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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Japanese Anime in Sao Paulo

サンパウロ アニメ

Japan Town, Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Brazil has the world's biggest ethnic Japanese population outside of Japan. Most of the immigration to Brazil to Japan happened in the 1930s, during the Great Depression before the Second World War. Most Japanese immigrants were from rural Japan, and took up agriculture in Brazil, becoming a prominent presence in Brazilian farming, and introducing to Brazil many varieties of vegetables from Japan, such as Japanese pumpkins, cucumber, melons, and Fuji apples, to name a few.

"Yakissoba" on Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo.
"Yakissoba" on Rua Galvão Bueno (requiring two S's in Portuguese for an "S" sound, as opposed to a single-S "Z" sound)


Over time, there was migration to the cities by the descendants of the original immigrants, mainly to Brazil's biggest city, Sao Paulo.

Lucky Cat Japanese store in Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Lucky Cat Japanese store in Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Japan store in a mall in Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo.
Japan store in a mall on Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo.

The Liberdade area of Sao Paulo is the most Japanese part of the city, with its own Japan Town, immediately noticeable by the number of stores with Japanese names, often selling Japanese-style goods, and, maybe most memorably, the pedestrian signals for crossing the street in this district, which feature a green and a red torii shrine gate symbol, and the red street light poles which are also fashioned somewhat torii-like in how they extend over the street.

Torii-themed traffic crossing lights in Japan Town, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Torii arch-themed traffic crossing lights in Japan Town, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Emporio Azuki, Japan Town, Liberdade, Sao Paulo.
Emporio Azuki, Japan Town, Liberdade, Sao Paulo.

The district is known for its numerous Japanese restaurants, grocers, Japanese gift stores, and martial arts goods.

Anime Hunter store on Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Anime Hunter store, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Plastic anime figurines in a Japan-themed shopping mall on Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo.
Plastic anime figurines in Japan Town, Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo.

Rua Galvão Bueno is the main shopping street that runs through Japan Town in Sao Paulo, and there is one shopping center in particular, with a big Japanese-style facade, at nos.17-19 Rua Galvão Bueno, that is home to several anime-related stores. On sale are anime figurines, anime-themed T-shirts, among other paraphernalia.

Kawaii goods from Japan, 17-19 Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Kawaii goods from Japan in a store window in Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

At the far end of Rua Galvão Bueno is a small garden, Jardim Oriental: a nice idea for a bit of greenery in this very urban area, but which sounds better than it looks.

Anime-themed T-shirts, 17-19 Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Anime-themed T-shirts, 17-19 Rua Galvão Bueno, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Murakai Japanese goods store, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Murakai Japanese goods store, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The red arch-like streetlights extend all the way down Rua Galvão Bueno past Jardim Oriental after you cross the bridge over the massive Viaduto do Glicerio motorway that lies below. However, once you're over the bridge, the shopping buzz pretty much fizzles, with just a few Japanese presences intermittently visible down it.

Shimada Tattoo parlor, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Shimada Tattoo parlor, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

So if you find yourself in Sao Paulo, make sure you include a stroll through Liberdade, accessible from the station by the same name, on Metro Line 1. Tanoshinde! (Enjoy!)

Towa Japanese grocery, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Towa Japanese grocer, Liberdade, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


The Liberdade district - Japan in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The Liberdade district - Japan in Sao Paulo.

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