The immigration of Brazilian-Japanese to Japan has started as recently as the early 1980s as a result of an economic downturn in Brazil and labor shortages in Japan. In a recent study published by the Ministry of Justice in Japan, there are about 250,000 Brazilians currently working throughout Japan. Even though most of the Brazilians are second or third generation of Japanese descent, they are not fluent in Japanese, thus resulting in many cultural problems and misunderstandings. Some research has examined about the immigration of Brazilians (nikkeijin) to Japan, but none has investigated their acquisition of Japanese as a second language. The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that motivate or unmotivate the nikkeijin in Japan to learn Japanese as a second language (JSL). This qualitative study shows the life experiences of four nikkeijin who arrived in Japan at different ages (8, 18, 25 and 42 years old). It is a very richly descriptive study about the experiences of nikkeijin learning JSL. Through interviews conducted over the Internet using Online Messenger and phone conversations, the researcher gathered information and data about their real life experiences learning the language and adapting to Japanese culture. The results of this study show how positive and negative life experiences of nikkeijin in Japan can affect their motivation to learn or improve their Japanese language skills. The age of arrival and the place of residence in Japan are also important factors that influence their experiences in Japan.



College and Department

Humanities; Center for Language Studies



Date Submitted


Document Type





language acquisition, Japanese as a second language, JSL, immigrants, nikkeijin, motivation, qualitative, life stories, Brazilian-Japanese, immigration to Japan