Nikkei Chronicles #7 — 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 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. Authors may submit multiple entries.

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

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

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? 
#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

culture en

The Power of Dance for Social Advocacy

In spring 2017, I decided with the recent political climate that I could no longer wait for someone else to “do something.” At the time I was a dance graduate student so I decided to choreograph a dance entitled Shikata ga nai at the University of California, Irvine. Shikata ga nai is a Japanese phrase translating to “it cannot be helped.” This was an expression used by many Japanese people when faced with the injustice of being detained in internment camps, signifying their ability to maintain dignity despite uncontrollable circumstances.

My piece featured an audio interview of Yae Aihara, a ...

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community en

Catching Nikkei

Rocking back and forth on top of rolling waves with a cool sea breeze, my arms are burning as I stumble about with my hands curled tightly around my fishing pole. I am being dragged across the boat by a fish on the other end of my line. I concentrate on not losing this fish, but it is pulling so hard that you would think it was a shark. Every time I gain some line on my reel the fish pulls more out to sea. After forty minutes of back and forth with this fish, I finally see it near ...

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war en

Tule Lake Stockade Diary: A Story of Survival

Forty five years ago, my father, Tatsuo Inouye, and I sat in the family kitchen to transcribe his Tule Lake Stockade Diary. My two little boys were sleeping in the back room while we cranked it out night after night in a smoky room until I had a paper for my class at UCLA.

It was not just an assignment; it is our family story, our voice, and our stamp on America.

As a Sansei born at the end of the incarceration, I am the first to say that I don’t have any memory of the camps. However, our ...

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identity es

Comida china

Mi padre llegó desde Oriente a Argentina, en la primera década del siglo XX.

En esos tiempos, Japón no se destacaba como la potencia mundial que es ahora. Él era un inmigrante pobre, huyendo de un país en guerra permanente, expansionista, dominado por los señores feudales que ignoraban a las clases bajas. Será por eso que se enamoró tan espontáneamente de nuestro país, tan generoso y, aún en esas épocas, tan abierto a la inmigración. 

Cuando mi padre se casó con mi madre, descendiente de italianos, ambos aportaron a nuestras comidas cotidianas ...

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food pt

A tradição do Motitsuki no Grupo Hikari de Londrina - Paraná

No Brasil, o moti, bolinho feito com arroz japonês, o motigome é facilmente encontrado nos supermercados, feiras e mercearias especializadas nos locais que concentram imigrantes e descendentes de japoneses.

Quem vê o produto embalado nas gôndolas na maioria das vezes desconhece a origem e o seu significado na cultura japonesa.

No passado o motitsuki, processo de fazer o moti, era mais trabalhoso e feito de forma artesanal para comemorar datas festivas como casamentos   e também não podia faltar nas comemorações do ano novo, o oshogatsu para os japoneses.

O motigome era deixado de molho na água ...

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