When I lived in Toyohashi I noticed quite a lot of Brazilian bars, restaurants, and flags. I also met quite a lot of Brazilian-Japanese people. Indeed, in the “moon and whiskey” image I shared in a post a few weeks ago, I am with one fellow Brit and a Brazilian-Japanese guy!
In Japanese you can typically make the word for a countryman by taking the name of the country and adding “jin” on the end.
suffix indicating nationality, race, origin, field specialism, etc. of a person
Some more examples:
Do you remember back in that same entry with the moon picture I referenced “Mokujin”?
(literally) wood person
This gives you a good idea of how “jin” works. It is a useful suffix!
Anyway, back to Brazilians in Japan.
There is a reason that I saw so many Brazilian people and businesses when I lived there. It is because Brazil and Japan have a special link!
In 1907 the Japanese and Brazilian governments made an agreement* allowing Japanese migration to Brazil – mostly farmers to own (and work on) coffee plantations.
Many emigrated, and this led to a large Japanese-Brazilian population growing in Brazil throughout the 1900s.
Then, during the 1980s, with the Japanese economy doing well and economic/political problems in Brazil, several Japanese-Brazilians went to Japan as contract workers. In 1990 working visas were offered to Japanese-Brazilians encouraging more to come…
The story is a lot more complicated than that, and I will go into more detail in a couple of days!
*You will see it written in a lot of places that “the Japanese and Brazilian governments signed a treaty allowing migration to Brazil” but I have not been able to find the name of this treaty anywhere and every place talking about it seems to be using the exact same wording as each other (like kids copying homework!) – so I left it as the more vague “made an agreement”.