The nation of Brazil is home to 1.5 million people of Japanese descent, the largest such population outside of Japan, larger even than the number of Japanese Americans. For her new book, Associate Professor of Anthropology Nobuko Adachi studied one group that considers itself a direct legacy of the “real” Japan.
“They let me know that they are real Japanese, while I myself just happen to come from Japan,” said Adachi, who was born and raised in Japan. “For them, being Japanese means staying true to nature and the purity of Japan’s farming tradition.”
Adachi’s book, Ethnic Capital in a Japanese Brazilian Commune: Children of Nature, examines the inhabitants of the Japanese commune of Kubo, which lies more than 350 miles from the metropolis of São Paulo on the border of the Mato Grosso do Sul (“thick forest of the south”). Less than 100 people live in the commune, but they share many of the same values as the Japanese descendants who arrived in Kubo in the early 1900s, noted Adachi.