Nikkei Chronicles #4 — 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.

Discover Nikkei collected stories from around the world related to the topic of Nikkei Family, including the stories that tell how your family has influenced who you are, and allow us to understand your perspectives on what family is. This series introduces these stories.

For this series, we asked our Nima-kai to vote for their favorite stories and our editorial committee to pick their favorites.

Here are the selected favorite stories.

  Editorial Committee’s Selections:

  Nima-kai selection:

To learn more about this writing project >>

Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series:

#1: ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture
#2: Nikkei+ ~ Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race ~
#3: Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João? 
#5: Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture 
#6: Itadakimasu 2!: Another Taste of Nikkei Culture
#7: Nikkei Roots: Digging into Our Cultural Heritage

identity en ja es pt

George Nakamura turns 88

My dad turned 88 this year, so we had a big party for him. Turning 88 is perhaps not so rare as it once was, but it is still a pretty big deal, especially in Japanese culture, where it is called “beiju,” meaning “rice age.” This refers to the way the characters for “eighty-eight” resemble the character for “rice,” a symbol of goodness and abundance. We were delighted that his health is still good enough to enjoy the party. To commemorate the event, I wrote up this summary of his life so far, based on his own recollections.

Salt Spring ...

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Round Trip: An American, In Japan During World War II, Comes Home

Masuo John (Matt) Koike was born in New York in 1935 to first-generation Japanese parents, Izumi and Iku, who had emigrated from Japan. Before moving to the United States, Masuo’s father, Izumi, classically trained as a chef in Paris. In the Bronx, Masuo’s parents owned and operated several small restaurants.

At a young age, Masuo accompanied his mother to Yokohama, Japan, for an extended visit with his grandparents. Unfortunate circumstances required that his mother return to New York, leaving Masuo to stay with family. In the months to come, Masuo’s older half-brother, Satoshi, was to accompany Masuo ...

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identity en ja es pt

History of My Grandmother – Things I Learned About Her Life This Summer Just Before I Turned 20

My grandmother Etsuko Nakatani lives by herself in Weiser, Idaho. She was born in Inasa-machi in the Nagasaki prefecture in 1926 (Taisho 15). Until recently I didn’t know anything about the life of my grandmother who will turn 90 in March next year.

This summer I found The 100 years of History of Nikkei in America in my grandmother’s house which led me to Ryusuke Kawai’s series on Discover Nikkei, “Re-reading of The 100 Years of History of Nikkei in America and learning some parts of the life of my grandmother as well as my Nisei grandfather ...

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community en ja es pt

My Life, Our Life: The Present, The Past, and The Future

In this life we are the protagonists of a number of stories, but in many instances the actors remain unknown because their recollections have not been recorded.

My maternal and paternal grandparents were born and lived in Osaka and Tokyo until the 1930s, when they came to Brazil to work in the coffee plantations.

Sizuyo, my mother, currently at the age of 89, is the only “living memory” of her family as well as my father’s. When she turned 70, she expressed the desire to record her recollections about their migration to Brazil and the hard times they experienced ...

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identity en

From Okinawa to Hawaii and Back Again

I am a Hapa, Yonsei Uchinanchu (a mixed-race, 4th-generation Okinawan-American) who was born in Riverside, California, in 1973 and raised in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. My mom’s roots stem from Spanish-Basque migrants in California and white southerners in Tennessee. My father is Okinawan from Hawaii. Because I don’t look quite white, people frequently ask, “What are you?” From an early age, even though Hawaii and Japan were enigmas to me, I have had to explain my relationship to these “exotic” places.

Growing up, we lived by my mother’s family and visited ...

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