Historical Overview of Migratory Flows Between Brazil and Japan

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Elisa Massae SASAKI , Japanese, Rio de Janeiro State University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This paper will present an historical overview of the migratory flows between Brazil and Japan. The first part discusses the immigration of Japanese to Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century. During this time, their presence in that country sparked a heated debate among the politicians of the Brazilian elite as to whether or not they should be accepted. The Japanese were labeled as “not white”, an undesirable state according to the eugenicist policies of the time. At the same time, Japanese government closely accompanied the entire migratory process, helping to establish the Japanese immigrants in Brazil. In the second part, I will focus in the inverse route, upon the ending of the 20th century and beginning of the 21th century, when Brazilians of Japanese descent began to migrate to Japan. They were favorably contemplated in Japan’s 1990 immigration reform law, a factor which contributed to the increase of the population, especially during the first half of the 1990’s. From that time on, the Brazilian presence began establishing itself and consolidating social networks within the host country, losing sight of its original temporary expectations and intensifying the flow of people moving between Brazil and Japan. However, after more than two decades, the Brazilian population in Japan began decreasing in 2008. At this time, the world financial crisis resulted in a rising unemployment and one third of the Brazilians in Japan returned to Brazil. They are facing great difficulties as they try to reinsert themselves into a new or different social and cultural reality in their own homeland, encountering problems in linguistic and educational fields as well as the local labor market.