Organized Panel Session
The first waves of Japanese immigration to Latin America arrived in Mexico in 1897. Although immigration was organized by the Japanese state as part of Japan’s international immigration policy, the living conditions of the emigrants was also determined by their level of adaptation to their new country and later by Japan’s confrontation with the United States before and during the Pacific War. This paper will address the consequences of the war on the life and soul of the immigrants in Mexico. Showing how, although the war was fought thousands of miles away, it still had tremendous repercussions on Japanese communities living in Latin America. In the particular case of Mexico, the impact of the war was shaped by the current political situation of the country, including Mexico’s diplomatic relations with Japan and the United States, as it was caught in the middle of both countries’ struggle for power in the region. Unfortunately for the thousands of Japanese immigrants living in Mexico, they became a key aspect of the dispute between Japan and the Unites States. As this paper will show, the immigrants were not only affected by the conflict between the two powers after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, they suffered the intensification of tensions between the two nations since Japan became a great power in Asia in 1905. Ultimately, Japanese immigrants were not only the collateral damage of a war thousands of miles away, but the target of US policies against Japan in Latin America.