Enrique Higa Sakuda

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

identity en ja es pt

Memories of a Matador

The ocean has always had great significance in the life of Mitsuya Higa. Ever since he was a child, he has been going to Callao’s La Punta district to swim or simply gaze at the sea. Now 83 years old, he no longer swims, but he still visits La Punta regularly because, he says, the ocean fills him with peace.

While living in Madrid in the 1960s, chasing his dream of becoming a matador, he missed the ocean. “I needed my bit of ocean, to see a lot of water in one place,” he says.

When I visit, I ...

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war en es

Memories of Hiroshima: 70 Years after the Atomic Bomb

Manuel Yoneyama was 16 when the atomic bomb devastated Hiroshima. It was 8:15 a.m., and Manuel was at home with his parents and siblings. He remembers an intense light (“like a camera flash”) covering the sky, and five minutes later a loud bang, or as he describes it, a “powerful boom.”

He lived 12 kilometers from where the bomb landed and no one in his family was hurt. For a month after the bomb attack, his parents forbade him from going to the city or the military factory where he worked.

“Luckily that was a day of yasumi ...

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identity en ja es pt

Japan, a land still waiting to be discovered

Almost seven years in Japan. Sufficient time to learn Japanese. I didn’t learn it well; just enough to get by on a day-to-day basis. In truth, you don’t need to learn it. We didn’t need to learn it. In those times (the beginning of the 1990s), we Peruvians had an interpreter for everything: to solve a problem at work, to renew the visa, or go to the doctor. In the stores I was able to reach and take what I wanted from the shelves and then head to the cashier. In restaurants I was able to open ...

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war en ja es pt

The Boy Who Believed That Deportation Was an Adventure

Between 1942 and 1945, 1,771 Japanese nationals and their descendants in Peru were deported to the United States. The Peruvian government, allied with that of the U.S. during World War II, authorized the capture of “potentially dangerous enemies”—Japanese, Germans, and Italians—to be sent to concentration camps in the U.S.

One of the deportees was Mitsuya Higa. He was 12 or 13 years old when his uncle Rensuke, owner of a chicha factory, decided to surrender himself to the authorities. [Note from the translator: “chicha” is a Peruvian beverage derived from maize.] He had been in ...

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community en es

Crystal City, 70 Years Later: Memories of War - Part 2

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A siren announced Japan's surrender.  Many Japanese refused to believe that their country had been defeated, but the war had come to an end, making the concentration camp unnecessary.

The question now being asked was: What is to become of the Japanese from Peru and their children?  The Peruvian government prohibited their return.  Rejected by the very same government that had expelled them, some Japanese put down roots in the United States, while others returned to Japan, only to find hunger and devastation.

The Tochio Villanueve family considered emigrating to Japan.  The ...

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