Brazilians in Japan and Overseas Compatriots: Local and Transnational Alliances

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:45
Oral Presentation
Gustavo Henrique VIEIRA MEIRELES, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
The present paper proposes to discuss how Brazilians in Japan have interacted with other Brazilian communities abroad in order to strengthen their bonds and stimulate the birth of ethnic organizations. The activism of Brazilians abroad dates to the beginning of the 1990s and it is related to the social, political and economic environment that surrounded these immigrants. It began in Europe, where restrictive policies resulting from the Schengen Agreement led to the deportation, death and even murder of undocumented immigrants. This was a defining factor in stimulating Brazilians to demand the recognition of rights both in Brazil as well as in the host society. In the case of Japan, two main issues have been pointed out as the triggers for mobilization: the matter of health security for foreign residents, which became a concern during the late 1990s, and extremely high unemployment rates that followed the 2008 financial crisis. After understanding the context in which these changes happened, we move on to the analysis of how the Brazilian community abroad has interacted and shared their experiences. We focus on ethnic organizations in Japan and study how their interaction with other Brazilians abroad affected the organizing and institutionalization of the community. In order to do so our analysis will be based on field work in Japan during the period of 2011 to 2017. That includes interviews and surveys conducted in areas where the Brazilian community is concentrated, as well as the participation in meetings of the Brazilians Citizen’s Council of Tokyo. We intend to highlight how mechanisms from the community, such as the Seminar on Brazilian Immigration and the Meeting of the Brazilian Community Abroad, as well as endeavors sponsored by the Brazilian government, such as the Brazilians in the World Conference, have contributed to shape the community in Japan.