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Japanese Immigrants Celebrate in Brazil

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Uploaded on Jun 18, 2008

This week marks a century after the first Japanese immigrants landed in Brazil. And on the streets of Sao Paulo they are already celebrating.

Let's take a look.

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The influence of the Japanese culture is clearly seen and felt in the streets of the Brazilian business capital.

The city's downtown district of Liberdade is like a slice of Tokyo. Soba noodle and sushi restaurants vie with karaoke bars and supermarkets selling sticky natto beans and soy sauce.

Celebrations started at the beginning of the year, with workshops, street concerts and exhibitions.

Sao Paulo's Japanese Immigration Museum tells the story of those who arrived in Brazil at the beginning of the century.

[Lidia Reiko, Director Japanese Immigration Museum]:
"The first immigrants arrived in 1908. This ship, the Kasatu Maru, arrived on June 18th, so this year will be 100 years of the Japanese immigration. They came because Japan was going through a difficult time just after the Sino-Japanese and the Russo-Japanese wars, and they were suffering an economic crisis. The government tried to give them the conditions to make a living in other locations."

Yamazoto a retired engineer says the immigrants living in Brazil are more connected to their cultural traditions than those living in Japan.

[Ken Yamazoto, Japanese Descendent]:
"We, the children of Japanese immigrants in Brazil, perhaps maintain Japanese culture more than the modern Japanese themselves. They rose to the top of the world because of quick technological development, and Forgot about the simple, beautiful things. I think
that culture should be preserved at any cost."

From being viewed with suspicion in the early years and through World War II, the Japanese have now been absorbed into the South American country's melting pot.

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