Media Images, Immigrant Reality: Ethnic Prejudice and Tradition in Japanese Media Representations of Japanese-Brazilian Return Migrants (Working Paper #107)
Takeyuki “Gaku” Tsuda, University of California – San Diego
Abstract: Based on a close content analysis of 16 Japanese television programs and shows (recorded on videotape) that featured the Japanese-Brazilians and aired in the early 1990s,5 I argue that Japanese media coverage of nikkeijin migrants can become a catalyst for change to a limited extent by challenging some engrained Japanese ethnic perceptions and providing self-reflexive criticism of Japanese society while at the same time rather unreflexively and implicitly reinforcing these traditional attitudes and prejudices. For instance, although the programs and shows I examined made a serious effort to discredit some ethnic prejudices about nikkeijin migrants, it also included material that perpetuated them. Likewise, while Japanese-Brazilian immigrants are shown disrupting the traditional Japanese cultural values of filial piety and family obligation for instrumental, economic purposes, they are also portrayed as eventually reaffirming such traditional beliefs in their behavior and decisions.