Creating Latino communities in the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area

Source of Publication

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies


Studies of Latin American immigrants in Japan to date have focused on Nikkei (of Japanese ancestry) from Brazil and Peru, considering their accommodation to Japanese society as a group with ethnic ties to Japan. In the last few years, however, Latin Americans of diverse backgrounds from countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Colombia have also migrated and settled in urban areas throughout Japan. These immigrants find few avenues to organise themselves or to integrate with the population at large. The Ministry of Justice handles the legislation and enforcement of immigration laws but provides limited social services and information. A handful of non-government associations operate for the benefit of all immigrants but their reach and scope are limited due to lack of human and economic resources. Social discrimination and an increasingly tight labour market complicate this situation. In this paper, I discuss the formal and informal networks that Latin American immigrants develop to overcome these obstacles to accommodate to their host society. I argue that the social and cultural negotiations that facilitate the functioning of these networks contribute to the creation of a pan-national Latin/o American culture in Japan. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Ltd.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Rafael Reyes-Ruiz, Zayed University