- 14 Mar 2002
- Reaction score
The WP featured a piece on the fourth-generation descendants of Japanese families who emigrated to South America a century ago and began returning in the 1980s as Japan’s economy boomed and Brazil’s faltered and the song of the Green Kids, a group anchored by performers with mixed Japanese-South American lineage, who are part of a small, but important, awakening in Japan that is shining a light on immigrants and discrimination, identity and marginalization.
“A line has been drawn: The government sees the fourth generation’s linkages as not being as strong, that their Japanese blood is thinner,” Ishi said. That is causing frustration among many fourth-generation Japanese Brazilians, who “feel the government is colder toward them. They feel hurt,” he said. The irony, said Shigehiro Ikegami, a professor at Shizuoka University of Art and Culture, is that children who make it through the school system end up fluent in Portuguese and Japanese, and some are now going on to build successful careers at Japanese companies. At a time when Japanese companies say they are seeking global talent, they have a largely untapped resource under their noses, Ikegami said. But Japanese education isn’t set up to provide the Japanese Brazilian community with the support it needs.