To see photos, click here. The photo below is from this Globo set.
Brazil and Japan signed an accord in the late 1800s, and in 1808 the first boat full of Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil. This began a trend which has made Sao Paulo the home of the largest Japanese population outside of Japan.
My only complaint, the usual one for all museums here, is the extreme lack of signage and helpful security guards. The exhibit actually starts on the second floor, which is sort of illogical, so you have to work your way down and find your way through the maze of rooms.
The exhibit takes up two floors, and features a wealth of art and artifacts. First, and probably my favorite, was the room of Tradition, which features real samurai swords, weapons, helmets, and armor dating back up to 800 years. They also have stunning kimonos and women's accessories in incredible colors, and a room with a recreation of a Japanese living room. The next room was of traditional Japanese paintings, which really made me feel like I was being transported to Japan.
The next "module" was called "The Way" which features traditional Japanese crafts and practices. My favorite part of this module was the Ikebana exhibit, which used Brazilian flowers to create stunningly beautiful Japanese flower arrangements. They also had a room full of calligraphy, and a whole set of spectacular pottery and porcelain. They also had a really cool origami room:
One of the less flashy but very cool parts was a room full of immigration documents, like ship registers and passports, that I happened to think were really interesting. One thing I noticed was that the majority of the passports listed the immigrants as farmers. The next part was Japanese Brazilian art, created by Japanese immigrants and descendants living in Brazil. I wasn't really blown away by the paintings but there were some very cool pottery things.
I loved the "Japop" section, which featured some Anime rooms, an explanation of cosplay, where people dress up as Anime characters and act out fights (this has apparently become big in Brazil as well as Japan), and photographs of modern Japanese culture. My favorite part of this section was the Jum Nakao fashion room, which was set up like a runway, where you walk out onto from another room, with the real fashion show projected onto the screen/curtains through which you pass from the other room.
The last room was set up as a Japanese garden and tea room, and I desperately wanted to drink tea but there wasn't any.
The exhibit really makes you feel like you're in Japan, and sheds light on a really interesting part of Brazilian culture and history. For more information, visit my Rio Gringa Consulting Page which lists museum info and the full schedule of activities and events at the CCBB.