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Enrique Higa Sakuda

@kikerenzo

Enrique Higa is a Peruvian Sansei (third generation, or grandchild of Japanese immigrants), journalist and Lima-based correspondent for the International Press, a Spanish-language weekly published in Japan.

Updated August 2009


Stories from This Author

Thumbnail for Nikkei Paraguayan Identity Center: History, memory, identity and legacy
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Nikkei Paraguayan Identity Center: History, memory, identity and legacy

May 14, 2024 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

“We wanted any place in America to come and live. We heard very nice things about Paraguay,” says Ryuichi Hashimoto. “There was propaganda (in Japan) that land in Paraguay was cheap,” recalls Kaoru Nishii. Both are Issei. They left their country in the 1950s and are part of a group of immigrants that the Japanese Association of Encarnación has interviewed to recover their stories and the story of their community. The association seeks to preserve and transmit these stories, building a heritage for young …

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Juana Miyashiro: sensei and entrepreneur

April 1, 2024 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

His first student was his mother, an Okinawan immigrant. When she was a high school student, Juana Miyashiro discovered that her mother could not read Latin characters and became her literacy teacher. It was the 1950s, embers of the war still lingered and the Peruvian government vetoed the entry of Japanese immigrants. However, their relatives in Peru had found a way to get around xenophobia: to make them enter surreptitiously through Bolivia. Those Japanese who had recently arrived clandestinely in …

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President of the Peruvian-Japanese Association in a year for history

Feb. 12, 2024 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

2024 will be a big year for the Nikkei community in Peru because it celebrates the 125th anniversary of Japanese immigration to the country. But before getting there, it is worth stopping for a while in 2023 whose echoes can still be heard, a special year for the governing institution of the Peruvian Nikkei, the Peruvian Japanese Association (APJ). Its president, Juan Carlos Nakasone, looks back to share his memories and impressions about a period full of experiences to frame. …

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Growing up with the Nikkei community

Jan. 10, 2024 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

Medical technologist Pedro Ruiz's relationship with the Nikkei community began in 1980, when he was eleven years old and his father enrolled him in La Unión school. The seed, however, was planted several decades ago, when his father was studying at Guadalupe School and made Nisei friends. Later, during his studies at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of San Marcos, he made friends with students of Japanese origin. Time progressed, young people graduated as doctors and his Nikkei …

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Sow in Japan, harvest in Peru

Nov. 23, 2023 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

Jorge Vargas Tsuruda's first experience in Japan was amazing. He was a teenager (still in school) and had traveled to the country with his sister, also a schoolgirl, to visit their parents, both dekasegi. He thought it would be a vacation, but it was two months of work. They didn't even have time to acclimatize. They arrived on a weekend and on Monday they were already working. It was “a really crazy thing,” he remembers. The first shock was the …

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Kenzo Kobashigawa, the sensei of dekasegi past

Sept. 27, 2023 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

For Peruvians over 45 years of age, 1989 was probably one of the worst years in the history of their country, devastated by stratospheric inflation that skyrocketed the prices of things every day and terrorism that turned the streets into mined territory. 1989 was also a turning point in the history of the Nikkei community. Although there were already Peruvians working in Japan, the exodus took off that year. It was a stampede. It seemed like everyone was leaving. One …

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Shigueko Unten, everyone's chodewa

Aug. 16, 2023 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

The first thing that surprises you about Shigueko Unten is that she doesn't look anywhere near her 93 years old, almost 94. One would easily put her in her mid-70s. Furthermore, she walks upright and radiates liveliness. “They have made me sing a lot,” he says. He has just returned home after spending the day at the Ryoichi Jinnai Center, a recreation space for Nikkei seniors at the Peruvian Japanese Cultural Center. She lives alone, but she doesn't feel alone. …

Thumbnail for Augusto Ikemiyashiro, memories of a life dedicated to service
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Augusto Ikemiyashiro, memories of a life dedicated to service

June 21, 2023 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

Augusto Ikemiyashiro does not seem like a man of this era. Their vocation for service and their strong group spirit are dissenting in these utilitarian and individualistic times. Don Augusto has been president of some of the most important institutions of the Nikkei community in Peru: Peruvian Japanese Association (APJ), La Unión Stadium Association (AELU) and Okinawan Association of Peru (AOP). Beyond the status that positions provide, leading these organizations means cutting back on time with family and relegating one's …

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Ginyu Igei: the teacher, the lighthouse

May 18, 2023 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

Ginyu Igei arrived in Peru with the halo of sensei. A teacher in his native Okinawa, the 26-year-old was assigned to the Japanese school in Chancay (a district located north of the city of Lima), where he would be deputy director. It was 1934 and the oldest of six brothers left Kin, his town, with a promise to his father to return. He arrived in Peru with his wife, also a teacher. They had three children and after passing through …

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Masaki Gaja, the sansei of balance

March 24, 2023 • Enrique Higa Sakuda

The case of graphic designer Masaki Gaja is unusual. He has lived the experience of Japan in two stages: the first, as a child and son of a dekasegi, and the second, as a young dekasegi. It has been, in total, nine years in Japan. The first time, at six years old, it was not a chosen destiny. The second, at 20, he was, although forced by a painful circumstance. JAPAN: IJIME AND FOOTBALL 1990 was one of the years …

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