Eu Sou Nikkei

In the Japanese costal town of Hamamatsu men do not roam the streets in the iconic uniform of the black suit. Neither does the native language of Japanese roll off of their tongues, but rather Portuguese. Home to a few Samba schools, Brazilian shopping centers and where football is sacred, Hamamatsu is home to the largest population of Ethnic Japanese Brazilians in Japan. However life is not such a carnival for the 250,000 immigrants who suffer from a lack of cultural integration and therefore have become privy to host of various social ills. Although made up of two of the most opposing cultures, Japanese Brazilians are a phenomenal ethnic mix, which manifested in the beginning of the 20th century when Brazil abolished slavery and searched eagerly for migrant workers to fill their places. In 1907 an accord was signed between the governments of Brazil and Japan to allow Japanese migrant workers into the country to take up the work of former slaves, mainly on coffee plantations. The migration continued to form what is now the largest diaspora of Japanese in the world, outside of Japan. In the early 1980’s, following the fall of the Brazilian Dictatorship and because of a booming Japanese economy, many ethnic Japanese Brazilians began to return to Japan in order to work and earn money to send back home to their families. Between the years of 1985-1995 the population of Immigrants of Japanese Descent or Nikkeijin as they are commonly referred to, rose so steeply, with Japanese Brazilians accounting for almost half of the population of Nikkeijin in the country.