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Embodying BelongingRacializing Okinawan Diaspora in Bolivia and Japan$
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Taku Suzuki

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833442

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833442.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2021

Modern Okinawan Transnationality: Colonialism, Diaspora, and “Return”

Modern Okinawan Transnationality: Colonialism, Diaspora, and “Return”

(p.22) 1 Modern Okinawan Transnationality: Colonialism, Diaspora, and “Return”
Embodying Belonging

Taku Suzuki

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter outlines the modern history of the Okinawan diaspora in three sections: (i) the history of Okinawan immigration to Bolivia in the prewar and postwar periods; (ii) the foundation and transformation of Colonia Okinawa in eastern Bolivia; and (iii) the factors and processes of Okinawan-Bolivians' dekasegi migration to urban Japan since the 1980s. It shows that Okinawan immigration and settlement in Colonia Okinawa and dekasegi migration to Yokohama are not merely population movements driven by local and global political economies but an illuminating case of the continuing displacement and struggle of colonial and postcolonial subjects. The chapter contextualizes the prewar and postwar waves of Okinawan emigration to Bolivia within this turbulent history of Okinawa and the Okinawan diaspora, and describes in detail the postwar Okinawan migration to Bolivia, which was planned and sponsored by the US military administration and the US-backed Okinawan government during the occupation. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Okinawan settlers in Colonia Okinawa increasingly defined themselves as “Japanese,” rather than “Okinawan,” subjects, vis-à-vis non-Nikkei “Bolivians,” as they asserted themselves as powerful upper-class patrones (large-scale farm owners). The chapter ends with a discussion of various contributing factors to the dekasegi migration since the 1980s, despite the Okinawan-Bolivians' privileged class position in Colonia Okinawa, against the backdrop of changing socioeconomic conditions surrounding Colonia Okinawa, Bolivia in general, and Japan.

Keywords:   Okinawan-Bolivian, migration, dekasegi, Okinawan diaspora, Colonia Okinawa, Bolivia, Japan, Okinawan immigration

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