Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture Kanagawa University

Research and study

【Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research B】Social History of Japanese Colonies in Brazil

Geographical scope

Settlements and communities of Japanese immigrants, including post-World War II settlers from Okinawa in South America, with an emphasis on Sao Paulo, Brazil.


  • The streets of Registro viewed from the monument representing the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil.

  • The Anglican chapel in Registro built by Japanese immigrants (designated as cultural property in 2010).

 The Institute for the Study of Japanese Folk Culture occupies a unique place in the field of study of folk culture and history of Japan and neighboring East Asian countries. This joint project aims to apply established research perspectives and techniques to a new subject, Japanese communities in South America. The research will cover various aspects of changes in international relations, such as the beginning of Japanese immigration to South America in the early 20th century, the shutting down of such migration flows due to World War II, the suspension of emigration resulting from Japan’s economic growth, and ethnic Japanese coming to work in Japan from South America in recent years. At the same time, it will focus on depicting the daily lives of Japanese immigrants, with emphasis on field studies. Efforts will be made to record their material culture, such as folk implements and architecture, and examine privately-owned historical materials in local communities. We will build on our study of Iguape – a region in Sao Paulo known as home to the first Japanese immigrants who moved there under the national immigration policy – and expand the scope of our research through new studies on settlements inhabited by Japanese immigrants from Nagano Prefecture and immigrant communities of people from Okinawa Prefecture.