Sunday, 6 September 2009

Brazilian-Japanese Gaming

Attending the Brazilian-Japanese Festival 2009 in Yoyogi yesterday = noisms has a crushing hangover today. (I do at least retain some memories of the "Miss Brazilian-Japanese 2009" competition, thankfully.)

The link between Brazil and Japan is one of those odd footnotes of world history; you don't get two countries that are as different as the one is from the other, and yet they have a close relationship stemming back 100 years. The biggest population of Japanese people (1.4 million) outside of Japan can be found in Brazil, and there are perhaps 300,000 Brazilians of Japanese descent living in Japan. The mingling of Japanese and Portuguese ethnicities has created a unique lusaphone culture all of its own.

Here are some Brazilian-Japanese games I'd like to run:
  • Call of Cthulu. The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil in 1908, where they found work on coffee plantations around Sao Paulo. This game would involve a group of these immigrants and their encounters with sinister and mysterious Entities in the Brazilian countryside.
  • GURPS. Many Nazis fled to South America after WWII, and it wouldn't surprise me if there were Japanese war criminals who did the same. This game would involve a group of investigators trying to track down such people in 1950s Sao Paulo. A little bit of Munich, a little bit of The Boys from Brazil, and a touch of The Dark Ocean Society.
  • Dogs in the Vineyard, set in a kind of fantasy Southern Brazil, where the players are religious elders in the Japanese community, enforcing the will of the Gods.

I'll never run those games because let's face it, I don't have the time. But a man can dream.


  1. I hear you. I think that every GM plans elaborate campaigns that will never make it to the table. It's a real pisser, I tell you.

  2. Brazillian countryside Cthulhu campaign, of course! Voodoo's a natural for CoC (aren't they even investigating Bayou Voodoo in the eponymous story?) and there ain't much in Massachusetts. Do they call it Voodoo in Brazil?

    and thanks for the link to the Dark Ocean Soc. Immediately I flashed on Tintin... Blue Lotus? Black Lotus?
    I loves learnin'.

    Genius as usual.

  3. Hm. I like these ideas. Shame my knowledge about Brazilian history after about 1600 and Japanese history after about 1750 and before 1933 is virtually nil.

  4. Dark Ocean appears in Pagan Publishing's Delta Green setting, as Liao drug runners (?) The DG timeline also lists a 1952 operation to hunt Nazi occultists in S America.

  5. Christian: Yeah, somewhere in the multiverse I'm sure there's a universe where all of those games actually get played. Except in that universe nobody has a job or a family or a social life outside of gaming.

    crazyred: I'm not sure what they call it, but there definitely is a voodoo equivalent in Brazil. I'm pretty sure capoeria is connected to it.

    Rach: Who cares about historical accuracy? ;)

    Labsenpai: The Dark Ocean Society is more interesting to me as it really was: an ultranationalist quasi-religious sect working behind the scenes to bring about political ends. Using the group as mere drug runners seems a little tame.

  6. "Do they call it Voodoo in Brazil?"

    Nope. Candomblé or umbanda

  7. If you run any of those games. I will jump on the first Shonen-Shinjuku train down to Yokohama and play in them.

    So you have one player at least.

  8. Does Call of Cthulu include support for mixed martial arts? :-)

    Sweet idea.