Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/series/dekasegi-story/

Dekasegi Story


June 18, 2012 - April 18, 2024

In 1988, I read a news article about dekasegi and had an idea: "This might be a good subject for a novel." But I never imagined that I would end up becoming the author of this novel...

In 1990, I finished my first novel, and in the final scene, the protagonist Kimiko goes to Japan to work as a dekasegi worker. 11 years later, when I was asked to write a short story, I again chose the theme of dekasegi. Then, in 2008, I had my own dekasegi experience, and it left me with a lot of questions. "What is dekasegi?" "Where do dekasegi workers belong?"

I realized that the world of dekasegi is very complicated.

Through this series, I hope to think about these questions together.



Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Episode 47 (Part 1) "I want to go home, but I can't"
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Episode 47 (Part 1) "I want to go home, but I can't"

April 18, 2024 • Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Eiji, the eldest son of two older sisters, was told by his parents to become a doctor in the future. His older sisters were made to do housework and help out at the supermarket run by his parents, but Eiji was always told to focus on his studies instead of helping out. When I was in my third year of high school, my daily routine was to go to a cram school immediately after school, study at home in the …

Thumbnail for Episode 46: Who is Rihana in the painting?
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Episode 46: Who is Rihana in the painting?

Feb. 27, 2024 • Laura Honda-Hasegawa

On her 27th birthday, Hana got married to her husband, Eiji, who was three years younger than her and was the younger brother of her classmate. Six months ago, that same classmate came to visit Hana. Her younger brother was going to Japan to work, but it was decided that if he was going to work, it would be better to get married first, so he was looking for a wife. The classmate immediately remembered Hana and came to see …

Thumbnail for Episode 45: I'm glad Fujiko is Japanese!
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Episode 45: I'm glad Fujiko is Japanese!

Jan. 16, 2024 • Laura Honda-Hasegawa

The Ozaki family was a large one. The eldest and second sons were married and lived together with their families and parents at the family home. Fujiko was born in that house. Her grandfather, who had three grandsons, was a big fan of the Japanese actress Fujiko Yamamoto, so he named his first granddaughter Fujiko. The family hoped that she would become as beautiful and popular as Fujiko Yamamoto. Fujiko grew up to be a cheerful girl. However, in her …

Thumbnail for Episode 44 (Part 2) "I'm back home"
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Episode 44 (Part 2) "I'm back home"

June 30, 2023 • Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Read the first part >> Returning to Brazil for the first time in three years, Paulo went alone to the church he had attended since childhood on Sunday. Paulo's family doesn't go to church, so he thought, "My mom and dad must have gone jogging at Ibirapuera Park and my sisters must still be asleep." It had been a long time since I'd seen a church with its arched doors and stained glass windows, and it brought back memories. I …

Thumbnail for Episode 44 (Part 1) "I'm back home"
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Episode 44 (Part 1) "I'm back home"

April 20, 2023 • Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Paulo had already made up his mind when he was in junior high school: "After graduating from high school, I will enter seminary and become a missionary." Although his parents were not Christians, Paul received a Christian education through the influence of his paternal grandmother. On Sunday mornings, I took a 30-minute bus ride to my grandmother's house, and then went to church with her and my two cousins. The service was divided into an adult service and a children's …

Thumbnail for Episode 43: Tomomi and Naruto both pursue their dreams
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Episode 43: Tomomi and Naruto both pursue their dreams

Jan. 30, 2023 • Laura Honda-Hasegawa

Tomomi is 19 years old and has a Japanese father and a Japanese-Brazilian mother. Tomomi's mother, who came to Japan as a dekasegi (a laborer), first worked at a bakery in Nagoya. Then, the owner of a nearby bicycle repair shop invited her to quit the bakery and work at the bicycle repair shop. Soon after, the two fell in love and started living together. Then, Tomomi was born and their life became fulfilling and stable. Four years ago, Tomomi's …

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Author in This Series

Born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1947. Worked in the field of education until 2009. Since then, she has dedicated herself exclusively to literature, writing essays, short stories and novels, all from a Nikkei point of view.

She grew up listening to Japanese children's stories told by her mother. As a teenager, she read the monthly issue of Shojo Kurabu, a youth magazine for girls imported from Japan. She watched almost all of Ozu's films, developing a great admiration for Japanese culture all her life.


Updated May 2023

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