Japanese people suffering prejudice in Brazil

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For many years Brazilians used to say that Japanese are prejudiced, I can't understand where they manage to get so much generalization. Does the opposite also not happen? Japanese people do not suffer prejudice in Brazil?

To reflect a little on the subject of prejudice and racism, I carried out a research regarding the immigration of the Japanese in Brazil and how much they ended up suffering in our country. Maybe that's why we find so many Japanese people in Brazil frowning.

I think we all know that to this day the Japanese suffer from tacky jokes, creation of nicknames and other games related to the ethnicity of the Japanese.

Despite being a very complex subject, in the last century, before and during the second world war and even towards the end of the century, the Japanese suffered much worse situations than simple jokes. Let's try to talk a little briefly about this subject.

Racism against the Japanese at the beginning of the century

The prejudice against receiving Asian immigrants was very strong. During the arrival of the Japanese in Brazil, at the beginning of the 20th century, they were stigmatized as Undesirable and belonging to an inferior race. Brazilians said that they would harm the “whitening” that took place in Brazil with the reception of European immigrants.

There was also the fear of the “yellow danger”, where they believed that the Japanese could spread and dominate Brazil culturally and ethnically.

The second world war brought up a series of issues, and the Japanese began to be treated as an enemy. In World War II, thousands of Japanese immigrants were expelled from Brazil. It is worth mentioning that in the United States, prejudice against the Japanese at the time was much worse.


Violent movement against the Japanese

Little is said, but in the year 1945 there was a mass violent movement against the Japanese in Osvaldo Cruz. Several groups of Brazilians pursued and hunted any and all Japanese indiscriminately through the city streets.

Some Brazilians shouted lynching orders and many practiced physical and moral aggression and humiliation. At that time there were many atrocities that led to fights, deaths and houses on fire.

Around the region, groups of Brazilians invaded the homes of Japanese people and dragged the parents of families in front of their wives and children by the hair. Brazilians looted Japanese homes.

Some Japanese were forcibly tied to the horse's chintz and brutally dragged through the streets. Elderly people were beaten with stones and clubs.

Even the streets leading to the city from the countryside were blocked by Brazilians in order to prevent children of Japanese descent from accessing schools.

The Japanese didn't show a reaction, they endured the humiliation and, they were more hurt in their feeling as a person and in their character, than physically. 

Some Brazilians at the time defended themselves by saying that these acts were just a justifiable response by Brazilians against provocations and crimes by the Japanese.

At the time, there was an unconfessed prejudice against the Japanese, openly and openly, which also extended to immigrants who were not white and Catholic, such as Poles, Russians and Germans.


Events that affected Japanese in Brazil

Below we will cite some highlights and events that occurred in the last century or are still occurring:

  • Many Japanese lost their property and it was never returned or compensated;
  • Some Japanese were forced to leave the city and live isolated in rural areas;
  • The presence of Japanese descent in the media (TV) was very rare or marked by stereotypes;
  • Even those who are learning Japanese or getting involved with Japanese culture end up suffering racist jokes;
  • Some Japanese were called “fifth column” which at the time was a way of demeaning, saying that they were inferior;
  • In the government of Jânio Quadros, Japanese were banned from speaking Japanese, and the only Japanese radio was taken off the air. More than 200 Japanese language schools were closed;

Some things that led Brazilians to be prejudiced against Japanese:

  • People get carried away by movements, nobody wants to have their own opinion;
  • Physical appearance and personality aspects;
  • Events of the Second World War;
  • Japan allied with Nazi Germany in World War II;
  • Feelings of superiority;
  • Brazilians are influenced by the culture of the USA, one of the most racist countries in the world;
  • The Japanese didn't usually mix with the Brazilians;
  • Religious and cultural differences;
  • Lack of intelligence and reasoning, defining people by race;

Do Japanese suffer prejudice in Brazil?

Unfortunately, this is the reality we live in Brazil. Although the world has evolved against racism, there are still several problems related to prejudice, xenophobia and social classes.

It's not just people from different countries or different colors, chubby, toothy, nerds and anything different in Brazil is a laughing stock for some. And then Brazilians call Japanese racists.


The problem is that when it comes to Orientals, people take these offenses as a joke or something normal. If we talk or joke with an Afro-descendant, Northeastern or European, the guys are even capable of hitting us.

Unfortunately, there is something very wrong with our nation! Even the media ends up making jokes like that. This shows that today most people stopped using racist words against black people not because they learned to respect them as a person, but simply because they do not want to be labeled racist.

I hope the text helps you to reflect and understand that racism exists everywhere, for this reason one should not generalize. Calling the Japanese prejudiced makes you a prejudiced person who does not know how to differentiate the small portion of 1% of the population that is afraid or xenophobic from the rest of the population that is not bothered by our existence.

Prejudice and racism still exist, they are made up in the form of joy and relaxation. Playing with people is normal, as long as they don't ridicule, belittle or dishonor them.

Unfortunately, this is what has happened to most Japanese people or descendants who live in Brazil. Only those who have been through it are able to understand, it ends up being an endless battle. We don't want to put Brazilians as racist, for me there are 2 types of people, normal and racist.

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