Portuguese-language play performed in Oizumi, Gunma Prefecture

December 14, 2022

On Sunday, December 11, 2022, second-year students of the TUFS schools of Language and Culture Studies and International and Area Studies performed the play Não consultes médico (Don't get diagnosed by a doctor), a Portuguese comedy by Machado de Assis that was performed at this year’s Foreign Language Festival, at the Oizumi Town Hall in Oizumi, Gunma Prefecture, with the cooperation of the Oizumi Town Office.

Many Brazilians live in Oizumi, and many Brazilian parents and children came to the festival, with nearly 200 people attending. First, a mini-recital was given by the Brazilian children and youth orchestra, performing music known to all Brazilians. This was followed by the Portuguese-language play performed by TUFS students. At the beginning of the performance, Associate Professor Aline Pereira Gonçalves gave an explanation of the writer and the play to the children in attendance. Most of the audience were native Brazilian Portuguese speakers, and the reactions of the children, who instantly understood the Portuguese dialogues and laughed out loud, were so enthusiastic that the students’ performance was even better than the one at the Foreign Language Festival. After the performance, a social party was held with Brazilian cuisine served by the Embassy of Brazil in Japan.

Comments from participating students

Ms. Misa Muto (2nd year Portuguese student, School of Language and Culture Studies)
I know that there are people in Japan who use Portuguese as their first language in terms of text and data. But when I actually heard the people gathered in the Bunka Mura hall and the clerks at the supermarket all speaking Portuguese, I finally understood it directly. It was refreshing and fun to speak Portuguese with people other than my teachers and friends. The experience of being there physically, rather than just virtually through a textbook or video, was invaluable. I am grateful to all those who gave us the opportunity, as it is no longer easy to go far away. I am very happy that all of us in the language department worked together to create this production, and that we were able to receive the laughter and applause of so many people both at the Foreign Language Festival and at Oizumi.

Mr. Yuya Suzuki (2nd year student of Latin American Regional/Portuguese, School of International and Area Studies)
It was a great experience for us to perform our Portuguese play in front of many Brazilian people at the Oizumi festival. It was very rewarding to see the great reactions to the play from the Portuguese-speaking audience. After the performance, we were very happy to hear people say how wonderful it was. The people of Oizumi made us feel welcome, which was very moving, and I was glad to have had this opportunity to study Portuguese.

Ms. Hana Keane (2nd year Portuguese student, School of Language and Culture Studies)
At first, I honestly did not think that I would be doing a play as a university student, much less going to Oizumi to act in one. It was my first experience as an actor since elementary school, and I was fearful as I read the piece and practiced. The Foreign Language Festival was just the beginning. I remember that when we started practicing for the Oizumi performance, I finally began to realize that I was going to Oizumi, which I had heard so much about for so long. As a Portuguese student, I felt a unique sense of accomplishment to be able to perform in front of an audience that understood what we had worked so hard to achieve, despite our lack of ability, and laughed and celebrated the happy ending with us. Now that I have returned home after all the post-performance socializing and other activities, I feel that I have finally understood how meaningful it was for me to go to Oizumi to perform a language play.