Cuba's Small But Significant Japanese Population Strives To Keep Its Culture Alive For Future Generations

Apr 9, 2015
We don't often tend to associate Japanese communities with Central/South America, but Japanese immigrants have a rich historical connection with the region. It may surprise you to learn that today, Brazil has the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan.

Japanese immigration to Cuba started in 1915 when the first settlers arrived and began living as cane harvesters. More soon followed, but saw a period of unrest during WWII when U.S.-allied Cuban President Fulgencio Batista declared them "enemy aliens" and seized their holdings. Despite losing some numbers to deportation, today there are still about 1,100 Japanese-Cubans on the Cuban islands.
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