SIETAR Japan Kansai Chapter February Meeting, 2012 ” THE GRANDPA FROM BRAZIL”

A Grandpa from Brazil

The film, The Grandpa from Brazil, documents the life of Mr. Kenichi Konno, the son of a rice dealer in Suita who emigrated to Brazil at the age of 19 in 1931. Konno went abroad in search of a decent job, and he vowed to return only after achieving success. He worked very hard for decades, changing jobs at least 10 times. Sixty years after leaving Japan he began making annual trips back to Japan staying for a month at a time in order to check on Japanese-Brazilians who had emigrated in the opposite direction. The number of Japanese-Brazilians increased significantly after 1990 when the Japanese government allowed legal entry for people of Japanese descent (Nikkei) up to the 3rd generation. Konno was very concerned about the many difficulties that these Japanese-Brazilians face in Japan. He made these trips over a period of 15 years, and he has helped many people in the process.
This film follows this extraordinary ordinary man as he retraces his journey through the streets of Tokyo and Kansai, recounting his life in Brazil, and discovering more about the actual situation of Japanese Brazilians. This heartfelt documentary explores issues of migration, ethnicity, family and global citizenship.

After the film there will be a time to meet and ask questions to the filmmaker, Nanako Kurihara. Kurihara first met Konno when she was 19 while accompanying her father on a business trip to Brazil. She said, “I was impressed with his [Konno’s] intellectual, charismatic appeal and insatiable curiosity for everything that’s happening around the world.” The film is in Japanese and English, subtitles are provided.


Japan Times review in English

More info in Japanese

Profile of the presentor:
Nanako Kurihara
A graduate of Waseda University and an award-winning Japanese producer/director. Her first film, Ripples of Change (1993), about the Japanese women’s movement in the 1970s, was shown internationally and was broadcast in the United States and Australia. Kurihara holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University.