Japanese-Brazilians “Living a Never-Ending Daily Life” as Captured by Photographer Keisuke Nagoshi | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Japanese-Brazilians “Living a Never-Ending Daily Life” as Captured by Photographer Keisuke Nagoshi

Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture: Economic hardship, discrimination, and family love of foreigners living in Japan......

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Mr. Pedro the GodSon. He is well-liked as the organizer of the Homi Danchi, where about 4,000 Japanese-Brazilians live (photo taken in ’21).

The film “Familia,” starring Koji Yakusho, has been attracting attention. The film, which depicts the poverty, discrimination, and family love surrounding Japanese-Brazilians, actually has a photo book as its motif. In “Familia Homi Danchi” (2004), world-renowned photographer Keisuke Nagoshi captured the daily lives of Japanese-Brazilians living in the “Homi Danchi” (Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture).

Mr. Nagoya actually lived in the complex from 2002 to 2004 and took over 40,000 photographs. Even after the publication of his photo book, he continues to visit the complex.

The Homi Danchi was the first place I photographed in Japan,” he said. I had been photographing the “Smoky Mountains” slum in Manila, Philippines, for more than 10 years, and just as I was thinking about photographing in Japan next, I came across the Homi Danchi. I was intrigued by the sight of Japanese-Brazilian boys and girls playing while speaking Portuguese.

What I found when I lived there was the existence of the conflict of being neither Japanese nor Brazilian. Due to cultural differences, some people do not fit in in Japan, and when they return to Brazil, some of them end up floating away there and become prey to lynchings or become hermits. In many cases, they end up returning to Japan. On the other hand, the sense of togetherness or family love in the housing complex is very strong. BBQs held with multiple families are commonplace. There was even a woman who returned home together with her divorced ex-husband, current husband, and children. I was attracted to this unique “everyday life,” and I continue to photograph it.

Today, the Homi complex is still there.

Celebrating his girlfriend’s birthday at a relative’s house. Couples among relatives passionately kiss each other, which is the Brazilian way.
Yasumi Danchi is located in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. Sixty-seven buildings stand in a row right next to rice paddies. According to Mr. Nagoya, the number of foreigners has increased from about 3,000 around 2001 to about 4,000 in recent years.
High school girls meet at the “Nagoya Brazil Festa” held at Hisaya Odori Park (Naka-ku, Nagoya City). At the festival, Brazilian food and samba made for a lively atmosphere.
In the past, the difference in common sense between Japanese and Brazilians has caused trouble, and when it escalated, cars were burned. As shown in the photo, there was sometimes bloodshed.
A graduation ceremony at a junior high school. The number of foreigners has been increasing year by year, and now about half of the students in the neighborhood junior high school are Japanese-Brazilians, so the school’s website and other information is in Portuguese.
A sign at a convenience store near the apartment complex. A sign at a convenience store near the complex, with a warning against the new Corona virus written in Portuguese. Drinking has also decreased, which used to be a popular activity before Corona (photo taken in ’21).
A samba group makes an appearance to enliven the summer festival at the housing complex. The neighborhood residents were initially puzzled, but now, more than 30 years after the Brazilians began living in the area, it has become a regular event.
A young man who joined a local motorcycle gang. He wore a suicide suit and worked together with Japanese members. Currently, biker gangs are on the decline in Toyota.
Many Japanese-Brazilians are bikers, and they sometimes gather at a neighborhood circuit. The baby is the child of the couple in the photo below (taken in ’21).
What Mr. Nagoya felt most strongly during his three years of live-in photography was “family love. This is also the origin of the title of his photo book.

Keisuke Nagoshi / Photographer. Born in Nara Prefecture. 45 years old. Graduated from Osaka University of Arts. Instagram (@keisuke_nagoshi). His style is characterized by eating and sleeping with his subjects. Past works include “CHICANO” (Tokyo Kirara-sha) and many others. A photo exhibition of Yasumi Danchi will be held at Kiyoyuki Kuwabara Accounting Gallery (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) from 4/12 (Wed.) to 4/29 (Sat., holiday) (title to be determined).

From the February 10, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Keisuke Nagoya

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