By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Brazilians have had an unprecedented amount of international exposure. Now with the 2020 Olympics set for Tokyo, Japan is primed to capture the imagination of the world, and bring more Brazilians to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Many are surprised to learn that Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan. According to the IBGE, as of 2009 there were approximately 1.6 million people of Japanese descent in Brazil.
This no doubt played a role in Japan’s strong presence in Rio during the Olympics, which was the scene of a series of events showcasing the charms of Tokyo as a tourist destination. The main stage for this showcase was the Tokyo 2020 Japan House, set up within Cidade das Artes, a Rio de Janeiro cultural center.
Large crowds of locals visited the Japan House daily, drawn by the opportunity to gain new insights into the iconic city of Tokyo. Many in the audience had arrived earlier for the TOHOKU & TOKYO event, which warmed up the stage with performances of the traditional Tohoku dances, Onikenbai and Iwaki Jangara Nenbutsu Odori, as well as the Edo Tobi Kiyari dance from the Tokyo region.
The audience response at the event was greatest for a talk show presentation featuring an in-depth discussion of Tokyo’s charms, centered on three keywords “food,” “water,” and “culture.” The talk show featured four participants, three from Brazil and one from Japan.
From Brazil, the guests were the MC Kendi Yamai, a Japanese-Brazilian actor who works on TV and many events that publicize Japanese culture in Brazil. Sabrina Sato, a Japanese-Brazilian celebrity; and Marcel Iyeiri, director of a travel firm that promotes Brazilian tourism in Japan.
From Japan came a representative of the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Each participant talked in detail about the charms of Tokyo from their country’s perspective. Unexpectedly, of the three keywords selected for the discussion, the Brazilian guests were most interested in “water.”
MC Kendi Yamai, who has lived in Tokyo in the past, explained, “Tokyo is a city of water. I think that a lot of people imagine a huge city full of skyscrapers when they think of Tokyo, but it also has a bay and rivers. You can enjoy dining and karaoke on houseboats along the Sumida-gawa River. If you follow that river upstream, you will find waterfalls and even places to go rafting. The water in Tokyo is very clean; you can drink it right out of the tap.”
Tokyo is a city of pristine water. It is a metropolis that offers many active experiences that enable everyone to enjoy the bay and rivers. The talk show was an opportunity to once again affirm the confidence in the wonderful appeal of Tokyo’s waters to the rest of the world.
* This is a Sponsored article for the Tokyo Brand.