Ph. D. Candidate,
Yukako Nagamura received an MA degree in Sociology at the Federal University of Parana, Brazil. She is currently a PhD. Candidate in International Relations, Graduate School of Global Studies at Sophia University and also a Researcher Fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (DC2). She conducts research on the political participation of immigrants and their descendants in a host society. Her dissertation analyzes the participation of the Japanese descendants in elections in Brazil to discuss the political interests of ethnic groups and citizenship.
“The Political Positions of Latin American Nikkei Students in Japan during WWII”
Prior to World War II, some Japanese immigrants who moved to Latin America sent their children to go back to Japan for an educational purpose. Other nikkei students had an invitation from the Japanese government to study in Japan. When the Pacific War broke out, these students encountered an issue regarding their political position in Japan. While those who had dual citizenship were drafted to the military service for Japan, others tried to renounce their Japanese nationality to escape from the conscription. Those who stayed in Japan without going to the battlefield suffered from being treated as enemies. When the war ended, they could not return to their homeland in Latin America and ended up working for the GHQ office. We could observe that the Brazilian and Peruvian nikkei students in this situation. Finally, in the 1950s, those students returned to Latin America. The positions of the nikkei students were varied, and there we can observe their own choice of life, not necessarily determined by the framework of the states. Those who stayed in Japan during the war searched their decision not only by patriotism for Japan, but also by the world wide view about the war. This paper aims to analyze Japanese government’ politics about the people of Japanese descent in the war and the students’ decision making about their positions.