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CLAS Lecture Series: Contested Modernities: Representations of the Brazilian Dekasegi and the Nipponization of Brazil in Nikkei cultural production

Contested Modernities: Representations of the Brazilian Dekasegi and the Nipponization of Brazil in Nikkei cultural production
Ignacio López-Calvo, University of California, Merced
The dekasegi (temporary migrant worker) phenomenon represents the last major historical landmark for Japanese Brazilians, as one out every five have moved to Japan. It has opened new debates about the issue of cultural and national belonging that had been put to rest by younger generations of Nikkeijin (Japanese and their descendants residing overseas). After immigration laws changed in Japan and working visas were offered to people of Japanese ancestry until the third generation, many Brazilian Nikkeijin opted to leave the country where they were born in order to move to the land of their ancestors. But feeling disappointed, exploited and discriminated in Japan, a considerable number of them ended up switching their alliances from an idealized Japan (if they had them) to Brazil once and for all. These dekasegi experiences and others are described in Nikkei testimonials, films, novels, poetry collections, and chronicles. In this presentation, I explore these issues as they appear in Silvio Sam’s testimonial Dekassegui: Com os Pés no Chão... no Japão (1999) and novel Sonhos Que De Cá Segui (1997), and Kakazu’s Crônicas de um Garoto que Tambiém Amava Os Beatles e Os Rollings Stones (1998).
Ignacio López-Calvo is Professor of Latin American literature at the University of California, Merced. He is the author of seven books on Latin American and U.S. Latino literature and culture: Dragons in the Land of the Condor: Tusán Literature and Knowledge in Peru (Arizona UP, 2014); The Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru (U of Arizona P 2013); Latino Los Angeles in Film and Fiction: The Cultural Production of Social Anxiety (U of Arizona P 2011); Imaging the Chinese in Cuban Literature and Culture (UP of Florida, 2007); “Trujillo and God”: Literary and Cultural Representations of the Dominican Dictator (UP of Florida, 2005); Religión y militarismo en la obra de Marcos Aguinis 1963-2000 (Mellen, 2002); Written in Exile. Chilean Fiction from 1973-Present (Routledge, 2001). He has also edited the books Roberto Bolaño, a Less Distant Star - Critical Essays (Palgrave, 2015), Magical Realism (Critical Insights) (Salem Press, 2014), Peripheral Transmodernities: South-to-South Dialogues between the Luso-Hispanic World and "the Orient" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2012), Alternative Orientalisms in Latin America and Beyond (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2007) and One World Periphery Reads the Other: Knowing the “Oriental” in the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2009), and co-edited Caminos para la paz: literatura israelí y árabe en castellano (2008). He is the co-executive director of the academic journal Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World.



Friday, October 14, 2016. 12:30 PM


Bolivar House, 582 Alvarado Row


Center for Latin American Studies


(650) 725-0383


Lunch served at noon | Free and open to the public | No RSVP necessary