Whereas degeneration through miscegenation had previously concerned Peruvian eugenicists, by the 1920s Japanese Peruvian endogamy was the cause for alarm. Japanese women began immigrating to Peru in increasing numbers during the same decade such that by 1940 they represented nearly one-third of the Japanese Peruvian community. Drawing upon the language of “yellow peril,” both the eugenics movements and popular social commentators launched attacks on Japanese Peruvian women’s allegedly high fertility rates as “imperialism via the womb,” deeming them a racial and political threat to the Peruvian nation. While Asians were routinely characterized as inferior by eugenicists and their followers, “yellow peril” discourses of Asian danger provoked a recasting of Asians in the public imagination. Much like the “yellow peril” literature in the United States and British writer Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu, Asian male images were emasculated, left with only the feminine weapons of wile and trickery to realize their purportedly diabolical schemes. Objectified and vilified by the dominant scientific paradigms that permeated popular culture, Peruvians of Asian descent waged an uphill battle against exclusion from the Peruvian nation.
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