Japanese Women in Brazil: Gender, Race and Nationalism in the Aftermath of World War II

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Ana Luisa CAMPANHA NAKAMOTO, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Mainstream historiography of Japanese Immigration to Brazil pays little attention to women’s experiences and their role in key historical events. In the aftermath of World War II, the Japanese-Brazilian community was struggling with the social and economic consequences of President Getulio Vargas' authoritarian regime Estado Novo (1937-1945) and its repressive measures against foreign populations associated with the Axis powers. The outcome of the war triggered a major conflict within the Japanese-Brazilian community between "makegumi" (or "defeated", those who accepted Japan's defeat) and "kachigumi" (or "victorious", those who preached the war had not been over or that Japan had won). In the midst of outbursts of violence against Japanese immigrants (by rural Brazilian populations and a "kachigumi" extremist organization called Shindo-Renmei), Japanese-Brazilian women promoted dance performances, popular theater presentations and clubs to raise money for war victims in Japan and "to mend community ties". This presentation aims to demonstrate how their practices and discourses, embedded in a rhetoric of domesticity and racialized femininity, are pivotal to understand the situation of Japanese-Brazilians in the complex interplay between race, gender, class and political activism in Brazil during the Cold War era.