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Trans-Pacific Japanese American StudiesConversations on Race and Racializations$
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Yasuko Takezawa and Gary Y. Okihiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847586

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847586.001.0001

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date: 22 August 2017

Vernacular Representations of Race and the Making of a Japanese Ethnoracial Community in Los Angeles

Vernacular Representations of Race and the Making of a Japanese Ethnoracial Community in Los Angeles

Chapter:
(p.107) Chapter 5 Vernacular Representations of Race and the Making of a Japanese Ethnoracial Community in Los Angeles
Source:
Trans-Pacific Japanese American Studies
Author(s):

Fuminori Minamikawa

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824847586.003.0006

This chapter examines how Japanese immigrants in the early 20th century Los Angeles interpreted race and racism in their vernacular narratives. They used two Japanese terms, minzoku and jinshu to express their experiences of racism in the United States. The discourses of race, ethnicity, and nation were intertwined in minzoku and jinshu, which enabled them to produce counter-discourses to racism as well as helped to adjust themselves to the existing racial formations. The vernacular discourses also functioned as devices to discipline ordinary immigrants in terms of class, gender, and sexuality in modernization of the community. Thus, the study of vernacular representation enriches a transpacific dialogue through the contextualization of Japanese immigrants’ experiences in a particular time and space.

Keywords:   vernacular representation, racism, ethnicity, nation, immigrant press, translation

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