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An Extraordinary Tale: World War II Memoirs Translated into Portuguese
Author Fumiyasu Matsuoka recalls war service in China and life as an immigrant in Brazil
Antonio Carlos Rix (carlosrix)     Print Article 
Published 2008-12-21 17:03 (KST)   
Note the interview video is in Japanese.

Edited by Rich Bowden
  <Editor's Note>
Fumiyasu Matsuoka, a Japanese man who now lives in Campinas in Sao Paulo, Brazil, recently had his World War II memoirs translated into Portuguese by his wife. The book, "Memorias de um ex-Combatente" (Memories of an ex-Combatant) was originally written in Japanese and covers his service with the Japanese army in China, his arrival in Latin America at war's end and documents his subsequent struggle adapting as an immigrant in a totally different culture.

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The story begins in China during World War II where Matsuoka saw action in battles between Japan and Russia. He became a prisoner of war in Siberia and after being released, spent some time in Korea, before returning to Japan. In search of new opportunities at war's end, Matsuoka migrated first to Bolivia, where he founded Colony San Juan, and later traveled on to Brazil, where he lived many adventures which are well narrated in the book.

Matsuoka first wrote the text in 1998, though it wasn't until 2007 that his wife began to translate it into Portuguese for a wider audience. Mrs. Matsuoka completed her work in January of this year, and at first 50 individual copies were made for members of the family. However publishers soon recognized the value of the work and an offer was made to commercially launch the book which is now on its first print run.

Another interesting aspect is that the book will be bilingual: Portuguese-Japanese. The work was revised by Campinas University teachers and by the Foundation Mokiti Okada, of Sao Paulo.

According to Matsuoka, he was led by his many experiences and the great impact they have had in his life, and adds the book will give his family and relations an idea of where he has been for all these years.

"For myself it has been very good experience, now my family and friends understand better some of my past actions and reactions," he said.

"This is a moving story, like that of many immigrants to Brazil, it has an universal appeal, captivates and enchants the readers in both languages," said publisher Israel Geraldi. "I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a movie or something of that sort."

Matsuoka's adventure story is a opportunity to share with readers the unique life of an immigrant to Brazil.

The Matsuokas answer two questions in the video below:

Photos of the book launch in the city of Indaiatuba, in Sao Paulo, where the Matsuokas live. Also includes two pages of the book (in Japanese):

- speech 

©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Antonio Carlos Rix

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