We Belong Here: Memory and Place-Making for Peruvians of Chinese and Japanese Descent in the 21st Century
The first arrival of Chinese migrants to Peru was documented over 170 years ago; today, third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation Peruvians of Chinese and Japanese descent have carved a space for themselves in Peruvian society, celebrating both their Peruvian identity and Chinese or Japanese heritage. My thesis discusses the process of identity formation among third- and fourth-generation Peruvians of Chinese and Japanese descent through retellings of family histories and personal experiences living in Peru. I center my work on seven people, three who speak to their Japanese heritage and four to their Chinese heritage. Each of their individual experiences both reflect and augment official histories of migration, and inform the ways that Peruvians of Chinese and Japanese descent make space for themselves in Peruvian society today. Finally, I look to how white supremacy and transnational migration beyond Peru has shaped Chinese and Japanese identity within a Peruvian racial hierarchy.