This article focuses on the significance of generational difference and kinship ties in the lives of young Brazilian migrants living and working in Japan. On these terms, I transcend an ongoing tendency in transnational migration studies to highlight the importance of economic motivation, a myth of return and the primary significance of communal ties in the shaping of everyday migrant experiences. By treating generational difference as a kin relationship I consider the central influence of family in shaping the experiences and future plans of young Brazilian migrants in Japan. By considering generational difference as a migrant relationship I discuss young people’s perceptions of freedom, familial obligation and easy money in the light of contested understandings of what it means to be a Brazilian migrant in Japan. Through this analysis, the article offers fresh insights into both migration between Brazil and Japan and understandings of belonging, difference and attachment in transnational social spaces.