This hook was originally written in Japanese for a Japanese audience, then translated into Spanish and released for a largely Bolivian audience. It grew out of a collaborative project to study the overall situation of the Japanese in Bolivia, carried out during the early 1980s by a mixed Japanese and Bolivian team. Iyo Kunimoto participated in the original effort, then returned to Bolivia in the late 1980s for three subsequent visits of several months each.
The book covers the background of development in the Bolivian Oriente and the establishment of various agricultural colonies, including the Colonia San Juan de Yapacaní. The heart of the study is an account of the colonia’s situation in the mid-1980s, focusing on agriculture, daily life, education, and the general Japanese adaptation to the environment and to Bolivian society.
The study appears to exist in serene independence of any academic literature on immigration and development, although this may be due in part to the loss of subtlety in the translation process. This type of Japanese “community” study generates a plethora of reliable but only intermittently useful data, although the demographic and agricultural production data are often outstanding. They are interspersed in the present example with pages of charts, graphs, and figures, which provide such material as two decades’ worth of monthly weather reports, lists of magazine and newspaper subscriptions by household, and lists of non-Spanish foreign words used in San Juan Japanese speech.
In sum, this study is useful because of the careful compilation of information, but in general it adds little to our theoretical and methodological understanding. That, of course, is not the book Kunimoto set out to write, so it would hardly be fair to consider it a failing.