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Phone 305 924-6446
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The history of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Between the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, coffee was the main export product of Brazil.
At first, Brazilian farmers used African slave labor in the coffee plantations, but in 1860, the illegal slave traffic was finally ended in Brazil.
To solve the labor shortage, the Brazilian elite decided to attract European immigrants to work in the coffee plantations. The government and farmers offered to pay the ticket of European immigrants. The plan encouraged millions of Europeans, most of them Italians and Germans to migrate to Brazil.
Japanese immigrants began arriving as a result of the decrease in the Italian immigration to Brazil and a new labor shortage on the coffee plantations.
The end of feudalism in Japan generated great poverty in the rural population, so many Japanese began to emigrate in search of better living conditions.
The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil on June 18 1908 aboard the Kasato Maru.
They were 781 contract workers hired by six coffee farms. The trip from Kobe to the Santos port, in São Paulo State, lasted 52 days.
The trip from Japan to Brazil was subsidized by the Brazilian government.
Campaigns advertising work opportunities in Brazil to the Japanese population promised great gains to all willing to work on coffee farms.
The beginning of World War I (1914) started a boom in Japanese migration to Brazil, such that between 1917 and 1940 over 164,000 Japanese came to Brazil, 75% of them going to São Paulo, where most of the coffee plantations were.
Japanese workers who abandoned São Paulo coffee farms ventured as far as the northeast and other remote areas, creating support associations which were to become a crucial factor in later historic developments of Japanese life in Brazil.
Many Japanese workers left the countryside and went to the cities, where some opened their own businesses, like for example schools, restaurants and martial arts schools.
Most martial arts schools taught karate, judo and Japanese styles of jiu-jitsu.
The Gracie family were not the only family training and teaching Jiu-jitsu in Brazil at the time, they were the most successful and popular family.
The success of the Gracie family in Brazil was in part because of the quality of their Jiu-jitsu and in part because of the high social status of some of their students.
Today Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. As of 2000 there were 1.5 million people of Japanese descent in Brazil. The largest concentrations of Japanese people in Brazil are mostly found in the states of São Paulo and Paraná.
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