Consanguinity as Capital in rights assertions: Japanese-Filipino Children in the Philippines

Fiona-Katharina Seiger

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Abstract

This paper examines the material dimensions of ethnic identity claims by Japanese-Filipino children in the Philippines and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) advocating on their behalf. Most Japanese-Filipino clients of NGOs in the Philippines were raised by their Filipino families with little knowledge of their Japanese fathers and little or no lived experience of Japan. Although these children and young adults are often called “multi-cultural” by NGO workers, they frequently grow up with no connection to Japan other than an awareness of their Japanese parentage and Japanese cultural products equally accessible to most Filipinos. I argue that filiation can be leveraged to gain access to resources not only through the legal implications that are provided by biological relationships, but also through symbolically salient claims for belonging to a nation or people by virtue of descent. This consanguineal capital should primarily be understood in politically symbolic terms, mobilized in processes of claims-making and based on notions of “blood” and belonging and their frequent conflation with ethnicity. KEYWORDS: Ethnic identity, capital, discourse, Japanese-Filipino children, Philippines
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-225
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Asian Studies
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

I would like to thank the Japan Foundation [grant number 22RE942] for having financially supported my fieldwork in Japan in 2010 and 2011. Moreover, I would like to express my gratitude to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) [grant number JSPS/OF1/482] for funding my post-doctoral fellowship as well as my fieldwork in Japan in 2015 and 2016 (Under Second Recruitment of FY 2015–2016 Program).

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