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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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Gendering Transnationality: Marriage, Family, and Dekasgi

Gendering Transnationality: Marriage, Family, and Dekasgi

(p.146) 5 Gendering Transnationality: Marriage, Family, and Dekasgi
Embodying Belonging

Taku Suzuki

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter turns to gender and family relationships among Okinawan-Bolivians, which often underwent drastic transformations during their migrations between Colonia Okinawa and urban Japan. In Colonia Okinawa, gender relationships among Okinawan-Bolivians were defined and practiced in the public, communal, and domestic spheres through subtly yet strictly defined male and female gender roles and codes of behaviors at workplaces, in community functions, and in homes. The gender division was further complicated by sociospatial segregation of Okinawan-Bolivians and non-Nikkei Bolivian men and women coexisting in these settings. Once Okinawan-Bolivians moved to a Japanese city, the gender divergence among Okinawan-Bolivians was often challenged by the radically different economic and social responsibilities assigned to the migrants in these urban settings, where both men and women worked as manual laborers and often earned a comparable amount of income. The chapter also sheds light on intermarriages between Okinawan-Bolivians and non-Nikkei Bolivians, and between Okinawan-Bolivians and Japanese Naichi-jin. These couples not only faced changing gender roles and codes of behavior in Colonia Okinawa and urban Japan, but also dealt with highly racialized and sexualized stereotypes of “Bolivians” held by other Okinawan-Bolivians and of “South Americans” held by Japanese Naichi-jin in-laws.

Keywords:   Okinawan-Bolivians, family relationships, gender relations, gender roles, Colonia Okinawa, Japan, migration, intermarriage, non-Nikkei Bolivians, Japanese Naichi-jin

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