Brazilian Children In Japan Encounter Education Issues

At the turn of the twentieth century, thousands of Japanese left their native land in search of work in Hawaii or mainland America, but other thousands headed for South America to work in Brazil. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of a Japanese presence in Brazil. The Japanese-Brazilian community has now grown to about 1.5 million people and 320,000 presently reside in Japan. Of 33,000 Brazilian children between the ages of 5 to 14, about 10,200 are in Japanese schools and 10,000 attend Brazilian schools in Japan, but thousands of children are not receiving any formal education. Latest figures indicate the number of Brazilian schools in Japan have jumped from 45 in 2001 to 110 today. A major problem confronting Brazilian children attending Japanese schools is lack of language skills and reports of bullying from other children.

Brazilian schools do not have access to the same support as do regular Japanese schools such as lower fares for children attending a public school. Since many Brazilians residing in Japan have not obtained citizenship they are not required to send their children to public schools. Many children are sent out to work. There is need for Japan to confront the issue of lack of Portuguese speaking teachers who can work with Brazilian children.