Abe David Kiyoshi准教授
My research interests are Anthropology and Sociology. My research encompasses Japanese Americans in Hawaii and the West Coast, with special emphasis on identity, ethnicity, international labor migration, and transnationalism. My research focus has been on American culture in general, influenced heavily by the interdisciplinary fields of Cultural Studies, History, and more recently American Studies. My work on the Japanese Americans in Hawaii (Abe 2012) analyses the lives of Japanese immigrants and their children (Nisei) who confronted economic adversities, systematic marginalization, and various social issues. This study integrates aspects of the theoretical framework of ethnic and religious identities with the models of assimilation and adaptation. An anthropological framework is utilized to understand religious communities, and the formation and maintenance of the Japanese Buddhist temples and the Japanese Shinto shrines.
I currently have two projects in process: The first is an advancement of my research into the Sansei and the Yonsei. Some works have already been completed. A study on the third and fourth generation (Abe 2011) is part of a collection of Japanese ethnic and religious identity studies in American Cultural Studies. Another study on the Japanese Shinto shrines (Abe 2013) revealed the formation and destruction of the Shrines, and how the Sansei embraced symbolic identity as the contributing factor to self-identification and ethnic solidarity. The research has explored the Japanese American community during World War II, and found how the Japanese community utilized various strategic ways to combat ethnic discrimination through ethnic solidarity. Their interaction patterns led the Japanese American community to a sense of collective identity, stronger mutual trust, and collaboration. The central issues have been what we learn about Japanese American cultural heritage, how the Japanese communities evolve as social issues transform, and how the power of cultural resilience and ethnic solidarity develops, while assimilation and secularization transpire. I plan to continue and develop this line of inquiry for a monograph on these types of dialogues.
The second project takes an ethnographic, transnational perspective of international migrant workers in the fishing industry in Hawaii. This research looks at the cultural “narratives” between the United States and other nations; one paper is in the process of completion. It examines the lives of these immigrant fishermen and their families, and seeks to have a better understanding of diversity within ethnic groups in the fishing industry in America. The purpose of this research is to learn about labor migrants in America from a life-history narrative approach to both American and other national cultures, as they travel back and forth across national boundaries.