Participating Scholars
Emilia Yumi Kasamatsu
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Project Description

Scholars

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Symposium

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Emilia Kasamatsu, a second-generation Paraguayian of Japanese ancestry, is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Asunción. She fluent in Spanish, Japanese, English and Guarani, and has been been active in a number organizations in Japan, Washington, D.C., and Paraguay. She has founded cultural associations and organized activities that promote better understanding between Latin America and Japan and was the wife of the late Ambassador of Japan to Brazil and other countries. She is the author of short stories, articles, and books.

e-mail: emikasa@rieder.net.py

Research Proposal Abstract
The New Perspective of Nikkei: Challenge for the Next Millenium

Professor Emilia Kasamatsu proposes to investigate the social, political and economic role of the Nikkei in Paraguay and other countries. She seeks to explore ways in which the Nikkei community might play an effective part in the social and economic development of Paraguay in the next millennium. Paraguay Nikkei are the newest among the Japanese immigrants in the Pan American countries with a population of approximately 7,000. The majority of Nikkei are second generation but the influence of the first generation is still very strong. The challenge for Nikkei in the twenty-first century would be to become more fully integrated in the political, economic and social environment of Paraguay and other countries of the South American Common Market (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia), all of which have a Japanese immigration population.



At the end of this century, the closer it gets to its final phase, the world seems more complicated and more politically agitated. If the economic crisis returns, the illegal use of drugs and drug traffic will increase and so will violent crimes, rural areas as well as the outskirts of urban cities will endure again extreme poverty, and political instability, which makes the human cohabitation hard, will intensify.

This is a web of complexities that entangles the majority of Latin-American countries, particularly Paraguay, and one that requires the presence of leaders to head and guide the population to a modern, democratic era of mutual cooperation, of solidaristic support that will promote a more efficient and vigorous development and growth.

The ingress of the Nikkei population (whose immigration history is reaching its hundredth anniversary in such nations as Mexico, Peru, and soon Brazil) into society’s majority sect becomes feasible due to the Nikkei’s ascending progress in their trajectory toward environmental adaptation. And it is conceivable that Nikkei leaders may rise in the national arena as conveyors of their particular nations in a journey towards development and progress. Meanwhile, other countries like Paraguay, whose immigration history started only sixty years ago, are still calling for a process of interaction, for a genuine interest in studying the issue of national development, and for the getting involved in political affairs, both efficiently and intelligently.

This work will investigate the growing need for the formation of Nikkei leaders as well as for an awakening of the Nikkei youth in getting involved with one’s country national leadership as both a challenge and as one’s duty for the next millennium.

For that, there are certain means of complementing mechanisms such as national and international Nikkei gatherings, Nikkei leadership preparation courses, or the participation in the important conventions such as the Nikkei Pan-American Conventions (Las Convenciones Panamericanas Nikkei), where a number of professionals and Nikkei youths have the opportunity to get together to discuss subjects of relevancy and praxis regarding Nikkei’s society, whose motto is “Being better citizens in our own country.”

As the new millennium approaches with great expectancy, we must commit ourselves to fulfill our roles of honest and hard-working citizens to create emerging communities, and as society’s active members, who will take responsibility in the direction of the country.