The Education of Young Brazilians in Japan

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Eunice ISHIKAWA , Shizuoka University of Art and Culture, Hamamatsu, Japan
Currently (2011), the Brazilian population in Japan totals 210,032. Of that total 46,855 (22%) are under 20 years old, and 24,061 (11%) under 10 years old. From these data, we can conclude that many of these children attend, or have attended, school in Japan. Compared to the Japanese-Brazilian adults living in Japan, their children learn the Japanese language much more easily and quickly. Many of these children start their education in Japanese kindergartens, and then most of them continue studying in Japanese schools. Some advance to the university level. However, even if they speak the Japanese language, most of them have problems keeping up with the regular disciplines. The main reason is that they don’t have the background the other Japanese children have. Additionally, they don’t have their parents’ help with their studies at home since most of the Brazilian parents are not fluent in the Japanese language. Another issue to be considered is that in Japan, education is mandatory for children under 15 years old who are citizens, but optional for foreigners. One problem here is how Japanese society views foreigners. For the Japanese, the Japanese-Brazilians are temporary foreign workers who will leave Japan after a finite period of time. The result is that the Japanese-Brazilians are dealt with as visitors, and this feeling extends to the children. This treatment negatively affects any policy regarding the education of foreign children in Japan. The prospect for Japanese-Brazilian children in the future depends on where they settle. Lacking a higher education a large number of Brazilian children experience difficulties with stability and ascension in both Japanese and Brazilian societies. In this paper I will focus on cases of young Brazilians raised in Japan who were successful in obtaining a higher education in Japanese universities, although they are currently the minority.