Nikkei Chronicles

Exploring the Nikkei experience theme by theme...story by story

Nikkei Chronicles is a series of annual theme-based writing projects with the overall goal of promoting a more profound understanding of the complex histories and insights of multicultural, multiracial, and multinational people of Japanese descent around the world.

Each year, we will solicit articles around central themes such as Nikkei food culture, Mixed Nikkei identity, etc. The personal stories, essays, academic papers, books reviews, and other prose genres that meet each year’s theme will be published together as a series in Discover Nikkei’s Journal section.

Submissions for Nikkei Roots closed on September 30. Thank you very much to everyone who submitted stories!

Read the Nikkei Roots stories and help select the Nima-kai community favorite >>

Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritage

Stories in the Nikkei Chronicles series have explored many of the ways that Nikkei express their unique culture, whether through food, language, family, or tradition. For this edition, we are digging deeper—all the way down to our roots!

What does being Nikkei mean to you? How does your Nikkei identity reveal itself in your day-to-day life? What activities do you engage in to maintain traditions from Japan? Most importantly, how do you stay connected to your roots, whether individually or collectively? When or how do you really feel like a Nikkei?

We invite you to share your personal stories and essays, memoirs, academic papers, book reviews, and other prose works that share your perspectives on and experiences with your Nikkei roots. Submissions will be accepted from May 1 until September 30, 2018, at 6 p.m. PDT. Authors may submit multiple entries.

All stories that meet the project guidelines and criteria will be published in the Discover Nikkei Journal on a rolling basis as part of the Nikkei Roots series.

For more information, visit


Itadakimasu 2! Another Taste of Nikkei Culture

How does the food you eat express your identity? How does food help to connect your community and bring people together? What kinds of recipes have been passed down from generation to generation in your family? Itadakimasu 2! Another Taste of Nikkei Culture revisited the role of food in Nikkei culture.

Here are the favorite stories selected by our Editorial Committee and Discover Nikkei’s Nima-kai community.

Editorial Committee’s selections:

Nima-kai selection:


Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture

Arigato, baka, sushi, benjo, and shoyu—how often have you used these words? In an informal survey conducted in 2010, we found that these were the most frequently used Japanese words among Japanese Americans living in Southern California.

For Nikkei, the Japanese language symbolizes the culture of one’s ancestors, or the culture that was left behind. Japanese words often get mixed in with the language of the adopted country, creating a fluid, hybrid way of communicating.

Here are the favorite stories selected by our Editorial Committee and Discover Nikkei’s Nima-kai community.

Editorial Committee’s selections:

    By Heriete Setsuko Shimabukuro Takeda

Nima-kai selection:


Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values

Nikkei family roles and traditions are unique because they have evolved over many generations, based on various social, political, and cultural experiences in the country they migrated to.

Here are the favorite stories selected by our Editorial Committee and Discover Nikkei’s Nima-kai community. The stories are being translated into our site languages and will be added online.

Editorial Committee’s selections:

Nima-kai selection:


Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João?

What’s in a Name? Nikkei Chronicles #3 explored the meanings, origins, and the untold stories behind personal Nikkei names.

In total, five favorite stories were selected. (One story by the Nima-Kai, and four stories—one each in English, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese—by our Editorial Committees.)

Here are the selected favorite stories.

Editorial Committee’s selections:

Nima-kai selection:


Nikkei+ ~Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race~

The theme of the Nikkei Chronicles #2 explored how Nikkei around the world perceive and experience being multiracial, multinational, multilingual, and multigenerational.

For this special project, our Nima-kai selected their favorite stories per language.

Here are their favorites:


ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture

Our inaugural theme was Nikkei food culture and its impact on identity and communities. Submissions are no longer being accepted at this time.

Our Editorial Committee selected their favorite stories in each language.

Here are their favorites:


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