Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Immigrants and Their Descendants in Argentine Audiovisual Popular Culture

Christopher A.A. Gomez, Darrell B. Lockhart

University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15629/6.7.8.7.5_1-1_F-2014_4

Citation: Gomez, Christopher AA, Lockhart, Darrell B. “Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Immigrants and Their Descendants in Argentine Audiovisual Popular Culture.” Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal. V1:I1 Fall-2014. (2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.15629/6.7.8.7.5_1-1_F-2014_4.

How to Cite: 

Author last name, Author first name first initial. “The name of the article in parenthesis.” Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal. V(volume):I(issue) Semester (Fall or Spring)-Year. (2014). http://dx.doi.org/[Insert DOI here].

Abstract: Beginning in the 1970s, immigration from China, Japan, and Korea has steadily grown bringing approximately 200,000 immigrants to Argentina. With ethnic Chinese, Japanese, and Korean persons adding to the growing national population, are non-Asians Argentines aware of these new immigrants? To what degree are Asian cultures depicted in Argentine popular culture? Are there heavy Asian influences in the way characters are developed or how Asians are portrayed in film and television? This paper seeks to investigate the cultural presence of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigrants and their descendants in Argentine audiovisual popular culture. Research was carried out through the analysis of Argentine films, television programs, and YouTube video clips that portray Chinese, Japanese, and Korean persons. It was found that Argentine popular culture includes programs and films related to Japanese cuisine, Korean pop music, and Chinese characters. The majority of Argentines are accustomed to seeing actors of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean descent in main and supporting roles both in film and television. As Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigrants continue to move to Argentina, their role in shaping and defining Argentine popular culture has become more prominent.

Introduction:

Since the late 1880s, a flow of immigrants from Asia has arrived on Argentine soil. In just the last 40 years, a strong wave of immigration brought approximately 200,000 immigrants from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China in particular (“About Argentina”). Those immigrants now call Argentina their home and have assimilated into Argentine society. Nevertheless, immigrants do not completely dissolve ties with their homelands. Rather, parts of their homelands are brought to their new homes (Eckstein 1). These cultural differences are incorporated into their new communities as the world continues to be economically, socially, and politically connected (Rubin and Melnick 9). This research investigates the presence of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigrants and their descendants in forming Argentine audiovisual popular culture. Are there heavy Asian influences in the way characters are developed or how Asians are portrayed? The research takes into consideration Argentine films, television programs, and YouTube video clips that portray Chinese, Japanese, and Korean persons in Argentine popular culture.

Argentina is South America’s second largest country after Brazil in terms of both land mass and population (Central Intelligence Agency). Its people combine to form a rich, diverse population due to large waves of immigration. Argentines usually refer to the country as a crisol de razas (literally a crucible of races, or melting pot) (“About Argentina”). The first significant wave of immigrants to Argentina came from Europe between 1870 and 1930, but there continues to be immigration from regions all over the world including Asia and the Middle East. Of the nearly 43 million people living in Argentina, approximately 92% are Caucasian of Spanish and Italian descent (Central Intelligence Agency). At the terminus of the immigration wave in the late eighteenth century, approximately 50% of all European immigrants, approximately 2.3 million, came primarily from southern Italy (“About Argentina”).

I was inspired to write this thesis due to my travels to Argentina, in particular Buenos Aires. I had finished my study abroad program in Santiago de Chile and was excited to explore a new country. During my stay, I noticed the stark ethnic differences between Chile and Argentina: Chile’s is composed of Germans,…Continue Reading.