Sociology of an Immigrant Between Borderlines: An Intellectual Biography of Hiroshi Saito

Friday, July 18, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Gustavo TAKESHY TANIGUTI , Department of Sociology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Matheus GATO DE JESUS , Department of Sociology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
This paper examines the intellectual biography of the Japanese-born sociologist Hiroshi Saito (1919-1983) by considering the dilemmas and impasses lived by him. Our goal is to explore the relationships between his personal trajectory and his academic work, mostly devoted to the subject of Japanese Immigration in Brazil. As well as the majority of Japanese people who emigrated to this country in the first half of the twentieth century, he worked as a farmer in the cotton fields at the State of São Paulo. In search of better opportunities, Saito moved to the capital city where, by the hands of the already well-known professor Donald Pierson, he became the first Japanese immigrant to build a successful academic career in Brazilian sociology. The analysis focuses on the strategies he developed and the political positions he defended between the 1940s and the 1950s in order to confront both the political repression of Brazilian State, on one hand, and the Japanese ultranationalist groups, on the other. Moreover, we seek to demonstrate that the author played a crucial role for the institutionalization of the studies on the Japanese immigrants in Brazilian social sciences, being himself one of the pioneer researchers on this subject.