SEMINOR ON COMMUNICATION
PROF. PAUL SNOWDEN
The effects of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants and their future
Through 101 years of history
Anri Tsushima 2009/12/15
II. History of Brazil and Japan
1. Brazil before immigration
2. Japan before emigration
3. The commence of Japanese-Brazilian immigration
4. Nationalism and W.W.II
5. After W.W.II and the present
2. Japanese education in Brazil
3. Brazilian education in Japan
4. Examples of emigrants’ education
5. Distant Learning Course
A) Introduction of the program
B) Interview with Ms. Mizoguchi
6. Cooperation by companies
IV. The 100th anniversary of Japanese-Brazilian immigration
2. Celebration in Brazil
3. Celebration in Japan
4. Waseda University and Brazil
V. Brazil, light and dark
1. Light side of Brazil
2. Dark side of Brazil
B) Economic issues
The effects of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants and their future
Which country draws the world’s attention the most? The answer differs depending on how it is looked at, but there should be no doubt that “BRICs” are candidates. That refers to the four growing economic developing countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China. Above all, Brazil has been watched with keen interest from major world countries due its abundance in land, food and resources. Nowadays many overseas companies are entering Brazilian markets. They open branches and do business, which develops the Brazilian economy and further increases its international status. Brazil recently made memorable news headlines on October 2: the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the host of the 2016 Olympics had been elected to be Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil. It will be the first Olympics held in South America. This historical news made Brazil stand out even more.
Then, which country has the strongest relationship with Brazil? This also depends, but the year 2008 clearly showed a deep connection between Brazil and Japan. 2008 was the 100th anniversary of Japanese-Brazilians’ emigration. Japan is located 180 degrees opposite to Brazil; when one sees the sun, the other sees the moon. Despite the distance, these two countries share long years of history. Current radical social development and strong economic growth of Brazil are impressive. They have been realized not only by Brazilians' efforts, but also thanks to the great contribution by Japanese-Brazilian immigrants. They emigrated to an unknown part of the world as dekasegi, or temporary migrant workers, in the hope of making their fortune and eventually returning. This Japanese word turned into a Brazilian word written as dekassegui, which means foreigners who immigrate to Japan to set to work (Tomino, 244). In spite of encountering hardship, they worked very hard and developed Brazil together with the local people. The 100th anniversary gave a chance to people around the world to look back on their past and to the future. With friendship through migration, Brazil and Japan are moving on to the 102nd year of their close relationship.
This thesis is motivated by an experience of visiting a family of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants and a Brazilian boy who studied abroad in Japan for a year. Seeing their lives and hearing their background history, the reality of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants and their effects on Brazil were seen. Today Japanese are respected and never discriminated against in Brazil. It is because of the efforts of the immigrants, working hard and cooperating well to make a better life. Also this experience pointed out some problems which affect the current lives of immigrants that may cause further issues hearafter. Looking at the history shows how the friendship between Japan and Brazil has been built and how the Japanese immigrants have contributed to the development of Brazil. Also, researching the ongoing problems, especially those of education will help with coordinating a better environment for the children who create the future.
II. History of Brazil and Japan
1. Brazil before immigration
In 1500, Commodore Pedro Álvares Cabral of the Portuguese Navy discovered Brazil. According to Brazil Nikkei Shakaikou by Tetsuo Nakasumi, there were approximately 2.5 million indigenous people living there at the time. As the number of Portuguese coming to the new land gradually increased, they began cultivating Brazil. Promoting farming by growing sugar cane made them settle down, and colonization was begun in 1530. They brought slave laborers from West Africa and forced the slaves to work on farms. From the start of its colonization, slavery was the base of Brazilian economy, politics and society (Tomino,10). Brazil practiced a monoculture economy; thus sugar production and export were the foundation of the entire nation. The success of the trade triangle, a trade system rotating among three regions, led to the development of the land. Then there happened three incidents that attracted more outsiders to come to Brazil. The first incident was a discovery of gold mines in Minas Gerais in 1693, resultng in a gold rash. It caused population movement inside and outside of the country, and large numbers of black slaves were dispatched. The gold and slave trade was mainly through the port of Rio de Janeiro. Therefore, the city became the core of a commercial and economic network among other regions, which made a connection between Brazil, Europe and Africa through gold and slave trading (Tomino, 16). The total amount of slaves in the state of Minas Gerais is estimated at 341,000 from 1698 to 1770. Most of them were newly imported from Africa, especially to Rio de Janeiro (Tomino,17). The second incident was the introduction of coffee plants in 1727, and coffee production boomed as coffee consumption in Europe became increasingly popular. At the time Haiti was the main supplier of coffee and sugar especially to Britain and France. However, because of the slave rebellion in 1791 in Haiti, its plantation economy broke down, which resulted in a rapid decline in the main Haitian products. Therefore, more demand for coffee was diverted to Brazil. Coffee production was mainly in Rio de Janeiro, and later it shifted to São Paulo (Tomino, 22). At that time, it dominated the Brazilian exports with a 43.8% share. It gradually increased and came to account for two-thirds of the total amount of exportation by the late 19th century (Tomino, 21). In fact, coffee has been the major product in Brazil since 1830s. The third incident was the discovery of diamonds in Minas Gerais in 1728. Diamonds were occasionally taken to Lisbon, which resulted in Brazil’s reputation becoming more widespread. The attraction of diamonds also strengthened the economic relations between Britain and Brazil (Yamada).
Not only Portuguese but also immigrants from other countries actively invaded the land. In the 18th century, the number of other colored people besides the blacks increased. According to a head count in Minas Gerais in 1786, there were 174,000 black slaves and 123,000 free people of color (Tomino, 18). It was a new social situation, and they became craftsmen in gold, merchants or musicians. As a result, with the rapid increase of population, the demand for indigenous people and black slaves became even stronger. It is estimated that in the 18th century there were about seven million black slaves in the world, and they were especially brought to Brazil in the early 19th century (Lone). Official statistics showed that the slave population in Brazil between 1817 and 1818 was approximately 1,810,000, which was more than a half of the total population, 3,820,000 (Tomino, 23). There was even an old saying in Brazil, “Trabalho e para cachorro e negro”, which meant that “Working is for dogs and blacks” (Yamada). Brazil became independent in 1822. For several decades after independence, slaves were still the main labor force. However, the slave trade was prohibited in 1850 in spite of the strong economic demand. The number of slaves finally reached 2.5 million, but it had decreased to 720,000 by 1887 (Tomino, 23). The prohibition of slavery was because of the increased public opinion opposed to the government and the slave trade, which was continued by smugglers. The slave trade was finally abolished in 1858 with the collapse of the monarchy. The law put a period to more than 350 years of slaving history, and Brazil began to suffer from a lack of labor force. It was in great need for workers who could be what slaves had been. It sought for them in different parts of the world, especially among Chinese coolies and other Asiatic laborers. Brazil and China entered formal treaty relations in 1879, but China showed a negative attitude to migration because it considered that the security of Chinese was not fully guaranteed. As a result, Brazil turned its interest to Japan.
2. Japan before emigration
Japan entered into official diplomatic relations with Brazil with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed in Paris on November 5, 1895. However, their inofficial relationship had already started. In the late 19th century, Japan encountered lots of social problems. The main cause was depression after the Russo-Japanese war in 1904. Japan won the war; however, rapid modernization took lands away from local people, and many of them fled into the city. Surplus workers and the food situation were thus critical problems. In order to get over poverty, people sought a way to lead a better life and they found one solution, emigration. Main destinations were Hawaii, the United States and South American countries. A Japanese government politician told emigrants at Kobe, “As you go overseas, each one of you carries Japan with you. Each one of you must avoid any stain to Japan’s reputation. You should go with the resolution not to return, even in the face of death, unless you are successful” (Lone, 27).
At first, the main immigrants to Brazil were Germans and Italians. Immigration of Germans started in 1817; they mainly stayed in the states of Rio Grande , São Paulo and Paraná. Immigration of Italians started in 1875. Most of them became either laborers of coffee plantation called colono or city workers. They had been originally devoted to commerce and industry, so they contributed to these fields as well. However, Germans stopped immigration due to the terrible working environment, and the Italians also did due to low payment after a depression in the coffee market. When the coffee market was revived, Brazil needed immigrants as a new labor force again. By signing the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation in 1895, diplomatic relations between Japan and Brazil were established. Once emigration to Brazil was allowed, the Brazilian government gradually prepared to receive Japanese immigrants. Just at the time Brazil was suffering from lack of labor force after the emancipation of slaves, and there was a huge Brazilian demand for immigrants, and also there was a surplus supply of Japanese workers. As a result, the governments of both countries met an agreement to push forward the migration plan.
3. The start of Japanese-Brazilian immigration
On April 28, 1908, the first emigration ship sailed. The Kasato-maru left Kobe Port with 791 passengers. 781 were contracted, and ten were free emigrants (Takahashi). What was peculiar to the immigrants to Brazil was that it had to be family recruitment with more than three members who were older than twelve years old and capable of work. This was to guarantee a certain level of stability for new arrival families. Therefore, some people married temporarily, and disolved upon their arrival in Brazil. Since emigration granted exemption from military service, large numbers of people from Okinawa applied (Lone, 30). Stewart Lone mentions in The Japanese Community in Brazil that they consisted of 593 male, 188 female, 532 literate, 165 families and 8 infants under 12 years old (27). The ship sailed through the Indian Ocean, passed the Cape of Good Hope, crossed through the Atlantic Ocean and reached the port of Santos on June 18. The voyage took fifty-two days in total. The Brazilian local newspaper, Correio Paulistano, described the first Japanese immigrants: “The Japanese are clean and wear Western clothes.”, “One of them is wearing three decorations of the Russo-Japan war.”, “There is no litter from cigarettes.” and “Husbands rely on their wives and entrust money to them”. The immigrants were full of hope for the new life in an unknown world, but it did not last long.
The reality was completely different. They were told that immigrating to Brazil would relieve them from poverty and they could lead a better, more affluent life. However, what waited for them were harsh working conditions and a terrible environment. Difference of language, hot weather and diseases such as malaria brought unendurable living conditions. In addition, long hours of working at the coffee plantation, from the early morning to late at night, low payment for poor harvests and slave-like treatment from employers resulted in many causes of escape. According to Junnosuke Kato, the first arrivals on the Kasato-maru were a motley group, and only 15% of them had experience at farming (Lone, 35). Many of them thought that they had been betrayed by the government and sought a way to escape. Despite this, some Japanese with earnest and high motivation continued working under such devastating conditions with a slight hope. Following the Kasato-maru, the second immigration ship, the Ryojun-maru, arrived in 1910. It came with 909 passengers from 247 families (Lone, 36). This time, a prohibition of striking was added to the requirements. The state of São Paulo was doing financial support for the voyage, but due to the low percentage of settlement of immigrants, it was abandoned once. Then, the Kanto Earthquake hit Japan in 1923, leaving serious physical and social damage. Therefore, in order to promote immigration of its victims, 200 yen per person were given by the Brazilian government to Japanese who were to immigrate. In 1924, the full fare was offered by the Japanese government to 200 Japanese agricultural families as part of the celebrations for the marriage of the crown prince. More than 20,000 people applied, and 59 families consisting of 271 people were chosen (Takahashi). The following year, the Japanese government subsidized both fres and expenses, so that immigration to Brazil became free of charge. The immigrants were mainly hosted by big farms owned by Brazilians, which later became Japanese developed plantations.
The immigration policy was revised over many times. In 1927, the Overseas Emigration Societies Act was established in Japan. An association for overseas emigration was established in each prefecture, and a support system was arranged. Also, the Kobe Emigration Center was established in a year later. It operated Portuguese language lessons and lectures about Brazil in order to help the emigrants prepare ror the journey. Later it was renamed the Immigration Center. It took an important role on educating the Japanese going to Brazil until its close in 1971. In 1929, the Japanese colonized the Brazilian Amazon and cultivated more land. Establishment of the Industrial Societies Law in 1932 in Brazil was a big step for protection of laborers. Including the Buenos Aires-Maru which sailed in 1941, a total of 188,086 Japanese immigrated to Brazil (Takahashi). The history of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants before World War II lasted for years from the arrival of Kasato-Maru.
4. Nationalism and W.W.II
The 1930s in Brazil can be defined as a tempestuous period. A representative of the republic, Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, was elected as president in 1930. He established an independent government and imposed autocracy. Aiming at the unity of the nation, he carried out a nationalistic policy. Under his policy, Japanese were one of the main targets to nationalize. He prohibited Japanese language teaching at Japanese elementary and junior high schools, and all Japanese schools had to have Brazilian principals. Publishing newspapers in Japanese, organizing meetings only among Japanese, speaking Japanese outside and owning Japanese books were all prohibited, too. The entrance of immigrants was also restricted with the Immigration Act in 1934, which stated that the annual numberof immigrants must not exceed two percent of the total amount that had entered and settled in Brazil in the last 50 years. This policy resuled in a decrease of the annual number of immigrants to less than 3,000. Because of such profound nationalistic policies, the Japanese immigrants faced difficulties in leading a normal life and keeping their Japanese identity. Dictatorship under president Vargas lasted until 1954. By such oppression, many Japanese thought of going back to Japan more often than ever.
In 1939, World War II began. The Japanese society in Brazil was overwhelmed by the victory at Pearl Harbor. However, Brazil supported the United States, and in 1942 diplomatic relations between Japan and Brazil were severed. More pressure was put on Japanese immigrants. They were ordered to leave Santos, and some of them were sent to detention. They believed in Japan’s winning, but reluctantly enough, on August 15, 1945, Japan accepted the Declaration of Potsdam. In those days, the only way to hear about Japan was through shortwave broadcasting. Some Japanese immigrants believed that Japan’s defeat would be a rumor leaking from the United States. There were disputes over the result of the war within Japanese society, which even led to murder. This was a time of confusion and unreliability for them. As time went by, the truth became clear, and they realized that there would be no place to return and the only choice left was living in Brazil forever.
5. After World War II and the present
The relationship between Japan and Brazil was gradually settled. They concluded a peace treaty in 1951, and immigration was restarted two years later. Japanese immigrants established the Cotia Industrial Cooperation, which promoted immigration of single men, and it fixed the Cotia system from 1955 to 1967. After the war, Japan encountered an issue of redundant workers. The first son normally became successor to his family farm, but the second and the third son did not have a place to work. On the other hand, Brazil was facing a lack of labor force due to moving second-generation Japanese-Brazilians from agriculture. Therefore, 2,508 Japanese young farmers immigrated to Brazil under a contract to work four years for a landowner and possibly become independent afterwards. Japan’s Immigration Act of 1934 was revised in 1990, and the number of immigrants was eased. Since then, Brazilians can legally work in Japan. It is estimated that approximately 310,000 Japanese-Brazilians among 1,500,000 live in Japan (Takahashi), and the figure is expected to continue increasing.