Unsettling the japanese peruvian legacy of suffering: Madman in augusto higa oshiro’s “polvo enamorado”

Shigeko Mato*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Augusto Higa Oshiro’s 2013 short story “Polvo enamorado” depicts the experience and behavior of Kinshiro Nagatani, a Japanese immigrant who lives through during the time of the Peruvian government’s anti- Japanese operations in the 1930s and 1940s. However, Kinshiro’s experience with discrimination is not limited to that from the Peruvian society at large, but, more immediately, from the Japanese immigrant community itself, which labels him a madman as his behavior is deemed by them to be socially and morally unacceptable. Drawing on Foucauldian concepts of madness and limit-experiences, which delineate the processes of the construction and isolation of madmen in society, this article first examines how Kinshiro comes into existence as a madman and how his existence is confined to a space of exclusion. Then, it explores how and why the revelation of the processes of his becoming mad serves to offer an alternative view that disturbs the Japanese Peruvians’ prevailing collective memory of suffering and injustice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Iberian and Latin American Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 2


  • Augusto Higa Oshiro
  • Collective memory
  • Limit-experiences
  • Madness
  • Nikkei Peruvians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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