During the booming 1980s, the Japanese government sent out a call to people of Japanese descent who had migrated to South America over a hundred years ago to please return to their ancestral home where good jobs were available. The Japanese economy was in desperate need of individuals willing to do the dirty jobs that native born people did not wish to do. Over a half million Japanese of the dispora returned home and found work in the blue collar sector of the economy. As with most immigrants they soon discovered native born Japanese complained they did not learn the language quickly enough or were criminals or lazy or anyone of the usual complaints uttered toward those of foreign birth.
The Japanese economy is now having problems so the government is offering to pay the way back home to South America of those who are of Japanese descent. Of course, if a person takes the offer they will not be allowed to return if the economy picks up. A new film, “Sour Strawberries” depicts what has happened to these people who believed in the Japanese offer and have learned to their misfortune, being of Japanese descent only goes so far when times are bad. Go back to Brazil or Peru is now the slogan for the nikkei.