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 in the coverage of events related to Japanese culture. (Photo: Henrique Minatogawa)

Updated July 2020

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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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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