Strangers in the Ethnic Homeland
Since the late 1980s, Brazilians of Japanese descent have been "return" migrating to Japan as unskilled foreign workers. With an immigrant population currently estimated at roughly 280,000, Japanese Brazilians are now the second largest group of foreigners in Japan. Although they are of Japanese descent, most were born in Brazil and are culturally Brazilian. As a result, they have become Japan's newest ethnic minority.
Drawing upon close to two years of multisite fieldwork in Brazil and Japan, Takeyuki Tsuda has written a comprehensive ethnography that examines the ethnic experiences and reactions of both Japanese Brazilian immigrants and their native Japanese hosts. In response to their socioeconomic marginalization in their ethnic homeland, Japanese Brazilians have strengthened their Brazilian nationalist sentiments despite becoming members of an increasingly well-integrated transnational migrant community. Although such migrant nationalism enables them to resist assimilationist Japanese cultural pressures, its challenge to Japanese ethnic attitudes and ethnonational identity remains inherently contradictory. Strangers in the Ethnic Homeland illuminates how cultural encounters caused by transnational migration can reinforce local ethnic identities and nationalist discourses.