After night, always comes day, and after day, always comes night”
Jacto was founded by Shunji Nishimura, a Japanese immigrant who arrived in Brazil in 1932, at the age of 21, seeking a better life.
Shunji was born on December 8, 1910, in Uji, a Kyoto province. He was the second son of Shotaro and Toshi Nishimura’s six children. At 19, Shunji graduated from Dai-Ichi Kogyo Gakko Industrial School in Kyoto as a mechanical technician and started to work at the family coal factory.
He was a young and determined dreamer who decided to come to America in search of new opportunities. In January 1931, Shunji entered Rikkokai School, a Methodist Church-related school, which prepared young Japanese to immigrate. He intended to go to Bolivia, but chose Brazil as the Brazilian government paid for the trip. He boarded the Buenos Aires Maru ship, at Koke Port on February 6, 1932. He arrived at Santos Port on March 22.
After a few weeks at a bed-and-breakfast for immigrants in São Paulo city, the young Shunji started harvesting coffee at the Santa Maria farm in Botucatu city. The work was hard and the wage small. So, Shunji decided to leave to Rio de Janeiro where he worked as a butler for a couple in Petrópolis. He saved some money intending to resume his studies, improve his Portuguese, get to know Brazil and explore its opportunies.
In 1934, he returned to São Paulo and enrolled in Colégio Adventista Brasileiro Elementary School located in Santo Amaro neighborhood. He studied eight hours per day and worked at the school. A year later, he ran out of money. He left school and found work as a lathe operator and welder at a factory. The wage was so low that he sometimes had only bread and banana for breakfast.
At the Brazilian Episcopal Church, in Pinheiros neighborhood, he met his first wife Chieko Suzukayama.
Together with friends, Shunji opened the repair shop Seikoosha in Lapa neighborhood where they started manufacturing cans for black tea produced in Registro, near Vale do Ribeira.
In February 1939, Shunji decided to try his luck in the country side. He took a train in São Paulo to Alta Paulista region and got off 472 kilometers afterwards at the last stop: Pompéia, at the time, a small gathering of wooden houses.
Shunji Nishimura rented a house at 127 Senador Rodolfo Miranda street and hung a sign that read: “We fix everything.” He fixed bowls, transformed lubricating oil cans into buckets and mugs, invented an alembic to distill menthol, fixed agricultural machines, trucks, adpted gasoline engines to gas, among other things.
In this shop, farmers also asked Nishimura to fix their agrochemical dusters which were imported and had no technical assistance in the region. By fixing so many of them, he designed a new model which was better and easier to use. It was the first duster created in Brazil and the first Jacto brand product, in 1948.
Shunji Nishimura ran Jacto Máquinas Agrícolas until 1972, when the company formed its first board of directors and his son, Jiro Nishimura, was chosen president. The founder dedicated himself then to design new products such as the first coffee harvester. He continued to guide the company’s strategies and decisions. Nishimura died on April, 2010 at the age of 99.
MUSEUm and MEMORIAL
Shunji Nishimura is honoured with a museum and a memorial in Pompeia, built by the foundation named after him. The museum keeps documents and objects that tell his history: the first machines, tributes he received, trips and records that portrait his life.
The Memorial is a garden with Mr. Shunji Nishimura statue, a monument to his wife Chieko and a belvedere with a beautiful view of the valley. It was opened on April 21, 2012 at the Foundation headquarter. Tribute and care with the life history of a man who is deeply linked to the history of Brazilian agribusiness itself.