When I went to El Paso, my hometown, to speak and sign my new book, “Dos Gringos” set in the Mexican Revolution, one thing I did not expect to learn was how little I knew about Mexico and its history. But all agreed that the Texas school system still teaches little about anything other than Texas history, and even that from an insular perspective.
Among the new things I learned was about Japanese in Mexico. Their settlement goes back to 1897 where they settled in Chiapas. Another wave came in 1901-07. When the the Mexican Revolution began many Japanese Mexican emigrants left for the U.S., settling in the farming valleys of California and in Arizona and Texas.
They suffered a rough time during World War II, like in the United States, but afterward the Japanese population grew and shifted from agriculture to small urban businesses. Mexico became their permanent home. Today, young Japanese Mexicans continue to build upon the legacy of their past while playing a more integral role in Mexico’s multicultural society and Japanese Mexicans in general are proud of their community in Chiapas called Colonia Enomoto and are very important in Mexican culture.