365 Days of Japanese Day #36

British Flags

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!

ブラジル (伯剌西爾)

ブラジル人 (ブラジルじん)
Brazilian (person)

In Japanese you can typically make the word for a countryman by taking the name of the country and adding “jin” on the end.

人 (じん)
suffix indicating nationality, race, origin, field specialism, etc. of a person

Some more examples:

イングランド人 (イングランドじん)
English person

オーストラリア人 (オーストラリアじん)
Australian person

中国人 (ちゅうごくじん)
Chinese person

American person

Canadian person

German person

Chilean person

Colombian person

Portuguese person

Irish person

French person

Do you remember back in that same entry with the moon picture I referenced “Mokujin”?

(literally) wood person

Mokujin as Xiayou
I love Tekken

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”.


    1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen “伯剌西爾” used, but since I discovered it existed I thought I may as well include it. My thinking was that it’s kind of interesting for there to be a kanji version – perhaps that has something to do with Japan and Brazil’s history going so far back? I also knew that in a future entry I was going to mention that some sources listed “伯人” as another word for Brazilian and I wanted to set up the connection!

      I’ve switched the order now though so the kanji is in brackets rather than the katakana. I didn’t intend to imply that the kanji was the “norm”, though when the katakana was the one in brackets afterwards it kinda looked that way.

      With “イングランド人” I was being a little coy because I knew what I wanted to write about in the next entry! (i.e. that as an Englishman the difference between “イングランド人” and “イギリス人”) was something useful to me! Your link gets that all spot on.

      Liked by 1 person

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