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Saudades de ser nihonjin: Japanese-Brazilian identity and mental health in literature and media


Brazil is currently home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. In Brazil today, Japanese-Brazilians are considered to be successful members of Brazilian society. This was not always the case, however, and Japanese immigrants to Brazil endured much hardship to attain their current level of prestige. This essay explores this community’s trajectory towards the formation of the Japanese-Brazilian identity and the issues of mental health that arise in this immigrant community. Through the analysis of Japanese-Brazilian novels, TV shows, film and public health studies, I seek to disentangle the themes of gender and modernisation, and how these themes concurrently grapple with Japanese-Brazilian mental health issues. These fictional narratives provide a lens into the experience of the Japanese-Brazilian community that is unavailable in traditional medical studies about their mental health.

  • film
  • literature and medicine
  • mental health care
  • gender studies
  • medical humanities

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