Empire Building and Transculturation in Brazil-Maru
This chapter examines the issues of empire building and transculturation in Karen Tei Yamashita's novel Brazil-Maru, describing her research for this novel about government-sponsored Japanese emigration to Brazil during the interwar year. It analyzes how Yamashita's attempt to grapple with the contradictory dimensions of the Japanese emigration to Brazil was translated into rhetorical ambiguities, elliptical references, and esoteric visions in her literary portrayals. The chapter also considers several aspects of the novel as fraught with ideological tension, including utopia as an imperial imaginary ideal and the primitive as a racially inflected signifier.
Keywords: Brazil-Maru, empire building, transculturation, Karen Tei Yamashita, Japanese emigration, Brazil, ideological tension