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Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»

Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality


Edited By Nirmala Menon and Marika Preziuso

One defining question links the essays of this collection: How do aesthetic and stylistic choices perform the condition of dislocation of the migrant and, in doing so, also put pressure on the seemingly global promise of cosmopolitanism? Migrant Identities of «Creole Cosmopolitans»: Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality offers a wide array of narratives that complicate the rhetoric of cosmopolitanism and the related discourses of «hybridity». Many such narratives are under-theorized migrations, such as Dalit narratives from India and inter-island migrations in the Caribbean. Collectively, the essays suggest that there are ways in which the forms of the migrant aesthetics, language, and imaginaries may offer new insights in the interactions between practices and discourses of hybridity and cosmopolitanism by examining their precise points of intersection and divergence. This inquiry is especially timely because it raises questions about the circulation, marketing, and consumption of narratives of migration, dislocation, and «diaspora.»
In addition, the collection addresses in at least two significant ways the question about «beyond postcolonialism» and the future of the discipline. First, by questioning and critically examining some foundational theories in postcolonialism, it points to possible new directions in our theoretical vocabulary. Second, it offers an array of reflections around disparate geographies that are, equally importantly, written in different languages. The value that the authors place on languages other than English and their choice to focus on the effect that multiple languages have on the present of postcolonial studies are in line with one of the aims of the collection – to make the case for a multilingual expansion of the postcolonial imaginary as a necessary imperative.
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Chapter 10. Family Desires: Kinship and Intimacy among Japanese Immigrants in America


Kinship and Intimacy among Japanese Immigrants in America


For migrants from an imperialist nation, their destinations can influence their migration experiences. The narratives of the Japanese who migrated to the Americas during Japan’s imperialist period from roughly 1895 to 1945 shed light on their efforts to find belonging in their host nations, either as aspiring cosmopolitans or as proud Japanese. This is particular in the context of the Japanese government’s differential treatment between migrants who embodied the imperialist nation by settling in colonized parts of Asia, and migrants who became laborers in Western nations. This chapter explores the narratives of Japanese postcoloniality—“the culture affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonization to the present day” (Ashcroft et al. 2)—by examining records of the experiences of migrants who left an imperialist nation to live in societies that skewed the racial and gender hierarchies of their homeland.

For Japanese immigrants to both North and South America at the beginning of the 20th century, ties to their home country remained significant even after they sailed across the Pacific Ocean. Yet against the backdrop of Japanese imperialism from the late 19th century until Japan’s surrender in the Pacific War in August of 1945, immigrants to the Americas were considered by the imperial government to be contributing less to imperialist expansion compared to colonial settlers traveling to Japanese colonies and territories to develop the areas economically and socially. Thus the Japanese migrants to...

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