Mistura for the fans: performing mixed-race Japanese Brazilianness in Japan

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2015-12-14 02:16Z by Steven

Mistura for the fans: performing mixed-race Japanese Brazilianness in Japan

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 36, Issue 6, 2015
pages 710-728
DOI: 10.1080/07256868.2015.1095714

Zelideth María Rivas, Assistant Professor of Japanese
Department of Modern Languages
Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia

In this article, I examine fans’ consumption of mixed-race Japanese Brazilian female bodies in Japan. The article does this by examining two case-study representations of Japanese Brazilian female bodies: Miss Nikkei in Karen Tei Yamashita’s mixed-media collection of essays and short stories, Circle K Cycles (2001); and performances by the Japanese idol group Linda Sansei (2013 debut). I argue that although the Japanese Brazilian population has largely been represented as minor characters in Japanese history, literature, and culture, the degree of consumption by fans belies this and points to the multiplicity of Japanese Brazilian identities. Moreover, the gendered, feminized body in these texts becomes a stereotyped, Orientalized, and fetishized Japanese body that is oftentimes juxtaposed to a sexualized, racialized Brazilian body. While this could distance fans and disavow the mixed-race Japanese Brazilian female body, Miss Nikkei and Linda Sansei perform gender and race in ways that demand recognition of their bodies as different to preconceived stereotypes. Fans consume the commodification of these new identitarian representations in a way that allows the mixed-race Japanese Brazilian female to attain social mobility, disavowing traditional categorizations as lower socio-economic class dekasegi, or foreign labourers.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Interethnic Imagination: Roots and Passages in Contemporary Asian American Fiction

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2009-08-30 03:37Z by Steven

The Interethnic Imagination: Roots and Passages in Contemporary Asian American Fiction

Oxford University Press
October 2009
216 pages
Hardback ISBN13: 9780195377361; ISBN10: 0195377362

Caroline Rody, Associate Professor of English
University of Virginia

In the wake of all that is changing in local and global cultures–in patterns of migration, settlement, labor, and communications–a radical interaction has taken place that, during the last quarter of the twentieth century, has shifted our understanding of ethnicity away from ‘ethnic in itself’ to ‘ethnic amidst a hybrid collective’.  In light of this, Caroline Rody proposes a new paradigm for understanding the changing terrain of contemporary fiction. She claims that what we have long read as ethnic literature is in the process of becoming ‘interethnic’.  Examining an extensive range of Asian American fictions, The Interethnic Imagination offers sustained readings of three especially compelling examples: Chang-rae Lee‘s ambivalent evocations of blackness, whiteness, Koreanness, and the multicultural crowd in Native Speaker; Gish Jen‘s comic engagement with Jewishness in Mona in the Promised Land; and the transnational imagination of Karen Tei Yamashita‘s Tropic of Orange.  Two shorter “interchapters” and an epilogue extend the thematics of creative “in-betweenness” across the book’s structure, elaborating crossover topics including Asian American fiction’s complex engagement with African American culture; the cross-ethnic adoption of Jewishness by Asian American writers; and the history of mixed-race Asian American fictional characters.


  • Examines three major yet under-studied contemporary Asian American novelists: Chang-rae Lee, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Gish Jen.
  • Considers major Asian American fiction alongside African American and Jewish American authors.
  • In lucid writing, provides a valuable and innovative paradigm for interpreting the burgeoning field of ethnic literature in the U.S.
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