Disconnected from the "diaspora": Japanese Americans and the lack of transnational ethnic networks

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Recent scholarship often assumes that peoples of Japanese descent scattered throughout the Americas (the Nikkei) are one of the world's diasporas. This paper argues that dispersed ethnic groups should not be considered diasporic unless they have maintained social connections with each other across national borders as members of a transnational ethnic community. By using the Japanese Americans as a case study, I analyze how they are no longer really part of a "Japanese diaspora" because they have generally lost their social connections to the Japanese homeland over the generations and do not have sustained transnational relations with other Nikkei communities in the Americas either. In contrast to newer diasporas consisting of fi rst generation migrants, I suggest some older "diasporas" that have become assimilated and incorporated into their respective host countries are no longer really diasporic but have simply become ethnic minorities which operate in a national context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-116
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Anthropological Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Diasporas
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Japanese Americans
  • Japanese diaspora
  • Nikkei
  • Transnationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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