2020 Area Studies: Latin America

Font size  SML

Register update notification mail Add to favorite lecture list
Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Takahaschi Suenaga Eunice Tomomi 
Course component(s)
Mode of instruction
Day/Period(Room No.)
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

 This course gives an overview of the history of Japanese immigrants in Brazil. The migration of Japanese people to Brazil started in 1908 and it has a history of 110 years. It is said that about 1.5 million of Japanese descendants live in Brazil. From the 90's many Japanese-Brazilians came to Japan to work as "dekasegi" and few years ago they are more then 300.000 (after the Lehman Brothers Bank collapse the number reduced to approx. 170,000, but it increased again to approx. 200,000). This course focuses on the historical context of the Japanese migration and the "dekasegi" phenomenon. Moreover, the course encourages students to reflect on the relation between Japan and Brazil, the role and contribution of the immigrants, and the meaning of keeping the Japanese literacy, i.e., reading and writing in Japanese, over generations in a foreign country.
 This course allows the students to know the history of Japanese migrants in Brazil, and to familiarize with the issues related to migrants and refugee acceptance, cross-cultural friction, etc.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will:
- Understand why many Japanese descendants live in Brazil.
- Understand why many Japanese-Brazilians came to Japan as "dekasegi".
- Understand the problems, roles and contributions of the immigrants.
- Understand the meaning of writing in Japanese in a foreign country.


Brazil, immigrants, Nikkei (Japanese descendants), Nikkei literature

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The course is composed mainly by lectures. The students will be required to express their opinions and thoughts, either on participating in discussions or on writing brief summaries on the topics of each lecture, depending on the number of the participants.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introductory lecture, a history of a certain Japanese-Brazilian family Understand how the Japanese-Brazilians in Brazil maintain part of custom and tradition of their ancestors
Class 2 Japanese national policy for migration, "Yellow peril" in the United States, beginning of the Japanese migration to South America Understand and explain why Japan adopted the national policy for migration and encouraged the migration to South America
Class 3 The emancipation of slaves in Brazil, beginning of European immigrants' acceptance, anti-Japanese immigrants movement, conflict between "kachigumi" (victorists) and "makegumi" (defeatists) after the war. Understand and explain why Brazil accepted immigrants from Japan
Class 4 The screening of the movie "Dirty Hearts" (directed by Vicente Amorim, a movie about "kachigumi" and "makegumi" conflict in Brazil) Understand and explain the conflict between "kachigumi" and "makegumi"
Class 5 The influences and contributions of the immigrants in Brazil, "dekasegi" phenomenon Understand and explain the contributions and influences of the immigrants
Class 6 The status and problems of the foreigner children resident in Japan, problems of the children who go back to Brazil Understand and explain the status and problems of the children of immigrants
Class 7 ”Nikkei literature” in Brazil Publications of the "Nikkei literature" magazines in Brazil Understand and explain how the Japanese-Brazilians maintain the ability to read and write in Japanese

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


No textbook is set.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Course materials are provided during class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Discussion and brief summaries in class: 30%
Final report: 70%

Related courses

  • LAH.A501 : Area Studies: Europe
  • LAH.A502 : Area Studies: East Asia
  • LAH.A504 : Area Studies: Middle East and Africa
  • LAH.A505 : Area Studies: South and Southeast Asia
  • LAH.A506 : Area Studies: North America and Oceania

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

None required

Page Top