos" by the Spanish.[9] Most of these slaves were male and were obtained from Portuguese slave traders who obtained them from Portuguese colonial posessions and outposts of the Estado da India, which included parts of India, Bengal, Malacca, Indonesia, Nagasaki in Japan, and Macau.[10][11] Spain received some of these Chino slaves from Mexico,where owning a Chino slave showed high status.[12] Records of three Japanese slaves dating from the 16th century, named Gaspar Fernandes, Miguel and Ventura who ended up in Mexico showed that they were purchased by Portuguese slave traders in Japan, brought to Manila from where they were shipped to Mexico by their owner Perez.[13][14][15] Some of these asian slaves were also brought to Lima in Peru, where it was recorded that in 1613 there was a small community of asians made out of Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Malays, Cambodians and others.[16][17][18][19]

Peru was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with Japan,[20] in June 1873.[1] Peru was also the first Latin American country to accept Japanese immigration.[20] The Sakura Maru carried Japanese families from Yokohama to Peru and arrived on April 3, 1899 at the Peruvian port city of Callao.[21] This group of 790 Japanese became the first of several waves of emigrants who made new lives for themselves in Peru, some nine years before emigration to Brazil began.[1]

Japanese immigrants arrived from Okinawa, Gifu, Hiroshima, Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures. Many arrived as farmers or to work in the fields but, after their contracts were completed, settled in the cities.[22] 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."[23]

World War II[edit]

It is estimated that there were around 26,000 people of Japanese descent in Peru around the beginning of World War II.[24] After the start of World War II, the United States State Department reached an agreement with the government of Peru; 1,799[24] Japanese Peruvians were rounded up and transported to American internment camps run by the U.S. Justice Department.[25]

The Peruvians were initially placed amongst the Japanese-Americans who had been excluded from the US west coast; later they were interned in the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) facilities in Crystal City, Texas; Kenedy, Texas; and Santa Fe, New Mexico[26] The Japanese-Peruvians were kept in these "alien detention camps" for more than two years before, through the efforts of civil rights attorney Wayne M. Collins,[24][27] being offered "parole" relocation to the labor-starved farming community in Seabrook, New Jersey.[28] The interned Japanese Peruvian nisei in the United States were further separated from the issei, in part because of distance between the internment camps and in part because the interned nisei knew almost nothing about their parents' homeland and language.[29]

The deportation of Japanese Peruvians to the United States involved expropriation of their property and other assets in Peru.[30] At war's end, only 79 Japanese Peruvian citizens returned to Peru, and 400 remained in the United States as "stateless" refugees.[31] The interned Peruvian nisei who became naturalized American citizens would consider their children sansei, meaning three generations from the grandparents who had left Japan for Peru.[32]

Contemporary period[edit]

Today, the occupations of Japanese Peruvians vary because most of them are very well-educated people, ranging from substantial ranks in finance and academia, to catering and hospitality. Japanese Peruvians have a considerable economic position in Peru.[3]

Dekasegi Japanese-Peruvians[edit]

In 2008, more than 6,000 Peruvians lived and worked in Japan, which included 5,000 illegal non-Japanese-descent Peruvians, as documented by immigration officials. There were 41,000 registered Japanese-Peruvian (at least 15,000 illegal non-Japanese-Peruvian with false documentations and illegal Japanese nationalization and maximum 26,000 true Japanese-Peruvian with true documentation and legal Japanese nationalization).[1] Due to economic instability in the 1980s, many Japanese Peruvians left for Japan and the United States, although some have since returned.

Notable figures[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Japan: Japan-Peru relations (Japanese)
  2. ^ Masterson, Daniel et al. (2004). The Japanese in Latin America: The Asian American Experience, p. 237., p. 237, at Google Books
  3. ^ a b Lama, Abraham. "Home is Where the Heartbreak Is," Asia Times.October 16, 1999.
  4. ^ Walton Look Lai, Chee Beng Tan, ed. (2010). The Chinese in Latin America and the Carribbean (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 12. ISBN 9004182136. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Claudia Paulina Machuca Chávez (Otoño-Invierno 2009). "El alcalde de los chinos en la provincia de Colima durante el siglo xvii". Letras Históricas (in Spanish) (Ciesas Occidente) (Núm. 1): 95–116. 
  10. ^ Déborah Oropeza Keresey (julio-septiembre, 2011). "La Esclavitud Asiática en El Virreinato de La Nueva España, 1565-1673". Historia Mexicana (in Spanish) (El Colegio de México) LXI (núm. 1): 20–21. 
  11. ^ Déborah Oropeza (Otoño-Invierno 2009). "Ideas centrales en torno a la esclavitud asiática en la Nueva España". Historia Mexicana (in Spanish) (Encuentro de Mexicanistas 2010 (La esclavitud asiática en el virreinato de la Nueva España, 1565-1673)) (Núm. 1): 2. 
  12. ^ Walton Look Lai, Chee Beng Tan, ed. (2010). The Chinese in Latin America and the Carribbean (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 13. ISBN 9004182136. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  13. ^ The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network (May 14, 2013). "Japanese slaves taken to Mexico in 16th century". asiaone news. 
  14. ^ Torres, Ida (May 14, 2013). "Records show Japanese slaves crossed the Pacific to Mexico in 16th century". Japan Daily Press. 
  15. ^ Phro, Preston (May 15, 2013). "To Mexico in Chains: The Tale of Three 16th Century Japanese Slaves". Rocket News 24. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ a b Palm, Hugo. "Desafíos que nos acercan," El Comercio (Lima, Peru). March 12, 2008.
  21. ^ "First Emigration Ship to Peru: Sakura Maru," Seascope (NYK newsletter). No. 157, July 2000.
  22. ^ 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).
  23. ^ Higashide, Seiichi. (2000). Adios to Tears, p. 218., p. 218, at Google Books
  24. ^ a b c "Japanese Latin Americans". Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  25. ^ Robinson, Greg. (2001). By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans, p. 264., p. 264, at Google Books
  26. ^ Higashide, pp. 157-158., p. 157, at Google Books
  27. ^ "Japanese Americans, the Civil Rights Movement and Beyond". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  28. ^ Higashide, p. 161., p. 161, at Google Books
  29. ^ Higashide, p. 219., p. 219, at Google Books
  30. ^ Barnhart, Edward N. "Japanese Internees from Peru," Pacific Historical Review. 31:2, 169-178 (May 1962).
  31. ^ Riley, Karen Lea. (2002). Schools Behind Barbed Wire: The Untold Story of Wartime Internment and the Children of Arrested Enemy Aliens, p. 10., p. 10, at Google Books
  32. ^ Higashide, p. 222., p. 222, at Google Books


External links[edit]