Asian Argentine


Asian Argentine

infobox ethnic group
group = Asian Argentine


poptime = 130,000
0.4% of Argentina's population (2001)
popplace = Buenos Aires
langs = Rioplatense Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Lao, others
rels = Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto, others
related = Asians, Asian Latinos, Asian-Americans, Asian-Canadians, British Asians, etc.

citationAn Asian-Argentine is defined as an Argentine of Asian ancestry, either born within Argentina, or born elsewhere and later to become a citizen or resident of Argentina. Asian-Argentines settled in Argentina in large numbers during several waves of immigration in the twentieth century. Primarily living in their own neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, many currently own their own businesses of varying sizes - largely textiles, grocery retailing, and buffet-style restaurants. The small Asian-Argentine population has generally kept a low profile, and is accepted by greater Argentine society.

History

Asian-Argentines primarily migrated in three waves. The first wave was composed of Japanese immigrants (largely from Okinawa Prefecture), that arrived in small numbers during the early twentieth century. The second wave were primarily Korean entrepreneurs, settling in Buenos Aires during the 1960s, and the third wave were mostly Chinese entrepreneurs, who settled in Buenos Aires during the 1990s.

By the mid-1990s, Asian-Argentines were already active in politics, having opened a special "Unidad Básica" (Peronist) party office under the name "Unión de Residentes Taiwaneses Justicialistas" ("Union of Justicialist Taiwanese Residents) at the heart of Buenos Aires's Chinatown Arribeños & Mendoza. This branch later closed, presumably as assimilation continued, while a regular "Unidad Básica" opened across the street.

Society

Today, there are an estimated 130,000 Asian-Argentines, with 60,000 of Chinese descent, 35,000 of Korean descent, 32,000 of Japanese descent, and 2,000 of Lao descent.

Koreans live primarily in the Balvanera and Flores districts of Buenos Aires, and are mainly involved in the manufacturing and selling of textiles.

Meanwhile, the Chinese live in the small Chinatown with a Buddhist temple in Belgrano. Many of them are involved with grocery retailing, which has caused Chinese-owned stores to become a common feature of Buenos Aires.

Younger generations of Chinese-Argentines (dubbed "ArgenChinos") have readily adopted local ways, with some becoming celebrities, including athletes, a film director, and an anchorwoman.

Discrimination

Due to their unfamiliarity with Asia, Argentines, most of whom are descendants of Europeans, tended to view Asian-Argentines as "exotic", which may have a negative connotation.

Presently, the reputation of the community has been jeopardized due to allegations of corrupt business practices. Investigations within Korean-Argentine textile factories and stores have shown that illegal workers from Bolivia were employed in these places. [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/04/03/laciudad/h-04001.htm "Trabajo esclavo: declaran que pagaban coimas a la Policía"] - "Clarín". es icon] [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/04/06/laciudad/h-04801.htm "Cerraron otros 11 talleres y 3.000 bolivianos marcharon en protesta"] - "Clarín". es icon] Because of this, many Korean-Argentines feel that their community has been unfairly targeted due to their economic success.

Another incident occurred in June 2006, when the union of truck drivers began a boycott of Chinese-owned stores. This was due to an alleged gun-related incident between a driver and a store owner, which involved illegal firearms [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/06/26/elpais/p-00801.htm Los camioneros ratifican el boicot a los súper y autoservicios chinos] - "Clarín". es icon] . Shortages in stores were reported due to a lack of deliveries until the boycott was officially lifted the following month [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/07/11/um/m-01231761.htm Los camioneros firmaron oficialmente la tregua con los supermercados chinos] - "Clarín". es icon] .

Trivia

* Actor Leonardo Nam, known for his role in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
* The first Japanese-Argentine Nisei (second generation), Seicho Arakaki, was born in 1911.
* Los Parraleños, a band from Buenos Aires, is composed almost entirely of Japanese-Argentines [http://www.rock.com.ar/bios/5/5516.shtml] . The group mixes local music styles, primarily "cumbia", with influences of rock and heavy metal and a good measure of sense of humor (some of their themes lampooning Japanese stereotypes). During the beginnings of their career, they used to play at parties held by the Japanese community, but today their performance is directed to mainstream Argentine public. During the 1990s, los Tintoreros ("the Dry Cleaners"), among whom only the drummer was not of Japanese descent, enjoyed a certain success, chosen as a "revelation group" by the press in 1997 [http://www.rock.com.ar/bios/1/1902.shtml] .

See also

*Overseas Chinese
*Japanese diaspora
*Korean diaspora

References

External links

* [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2008/08/31/um/m-01750328.htm Centenary of the Japanese immigration to Argentina] Clarín es
* [http://www.discovernikkei.org/wiki/index.php/Migration_Historical_Overview_Argentina Migration Historical Overview - Argentina]


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