This year marks 115 years since the first migration of Japanese people to Brazil. However, it was the Great Kanto Earthquake that occurred a century ago — and the mayhem it left in its wake that became the main catalyst for the growth of a Japanese diaspora in the South American nation.
Tokyo and its surroundings were heavily damaged by the quake, which spurred many people to make the decision to leave Japan as they had lost property. The government obliged by encouraging mass emigration through travel subsidies for any victims. As a result, Brazil now boasts the world's largest community of "Nikkei-jin," the name given to people of Japanese descent who reside outside their ancestral homeland.
Ryuzaburo Mizuno, 92, was born in Curitiba, southern Brazil. His father, Ryo Mizuno, operated the Kasato Maru in 1908, a passenger ship that carried the first Japanese immigrants to Brazil.