The Korean Diaspora Project: Koreans in Brazil
Although Korean migration to Latin America in the 20th century began with movement to countries like Mexico and Cuba, it was not until the 1960’s when a significant number of Koreans voluntarily emigrated to South America.
In 1959, Brazil was the first Latin American nation to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea, and in 1962 Korea established its first embassy in the then capital Rio de Janiero. In the same year, the South Korean government passed the Overseas Emigration Law, with the aim to stimulate emigration, reduce national unemployment, and establish foreign exchange by encouraging immigrant remittances. Latin America was seen as a desirable destination and Brazil, because of its size and the potential of its booming economy, was the primary recipient of early Korean migrants. Thousands of Koreans began arriving in 1963 and settled in the state of São Paulo, before then moving and settling in other states like Rio de Janeiro and Paraná. Majority of the initial immigrants worked in the agriculture sector; indeed, many worked on farms and plantations that the Korean government had purchased and arranged for them prior to their arrival. Much of the farmland, however, was neither suitable for adequate production nor sufficient in terms of size and location; in most cases too, the property rights to these farms and rural sites were owned by third-parties. Because many of these Korean immigrants belonged to the middle class and were not originally farmers, many chose to move to more urban areas and establish small family businesses. Migration to Brazil would continue well into the 1970s and 1980s, especially as more favorable immigration policies were empolyed. Today, the Korean population in Brazil is over 50,000, and a majority of Korean descendants today live in the city of São Paulo. Perhaps overshadowed by the larger immigrant Japanese and Chinese communities, the story of Korean migrants in Brazil is as important and crucial in understanding the movment of Koreans and other Asian peoples throughout South America. This research fellowship aims to trace the trials and tribulations of these early Korean migrants to Brazil. Our main goal is to (1) collect, archive and preserve the stories of the first Korean migrants to Brazil whose stories are at risk of being lost; and (2) disseminate and share these incredible untold stories with a large audience worldwide
RESEARCH LINKS AND CITATIONS
Kim, Chong-Sup, and Eunsuk Lee. “Growth and Migration to a Third Country: The Case of Korean Migrants in Latin America.” Journal of International and Area Studies23, no. 2 (2016): 77-87. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44089920.
Guimarães, Lytton L. 2006. “The Korean Community in Brazil: Challenges, Achievements and Prospects.” Paper presented at the 3rd World Congress of Korean Studies on Cultural Interaction with Korea: From Silk Road to Korean Wave, Jeju Island, South Korea. http://www.ikorea.ac.kr/congress/upload/%EC%A0%95%EC%B9%982-2LyttonL.Guimaraes.pdf
Joo, Jong Taick. “Culture and
Ethnicity in the Korean Transnational Community in Brazil.” 이베로아메리카 12, no. 2 (2010): 323-356. http://www.lakis.or.kr/upload/userFile/2011/3/16/11-%C1%D6%C1%BE%C5%C3_Culture_and_Ethnicity_in_the_Korean_Transnational_Community_in_Brazil3.pdf
Asians in Latin America:
Guimarães, Lytton L. “The Korean community in Brazil: challenges, achievements and prospects.” In 3rd World Congress of Korean Studies on Cultural Interaction with Korea: From Silk Road to Korean Wave, Jeju Island, South Korea. 2006.
Joo, Jong Taick. “Culture and Ethnicity in the Korean Transnational Community in Brazil.” 이베로아메리카 12, no. 2 (2010): 323-356.
Joo, Jong Taick. “Korean return migrants from Brazil; Ethnic and economic aspects.” Korean Journal 47 (2007): 160-183.