Nikkei Chronicles #7 — Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritage

Nikkei Chronicles #7: Nikkei Roots

As Nikkei, we find ourselves all over the world, living diverse lives and adapting to a variety of environments. However, there is one thing that always binds us together: our common heritage as people of Japanese ancestry.

Previous Nikkei Chronicles have looked at the ways we express our culture, whether through food, language, 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?

As always, we are interested in publishing a wide range of texts exploring these and many other questions and issues related to our roots. We invite you to submit personal stories and essays, memoirs, academic papers, and other prose works that share your perspectives on and experiences with your Nikkei roots—whatever that may mean to you. (Please note that for this series, poems are not accepted.) It is our hope that by sharing the multitudes of Nikkei stories, we enhance our ability to better understand who Nikkei are.

All stories submitted to Nikkei Chronicles 7: Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritagethat 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. Authors may submit multiple entries.

Submissions will be accepted from May 1 until September 30, 2018, at 6 p.m. PDT

Nima-kai Favorites

All stories submitted for Nikkei Roots that meet the project guidelines will be eligible for selection as the Nima-kai community favorite. Vote for your favorites by logging in and giving them a “star.” Four additional stories (one each in English, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese) will be selected by the editorial committee. Selected articles will be featured and translated into Discover Nikkei’s other site languages.


Editorial Committee

Writing Prompts

Below are some of the ways that Nikkei have found to stay connected with their roots. Perhaps one of these will remind you of your own journey.

  • genealogy (family trees)
  • food
  • ritual/tradition
  • festivals
  • music
  • sports
  • religion
  • travel

If you have a question about whether your idea or topic is appropriate for this project, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Submission Guidelines

In order to include your story in the Nikkei Roots project, please review the following instructions:  


All submissions must be related to Nikkei experiences, history, and/or culture. Articles must meet the following length, format, and languages criteria:

  • Accepted writing formats: Personal stories and essays, memoirs, academic papers, book reviews, and other prose genres. For this particular project, we are not accepting poetry or video submissions.

  • Accepted languages: English, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese

  • Length: English, Spanish, and Portuguese articles should be about 600–1,500 words. Japanese articles should be about 800–2,200 characters.

  • Foreign words should be italicized.
    For example: My tio Frank made a bento for lunch.
  • All articles should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents. We will NOT accept PDF or printed copies.

  • Previously published works are ok with copyright permission cleared by the author, but your submission cannot be previously published on Discover Nikkei. All copyrights for the piece will remain with the copyright owner, but upon submission, permission is granted to Discover Nikkei to publish the work on our website and with any other publication (electronic or print) in collaboration with the Nikkei Roots project.

Note: If you have other types of Nikkei-related stories that don't fit within the Nikkei Roots project theme, you can still submit them! Check out our regular Discover Nikkei Journal submission guidelines.


For this series, applicants MUST submit at least 1 photo to illustrate your story.

  • .jpg or .gif files—150 dpi, at least 1200 pixels wide preferred. If you do not have the capability to resize the image, send us the large file and we will do it.

  • Only submit images for which you either own copyrights or have secured permission to use for this purpose.

  • Provide a caption and/or photo credit for each image if necessary.

  • Do not include images within the Word file. Send image files separately.


  • Submit a short 3–5 sentence bio written in the same language of the article that you are submitting.

  • Send a portrait of the author as a .jpg or .gif file at 150dpi, at least 500 pxl x 500 pxl. The photo will be cropped to a square image. If you do not have the capability to resize or crop the image, send us the file and we will crop the image for you.

  • Articles written by multiple authors are accepted. In this case, please submit a bio and portrait separately for each author.

Deadline for Submissions

The deadline for submissions will be rolling: May 1, 2018 until September 30, 2018 at 6 p.m. (PDT). Stories will be published on Discover Nikkei beginning in June, so don’t wait until the end to submit!

Multiple submissions are accepted; however we only accept email submissions.


Thanks to Jay Horinouchi for designing our Nikkei Roots logo, and our wonderful volunteers and partners who help us review, edit, upload, and promote this project!

Disclaimer: By submitting your story, you are granting Discover Nikkei and the Japanese American National Museum permission to post your article and images on, and potentially other publications in print or online affiliated with this project. This includes any translations of your work in association with Discover Nikkei. You, the writer, will retain copyright. Check Discover Nikkei’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for more details.