Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Laura Honda-Hasegawa was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1947. She worked in the education field until 2009. Since then she has dedicated herself to exclusively writing which is her great passion. She writes essays, short stories, poems, and novels, all under a Nikkei lens.

Updated September 2018

identity en ja es pt

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Chapter 13: Do You Speak Nisei Language?

When I was a student, we had an interesting kid in our class. She was Japanese Brazilian, and spoke mostly Japanese at home. Even though 90% of the class was Brazilian, she had no hesitation about using Japanese words. “Anta, estudou para a prova?” (Did anta study for the test?) [Editor’s note: “Anta” is the Japanese word for “you”.]  “Eu não entendi direito ano lição.” (I didn’t really understand ano lesson.) [Editor’s note: “ano” is the Japanese word for “that”.] It so…

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Chapter 12: About the Japanese Accent

Ever since I was in school, I’ve heard that “Japanese-Brazilians are bad at Portuguese”.  Poor writing was a given…it was hard to understand what they said…they had strange pronunciation…bottom line, it sounded like Japanese. Because of that, there were children who unfortunately stopped going to school. Back then, when you walked into a store, it wasn’t uncommon for the clerk to greet you by pretending to speak with a Japanese accent. Even at college, I could quickly sense that kind of prejudice from little things.  One day, here&rsqu…

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Chapter 11: What’s your name?

My name is Laura. Its root language is Latin, and it means “success”.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a Japanese name. However, the majority of people in my generation don’t have a Brazilian name. If you only had a Japanese name, you were teased by classmates at school, and even the teachers would make inappropriate comments.  So more than a few Japanese Brazilians had a tough time back then. Also, there were students who quit going to school because they were told their Portuguese pronunciation was “weird” or “awful”. It was a type of &l…

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Chapter 10: Dreams of a Movie Girl

                                                        II was always hanging around my mom. When she was preparing meals, I was always peaking over the table asking, “What’s that?” From my earliest memories, I remember being intrigued by drawings I saw around the kitchen. Even now, I remember them …

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Chapter 9: The World Has Really Changed

My mother likes feijoada, while my father likes bacalhoada. As for third-generation me, as a kid I liked natto. This is the first time I’ve said that. I’ve finally said what until now I’ve had to just keep to myself. Why? Because it’s only recently that Brazilians have become familiar with Japanese food culture. When I was in elementary and middle school in the 1960s, Japanese students were ridiculed and told “Japanese people eat raw fish and uncooked vegetables, right?” I remember one incident at the first school I worked at. A female cooking teacher…

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