Nikkei Chronicles #2: Nikkei+ ~ Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race ~

Being Nikkei is inherently a state of mixed traditions and cultures. For many Nikkei communities and families around the world, it is common to use both chopsticks and forks; mix Japanese words with Spanish; or celebrate the New Year’s Eve countdown with champagne and Oshogatsu with ozoni and other Japanese traditions.

This series introduces stories explore how Nikkei around the world perceive and experience being multiracial, multinational, multilingual, and multigenerational.

Each piece submitted to the Nikkei+ anthology was eligible for selection as our readers’ favorites. 

Here are their favorite stories in each language.

To learn more about this writing project >>


Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series:

#1: ITADAKIMASU! A Taste of Nikkei Culture
#3: Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João?
#4: Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values 
#5: Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture 
#6: Itadakimasu 2!: Another Taste of Nikkei Culture

food en ja es pt

Gohan & Good Fortune -- Adopting a New Year and New Traditions

Akemashita Omedetou. 
Xin Nian Kuai Le. 
Happy New Year & Auld Lang Syne. 

This is how we welcome the new year in our Japanese, Chinese, and Irish American family. I am a third-generation Japanese American Sansei with roots in the Rocky Mountains. My husband’s Irish American forebears journeyed to the Pacific Northwest across the Oregon Trail and he grew up in the Los Angeles San Fernando Valley. Our two daughters are first generation Chinese Americans, who joined our family through international adoption, traveling from China to Southern California cradled in our arms. Over the years, we’ve personalized our Nikkei-plus ...

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migration en es

A Japanese Chief

Yamato Taba arrived to Peru in 1921 from Okinawa, Japan, to harvest cotton in the Cañete area, 150 km south from Lima, the capital of Peru. At the end of his contract which he completed with great sacrifices, Yamato and his wife rented a little parcel of land where they grew vegetables and had sold their products in the town of Cañete and other locations. In a few years, they had saved enough money to be able to purchase the land that they had been renting before.

However, they knew that in 1912, the Morioka Shokay Migration Company ...

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identity en ja es pt

Diary of a Mad Hapa Judo Girl

Being a martial artist was not supposed to be a part of my life. The plan for me was to focus on school and get good grades. But my dad asked my younger brother to learn judo when he was five years old and I became jealous. I asked my father if I could join. He said that I could but with the condition that I had to stay in judo until I received a black belt. At this time, I should mention that my father was a judo sensei, and he was strict about not having any quitters in ...

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identity en ja es pt

Two Scenes, One Wall?

That was too much, thought Mrs. K. Not even Bira gave any warning! She didn’t reply, saying only: “I’ll go check it out.”

Confusing the smell of boiled daikon with that of a gas leak made her heart twist in her chest, in embarrassment, perhaps. As if all those times hadn’t been enough, when, from the kitchen door, she would say: “What a weird smell!”

It was on Wednesdays that Mrs. K left a whole pile of daikon-flavored tsukemono ready for the week.

The wall ran from the end of the backyard all the way to ...

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identity en

Sammy's Shitkickers

I began to beat Sammy with his own leg braces, polished by mama to a new money shine, around the time people stopped looking at me, their eyes resting on Sammy, listening to his hospital stories, admiring his scars, a mountain range, crawling, stitch by stitch calf to heel. I would knock him in the head with his own hard, thick-soled boots.

“Siblings do that sort of thing,” daddy once said as he puffed on a well-chewed pipe, smoke connecting each word, slowing their delivery for our mother to translate his English to Japanese. Sammy’s burnished brown, hand-sewn boots ...

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