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Golden Pagoda
Kyoto, Japan


Brazilian Influence in Japan


By Preston Price

    There were many more signs of migration and outside influence in Japan that I had initially expected.  For being such a homogenous culture and self sustaining society I was I little surprised to see the presence of Western influence.  After reading Takeyuki Tsuda’s article titled “No Place to Call Home,” I decided to focus on the relationship between Japan and Brazil.  The article has to do with Brazilians of Japanese descent who move back to Japan, and although they can speak the language and consider themselves to be Japanese they experience the feeling that they are complete foreigners in the country of their ancestors.

    Focusing my observations on this key aspect, I took notes on some Brazilian influence in Japan.  Within the first day of walking around Kobe, I noticed a handful of civilians whom I suspected may have been a mix between Japanese and Brazilian, given their skin and hair color as well as their facial features.  When I participated in the Japanese student exchange in Kobe I  I encountered my second dose of Brazilian influence in Japan.  One of the teachers for the Japanese students, who is one hundred percent Japanese, had double majored in Portugese and business.  He told me that he had also spent some time studying in Brazil and plans to go back in the near future.  This is further proof of a some sort of linkage between Brazil and Japan.

    The most obvious experience of the meshing of the two cultures took place one evening when my friends and I were roaming the streets looking for a place to eat.  A small group of us SAS students stumbled up on a Brazilian restaurant.  All of the guys working there spoke fluent Portugese as well as Japanese, but they by observation of their physical appearances they were obviously primarily Brazilian.  They had been working there for years, but return to Brazil frequently, spending months at a time in each country.  Some of them had been doing this for years, but those individuals said they still feel like outsiders when in Japan.  One worker in the restaurant was a Brazilian man with Japanese descent, and he told me that it is pretty difficult to be completely accepted as strictly Brazilian or Japanese in Either country.  This exemplifies the title of Tsuda’s article, “No Place to Call Home"  

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