Japanese emigration to South America has a long history. Many people of Japanese descent, both permanent and temporary residents, live in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia.Peru is the first country in Latin America to accept Japanese immigrants and Peru is the first country in Latin America to develop diplomatic relations with Japan. Ever since diplomatic relations were first established with Peru in 1873, Japan has maintained close links with South America.
The first Japanese to come in significant numbers arrived in 1899, lured by promises of steady work on Peru''s coastal cotton and sugar plantations. Eager to escape crippling unemployment and poverty in Japan, they avidly signed labor contracts, hoping to come home rich in a few years.Japanese immigrants went to Peru to work for sugarcane farms, but the agriculture in Peru was too hard: most of them gave up to work as farm workers and moved to cities, especially to Lima(capital), to open barbers and shops. They have helped among themselves due to the language barrier, which seemed sometimes to Peruvians as they form a closed community.The history of Peru''s nikkei, or people of Japanese descent, has been marked by even more serious examples of discrimination, including anti-Japanese riots in Lima in 1940 . The World War II, which started in 1941, gave a catastrophic impact on the Japanese community there: Peru, which decided to be in the side of the U.S., detained many Japanese citizens and sent them to the concentration camps in the United States.
In the thesis, I investigated the development of Japaneses immigrantes in Peru from political, economic, social and assimilative aspects. This paper examines how and why an ethnic community perpetuates itself over generations.After their more than 100-year-long presence in Peru, Japanese-Peruvians, now mostly in their second and third generations, are highly acculturated.They are also integrated economically, and now politically - as exemplified by the election of Alberto Fujimori as the first President of Japanese descent (1990-2000).