Paionia Retsuden (The Biographies of Pioneers): Accounts of 127 Japanese Immigrants in Mexico


Paionia Retsuden, or The Biographies of Pioneers (1975) by Kenichi Murai, outlines the personal histories of 127 Japanese immigrants to Mexico aged 70 and over, based on interviews Murai conducted between 1970 and 1975. Prior studies argue that the majority of Japanese immigrants at that time were unskilled farmers and day laborers, and that they tended to migrate to remote, rural towns. This presentation discusses the validity of those claims by analyzing the experiences of the 127 Japanese immigrants. Some of the relevant points of discussion are their places of birth, year of immigration and age, occupation, involvement in the Mexican Revolution, experiences of illegal entry into the United States via Mexico, and experiences of transfer to Mexico City or Guadalajara in 1942. Although the claims of prior studies are valid, some points are missing. For example, scholars tend to think that the flow of immigrants are bi-national between Japan and Mexico. However, many from among the 127 Japanese who migrated to Peru first, spent several months or years there, then illegally entered Mexico with the intention of entering the United States. Therefore, we must observe Japanese migration to Mexico in the initial stages from the multinational viewpoint.

Author Information
Mariko Nihei, Tokai University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2019
Stream: Japanese Studies

This paper is part of the ACAS2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon