Japanese Brazilians (Japanese: 日系ブラジル人, Hepburn: Nikkei Burajiru-jin, Portuguese: Nipo-brasileiros, [ˌnipobɾaziˈlejɾus]) are Brazilian citizens who are nationals or naturals of Japanese ancestry or Japanese immigrants living in Brazil or Japanese people of Brazilian ancestry.[5]

Japanese Brazilians

Japanese descendants in São Paulo.
Total population
c.2 million Brazilians of Japanese descent (2019)[1]
Regions with significant populations
208,857 (2019) Japanese Brazilians in Japan[2]
0.2% of Japan's population
Roman Catholicism[3]
Buddhism and Shintoism[4]
Japanese new religions
Related ethnic groups
Japanese, other nikkei groups (mainly those from Latin America and Japanese Americans), Latin Americans in Japan, Asian Latin Americans

The first group of Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil in 1908.[6] Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan. Since the 1980s, a return migration has emerged of Japanese Brazilians to Japan.[7] More recently, a trend of interracial marriage has taken hold among Brazilians of Japanese descent, with the racial intermarriage rate approximated at 50% and increasing.[8]

History edit

Background edit

A poster used in Japan to attract immigrants to Brazil and Peru. It reads: "Let's go to South America (Brazil highlighted) with your entire family."

Between the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, coffee was the main export product of Brazil. At first, Brazilian farmers used African slave labour in the coffee plantations, but in 1850, the slave trade was abolished in Brazil. To solve the labour shortage, the Brazilian elite decided to attract European immigrants to work on the coffee plantations. This was also consistent with the government's push towards "whitening" the country. The hope was that through procreation the large African and Native American groups would be eliminated or reduced.[9] The government and farmers offered to pay European immigrants' passage. The plan encouraged millions of Europeans, most of them Italians,[10] to migrate to Brazil. However, once in Brazil, the immigrants received very low salaries and worked in poor conditions, including long working hours and frequent ill-treatment by their bosses. Because of this, in 1902, Italy enacted the Prinetti Decree, prohibiting subsidized emigration to Brazil.[11]

Japan had been isolated from the rest of the world during the 265 years of the Edo period (Tokugawa Shogunate), without wars, epidemics brought in from abroad or emigration. With the agricultural techniques of the time, Japan produced only the food it consumed, with practically no formation of stocks for difficult periods. Any agricultural crop failure caused widespread famine.[12] The end of the Tokugawa Shogunate gave way to an intense project of modernization and opening to the outside world during the Meiji era. Despite the agrarian reform, mechanization of agriculture made thousands of peasants unemployed. Thousands of other small peasants became indebted or lost their land because they could not pay the high taxes.

The end of feudalism in Japan generated great poverty in the rural population, so many Japanese people began to emigrate in search of better living conditions. By the 1930s, Japanese industrialisation had significantly boosted the population. However, prospects for Japanese people to migrate to other countries were limited. The United States had banned non-white immigration from some parts of the world[13] on the basis that they would not integrate into society; this Exclusion Clause, of the 1924 Immigration Act, specifically targeted the Japanese. At the same time in Australia, the White Australia Policy prevented the immigration of non-whites to Australia.

First immigrants edit

The Kasato Maru docked in Port of Santos, 1908

In 1907, the Brazilian and the Japanese governments signed a treaty permitting Japanese migration to Brazil. This was due in part to the decrease in the Italian immigration to Brazil and a new labour shortage on the coffee plantations.[14] Also, Japanese immigration to the United States had been barred by the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907.[15] The first Japanese immigrants (781 people – mostly farmers) came to Brazil in 1908 on the Kasato Maru. About half of these immigrants were Okinawans from southern Okinawa, who had faced 29 years of oppression by the Japanese government following the Ryukyu Islands’s annexation, becoming the first Ryukyuan Brazilians.[16] They travelled from the Japanese port of Kobe via the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.[17] Many of them worked on coffee plantations.[18]

In the first seven years, 3,434 more Japanese families (14,983 people) arrived. The beginning of World War I in 1914 started a boom in Japanese migration to Brazil; such that between 1917 and 1940 over 164,000 Japanese came to Brazil, 75% of them going to São Paulo, where most of the coffee plantations were located.[19]

Japanese immigration to Brazil by period, 1906–1993[20][21]
Years Immigrants
1906–1910 1,714
1911–1915 13,371
1916–1920 13,576
1921–1925 11,350
1926–1930 59,564
1931–1935 72,661
1936–1941 16,750
1952–1955 7,715
1956–1960 29,727
1961–1965 9,488
1966–1970 2,753
1971–1975 1,992
1976–1980 1,352
1981–1985 411
1986–1990 171
1991–1993 48
Total 242,643

New life in Brazil edit

The vast majority of Japanese immigrants intended to work a few years in Brazil, make some money, and go home. However, "getting rich quick" was a dream that was almost impossible to achieve. This was exacerbated by the fact that it was obligatory for Japanese immigrants to Brazil prior to the Second World War to emigrate in familial units.[22] Because multiple persons necessitated monetary support in these familial units, Japanese immigrants found it nearly impossible to return home to Japan even years after emigrating to Brazil.[22] The immigrants were paid a very low salary and worked long hours of exhausting work. Also, everything that the immigrants consumed had to be purchased from the landowner (see truck system). Soon, their debts became very significant.[19] Contrary to the plan, only 10% of the nearly 190,000 Japanese who immigrated to Brazil before the Second World War returned to Japan.[23]

A Japanese Brazilian miko during a festival in Curitiba.

On 1 August 1908, The New York Times remarked that relations between Brazil and Japan at the time were "not extremely cordial", because of "the attitude of Brazil toward the immigration of Japanese labourers."[24]

The landowners in Brazil still had a slavery mentality. Immigrants, although employees, had to confront the rigidity and lack of labour laws. Indebted and subjected to hours of exhaustive work, often suffering physical violence, suicide, yonige (to escape at night), and strikes were some of the attitudes taken by many Japanese because of the exploitation on coffee farms.[25] Even when they were free of their contractual obligations on Brazil's coffee plantations, it was often impossible for immigrants to return home due to their meager earnings.[22]

However, through a system called "partnership farming", in a contract with a landowner, in which the immigrants committed themselves to deforesting the land, sowing coffee, taking care of the plantation and returning the area in seven years' time, when the second harvest would be ready, the immigrants could keep the profits from the first harvest, taking into account that the coffee cultivation is biannual. They also kept everything they planted, in addition to coffee. In this way, many Japanese managed to save some money and buy their first pieces of land in Brazil.[23] The first land purchase by the Japanese in Brazil took place in São Paulo, in 1911.[26]

Many Japanese immigrants purchased land in rural Brazil, having been forced to invest what little capital they had into land in order to someday make enough to return to Japan. As independent farmers, Japanese immigrants formed communities that were ethnically isolated from the rest of Brazilian society. The immigrants who settled and formed these communities referred to themselves as shokumin and their settlements as shokuminchi.[22] In 1940, the Superintendence of Coffee Business issued that even though the Japanese living in São Paulo made up only 3.5% of the state's population, they were responsible for 100% of the production of ramie, silk, peaches and strawberries; 99% of mint and tea; 80% of potatoes and vegetables; 70% of eggs; 50% of bananas; 40% of the cotton and 20% of the coffee produced by the state of São Paulo.[27]

Japanese children born in Brazil were educated in schools founded by the Japanese community. Most only learned to speak the Japanese language and lived within the Japanese community in rural areas. Over the years, many Japanese managed to buy their own land and became small farmers. They started to plant strawberries, tea and rice. Only 6% of children were the result of interracial relationships. Immigrants rarely accepted marriage with a non-Japanese person.[28]

By the 1930s, Brazilians complained that the independent Japanese communities had formed quistos raciais, or “racial cysts”, and were unwilling to further integrate the Japanese Brazilians into Brazilian society.[22] The Japanese government, via the Japanese consulate in São Paulo, was directly involved with the education of Japanese children in Brazil. Japanese education in Brazil was modeled after education systems in Japan, and schools in Japanese communities in Brazil received funding directly from the Japanese government.[22] By 1933, there were 140,000-150,000 Japanese Brazilians, which was by far the largest Japanese population in any Latin American country.[29]

With Brazil under the leadership of Getúlio Vargas and the Empire of Japan involved on the Axis side in World War II, Japanese Brazilians became more isolated from their mother country. Japanese leaders and diplomats in Brazil left for Japan after Brazil severed all relations with Japan on 29 January 1942, leading Japanese Brazilians to fend for themselves in an increasingly-hostile country. Vargas's regime instituted several measures that targeted the Japanese population in Brazil, including the loss of freedom to travel within Brazil, censorship of Japanese newspapers (even those printed in Portuguese), and imprisonment if Japanese Brazilians were caught speaking Japanese in public.[22] Japanese Brazilians became divided amongst themselves, and some even turned to performing terrorist acts on Japanese farmers who were employed by Brazilian farmers.[22] By 1947, however, following the end of World War II, tensions between Brazilians and their Japanese population had cooled considerably. Japanese-language newspapers returned to publication and Japanese-language education was reinstituted among the Japanese Brazilian population. World War II had left Japanese Brazilians isolated from their mother country, censored by the Brazilian government, and facing internal conflicts within their own populations, but, for the most part, life returned to normal following the end of the war.

Prejudice and forced assimilation edit

On 28 July 1921, representatives Andrade Bezerra and Cincinato Braga proposed a law whose Article 1 provided: "The immigration of individuals from the black race to Brazil is prohibited." On 22 October 1923, representative Fidélis Reis produced another bill on the entry of immigrants, whose fifth article was as follows: "The entry of settlers from the black race into Brazil is prohibited. For Asian [immigrants] there will be allowed each year a number equal to 5% of those residing in the country..."[30]

Some years before World War II, the government of President Getúlio Vargas initiated a process of forced assimilation of people of immigrant origin in Brazil. The Constitution of 1934 had a legal provision about the subject: "The concentration of immigrants anywhere in the country is prohibited, the law should govern the selection, location and assimilation of the alien". The assimilationist project affected mainly Japanese, Italian, Jewish, and German immigrants and their descendants.[31]

The formation of "ethnic cysts" among immigrants of non-Portuguese origin prevented the realization of the whitening project of the Brazilian population. The government, then, started to act on these communities of foreign origin to force them to integrate into a "Brazilian culture" with Portuguese roots. It was the dominant idea of a unification of all the inhabitants of Brazil under a single "national spirit". During World War II, Brazil severed relations with Japan. Japanese newspapers and teaching the Japanese language in schools were banned, leaving Portuguese as the only option for Japanese descendants. Newspapers in Italian or German were also advised to cease production, as Italy and Germany were Japan's allies in the war.[18] In 1939, research of Estrada de Ferro Noroeste do Brasil, from São Paulo, showed that 87.7% of Japanese Brazilians read newspapers in the Japanese language, a high figure for a country with many illiterate people like Brazil at the time.[32]

The Japanese appeared as undesirable immigrants within the "whitening" and assimilationist policy of the Brazilian government.[32] Oliveira Viana, a Brazilian jurist, historian and sociologist described the Japanese immigrants as follows: "They (Japanese) are like sulfur: insoluble". The Brazilian magazine "O Malho" in its edition of 5 December 1908 issued a charge of Japanese immigrants with the following legend: "The government of São Paulo is stubborn. After the failure of the first Japanese immigration, it contracted 3,000 yellow people. It insists on giving Brazil a race diametrically opposite to ours".[32] In 1941, the Brazilian Minister of Justice, Francisco Campos, defended the ban on admission of 400 Japanese immigrants in São Paulo and wrote: "their despicable standard of living is a brutal competition with the country's worker; their selfishness, their bad faith, their refractory character, make them a huge ethnic and cultural cyst located in the richest regions of Brazil".[32]

The Japanese Brazilian community was strongly marked by restrictive measures when Brazil declared war against Japan in August 1942. Japanese Brazilians could not travel the country without safe conduct issued by the police; over 200 Japanese schools were closed and radio equipment was seized to prevent transmissions on short wave from Japan. The goods of Japanese companies were confiscated and several companies of Japanese origin had interventions, including the newly founded Banco América do Sul. Japanese Brazilians were prohibited from driving motor vehicles (even if they were taxi drivers), buses or trucks on their property. The drivers employed by Japanese had to have permission from the police. Thousands of Japanese immigrants were arrested or expelled from Brazil on suspicion of espionage. There were many anonymous denunciations of "activities against national security" arising from disagreements between neighbors, recovery of debts and even fights between children.[32] Japanese Brazilians were arrested for "suspicious activity" when they were in artistic meetings or picnics. On 10 July 1943, approximately 10,000 Japanese and German and Italian immigrants who lived in Santos had 24 hours to close their homes and businesses and move away from the Brazilian coast. The police acted without any notice. About 90% of people displaced were Japanese. To reside in Baixada Santista, the Japanese had to have a safe conduct.[32] In 1942, the Japanese community who introduced the cultivation of pepper in Tomé-Açu, in Pará, was virtually turned into a "concentration camp". This time, the Brazilian ambassador in Washington, D.C., Carlos Martins Pereira e Sousa, encouraged the government of Brazil to transfer all the Japanese Brazilians to "internment camps" without the need for legal support, in the same manner as was done with the Japanese residents in the United States. No single suspicion of activities of Japanese against "national security" was confirmed.[32]

During the National Constituent Assembly of 1946, the representative of Rio de Janeiro Miguel Couto Filho proposed Amendments to the Constitution as follows: "It is prohibited the entry of Japanese immigrants of any age and any origin in the country". In the final vote, a tie with 99 votes in favour and 99 against. Senator Fernando de Melo Viana, who chaired the session of the Constituent Assembly, had the casting vote and rejected the constitutional amendment. By only one vote, the immigration of Japanese people to Brazil was not prohibited by the Brazilian Constitution of 1946.[32]

The Japanese immigrants appeared to the Brazilian government as undesirable and non-assimilable immigrants. As Asian, they did not contribute to the "whitening" process of the Brazilian people as desired by the ruling Brazilian elite. In this process of forced assimilation the Japanese, more than any other immigrant group, suffered the ethno-cultural persecution imposed during this period.[32]

Prestige edit

For decades, Japanese Brazilians were seen as a non-assimilable people. The immigrants were treated only as a reserve of cheap labour that should be used on coffee plantations and that Brazil should avoid absorbing their cultural influences. This widespread conception that the Japanese were negative for Brazil was changed in the following decades. The Japanese were able to overcome the difficulties along the years and drastically improve their lives through hard work and education; this was also facilitated by the involvement of the Japanese government in the process of migration. The image of hard working agriculturists that came to help develop the country and agriculture helped erase the lack of trust of the local population and create a positive image of the Japanese. In the 1970s, Japan became one of the richest countries of the world, synonymous with modernity and progress. In the same period, Japanese Brazilians achieved a great cultural and economic success, probably the immigrant group that most rapidly achieved progress in Brazil. Due to the powerful Japanese economy and due to the rapid enrichment of the Nisei, in the last decades Brazilians of Japanese descent achieved a social prestige in Brazil that largely contrasts with the aggression with which the early immigrants were treated in the country.[32][33]

In the early 1960s, the Japanese Brazilian population in the cities already surpassed that of the countryside. As the vast majority of families that moved to São Paulo and cities in Paraná had few resources and were headed by first and second-generation Japanese, it was imperative that their business did not require a large initial investment or advanced knowledge of the Portuguese language. Thus, a good part of the immigrants began to dedicate themselves to small trade or to the provision of basic services, where dyeing stood out. In the 1970s, 80% of the 3,500 establishments that washed and ironed the clothes of São Paulo citizens were Japanese. According to anthropologist Célia Sakurai: "The business was convenient for the families, because they could live at the back of the dye shop and do all the work without having to hire employees. In addition, the communication required by the activity was brief and simple".[23]

In the Brazilian urban environment, the Japanese began to work mainly in sectors related to agriculture, such as traders or owners of small stores, selling fruit, vegetables or fish. Working with greengrocers and market stalls was facilitated by the contact that urban Japanese had with those who had stayed in the countryside, as suppliers were usually friends or relatives. Whatever the activity chosen by the family, it was up to the eldest children to work together with their parents. The custom was a Japanese tradition of delegating to the eldest son the continuation of the family activity and also the need to help pay for the studies of the younger siblings. While the older ones worked, the younger siblings enrolled in technical courses, such as Accountancy, mainly because it was easier to deal with numbers than with the Portuguese language. As for college, the Japanese favored engineering, medicine and law, which guaranteed money and social prestige. In 1958, Japanese descendants already represented 21% of Brazilians with education above secondary. In 1977, Japanese Brazilians, who made up 2.5% of the population of São Paulo, added up to 13% of those approved at the University of São Paulo, 16% of those who were admitted to the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA) and 12% of those selected at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).[34] According to a 1995 research conducted by Datafolha, 53% of adult Japanese Brazilians had a college degree, compared to only 9% of Brazilians in general.[35]

According to the newspaper Gazeta do Povo, in Brazil "common sense is that Japanese descendants are studious, disciplined, do well at school, pass the admission exams more easily and, in most cases, have great affinity for the exact science careers". According to a 2009 survey carried out with data from the University of São Paulo and Unesp, even though Japanese descendants were 1.2% of the population of the city of São Paulo and made up less than 4% of those enrolled in the entrance exams, they were about 15% of those approved.[36]

A 2017 survey revealed that Brazilians of Japanese descent are the wealthiest group in Brazil. The survey concluded that Brazilians with a Japanese surname are the ones who earn the most (73.40 reais per hour):[37]

Salary of Brazilians, according to their last name and color.[37]
Ethnic origin (based on last name and color/race) Salary (in Brazilian real per hour)
Japanese 73,40
Italian 51,80
German 48,10
Eastern European 47,60
Iberian (whites) 33,90
Pardo (brown) 27,80
Black 26,50
Indigenous 26,10

Integration and intermarriage edit

Intermarriage in the Japanese Brazilian community[28]
Generation Denomination in Proportion of each generation in all community (%) Proportion of mixed-race in each generation (%)
Japanese English
1st Issei Immigrants 12.51% 0%
2nd Nisei Children 30.85% 6%
3rd Sansei Grandchildren 41.33% 42%
4th Yonsei Great-grandchildren 12.95% 61%

As of 2008, many Japanese Brazilians belong to the third generation (sansei), who make up 41.33% of the community. First generation (issei) are 12.51%, second generation (nisei) are 30.85% and fourth generation (yonsei) 12.95%.[28]

A more recent phenomenon in Brazil is intermarriages between Japanese Brazilians and non-Japanese Brazilians. Though people of Japanese descent make up only 0.8% of the country's population, they are the largest Japanese community outside Japan, with over 1.4 million people. In areas with large numbers of Japanese, such as São Paulo and Paraná, since the 1970s, large numbers of Japanese descendants started to marry into other ethnic groups. Jeffrey Lesser's work has shown the complexities of integration both during the Vargas era, and more recently during the dictatorship (1964–1984)

Nowadays, among the 1.4 million Brazilians of Japanese descent, 28% have some non-Japanese ancestry.[38] This number reaches only 6% among children of Japanese immigrants, but 61% among great-grandchildren of Japanese immigrants.

Religion edit

Immigrants, as well as most Japanese, were mostly followers of Shinto and Buddhism. In the Japanese communities in Brazil, there was a strong effort by Brazilian priests to proselytize the Japanese. More recently, intermarriage with Catholics also contributed to the growth of Catholicism in the community.[39] Currently, 60% of Japanese-Brazilians are Roman Catholics and 25% are adherents of a Japanese religion.[39]

Martial arts edit

The Japanese immigration to Brazil, in particular the immigration of the judoka Mitsuyo Maeda, resulted in the development of one of the most effective modern martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Japanese immigrants also brought sumo wrestling to Brazil, with the first tournament in the country organized in 1914.[40] The country has a growing number of amateur sumo wrestlers, with the only purpose-built sumo arena outside Japan located in São Paulo.[41] Brazil also produced (as of January 2022) sixteen professional wrestlers, with the most successful being Kaisei Ichirō.[42]

Language edit

Cherry blossom in Japan's Square in Curitiba, Paraná.

The knowledge of the Japanese and Portuguese languages reflects the integration of the Japanese in Brazil over several generations. Although first generation immigrants will often not learn Portuguese well or not use it frequently, most second generation are bilingual. The third generation, however, are most likely monolingual in Portuguese or speak, along with Portuguese, non-fluent Japanese.[43]

A study conducted in the Japanese Brazilian communities of Aliança and Fukuhaku, both in the state of São Paulo, released information on the language spoken by these people. Before coming to Brazil, 12.2% of the first generation interviewed from Aliança reported they had studied the Portuguese language in Japan, and 26.8% said to have used it once on arrival in Brazil. Many of the Japanese immigrants took classes of Portuguese and learned about the history of Brazil before migrating to the country. In Fukuhaku only 7.7% of the people reported they had studied Portuguese in Japan, but 38.5% said they had contact with Portuguese once on arrival in Brazil. All the immigrants reported they spoke exclusively Japanese at home in the first years in Brazil. However, in 2003, the figure dropped to 58.5% in Aliança and 33.3% in Fukuhaku. This probably reflects that through contact with the younger generations of the family, who speak mostly Portuguese, many immigrants also began to speak Portuguese at home.

The first Brazilian-born generation, the Nisei, alternate between the use of Portuguese and Japanese. Regarding the use of Japanese at home, 64.3% of Nisei informants from Aliança and 41.5% from Fukuhaku used Japanese when they were children. In comparison, only 14.3% of the third generation, Sansei, reported to speak Japanese at home when they were children. It reflects that the second generation was mostly educated by their Japanese parents using the Japanese language. On the other hand, the third generation did not have much contact with their grandparent's language, and most of them speak the national language of Brazil, Portuguese, as their mother tongue.[44]

Japanese Brazilians usually speak Japanese more often when they live along with a first generation relative. Those who do not live with a Japanese-born relative usually speak Portuguese more often.[45] Japanese spoken in Brazil is usually a mix of different Japanese dialects, since the Japanese community in Brazil came from all regions of Japan, influenced by the Portuguese language. The high numbers of Brazilian immigrants returning from Japan will probably produce more Japanese speakers in Brazil.[28]

Distribution and population edit

2000 IBGE estimates
for Japanese Brazilians[46]
State Population of
Japanese Brazilians
São Paulo 693,495
Paraná 143,588
Bahia 78,449
Minas Gerais 75,449
Others 414,704
Total 1,435,490

In 2008, IBGE published a book about the Japanese diaspora and it estimated that, as of 2000 there were 70,932 Japanese-born immigrants living in Brazil (compared to the 158,087 found in 1970). Of the Japanese, 51,445 lived in São Paulo.[46]: 37  Most of the immigrants were over 60 years old, because the Japanese immigration to Brazil has ended since the mid-20th century.[47]

According to the IBGE, as of 2000, there were 1,435,490 people of Japanese descent in Brazil. The Japanese immigration was concentrated to São Paulo and, still in 2000, 48% of Japanese Brazilians lived in this state. There were 693,495 people of Japanese origin in São Paulo, followed by Paraná with 143,588. More recently, Brazilians of Japanese descent are making presence in places that used to have a small population of this group. For example: in 1960, there were 532 Japanese Brazilians in Bahia, while in 2000 they were 78,449, or 0.6% of the state's population.[46] Northern Brazil (excluding Pará) saw its Japanese population increase from 2,341 in 1960 (0.2% of the total population) to 54,161 (0.8%) in 2000. During the same period, in Central-Western Brazil they increased from 3,583 to 66,119 (0.7% of the population).[46][48] However, the overall Japanese population in Brazil is shrinking, secondary to a decreased birth rate and an aging population; return immigration to Japan,[49][50][51] as well as intermarriage with other races and dilution of ethnic identity.

For the whole Brazil, with over 1.4 million people of Japanese descent, the largest percentages were found in the states of São Paulo (1.9% of Japanese descent), Paraná (1.5%) and Mato Grosso do Sul (1.4%). The smallest percentages were found in Roraima and Alagoas (with only 8 Japanese). The percentage of Brazilians with Japanese roots largely increased among children and teenagers. In 1991, 0.6% of Brazilians between 0 and 14 years old were of Japanese descent. In 2000, they were 4%, as a result of the returning of Dekasegis (Brazilians of Japanese descent who work in Japan) to Brazil.[52]

Image gallery edit

Japanese from Maringá edit

A 2008 census revealed details about the population of Japanese origin from the city of Maringá in Paraná, making it possible to have a profile of the Japanese-Brazilian population.[53]

  • Numbers

There were 4,034 families of Japanese descent from Maringá, comprising 14,324 people.

  • Dekasegi

1,846 or 15% of Japanese Brazilians from Maringá were working in Japan.

  • Generations

Of the 12,478 people of Japanese origin living in Maringá, 6.61% were Issei (born in Japan); 35.45% were Nisei (children of Japanese); 37.72% were Sansei (grandchildren) and 13.79% were Yonsei (great-grandchildren).

  • Average age

The average age was of 40.12 years old

  • Gender

52% of Japanese Brazilians from the city were women.

  • Average number of children per woman

2.4 children (similar to the average Southern Brazilian woman)

  • Religion

Most were Roman Catholics (32% of Sansei, 27% of Nisei, 10% of Yonsei and 2% of Issei). Protestant religions were the second most followed (6% of Nisei, 6% of Sansei, 2% of Yonsei and 1% of Issei) and next was Buddhism (5% of Nisei, 3% of Issei, 2% of Sansei and 1% of Yonsei).

  • Family

49.66% were married.

  • Knowledge of the Japanese language

47% can understand, read and write in Japanese. 31% of the second generation and 16% of the third generation can speak Japanese.

  • Schooling

31% elementary education; 30% secondary school and 30% higher education.

  • Mixed-race

A total of 20% were mixed-race (have some non-Japanese origin).

The Dekasegi edit

During the 1980s, the Japanese economic situation improved and achieved stability. Many Japanese Brazilians went to Japan as contract workers due to economic and political problems in Brazil, and they were termed "Dekasegi". Working visas were offered to Brazilian Dekasegis in 1990, encouraging more immigration from Brazil.

In 1990, the Japanese government authorized the legal entry of Japanese and their descendants until the third generation in Japan. At that time, Japan was receiving a large number of illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and Thailand. The legislation of 1990 was intended to select immigrants who entered Japan, giving a clear preference for Japanese descendants from South America, especially Brazil. These people were lured to Japan to work in areas that the Japanese refused (the so-called "three K": Kitsui, Kitanai and Kiken – hard, dirty and dangerous). Many Japanese Brazilians began to immigrate. The influx of Japanese descendants from Brazil to Japan was and continues to be large: there are over 300,000 Brazilians living in Japan today, mainly as workers in factories.[54]

Because of their Japanese ancestry, the Japanese government believed that Brazilians would be more easily integrated into Japanese society. In fact, this easy integration did not happen, since Japanese Brazilians and their children born in Japan are treated as foreigners by native Japanese.[55][56] This apparent contradiction between being and seeming causes conflicts of adaptation for the migrants and their acceptance by the natives.[57]

They also constitute the largest number of Portuguese speakers in Asia, greater than those of formerly Portuguese East Timor, Macau and Goa combined. Likewise, Brazil, alongside the Japanese American population of the United States, maintains its status as home to the largest Japanese community outside Japan.

Cities and prefectures with the most Brazilians in Japan are: Hamamatsu, Aichi, Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Gunma. Brazilians in Japan are usually educated. However, they are employed in the Japanese automotive and electronics factories.[58] Most Brazilians go to Japan attracted by the recruiting agencies (legal or illegal) in conjunction with the factories. Many Brazilians are subjected to hours of exhausting work, earning a small salary by Japanese standards.[59] Nevertheless, in 2002, Brazilians living in Japan sent US$2.5 billion to Brazil.[60]

Due to the financial crisis of 2007–2010, many Brazilians returned from Japan to Brazil. From January 2011 to March, it is estimated that 20,000 Brazilian immigrants left Japan.[61]

Brazilian identity in Japan edit

In Japan, many Japanese Brazilians suffer prejudice because they do not know how to speak Japanese fluently. Despite their Japanese appearance, Brazilians in Japan are culturally Brazilians, usually only speaking Portuguese, and are treated as foreigners.[62]

The children of Dekasegi Brazilians encounter difficulties in Japanese schools.[63] Thousands of Brazilian children are out of school in Japan.[62]

The Brazilian influence in Japan is growing. Tokyo has the largest carnival parade outside of Brazil itself. Portuguese is the third most spoken foreign language in Japan, after Chinese and Korean, and is among the most studied languages by students in the country. In Oizumi, it is estimated that 15% of the population speak Portuguese as their native language. Japan has two newspapers in the Portuguese language, besides radio and television stations spoken in that language. The Brazilian fashion and Bossa Nova music are also popular among Japanese.[64] In 2005, there were an estimated 302,000 Brazilian nationals in Japan, of whom 25,000 also hold Japanese citizenship.

100th anniversary edit

In 2008, many celebrations took place in Japan and Brazil to remember the centenary of Japanese immigration.[65] Then-Prince Naruhito of Japan arrived in Brazil on 17 June to participate in the celebrations. He visited Brasília, São Paulo, Paraná, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. Throughout his stay in Brazil, the Prince was received by a crowd of Japanese immigrants and their descendants. He broke the protocol of the Japanese Monarchy, which prohibits physical contact with people, and greeted the Brazilian people. In the São Paulo sambódromo, the Prince spoke to 50,000 people and in Paraná to 75,000. He also visited the University of São Paulo, where people of Japanese descent make up 14% of the 80,000 students.[66] Naruhito, then the crown prince of Japan, gave a speech that he concluded with a thank you in Portuguese.[67][68]

Media edit

In São Paulo there are two Japanese publications, the São Paulo Shimbun and the Nikkey Shimbun. The former was established in 1946 and the latter was established in 1998. The latter has a Portuguese edition, the Jornal Nippak, and both publications have Portuguese websites. The Jornal Paulista, established in 1947, and the Diário Nippak, established in 1949, are the predecessors of the Nikkey Shimbun.[69]

The Nambei, published in 1916, was Brazil's first Japanese newspaper. In 1933 90% of East Asian-origin Brazilians read Japanese publications, including 20 periodicals, 15 magazines, and five newspapers. The increase of the number of publications was due to Japanese immigration to Brazil. The government banned publication of Japanese newspapers during World War II.[69]

Tatiane Matheus of Estadão stated that in the pre-World War II period the Nippak Shimbun, established in 1916; the Burajiru Jiho, established in 1917; and two newspapers established in 1932, the Nippon Shimbun and the Seishu Shino, were the most influential Japanese newspapers. All were published in São Paulo.[69]

Education edit

Belo Horizonte
Porto Alegre
Locations of Japanese international schools, day and supplementary, in Brazil recognized by MEXT (grey dots are for closed facilities)
Beneficência Nipo-Brasileira de São Paulo Building. The Association owns hospitals and social institutions across Brazil.[70]

Japanese international day schools in Brazil include the Escola Japonesa de São Paulo ("São Paulo Japanese School"),[71] the Associação Civil de Divulgação Cultural e Educacional Japonesa do Rio de Janeiro in the Cosme Velho neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro,[72] and the Escola Japonesa de Manaus.[73] The Escola Japonesa de Belo Horizonte (ベロ・オリゾンテ日本人学校),[74] and Japanese schools in Belém and Vitória previously existed; all three closed, and their certifications by the Japanese education ministry (MEXT) were revoked on March 29, 2002 (Heisei 14).[75]

There are also supplementary schools teaching the Japanese language and culture. As of 2003, in southern Brazil there are hundreds of Japanese supplementary schools. The Japan Foundation in São Paulo's coordinator of projects in 2003 stated that São Paulo State has about 500 supplementary schools. Around 33% of the Japanese supplementary schools in southeastern Brazil are in the city of São Paulo. As of 2003 almost all of the directors of the São Paulo schools were women.[76]

MEXT recognizes one part-time Japanese school (hoshu jugyo ko or hoshuko), the Escola Suplementar Japonesa Curitiba in Curitiba.[77] MEXT-approved hoshukos in Porto Alegre and Salvador have closed.[78]

History of education edit

The Taisho School, Brazil's first Japanese language school, opened in 1915 in São Paulo.[79] In some areas full-time Japanese schools opened because no local schools existed in the vicinity of the Japanese settlements.[80] In 1932 over 10,000 Nikkei Brazilian children attended almost 200 Japanese supplementary schools in São Paulo.[81] By 1938 Brazil had a total of 600 Japanese schools.[80]

In 1970, 22,000 students, taught by 400 teachers, attended 350 supplementary Japanese schools. In 1992 there were 319 supplementary Japanese language schools in Brazil with a total of 18,782 students, 10,050 of them being female and 8,732 of them being male. Of the schools, 111 were in São Paulo State and 54 were in Paraná State. At the time, the São Paulo Metropolitan Area had 95 Japanese schools, and the schools in the city limits of São Paulo had 6,916 students.[76]

In the 1980s, São Paulo Japanese supplementary schools were larger than those in other communities. In general, during that decade a Brazilian supplementary Japanese school had one or two teachers responsible for around 60 students.[76]

Hiromi Shibata, a PhD student at the University of São Paulo, wrote the dissertation As escolas japonesas paulistas (1915–1945), published in 1997. Jeff Lesser, author of Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil, wrote that the author "suggests" that the Japanese schools in São Paulo "were as much an affirmation of Nipo-Brazilian identity as they were of Japanese nationalism."[82]

Notable persons edit

Liberdade, São Paulo

Arts edit

Business edit

Politics edit

Religious edit

Sports edit

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Japan-Brazil Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. November 26, 2019. Archived from the original on February 25, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2021. Number of Japanese nationals residing in Brazil: 50,205 (2018); Number of Japanese descendants: 2 million (estimated)
  2. ^ "ブラジル連邦共和国(Federative Republic of Brazil)基礎データ|外務省". 外務省 (in Japanese). June 9, 2021. Archived from the original on June 21, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  3. ^ Adital – Brasileiros no Japão Archived July 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Brazil". state.gov. September 14, 2007. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Gonzalez, David (September 25, 2013). "Japanese-Brazilians: Straddling Two Cultures". Lens Blog. The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  6. ^ Nakamura, Akemi (January 15, 2008). "Japan, Brazil mark a century of settlement, family ties". The Japan Times Online. Archived from the original on November 11, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  7. ^ Takeyuki Tsuda (April 2003). Strangers in the Ethnic Homeland – Japanese Brazilian Return Migration in Transnational Perspective. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231502344. Archived from the original on January 4, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Jillian Kestler-D'Amours (June 17, 2014). "Japanese Brazilians celebrate mixed heritage". Aljazeera. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  9. ^ dos Santos, Sales Augusto (January 2002). "Historical Roots of the 'Whitening' of Brazil". Latin American Perspectives. 29 (1): 61–82. doi:10.1177/0094582X0202900104. JSTOR 3185072. S2CID 220914100.
  10. ^ Brasil 500 anos Archived May 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
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  13. ^ Mosley, Leonard (1966). Hirohito, Emperor of Japan. London: Prentice Hall International, Inc. pp. 97–98.
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  46. ^ a b c d Resistência & integração : 100 anos de imigração japonesa no Brasil (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. 2008. p. 71. ISBN 978-85-240-4014-6. Archived from the original on March 3, 2021.
    • p59 Tabela 1 has errors:
      • Total for year 2000 (1,405,685) is wrong, missing data for Mato Grosso do Sul. p71 Apêndice 2 Total 1,435,490 is correct.
      • População nikkey for year 1991 are all wrong, mistakenly duplicating numbers from População total.
    • direct link to pdf [1]
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References edit

  • Masterson, Daniel M. and Sayaka Funada-Classen. (2004), The Japanese in Latin America: The Asian American Experience. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07144-7; OCLC 253466232
  • Lesser, Jeffrey (2001). Negociando a Identidade Nacional: Imigrantes, Minorias e a Luta pela Etnicidade no Brasil. UNESP.
  • Jeffrey Lesser, A Discontented Diaspora: Japanese-Brazilians and the Meanings of Ethnic Militancy, 1960–1980 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007); Portuguese edition: Uma Diáspora Descontente: Os Nipo-Brasileiros e os Significados da Militância Étnica, 1960–1980 (São Paulo: Editora Paz e Terra, 2008).
  • Jeffrey Lesser, Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999); Portuguese edition: Negociando an Identidade Nacional: Imigrantes, Minorias e a Luta pela Etnicidade no Brasil (São Paulo: Editora UNESP, 2001).

Further reading edit

External links edit