Lives of the Nikkei scholarship 'Dream Come True Project' students ～ Mary Nishimura
Why did you decide to study in Japan?
At the age of 11 I started singing kayokyoku (Japanese pop music) and at the age of 17, I started singing minyo (Japanese folk music). Since that time, I have participated in various events and competitions held within the state of São Paulo together with traditional music groups Kaito Shamidaiko and Min. In 2013, I started my own wadaiko group at my house in the city of Mogi das Cruzes. I was teaching the children not only wadaiko but also minyo and shamisen so that young generation can learn about Japanese culture. As I saw these children gradually develop their interests in minyo, I noticed that I should have deeper knowledge in this area and started thinking about studying in Japan.
How is your life in Japan?
When I arrived in Japan, speaking in Japanese was a big challenge for me. I was very much afraid of causing misunderstanding due to my poor Japanese. But thanks to the support of the staff members of Nikkei Scholarship and the NFSA, I was able to manage my day-to-day issues as well as procedures for college enrolment, for which I am deeply grateful. I realized that I can live my everyday life without worries because of their help.
Tell us about your present study or research.
Beginning in April 2018, I started my master’s degree in Musicology at Musashino Academia Musicae. As my goal is to become able to teach Japanese minyo well enough in Brazil, I chose to do my research in the teaching methods of minyo, and through this, I want to create a better teaching method of Japanese minyo that is applicable in Brazil.
Did your consciousness as a Nikkei change in any way through studying in Japan?
Since I was a child, I have been surrounded by Nikkei society, participating in many events and festivals which are quite similar to those held in Japan. So I was aware that I had this Nikkei identity, and I feel that even after coming to Japan to study, not much has changed. However, having this opportunity to study in Japan through such a great scholarship program for Nikkeis, I feel I was blessed to be born as a Nikkei. In addition, I am truly excited and impressed to be able to spend some time living in a homeland of my grandparents. I feel that I am given this wonderful opportunity because of my grandparents.
What is your dream for the future?
My dream is to be an excellent music teacher in Brazil. I am hoping to teach Japanese music to all the people of Brazil, not just children. In addition, I have a dream to introduce all the good things about Japan, not just Japanese music, and expand Japanese culture throughout Brazil.
Please give a message to students who are considering studying in Japan.
To those who are thinking of studying in Japan, I believe that experiences such as studying and doing research in Japan and meet other cultures will surely contribute to your personal growth. So if you have the opportunity to study in Japan, do not hesitate and take the chance!