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Beloit College

Midori Bowen'11,international relations; East Asian studies, peace & justice studies

Project: “Mudbloods and Blood Traitors: Japanese-Latin American Community Identities in Japan."   Location: Oizumi, Japan

After completing a semester studying at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, Midori carried out research on the Japanese-Latin American (Nikkeijin) population concentrated in the town of Oizumi, north of Tokyo.  Nikkeijin are people of Japanese lineage who had migrated from Japan generations ago, yet were welcomed back to fill a labor shortage in the country.  The town of Oizumi is said to built by Nikkeijin for Nikkeijin, and it provided an entrée for Midori to interview families to understand the experience of Nikkeijin Storethe community following the economic crisis in Japan.  In 2008, as unemployment among Nikkeijin neared 40%, the Japanese government began giving financial assistance to Nikkeijin who wished to leave Japan to return to Latin America.  Through interviews and interactions with the community, Midori found that, though many temporary workers had left, the backbone of the community remained: business owners and company workers, with established families.  “They are not a community of excluded temporary workers, as the Japanese government intended, but a resilient and vibrant community within multicultural Japan,” she concluded.

            Midori presented her findings at the Beloit College International Symposium in November, 2010.