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 

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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community en pt

Celebrations of the End and Beginning of the Year in the Brazilian Nikkei Community

From mid-November until just before Christmas, gatherings to celebrate the end of the year take place in Brazil. In general, corporate parties take place earlier; then, the associations and clubs; while friends and family’s are closer to Christmas and New Year, when most people are already on vacation.

In the Nikkei community, these celebrations have a specific name: Bonenkai. The meaning, with minimal adaptation, is “gathering to forget the year.” Of course, the intent behind the expression is of learning from the bad things and being grateful to those with whom any joint work was done during the past ...

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community en pt

How Brazilian Nikkei Play Japanese Video Games

The video game is an American invention, attributed to the German-born American engineer Ralph Baer (1922-2014). The Odyssey, considered the first console in history, was commercially launched in 1972. The novelty became extremely popular in the United States, especially with the leadership of Atari.

However, in 1983, the so-called “crash of the video game industry” occured. Basically, what happened was market saturation. Many companies launched their own consoles, game production was too large, and with almost no quality control, consumers became confused. Thus, the games industry began to decline.

After 1985, with the entry of Nintendo, the video game market ...

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business en pt

Japanese Barber Shop in São Paulo

When a Nikkei gets a haircut in Brazil, they often hear that “cutting Oriental people’s hair is difficult.” The reason given is that the strands are very smooth, sometimes too thin, sometimes too thick. Thus, it would be difficult to make different hairstyles, and the cuts show errors more easily.

To meet this demand, currently, there are many hairdressing salons specializing in Easterners. They also offer dye services, manicures, and other aesthetic services, with the target audience mainly made up of women.

Haircutting is a service that involves some periodicity—people hardly go every day—different from a store ...

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community en pt

Festival do Japão (Japan Festival)

Festival do Japão (Japan Festival) is one of the main events of the Nikkei community in Brazil, especially regarding physical space, attractions, and number of visitors. In 2015, it reached its 18th edition.

The event is organized by Kenren, the federation of the Japanese prefectures associations in Brazil. This year, Japan Festival was held on July 24, 25, and 26.

The organization estimated the number of visitors to be about 180,000 people. Entrance is paid, but all internal activities are free. Also, there are free shuttles between the event and the nearest subway station.

At each festival, organizers ...

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