Nikkei Chronicles #5: 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.

In Nikkei communities around the world, 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.

For this series, we asked our Nima-kai community to vote for their favorite stories and an editorial committee to pick their favorites. In total, five favorite stories were selected.

Here are the selected favorite stories.

  Editorial Committee’s Selections:

    By Heriete Setsuko Shimabukuro Takeda

  Nima-kai selection:

To learn more about this writing project >>

Check out the past 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? 
#4: Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values 

community en ja es pt

The Chuo Gakuen School: The Seeds of Prestige for the Japanese Community in Mexico

For 72 years, the Chuo Gakuen school has provided Japanese language and cultural education to Nikkei and Mexican children. The school, located in a modest neighborhood in the center of Mexico City, is celebrating this anniversary thanks to the hard work and tenacity of many people who have made sure this educational project stays alive. Japanese pioneers, since the school’s establishment in 1944, always considered education to be their primary responsibility, in order to create a better future for their children born in Mexico.

The Chuo school was founded during the war, during the most difficult and complicated time ...

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education en

Minato Gakuen Now

The Class of 2016 graduating from Minato Gakuen was congratulated once in San Diego in mid-March and again in Kyoto in early April. Here’s chapter and verse of the life spanning story and the fruits of the concerted service and dedication of all those parties involved.

Minato Gakuen was established in 1978 as a Nihongo Hoshuko (Saturday Japanese Supplementary Language School) in San Diego primarily for the Japanese expatriate children. Most expatriate’s term of assignment range from 3–4 years and during that time, the parent’s biggest headache was that their children could face hardship upon their ...

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identity ja

三人の子どもたちへ —お父さんの多言語生活体験—





さっきも言ったけど、お父さんは、メキシコで生まれて高校を卒業するまでメキシコに住んでいました。君たちのメキシコのお祖母ちゃんこと、お父さんのお母さんが ...

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identity pt

Nikkei com Y

108 anos após a vinda do navio Kasato Maru trazendo oficialmente os primeiros imigrantes do Japão, o Brasil se orgulha de ser o país com o maior número de nikkeis do mundo. Somente com esta informação, talvez uma pessoa desinformada possa acreditar que pela grande quantidade de nikkeis, o Brasil esteja acostumado com a língua japonesa, assim como atualmente está acostumado a comer sushi e assistir a animes. Ledo engano...

Mesmo em São Paulo, onde se concentra a maioria dos nikkeis, as pessoas não têm afinidade com a língua japonesa ...

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community pt

Os ensinamentos da dona Terezinha

Minha mãe chamava-se Terezinha. Ela nos deixou dessa vida terrena aos 59 anos e considero que viveu muito pouco. Dizem que as pessoas boas vivem pouco porque precisaram de menos tempo para evoluir espiritualmente. Eu acredito nisso, minha mãe era uma ótima pessoa.

Tenho muitas lembranças com ela e como somos uma família nikkei, algumas dessas recordações remetem a palavras japonesas marcantes.

Nós somos três filhas. Isso mesmo, somente mulheres. Sendo nós três meninas, tivemos uma infância em que não faltaram companhias para brincar, aprendizados em conjunto, mas tamb ...

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