Discover Nikkei

Daniel Saucedo Segami, Connecting Research in Peru and Japan — Part 2

Daniel as a speaker at the VI Meeting of Peruvian Researchers in Japan (Machu Picchu Auditorium, Embassy of Peru in Japan, 2024)

Read Part 1 >>

Ritsumeikan PRCRC Will Promote Research on Immigration between Japan and Peru

The Research Center for Pan-Pacific Civilizations is made up of a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, historians, and professionals who research topics related to the environment, economics, and politics, helping to put all the pieces together in a great puzzle. Through the center and others like it, researchers have the opportunity to interact with their peers and share similar findings or different perspectives on the same topic.

One of Daniel’s research topics is the Japanese diaspora and specifically resilience, a term that has recently become very significant. “Resiliency refers to how groups of people confront different problems, how they overcome problems, adapt, and maintain resiliency over time, and the migration between Japan and Peru reflects those characteristics,” he says.

Starting with this idea, the team made a proposal to Ritsumeikan PRCRC to create a research group and organize a series of events in coordination with the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and the Riva-Agüero Institute, a research institute focused on topics related to Japan and Japanese immigration.

Daniel and Jorge Lossio, Director of the Riva-Agüero Institute, after signing the specific agreement of cooperation.

Categories of Academic Appointments

In the academic world, tenure means to “hold a position” and is a privilege reserved for professors who demonstrate sufficient academic merit. Universities classify professors in different categories, Daniel explains. Part-time professors teach on an hourly basis at the university. Instructors work full-time but only teach specific classes and do not have administrative responsibilities. Assistant professors work full-time and assist the tenured professors.

Daniel at the doctoral graduation ceremony of Yuri Sakata Gonzáles, his first doctoral student on Nikkei topics at the Graduate School of the Faculty of Political Science, Ritsumeikan University.

Tenured professors have contracts for an indefinite time period, until they retire. This category includes associate professors and full professors; the latter is the highest position and there are fewer of them. Associate professors advise master’s students while full professors advise both master’s students and doctoral students. Associate professors retire at 60 years old and full professors retire at 65. In terms of salary and administrative responsibilities, there is almost no difference between them.

Although he is an associate professor, Daniel advises doctoral students, since there aren’t many full professors at the university. This exception can be obtained through an authorization that the university obtains from the Japanese Ministry of Education.

Signing Agreements

Daniel was the right person to bring this institutional cooperation to fruition. Of the five tenured professors at Ritsumeikan, he is the only native Spanish speaker and his research topics are aligned with the areas of investigation of the agreements signed by Ritsumeikan and its research center.

“The idea is to create two large hubs, one in Japan and one in Peru, that bring together researchers who work on immigration topics, regardless of their areas of specialization,” he explains. “Our goal is to create a multidisciplinary research team.”

To facilitate exchanges between researchers in Peru and Japan and organize events, such as the first international symposium presented by Ritsumeikan and the Riva-Agüero Institute in Lima in 2023, the team applied for two years of research funding from Ritsumeikan University. To move the project forward, the team also plans to seek funding from the Riva-Agüero Institute and the Japanese government.

Daniel and Patricia Chirinos Ogata and other speakers at the first international symposium “New Perspectives on Transnational Immigration between Peru and Japan,” organized by the Riva- Agüero Institute - PUCP and Ritsumeikan University in August 2023, Lima, Perú.

“While the Museum of Japanese Immigration to Peru has a large research repository, it still doesn’t have a research staff and we’re aiming to create that space,” Daniel remarks.

What Is the Purpose of These Exchange Agreements?

“Most studies of the Japanese diaspora are carried out by individual researchers, which prevents us from studying different facets of the immigration between Japan and Peru,” Daniel explains. “In these circumstances, there is a risk that lines and schools of research will be lost if the researcher passes away or retires without leaving disciples.” The primary purpose of these exchange agreements, therefore, is to create schools of research in Peru and Japan instead of simply supporting individual researchers.

As an example, Daniel mentions that studies of Japanese migration to Peru thus far have focused on specific topics such as history or literature that are aligned with each researcher’s area of specialization. Daniel explains the process: “We can compile interviews, if we’re looking at the topic from an anthropological perspective; we can analyze the topic using documents or writings, from a historic perspective; or through objects, if we apply an archaeological lens. But if we approach the key questions as an integrated group and based on that, we can try to answer the question, “When do Japanese immigrants stop being ‘Japanese’ and become ‘Nikkei’?”

Applying this multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with Patricia Chirinos Ogata, who also has a doctorate in anthropology and archaeology, Daniel has already presented an outline of how Nikkei migration to Peru can be viewed from an archaeological perspective. This proposal was published in an article in Historical Archaeology, a prestigious academic journal.

Employing Japanese Archaeological Know-how in Peru

Daniel and Juan Carlos Nakasone, President of the Peruvian Japanese Association (APJ), after signing the specific agreement of cooperation.

To summarize these research efforts, Daniel shared his thoughts on Japanese archaeology and Peru’s heritage.

Japan views the world as part of its community and its vision is so broad that it isn’t limited to studying only Japan, he says. With such an ample perspective, Japan has a unique approach to understanding how Peruvians can manage their heritage. According to Daniel’s own experience, Japanese archaeological techniques and techniques for interacting with people in the field have already influenced several generations of archaeologists in Peru.

He also says that Japanese researchers bring the know-how they have acquired doing archaeology in Japan to Peru. In Japan, management of archaeological sites includes greater public participation and technology, and contrary to general belief, it is not entirely dependent on government funding. Knowing this, can we better manage our heritage?

45th Congress of the Japanese Society for Latin American Studies

Representing Ritsumeikan University, Daniel participated in the 45th Congress of the Japanese Society for Latin American Studies (AJEL) in May of this year, where together with two other researchers from Ritsumeikan University he spoke on Nikkei studies and possible new lines of research. This event took place at Keio University in Japan on May 25 and 26 of this year.


© 2024 Milagros Tsukayama Shinzato

academics (persons) archaeology Daniel Saucedo Segami Japanese Peruvians Nikkei in Japan Peru Ritsumeikan University
About the Author

Sansei whose paternal and maternal grandparents were from the town of Yonabaru, Okinawa. She now works as a freelance translator (English/Spanish) and blogger at Jiritsu, where she shares personal stories and research on Japanese immigration to Peru and related topics.

Updated December 2017

Explore more stories! Learn more about Nikkei around the world by searching our vast archive. Explore the Journal
We’re looking for stories like yours! Submit your article, essay, fiction, or poetry to be included in our archive of global Nikkei stories. Learn More
New Site Design See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon! Learn More

Discover Nikkei Updates

Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
Episode 16
June 25 (US) | June 26 (Japan)
Featured Nima:
Stan Kirk
Guest Host:
Yoko Murakawa
See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon!