In the mid 19th century, with Brazil’s booming coffee trade and the abolition of slavery in 1888, the country moved to attract vast numbers of migrant workers from Europe, particularly Italians. The Japanese immigration began a little bit later - 1908 - in São Paulo state. At the same time in Japan, the abolition of the feudal Han system turned large groups of agricultural workers into poverty and caused many to move overseas in search of a new life, particularly to the Americas.
Japanese immigrants settled in Mexico and Peru, but it was on São Paulo’s coffee plantations where the community thrived. Today, the city of São Paulo is the home to the largest Japanese population outside Japan.