The Japantown in Brazil

The Bairro Oriental (Oriental neighboorhood) of São Paulo - living within the chaos of its walls, the same question crossed my aching mind. ‘Why did these Japanese people traverse the ocean and build a town for themselves half way cross the planet?’ In this column, the author conveys the history and current state of the Japantowns in Brazil he has visited, while simultaneously being conscious of the above question.

culture en ja pt

Chapter 10 (extras: part 2) Londrina – The Nikkei Cultural Movement & The Matsuri Dance

Recently in Brazil, terms such as “Nikkei culture” and “Shin (new) Nikkei culture” have become popular to use, especially among the Japanese-language papers. These terms are used to describe a “culture based upon ‘Japanese culture’ with a Brazilian-style influence.” This shows that there is a conscious differentiation between the “Japanese culture of Japan” and the “Japanese culture of Brazil,” defining the latter as a “Nikkei culture” that is a part of the multicultural “Brazilian culture.”

Currently, the area that is seeing the most intense presence of this Nikkei culture is North Paraná (the northern area of the state of Paran ...

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Chapter 9 The Formation and Development of Bairro Oriental (4) - Japanese Businesses Enter Into the Brazilian Market -

Tomás de Gonzada Street in the mid-1970s: flashy neon lights, Japanese men drunkenly staggering and stumbling out of a club entrance, and the lovely voices of hostesses, with heavy make-up, waving goodbye. With sundown, Oriental town would transform itself into an amusement quarters.

As mentioned before, there were three factors in the re-gathering of the Nikkei population and constructing of Oriental town in post-war Liberdade District. These included 1) the establishment of the Cine Niterói in 1953, 2) the founding of the Brazil Japanese Culture Association Center Building in April of 1964, and 3) the opening of the ...

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Chapter 8: The Formation and Development of Bairro Oriental (3) - The Emergence of a New “Tradition”

On the weekends, Bairro Oriental (Oriental town) turns into a bustling neighborhood filled with visitors and cars (Photo 8-1). The crowd is mainly made up of tourists, shoppers at the Asian supermarkets, diners at the various Japanese, Chinese, and Korean restaurants, and the young J-pop fans hanging out around the entrance of the station. Further, this area is the center of ethnic events such as the Flower Festival (Hana Matsuri) in April, the Tanabata Festival in July, and the Ōmisoka Mochi ­Pounding Festival. On such event days, the Liberdade Plaza turns into festival grounds.

As I mentioned in the previous ...

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Chapter 7 The Formation and Development of Bairro Oriental (2) -The Establishment of the Liberdade Subway Station-

Galvão Bueno Street in the Liberdade District of São Paulo was once said to be "in the day, as quiet as the night;" when Cine Niterói and three other movie theaters began business in the district in the early 1950s, it suddenly became a bustling area lit up with neon lights. By 1964, building was completed for the São Paulo Bunka Kyokai (São Paulo Culture Association, which later became known as the Brazil Nihon Bunka Kyokai, or Brazilian-Japanese Culture Association), and the area, from Liberdade Plaza through Galvão Bueno Street to São Joaquim ...

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Chapter 6: The Formation and Development of Bairro Oriental (1) : The Birth of Cine Niterói and Bunkyô

Exiting out of Libertade station on the São Paulo South-North subway line, one arrives in a neighborhood filled with extravagant restaurant billboards and supermarkets selling Japanese, Chinese, and Korea products and ingredients. This is the center of Bairro Oriental, Libertade Plaza (Photo 6-1). Galvão Bueno Street runs south from here and at night, the street is lit up with the neon signs of shops along with the red Suzuran lamps. Once known as the largest Japantown in the world, Bairro Oriental (“Oriental neighborhood”) is located roughly at the center of São Paulo city and is Libertade District ...

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