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Diaspora and IdentityJapanese Brazilians in Brazil and Japan$
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Mieko Nishida

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867935

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867935.001.0001

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Sanseis, Yonseis, and Their Racial Identity

Sanseis, Yonseis, and Their Racial Identity

(p.160) Chapter Six Sanseis, Yonseis, and Their Racial Identity
Diaspora and Identity

Mieko Nishida

University of Hawai'i Press

The upper-middle-class Sasei and Yonseis [fourth-generation Japanese Brazilians] were born during the 1970s and 1980s and grew up in the city among “Brazilians.” In their childhood they all shared the experience of being bullied for their “(Japanese) face” and “slanted eyes” as a racial minority. They have struggled to find their positions under Brazil’s fluid racial formation, despite their educated parents’ individual “whitening.” Many have continued to resort to intermarriage with white Brazilians fueled by the desire to further “whiten” themselves. Becoming proud of Japan’s economic prosperity, some others, including racially mixed ones, have chosen to affirm their cultural identity collectively as the self-identified Nikkei [Japanese descendants]. Some began to learn the Japanese language in college and studied in Japan on fellowships. They socialize and date among themselves and eventually practice ethnic-class endogamy, even though their definition of Nikkeiness varies individually, except for their “face.”

Keywords:   Sansei, Yonsei, Youth, Whitening, Race, Endogamy, Positioning, Nikkei

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