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Language, Culture and Ethnicity: Interplay of Ideologies within a Japanese Community in Brazil

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Tomoko Sakuma
Abstract:
This dissertation is a sociolinguistic study of the ideologies about language, culture and ethnicity among Japanese immigrants and descendants in Brazil (hereafter, Nikkeis) who gather at a local Japanese cultural association, searching for what it means to be "Japanese" in Brazil. This study focuses on how linguistic behaviors are ideologically understood and associated with cultural activities and ethnic identities. Using the language ideologies framework, it seeks to describe the ways in which Nikkeis negotiate and create social meanings of language in both local and transnational contexts. Nikkeis are an overwhelmingly celebrated minority group in Brazil. In this context, the cultural association serves as a site where symbolic cultural differences are constructed by those Nikkeis who strive to identify themselves as a prestigious minority. This study demonstrates that the Japanese language is one of the important resources in performing the Nikkei identity. At the same time, due to an on-going language shift, Portuguese as a means of communication is becoming increasingly more important for cultural transmission. Thus, the members of the association, which include both Japanese monolinguals and Portuguese monolinguals, are in constant negotiation, trying to strike a balance between symbolic values of Japanese, pragmatic values of Portuguese, as well as their own language competencies. The goal of this project is to answer the following three research questions: 1) What social meanings do Nikkeis assign to Japanese and Portuguese, and how does this perception affect Nikkeis' identity formation? 2) What are the characteristics of linguistic practices in the association and how do the speakers use available linguistic resources to construct identities? 3) How can this study inform us about the transforming reality of the Japanese Brazilian community in this global age? Contributions of this study include furthering of the sociolinguistic research on language ideologies, linguistic practices and identity construction in an immigrant community. It also contributes to the study of language shift, by underscoring the role of language ideologies in rationalizing language choices. This project is also significant for the study of Japanese diaspora in Latin America, providing the first sociolinguistic investigation of a Japanese cultural association in Brazil.

Table of Contents

List of Tables ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ xii

List of Figures ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... xiii

List of Examples ................................ ................................ ................................ .. xiv

Chapter1: Introduction ................................ ................................ ............................. 1

1.1

Research questions ................................ ................................ ................. 4

1.2

Language, culture and ethnicity ................................ ............................. 4

1.3

Theoretical f ramework ................................ ................................ ........... 6

1.3.1

Language i deologies ................................ ................................ ..... 6

1.3.2

Language ideologies in identity construction ............................... 9

1.3.3

Choice of bilingual resources ................................ ...................... 15

1.4

Overview of the dissertation ................................ ................................ 18

Chapter 2: Socio - historical Background of Japanese in Brazil ............................. 20

2.1 Prewar immigration and formation of settlements (1908 - 1930s) ........... 21

2.2 Oppression and WWII (mid 1930s - 1940s) ................................ ............. 22

2.3 Postwar period (1950s - ) ................................ ................................ .......... 24

2.4 Dekassegui b oom and reconnection with Japan (1980s - ) ....................... 26

2.5 Today ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 29

2.5.1 The year 2008: immigration c entenary ................................ ....... 31

Chapter 3: Linguistic Profile of Japanese Brazilian Community .......................... 34

3.1 Koronia - go ................................ ................................ .............................. 34

3.2 Mixed use of bilingual r esources ................................ ............................ 36

3.3 Japanese dialect c ontact ................................ ................................ .......... 39

3.4 Ethnic language m ovements ................................ ................................ ... 40

Chapter 4: Research Sites and Methods ................................ ................................ . 46

4. 1 Primary site: NIKKAI, a loca l association ................................ .............. 46

4.1.1 Overview of NIKKAI ................................ ................................ . 47

x

4.1.2 Departments and activity - oriented clubs in NIKKAI ................. 49

4.2 Method of data collection ................................ ................................ ....... 54

4.2 .1 Interactional data ................................ ................................ ......... 55

4.2.2 Written t exts ................................ ................................ ................ 56

4.2.3 Interview d ata ................................ ................................ .............. 56

4.4 Data a nalysis ................................ ................................ ........................... 57

4.4.1 Transcription ................................ ................................ ............... 58

4.6 A Note on ethnic terms ................................ ................................ ........... 59

Ch apter 5: Defining “Japanese” in Brazil ................................ .............................. 61

5.1. Who speaks “pure Japanese”?: linguistic characterization of Japanese in

Japan and in Brazil ................................ ................................ ............... 64

5.1.1 “Americanized” Japanese in Japan ................................ ............. 65

5.1.2 “Traditional” Japanese in Brazil ................................ ................. 69

5.1.3 The search for “pure” Japanese ................................ ................... 72

5.2 “Shiran - jin (people of nowhere)”: positioning oneself and co - participants through interacton ................................ ................................ ................ 76

5.3 Conclusion: being on the margins ................................ ........................... 93

Chapter 6: Ideological Conflicts at the Linguistic Boundary ................................ 96

6.1 Language distribution among divisions of NIKKAI .............................. 99

6.2 Ideological conflict ................................ ................................ ............... 101

6.3 Language of the leaders ................................ ................................ ........ 105

6.4 Transfo rming ideologies ................................ ................................ ....... 114

6.5 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ............................ 120

Chapter 7: Beyond the Language Barrier: Karaoke Club in NIKKAI ................. 124

7.1 The Bella Vista Karaoke Club ................................ .............................. 126

7.2 Proficiency in language, proficiency in singing ................................ ... 133

7.3 Symbolic value of the Japanese language ................................ ............. 138

7.4 Mediation, appeasement and conciliation: a n example from a karaoke seminar ................................ ................................ ............................... 141

7.5 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ............................ 157

xi

Chapter 8: Imagining Koronia: the Haiku Club in NIKKAI ............................... 159

8.1 The Bella Vista Haiku Club ................................ ................................ .. 161

8.2 The structure of kukai ................................ ................................ ........... 163

8.3 The language and culture of haiku ................................ ........................ 166

8.4 Imagining Koronia ................................ ................................ ................ 170

8.5 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ............................ 174

Chapter 9: Conclusion ................................ ................................ .......................... 177

9.1 Revisiting the res earch questions ................................ .......................... 177

9.2 Language, culture and ethnicity ................................ ............................ 185

9.3 Significance of this study ................................ ................................ ...... 193

References ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 196

xii

List of Tables

Table 2.1: Chronological table of the Japanese in Brazil ................................ ...... 20

Table 4.1: Summary of age - defined departments in NIKKAI ............................... 50

Table 4.2: List of activity - oriented clubs in NIKKAI ................................ ............ 52

Table 4.3: Transcription conventions ................................ ................................ .... 58

Table 6.1 Sum mary of dominant languages in divisions of NIKKAI ................. 100

Table 6.2 Positions of Japanese and Portuguese in NIKKAI .............................. 102

Table 7.1: Karaoke ranking categories ................................ ................................ 129

Table 7.2: O rganization of the karaoke seminar and description of language choices ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 142

Table 7.3: Speakers’ language choices in the demo and critique session ............ 143

Table 7.4: Summary of Hayakawa’s double role and language choices ............. 146

Table 9.1 Positions of Japanese and Portuguese in NIKKAI .............................. 179

xiii

List of Figures

Figure 2.1: A Japanese Brazilian family ................................ ................................ 31

Figure 2.2: Brazilian newspaper issued on June 18 th , 2008, on the official 100 th

anniversary of the immigration. ................................ ........................ 32

Figure 4.1: A scene from a monthly meeting of the Dept. of Seniors ................... 51

Figure 4.2: Positioning of 5 departments and 2 clubs in NIKKAI. ....................... 54

Figure 5.1: “Pure Japanese” as a point of reference ................................ .............. 75

Figure 5.2: Position of Nikkei (example) ................................ .............................. 76

Fi gure 5.3: Summary of sequence 1 ................................ ................................ ...... 81

Figure 5.4: Summary of sequence 2 ................................ ................................ ...... 84

Figure 5.5: Summary of sequence 1 through 4 ................................ ...................... 89

Figure 6.1 Position of language and culture ................................ ........................ 122

Figure 6.2 Change in position of language and culture in NIKKAI .................... 123

Figure 7.1: Age groups of karaoke club members in NIKKAI ............................ 127

Figure 7.2: Karaoke stage for competition. Four judges are sitting in front of the stage. ................................ ................................ ............................... 130

Figure 7.3: A Karaoke singer (the author) on stage ................................ ............. 130

Figure 8.1: Interplay between communal experience and individual experience 175

Figure 9.1: “Pure Japanese” as a point of reference ................................ ............ 178

Figure 9.2: Language and culture in NIKKAI ................................ ..................... 184

xiv

List of Examples

Figure 1.1: Language, culture and ethnicity ................................ ............................ 5

Example 3.1: Mixed use of Japanese and Portuguese ................................ ........... 36

Example 3.2: Excerpt from 1961 language textbook ................................ ............. 42

Example 3.3: Excerpt from Tomate to Kompyuutaa ................................ ............. 44

Example 5.1: “ Amerika kabure (Americanized)” ................................ .................. 66

Example 5.2: “ Americanizado (Americanized)” ................................ ................... 67

Example 5.3: “ Americanizado (Americanized)” (continued) ................................ 68

Example 5.4: Japanese mental ity ................................ ................................ ........... 70

Example 5.5: “I want them to speak in the Japanese language” ............................ 71

Example 5.6: “I couldn’t speak Japanese that is truly Japanese.” ......................... 73

Example 5.7: “We need pure Jap anese” ................................ ................................ 74

Example 5.8: “ Shiran - jin (person of nowhere)” ................................ .................... 78

Example 5.9: “ Shiran - jin (person of nowhere)” (continued) ................................ . 81

Example 5.10: “ Shiran - jin (person of nowhere)” (c ontinued) ............................... 85

Example 5.11: “ Shiran - jin (person of nowhere)” (continued) ............................... 86

Example 5.12: “ Shiran - jin (person of nowhere)” (continued) ............................... 88

Example 5.13: “ Shiran - jin (person of nowhere)” (continued) ............................... 90

Example 6.1: The bond that ties Japan and Brazil ................................ ............... 103

Example 6.2: We are the bridge. We are Brazilians ................................ ............ 104

Example 6.3: “All in Japanese. People don’t understand.” ................................ . 106

Example 6.4: When I became the president ................................ ......................... 109

Example 6.5: Not giving speeches in Japanese ................................ ................... 110

Example 6.6: “If you aren’t fluent in Portuguese” ................................ .............. 113

xv

Example 6.7. In the past, they wanted to get together ................................ ......... 115

Example 6.8: The future of these people is all mixed ................................ .......... 117

Example 6.9: In Brazil, after ten years ................................ ................................ 119

Example 7.1: Karaoke promotes the Japanese language and culture .................. 132

Example 7.2: The karaoke club is divided by languages ................................ ..... 134

Example 7.3: They voted for fidelity ................................ ................................ ... 135

E xample 7.4: I sing like a parrot ................................ ................................ .......... 137

Example 7.5: Introduction of a singer ................................ ................................ .. 144

Example 7.6: I’m not an interpreter ................................ ................................ ..... 145

Example 7.7: Kinue’s speech at the karaoke seminar ................................ .......... 148

Example 7.8: Kinue’s speech at the karaoke seminar (continued) ...................... 148

Example 7.9: “Sensei would like to speak in Portuguese” ................................ .. 150

Example 7.11: “I’d like to talk in Portuguese so that the general audi ence can understand.” ................................ ................................ .............. 150

Example 7.11: “I believe that there are many people who prefer Portuguese” ... 151

Example 7.12: Explaining “duration” ................................ ................................ .. 152

Example 7.13: Only in Po rtuguese? Only in Japanese? ................................ ...... 156

Example 8.1: Kendai ................................ ................................ ............................ 167

Example 8.2: Yookoku ................................ ................................ ........................ 169

Example 8.3: Garantido ................................ ................................ ....................... 170

Example 8.4: Burning of a silkwo rm shed ................................ ........................... 172

Example 8.5: Silkworm and the dream of becoming of a millionaire ................. 173

1

Chapter1: Introduction

“ After all, the Japanese face, it is both in the past and in the future, even

nisei (child of an immigrant)

or sansei (grand child of an immigrant) , if you have Japanese blood, you are Japanese. This is, even if you are called sansei or yonsei ( gr eat - grand child of an immigrant) , the roots are after all Japanese. So, considering that, I wish there would be people left who understand Japanese as long as possible, even for one or two more years longer. That’s what I’m thinking. I hope th ey would become a bond that ties Japan and Brazil. I think, then, there might be so mething good in the future too.”

Kawaguchi 1 , a Japanese immigrant, interview 10/11/2008

(translated from Japanese)

“How

to integrate with the Brazilian population? So, there has to be a bridge . The bridge has to be the Nikkeis. Right? And we are Brazilians. We are not Japanese. We are Brazilians, right? So those are the Nikkeis, you know, who will become the bridge, in my opinion. But we are Brazilians. […] We are descendants. But we live in a nation where I believe that, the language we have to speak well is Portuguese. Isn’t it? So, it is like what we hav e to improve is, like the very relationship with the real Brazilian community, isn’t it? ”

Luciana, a grandchild of Japanese immigrants, inte rview 10/13/2008

(translated from Portuguese)

This dissertation is a sociolinguistic study of ideologies about language, culture and ethnicity among Japanese immigrants and descendants in Brazil (hereafter, Nikkeis) who gather at a local Japanese cultural association in the state of São Paulo, where each generation of Nikkeis continues its search for what it means to be “Japanese” in Brazil. Adopting the approach that considers identities as constructed, rather than purely grounded in demographic categorie s

(Buc holtz & Hall, 2005; Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004), this study investigates how Nikkei identity emerges vis - à - vis people of their homeland and their host country. It examines the ways in which informants of this study negotiate and create social meanin gs of language in both local and transnational contexts,

1 All names are pseudonyms.

2

and how they make use of the available linguistic resources for the construction of identity.

Although Brazilians at large recognize them simply as “Japanese”, based on their physical characteristic s, Nikkeis’ own perspectives about their identity are much more complex. This study attempts to reveal Nikkeis’ ideologies about language, culture and ethnicity, by examining language ideologies surrounding the bilingual linguistic resources available to t hem, and how these ideologies relate to the formation of multiple layers of cultural and ethnic identity ( e.g. as Nikkeis, immigrants, members of the wider Brazilian society, members of a Japanese cultural institute, karaoke singers and haiku writers) . In particular, it focuses on the ways in which Nikkeis construct their identity based on linguistic practices such as code choice between Portuguese and Japanese, as well as use of mixed code. It also examines two cultural activities that employ the Japanese language, karaoke singing and haiku writing. In doing so, this study also attempts to reveal Nikkeis’ perceptions about contemporary Japan, Japanese people, and their place in the Brazilian society.

Japanese communities in Brazil have undergone dramatic s ocial change s during the past several decades that encompassed events such as World War II, oppression, and recent re - connection to the ir homeland. Now, Nikkeis are a highly celebrated minority group in Brazil, because of their socio - economic status, a pos itive image of Japan, and a positive perception of what is considered to be the Japanese culture (Tsuda, 2000). In this context, participation in Japanese cultural activities at a Japanese association can be understood as the construction of distinctivenes s from non - Japanese Brazilians, which maximizes the cultural benefits of being a privileged minority.

3

The site of this study is a local Japanese association that will be referred to as NIKKAI , 2 where Japanese immigrants, descendants and non - Japanese Brazilians get together on a daily basis to engage in various cultural as well as linguistic activities including Japanese karaoke singing and creation of Japanese haiku poetry. Although NIKKAI is an institute that centers on the Japanese culture, the Japanese language is not always recognized as the most important language. The members have varying, sometimes conflicting views about their own language and identity. This setting allows investigation o f the members’ language ideologies projected on daily linguistic practices, as well as on their verbalized expressions regarding the preferred language of communication within the association.

This study combines an ethnographic description of the communi ty with an analysis of their linguistic practices. Most of the data analyzed in this dissertation were collected over 6 months of fieldwork research within NIKKAI, between June and December of 2008. The rest of the data were obtained during preliminary vis its to the association during 2006. The data consist of field notes taken during participant observation, recordings of interviews and naturally occurring discourse, as well as Japanese haiku pieces presented during haiku club meetings. Participant observa tion was conducted in 7 sub - divisions of NIKKAI, including the karaoke club and the haiku club that are discussed extensively in this dissertation. Also, a total of 50 Nikkeis and 3 non - Nikkei Brazilians were interviewed.

Rather than providing a generaliz ation about the overall Japanese population in Brazil, this study is intended to be a useful case study about the linguistic situation of a

2

NIKKAI ʢ೔ձʣ is an acronym of

Nihonjin - kai

( ೔ຊਓձ ) , which means “Japanese people’s association”. In this dissertation, the capitalized representation , NIKKAI, is used to indicate the specific local association in this study, as well as to avoid confusion with similarly spelled word Nikkei (Japanese immigrants and descendants).

4

specific transnational community. Although NIKKAI is a large association, there are also many Nikkeis living in town who do not participate in its activities . Therefore, it is assumed that those who do gather at NIKKAI are likely to have a stronger sense of ethnic affiliation, compared with those who do not participate. It is hoped that this study will promote further r esearch into other immigrant communities that could be compared with the case described in this study.

1.1

R ESEARCH QUESTIONS

The research questions this project attempts to answer are as follows:

1)

What social meanings do Nikkeis assign to Japanese (spoken i n Japan and in Brazil) and Portuguese , and how does this perception affect Nikkeis’ identity formation ?

2)

What are the characteristics of linguistic practices in NIKKAI and how do the speakers use available linguistic resources to construct identities?

3)

How can this study inform us about the transforming reality of the Japanese Brazilian community in this global age?

1.2

L ANGUAGE , CULTURE AND ETHNICI TY

This section briefly describes how the relationships among language, culture and ethnicity are treated in this study. In this study, the three elements are understood as independent, but interacting, and together they contribute to an individual’s identity (See figure 1.1). As many studies on the language and culture of ethnic minorities show, they are dynamic and responsive to contact with dominant societies, world events, politics,

5

social ideology, etc. (e.g. Gal, 1979; Fishman, 1985). Because of their in tegrated nature, a change in one aspect often affect the others. As is the case with the Nikkeis in this study, the transforming nature of language, culture and ethnicity is especially salient in immigrant communities, where community members constantly fi nd themselves striking a balance between “where they are from” and “where they are at.”

Figure 1.1: Language, culture and ethnicity

Although language is simultaneously a part of, an index of, and a symbol of both ethnicity and culture (Fishman, 1985, p. xi, p. 505), both ethnicity and culture have many other aspects. In the case of the Nikkeis in Brazil, race, rather than language, is the strongest marker of ethnicity (Tsuda, 2000), and many aspects of the Japanese culture, such as dress, food and art forms are transmitted without using the Japanese language. Although for some ethnic groups, language may be an indispensable part of their ethnicity (e.g. Woolard, 1989, p.1), the case of the Nikkeis agrees with Fishman’s (1985) claim that ethnocultural id entity is more attitudinal than behavioral, and can continue

6

much longer than the life of an ancestral language. In the Nikkei community examined in this study, along with the language shift from Japanese to Portuguese, the Japanese language is taking on a n increasingly symbolic role, as opposed to a communicative role, for expression of cultural and ethnic identity (See Ch. 7 and Ch. 9). The interplay of language, culture and ethnicity will be revisited and discussed more in detail in the concluding chapte r (See section 9.2).

1.3

T HEORETICAL F RAMEWORK

This study builds upon a wide body of theoretical and empirical work in sociolinguistics and anthropological linguist ics. In particular, it draws on work that highlights the importance of language ideologies in identity construction (Schieffelin, Woolard, & Kroskrity, 1998), especially in transnational, language contact situations ( Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004) . This section lays out the theoretical framework for this study.

1.3.1

Language i deologies

In examining the linguistic construction of identities, this dissertation investigates speakers’ language ideologies, that is, speakers’ beliefs about language. In particular, it concerns how individuals’ ideologies about language intersect with their ideologies about othe r social aspects, such as culture and ethnicity, as well as the power structure of a community.

There has been increasing recognition of language ideologies within the past few decades

among researchers in many fields including linguistics, anthropology and sociology. Studies of language ideologies have focused on various aspects of the

7

relationship between language and society, and correspondingly, there has been a wide range of definitions offered with differing emphases (Kroskrity, 2004; Woolard & Schi effelin, 1994). For example, Silverstein, one of the pioneers of the theory defines linguistic ideologies as “ any set s of bel i efs about l anguage art i cul at ed by t he users as a rat i onal i zat i on or j ust i fi cat i on of percei ved st r uct ure and use" (1979, p. 193), wi t h emphasi s on t he rol e of speakers’ l i ngui st i c awareness. For t hi s proj ect, however, si nce i t concerns a l anguage cont act si t uat i on, i nvol vi ng mul t i pl e, confl i ct i ng vi ews about l anguage and soci et y , t he defi ni t i on adopt ed i s t he one proposed by Irvi ne ; “the cultural (or subcultural) system of ideas about social and linguistic relationships, together with their loading of moral and political interests" (1989, p. 255 ), which explicitly refer to the socio - political perspective of ideologies.

Language ideo logies as a cluster concept

Considering the complexities of the interplay between linguistic and other social practices, Kroskrity’s treatment of language ideologies as a cluster concept is profitable when investigating language ideologies from multiple an gles. Kr oskrity (2004) identifies five converging dimensio ns of language ideologies, involving (1) group or individual interests, (2) multiplicity, (3) awareness, (4) mediating functions, and (5) identity construction.

The first dimension is reminiscent o f Irvine’s definition of language ideologies introduced above. Kroskrity states, “language ideologies represent the perception of language and discourse that is constructed in the interest of a specific social or cultural group” (2004, p. 501) . The percept ion is often tied to the group’s social, political and/or economic position. Ch. 6 of this dissertation analyzes conflicting views about the

8

appropriate language that should be used within NIKKAI. As will be illustrated, those who believe that Japanese sho uld remain the language of public speaking, as opposed to others who are more comfortable with Portuguese, have distinctive political considerations about the role and position of NIKKAI.

The second dimension, “ multiplicity of ideologies” is useful when i nvestiga ting social divisions within a community, such as class, gender, and generations, which have significant impacts on divergent ideological perspectives among speakers . In this dissertation, Ch. 5 deals with differing understandings that Nikkeis of d ifferent generations express about their language and ethnicity. Also, as will be demonstrated in Ch. 6 and 7, the ideological division between the Japanese - speaking generation and the Brazilian - speaking generation is particularly salient within NIKKAI.

T he third dimension , “awareness of speakers” deals with community members’ varying degrees of consci ousness about their ideologies. The ideologies may be expressed implicitly or explicitly. Kroskrity cites Philips’ (2000) study to illustrate that variation can be also observed among different sites . In her study

of Tongan lea kovi (bad language), Philips analyzes two kinds of sites, domestic settings and legal settings. While the ideologies produced remain tacit at home, they are verbally expressed in the co urtroom, as a part of legal procedure. The distinctions of the two sites, a “site of ideological production” and a “site of metapragmatic commentary” (Kroskrity 2004, p. 505) have an implication for the research method. This study employs both participant observation and interview methods that allow the investigation of both the actual use of the language and the metalinguistic commentary from the informants about languages.

For the fo u r t h d i m e n s i o n, K r o s k r i t y s t a t e s “ m e m b e r s ’ l a n g u a g e i d e o l o g i e s m e d i a t e b e t w e e n s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e s a n d f o r m s o f t a l k ” ( 2 0 0 4, p. 5 0 7 ). T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n a s a w h o l e s e e k s t o d e s c r i b e h o w N i k k e i ’ s u n d e r s t a n d i n g a b o u t t h e i r c u l t u r e a n d e t h n i c i t y i s

Full document contains 220 pages
Abstract: This dissertation is a sociolinguistic study of the ideologies about language, culture and ethnicity among Japanese immigrants and descendants in Brazil (hereafter, Nikkeis) who gather at a local Japanese cultural association, searching for what it means to be "Japanese" in Brazil. This study focuses on how linguistic behaviors are ideologically understood and associated with cultural activities and ethnic identities. Using the language ideologies framework, it seeks to describe the ways in which Nikkeis negotiate and create social meanings of language in both local and transnational contexts. Nikkeis are an overwhelmingly celebrated minority group in Brazil. In this context, the cultural association serves as a site where symbolic cultural differences are constructed by those Nikkeis who strive to identify themselves as a prestigious minority. This study demonstrates that the Japanese language is one of the important resources in performing the Nikkei identity. At the same time, due to an on-going language shift, Portuguese as a means of communication is becoming increasingly more important for cultural transmission. Thus, the members of the association, which include both Japanese monolinguals and Portuguese monolinguals, are in constant negotiation, trying to strike a balance between symbolic values of Japanese, pragmatic values of Portuguese, as well as their own language competencies. The goal of this project is to answer the following three research questions: 1) What social meanings do Nikkeis assign to Japanese and Portuguese, and how does this perception affect Nikkeis' identity formation? 2) What are the characteristics of linguistic practices in the association and how do the speakers use available linguistic resources to construct identities? 3) How can this study inform us about the transforming reality of the Japanese Brazilian community in this global age? Contributions of this study include furthering of the sociolinguistic research on language ideologies, linguistic practices and identity construction in an immigrant community. It also contributes to the study of language shift, by underscoring the role of language ideologies in rationalizing language choices. This project is also significant for the study of Japanese diaspora in Latin America, providing the first sociolinguistic investigation of a Japanese cultural association in Brazil.