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Japanese-Brazilians go 'home' to tap economic boom

By Toshi Maeda

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© 2012 AFP

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This is a shame because Japan needs workers from outside the country. I've gotten to know a few Brazilian-Japanese and while most have had good experiences in Japan there was still the element of being an outsider. The immigration rules were relaxed for obvious reasons and If this exodus continues, the government will be in a real bind. There will never be enough imported workers with Japanese heritage to replace these Brazilians. What country will they turn to?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good for the people mentioned here. I hope things work out for them back in Brazil.

Not a few aging English teachers still trying to make a career out of the eikaiwa racket would do well to heed the same advice and move back home while they still have a chance to start anew.

Its economy is growing, and there are jobs and business opportunities. That’s why I plan to go back and try my luck back in my own country, because Brazil is a country of the future.

Brazil is a country with a bright future. Japan is not.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Sadly once again Japan SELFISHLY blows it BIGTIME!

The decline continues, when or will Japan GET A CLUE!

Its no longer just the factory labourer types who shud be thinking of exit strategies!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I agree with all the above posters - well said. Brazilians still aren't really accepted in this society. Sad since the history between Japan and Brazil spans 100 years. Again it's the rich country that exploits the poor country, and when the jobs dry up in the rich country they buy tickets to send them "home" and publish fluff pieces like this to show us all is well with the returnees. Up here where I live there used to be a huge Brazilian community that had numerous shops my family frequented. Most were born here. Sad to see them go (get pushed out).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Over the last few years, many of those who came to Japan to seek their fortune have found a force pulling them back across the Pacific, as Brazil’s economy races ahead.

A force, indeed. A bum's rush cash offer from the Japanese government to depart on the next available flight.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is not just "Brazilians" leaving. I read recently of an exodus of smart young Japanese engineers and entrepreneurs going to California seeking opportunity that is blocked from them in the moribund Japanese business world.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

After the lehman shock 2008-2009 the J gov paid brazillians 250,000 or 350,000 to return to brazil on the condition they could not return, these people were the factory of japan . if / when things recover japan will not have the workers it needs, how clever again from the j gov dimwits.

Brazil is going good why would these workers even want to return to this backward place now anyway.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm glad to hear that they are going home and buying houses and the like. Japan used them and treated them like garbage for the most part and now the shoe is on the other foot. Until Japan treats their foreigners like they do the locals, people will always go "home" when they have the money and whatnot stocked up. Why would anyone stay here if they can use their money better home? I certainly won't be retiring here. The rate things are going, this place is going to be a graveyard. I'll collect my pension (if there is one) and set up shop somewhere else. Perhaps Brazil?

As for not having enough soccer players, perhaps if they got rid of 'club' at the schools, kids would join?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Could have reached out to the Japanese community around and introduced the kids to futzal and voila, they would have had a game.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's part of the problem Ranger. Around here there is no mixing. The Brazilians stick to their own, their own communities, their own schools... I can't say I blame them seeing as how they get treated but it is a shame since Japan is the one missing out on knowing a wondering culture.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Japan is on the decline. There is nothing new here. What amazes me is people that could bring on change seem stuck in their ways. The birth rates alone are disastrous. People are way too self centered here to concern themselves with starting a family. It will be interesting to see how a generation who has known little to no hardship will react. I suspect an increase in suicides.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Agree with those critical of this article. It glosses over the discrimination and other hardships Brazilian-Japanese suffered here. Here is an article from Japan Sociology that gives a more honest view: http://japansociology.com/2011/12/16/the-situation-of-japanese-brazilians-in-japan/

It would be interesting to learn the percentage of Japanese-Brazilians who made enough money to buy houses and open medical practices back in Brazil. I would venture damn few did.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What this article does not talk about is the amazing stupidity and inhumanity of the Japanese government, business and society with regard to Japan-Brazilians.

There was a time when Japan needed more workers. In the ethnocentric official mind set Japanese-Brazilians would be a perfect fit here in Japan because the had Japanese blood. Blood is everything, right? Wrong. Most of these poor souls knew no Japanese and many were unskilled or under-skilled. On top of that they didn't act like Japanese. They acted like Brazilians. Surprise, surprise. So what was open to most were insecure temporary jobs and an outcast status. Ayako Takagi writes in the about-linked article: "And what is even worse, it is the situation that many Japanese-Brazilian children cannot receive education in Japan. It is said that over the half number of Japanese-Brazilian children doesn’t receive education in Japan."

The bursting of the bubble economy and the Great Recession only magnified the problems Japanese-Brazilians faced.

The Japanese government saw that they had created a social problem. What to do? What to do? Get rid of the Japanese-Brazilians. Offer then a token cash settlement and a one-way ticket back to Brazil with no chance to return.

Even though they have and are being thrown out to a country whose economy is booming now does not mean that Japanese-Brazilians face a happy future there. For many, perhaps most, connections from Brazil have grown weaker. They cannot expect jobs when they return. Many will bring children who were born and raised in Japan and so live in a twilight zone between Japanese and Brazilian cultures. Let me underscore that though Brazil is booming economically a large part of the population is poor. How many Japanese-Brazilians will join or have joined the ranks of the poverty stricken? Probably many. Perhaps most. How their children raised in Japan will fare remains to be seen.

One thing is certain. The Japanese system does not care about Japan-Brazilians, blood or no blood. And it will sugarcoat the truth with articles like the one published here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wonder what tales the returnees tell of Japan to other Brazilians? Do they tell of their being treated as second class citizens? Do they mention the fascists driving round every weekend screaming abuse? One thing is certain: Japan's image will take a hit once more people in Brazil hear about what goes on here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yes Japan certainly did next to nothing to help the kids of these people thats for sure, criminal for sure.

Bottom line WE ALL need to remember is while there are some individual Japanese who are great friends the vast majority & jpn inc DOES NOT GIVE A CRAP about us gaijin, but then again jpn inc even treat Japanese with utter distain so we can hardly expect anything

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What this means then that when I go to my local train station, all the hard working Brazilians of Japanese decent women will not be getting on the vans and taken to the factories, while their men drink beer, wave good bye, and huddle together to talk in Portuguese will all disappear? What a shame. Japan needs the workers. It is also a shame that they will go back to Brazil with no language ability in Japanese which could come in handy.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

it is the situation that many Japanese-Brazilian children cannot receive education in Japan. It is said that over the half number of Japanese-Brazilian children doesn’t receive education in Japan."

How can they not receive it? They enroll and go to school. The problem is, many parents don't bother to enroll their kids and because they aren't Japanese, they don't have to go.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )


No such animal!

Dual nationality is forbidden by Janese law-Japanese or Brazilian please JT.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


No such animal!

Dual nationality is forbidden by Janese law-Japanese or Brazilian please JT.

The term 'Japanese-Brazillian' simply means Braziian of Japanese decent, just like Japanese-American. It's doesn't necessarily mean dual citizenship.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

" 'Golden parachutes' mark failure of race-based policy" That's what Debito wrote. Japan should bring in more qualified, with at least a pinch of knowledge of japanese culture (i.e.: hiragana, katakana, and some manners), not people with a "japanese face". That's been proven this policy is a complete failure.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Even the title of this article is bogus. Japanese-Brazilians are going home primarily because they are not wanted here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


Brazil is a country of the future

"Unfortunately is view will burst in one massive boom-bust cycle that is going to hit Brazil extremely hard. Much like how people are finally waking up to the massive bubbles in China. No country is safe at this point. It does not matter what 1st or 2nd world developing country your in. What matters is skills, do you have the technical skills for this day and age? If yes then there are bright prospects for you from the U.S to Japan to the U.K and ect. Many people don't have many tech skills so they end up as say Philosophers, Sociologist and Psychologist majors which means no real prospects for success.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So homogeneous & unique the Japanese mindset on what a 'Japanese' should be, these Gaijins with 'Brazilian heart inside' & 'Japanese name - skin color outside' are not accepted. By 2050 or probably earlier, the population will be boiled down to below the 100 million mark ! Import more Philippinos - Thais to replace these Japanese descendants though ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are no jobs, the factories are going away. The immigrants to Japan are leaving with the factories. Before long Japan will be a country of 40 million poor people. I see a time in which the old and poor will receive international food aid. The Japanese society has broken down. I do not see Japan going away but her days of Glory are gone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There will never be enough imported workers with Japanese heritage to replace these Brazilians. What country will they turn to?

The U.S.?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

gubijin, more workers are not needed, less really. Power shortage means factories will have to close. Factories closing means less jobs, not enough for Japanese. Without a reliable power source the jobs will go overseas like to American. To the Japanese-Brazilians, do not let the door hit you on the way out.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most factory jobs in Japan are going off to CHINA, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, etc..so you send off your factor jobs to China or other cheaper countries, and what happens to the Japanese workers?? To the workers with Japanese faces but Brazilian passports?? They all get screwed! The ones that were able to save up enough $$$ have seen that it is the right time to head back to Brazil, which is a BRIC country, Brazil, Russia, India, China all with booming economies, while Japan, the USA and now many parts of Europe are stuck in reverse. Can we blame our amigos from Brazil?? Hell no! Good luck back in Brazil!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Again it's the rich country that exploits the poor country

I don't get how the Japanese Brazilians were any more exploited than immigrant workers in any other developed countries, could someone tell me? Japan relaxed the quotas and deliberately aimed for attracting these Japanese-Brazilians, but they still CHOSE to come, they weren't forced at gunpoint. The Japanese government paying for them to go home is of course, not ideal, but it's not compulsory, the Japanese Brazilians can avail of it if they want, or can choose not to. And many of these immigrants did make alot of money (in Brazilian terms) which they sent home and helped raise living standards of family members and relatives who stayed behind. They were economic migrants, not refugees.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I am living with my Brazilian boyfriend in Brazil and last couple of years we have seen friends returning to own their country. Most of them said they've returned not because Brazil is blooming, but because they have this feeling that Japan is entering a coma. Most returnees are relieved they are here, but they also feel sort of grateful to Japan. My boyfriend says he had some bad experiences related to racism in Japan. However, he is mature enough to agree that these experiences arose from Brazilians not adapting themselves to a quiet culture. For example, he and his friends used to throw smoky barbecue parties in his apato balcony, to the horror of neighboors. It took some time until he realized he was causing trouble to his entire apato block, a little too late perhaps. This view that Japan explored them is wrong, most of them says. As oginome said above, it was their choice. And Japan actually welcomed them: they got easy access to jobs, apartments, cars. The only minus was school. But given that school environment is not easy not even for the Japanese, we can only wonder how difficult it is for a foreigner.

After the lehman shock 2008-2009 the J gov paid brazillians 250,000 or 350,000 to return to brazil on the condition they could not return,

Actually, they can return after a five-year hiatus. They are assured they will not get a visa for the next 5 years, if they return to Brazil cashing 300,000 yen. They can apply after that, and if his/her previous status was "permanent resident", it's likely they will get it again.

Japan is not this monster some of you are saying. Brazilians certainly have a more positive view about Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


Sorry I disagree....the term is technically incorrect,no matter what you assume it to mean.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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