Henrique Minatogawa

Henrique Minatogawa is a freelance journalist and photographer, Brazilian third generation Japanese descendant. His family origins are Okinawa, Nagasaki and Nara prefectures. In 2007, he was granted a scholarship Kenpi Kenshu in Nara prefecture. In Brazil, has been working for 4 years in the coverage of events related to Japanese culture. (Photo: Henrique Minatogawa / Nikko Fotografia)

Updated July 2014 

business en pt

Nikkei Pastry Chef Spreads Yogashi in Brazil

Many people in Brazil tend to assume that Nikkei are interested exclusively in Japanese culture. If a Nikkei is keen on sports, the sport must be karate; if s/he likes music, it must be enka; if s/he draws, it must be manga. While these assumptions may occasionally be true, they are not 100% accurate.

Vivianne Hitomi Wakuda is a 29-year-old Brazilian Sansei Nikkei. She is also a pastry chef. “In my first job interview, they assumed I worked with red bean paste. I immediately explained that I worked in the house pastry style, which was French. I am ...

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community en pt

Japanese Grocery Stores: An Appreciation

Some years ago, I worked in a publishing house in São Paulo’s Vila Mariana district. Nearby, there was a Japanese grocery store, where I would go to buy a bento at lunchtime.

It was not every day that I would buy one; I believe it was two or three times a week at most. I also used to buy an Asian-style bread there that was not found in ordinary markets and bakeries. From time to time, I would feel like eating manju, or I would need shoyu, kare, or chikuwa to make dinner. I would go to that ...

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identity en pt

What “Made in Japan” Means to Me

When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, one of the most desired objects was the Sony Walkman. Particularly a blue one that was made in Japan. By that time, Japanese products had a good reputation in Brazil; watches, cameras, TVs, or audio equipment manufactured in Japan were surely good products.

Except for the pencils. Like many kids, I liked to draw and write. When a relative traveled to Japan, I would often receive pencils as souvenirs. They were very beautiful, with detailed and amazing designs featuring characters I didn’t know. However, they broke easily. After just ...

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identity en pt

Japan vs. Brazil?

In August 2016, Rio de Janeiro will host the Summer Olympic Games. As the athletes prepare to compete, I prepare to once more answer the question: “Will you support Brazil or Japan?”

This question doesn’t bother me. In a country with so many immigrants, it is natural that many of them will support the country of their ancestors in sporting events. During the World Cup, people gather to watch the games of both Brazil and their homeland.

Soccer Mania

In Brazil, men’s soccer is by far the most popular sport. My earliest World Cup memory is from 1986 ...

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community en pt

An Endangered Custom

I am a Sansei Nikkei, 35 years old, born and raised in São Paulo. During childhood and adolescence, I did not have much contact with the larger Nikkei community; I associated only with relatives and some friends. I did not attend Nikkei events, eat in Japanese restaurants, or study Japanese—three things that, years later, I would do a lot.

I did notice one thing when I was growing up: among the elder Nikkei (the Issei and Nisei), it was common to greet other Nikkei on the street, even if they had never met before. They would do it ...

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