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

culture en pt

TV With Grandpa

My maternal grandfather was born in Japan, in Nagasaki prefecture. In Brazil, he lived in the countryside, very far away from my home in Sao Paulo.

When we travelled to visit him (in the ’80s and ’90s), the planning always included a stop to buy Japanese language newspapers and some VHS tapes.

At that time, those tapes were the only way to watch Japanese programs in Brazil. There was no internet as we know it today, and cable TV was in its first (slow) steps in the country.

I assume the process was something like this: someone, in Japan, recorded …

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media en pt

Nipo-Brazilian radio waves

In Brazil, currently, there are two radio broadcasters dedicated to Eastern culture, especially Japanese.

Rádio Nikkey is the oldest of them, operating for more than 20 years. Nowadays, the program is broadcasted as part of Rádio Imprensa and on the internet.

More recent, Rádio Banzai was called Rádio Fenix in its early days in 2005. Officially bearing its current name, the station has been broadcasting since 2007, always on the internet.

Brazilians of all origins

The programming of Rádio Nikkey is done in Portuguese by announcer Paulo Miyagui, 66 years old, a second generation Nikkei; and in Japanese by announcer …

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food en pt

Ramen for Lunch in São Paulo

Starting from the mid-2000s, with the increasing success of Japanese anime, manga, soap operas, and movies in Brazil, a certain food began to draw the audience’s attention.

It is a steamy broth involving noodles and some other ingredients: ramen.

The Liberdade district, in São Paulo, is a great concentration of Japanese restaurants. Currently, there are three shops whose specialty is ramen.

Strong seasoning

We visited the newest one, called Ramen Ya, which opened in February 2014, to know a little about what it is like eating ramen in São Paulo.

“The non-Nikkei Brazilians prefer the stronger seasoning ones, like tantanmen and …

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identity en ja es pt

Nikkei Chronicles #3—Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João?

The Meaning of 'J.'

When I was a child, I used to think my name was too long. So, I shortened it by writing “Henrique J. Minatogawa.” 

Even now, I keep that habit. My friends frequently ask: what does the “J.” mean? It reminds me of that Simpsons episode in which Homer is trying to discover his middle name.

When I answer it is “José,” some do not believe me. I have to show my ID to prove it. “I thought it was Jun,” most of them reply.

I do not have a Japanese name or middle name. Among my Japanese descendant friends, all …

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media en pt

Nikkei actors in Brazil: Japanese descendants share experience in the profession

During the early years of Japanese immigration in Brazil, Japanese workers dedicated themselves to activities related to agriculture. Then, branching out into trade and other jobs.

Nowadays, Japanese and their descendants (called Nikkei) are in almost all working fields. Although in small numbers, today, it is possible to see them on TV, cinema, and theater.

Family concerns

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“Since I always had a conscious attitude in what I do, they always encouraged my decisions. However, the concern about money and the instability also existed,” says actor Marcos Miura, 40 years old, third generation Nipo-Brazilian.

Marcos graduated in Marketing …

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