The Newsletter 50 Spring 2009

Moral mobility: Return in the Japanese community in Brazil 1908-1955

Koji Sasaki

To return or not to return, this was never a straightforward question for Japanese immigrants in Brazil. ‘Return’ is not only driven by economic considerations, but is also a moral act conditioned by migrants’ complex relations with the state, the community, and their families. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, intellectuals from the Japanese immigrant community in Brazil debated the moral meanings of their mobility and immobility. The debates were shaped by and reflective of the radically changing political conditions and the collective sense of the self.

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