Brazilians in Japan

braziliansinjapanThere is a significant community of Brazilians in Japan, consisting largely but not exclusively of Brazilians of Japanese ethnicity. They also constitute the largest number of Portuguese speakers in Asia, greater than those of formerly Portuguese East Timor and Macao combined.

The largest numbers are concentrated in Toyota, Oizumi, where it is estimated that up to 15% of the population speaks Portuguese as their native language, and  Hamamatsu, which contains the largest population of Brazilians in Japan. It is worth noting that Brazilians are not particularly concentrated in larger cities such as  Tokyo or Osaka. Brazilians tend to be more concentrated where there are large factories.

The Brazilian influence in Japan is growing. Tokyo has the largest carnival parade outside Brazil. Portuguese is the third most spoken foreign language in Japan, after Chinese and Korean, and is among the most studied languages by students in the country. Japan has two newspapers in the Portuguese language as well as Portuguese radio and television stations. The Brazilian fashion and Bossa Nova music are also popular among Japanese.

The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil in 1908. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan and has been growing since the 1950s. The largest concentrations of Japanese people in Brazil are found in the states of São Paulo and Paraná. Liberdade is São Paulo’s own equivalent of Japantown in the USA.

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