RIO DE JANEIRO – Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito, arrived in Brazil on Wednesday for her official two-week visit to attend ceremonies marking the 110th anniversary of the first arrival of Japanese immigrants in South America’s largest country.
A few hours after arriving in Rio de Janeiro, 26-year-old Mako paid a visit to the Japanese garden at Rio’s Botanical Garden where she planted a “Pau Brasil,” the country’s national tree known for giving the Brazil its name.
Mako then went up Mt. Corcovado to visit one of the greatest icons of the city, the Christ the Redeemer statue.
In the late afternoon the princess met with Rio’s Nikkei community – a group of Japanese immigrants and their descendants living in Brazil.
After a short speech by Takashi Mori, the president of the cultural and sports association of Rio, Mako was welcomed by children of the center with a traditional Japanese dance.
After the performance, Mako gave a short speech in Japanese, saying she was “happy to make this visit in this memorable year,” which celebrates the 110th anniversary of the first ship of Japanese immigrants arriving at the port of Santos in Sao Paulo.
Mako also thanked the Japanese community and their descendants for contributing to the development of Japanese society in the South American country despite many difficulties.
This is the first time Mako has visited Brazil. She will travel to cities in five states to meet with descendants of the first Japanese groups that arrived in the country before returning to Japan on July 31.
Brazil hosts the largest Japanese community in the world outside of Japan with around 1.9 million people.
Crown Prince Naruhito’s visit to Brazil to attend the World Water Forum in the capital in March was the last visit of a Japanese Imperial family member to the country.