Célia Sakurai

Célia Sakurai is a researcher on the history of Japanese immigration in Brazil. She is the author of Romanceiro da Imigração Japonesa (Collection of Stories About Japanese Immigration) (1993), Imigração e Política (Immigration and Politics) (1995), “Imigração Tutelada. Os japoneses no Brasil (Overseen Immigration. The Japanese in Brazil)” (2000 – doctoral thesis at Unicamp [University of Campinas, São Paulo State]), Os Japoneses (The Japanese) (2007), in addition to several articles, and “Two Scenes, One Wall?” – winning story in the 2013 Bunkyo Story Contest, which was published on Discover Nikkei on November 11, 2013.

Updated June 2017

migration en ja es pt

In Brazil. 109 years.

“No one can take away what you’ve studied” was or still is a sentence repeated to exhaustion to children by generations of parents of Japanese ancestry in these 109 years in Brazil. In case this is a valid maxim for all time and for all children, to Japanese immigrants the emphasis on education has meanings that have changed over time according to the trajectory of the families that settled in Brazil. The dream of acquiring riches and returning to Japan in a few years’ time was shared by the first 781 Japanese who came aboard the ship Kasato Maru in 1908 and by the 16…

Read more

identity en ja es pt

Nikkei Chronicles #2—Nikkei+: Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race

Two Scenes, One Wall?

That was too much, thought Mrs. K. Not even Bira gave any warning! She didn’t reply, saying only: “I’ll go check it out.” Confusing the smell of boiled daikon with that of a gas leak made her heart twist in her chest, in embarrassment, perhaps. As if all those times hadn’t been enough, when, from the kitchen door, she would say: “What a weird smell!” It was on Wednesdays that Mrs. K left a whole pile of daikon-flavored tsukemono ready for the week. The wall ran from the end of the backyard all the way to the front gate, a corridor separating the ho…

Read more

community en es pt

COPANI & KNT (2007)

Japanese-Brazilians: Past and Present

The history of Japanese immigration to Brazil begins in 1908, with the arrival of the first immigrants officially recognized as such by the Brazilian government. From then on, the road would be long and at times quite convoluted. The first major obstacle was the immigrants’ total ignorance about Brazil. The Japanese knew nothing about the country to where they were moving, except that it was located far away and that there were stories claiming it was easy to get rich here. By the same token, the Brazilians knew precious little about the Japanese. This is one aspect of the issue. Anothe…

Read more