The Japanese Brazilian Ethnicity Today. an Anthropological Theory about Post- Migration, Agriculture and Global Social Economy

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:33
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Nowadays, Brazil continues being the country with the largest number of Japanese descendants in the world, with approximately 1.6 million people.  The Japanese immigration to Brazil occurred throughout the twentieth century as a result of both countries’ politics reform. It is important to highlight that from 1924 the government of Japan promoted alone this phenomenon. The most important characteristic was that all individuals belonged to nuclear families. From the beginning, those newcomers organized themselves in agricultural activities in the state of São Paulo. In 1927, some of them formed the CAC – Agricultural Cooperative of Cotia. This cooperative was the most important agricultural cooperative in South America from the 1950s to the 1980s. The CAC activities were not limited to agriculture, but also promoting the Japanese cultural aspects to coming generations, like the teaching of Japanese language. The social ascension of this community in the Brazilian context is remarkable, however, the profile of this group is not really homogenous. Also the ethnical aspects of the Japanese Brazilian community are very difficult to identify due to its fast acculturation.

My doctorate thesis is about the acculturation process and the notable social ascension of a Japanese Brazilian community. The fieldwork has been developed in the town of Sao Gotardo, in the Midwest of Minas Gerais. In 1973, this region conceived an agricultural development program planned by the Brazilian military dictatorship territorial policy and the CAC.  As a consequence, a hundred of Japanese descendants’ families arrived to this location and settled their own ethnicity with the support of CAC. Today, the background is different: few of them have reached a social ascension and the CAC was extinct leading to the disappearance of the former ethnicity. This fact drove me to formulate my hypothesis: Was the Japanese ethnicity a global social-economic strategy?