There is a rich body of literature on the experience of Japanese immigrants in the United States, and there are also numerous accounts of the cultural dislocation felt by American expats in Japan. But what happens when Japanese Americans, born and raised in the United States, are the ones living abroad in Japan?
Redefining Japaneseness chronicles how Japanese American migrants to Japan navigate and complicate the categories of Japanese and “foreigner.” Drawing from extensive interviews and fieldwork in the Tokyo area, Jane H. Yamashiro tracks the multiple ways these migrants strategically negotiate and interpret their daily interactions. Following a diverse group of subjectssome of only Japanese ancestry and others of mixed heritage, some fluent in Japanese and others struggling with the language, some from Hawaii and others from the US continenther study reveals wide variations in how Japanese Americans perceive both Japaneseness and Americanness.
Making an important contribution to both Asian American studies and scholarship on transnational migration, Redefining Japaneseness critically interrogates the common assumption that people of Japanese ancestry identify as members of a global diaspora. Furthermore, through its close examination of subjects who migrate from one highly-industrialized nation to another, it dramatically expands our picture of the migrant experience.
About the Author
JANE H. YAMASHIRO is a visiting scholar in the Asian American Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
Note on Terminology
2Japanese as a Global Ancestral Group: Japaneseness on the US Continent, Hawaii, and Japan
3Differentiated Japanese American Identities: The Continent Versus Hawaii
4From Hapa to Hafu: Mixed Japanese American Identities in Japan
5Language and Names in Shifting Assertions of Japaneseness
6Back in the United States: Japanese American Interpretations of Their Experiences in Japan
Appendix A: Methodology: Studying Japanese American Experiences in Tokyo
Appendix B: List of Japanese American Interviewees Who Have Lived in Japan