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Japanese-Brazilian

From Academic Kids

A Japanese-Brazilian is an ethnically Japanese person born in Brazil.

Brazil is the Latin American country that has received the most ethnic Japanese immigrants, as well as the host country of the largest Japanese community outside Japan (numbering between 1.3 and 1.5 million). The first Japanese immigrants (mostly farmers) came to Brazil in 1908 on the Kasato Maru from the Japanese port of Kobe, moving to Brazil in search of better life conditions. Many of them (along with Chinese immigrants) ended up as laborers on coffee farms. At the time, Brazil was experiencing a shortage of farm workers and turned to European immigrants and then to an influx of Japanese workers to satisfy this demand.

As in other parts of the world, Japanese descendants received special names: "Nisei" for their children and "Sansei" for their grandchildren. Many Japanese in the country married Brazilians, a pattern that still continues, and for that matter, many Japanese-Brazilians are also of European and/or African descent, contributing to the highly diversified ethnic population of Brazil.

During World War II, Brazil severed relations with Japan.. Japanese-language newspapers and Japanese-language teaching in schools were banned, leaving Portuguese as the only option for Japanese descendants. Newspapers in German or Italian were also advised to cease production, as Germany and Italy were Japan's allies in the war.

When the conflict was over, many Japanese refugees decided to settle in Brazil, thus creating a large Japanese community. Most Japanese descendants in Brazil show little interest in learning the Japanese language; most Niseis and Sanseis speak Portuguese only, usually taking English classes in school.

During the 1980s, the Japanese economic situation improved and achieved stability. Many Japanese Brazilians (including some of mixed African or European descent) went to Japan as contract workers due to economic and political problems in Brazil, and they were termed "Dekasegis." Japanese citizenship were offered to Brazilian Dekasegis in 1990, encouraging more Japanese immigration from Brazil. Some Japanese Brazilians also went to the United States, Canada, or Brazil's former colonial ruler, Portugal.

Some Japanese also went to Brazil from Macau in 1999, when Portugal returned the Asian colony to mainland China. These Japanese are descendants of Japanese Catholic refugees expelled by shoguns, and they can also speak Portuguese and its creolePatu — but speak Cantonese Chinese as an additional language rather than Japanese.

The influx of Japanese descendants from Brazil to Japan was and continues to be large: There are over 250,000 Japanese Brazilians living in Japan today. They also constitute the largest number of Portuguese speakers in Asia, greater than those of formerly Portuguese East Timor, Macau and Goa combined. Nevertheless, Brazil maintains its status as home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. The Japanese community in Brazil (notably in So Paulo's Liberdade district) is very large and deeply rooted.

In terms of religion, most Japanese Brazilians are Christians, notably Roman Catholic, although some 25% are followers of Zen Buddhism (Japanese become the first Buddhist settlers in Brazil) and Shinto.

See also

ja:日系ブラジル人 zh:日裔巴西人

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