Fellow's Seminar: Ms.Marcela Ines Mendez Vazquez

Invitation to the Fellow’s Seminar Fiscal 2008-2009 (on August 14, 2008)

The Japan Foundation

General Coordination and the Americas Div.

The Japan Foundation would like to welcome you to join us for the Fellows' Seminar for Fiscal 2008-2009. The presenter is Ms.Marcela Ines Mendez Vazquez. Details of the session are as follows:

Date: Thursday, August 14, 2008
Time: 15:00-17:00
Venue: JFIC Space “KEYAKI” at the Japan Foundation Head Office.

Note: The Japan Foundation headquarters moved to the new office. Please refer to the link below.

AdmissionAdmission Fee: Free
Language: English (no interpretation)
Contact: If you would like to attend the seminar, please notify Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange Dept. by August 14, 2008 with your name, affiliation, and contact information (tel., fax or e-mail). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Tel: 03-5369-6069/ Fax: 03-5369-6041 E-mail
Presenter: Ms.Marcela Ines Mendez Vazquez
Ms. Marcela Ines Mendez Vazquez is an Argentinean Ph.D. student at the Center for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México University in Mexico City. With the support of the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Studies Fellowship, she is currently affiliated with the Graduate Faculty of Letters, Keio University, conducting her research on local and national policies targeting foreigners, with special interest in Peruvian Nikkei, in preparation for finishing her dissertation, entitled: ”Accomodating Diversity: Latin American Nikkei and The Political Imaginary in Contemporary Japan.
Presentation Theme: “Importance of qualitative-quantitative methods and historical sources to elucidate official practices of incorporation of Latin American Nikkei”

The 1990 Revision of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act permitted the settlement of Nikkeijin (persons of Japanese ancestry) that had already started entering their ethnic homeland in noticeable numbers in the years prior to the amendment. The twofold purpose of Mendez‘ research is to examine the changes in the policies towards the incorporation of foreigners, as well as the identity formation processes developing throughout the experience of migration. While the former show us much about us about contemporary Japan, the latter might reveal agency on the migrant side, which is sometimes downplayed on scholarly analyses.

From Kokusaika to Tabunka Kyosei, it is not only immigration policies, but also the substantive citizenship foreigners are entitled to what is at stake. In granting foreigners rights, the national and the local intermingle in the form of specific practices of incorporation. As lived by the local residents, the practices tells us how societies conceive otherness, and in doing so, how they imagine the sameness states search for. To observe this, Mendez has conducted fieldwork both in Kanto and Tokai areas during the last 10 months and this seminar talk will draw upon that experience.

In the talk, she will focus on methodological and historical aspects and the challenges they might pose to the researcher. Firstly, she will specify which terms she uses and why and next, she will discuss methodology and the use of the historical record. Secondly, she will show two associations created by Peruvians of Japanese ancestry whose members she interviewed are proactive working to achieve more citizenship. Finally, there will be an explanation of why the comparative method is relevant to analyze a multi-sited, multidisciplinary phenomenon.

To the audience: At this point of my research, I have started writing and I am finishing my fieldwork. I will concentrate on the analysis-writing process since next September. I encourage suggestions from the audience that might enrich my research experience and widen my knowledge of Japanese society.

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