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contribuTors

MiA YAMASHiRO co-founder

LaurA Li co-founder

She is a TCK (Third Culture Kid) of half-Japanese half-Okinawan descent who was born in London, grew up in Tokyo, went to school in California and now lives in New York City.

She is a first generation Chinese American woman whose parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 80s to leave behind the cultural revolution. She lives in Washington D.C.

EDUARDO moscardi translation/ transcription

ad達o DPP Junior translation/ transcription

Stephanie Weisfeld translation/ transcription


WE would like to dedicate this book to all the incredible people that shared their stories with us. You were all instrumental in making this dream a reality. We Don’t have the words to describe how how much we appreciated working and getting to know all of you. thank you!


Working in multiple languages during this project has been both challenging, and also illuminating in many aspects. Like with any translated piece of work, we have tried to stay true to what people have said in their interviews. For some folks, Portuguese is not their first or primary language. Although we have edited for clarity and content, we did not seek to change the meaning or expression of our participants words. The same is true for Racialeyes, Mia and I are both students of Portuguese and we think that this project is reflective of where we are in our learning. Thank you to everyone who helped with putting this project together.


Introduction What made you engage in this project? M: Racialeyes is a beautiful project that initially came out of frustration and anger. As an Asian American woman, I

feel that I have constantly dealt with objectification, exotification and “harmless” microaggressions so race has become a big part of my identity. Not to say that I walk around with a chip on my shoulder, but I am very sensitized to and invested in race and racism. I am constantly looking for ways to learn more about where racist preconceptions come from and how to combat it. For example during my study abroad experience in Ecuador I conducted an independent study on how racism affects the education system, especially early education, in Quito. When I decided to apply for a Fulbright grant, I chose Brazil and in particular Curitiba because I wanted to explore a different aspect of race/ethnicity through the differences and similarities between the experiences of Asian-descendents in the US and Brazil. I believe Racialeyes does this and more, and I am so happy to have found a great partner to carry out this exciting project with.

L: At home in the U.S., I am very involved in Asian Pacific Islander activism and advocacy, and hoped to do that here

in Curitiba, since it has such a large Asian population, but haven’t found exactly what I’ve been looking for. Concepts of race and racism are very different in Brazil, so different that I was walking around in disbelief most of the time. While in the U.S. I deal with what I consider pretty aggressive forms of racism, it’s taken to another level in Brazil, where racism doesn’t “exist” unless you’re negro or negra. So when people pull their eyes at me, call me Japa, talk to me about Japanese food (because really all Asian food is interchangeable), and also confusingly call me chocolate on the streets I feel two things: 1) So angry 2) Helpless because as a woman and a foreigner I don’t want to draw attention to myself 3) Invisible since racism doesn’t affect us. So, instead of having a blowout with a random creep on the street, Mia and I poured our energies into this project

For you, what does it mean to be Asian American? or Japanese American or Chinese American? How is this similar or different to your interviewees? M:

For me, being Asian American means a blend of cultures. It means that you have multiple and sometimes conflicting dimensions of your identity. It means that sometimes you have to sacrifice and let go of things from the past to move on in the future. It means that you don’t fit within the mold of what an “American” looks like. It means being 100% comfortable with your dual-identity or else struggle to be something you will never be. It is difficult at times being Asian American in white America but it is also wonderful at the same time to be connected to a rich and beautiful culture. I think it is different for the interviewees because of Brazil’s unique history of interracial mixing. Unlike America where segregation ended only 50 some years ago, Brazil has celebrated the intermixing of race, ethnicity and c ulture. Whereas in the US we have strong distinctions between Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Latino-Americans etc., in Brazil most people just identify as Brazilian. It is an interesting contrast because through discussions with students, peers and friends in Brazil, there seems to be a stereotypical image of what an “American” is; white, blonde,


obese and rich, which is perhaps why there is a sense of urgency to hyphenate the American identity, to differentiate themselves from the stereotype. On the other hand, to be “Brazilian” implies a blend, which could explain why there is not as much of a desire or need to think about the different parts of your heritage/racial identity, because you are Brazilian just like every other Brazilian.

L: Although I am technically Chinese American, I identify most strongly as Asian Pacific American, which is both a racial and political identity. This means that I stand very firmly with my larger API community, educating myself and others about our issues and values. In the U.S. I haven’t always felt proud of my heritage and my family’s culture. The U.S. expects immigrants to assimilate into the normative cultural status quo - Whiteness - and to renounce any other cultural ties in order to be truly “American.” Which is why Chinese food isn’t American, nor is Vietnamese, or Bengali, because “Asian” food is exotic and smells too strong, and it’s foreign, just like the people who make it. At first I thought that Brazil might be different because of its history of interracial mixing, lots of folks here told me that Brazil is open minded about race since “everyone is a little bit of everything.” But, it seems to me that difference and otherness are even more pronounced here in other ways. And while some of it may come from a good place, and just “brincadinhas,” to me these seem like microaggressions. There seem to be many overlaps in terms of how minorities are treated here in Brazil and in the U.S. What is perhaps different is that our interviewees generally identify as “Brazilian” and not with a “hyphen” as we might in the U.S.

What have you observed in the interviews? How have people reacted when you ask them to participate in the project? M: It’s funny because I don’t think they’ve ever been asked to participate in something like this before. During the

initial round of interviews we quickly realized that most of the interviewees had never thought much about their Asian-Brazilian identities before. This was a surprise to me initially because I was so used to the US where race, identity, discrimination and family histories are commonly discussed topics that most people have strong opinions on. However, as the interviews went on you could see them open up a little more and start accessing relevant memories and making very observant comments. I think this is a great opportunity for them to start thinking critically about these issues. I am so excited for them to see the end product, I think it will be really cool for them to reflect on how their views and ideas may have changed pre and post interview.

L: I think most people are pretty shy and nervous to be talking to us! Like Mia said, very few of them have thought

about their identities intersectionally and in the U.S. it’s a constant topic of conversation. What makes it even more interesting is that many folks referred to Brazil and Brazilianess as the norm, whereas being Asian and Asianess was considered the other. Although the same could be said about the U.S., where being American generally means white, blonde and blue-eyed. Many folks mentioned that they have been bullied for being different, that they are called “Japa” to distinguish them from the other Brazilians who might have the same name as them. During the interviews, some of the participants will pause and say that they’ve never stopped to think about our questions before and that it’s a great project because it’s prompting these thoughts.


Interv first generation

larissa Yowlin Liu................................................................7 Amarela/asian Curitiba 19 Felix Yowtang Liu..................................................................9 Amarelo/asian Curitiba 22 Jimmy John Pisanis................................................................11 indonesian BogoR 28 Katsuyuki Kajiwara...............................................................13 japanese Curitiba 61

second generation

Marina Aemi Sesarino...........................................................17 japanese-brazilian Curitiba 22 Thais Wu Teng......................................................................15 brazilian with chinese ancestry São PaulO 23 Alexandre Chien....................................................................19 brazilian with taiwanese ancestry Teresina/Foz de Iguaçu 24


views third generation

Igor Minami SuyamA..............................................................21 Amarelo/japanese Assis Chateaubriand 20 Maria Victoria Ribeiro RUY...................................................23 Amarela Curitiba 20 Rafael Prochmann................................................................25 brazilian Curitiba 25 Marilia Aiko Kubota..............................................................27 brazilian with japanese ancestry Paranaguรก 51

fourth generation

Carolina Midori Ioshii...........................................................29 japanese brazilian Curitiba 19 Kadu Kenjiro Tomita Da Silva.....................................,..........31 japanese brazilian Curitiba 21 Bruna Marinho Isume............................................................33 brazilian with japanese ancestry Rodonia 23


Larissa Yowlin Liu Amarela/asian Curitiba 19 Could you tell us your family history? Larissa: [Our parents] met in Taiwan because our grandparents worked together. Our paternal grandfather immigrated from Taiwan to Brazil and then told my maternal grandfather about it so the two families basically came together to Brazil... When my mother arrived she was 11 and my father was 15. They came straight to Curitiba and lived together because their families knew each other. Then our parents worked together with my grandparents in a bakery. How important are your background and cultural experiences in your lives? Larissa: I feel that there are a lot of differences in the relationship between us and our parents. We have a friendship, we talk more, I think there’s more love involved than there is in families that have very ‘Chinese parents’ who just send their children to school, to study, to school, and back to study. We can discuss ideas, exchange ideas, know what each other feels, we talk about feelings, something very different than many traditional Chinese families. I think that’s one of the differences and something positive from Brazilian culture. And with Chinese culture, I think our mindset about our future, about our education is very important. So the Chinese side is focused on education, about our future, and Brazil [side] more about about feelings, more about relationships; that makes joining our cultures a little different. It’s a Brazilian-Chinese culture. Tell us about a situation when you felt proud of your Asian heritage. Larissa: When I was in second grade and eight years old, my school invited my mother to talk about Chinese culture, how to write in Chinese, how to read in Chinese, what types of food we eat and everything. It made me well ... very proud about my culture because my friends learned about a new culture and didn’t have any negative preconceptions about it. They wanted to know more about it. It was pretty cool. I feel like people who become close to me because they like my personality and not because I am a stereotype. I think people are my friends because they like my ideas, thoughts, ideals, and not because I am Chinese. But I know there are many guys and girls who like Asians because they think we like K-Pop music and we like anime and stuff, but in my daily experience, this does not happen a lot.


FeLix Yowtang Liu Amarelo/asian Curitiba 22 What kinds of racism do you or Asian-Brazilians face? Felix: Me and Lari, for example, we grew up among Brazilians with the word “different” stamped on our faces. At least when I was a kid, the children said “Look, you’re different, you are clearly different.” So, at first, I wasn’t included and accepted. I was Chinese to them. It’s complicated to say whether we are Chinese or Brazilian. I don’t know, maybe both. It is much easier for you to define what is Chinese and what is Brazilian. The Brazilian doesn’t have a very defined identity, or a very defined history, or a culture as well defined as the Chinese. So we are considered something in between Chinese and Brazilian. Not quite one and not quite the other. In Curitiba the Chinese community is very small, so while growing up, we’ve been among Brazilians, right? There weren’t many Chinese people close to us while we were growing up, so we have lost a lot of Chinese culture. Now, the lifestyle that me and my sister have adopted is very different from most Brazilians. Our values are different, the way we treat our parents and family life is very different from them. So to know a bit about where our family came from is to know where these beliefs and histories come from, and that’s very important to us. Lately my colleagues have made ‘pastry’ jokes with me ... “Flango” pastry instead of “frango.” Only you know, they’re just playing around. They are my friends so they can do that. I think the only time that the racism was extreme was when I was told to “go back to my land,” because I was “stealing jobs” from them because I “did not have the right to be here” and, like, It was only verbal - still okay. Good thing that person did not get violent. Apparently there is some hatred, although still very small - but growing - against the Chinese in Brazil. But, it is still a very small thing. We keep an eye on it, to see if it won’t get worse, but today, the people here are still very accepting of us. Racism is not very extreme. One day, we found a poster on a pole about the Chinese, that we are communists, we are natural born lawyers, judges, doctors and such, that we are rich, stealing jobs from Brazilians and that we should go back to our land, that sort of thing. But as it is very specific and on a small scale, we let it pass.


What kinds of racism do you or do you think Asian Brazilians face? Larissa: I think the only stereotype they have of us is that we are very intelligent; that we are very smart, very dedicated. I do not know if this is a preconception or something, but it’s their view of us. It’s not a very negative view. It is a vision of hardworking people so maybe they want to be like us, because maybe they aren’t like that themselves. I never felt that it was a very negative thing like [what happens] with blacks or indigenous peoples,... it seems that they are kind of proud of us, which is not a bad thing. Often my friends say “but, Larissa, you didn’t do the work? You’re Asian, you’re Chinese,” but I think, “why? Just because I’m Chinese, I should have it done?” I think that’s a stereotype. I don’t know if it is prejudice, or racism, but they have this view of us.

And do you two think Asian men and women have different experiences because of their gender? Larissa: I think that guys do ... they suffer a little more because lots of guys want to be better than others and when an Asian guy comes along, they want to be better than him. Many times Asian guys don’t play soccer, they are not physically competitive, so they suffer more than us [girls]. Felix: Now, for example, the opposite happens too. Girls suffer more than guys within the family. Because in Chinese culture, sons are valued more than daughters, they are given more attention, more care, and parents generally feel more proud of their sons than daughters. I have some friends, for example, that are Chinese and they complain about their brothers, “they’re lazy, my parents do nothing about them and they are only demanding towards me.” So the experience for them [girls] is different than guys in this regard. I had never thought about this before... Larissa: At home we did not have such a thing as “my brother is better than me” or “I’m better than him,” my parents did not really compare us. At home, did your parents speak Chinese with you? Larissa: When we were little, we had Chinese flashcards for us to learn to speak Chinese, but when we were growing up and our parents also speak Portuguese, Portuguese became the language we spoke at home. It is much easier because we live amongst Brazilians, and it’s much easier to speak Portuguese than Chinese, because we also don’t practice at home or anywhere else so it’s easier to speak Portuguese... Felix: Now, the same goes for them: when they argue with us it’s easier for them to argue in Chinese, and since we don’t understand half of it, we always make up after (Laughs). Larissa: With my mother, it’s easier to understand her because she is a translator. It is much easier for us to talk to our mother than our father, who does not speak Portuguese as well. With him, it’s easier for him to speak Chinese and for us to respond in Portuguese than for us to speak Portuguese or speak Chinese. Felix: It’s still a difficult barrier to break, right? Our father did not learn the Portuguese as well as our mother, so we can communicate more with our mother about complicated issues than with our father. He ends up feeling left out because of it - but it’s because of communication difficulties, it’s not because we don’t like him!


And for you, what are the differences between racism and cultural stereotypes? Felix: So, the line is very tenuous. See, for example in Brazil, which has a history of being a country of slavery, the sight of a black person being a slave was a stereotype. However this is easily encapsulated by racism, which are preconceived ideas about a person’s race. When this stereotype turns into racism is difficult to say. Perhaps the idea resides in this [concept]: with a stereotype is a general tendency of culture to be a certain way, but racism assumes that all culture is like that. Racism is a more generalized version and more radical than a stereotype is. When I was younger, I thought it was prejudiced but not racist that they confuse the Japanese with the Chinese and Korean etc. I was very angry when they confused me with a Japanese person, because in Brazil it is more common to have Japanese heritage than Chinese, so they called me “Japa,” and that really irritated me. But I began to realize that not even Brazilians of Chinese and Japanese descent know how to tell each other apart. So I stopped caring. Tell us three characteristics of your eyes. Larissa: My eyes are brown, not black. I have a double fold (Felix: I do not have). Felix doesn’t have the double fold and my eyes are not round, they are more “straight” Felix: Okay, my eyes are almond-shaped, are brown, and they don’t have the little double fold that she has. How do you feel when people pull back their eyes or describe Asian eyes as “pulled back”? Larissa: Nothing. Do you feel anything? Felix: It’s one more thing that reminds me about how I used to feel. Every time someone says that Asian eyes are “pulled back”, I remember that this difference is [written] on my face, I cannot get rid of it. And for a long time I did not like that, it was the reason that other people excluded me. The children looked and pointed at me “Look, you’re different.” So for me it was different, I was isolated because of it. The people didn’t accept me. It’s just that I began to realize that this difference that characterized me, made me unique. Within Brazilian society, there are very few Chinese people who are in the same situation that I am. So these almond-shaped eyes, “pulled back”, began to mean something about my personality, about what I am. They remind me that I’m different from the rest - the Brazilians, at least - and I have to carry it around for the rest of my life, wherever I go. And three things you like about them? Larissa: That they make me special ... I don’t know (laughs). They characterize me and ... I don’t know, they’re different, and not Brazilian, I don’t know if that describes it. Felix: They say the eyes are the window to the soul - which is a popular saying in Brazil - and my eyes are a reflection of my soul too, right. I think my eyes have a different charm because you don’t see eyes like mine every day. I remember a friend who said that when I laugh they almost close, I think that’s one thing I like too, it’s a part of me...


What kinds of racism do you or Asian Brazilians face?

Jimmy John Pisanis INDonesian BogoR 28 I am Indonesian, I won’t be Brazilian. I just try to live as a Brazilian. I will not forget my culture; Indonesian culture is always with me, only I leave behind some of my Indonesian culture to live in Brazilian culture. I will walk forward with two cultures. I can not use my own culture to live here; they will not accept it. I have to bring these two cultures together to survive [this] kind of racism.

I do not care if someone makes a joke or if they really want to show that they do not like us as foreigners, especially Asians. I have some friends that joke around, “In Indonesia there is the death penalty, they killed two Brazilians, so we have to kill two Indonesians here, for equal measure.” But we’re just kidding around. Just a joke. I accept it because I know them. I know you, so to say that we can play around, this is one thing. But there’s some people that begin to talk big... they do not want to be straightforward. Then they say: “Brazil is in a crisis and there a lot of foreigners here. They are living here and taking our jobs. You are here, decreasing the number of job openings for us” Only then I say: “Well, I also know that in Indonesia there are several Brazilians who are working to support their families? (...) So if I’m working now, and if a company has opened their hand to receive me as an employee, then I am a good person. I have the right qualities to work there.”

“Asian culture, I think will never leave my heart. Because I am Indonesian, I am Asian. I won’t be Brazilian.”


“When someone asks“what is it like in [Indonesia] ?” I feel really proud. Because for them to ask, for them to want to know what it’s like there, I’ve shown that I’m different.“ Why did you decide to live in Curitiba? In my last contract [of my job], I met my wife who is Brazilian. Her name is Eliana. ... This is a pretty crazy story. The work contract was on a cruise ship for eight months, we were looking at each other, not talking, just looking, looking, looking. Only I had the courage [to talk to her] a week before she left for Brazil, because she arrived three months earlier than me, so she had to leave earlier than me. Then the week before she left, I decided to talk to her and tell her I liked her - but this was only seven days before she left for Brazil. In her head ... [she was] thinking “ah, a man who likes a woman for just seven days, just to take advantage of the situation, then bye.” No. We got to know each other in seven days. [It was] very sad when she left, but I continued contact, for three months over the phone when she was here in Brazil. Then on my last contract I went back to Indonesia. I told my mother, “Mom, I met a girl from Brazil, I decided to marry her.” Then my mother looked at me: “You’re crazy. You were gone for eight months, left your family and [as soon as] you get back to Indonesia, to your country, you go back to marry a girl you knew for seven days “I said,” No. I like her.” But I went, I came here to [Brazil], and she also didn’t believe me. I said, “I’m going to Brazil.” I called her: “I’m going to Brazil. I have my ticket, I have my visa. I am going to Brazil. “ Then she said, “You’re crazy, but if you want, you can come.” So I arrived in São Paulo, I called her. “I’m here in São Paulo.” She was like, “Really?” “Really, I’m here in São Paulo.” Then it began, right. I came here, spent two and a half months, I was in Brazil for the first time...

What importance will your background and cultural experiences have in the lives of your future children? I’m teaching Indonesian culture [to my wife’s son], but it’s kind of hard because it’s outside what he has learned with Brazilian culture. When I come home, I have to adapt. I cannot ask for 100% Indonesian culture because he will not like it, because he isn’t Indonesian. I’m teaching [Indonesian culture], only at home, My wife and I, we speak in English because English is not our first language. English is very helpful for seeking employment. English helps a lot to increase curriculum. We have to speak in English, to not forget, right. I’m trying to teach him [my son] some basic words, such as “how are you”, “apacabar.” When I called my mother, my son says says “hi, oma, apacaba.” “Oma” is “Grandma”. So some basic things he has to learn.


Katsuyuki kajiwara JAPANESE Curitiba 61 How did you learn Portuguese? Everyone had a ... Brazilian family. They always spoke to me in Portuguese, but I always answered in Japanese. Then, communicating little by little, one gradually learns. Because ... if you speak in Portuguese, everybody understands but if you speak in Japanese, some people can understand but others do not understand. For me it’s important to convey [my teaching and my message]. Therefore, “well, you have to learn it somehow, right.” So I started, but I’m still not very good (laughs). It’s complicated. Are there aspects of Japanese culture or your life in Japan that you passed on to your children? When we founded that group (Wakaba Taiko), right? It was only my children, six sons. [They] started playing taiko but that was for me, a way to directly enjoy because no one listens to my words, you know? If there are opportunities I can speak, but this is not in relation with people, it is difficult to talk, no? So I created this group to show people another culture, but it is through Japanese culture I wanted to teach these wonderful things.


Can you tell us about the importance of your background and cultural experiences in your life? Many nationalities appeared here in Brazil, immigrants from many countries, so everyone has a different [way of] thinking. But in Japan almost everyone is of the same race, same way of living, so they almost all have the same [way of] thinking. [What] I think is what he also [thinks], he has the same thought. So I can understand, “Oh, he wants to do this,” I can also help because [I know] he wants that. Understand? But here, there are different [ways of doing things]. I think [in a certain way], but other people do not think of these things. So ... there in Japan from [when a child is very] little [their parents] always teach. You cannot incomodate other people, so they always are educating [their children] about that, right? You cannot do harm to other people, cannot be messy with others ... people will feel uncomfortable. You can not do this. From when you’re very tiny you do this ... It’s natural...to always think about other people, ... “what do you want?” “I want to help.” I always think that way. Because ... because almost all Japanese have this [way of] thinking.

What kinds of racism do you think you or Asian Brazilians face?

I believe this has to be taken out, right? This kind of thinking. Because you have to respect all these people, but unfortunately some people do bad things, bad things. But they do not know, and so they do things like that. This has nothing to do with racism. Any person, a good person, a very bad person, exists in any country. But this is not meant as racism.

“For me this is a mission. I have a dream, to better this country. God sent me to come here.”


THais wu teng BRAZILIAN WITH CHINESE ANCESTRY curitiba 23 What importance do your background and cultural experiences have in your life? I know my parents and now better understand that they do not like to talk a lot, but if someone who comes from the outside doesn’t understand that, it’s like a barrier because the Chinese are more reserved, more closed. So in order to get to know our culture and my family...they must spend more time with us because China is more reserved, more closed. I think it’s very cultural. One day, if I have children I believe I can better our family.

I want to teach my children to be more open, with a little mixture of ‘brazilianess’. Also our family does not extend many invitations to have people visit our home, they don’t like this ‘mixing’. For my children it would be good to show that there isn’t a difference between Japanese, Chinese and Brazilians. My family still has this prejudice, they don’t like their children to hang out with or talk to Brazilians. So when I have children, I will teach them not to have this prejudice.


What types of racism do you or Asian Brazilians face? Now not so much, but during my childhood there was discrimination from other children. When I was in school they liked to bully Asians, make jokes and these things that kids do. But today we know more Asians, they aren’t bothered anymore, but the first time was a shock. This shock is bullying ... pulling your eyes back and making these little jokes bothered me in the beginning. When other people confuse you with another Asian person or people say that you all [Asians] look similar, do you feel insulted? No. Before yes, but after you know more Asians ...after this, no. Because before I knew Japanese people, I had no Japanese friends. I used to have a certain prejudice and also they did too ... they were prejudiced against the Chinese. Once we become friends we saw that that’s not true, there isn’t much difference. We just ... are from different countries, we are in Brazil. So today we do not see this as an insult, we just laugh. But why do you think people do this? I think it’s cultural... I think it’s very cultural that when they see an Asian person - it seems like they’ve never seen one before - and then make fun of them. On the other hand, I think you learn this from your family, so they also think it’s amusing...and again it’s just cultural. But for an Asian person, to whom this has never happened to, they come here and they think it’s an insult, but once you see it’s cultural you don’t care anymore. Do you think this is a kind of racism? I do think it’s a kind of racism. It’s the same thing ... to joke that black people are like monkeys. It’s the same thing, you generalize Asian people as a whole, for example, that we eat dog meat, it’s the same joke. I think that Asians have to unite against this because here Asians are the minority. And if people do not share it ... I think it would not get much attention because they will say “Asians are white” and they won’t see it as bias, but I think this is new. So I think to make that joke of pulling your eyes back, generalizing that people eat dog meat, they think this is not insulting, it’s a little joke and everything that’s a joke is not offensive, but it is actually.

“I heard one time that we don’t suffer from racism because we are white. I think we don’t suffer from racism for our skin, but for our eyes. It’s a different type that we suffer from.”


“I like that my eyes are a little “pulled back”, I like the color of them too.”

Could you tell us about a time when you faced racism? One thing I always do is carry a bento box to college. My mother always made it for me and I packed my lunch every day ... Then I was singled out, my friends joked around with me that they knew that I was Japanese only because of my lunch. They said that I looked like an anime character. How do you feel about these comments? Those who make them are close to me , they’re friends, so I think it’s funny because for me it’s normal, but for them it’s funny. Sometimes they call me “Japa,” but for me it is normal, so I do not see it as a bad thing. I also sometimes call my friends “Japa” just to play around with them, I’m used to this. I think that this is very common and not because people speak [with ill intent]. They have called me “China” too. To me it makes no difference, I take it as a joke. I had a biology teacher in high school who was always talking about how he passed the college entrance exam, and I think he came second, and an Asian came in first. He always talked about it and I will never forget him saying that Asian people steal the spots of others on the entrance exam. This is something that happens a lot in the prep schools, teachers tell a lot of jokes, for example, that for the entrance exam people study very, very, very hard and then they say: “when you are sleeping, there is an Asian studying, an Asian will steal your place.” I heard that a lot in prep school. --- For me it’s a compliment, it’s good that it elicits these images of strength, dedication. it makes me proud of my roots.

MARINA AEMI SESARINO

Here in Brazil, the image of the Japanese and Japanese descendants is generalized. The stereotype is: Japanese (and descendants) are intelligent, well behaved, hardworking, study hard and etc. When some of them here in Brazil do not speak Japanese, know little of the culture, are lazy, do not study or gets bad grades, friends say (just jokingly) he is a “Paraguayan Japanese” or “Paraguayan japa.” So when they say “Paraguay Japanese” they are saying that it is fake, not matching the stereotype. But I always see this happening among my friends, just as a joke. Not to offend.


Marina AEMI SESARINO Japanese brazilian Curitiba 22

What meaning do background and cultural experiences have in your mother’s life? There are many things my mother is already forgetting, like how to speak Japanese and sometimes other things I ask her. For example, what it’s like in Japan or how something happens, but she does not know how to say it, she forgot or didn’t learn. But she knows how to prepare Japanese food and does this a lot with tasty seasonings, so this she did not forget. I also think my mom’s generation was a little more conservative, they could not marry a “Brazilian” but now it’s much more relaxed. In our generation [things] are improving. I think that in their generation there would be discrimination against the Brazilian woman. Perhaps it could be because they want to preserve Japanese traditions and so they do not want to mix. I’ve heard that perhaps it is because for Japanese women at that time, they were more at home taking care of the family, and the Brazilian woman was leaving home more for the labor market. They [Japanese women] were only at home, only cleaning the house, making food, taking care of the children.


How did you feel when you arrived in Taiwan to meet your family there? When I got to Taiwan, people did not speak Chinese to me. They spoke English directly because maybe I don’t look very Taiwanese, like the people there. Nobody thought I was Taiwanese, they thought I was American. I did not think this was bad, no, it’s chill, but if I knew how to speak the language better, I wish I could’ve surprised them. Despite studying for many years, when I came to college here in Curitiba, I stopped studying Chinese and I lost it a little. So when I went there I was already not very good in Chinese. I even ended up speaking English from time to time by not having a full command of the language. It was not a problem with them, it was more me, I guess. There is a culture shock, but they welcomed me. They do not have a preconception [of you] just because you are from another country.

ALExandre chien Brazilian with taiwanese ancestry teresina/foz de iguaçu 24


I think the experiences I’ve had in Taiwan, with half of my family being Brazilian and the other half being Taiwanese - which are totally different cultures - gave me a broadened worldview. I can understand both sides even if we have very different customs, you have to respect the customs of others because there is no way to say that one thing is right or wrong, a lot depends on where you are. I come from a family that is totally divided in relation to this cultural issue, I think I have this ability to accept different things in my life. How does your mother feel about you growing up in two different cultures? Your mom is always your mom. My mom didn’t care about the heritage of her sons and she always made it very clear that she was proud of us (me and my brother). No matter what we do. So, although she did not like some things in Asian culture and no matter how often she fought with my dad, with us she always encouraged us to speak Chinese, that we participate in the cultural events of the Chinese church, understand the food, and always encouraged us to know more about my father’s culture. She is completely open.

What importance does background and cultural experiences have in your dad’s life? My dad had to adapt fully to Brazil. He came here as an adult. He already had graduated from school in Taiwan and came here without speaking in Portuguese. There were several difficulties, so that after many years of having fights with my mom because of these cultural differences, that they ended up separating recently. [Although] you like someone else a lot, the question of culture is still very strong [in interracial relationships].

Could you tell us of a time when you faced racism? When I came to Curitiba, I realized that people here are more prejudiced than in Foz do Iguaçu where I lived, because here whether you like it or not, they have less contact with diverse people because there it’s a land of immigrants. So man, [it’s like] all Chinese people own restaurants, the Chinese are dirty, the Chinese eat strange food, eats dogs, these are things that make no sense, there is a huge misconception. I know it depends a lot on where you are and how you relate, but overall this is what it feels like. I think there is still a lot to improve on in Brazil. I don’t feel a lot of racism because as I am very mixed and I am much more Brazilian than I am Asian, I can take it as a joke. But I think for many people who have come here and were not born here, I think these jokes are pretty heavy. On the other hand, they also say that Asians are very intelligent. Anyway, in general prejudice is bad, right? Also, this prejudice about Asians is created because many who came here are of a lower economic class and in the end have to [make do], they make pastries, which is a heavily prejudiced against here in Curitiba. But it’s the way they survive. There was one time when I was very young, my brother and I were going to our Chinese class in Paraguay when we lived in Foz de Iguaçu. There are many immigrants there and the Chinese who lived there ran very good businesses. Many Taiwanese people ended up generating a lot of wealth in shops on the border by importing and exporting goods. The same thing exists in Curitiba but the Paraguayans felt they were being invaded by a people who were making money in a country that is not theirs. There was a certain feeling of hatred. Children on the street threw stones at us while we were walking over there. You did not feel wanted in one place, it was a situation branded deep in my mind. When someone comes from outside, you want to protect your things from other people.


igor minami suyama amarelo/JAPANESE Assis Chateaubriand 20 “Every day I feel proud to be Japanese, not because I think it’s better or something like that, but because it is part of the roots of where I come from.” What are the importance of background and cultural experiences in your life? I think that they come more from your behavior, you know? The Japanese have this a little more modestly, they are a little more distant socially, which is to say, that they are not as open as Brazilians. In general it becomes a very common thing, and also things like people saying okaeri and our own foods and cuisine are also really important factors. Why do you identify as Amarelo ? Why I identify as Amarelo Brazilian, I do not know. It would be something like my nationality is Brazilian, but ethnically I am Amarelo and I do not identify as Japanese because Japanese would be very specific ethnically. For example ethnically, you would not identify as only [a specific ethnicity of] African, you would identify as black, ethnically I identify as Amarelo.


What kinds of racism do you think you or Asian Brazilians face? I think the most common is when people start speaking in Japanese with you, mimicking actors on the street and they shout “Jackie Chan” or things like that. But, in general there isn’t a really negative preconception about Asian people, sometimes they speak Japanese, or study a lot, but negative prejudices are pretty rare. They have confused me for being Chinese and Korean. How do you feel about this? I laugh a lot, but it doesn’t make me uncomfortable, it bothered me when I was a child. I thought people should know about this, but now it does not bother me. As a child I was like, I’m Japanese! Because people did not realize it, but now I realize it’s not required for people to know that I am Japanese. So, even though the “pulled back” eye is a characteristic of my ethnicity, I do not think that it is the obligation of others to know how to differentiate Japanese, Koreans or Chinese people. I know who I am. They say, “Oh, you look Chinese,” but really, I don’t care. I just say “Oh, actually I’m Japanese.” Everything’s fine. It would be delightful if everyone knew how to differentiate [Asian people], but Chinese, Japanese and Koreans have common ancestry and all are humans, so if you get lost in the details about [races and ethnicity], this is not what is really important. For example, even if a person has “pulled back” eyes, ultimately what matters most is the person who is in front of you, not their ethnicity. Although people should respect the ethnicity of a person, I do not think that’s the fundamental factor that should differentiate them.


Maria victoria riberiro ruy amarela curitiba 20 Although some people do not believe that I am Asian also so, I don’t know.

How do you racially identify? So, until a few years ago when I had to answer [on the Census], I used to put white and now I usually put Amarela but still it’s always confusing when I need to respond, I’m never very certain. And why do you feel this confusion? I do not know, because I thought for you to identify as Amarela, you have to be 100% Chinese or Japanese, or Korean or whatever. And I’m half, so I always thought I was white. After entering college we start thinking more about these things. I think once I saw an article where they said that you should answer as you think society sees you. I think some people see me as Amarela and others see me as white.

Some people, they automatically have identify me as “japinha,” as Japanese because we have a lot more Japanese people here than Chinese. So, there are people that identify me as “oh, you’re the little Japanese girl doing that major.” And some people do not. In fact, even when I say I my family is Chinese, they still don’t believe me. Well some people do and some don’t, but I do not know how much it affects what people think, I don’t think too much. What types of racism do you or do you think Asian Brazilians face? Maybe a little on the issue of standards of beauty because we live under a Western standard of beauty. So I guess in that sense, it affects us, especially women because our features do not always match the Western standards. So I think this is the worst I’ve ever felt racism. But again, I do not think it’s something that would have made my life radically different than if I were white. That’s one thing I’ve been realizing in the last few years because I think this is how you are during your teens, that’s when you begin paying attention to your appearance. I think today it is virtually impossible for a girl to go through adolescence, without feeling ugly, insecure, etc. I, like many other girls, also had parts of my appearance that made me unhappy. And then later, especially in these last few years, I’ve been developing my thoughts on this. I was noticing the facial features that made me most unhappy, are precisely the ones that I inherited from my father, all the ones that my dad’s family has in common, which are smaller eyes and the face shape, which still bothers me, but much less now than during my teens. Now I realize that standards of beauty are racialized and I felt that in certain ways. For example, look at white people or other even races, they just have eyes, and our eye is a “pulled back” eye. I think that this is to show that we are excluded from the standard of beauty and from beauty itself. Because the standard is to have an eye which is not “pulled back”, we have to have a type of different eye, and it has to be a “pulled back” eye.


It is a historical question. Brazil (like many other countries) our social structure, it is racial. You see that poverty in Brazil is black. For example, when I hear colleagues that are black men and women talking about the types of racism they suffer, I see that what I experience can’t be called racism.

“I always had the desire to have larger eyes. But I think I’m learning to like them a little more.” There are a lot of people in Brazil who believe it is common sense thing to say that in Brazil’s miscegenation of cultures, assimilation is a very beautiful thing, and it’s something that comes from the Brazilian spirit of welcoming people. And it is not like that. You see that often, these are the results from violent processes of public policy, forced assimilation. Generally, I think there’s this need to assimilate. Because there are immigrants [who face racism], their customs are quite different, so the way they talk, the way they act is quite different. They are usually people who are in a much more fragile economic situation. Here in Curitiba you should have noticed that the Chinese are known to be pastry owners, for being owners of small shops. Which is normally the work of a lower socioeconomic class. And the language, right? I think when you cannot, or do not speak Portuguese, and especially if you speak Chinese, this is still viewed as a sign of inferior immigrants. Definitely, you suffer more racism, there’s no doubt. Whether it is something like a joke, or things like that. Tell us about three characteristics of your eyes. And three things that you like about them. Three things I like about my eyes. I do not know about describing, or numbering three things, but I like my eyes, I can’t explain it. I would not change them if I had to. I think recently, I feel more comfortable with them. It never really pleased me that they were small. I always had the desire to have larger eyes. But I think I’m learning to like them a little more.


When you are a descendant, you carry a heritage and that will accompany you for the rest of your life whether you like it or not. I think those are important, traditions, because they are the basis of our life. Parents teach us, what comes from a long time ago, our grandparents taught our parents who teach us to respect traditions, character, dignity, this is quite important to me because this comes from our culture.

Rafael prochmann Brazilian curitiba 25 Could you describe the roots of your family with Asian descent? My father was born in Mato Grosso do Sul, a state that isn’t very populous, and some cities have many Japanese, but only in a few of them. So when my father traveled around the state, people thought he was Indigenous because they had never seen an Asian, there had never been Japanese people [around]. I think their reaction was funny, and his reaction too because he felt that it was normal to be Asian, and thought it was normal to have this mixture on the street, to see blacks, whites, Asians, but in the countryside people never knew this existed, they had no contact. My father’s father came from Japan in 1940, and he married an Argentine woman, so my father always had contact with Japanese culture. Sometimes when I had had contact with them, especially with my grandfather, he was always passed things down to me; eating food, respect and education; issues that I think is normal because I’m from a Japanese family, but people find it different, and better sometimes because they think Japanese people are more educated, more respectful. What importance do your background and cultural experiences have in your life? As I am mestizo and don’t seem to be Japanese, at first when I’m with other people who are really Japanese and Asian, people think I’m not Asian. Then they talk with my friends thinking that they are Asian, and talk to me like I am Brazilian, normal. When people find out I’m Japanese, that I am mixed race, then I get all types of comments, jokes that [people] usually make about an Asian, they’ll make to me, even though I don’t look Japanese.


The ideas people have about Asians are very stereotyped, the questions that people ask are sometimes very silly. They ask if I have silverware at home, they ask if I eat “normal” Brazilian food or Japanese food at home. It’s weird, people do not know [anything about] other cultures sometimes. Brazil is a very complicated country, it seems like a very simple and easy country to understand, but actually inside it there are many complexities. There is a lot of prejudice of all kinds, but usually the prejudices are not as explicit. Brazil, despite being a country that most of the world understands as Latin, is a country with a lot of very conservative people. because there was a lot of European immigration, there exists this belief that whites are better, or Westerners are better. Brazil is a Western country; the basis that Brazil was created upon is culturally Western.

Do you think that people lose their culture because of this pressure to assimilate to the majority culture? I do not think it’s good, but it’s normal. My grandfather, who came from Japan came here with a lot of culture, many traditions, a way of acting, the language, naturally these will be lost. I know sometimes the Nikkei community conducts surveys and the Japanese language is being lost among the descendants. My grandfather speaks Japanese, my father does not speak, but he understands, and I do not speak or understand ... just a few words. My son probably will not speak or understand, but it’s kind of natural that traditions end. For example, you two do not act in the same way that your grandparents acted before, because you are American and act like Americans despite being Asian and here it’s the same thing. Despite being Asian and having some traditions, I act like a Brazilian. Tell us about three characteristics of your eyes. And three things that you like about them. My eye is not very “pulled back” like an Asian who is not mestizo, but I remember as a child, my mother is German, has blue eyes, and I asked her why does my eye come down like this, why is it different? Then she said because you are Japanese, your father is Japanese, mestizo. I would like for them to be a little more “pulled back”, if they would look more Asian. All my friends and relatives who are Asian, they want to have a more open eye, want a double fold, but I think it’s so beautiful when you do not have a double fold, I think it’s more beautiful.


What types of racism do you or do you think Asian Brazilians face? It’s a little hard to talk about it because racism in Brazil is not a topic that you can talk a about a lot, there is a very veiled racism. I’ll tell you an example: when I was a kid, I listened to these stories, jokes that children played, most likely they learned them from adults, but we were in school in Paranaguá. It was very common that they would be in a group and then look at me and sing a song, rhymed verses that went like this “Japanese sugar cane eats cheese with cockroaches” Then because they laughed and said these things to me, I also thought it was funny and would also laugh. As a child I didn’t know better, and would laugh along because the other person was laughing and I thought it was funny too ... I did not know it was actually a type of bullying, and actually it is racist too. Only later did I was realize, that this is actually quite common in Brazilian culture. There is this story of this very warm Brazil, with friendly Brazilians, but truthfully, if we were to think about the Nikkei Clubs of Brazil, and for what reasons these clubs exist, actually it’s a way for Japanese descendants to gather, to be in a group and for self-empowerment because Japanese descendants were very different than other immigrants that were Europeans. I think there’s this thing in Brazil that you have to stay in your group. You’re in your group, that’s fine. Now if you’re not in your group, and if you try to join another group, I think there is some resistance because people see that you are different, so a resistance was created. For example, if you are a Japanese, in Brazil, and you are a tourist, Brazilians respect you a lot. If you are Chinese, you are a tourist, you are a student, or an exchange student, then they will respect you because you are a foreigner. But if you are of Asian descent, you are different because you are a Brazilian, but you are not a descendant of Europeans, then it causes this rift, a strangeness, a very big difference, so much so that sometimes the Japanese descendants are also being compared to blacks. So there is racism, this comparison, this difference of not being descended from Europeans. What influence do your background and cultural experiences have in your life? I only became interested in learning to speak the language when I turned 40 years old. I started studying and also to gain more knowledge about my Japanese identity because I thought I was pretty Brazilian. From this, I had more contact with Japanese culture here in Curitiba because of my professional contacts and by being a journalist employed by Nikkei Club of Curitiba. And then I had a lot of contact with people from Nikkei, so then I was even more curious to learn the language and also to find out more about my identity. Truthfully, I think we have a manner that is a little more Asian, mostly Japanese, and I think you don’t lose that. It just incorporates itself so that family is more reserved, more quiet. This is very visible in Brazilian culture because it is very different, because the Brazilians are more expansive. So that when you arrive somewhere, you are noticed because you are different in that respect.

mariilia aiko kubota BRazilian with japanese ancestry paranaguá 51


O POETA

A PALAVRA BEBIA a palavra bebia, sonhava e chorava mas diziam, a cidadela ao rededor a cidadela ao rededor, crescendo, ogra de lama e vísceras exigia potes de ouro, dança nesse ritmo com aquela voz. ninguém lembra dançamos sobre túmulos soterrados por fortalezas da cidadela.

para o poeta antissocial, demente, existe a poesia: rua onde se estende sua voz confusa. para os não poetas existem edificios: vida é construção. o poeta só tem como meta destruir-se. destituir a linguagem dominante demitir a vida de todos os dias que pede amor amor em faixas douradas e sorrisos contagiantes. para o poeta existe a poesia: não entrará no círculo dos eleitos mancha mal-estar insuportável e a posibilidade de rachar todo o edfício.


QUOTE GOES HEReE


What importance do your background and cultural experiences have in your life? My parents were never interested in going to Japan, to learn more about the culture. But me and my older brother, have both done cultural and educational exchanges in Japan. We really like the culture, we watch animes, we read Japanese books, I think that we returned to Japanese culture in a way more deeply than my parents. Why do you think you had more interest than your parents? I think we looked for it more. For example: my parents do not speak Japanese, but my brother and I had a desire to learn and so through this, we ended up having more contact with Japanese people. Tell us of a time when you felt proud to be of Asian descent. They are “pulled back”. I have a double fold but it does not always appear, it depends on the way I smile. They are also darker ... and perhaps the way they look. I think girls are more sensitive towards appearance, they are affected by it more. I like them because my mother does not have many eyelashes, I don’t have a lot, but more than she does...and I like dark eyes too.


Carolina Midori IIOSHI Japonese brazilian curitiba 19 How did you feel when you studied abroad in Japan? When I was in Japan, I felt my Brazilian side much stronger, in the sense that there they are quite precise and always arrive on time. There were many aspects of Brazilian culture that I kept while I was there that conflicted with things there. For example, in school I was much more open, and there they are very formal with the teachers. I wasn’t able to be like that, and I felt a lot more Brazilian, but I don’t believe anyone really judged me. My accent was not very good, and yet the Japanese are not ones to pick on you. They are very inclusive, they make you feel good. Then when I came back to Brazil, I felt more Japanese. I feel I am neither fully nor fully Brazilian or Japanese. So when I’m in Japan I realize more the things that make me Brazilian, and when I’m here I realize more of the things that make me be Japanese. I really want to go back to Japan but I think I would not live there for the rest of my life, it’s more to visit. When I have children I will also show them what interests me about the culture and maybe they will pick up this desire to learn about it, but I do not want to force anything on them. Tell us of a time when you felt proud to be of Asian descent. Japanese descendants usually have a Japanese name. In the middle of my name, I’m Midori, then when you get to explain that your name has meaning and how to write it, I think that’s really cool.

“I feel like I am neither fully Brazilian or fully Japanese. When I’m in Japan I realize more of the things that make me Brazilian and when I’m here I realize more of the things that make me Japanese. “


kadu kenjiro tomita “For what reason do people call others “japa” da silva or pull back their eyes? japanese brazilian Because there exists this curitiba thought process to see this 21 as something exotic, like What kinds of racism do you or do you think think Asian Brazilians face? For men, an idea exists - that also exists outside Brazil - that the Asian man is not seen as a symbol of men. There are no models of Asian men in the media and and I think for Asian women, there is an objectification that is far greater than for all other women, which is something complicated, which is something I cannot talk much about because it’s not me that suffers from it, but it’s what I see. And what have you seen on the treatment and representation of Asian women? It is fetishization. It seems that all Asian women are boxed in the same model and it seems that people view them all as the the same thing, only to have one certain kind of eye or skin color. What was your experience abroad like in the U.S.? I was well received, with much curiosity, because the Brazilian community is big there, but it doesn’t have the proportions of a Chinese community, Jewish or Korean. There was always an openness to me sharing my culture, especially for being a demonstration of Japanese-Brazilian culture. The French thought I was from Morocco, some Americans thought I was Filipino. There was this image that the Brazilian cultural heritage was like Latin@ or restricted to the Portuguese.

something they had to deconstruct.”


What do you like about your eyes?

I think they are bipolar, at the same time while they are Asian, sometimes they are very Brazilian.

Do you feel a sense of solidarity with other minority groups in Brazil?

I feel this, but not because of us being minorities, understanding that this time there is no group that has come to dominate society and perhaps the role of all of us [minority groups] is to understand what is to come of these other ... other groups, which are the revolutions that exists as a society for the process of integration of all minorities, whether they are ethnic minorities, economic minorities, sexual minorities, minorities of any kind.

I like them because they cause doubts. I guess I always ask these questions about who I am. Truthfully, in Brazil people have asked me [where I am from because of my appearance including my eyes] perhaps because they are not always the same, and I like that too because when I look in the mirror, I ask myself who am I? So, I am always pushing myself to self express what does that mean to be Japanese-Brazilian, if it means anything [specific] and what is this thing [that it means].

“At the same time we are fooling ourselves that there is no racism here because the scenario of miscegenation is more complex than something that is already conceptualized.�


KADU KENJIRO TOMITA DA SILVA


Could you explain a little more about the dynamics of your family? It’s very different, I have on one side one family, the other a completely different culture. My mom’s family is very expressive, and my father’s side of the family, which is Japanese, is quieter, but also shows affection in a different way. My mom’s family loves to hug and kiss, and my father’s family is a very different affection. If I invite a friend to go to my house, my mother’s family embraces them and everything, and my father’s family is cooking dinner and doing things to please the visitor, so it demonstrates affection in a different way, in a different style. I think that’s what affects my life. I demonstrate different affections for different people all mixed together. Tell us of a situation where you feel proud of your Asian heritage. I guess I always feel that pride for my heritage, there are little things that make me feel this, you know? From my obachan, my father, this solidarity of helping, that different affection... to be. I believe, I have a lot of personal growth, I’ve always liked the Japanese culture for this. The teachings that my obachan passed on to me, that my father gave me. There are some particular factors from the Nikkei Club - in both taiko and also in yosakoi I learned a lot of discipline and camaraderie. I’ve always participated a lot with the Nikkei Club. I come from a more Brazilian family and I’ve always liked to participate in Japanese cultural events. I’ve always participated in the Japanese-Brazilian association both in Cuiaba, and here in Curitiba. Always very active, playing taiko, dancing yosakoi, studying Japanese, it’s very different this way you create friendship.

bruna marinho isume brazilian rodônia 23 “My mother’s family is very expressive, and the Japanese family of my father is quieter, but also shows affection in a different way.”


What kinds of racism do you or do you think Asian Brazilians face? I’ve suffered bullying at school for being Japanese, but it was when I was very little because I was the only one who was different in the room. So, then the older girls would just tease me back and forth, but I never suffered. I think even the Japanese are well respected here in my social group, nobody dismisses the culture, and even far fewer people for the ethnicity. It was only this one time. What kind of bullying? Can you explain a bit more about that? Well I’ve always been labeled “Japa” so, for example, my name is Bruna and this name is very common, so in the classroom there were always other Brunas, so I was “Japa” Bruna. “Japinha” Bruna” or “Little Japanese Bruna” was how the children identified me, so I used this nickname even in my adolescence. So yes, I even used this nickname when I was a teenager, on social networks such as MSN, “Bruna japa”. I ended up identifying myself in this way too, but really, it was how I was identified [by others]. Now my friends use it, but not as much as before. Usually they say “the Japanese Bruna,” this is the characteristic they differentiate me. “Ah, you know Bruna? No, the Japanese Bruna.” The other Brunas remain Brunas and I become “Japanese” or “Japa” Bruna. I do not know if I just got used to it, I do not feel uncomfortable, actually I’ve never felt it. Really, I had never thought about it until now, now that I’m speaking to you both... The other Brunas always continued being Brunas, and I was the different one, by being “Japanese Bruna” or “Japa Bruna” and I had never thought about this. It really is an invisible thing that ends up happening and we do not realize it because it is considered normal. What about the community, what types of racism do people face? It has that tone, speaking incorrectly, to do this with your eyes eyes, to be tough, to be hard; this is the general sense of the image of Japanese people here. That ends up happening in the media, and is reinforcing itself all the time, sometimes it appears in jokes, and people share these jokes, just laughing about it, and end up becoming, turning into a social representation of an ethnic group through these communications. These jokes are very visible. But there is also this idea we are very intelligent and people assume that to be Japanese is to be very smart; these two sides exist. All stereotypes have consequences, this ends up generating the prejudice perhaps not in the pejorative sense, but in the literal sense. You generate a prejudice before you know a person because of her ethnicity. Sometimes it is having an assumption that person is intelligent, or that person doesn’t know how to speak without even knowing them. What people say about me is that I often look very serious, “you look cold, serious, but when I meet you, it’s completely different.” I believe that this is the good side of stereotypes. Tell us about three characteristics of your eyes. And three things that you like about them. They are green, “pulled back” and strong. Expressiveness, firmness, and I get many compliments because of my eyes, which is something I like (laughing).

other comments Actually, I found [the project] to be really cool because when you were asking me the questions, there are things that I never really What do you feel about the word “pulled back”, when used to stopped to think about. About this, about things that people said to describe your eyes? me, about things that I say to identify myself. There is the “pulled “Pulled back” ... I never thought about it, but now that you are say- back” eye, for example, but did you ever stop and think why, why ing this, it’s like it’s to be different. So, there’s a standard, which are you saying this? And this brought a good thing for me and I is the eye that isn’t “pulled back”, but for you to differentiate the want to thank you for this opportunity and I really support your other eye, it has to have a feature that others do not have, so it is project. I wish success for you two! considered “pulled back.”


Profile for Racialeyes

Racialeyes Vol 1 - English  

What is Racialeyes? It’s a project based in Curitiba, Brazil devoted to sharing the rich histories of the Asian diaspora through a multi-m...

Racialeyes Vol 1 - English  

What is Racialeyes? It’s a project based in Curitiba, Brazil devoted to sharing the rich histories of the Asian diaspora through a multi-m...

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