Japanese Peruvian

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Japanese Peruvians
Al Fujimori.jpg
Keiko Fujimori 2.jpg
Santiago Fujimori 2.jpg
Rafael Yamashiro 2.jpg
Total population
1.2-1.4% of the Peruvian population1
Regions with significant populations
Lima, Huacho, Ica, Piura, Cusco, Huancayo, Ayacucho, Iquitos, Chiclayo, Trujillo
Spanish, Japanese
Predominantly Roman Catholicism,
Protestantism, Shintoism, Mahayana Buddhism,2
Related ethnic groups
Chinese Peruvian, Japanese Brazilian, Asian Latinos

Japanese Peruvians (Spanish: Peruano-Japonés or Nipo-peruano, Japanese: 日系ペルー人, Nikkei Perūjin) are people of Japanese ancestry who were born in or immigrated to Peru. The immigrants from Japan are called the issei generation. Second and third generation Peruvians are referred to as nisei and sansei in Japanese. The yonsei are the fourth generation after the issei.

Japanese Peruvians (0.4 million) comprise the second largest ethnic Japanese population in Latin America after Brazil (1.5 million). This ethnic group composes today approximately 1.4% of the population of Peru.3

Peru was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with Japan,4 in June 1873.1 Peru was also the first Latin American country to accept Japanese immigration.4 The Sakura Maru carried Japanese families from Yokohama to Peru and arrived on April 3, 1899 at the Peruvian port city of Callao.5 This group of 790 Japanese became the first of several waves of emigrants who made new lives for themselves in Peru, some nine years before emigration to Brazil began.1

Japanese immigrants arrived from Okinawa, Gifu, Hiroshima, Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures. Many arrived as farmers or to work in the fields but, after their contracts were completed, settled in the cities.6 In the period before World War II, the Japanese community in Peru was largely run by issei immigrants born in Japan. "Those of the second generation [the nisei ] were almost inevitably excluded from community decision-making."7

World War II

There were around 260,000 immigrants of Japanese nationality in Peru on 1941, the year of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, marking the beginning of the Pacific war campaign for the United States of America in World War II.8 After the Japanese air raids of Pearl Harbor and the Phillipines, the U.S Office of Strategic Services (OSS), formed during World War II to coordinate secret espionage activities against the Axis Powers for the branches of the United States Armed Forces and the United States State Department were alarmed at the large Japanese Peruvian community living in Peru, plus were also wary of the increasing new arrivals of Japanese nationals to Peru.

Fearing the Empire of Japan could sooner or later decide to invade the Republic of Peru and use the southern american country as a landing base for its troops, and its nationals living there as foreign agents against America, in order to open another military front, this time in the American Pacific, the U.S. government quickly negotiated with Lima a political-military alliance agreement in 1942; 1,7998

This political-military alliance provided Peru, with new military technology such as military aircrafts, tanks, modern infantry, new boats for the Peruvian Navy, etc. as well as new American bank loans and new investments in the peruvian economy.

By token, the Americans ordered the Peruvians to track, identify and create ID files for all the Japanese Peruvians living in Peru. Later, at the end of 1942 and during all of 1943 and 1944, the Peruvian government on behalf of the U.S. Government and the OSS organized and started the massive arrests without warrants, without judicial procedings or hearings and the massive deportation of almost all the Japanese Peruvian community to several American internment camps run by the U.S. Justice Department in the states of Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Georgia and Virginia.9

The enormous groups of Japanese Peruvians forced exiles, were initially placed amongst the Japanese-Americans who had been excluded from the US west coast; later they were interned in the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) facilities in Crystal City, Texas; Kenedy, Texas; and Santa Fe, New Mexico10 The Japanese-Peruvians were kept in these "alien detention camps" for more than two years before, through the efforts of civil rights attorney Wayne M. Collins,811 being offered "parole" relocation to the labor-starved farming community in Seabrook, New Jersey.12 The interned Japanese Peruvian nisei in the United States were further separated from the issei, in part because of distance between the internment camps and in part because the interned nisei knew almost nothing about their parents' homeland and language. By 1946 there were only around 100,000 japanese peruvians left in Peru. 13

The deportation of Japanese Peruvians to the United States also involved expropriation without compensation of their property and other assets in Peru.14 At war's end, only 790 Japanese Peruvian citizens returned to Peru, and 40,000 remained in the United States as "stateless" refugees.15 The interned Peruvian nisei who became naturalized American citizens would consider their children sansei, meaning three generations from the grandparents who had left Japan for Peru.16

Contemporary period

Today, the occupations of Japanese Peruvians vary because most of them are very well-educated people, ranging from substantial ranks in finance and academia, to catering and hospitality. Japanese Peruvians have a considerable economic position in Peru.3

Dekasegi Japanese-Peruvians

Main article: Dekasegi

The 1980's and 1990´s were tough for Peru. The bloody and costly Peruvian civil war 1983 -1992, between the Peruvian Armed Forces against the leftist guerrillas of Shining Path, a maoist-followers guerrilla, and the MRTA a Che Guevara/communist Cuban-minded guerrilla, brought massive violence previously unknown to the main urban areas. Since 1983 until 1992, kidnappings, terrorism, political and social chaos, stagnation of the peruvian economy suffering from chronic hyperinflation, heavy devualuation of the Peruvian Sol against the U.S. Dollar, strikes, and recurrent shortages of electricity, water, telephone services as well as sistematic shortages of consumer goods and apparel was common for peruvians. It seemed as if Peru was falling violently apart.

Because of this bleak panorama, many Japanese Peruvians escaped and sought refuge in Japan and the United States.

In 2008, more than 160,000 Peruvians lived and worked in Japan, which included 50,000 illegal non-Japanese-descent Peruvians, as documented by immigration officials. There were 41,000 registered Japanese-Peruvian (at least 15,000 illegal non-Japanese-Peruvian with false documentations and illegal Japanese nationalization and maximum 26,000 true Japanese-Peruvian with true documentation and legal Japanese nationalization).1

However, these emigration trend is now changing. After 2011, many japanese peruvians are now coming back to Peru.

Since 1994 there has been a dramatic recovery of the Peruvian economy and the Peruvian people as a society.

The on-going world-wide known Peruvian Economic Miracle has seen Peru growing a 7% average per year since FY 1994, plus the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku (東北地方太平洋沖地震 Tōhoku-chihō Taiheiyō Oki Jishin?) a magnitude 9.0 (Mw) undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred on Friday 11 March 2011 and its aftermath, the radiation emanating from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors (福島第一原子力発電所事故) affecting and polluting several parts of Japan, has encouraged many Japanese Peruvians come back to Peru.

Notable figures

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Japan: Japan-Peru relations (Japanese)
  2. ^ Masterson, Daniel et al. (2004). The Japanese in Latin America: The Asian American Experience, p. 237., p. 237, at Google Books
  3. ^ a b Lama, Abraham. "Home is Where the Heartbreak Is," Asia Times.October 16, 1999.
  4. ^ a b Palm, Hugo. "Desafíos que nos acercan," El Comercio (Lima, Peru). March 12, 2008.
  5. ^ "First Emigration Ship to Peru: Sakura Maru," Seascope (NYK newsletter). No. 157, July 2000.
  6. ^ Irie, Toraji. "History of the Japanese Migration to Peru," Hispanic American Historical Review. 31:3, 437-452 (August–November 1951); 31:4, 648-664 (no. 4).
  7. ^ Higashide, Seiichi. (2000). Adios to Tears, p. 218., p. 218, at Google Books
  8. ^ a b c Densho, Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. "Japanese Latin Americans," c. 2003, accessed 12 Apr 2009.
  9. ^ Robinson, Greg. (2001). By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans, p. 264., p. 264, at Google Books
  10. ^ Higashide, pp. 157-158., p. 157, at Google Books
  11. ^ "Japanese Americans, the Civil Rights Movement and Beyond". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  12. ^ Higashide, p. 161., p. 161, at Google Books
  13. ^ Higashide, p. 219., p. 219, at Google Books
  14. ^ Barnhart, Edward N. "Japanese Internees from Peru," Pacific Historical Review. 31:2, 169-178 (May 1962).
  15. ^ Riley, Karen Lea. (2002). Schools Behind Barbed Wire: The Untold Story of Wartime Internment and the Children of Arrested Enemy Aliens, p. 10., p. 10, at Google Books
  16. ^ Higashide, p. 222., p. 222, at Google Books


External links

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