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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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From Patrón to Nikkei-Jin Rōdōsha : Class Transformations

From Patrón to Nikkei-Jin Rōdōsha : Class Transformations

(p.83) 3 From Patrón to Nikkei-Jin Rōdōsha : Class Transformations
Embodying Belonging

Taku Suzuki

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter describes the experiences of Okinawan-Bolivian dekasegi migrants in Japan, most of whom were Nisei children of affluent Issei farm owners in Colonia Okinawa. It outlines the labor market structure in the construction industry in Japan and locates the dekasegi migrant workers within it. Ethnographic snapshots of the dekasegi workers' working conditions at construction sites; the physically demanding tasks they performed in a hazardous environment; the spatial isolation (and autonomy) they maintained; and the interactions among themselves and with other workers, such as Japanese Naichi-jin and Nikkei-jin migrants from other South American countries, indicate how their subject positions in Japan were shaped and experienced. The dekasegi migrants often interpreted and performed their subject positions within the larger economic structures and daily working situations in Japan through racialized stereotyping of others and themselves. Their various narratives on their structural positions within the Japanese labor market and the ways in which different groups of workers act and interact were reminiscent of Issei's and Nisei's racialized (overgeneralized and naturalized) explanations of the labor relations between non-Nikkei Bolivian laborers and Okinawan-Bolivian farm owners in Colonia Okinawa and of the economic structure of Bolivia at large.

Keywords:   Okinawan-Bolivian migrants, dekasegi migrants, Japan, Bolivia, Colonia Okinawa, migrant workers, labor relations, racial stereotypes, labor market

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