Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

June 14, 2014

KAMEOKA CORNER: Japan’s connection with Brazil goes back 100-plus years

STILLWATER, Okla. — In the early 1900s, a large number of people moved from Japan to Brazil.

There were two primary reasons for this – the end of the feudal system of government in Japan brought about a fairly significant level of poverty in rural areas across Japan and Brazil was trying to entice people to that country to work on coffee plantations offering more than they delivered.  

Between 1907 and 1941, approximately 190,000 people from Japan moved to Brazil where life tuned out to be very difficult for many of them.

Pay was much lower than promised, living conditions were poor and discrimination was an ever-present problem.

By the late 1990s, there were approximately 1.4 million people of Japanese decent in Brazil, however at that time the Japanese government authorized legal entry into Japan of Brazilian Japanese to the third generation.

Since that time, some 300,000 Brazilian Japanese have moved to Japan only to find the situation to be not a great deal better for some of them than in was in Brazil.

Most are farmers or factory workers and there are some complaints about their salaries being lower than native Japanese, however  they’ve sent about $2.5 billion U.S. dollars to family members still in Brazil.

The Brazilian Japanese have settled primarily in about six different prefectures across Japan, including Gunma Prefecture northwest of Tokyo toward the Sea of Japan.

Last week, there was a very nice program on Japanese TV which we receive by satellite about a Brazilian Japanese community in the city of Oizumi in Gunma Prefecture.

Of the total population of 41,000, slightly more than 10 percent are Brazilian Japanese. Many are farmers growing produce that is more common to Brazil than to Japan.

There are grocery stores selling almost exclusively products from Brazil.  There are restaurants where the menu includes only Brazilian dishes as well as other aspects of Brazilian culture. The hour-long program presented the Brazilian Japanese people and their culture and native Portuguese language in a very positive and most enjoyable way.

Larry Jones is a member of the Stillwater Sister Cities Council.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Columnists
Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza
Must Read