Documentary on lives of Shizuoka Japanese-Brazilian youths completed


A film chronicle of the struggles and hopes of young Japanese-Brazilians has been completed by a university professor researching their living conditions.

Kimihiro Tsumura, 50, a professor at Hamamatsu Gakuin University, spent 2½ years making “Kodoku na Tsubame tachi” (“Lonely Swallows”).

About 12,000 Japanese-Brazilians currently live in Hamamatsu, which is home to foreigners of many different nationalities. The movie features five people, including a 19-year-old who works at a factory and dreams of attending college and a 22-year-old man trying to forge a career in hip-hop dancing.

“I wanted to capture their livelihood and growth with a camera,” said Tsumura, who started shooting the movie in 2008. He was joined by film director Mayu Nakamura, 38, who said she “was interested in their will to live.”

The subjects include a young Japanese-Brazilian who got involved in crime after failing to adapt to working life. But Nakamura said the movie “focuses on their growth, instead of the social system lacking fairness.”

The movie follows its five subjects through high and low points, even as they lose their jobs to the global recession and are forced to return to Brazil.

The movie shows a 17-year-old girl in Brazil who was born and raised in Japan. She is attending night school four hours a day while working with the aim of attending college, a dream she had given up on while in Japan. She said she was able to take a step forward by moving to Brazil and that she believes she can forge a bright future.

The movie will be shown in Hamamatsu and Tokyo starting in June and will be released nationwide later.

“Young Japanese should be able to gain courage from (the Japanese-Brazilian youths), who live their lives looking forward and without giving up,” Tsumura said.