Brazil did it again…

I’m writing this — 4h22 AM local time — because 14 hours from now a new soap-opera will begin; Sol Nascente (Rising Sun).

From the title alone as you may have guessed, there’s something Japanese it it. Formely known as ‘Arigato Amore Mio’, the story follows a couple of young lovers from Italy — after they run away from the Mafia (the girl was somehow promised to a gangster) they end up meeting a nice Japanese fellow, also arriving in Brazil, and they all begin a lifelong friendship.

Many, many years later, their kids may have fallen for each other.

Cheesy as fuck, so what? Who gives a fuck about Brazil, right? Who gives a fuck about a Brazilian soap opera? Well, after reading the plot you should see the trailer. It doesn’t have any subtitles, but you won’t need anyway…

Did you see it? Paid any close attention? Well, then, as you just saw, there’s an Asian actor playing Tanaka in his youth. It’s an actor with a Asian heritage, clearly. But Luis Melo, the actor — the renowned actor with a 20, 30+ years carrer — is not Asian at all.

Luis Melo a few years ago.

At first some may think it’s something more or less like that Chinese commercial — viral the beginning of this year, IIRC — with a black man turning Chinese after being washed. I mean, unless you’re French in the late 50s, you think about some exotic looking black/spanish people with a lot of ass as soon as you hear the word “Brazil”. You’re not to blame. It’s the postcard Brazilians embrace.

But that’s not the case.

Brazil’s got the largest Japanese community outside Japan. The traditional Asian neighborhood of Liberdade is home to people from all over Asia and some kind of tourist spot.

It’s not like Asians came to Brazil a few decades and that’s it, they are not a fully part of society or anything like that. Here is something historically akin to the Chinese forced labour in North America — only a lot less harsh. Either way the part they played during Brazil’s tough progress in the past century was pretty relevant to the ironic point of almost being banned from the country by some of its politicians.

Hell, we even got a bright side to mention; in the 3rd biggest TV network there’s a weekly show hosted by the most famous Japanese-Brazilian personality Sabrina Sato. Actually she’s of Japanese, Lebanese and Swiss heritage but… why bother, right?

To make things worse, as if that Yellowface wasn’t enough, Tanaka has got a son (actor who’s Korean descendent, but again… why bother?) and three daughters. Two of them are actually Japanese-Brazilian and the other, who happens to be the story protagonist, is not. She is adopted. And the important one.

What makes me write this is… that’s like… the third strike! They did a whole Asian Trifecta of Yellowface sorta of bizarre achievement.

Here’s a Korean (as in “fully Korean”) character from another soap opera from a few years back:

The actor, who is clearly not Asian, revealed the secret to have squinty eyes; duct tape.

Fuck, he even played the martial artist evil twin

And there was a whole, feature-lenght, Government funded movie called “Made in China” which deals with a poor woman trying to solve her boss’ problems when Chinese competitors start a business right in front of them.

Check out the trailer. Once again with no subtitles, but mockery is an universal language.

In a TV spot the protagonist asks a Chinese girl if her vagina is “cracked” — as in “horizontally shaped” or something like that.

There’s a lot more to talk about but I’m gonna wrap this up for now.

There nothing to do. A proper boycott is impossible, the locals aren’t vocal, but I felt like I should write this.