Nikkei are people of Japanese ancestry who were born in or immigrated to Peru. This ethnic group, together with other East Asians, comprises approximately 3% of the total population of Peru. Japanese Peruvians, estimated at over 800,000, comprise the second largest ethnic Japanese population in Latin America after Brazil. Historically, Japanese immigrants arrived from Okinawa; but also from Gifu-ken, Hiroshima-ken, Kanagawa-ken and Osaka. Many arrived as farmers or to work in the fields, but after their respective contracts were completed, settled in the cities. Due to economic instability in the 1980s, many Japanese Peruvians left for Japan and the United States, although some have since returned.
Today, the occupations of Japanese Peruvians vary due to most of them are very well educated people, ranging from substantial ranks in finance and academia, to catering and hospitality. Japanese Peruvians have a considerable economic position in Peru. Second and third generation Peruvians are referred to as Nisei, Nikkei, and sansei in Japanese.
The Japanese contribution has had a major influence on Peruvian cooking. After all, we have already seen how similar the "tiradito
" and sashimi are. Nikkei food is a result of a fusion among Peruvian ingredients with Japanese recipes and traditions. There are at least 20 Japanese restaurants that stocks their sushi bars with the abundant varieties of fresh fish and shellfish to be had in Peru, and could easily rub elbows with any joint in Tokyo or New York.