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Nikkei Businesses in Buenos Aires (Japanese)

(Japanese) Of course, since Buenos Aires is a big city and the capital of Argentina, it has one of the biggest Japanese populations — Okinawan Nikkei making up a large part of it — and for a long time most of the businesses have been cleaners, or tintorerías in Spanish. Going back, a decent number of Japanese people owned bazar or coffee shop Bazar is to say, general stores. There are still Japanese people running those now, but mainly, Nikkei in Buenos Aires are known for working in dry-cleaning.

Unfortunately, many of those businesses are closing, because there’s no one for the owners to pass them on to. Of course that’s happening in a lot of countries, but in the Americas and Europe there are really a lot of dry-cleaning chains and laundromats, so the businesses you could call more traditional have taken serious blows in the past twenty years, and a lot of them shut down.

Argentina Buenos Aires cleaning

Date: September 22, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Yoko Nishimura

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Juan Alberto Matsumoto was born in 1962 in the city of Escobar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received an informal bilingual education attending the Japanese school in Escobar. While he was in college, he enlisted in the Malvinas War (Falklands War) and served as a signalman. Afterwards, he graduated from the University of Salvador in Buenos Aires with a degree in international relations. In 1990, he went to Japan as a government-sponsored student. He majored in Labor law at Yokohama National University where he received a master’s degree.

Currently he serves as a public relations legal translator, a court interpreter, and broadcast interpreter, as well as a lecturer at JICA trainee orientations. He also teaches Spanish language and Latin American politics and law at the University of Shizuoka and occasionally he gives talks on multicultural coexistence. He also provides various supports for Latin American Nikkei living in Japan. (February 2020)

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