100 years of Japanese presence in Brazil

January 16, 2008 | By More

On June 18th, 1908, after 52 sailing the oceans (literally), the ship Kasato Maru arrived at the Port of Santos with a load of 781 Japanese inmigrants. Many ships followed the first one and hundreds of thousands of Japanese moved from the land of the rising sun to somewhat more tropical latitudes.

Today, it is estimated 1 million and a half Japanese descendants live in Brazil. 75% of them are found on the state of São Paulo. 10% on the state of Paraná. And the remaining 15% are spread through the states of Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. The population exchange works both ways. The Japanese Ministry of Justice estimates that in 2006 there were 313.000 Brazilians (descendants from Japanese emigrants) working in Japan (they are known as dekasseguis).

Toyo Matsuri

One hundred years later, Brazil gets ready to celebrate the hundreth anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese inmigrants in Brazil, and to pay homage to their vast contribution to the development of the Brazilian nation.

All the information related to the activities organized to celebrate the centenary can be found at the website of the Associação para Comemoração do Centenário da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil. The calendar of events has just been announced and can be consulted, month by month, at the following pages: January, February, March, April. As new months are added to the list we will do so as well at this blog.

The outstanding moment of the centenary celebrations will be the Japanese Culture Week, which will take place in São Paulo from 13 to 22 June and will be crowned with a big party on the 21 and 22 June (Saturday and Sunday) which will be attended by Nahurito, Crown Prince of Japan.

Toyo Matsuri

Usual readers of the blog are aware of how fond we are of Japanese culture in their Brazilian embodiment. The oriental quarter of Liberdade, in São Paulo, has popped up a few times at this blog:

Liberdade Japanese quarter, São Paulo
Toyo Matsuri in São Paulo
Tanabata Matsuri in São Paulo

Toyo Matsuri

P.S.: thanks to the Press Office of the Centenary Association for the information pack they sent us.

subscribe to the Brazil Travel Blog by Email follow the Brazil Travel Blog on Twitter

Tags: , ,

Category: Destination: São Paulo, News, Typical Brazilian

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Shawn says:

    Thanks for this posting, Tony. The main reason we are headed to Brazil is to spend time in Liberdade and see how this huge Japanese settlement works. My wife is born and bred in Tokyo and I lived there for some time and now study it.

    Do you know if the Japanese Culture Week happens yearly on the same dates?

  2. Tony says:

    Shawn, I think the Japanese Culture Week was a one-off event. If not, last year’s was the first edition. From 17 to 19 June you will find the Festival do Japao (www.festivaldojapao.com, takes place in the outskirts of the city). I’m sure you will be fascinated by the interesting turns Japanese culture took in Sao Paulo. And will probably be shocked/amazed when you discover what Brazilians consider to be “typically Japanese” based on their exprience of Brazilian-Japanese culture.