Asian Latin American

Asian Latin American

"For the Asian Hispanic population of United States, see Asian Hispanic and Latino Americans."

infobox ethnic group
group = Asian Latin American

caption = Ana GabrielFranklin Chang-Diaz
Juliana ImaiWilfredo Lam
poptime = 4,402,826
popplace =
region1 = flagcountry|Brazil
pop1 = 1,490,000
ref1 = [] [ MOFA: Japan-Brazil Relations]
region2 = flagcountry|Peru
pop2 = 1,470,000
ref2 = [] []
region3 = flagcountry|Argentina
pop3 = 131,600
ref3 = []
region4 = flagcountry|Cuba
pop4 = 114,444
ref4 = [>]
region5 = flagcountry|Mexico
pop5 = 75,400
ref5 = [] []

langs = Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Hmong, Tagalog, Vietnamese, others
rels = Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Shintoism

An Asian Latin American is a Latin American of Asian descent.

Asian Latin Americans have a centuries-long history in the region, starting with Filipinos in the 16th century. The heyday of Asian immigration occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries, however.

There are currently more than four million Asian Latin Americans, nearly 1% of Latin America's population. Chinese and Japanese are the group's largest ancestries, of which the next includes Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Indians, and Hmong.

Brazil is home to the largest population of Asian Latin Americans, at some 1.5 million. cite conference | title = National Research for Sample of Domiciles | pages = Table 1.2 | publisher = Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics | date = 2006 | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-10 ] [ [ Japan, Brazil mark a century of settlement, family ties | The Japan Times Online ] ] The highest percentage of any country in the region is 3%, in Peru.

Politics, music, anthropology, sport, humour and business are but some of the areas in which Asian Latin Americans have contributed to their countries and the world.

There has been emigration from these communities in recent decades, so that there are now hundreds of thousands of people of Asian Latin American origin in both Japan and the United States.


The first Asian Latin Americans were Filipinos who made their way to Latin America (particularly Mexico) in the 16th century, as sailors, crews, slaves, prisoners, adventurers and soldiers during the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. For two and a half centuries (between 1565 and 1815) many Filipinos sailed on the Manila-Acapulco Galleons, assisting in the Spanish Empire's monopoly in trade. Some of these sailors never returned to the Philippines, and many of their descendants can be found in small communities around Baja California, Sonora, Michoacán, Guerrero, Culiacán, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Veracruz and the Yucatan Peninsula.

Most Asians, however, arrived in the 19th and 20th century as contract workers or coolies, others as economic refugees (especially from China and Japan), or as political or war refugees (victims of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cultural Revolution in 1966 China).

Today, the overwhelming majority of Asian Latin Americans are of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean descent, yet with Vietnamese the most significant group thereafter. While Vietnamese Latin Americans are almost entirely confined to Cuba and Mexico, other Asian groups are represented throughout Latin America.

Geographic distribution

Four and a half million Latin Americans (almost 1% of the total population of Latin America) are of Asian descent. The number may be millions higher, even more so if all who have partial ancestry are included. For example, Asian Peruvians are estimated at 3% of the population there, but one source places the number of all Peruvians with at least "some" Chinese ancestry at 4.2 million, which equates to 15% of the country's total population. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title= II Encuentro Tusán: Los Nuevos Herederos del Dragón: Introducción | date= | publisher= | url = | work =Asociación Peruano China | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-26 | language = Spanish ]

Most who are of Japanese descent reside in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, while significant populations of Chinese ancestry are found in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Costa Rica (where they make up about 1% of the total population). Nicaragua is home to 12,000 ethnic Chinese; the majority reside in Managua and on the Caribbean coast. Smaller communities of Chinese, numbering just in the hundreds or thousands, are also found in Colombia, Ecuador and various other Latin American countries. There is also a significant Filipino and Taiwanese community in El Salvador.Fact|date=August 2007 The largest Korean communities are in Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico and Argentina. There are around 50,000 living in Guatemala. There is also a Hmong community in Argentina. Panama and Venezuela have small Asian Indian communities.

In Peru, Asians (primarily ethnic Japanese and Chinese) constitute 3% of the population by some estimates, the largest as a percentage of any Latin American country.Fact|date=February 2007 Japanese Peruvians have a considerable economic position in Peru.Lama, Abraham. Asian Times. Home is where the heartbreak is. 1999. September 6, 2006..] Many past and present Peruvian Cabinet members are ethnic Asians and former president Alberto Fujimori is of Japanese ancestry.

Brazil is home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan, numbering about 1.5 million. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Japan-Brazil Relations | date= | publisher= | url = | work =Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan | pages = | accessdate = 2007-08-26 | language = ]

Emigrant communities


Japanese Brazilian immigrants to Japan numbered 250,000 in 2004, constituting Japan's second-largest immigrant population. [cite web |url= |title=Japanese Brazilian Return Migration and the Making of Japan's Newest Immigrant Minority |accessdate=2008-03-21 |author=Richard Gunde |date=2004-01-27 |publisher=UCLA International Institute] Their experiences bear similarities to those of Japanese Peruvian immigrants, who are often relegated to low income jobs typically occupied by foreigners and, as with other immigrants, are vulnerable to the Yakuza.

Asian Latinos

Most Asian Latin Americans who have migrated to the United States and Canada live in the largest cities, often in Asian American, Asian Canadian, or Hispanic and Latino communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, Vancouver, New York metropolitan area, Chicagoland, San Francisco Bay area, Toronto, Greater Houston, the San Diego area, Imperial Valley, California, Dallas-Fort Worth and South Florida (mainly Chinese Cubans). They and their descendants are sometimes known as Asian Hispanics or Asian Latinos.

In the 2000 US Census, 119,829 Hispanic or Latino Americans identified as being of Asian ancestry alone. [cite web |url= |title=Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2000 |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau] In 2006 the Census Bureau's American Community Survey estimated them at 154,694, [cite web |url= |title=B03002. HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE - Universe: TOTAL POPULATION |work=2006 American Community Survey |accessdate=2008-03-21 |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau] while its Population Estimates, which are official, put them at 277,704. [cite web |url= |title=T4-2006. Hispanic or Latino By Race [15] |accessdate=2008-03-21 |work=Data Set: 2006 Population Estimates |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau]

Some notable Americans of Asian and Hispanic or Latino heritage include Carlos Galvan, Kelis, and Chino Moreno.


Notable persons

* Jorge Cham, creator of the popular comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper; Chinese Panamanian
* Franklin Chang-Diaz, former NASA astronaut; Chinese Costa Rican
* Bruce Chen, Major League Baseball pitcher; Chinese Panamanian
* Alberto Fujimori, President of Peru from 1990 to 2000; Japanese Peruvian
* Keiko Fujimori, lawmaker; Japanese Peruvian
* Ana Gabriel, singer and composer; Chinese-Japanese Mexican
* Hiromi Hayakawa, singer; Japanese Mexican
* Juliana Imai, model; Japanese-Portuguese Brazilian
* Wifredo Lam, artist; Chinese-African Cuban
* Myrna Mack, anthropologist; Chinese-Mayan Guatemalan
* Barbara Mori, actress; Japanese Uruguayan
* Pedro Shimose, poet; Japanese Bolivian
* Arlen Siu, martyr of the 1979 Sandinista revolution; Chinese Nicaraguan
* Erasmo Wong, entrepreneur and owner of various retail chains; Chinese Peruvian

ee also

Ethnic groups

* Asian Argentine
* Asian Brazilian
* Chinese Brazilian
* Chinese Chilean
* Chinese-Costa Rican
* Chinese Cuban
* Chinese Mexican
* Chinese Panamanian
* Chinese Peruvian
* Chinese Puerto Rican
* Filipino Mexican
* Indo-Caribbean
* Indian Chilean
* Indian Mexican
* Japanese Bolivian
* Japanese Brazilian
* Japanese Chilean
* Japanese Colombian
* Japanese Costa Rican
* Japanese Cuban
* Japanese Dominican
* Japanese Honduran
* Japanese Mexican
* Japanese Paraguayan
* Japanese Peruvian
* Japanese Uruguayan
* Japanese Venezuelan
* Korean Argentines
* Korean Brazilian
* Korean Chilean
* Korean Guatemalan
* Korean Honduran
* Korean Mexican
* Korean Paraguayan
* Korean Peruvians
* Korean Uruguayan
* Korean Venezuelan

Asian Latin American enclaves

* Chinatowns in Latin America
* Japantown
* Koreatown
* Little Saigon

External links

* [ Asian-Latino Intermarriage in The Americas]
* [ The Importance of Being Japanese in Bolivia]


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