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Nikkei Associations: Bunkyo Youth Commission

The Comissao de Jovens do Bunkyo (CJB, Bunkyo Youth Commission) is a section of the Sociedade Brasileira de Cultura Japonesa e Assistência Social – Bunkyo (Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture and Social Assistance), an entity that promotes Japanese culture in Brazil, whose head office is located at Liberdade district, São Paulo.

Founded in February 1997, named Seinen Bunkyo at that time, CJB has gone through some name changes but always maintaining its primary goal: to preserve and spread Japanese culture.

Among its members, Japanese ancestry is not required. This year, for the second time ever, the president of the Commission is not Nikkei.

Eude is the second non-Nikkei to be president of CJB. Photo credits: Henrique Minatogawa

“For some time, I felt a little misplaced. Even thouth we are in Brazil, there was a cultural shock. Some people soon acepted that I wasn’t Nikkei. With others, however, more conservative, there were some barriers. I broke them little by little,” says Eude Gomes, 37 years old, current president.

Eude's interest for Japanese culture began with martial arts (karate and ninjutsu) and religion (Buddhism and Shinto). Then, expanded to the study of Japanese language. Finally, he was invited to be a volunteer at the activities involving the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil. He joined CJB officially in 2009.

Members profile

Since its creation, hundreds of people have volunteered for CJB. Currently, the commission has 31 active members.

“Most of the people who come to talk to me say that they want to help. To help and acquire experience in something,” says Eude. “External perception still is that Bunkyo is only for Japanese people. It is not. Bunkyo is for the Brazilian society as a whole. It is a door from Japan to Brazil, and from Brazil to Japan.”

According to Eude, the proportion of Nikkei and non-Nikkei are even, just as of gender. Regarding age, the youngest member is 18, while the oldest is 33.

CJB organizes its own activities, as well as assist as volunteers at events of other associations. One of the main house events is the “Revitalizaçao” (Revitalization), known as “Revi.” It is a forum at which Nikkei associations from all over the country take part. It has been held every year since 1996—even before the foundation of CJB itself.

Revi's target is leadership. It is about talking to the leaders of each association. Leaders get ideas and put them in practice in their own association,” explains Eude.

“Last year, a nearly-extinct seinenkai (youth association) participated at Revi. At Revi, its leaders exchanged ideas with other associations. Then, they were able to restructure and returned to life,” celebrates Eude.


Just as many other volunteer associations, CJB faces financial problems.

“Since the comission is independent, it survives thanks to sponsorships of events and occasional donations. Everything we do is with no profit purpose. For some events, we apply for government assistance,” explains Eude.

Another current difficulty is the few number of volunteers. Generally speaking, the number of events of the Nipo-Brazilian community has decreased since the 100th anniversary of the immigration.

Being a volunteer in events is the main reason why people join the Nikkei associations. Due to that decrease, less people seek the associations.

Founded in 1997, the goal of CJB is to preserve and spread Japanese culture in Brazil. Photo credits: Henrique Minatogawa


“When I joined CJB, a former president told me that, from that moment on, I would have to learn some things, that I would carry with me the name of the Commission. I took that very seriously, because I know I must have the correct attitude,” says Eude.

The current president adds that acting in the Commission brought benefits to his private life too. “It has brought a lot to my life, even to my work. I was able to put all that experience in my work. It makes a great difference in my curriculum. I am able to understand better the people around me,” states Eude, who works at an auction company.

Kenji Murayama, 26, third generation Nikkei, engineering student and CJB member since 2008, agrees. “I developed myself a lot, learned a lot here. In the beginning, I was very shy. Today, I am more outgoing, talk to everyone. In the moment someone joins a group, new challenges arise, new achievements, and a lot of growth.”

“[The experience] Was useful in internship interviews. In one of them, I was asked if I was a volunteer in any institution. I said yes and explained how it was. This factor was an important matter for that company, since it shows the person has teamwork skills and knows how to deal with different people,” concludes Kenji.

Eude told an emotional story about CJB. “Two volunteers met each other at an event in 2012. Now, in 2014, they will get married. They will make a tribute to CJB because they met here.”


* Website: (in Portuguese)


© 2014 Henrique Minatogawa

Brazil Bunkyo Youth Commission CJB Comissao de Jovens do Bunkyo community culture nikkei social youth