• Kyodo

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The 99th anniversary of the start of Japanese emigration to Brazil was commemorated by festive memorial services Monday, generating anticipation ahead of the centennial anniversary next year.

At Ibirapuera park in southern Sao Paulo, which features a monument to the settlers, about 100 people attended a Buddhist service to mourn those who died in Brazil. A sutra was recited during the ceremony, and a list of the settlers was placed in front of the monument.

“We’ve heard a lot recently about Brazilians who are in Japan to work getting involved in crimes, but we would like to show that Japanese-Brazilians can be of help to Japan as a bridge with Brazil,” said Osamu Matsuo, the head of the Japanese-Brazilian organization that held the event.

Since 1908, about 250,000 people have emigrated from Japan to Brazil, interrupted only by World War II.

Brazil has the most residents of Japanese descent in the world, with an estimated 1.4 million living here.

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